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Igloo Iceless 40 Review

A no-frills thermoelectric cooler that works ok, though it's not very tough
Igloo Iceless 40
Photo: Igloo
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Price:  $245 List | $179.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Good cooling ability, large capacity, can use as chest or standing
Cons:  No heat function, not durable, lid strap detached during testing
Manufacturer:   Igloo
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 16, 2021
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41
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 11
  • Temperature Control - 25% 4
  • Insulation - 25% 3
  • Energy Consumption - 20% 5
  • Ease of Use - 15% 3
  • Portability - 10% 7
  • Features - 5% 3

Our Verdict

The Igloo works as advertised, though those claims aren't spectacular and neither is this cooler. It has decent cooling ability and a large capacity. However, unlike most thermoelectric models, it has no heat function and is so poorly made that a piece ripped right off during our testing. This cooler not only scored the lowest overall but is also fairly expensive to boot.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Igloo Iceless 40
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Igloo Iceless 40
Awards  Best Buy Award    
Price $245 List
$179.99 at Amazon
$464 List
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$300 List
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$50 List
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$100 List
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Pros Good cooling ability, large capacity, can use as chest or standingVery energy efficient, relatively inexpensive, impressive minimum temperature, surprisingly lightweight, long cordGood energy options, solid insulation, relatively lightweight, inexpensiveSuper portable, very quiet, can be cold or hot, pretty low energy usageDecent temperature control, easily portable, ergonomic shape, convenient size
Cons No heat function, not durable, lid strap detached during testingNot durable, takes a long time to cool, insulation not great, fairly loudNot great temperature control, baskets aren't great, internal shape is challengingCan't control temperature, not the best seal, USB can't be used in computer, plastic hinges, unknown longevitySmall interior, not great insulation, oddly shaped inside
Bottom Line A no-frills thermoelectric cooler that works ok, though it's not very toughIf you're on a tighter budget but still want mid-level performance, we recommend this modelAn inexpensive option that's tall and slender with good insulation but unimpressive minimum temperaturesQuiet and tiny, this is a decent personal cooler, though with several limitationsA small cooler that heats and cools, with a handy shape to be an armrest and convenient strap to tote it around
Rating Categories Igloo Iceless 40 Costway 54 Alpicool CF45 Cooluli Mini Fridge Wagan 12V 14 Liter...
Temperature Control (25%)
4.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
6.0
Insulation (25%)
3.0
5.0
8.0
2.0
2.0
Energy Consumption (20%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
3.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
4.0
Portability (10%)
7.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
9.0
Features (5%)
3.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Igloo Iceless 40 Costway 54 Alpicool CF45 Cooluli Mini Fridge Wagan 12V 14 Liter...
Minimum Temperature Achieved (F) 36.8ºF below ambient -8.9ºF 6.4ºF 32.4ºF below ambient 36.45ºF below ambient
Temperature Increase in 36 Hours Unplugged (F) 10.8ºF 27.9ºF 14.9ºF 26.6ºF 30.6ºF
Power Draw in Watts (cooling) 55.1 W 50.0 W
38.9 W (eco)
52.9 W
38.6 W (eco)
33.9 W 56.8 W
Power Draw in Watts (steady) N/A 1.0 W 0.8 W N/A N/A
Power Draw in Watts (heating) N/A N/A N/A 29.7 W 45.6 W
Voltage Use (cooling) 11.86 V 13.47 V 13.25 V 13.84 V 13.26 V
Amperage Use (cooling) 4.65 A 3.72 A 4.01 A 2.45 A 4.34 A
Hours to Cool (measured) >12 hrs 9.5 hrs 23 hrs 20.5 hrs 28.5 hrs
Maximum Temperature Achieved (F) N/A N/A N/A 136.0ºF 137.3ºF
Temperature Accuracy (diff btwn display and actual) N/A +/- 3.8ºF +/- 3.4ºF N/A N/A
Weight 16.2 lb 34 lb 30.0 lb 3.7 lb 8.4 lb
Claimed Capacity (volume) 37.9 L
40 quarts
51.1 L
54 quarts
45L
48 quarts
4 L
4.2 quarts
14 L
14.8 quarts
Measured Capacity (volume) 40.5 L
42.8 quarts
49.1 L
51.8 quarts
45L
48 quarts
4 L
4.2 quarts
14 L
14.8 quarts
Capacity (cans) 60 cans 72 cans 62 cans 6 cans 16 cans
Method of Cooling Thermoelectric 12V compressor 12V compressor Thermoelectric Thermoelectric
Advertised Achievable Temperature Range (F) 36ºF below ambient -4ºF to 50ºF -4ºF to 50ºF 40ºF below ambient to 149ºF 32ºF to 36ºF below ambient and up to 140ºF
Acceptable Ambient Temperature Range (F) Not specified 50ºF to 109ºF Not specified Not specified Not specified
Exterior Dimensions (D x W x H) 15" x 22" x 14.25" 21" x 27.5" x 14" 27.5" x 13.5" x 17.8" 10" x 7.25" x 10.5” 19" x 10.5" x 11.6"
Interior Dimensions (D x W x H) 11.6" x 17.4" x 12.25" 10.4" x 12.75"/6.4" x 17.25"/10.6" 10.25" x 14.5"/8" x 12.5"/6.25" 5.75" x 5.25" x 8" 12" x 8.5" x 6.6"
DC Cord Length (feet) 7' 10.5" 7' 9.75" 7' 10" 6' 3.5" 8' 11"
AC Cord Length (feet) 6' 10.5" (AC adapter only)
14' 2.5" (DC and AC adapter)
6' 4.25" (AC adapter only)
14' 7" (DC and AC adapter)
6' 8" 5' 8" (none included)
Comes With DC cord, extra fuse DC cord, DC to AC adapter and cord AC cord, DC cord AC cord, DC cord, USB cord (3' 1") DC cord, extra fuse
Features Cord management strap Eco power-saving function, internal light Internal light, removable baskets, C/F display Top handle, heating ability, USB power cord Cord storage, heating ability, cup holders

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Igloo Iceless 40 is a thermoelectric cooler with an advertised capacity of 40 quarts. It claims to cool up to 36°F below ambient temperature and comes with a spare fuse.

Performance Comparison


Thermoelectric models we tested, from left to right: Koolatron...
Thermoelectric models we tested, from left to right: Koolatron, Knox, Igloo.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Temperature Control


As Igloo claims, this thermoelectric model was able to reach 36º F below ambient temperature. However, most thermoelectric models reach 40º below ambient, so we aren't that impressed. And just as it states helpfully on a sticker on the lid, it won't really cool contents from room temperature — you need to pre-chill them before using the cooler. This is also the only thermoelectric cooler we tested that doesn't also have a heating function. A detail that we found odd, as thermoelectric coolers work by pumping hot air from one side to the other and so, therefore, are easy to reverse the direction that hot air is flowing. We're unsure as to why the Igloo lacks this feature.

Keep cans cool in the Igloo, but don't expect much more.
Keep cans cool in the Igloo, but don't expect much more.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Insulation


All thermoelectric coolers we tested showed about the same performance in insulatory capacity, and the Igloo came in right in the middle of the pack. However, this model is quite poorly made. The lid won't stay open for loading and unloading, and during our testing, the screw holding the connector between the body and lid of the cooler ripped out from the lid. We also found many user complaints online of other pieces of this cooler being unable to withstand the test of time.

Over the course of our testing, the screw holding this connecting...
Over the course of our testing, the screw holding this connecting piece to the lid pulled right out.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Energy Consumption


Though not as power-hungry as some of the competition, the Igloo is no small eater when it comes to electricity. It draws 55.1 Watts — more than half of that of the large compressor coolers we tested! It also has no battery protection settings, and can easily drain your car battery dry if you let it. The manual actually states that this unit can't be left plugged into a car that's not on for longer than 2 hours. This certainly won't get you through a hot summer night of car camping!

The Igloo isn't meant to be plugged into your car for more than two...
The Igloo isn't meant to be plugged into your car for more than two hours at a time while the car isn't running.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Ease of Use


While several other thermoelectric models we tested are designed to be able to hold ice like a regular cooler and extend the life of that ice, the Igloo can't have any ice or fluids inside it. That's a pretty big detriment for anyone hoping to achieve USDA food-safe temperatures if it's warmer than 76º F outside. That fairly major flaw notwithstanding, the Igloo does have a decently large capacity of 60 cans — and beers or sodas don't need to be 40º F. The Igloo is also one of the only coolers we tested that comes with a fuse replacement, which is handy.

A single removable shelf that can float on top or slide into...
A single removable shelf that can float on top or slide into multiple locations when the Igloo is used standing on end.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Portability


Compared to the behemoth compressor models in this review, the Igloo's measly 16.2 pounds is nothing. It is the heaviest of the thermoelectric models we tested, though they are more similar in weight vs. capacity than the compressor units. The handles of the Igloo retract into the overall shape of the chest, which is a pretty neat feature when you want to squeeze this little box into a tight space. It also has a long DC cord, at 7' 10.5" — though no AC cord is included.

The handles tuck down and out of the way when you're not using them...
The handles tuck down and out of the way when you're not using them, and slide up and out when you want to carry your Igloo.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Features


The Igloo is a pretty simple cooler, with not even a heat function. It has a small strap on the cord to keep it wound up and organized. It's a bit noisy to sit next to, but nothing compared to the hums of some others we tested.

The Igloo includes a small cord management strap on its cable and a...
The Igloo includes a small cord management strap on its cable and a replacement fuse attached there as well.
Photo: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


Igloo itself offers this model for a much higher price than we think its performance warrants. However, during the time we've been testing our unit, we've seen a wide range of prices from a ton of different retailers, so it's possible there's a deal out there that makes this unimpressive thermoelectric cooler worth it.

Load up on things you might otherwise skip with an unpowered ice...
Load up on things you might otherwise skip with an unpowered ice chest.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


The Igloo is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of product. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, in this case, it's far outshone by its competition. It lacks a heat function and isn't durable. However, it does a decent job of temperature control and has a fairly large capacity. If this simplicity does the trick for you, and you don't mind a few downfalls, you might be alright with this lackluster cooler from Igloo.

Keep the Igloo in your front seat during a road trip for handy...
Keep the Igloo in your front seat during a road trip for handy access to snacks and beverages.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Maggie Brandenburg

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