Saturday, February 4th, 2023

Koolatron P-20 Thermo-Electric Cooler Review

Koolatron P-20 Thermo-Electric Cooler

The slim and compact Koolatron P-20 Thermo-Electric Cooler has become quite popular among travelers and campers. But what gives it the edge over others?

Well, there is no doubt that Koolatron is a well-known brand for top-notch thermoelectric and refrigeration products. And this mini cooler-heater is no different. But no product is perfect, and seeing how budget-friendly this one is, we could not help but be a tad skeptical.

So, to understand the hype about this thermo-electric cooler, we used it for a week. Well, this petite but rugged product proves the saying, “big surprises come in small packages.” However, there were some flaws that came with it. While the drawbacks may not make it an entirely “bad” product, it is best to know the entire picture before choosing to buy it.

Koolatron Thermoelectric Iceless 12 Volt Cooler Warmer 18 qt...
  • 17 L (18 qt) Capacity Cooler: With a 17 liter (18 quart)...
  • Plugs Into Any 12V Outlet: Thermoelectric cooler/warmer...

Read on to find out if the Koolatron P-20 is the right product for you!

Koolatron P-20 Thermo-Electric Cooler Review

Koolatron P 20 Thermo Electric Cooler 02

Why Buy This Product?

Started in 1983, Koolatron has continued to make its mark in the cooling and electronic industry. Thus, it makes sense that the P-20 comes with quite a lot of impressive features. Let’s see if this cooler can beat the heat or get beaten instead!

  1. Efficient Cooling

This mini cooler is not a refrigerator, so do not expect it to work like one. There is no way it will keep your food and drinks cool if they are unfrozen and warm to begin with.

As the name suggests, it uses thermoelectric energy. It may not provide the fastest cooling, but it is suitable while traveling and indulging in other outdoor activities.

Also, the system is CFC-free and completely eco-friendly, unlike most electric coolers on the market. Believe it or not, it actually consumes less power than your car’s tail light! That is a win-win considering the current situation of our planet.

A little bit of planning goes a long way when trying to get more efficiency from this device. So, decide the food items and drinks you want to carry during the trip. Pop them in a refrigerator to chill before putting them in this cooler. This way, even perishable items like meat and milk products will remain fresh for long hours.

Moreover, do not overcrowd the unit. Place your stuff strategically to avoid blocking the fan at the bottom, and allow free movement of cool air.

  1. Durability

With its hard plastic injection-molded body, this cooler is surprisingly robust and reliable. Koolatron must have prioritized durability since this product is designed for rough and tough outdoor use. Due to its sturdy construction and advanced thermoelectric technology, a bumpy car ride has got nothing on it!

The handle and lid are sturdy and lightweight, making the cooler easy to carry around. Since the lid is latched on one side, it is easy to use with no chance of it falling off and leaving the contents uncovered. But this easy access can backfire if you have naughty kids around, though!

Additionally, a majority of reviewers who have used the P-20 for years have appreciated its long-lasting performance. Overall, this cooler is built to last through many of your outdoor adventures.

Koolatron Thermoelectric Iceless 12 Volt Cooler Warmer 18 qt...
  • 17 L (18 qt) Capacity Cooler: With a 17 liter (18 quart)...
  • Plugs Into Any 12V Outlet: Thermoelectric cooler/warmer...
  1. Compact And Portable Design

This tall and narrow unit is designed to fit right between the front seats of most cars and in tightly packed trunks. Measuring just 17.25 x 8.75 x 16 inches, it can easily slip into the floor area of the front seats as well. Thus, this is the perfect space-saving cooler for small cars and minivans.

Whether you are traveling alone or with a bunch of people, storing the P-20 will never be a cause of worry. But don’t get fooled by its tiny body because you can store up to 23 cans of 12 ounces each.

  1. Low Maintenance

Due to its plastic exterior, this unit is fairly easy to clean with just a wipe doing the job. Since it does not use ice to keep its contents cool, there is no hassle of draining the melted residue.

When kept under direct sunlight, most ice chests end up in a soggy mess, but that will never be the case with P-20. Just toss your food and drinks into the unit and rest assured of its freshness till the time you reach the destination.

  1. Noiseless

Although this device uses a fan to keep the contents cool, it produces little to no operating noise. This is a significant advantage if you plan to stop by and take a nap in the car. If you’re looking for effective cooling with no noise, this offering by Koolatron is your best bet.

  1. Dual Function

When ice chests get too bulky and cumbersome, this thermo-electric cooler enters the scene. This two-in-one device does not require any draining and can be cleaned easily to keep your stuff cool and warm.

While the cooling function keeps the contents 40-degrees Fahrenheit below the outdoor temperature, its warming function maintains the food at 135-degrees Fahrenheit. All you have to do is reverse the power cord plugged at the bottom. This is especially useful for picnics and potluck dinners when you’d prefer to keep your food items warm.

Koolatron Thermoelectric Iceless 12 Volt Cooler Warmer 18 qt...
  • 17 L (18 qt) Capacity Cooler: With a 17 liter (18 quart)...
  • Plugs Into Any 12V Outlet: Thermoelectric cooler/warmer...
  1. Power Options

The P-20 plugs into any car’s 12-volt outlet, and the fan starts producing cool air. You can even plug it into a 12 volt DC outlet of a solar generator. This makes the cooler convenient for road trips, camping, fishing, and any other outdoor activity.

Also, we suggest running the cooler only when the car engine is on to prevent a lot of power drainage.

For indoor use, just plug it through an AC adaptor, and it will work seamlessly. The fact that the external adaptor is sold separately is a bit of a bummer, though. Considering how the P-20 works better when pre-cooled, getting the adaptor would have made it easy to do so at home before hitting the road.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Just when this thermoelectric cooler began looking like a dream come true, we found a few drawbacks while using it. However, deciding whether these flaws are deal-breakers or not depends on your personal preference.

First off, you have to be extra careful about placing your contents inside the cooler. Because of the small fan located at the bottom, none of the items should block the passage. There must be enough space for air circulation.

Most users have complained about this factor, but after a few uses, it is easy to figure out the placement. So, we don’t think it should pose much of a problem.

In addition to that, since this is an ultra-compact cooler, big families may want to steer clear of it. It is solely designed to store food and drinks for a small bunch.

  • Super compact and portable design
  • Durable construction – perfect for bumpy car rides
  • Efficient iceless cooling and heating
  • Low operating noise
  • Easy cleaning and maintenance
  • Not suitable for big groups and families
  • Fan gets blocked too easily

Handheld ice cooler boxes flat set for web design. Cartoon iceboxes and containers for picnic isolated vector illustration collection. Camping refrigerators and storage concept


So, we can clearly see the pros outweigh the cons. The best part about the P-20 is its compact frame and dual function. It can fit literally anywhere yet store a sufficient amount of food and drinks. Sounds perfect for those who are always on the go!

Also, with comfortable handles, the device is easy to carry around. Unlike a typical ice chest, you need not drain this from time to time, so cleaning and maintenance will take minimum effort.

Thus, if you want a durable and compact thermoelectric cooler for a small bunch of people, the Koolatron P-20 is your best bet. We highly recommend getting the AC adaptor along with it for prolonged cooling.

Let us know what you think about this mini cooler in the comments section below.

Koolatron Thermoelectric Iceless 12 Volt Cooler Warmer 18 qt...
  • 17 L (18 qt) Capacity Cooler: With a 17 liter (18 quart)...
  • Plugs Into Any 12V Outlet: Thermoelectric cooler/warmer...

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Anna Vaughn

Anna Vaughn

Immense painting experience recommends Anna. She shaped The Little Painters, a small local painting workshop for children that invites the little ones to explore painting through simple and creative means in a safe, loving and extremely colorful environment. In her home panting studio she plays with all paint mediums but watercolor is her expertise.

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