12v fridge for the car? - Jase
Hello All,

Do little mini 12volt fridge/freezers exist for cars does anyone know? Quick trawl about the place reveals sort of boat/caravan size things but not managed to find something that might be good on hols in the car. Also interested in 12v food warmers!

Yes, I now have a baby and a CMax with 12v sockets to plug things in!

Thanks everyone
12v fridge for the car? - Altea Ego
Not sure about he 12v Freezer but toddle down halfords and check out the 12v coolboxes.
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
12v fridge for the car? - ffidrac {P}
I agree with TVM. I bought a 12v cool/warm box from Halfords 3 or 4 years ago at the end of the summer they were reduced to half price (a week after I got mine:-( ).

It has worked well since then (never tried it as a warm box tho) and I would not hesitate to recommend one to you.

Halfords branded 12L capacity grey box with rounded edges and a handle on the top. (looks a bit like a womans beauty box except the colour). Power consumption is about 2-3 amps (depending how hard it's working) so battery drain shouldn't be a problem BUT if you leave it in the car to keep stuff cool while you look round the shops or whatever make sure that the socket it's plugged into is live when the key is out or trhe beers will be warm!
12v fridge for the car? - Big John
It is also possible to excellent cheap electric cool-boxes at many shops now, I got mine from Woolworths for £24.99. The main problem with all "Peltier effect"coolers (this includes Halfords ones) is they are not very efficient. Most draw about 4-6 amps (same as headlight bulb). If you leave running in a car for more than an hour or so expect a flat battery. Some do have an auto cut-off (to protect battery)that is not usually very effective, one I tried shut off the moment the engine stopped

For "cooling" whilst camping in my old Passat I mounted a second battery(charged when engine running, disconnected when stopped) that fed a socket on the tow bar. Worked quite well but the battery only lasted a few hours or so, obviously it didnt affect the starting of the car.
12v fridge for the car? - Hamsafar
I got one from Safeway 6 years ago, £28.
Hardly ever used it, but when I have it's worked pretty much as well as domestic fridge as far as I can tell. It does flatten the battery after about a day though, so only OK for keeping things cool in transit and a short time thereafter, any longer, and I think you'd need a seperate battery between cigar lighter (or IGN switched 12v) and cooling box with diode, this would save it fromrunning off thestarter battery but would also charge when IGN on..
12v fridge for the car? - Aprilia
Anyone remember the Toyota Crown Custom from the early 1970's. I rememeber working on one and it had a factory-fit fridge built into the boot!
12v fridge for the car? - ffidrac {P}
All due respect to Big John but I have tested mine with digital ammeter (known accuracy).

On start up I see a current draw of just over 3 amps dropping to just over 2 amps (2.3) after about an hour. (this was tested this evening after his post using a stabalised power supply (variable volts upto 4 amps) with 12 volt set for the output.

After 2 and a half hours the power supply is not very warm so it is running well within the 4 amp load spec. and beers are chillin' nicely.


Autoelectrician for 14 years, radio ham 4 years, fooling around with electrics/electronics for 26 years.

12v fridge for the car? - jc2
Some Fiesta's-not many -had a cooled glove box-taking a small air-flow from the air-con;about 1995/6.
12v fridge for the car? - barchettaman
As do Fabias, I think.
12v fridge for the car? - Cliff Pope
My experience of the coolers is that they are not very effective, but useful for keeping pre-cooled things cold if going out for a picnic, beach etc. If you turn off when you get there battery drain is not a problem. i tried using one on a separate battery as others have suggested for caravanning etc. The trouble is they need to be on constantly, and the few hours a battery will give you is not really much use. It would just be adequate if you did a lot of trips out from the site, and could recharge the battery.
You can get proper small fridges for boats and caravans. These of course use much more energy. Some are gas, or dual fuel. I think then you are talking about either plugging into mains at the site, or running the engine for long periods daily as on a boat, or carrying a gas cylinder.
In the end I've found those blue cold packs in an ordinary box to be the simplest. I know there's a trade off between maximising food capacity and having the box entirely full of packs. I just keep them in the freezer all the time, pack the box, then fill up with as many packs as will go in.
12v fridge for the car? - Big John
Fair enough..

My modified battery charger (now smoothed etc..) show about 5 amps, I stand corrected though using a more accurate Fluke meter it seems to be about 3.7 amps, could be my smoothing circuit affecting the reading. The reading does not reduce thhough. The reality is that you still can't leave cool boxes running for hours in a car( past bitter experience! - the reason why I modified my Passat for camping). I now use electric hookup.
12v fridge for the car? - Robbie
I have a coolbox that I bought from Tesco and it is very efficient. I used to use it when I had a caravan in France and kept it in the awning. Even in very hot weather it kept everything very cold and a small amount of ice used to form on the Peltier unit at the bottom. If you go along this route make sure it also operates on the mains without a seperate unit. as these tend to be more efficient.

I now use a three way fridge in the car when I travel to my home in France - mains, 12 volt or gas - and this is excellent. I can take perishable items over to cover me until I can get to the local supermarket. Similar fridges cost about £120. Mine is a Sibir - made by Elextrolux - and purchased from Stewart Longton caravan dealers in Chorley.

12v fridge for the car? - artful dodger {P}
I bought a car cool box from Halfords a couple of years ago. It is best to also buy the main transformer so you can pre-chill the box down. Also ensure items you wish to store are also cool. It does work well for picnics etc., but never tried the warming facility. For a extra safety there is no reason why you should not also add a couple of freezers packs to minimise the battery drain. Also do check if the power socket is only switched on with the ignition key - as I found out.

I read frequently, but only post when I have something useful to say.
12v fridge for the car? - local yokel
Over the years we've gathered about 8 of the blue cool blocks. They live in the freezer. Cool the stuff you are taking, pack it well, put scrunched up newspaper on top if you don't fill the cool box with beer, and they will stay cool for about 20 hours or more. Shade the cool box from direct sun.

If taking kids drinks then half fill an old squash bottle with water. Freeze overnight. Fill to top with water and squash the next morning. Chilled drinks all day at the beach.
12v fridge for the car? - henry k
I bought a car cool box from Halfords a couple of years ago.
It is best to also buy the main transformer so you can pre-chill the box down.

In Halfords today.
8L box was £44.99 now £21.99
20L box was £69.99 now £44.99

Mains transformers available but I have no idea of cost.
12v fridge for the car? - mike100
"Robbie" beat me to it - I also have the Electrolux three-way fridge and very good it's been. Running off bottled gas when camping it is cold enough to make ice cubes - and cause cans of coke to freeze and split open. Also handy running it off the mains e.g. Christmas time when kitchen fridge is full to bursting. When running off 12 volts though, it draws significantly more current than the units talked about above - about 6 amps. Also use it between France and home, but for bringing perishables back.
12v fridge for the car? - Armitage Shanks {p}
I did hear that these would only cool to ambient minus 20 degs so on a very hot day they might be as good as one might hope or expect.
12v fridge for the car? - Armitage Shanks {p}
"Might NOT be as good" - sorry

Ask Honest John

Value my car