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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 | $147.80 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  ⋅  Mar 14, 2019
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42
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 9
  • Temperature Control - 25% 4
  • Insulation - 25% 3
  • Energy Consumption - 20% 5
  • Ease of Use - 15% 3
  • Portability - 10% 8
  • 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 Top Pick Award   
Price $147.80 at Amazon$349.99 at Amazon$177.65 at Amazon$150 List$49.99 at Amazon
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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 cordLargest temperature range, good insulation, lightweight, few moving parts, can be used as a chest or standing upEasy to use, has wheels, cool cord storage, energy efficient, relatively inexpensiveSuper portable, very quiet, can be cold or hot, pretty low energy usage
Cons No heat function, not durable, lid strap detached during testingNot durable, takes a long time to cool, insulation not great, fairly loudNo AC cord included, not the most durable, energy hogShort cords, doesn’t reach very cold/hot temperatures, still need to use iceCan't control temperature, not the best seal, USB can't be used in computer, plastic hinges, unknown longevity
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 modelImpressive temperature range in a lightweight, no-frills thermoelectric coolerHandy to use, but it doesn’t eliminate your dependency on iceQuiet and tiny, this is a decent personal cooler, though with several limitations
Rating Categories Igloo Iceless 40 Costway 54 Koolatron Portable 45 Knox Gear 48 Quart Cooluli Mini Fridge
Temperature Control (25%)
4.0
8.0
7.0
4.0
5.0
Insulation (25%)
3.0
5.0
4.0
3.0
2.0
Energy Consumption (20%)
5.0
8.0
4.0
6.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
3.0
5.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
Portability (10%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
Features (5%)
3.0
6.0
4.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Igloo Iceless 40 Costway 54 Koolatron Portable 45 Knox Gear 48 Quart Cooluli Mini Fridge
Minimum Temperature Achieved (F) 51.4ºF with contents
28.2ºF empty
-8.9ºF 52.7ºF with contents
26.8ºF empty
52.7ºF with contents
37.8ºF empty
42.8ºF with contents
Temperature Increase in 36 Hours Unplugged (F) 10.8ºF 27.9ºF 9.9ºF 11.5ºF 26.6ºF
Power Draw in Watts (cooling) 55.1 W 50.0 W
38.9 W (eco)
62.3 W 46.1 W 33.9 W
Power Draw in Watts (steady) N/A 1.0 W N/A N/A N/A
Power Draw in Watts (heating) N/A N/A 48.1 W 39.0 W 29.7 W
Voltage Use (cooling) 11.86 V 13.47 V 13.29 V 11.90 V 13.84 V
Amperage Use (cooling) 4.65 A 3.72 A 4.69 A 3.88 A 2.45 A
Minutes to Cool (according to display) N/A 80 min N/A N/A N/A
Hours to Cool (measured) >12 hrs 9.5 hrs >12 hrs >12 hrs 20.5 hrs
Maximum Temperature Achieved (F) N/A N/A 130.8ºF 103.1ºF 136.0ºF
Temperature Accuracy (diff btwn display and actual) N/A +/- 3.8ºF N/A N/A N/A
Weight 16.2 lb 34 lb 14.2 lb 14.4 lb 3.7 lb
Claimed Capacity (volume) 37.9 L
40 quarts
51.1 L
54 quarts
43 L
45 quarts
45.4 L
48 quarts
4 L
4.2 quarts
Measured Capacity (volume) 40.5 L
42.8 quarts
49.1 L
51.8 quarts
45.1 L
47.7 quarts
41.9 L
44.3 quarts
4 L
4.2 quarts
Capacity (cans) 60 cans 72 cans 63 cans 57 cans 6 cans
Method of Cooling Thermoelectric 12V compressor Thermoelectric Thermoelectric Thermoelectric
Advertised Achievable Temperature Range (F) 36ºF below ambient -4ºF to 50ºF 40ºF below ambient and up to 135ºF 40ºF to 130ºF 40ºF below ambient to 149ºF
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" 16" x 21" x 17.25" 15" x 22" x 16" 10" x 7.25" x 10.5”
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" 12.25" x 15.5" x 14.5" 12" x 17.75" x 12" 5.75" x 5.25" x 8"
DC Cord Length (feet) 7' 10.5" 7' 9.75" 8' 10" 4' 10" 6' 3.5"
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' 11" (AC adapter only)
15' 11" (DC and AC adapter)
3' 11" 5' 8"
Comes With DC cord, extra fuse DC cord, DC to AC adapter and cord DC cord AC cord, DC cord (both permanently attached inside lid) AC cord, DC cord, USB cord (3' 1")
Features Cord management strap Eco power-saving function, internal light Heating ability Cord storage, drain/plug, wheels and pull handle, heating ability Top handle, heating ability, USB power cord

Our Analysis and Test Results

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 the 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 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 the only cooler we tested that actually includes 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 lb 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. At the time of writing, Igloo includes a one-year warranty on this item, which is a helpful touch for a fairly pricey food storage system. It also has a small strap on the cord to keep it wound up and organized. It is 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