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Alpicool CF45 Review

An inexpensive option that's tall and slender with good insulation but unimpressive minimum temperatures
alpicool cf45 powered cooler review
Credit: Alpicool
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Price:  $300 List | $319.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Good energy options, solid insulation, relatively lightweight, inexpensive
Cons:  Not great temperature control, baskets aren't great, internal shape is challenging
Manufacturer:   Alpicool
By Maggie Nichols  ⋅  Dec 16, 2021
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63
SCORE

RANK
#5
of 11
  • Temperature Control - 25% 5.0
  • Insulation - 25% 8.0
  • Energy Consumption - 20% 7.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 5.0
  • Portability - 10% 6.0
  • Features - 5% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Alpicool CF45 is immediately notable for its relatively low cost compared to other compressor model coolers. It saves money but it failed to come even close to its advertised lowest temperature. It offers an "Eco" mode to save energy consumption and has good insulatory properties if you need to unplug. Its basket has very wide wires that easily let items slide through and the bottom of the cooler has unnecessary circle cutouts that detract from your stacking ability more than they add to the unit's capacity. It's not our favorite of the bunch but it still has plenty to offer for much less than most of the competition.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Bottom Line An inexpensive option that's tall and slender with good insulation but unimpressive minimum temperaturesIf you're on a tighter budget but still want mid-level performance, we recommend this modelQuiet 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 Alpicool CF45 Costway 54 Cooluli Mini Fridge Wagan 12V 14 Liter...
Temperature Control (25%)
5.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
Insulation (25%)
8.0
5.0
2.0
2.0
Energy Consumption (20%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
4.0
Ease of Use (15%)
5.0
5.0
5.0
4.0
Portability (10%)
6.0
6.0
8.0
9.0
Features (5%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Alpicool CF45 Costway 54 Cooluli Mini Fridge Wagan 12V 14 Liter...
Minimum Temperature Achieved (F) 6.4ºF -8.9ºF 32.4ºF below ambient 36.45ºF below ambient
Temperature Increase in 36 Hours Unplugged (F) 14.9ºF 27.9ºF 26.6ºF 30.6ºF
Power Draw in Watts (cooling) 52.9 W
38.6 W (eco)
50.0 W
38.9 W (eco)
33.9 W 56.8 W
Power Draw in Watts (steady) 0.8 W 1.0 W N/A N/A
Power Draw in Watts (heating) N/A N/A 29.7 W 45.6 W
Voltage Use (cooling) 13.25 V 13.47 V 13.84 V 13.26 V
Amperage Use (cooling) 4.01 A 3.72 A 2.45 A 4.34 A
Hours to Cool (measured) 23 hrs 9.5 hrs 20.5 hrs 28.5 hrs
Maximum Temperature Achieved (F) N/A N/A 136.0ºF 137.3ºF
Temperature Accuracy (diff btwn display and actual) +/- 3.4ºF +/- 3.8ºF N/A N/A
Weight 30.0 lb 34 lb 3.7 lb 8.4 lb
Claimed Capacity (volume) 45L
48 quarts
51.1 L
54 quarts
4 L
4.2 quarts
14 L
14.8 quarts
Measured Capacity (volume) 45L
48 quarts
49.1 L
51.8 quarts
4 L
4.2 quarts
14 L
14.8 quarts
Capacity (cans) 62 cans 72 cans 6 cans 16 cans
Method of Cooling 12V compressor 12V compressor Thermoelectric Thermoelectric
Advertised Achievable Temperature Range (F) -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
Exterior Dimensions (D x W x H) 27.5" x 13.5" x 17.8" 21" x 27.5" x 14" 10" x 7.25" x 10.5” 19" x 10.5" x 11.6"
Interior Dimensions (D x W x H) 10.25" x 14.5"/8" x 12.5"/6.25" 10.4" x 12.75"/6.4" x 17.25"/10.6" 5.75" x 5.25" x 8" 12" x 8.5" x 6.6"
DC Cord Length (feet) 7' 10" 7' 9.75" 6' 3.5" 8' 11"
AC Cord Length (feet) 6' 8" 6' 4.25" (AC adapter only)
14' 7" (DC and AC adapter)
5' 8" (none included)
Comes With AC cord, DC cord DC cord, DC to AC adapter and cord AC cord, DC cord, USB cord (3' 1") DC cord, extra fuse
Features Internal light, removable baskets, C/F display Eco power-saving function, internal light Top handle, heating ability, USB power cord Cord storage, heating ability, cup holders

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Alpicool CF45 is a compressor model with a claimed capacity of 45L. Its advertised temperature range is -4°F to 50°F (though we found this to be inaccurate) and it comes with both AC and DC power cords and a removable basket.

Performance Comparison


alpicool cf45 powered cooler review - there's plenty to like about this budget-friendly unit.
There's plenty to like about this budget-friendly unit.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Temperature Control


Unfortunately, when it comes to reliable temperature control, the Alpicool isn't particularly impressive and is the worst of all the compressor models we tested. It took nearly an entire day to reach refrigeration temperatures, and even then it stopped and maintained temperatures a full 3°F warmer than we'd programmed it to. It's advertised to reach -4°F, but even completely empty in a room temperature space, it failed to get lower than 6.4°F. We don't have much faith that this unit can keep things frozen when it's truly hot outside — and in fact, we read numerous other testimonials saying exactly that. The fact that the one thing this powered cooler is meant to do for sure isn't something we feel particularly confident we can trust it to do on a summer backcountry adventure, isn't exactly a ringing endorsement.

alpicool cf45 powered cooler review - though it doesn't have an impressive minimum temperature, it's still...
Though it doesn't have an impressive minimum temperature, it's still plenty cold enough for eggs and other things we'd usually leave at home.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Insulation


Despite its less than stellar temperature control performance, when it comes to insulation, the Alpicool actually performs above average among its competitors. Sitting at room temperature for 36 hours, it gained just 14.9°F. This may also be helped by its particularly tall, narrow shape and lower overall surface area, giving it less space from which to take on heat. We also consider the durability of construction materials in this metric as a portion of each model's overall score. Though we couldn't find any specifics about what the Alpicool is made of, it's all plastic. Every visible piece is some sort of plastic (with the exception of the narrow rubber seal underneath the lid), but a plastic that, compared to other similar models, feels less sturdy and less durable. The latch and hinges in particular are a bit clunky and thin, not inspiring a ton of confidence in its ability to withstand years of hard use.

alpicool cf45 powered cooler review - the alpicool has good insulation with a thin rubber gasket to keep...
The Alpicool has good insulation with a thin rubber gasket to keep cold in longer.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Energy Consumption


Running at its maximum energy use, the Alpicool draws around 52.9 Watts of power while cooling and 0.8 Watts in a steady state. It also has a second mode — "Eco" mode — that draws just 38.6 Watts during cooling. This puts it on par for energy usage with many others we tested: on the lower end of average in "Max" mode and the higher end of average in "Eco" mode. It also has the fairly standard three modes of battery protection, helping to conserve your battery rather than drain it completely. All in all, though, when we consider that this model uses an average amount of energy to not get as cold as the competition, it begins to seem less impressive.

alpicool cf45 powered cooler review - the alpicool (right) next to the dometic cfx3 (left). both draw...
The Alpicool (right) next to the Dometic CFX3 (left). Both draw around the same amount of power, but the Alpicool also has an "Eco" mode that cuts down on energy usage.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Ease of Use


While we were initially excited about the removable internal basket, it proved to be less than helpful. Its wires are so far apart that stacking cans inside allows them to topple over and become a mess as you move the basket to the cooler. The back portion of the cooler isn't any colder, yet is separated from the rest of the internal space. The light is also located back there, meaning that it shines forward (into your face) when you open the lid and is also blocked by the solid wall separating the posterior compartment. In the main compartment, two circular indents in the bottom of the cooler initially seem like they might be a great addition for fitting taller bottles, such as 2L of soda or wine. However, they end up doing nothing — the cooler is already more than tall enough inside to accommodate such items and if you're instead trying to stack a bunch of cans inside, those indents make it awkward to keep them standing as you go along. When it comes to noise, the Alplicool is about average while running, but after its cooling cycle ends, it continues to make gurgling and whooshing noises for some time.

alpicool cf45 powered cooler review - this unit isn't wide enough to fit a dozen eggs going the other...
This unit isn't wide enough to fit a dozen eggs going the other direction and its internal light faces forward, into your face.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Portability


This 45L cooler is a fairly small, compact overall package, making it easier for one person to pick up. It's also one of the lightest compressor models we tested, weighing just 30 pounds. A longer DC cord gives you 7 feet and 10 inches of space to place your unit in your vehicle, while an AC cord (which plugs into the same space as the DC cord) offers 6 feet 8 inches.

Features


Beyond the removable basket, the Alpicool has a few features worth noting. The bright display screen shows lots of information, including some battery-monitoring information that we appreciate. On top of the lid, four indented circles give you spaces for setting your drink(s) while using it as a table. It's also advertised to be able to run at angles up to 45 degrees for short periods of time.

alpicool cf45 powered cooler review - permanently affixed handles and lighter overall weight help the...
Permanently affixed handles and lighter overall weight help the Alpicool be a little less painful to carry.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Value


With one of the lowest price tags of any compressor model we tested, this cooler is attention-worthy. If you need to rely on serious cooling powers in seriously hot situations, we're not ready to fully trust this cooler, with its very lackluster temperature control. But if you want an option for infrequent use and only need fridge temps (not freezer), it's a pretty decent choice.

Conclusion


The Alpicool stands out mostly for its low price tag. We don't love its temperature control and find some of its usability "features" to be more of a nuisance than a help. But it still does a decent job for casual use, weighs less than most others, and just might be the right fit for your lowkey use and modest budget.

alpicool cf45 powered cooler review - four indents on the lid provide flat areas for your beverages when...
Four indents on the lid provide flat areas for your beverages when the cooler is closed.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Nichols

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