Alpicool K25 25 Litre Portable Car Fridge Freezer Review Rating
The Alpicool K25 is a superb car fridge. It is well sized for most cars and has plenty of storage space. Cooling performance is excellent and far better than you would get with a thermoelectric cool box.
- Overall – 90%
- Significantly better performance than thermoelectric cooling
- Quite large and heavy
I recently reviewed the Jackery Solar Station 1000, and during my time with it, I wanted to use it for some real-world scenarios beyond keeping my laptop and phone charged.
I am not particularly outdoorsy or a camper, but recently my mother has bought a canal boat and practically lives on it. Inevitably that has meant I also end up spending quite a bit of time with it.
As fit and healthy as I am in my normal life, I still love beer and being confined to a canal boat with my family inevitably leads to a lot of drinking. I have no time for warm beer, and I have previously been using the Lifewit 30L (50-Can) soft cooler bag, which is a superb passive cool bag.
However, with the Jackery Solar Station 1000, I decided to take things to the next level with the Alpicool K25 25 Litre Portable Car Fridge.
Thermoelectric Coolers vs Compressor Car Fridges
There are a lot of options on Amazon, and it can be a little confusing. For active cooling, you have thermoelectric cool boxes or portable car fridges, and if you are not aware of the differences, this section will try and explain.
The first obvious difference is the price. You can pick up a thermoelectric cool box for under £100, but the compressor-based car fridges are typically over £200, or in the case of the Alpicool K25, it is £255.
These car fridges are literally just a fridge, though they may have some bonus features like app control. They have a compressor which uses a coolant gas (also known as refrigerant) to move the heat from the inside of the unit to the outside of the unit.
A thermoelectric cooler uses the Peltier effect for cooling, where electric currents are sent through two pieces of joined metal. The sides are made from different materials, which creates a heat flux – enabling the heat to flow from one side to another.
Thermoelectric coolers sound like a great option. They are cheaper, the cooling mechanism is smaller than a compressor, they are much quieter than a compressor, they use less electricity, and there is no refrigerant contained in them.
However, thermoelectric cooling is not as powerful as compressor cooling. This relates to both the overall capacity a cooler has and the temperature it drops the contents to. Thermoelectric cooling performance also deteriorates in warm weather, and most coolers advertise the cooling ability as a drop in temperature vs ambient. For example, the 45L Berg Cool Box states a cooling capability of 16°C below ambient temperature. Which sounds good, but if it is 30°C outside, I don’t want to be drinking 14°C beer. The cooling of these boxes is designed to supplement the passive insulation a traditional cool box has, and you should therefore also use ice blocks to improve performance.
With a compressor cooler, you can set the temperature, and it will cool it down to that temperature regardless. The downside to this is that it will use a lot more electricity.
For me, it is worth it. The main day I tested the Alpicool K25, it was 30°C outside, and I had nice 2°C chilled beer all day.
Alpicool K25 Features
- The Alpicool K25 can be a fridge and freezer.
- Fast cooling time: cooling to 0℃ in 30 minutes.
- LCD panel with temperature display.
- 3 stage car battery protection system to prevent your car battery from going flat.
- Vibration-resistant design to protect the fridge and contents while driving.
- Digital control panel with electronic temperature control.
- High-efficiency LG compressor with adjustable ECO and MAX modes.
- Mobile application Bluetooth remote control refrigerator temperature (iOS / Android). Bluetooth 5.0 version, signal range is up to 20 m.
Alpicool K25 Specification
- Capacity: 25L
- Temperature Adjustment Range: -20℃ to +20℃
- Cooling Mode: MAX (fast cooling) and ECO (energy saving)
- Power inputs:
- Car Lighter 12V/24V: 1
- Wall Socket Charger 220VAC: 1
- Compressor Brand: LG
- Power Consumption: Rated Power 60W; actual depends on the ambient and internal temperature.
- Noise Level: <45dB
- Fridge Dimensions: 585 x 335 x 350mm
- Weight: 10.2kg
The mobile app is handy but hardly necessary. It is perhaps a bit easier to control the fridge functions. You can control the temperature of the left and right-hand sides, switch it to eco mode and set the power usage.
In Use and Capacity
When I got the Alpicool K25, I plugged it directly into the Jackery, loaded it with my beer and set the temperature to 2°C. This probably wasn’t the wisest of ideas, I should have done the initial cooling via mains before switching to the Jackery. However, it was a good test for both the Jackery and Alpicool.
The Jackery started off at 64%, and I saw a power draw of around 40W, I think it may have jumped up a bit more than this too. The fridge stated a temperature said 31°C when I first switched it on. Then dropped the temperature down to around 7°C very quickly, but the cooling appeared to slow down from there, and I stopped monitoring it.
The following morning (approximately 18 hours) the fridge had obviously hit the target temperature and maintained it. The Jackery had dropped from 64% down to 16%. That’s quite a big drop, but the compressor would have had to run constantly until it hit the target temperature. Once it hits that temperature, it will cycle the cooling, so it will barely use any electricity during the off cycle and then around 40W when the compressor kicks in again.
It is worth noting that this weighs 10.2kg, so it is not insignificant. In comparison, the cheap thermoelectric cool boxes of similar capacity weigh around 4kg, and my passive cool bag weighs just 1kg.
The capacity of this is good. I have only used it for beer, so this is the only context I can provide. You can have two layers of 330mm cans; the official claimed capacity is 44x330ml coca-colas or 22x550ml drinking bottles. I’d say this is roughly right.
I also had 440ml cans, and you can just about squeeze a 330ml can on top of this. This meant I squeezed in 12x440ml cans and 25x 330ml cans. Just enough alcohol to make a day on a boat with my mother bearable.
Price and Alternative Options
I paid £255 for the Alpicool K25 on Amazon, but at the time of writing it has been discounted to £220.05.
There are various other models, including:
- Alpicool G22 (22L) – £232
- Alpicool K18 (18L) – £223
- Alpicool T60 (60L) – £310.19
The price does increase linearly with the capacity. Clearly, most of the cost of these machines is the compressor itself. As tempting as it is to go with the biggest possible, you should consider the portability. I think the Alpicool K25 is about as big as I would like.
Alpicool appears to be the best brand, and the pricing isn’t significantly more than competing options.
The Dellonda 15L Portable Car Fridge is £175 or the 36L DL13 model is £260
The 22L AstroAI Car Refrigerator is priced at £230.
There is also a no-name MCD15S 15L car fridge for £170
You will notice that Alpicool appears to have the best reviews on Amazon for all its boxes. With my experience of the Alpicool K25, I can understand why.
It basically just did what a fridge is supposed to do. It consistently kept my beer at a nice chilly 2°C. It doesn’t use too much electricity, and it works perfectly with the Jackery.
The size is good for me, too, it easily fits into my Corsa, and if it was any bigger, I would have had issues fitting into the bow of the boat with my sister sitting there.
Perhaps one downside is that general portability could be better. It has two carry handles on the side, forcing you to use both hands to carry it. When loaded with beer, it does become quite heavy. The larger units have wheels allowing you to roll them.
It is stating the obvious, but my Lifewit 30L cool bag has the same sort of capacity and is significantly smaller, these can keep the contents cold for long periods of time, and they are well worth considering over a fridge.
Last update on 2022-09-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API