It’s been several months since I purchased the Koolatron so I wanted to give an update about how it’s working… As a thermoelectric unit, it works a lot differently and cools less precisely than a conventional fridge. This was almost enough to make me not buy it at first but I’ve been pleased with the results. Here are some key points I wanted to pass along to prospective buyers…
- The Koolatron cools to about 35-40 degrees below room temperature. Be aware that if it’s cold in your van, you will freeze your contents. So far under normal conditions, the temperature stays between 30 and 35 at all times. There’s nothing like a cold beverage!
- I have now run it for a few weeks continuously. Power consumption is considerable – about 4 amps per hour. It doesn’t cycle off and on, either. You’ll want solar, shore power, or a generator to keep the house batteries up. You can turn it off periodically to save juice. When driving to the campground and running errands, etc., I just run the cooler from the van’s alternator/battery, then switch it back to the house batteries when parked. Soon I’m adding solar which will help maintain the batteries and keep up with the drain.
- I urge you to keep a sensor from an outdoor thermometer in the Koolatron. That way a person can remotely monitor how well the machine is performing. I feel so strongly about it that I would not use a thermoelectric cooler without a means for watching how it is doing. It would be nice if a thermometer was built in!
- The cooler is likely to perform less well during very hot weather. If it gets up into the 90s or worse, your cooler might not be able to lower the temperature enough to safely store food. Do you live in the hot desert? You might want to consider refrigeration with freon instead. But if you can run air in your van or RV, you should be able to use the cooler with no problems.
- Try not to put hot items into the cooler – they can boost the temperature for quite some time. If water, pop, food, etc. is at room temperature or below, it seems to work best.
- A couple of well sealed freezer packs work wonders in helping the Koolatron lower the temperature. Some folks also use ice double bagged in freezer bags. Beware though – liquids can burn up the fan and then the unit will cease to work.
- If still debating about getting a thermoelectric cooler, consider how much money you are spending for ice. It just occurred to me that I haven’t purchased a bag for a very long time! This device is literally paying for itself.
If necessary, I would purchase a Koolatron again, perhaps even a larger one. I’m satisfied that it does what it claims to do. It has made camping delightful by helping store foods for making enjoyable meals, thus adding a feeling of “home”. It is so nice not to have to buy a bag of ice for every trip!
Currently, the cooler is packed with goodies chilled to 34 degrees. The next couple of days will be spent somewhere camping and relaxing in the warm spring sun. Life is good!
Thanks for visiting and have fun.