Cool box test - Halfords Electric Cool box
Capacity: 14 litres
The Halfords Electric Cool box has a capacity of 14 litres – enough to hold 16 standard 330ml drink cans – and uses a twin-fan cooling unit that's powered by a 12V DC cigarette lighter. A mains adapter is available as a separate item if you want to pre-cool the box at home.
The budget price makes this box attractive – just £10 more than comparable unpowered units – while its slim design means it fits snuggly behind car seats.
A capacity of 14 litres won't feed an army, and the tall upright design can make it prone to toppling over if not stowed securely. The lack of a mains adapter as standard is also a letdown.
With the unit's two fans running for 1.5 hours, the core temperature of the test food was 14.6°C, which was 12.4°C below the external temperature. With the fans idle, the temperature rose to 19.8°C after an hour, before hitting 21.9°C 60 minutes later.
As an entry-level route into powered cool boxes, this unit is one of the best. It's just a shame its performance wasn't enhanced by the option of a standard mains adapter to allow it to be precooled.