Cool box test - Tropicool TC14
Capacity: 14 litres
The TC14 has a capacity of 14 litres and is powered by mains, or 12V DC through your car's cigarette lighter. It also has the added advantage of being able to warm as well as cool, and has an adjustable thermostat. It can cool to 30°C below ambient temperature.
This feature-packed unit is able to warm as well as cool its contents. It's also compact and easy to store, with its external dimensions of 330 x 450 x 300mm (h x l x w). Its weight of 5.2kg won't be enough to trouble the osteopath, either. The adjustable thermostat makes the TC14 far more versatile than the other units we tested.
The price will be enough to discourage many, while the 14-litre capacity isn't going to make it any more attractive, either.
The TC14 was by far the best-performing unit in our test. After 1.5 hours of in-car cooling, the core temperature of our test sandwich was just 7.4°C – a shivering 19.6°C below the outside temperature of 27°C. With the power disconnected, the temperature increased to 13.4°C after an hour, before hitting 17.5°C 60 minutes later.
The casual picnicker might baulk at the price, but this unit is perfect for the serious outdoor adventurer. The TC14's superior cooling capabilities, along with it versatility and features, just about make up for the high purchase price and shortage of capacity.