Igloo Iceless 40 Review
Cons: No heat function, not durable, lid strap detached during testing
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Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
— Maggie Brandenburg