Engel Platinum MT35 Review
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Engel Platinum MT35
$1,150 at Amazon
Check Price at REI
$289.99 at Amazon
$219.99 at Amazon
$49.79 at Amazon
|Pros||Energy efficient, good features, super durable, long DC cord||Great temperature control, quality insulation, rugged and tough, convenient to use, good battery protection||Very energy efficient, relatively inexpensive, impressive minimum temperature, surprisingly lightweight, long cord||Largest temperature range, good insulation, lightweight, few moving parts, can be used as a chest or standing up||Super portable, very quiet, can be cold or hot, pretty low energy usage|
|Cons||Unimpressive minimum temperature, heavy for its size, relatively loud||Expensive, relatively short cords||Not durable, takes a long time to cool, insulation not great, fairly loud||No AC cord included, not the most durable, energy hog||Can't control temperature, not the best seal, USB can't be used in computer, plastic hinges, unknown longevity|
|Bottom Line||Energy-efficient, even on its highest settings, and built like a tank, though not the coldest or the quietest||This cooler is well worth its price when you need something rugged and reliable to join you on remote adventures or for regular use||If you're on a tighter budget but still want mid-level performance, we recommend this model||An impressive temperature range from this lightweight, no-frills thermoelectric cooler (and heater)||Quiet and tiny, this is a decent personal cooler, though with several limitations|
|Rating Categories||Engel Platinum MT35||Dometic CFX3 45||Costway 54||Koolatron Portable 45||Cooluli Mini Fridge|
|Temperature Control (25%)|
|Energy Consumption (20%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Engel Platinum MT35||Dometic CFX3 45||Costway 54||Koolatron Portable 45||Cooluli Mini Fridge|
|Minimum Temperature Achieved (F)||5.5ºF||-7.6ºF||-8.9ºF||38.2ºF below ambient||32.4ºF below ambient|
|Temperature Increase in 36 Hours Unplugged (F)||18.9ºF||17.6ºF||27.9ºF||9.9ºF||26.6ºF|
|Power Draw in Watts (cooling)||31.7 W||50.7 W||50.0 W
38.9 W (eco)
|62.3 W||33.9 W|
|Power Draw in Watts (steady)||1.1 W||1.0 W||1.0 W||N/A||N/A|
|Power Draw in Watts (heating)||N/A||N/A||N/A||48.1 W||29.7 W|
|Voltage Use (cooling)||13.85 V||13.17 V||13.47 V||13.29 V||13.84 V|
|Amperage Use (cooling)||2.30 A||3.84 A||3.72 A||4.69 A||2.45 A|
|Hours to Cool (measured)||16 hrs||16 hrs||9.5 hrs||>12 hrs||20.5 hrs|
|Maximum Temperature Achieved (F)||N/A||N/A||N/A||130.8ºF||136.0ºF|
|Temperature Accuracy (diff btwn display and actual)||+/- 2.5ºF||+/- 2.4ºF||+/- 3.8ºF||N/A||N/A|
|Weight||47.8 lb||42.0 lb||34 lb||14.2 lb||3.7 lb|
|Claimed Capacity (volume)||32 L
|Measured Capacity (volume)||27.5 L
|Capacity (cans)||38 cans||68 cans||72 cans||63 cans||6 cans|
|Method of Cooling||12V compressor||12V compressor||12V compressor||Thermoelectric||Thermoelectric|
|Advertised Achievable Temperature Range (F)||0ºF to 50ºF||-7ºF to 50ºF||-4ºF to 50ºF||40ºF below ambient and up to 135ºF||40ºF below ambient to 149ºF|
|Acceptable Ambient Temperature Range (F)||Not specified||61ºF to 110ºF||50ºF to 109ºF||Not specified||Not specified|
|Exterior Dimensions (D x W x H)||14.25" x 28" x 15.7"||27.5" x 15.75" x 18.5"||21" x 27.5" x 14"||16" x 21" x 17.25"||10" x 7.25" x 10.5”|
|Interior Dimensions (D x W x H)||15.25" x 10.75" x 10.25"||11.5" x 14.5"/7" x 12"/7.5"||10.4" x 12.75"/6.4" x 17.25"/10.6"||12.25" x 15.5" x 14.5"||5.75" x 5.25" x 8"|
|DC Cord Length (feet)||9' 6.5"||6' 2"||7' 9.75"||8' 10"||6' 3.5"|
|AC Cord Length (feet)||5' 8"||6' 2"||6' 4.25" (AC adapter only)
14' 7" (DC and AC adapter)
|6' 11" (AC adapter only)
15' 11" (DC and AC adapter)
|Comes With||AC cord, DC cord, extra fuse||AC cord, DC cord||DC cord, DC to AC adapter and cord||DC cord||AC cord, DC cord, USB cord (3' 1")|
|Features||Removable lid, internal light, C/F display||Internal light, removable baskets and divider, C/F display, drain/plug, USB power cord, bluetooth enabled, wifi compatible, free app||Eco power-saving function, internal light||Heating ability||Top handle, heating ability, USB power cord|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Platinum is a 12V compressor cooler that we tested in the 35L version (it's also available as 45L, 60L, and 80L). It's advertised to cool from 0ºF to 50ºF and comes with an AC cord, DC cord, extra DC fuse, extra foot piece, and an easy-to-remove lid hinge.
As a 12V compressor cooler, the Engel Platinum has better temperature control than any thermoelectric cooler could ever hope to have. Engel advertises this model with a temperature range of 0ºF to 50ºF, though, in our testing, it was only able to reach as low as 5.5ºF, even when completely empty. This is one of the least impressive minimum temperatures of any compressor cooler we tested, though it's still plenty cold enough to keep food frozen solid if you want to. The Engel also claims it has the ability to cool to 80º below ambient temperature, which is similar to other compressor coolers.
Starting from room temperature and filled with room temperature cans, the Platinum reached our desired temperature of 34ºF in 16 hours, which is one of the longest times to cool of any model we tested. The manual states to put in already chilled or frozen food, which would clearly help this thing reach a cool state faster. Once chilled, the display read 2.5ºF different from the actual temperature inside on average, which is pretty darn accurate compared to the competition. Though we're not impressed by the Engel's minimum temperatures, it certainly does the job just fine for keeping things fridge cool.
Over the course of 36 hours, the Engel gained 18.9ºF. Considering it's a bit smaller than most of the other compressor models we tested, this temperature gain is about on par with the competition. It's not likely to keep your raw meat from spoiling if you lose power in the desert during summer, but it's enough to keep your drinks cooled in an emergency.
Made of galvanized steel and running a CFC-free compressor with HFC134-A gas, the Platinum is a pretty durable unit. The handles must be attached when you pull it out of the box but are really solid if you do decide to use them. Both the AC and DC plugs come out at downward angles, helping the cords to stay protected during use. Rather than a chain or some such thing to stop the lid from flopping too far open, the Platinum actually rests against the back of the unit and literally can't be overextended. Pretty much everything about this unit shouts its durability.
This is where the Engel truly shines, as it uses the least amount of energy during cooling of any model we tested - including the thermoelectric units. Not even running on a specific "Eco" mode (which it doesn't have because it doesn't need), the Platinum pulls just 31.7 Watts of energy even on its coldest temperature. This is less than half of some of the other models' energy draw! These power savings along with a battery saver option will help ensure that your Engel doesn't drain your battery below the point where you can start your truck or van.
Of course, this energy savings is wonderful if that's what's most important for your van life or cross-country trucking. Yet it is probably also the reason that the Platinum is less impressive when it comes to metrics like its minimum achievable temperature and the amount of time it takes to cool down from room temperature. Though it claims to be a quiet model, compared to the others we tested, it's rather loud. If you're a light sleeper, this thing turning on and off through the night next to your head might wake you up.
Ease of Use
Advertised as a 35-liter, 34-quart model, with the interior liner and basket in place, we measured the Engel Platinum at just 27.5-liters, which is a pretty big discrepancy. It fits up to 38 standard 12-ounce cans if you pack nothing else inside. An interior light helps to find what you're looking for in this relatively narrow, deep cooler that lacks any shelving or top baskets to keep you organized. If you remove the basket, you'll get a little bit more space, but not a significant amount. A rubbery mat goes on the bottom of the unit, helping to stop your contents from sliding around as much and making spill clean-up easier.
The Platinum opens the long way, which is a bit of a bigger pain in a shorter vehicle, though is less obnoxious given its smaller capacity than some of the larger models. The metal latch is strong, easy to use, and secure, and a physical dial on the top adjusts the internal temperature. The unit comes with a special hinge that you can switch out for the lid to make it easily removable if you'd like. It also comes with both an AC and DC cord, as well as some extra pieces just in case, like a DC fuse and an extra foot piece. The Platinum can operate up to 30º off of level, though is not supposed to be around saltwater, so installing it on your ocean-going yacht is out of the question.
For a relatively small-capacity cooler, the Engel is surprisingly heavy. It weighs a whopping 47.8 pounds, which is significantly more than some of the units we tested that feature double the amount of storage space. However, a quality compressor just isn't that light, and powered coolers really aren't meant to be carried around for long distances. Once you get your unit in place, ideally you can just leave it there and forget how heavy it is.
Long, large, sturdy metal handles make it easier than others to move this unit around when you do need to. They're also removable, which may help save space wherever you store your cooler — just be sure to leave the appropriate-sized clearance around the compressor vents. The Engel's DC cord is an impressive 9.5 feet long, which helps you to stretch it down the length of your vehicle if you need to.
Though it doesn't appear at first to have a ton of features, the Platinum does have a few key details that are really handy. An optional removable hinge for the lid is a nice touch if you want to be able to easily remove it. The handles can be removed as well if you so desire. Though the internal basket is basic, it's helpful to have the option to load it up in your house and carry it out to your car easily.
The non-skid mat on the bottom is useful both to stop contents from sliding and make cleaning easier. And the top of the lid has a few indents that make it safer to set something up there without it flying around willy nilly. The Engel will also automatically switch between AC and DC power to preserve your battery if you need. All in all, it's a pretty handy little cooler.
The Engel is not a cheap cooler, and it runs right up there with some of the other very expensive options we tested. Regardless, for the quality performance and stellar energy efficiency in a durable box that you get with the Platinum, we think it's money well-invested.
The Platinum is a high-quality powered cooler that offers impressively low energy usage in a durable package, making it our Top Pick for Energy Efficiency. Its combination of quality construction, thoughtful features, and excellent performance make it one of our favorite compressor coolers. As long as you're not planning to use it around saltwater, this beast is built to last.
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