Knox Gear 48 Quart Review
Cons: Short cords, doesn’t reach very cold/hot temperatures, still need to use ice
Manufacturer: Knox Gear
Compare to Similar Products
Knox Gear 48 Quart
|Price||$190 List||$464 List|
$299.99 at Amazon
$219.99 at Amazon
$49.99 at Amazon
$99.95 at Amazon
|Pros||Easy to use, has wheels, cool cord storage, energy efficient, relatively inexpensive||Very energy efficient, relatively inexpensive, impressive minimum temperature, surprisingly lightweight, long cord||Largest temperature range, good insulation, lightweight, few moving parts, can be used as a chest or standing up||Super portable, very quiet, can be cold or hot, pretty low energy usage||Decent temperature control, easily portable, ergonomic shape, convenient size|
|Cons||Short cords, doesn’t reach very cold/hot temperatures, still need to use ice||Not durable, takes a long time to cool, insulation not great, fairly loud||No AC cord included, not the most durable, energy hog||Can't control temperature, not the best seal, USB can't be used in computer, plastic hinges, unknown longevity||Small interior, not great insulation, oddly shaped inside|
|Bottom Line||Handy to use, but it doesn’t eliminate your dependency on ice||If you're on a tighter budget but still want mid-level performance, we recommend this model||An impressive temperature range from this lightweight, no-frills thermoelectric cooler (and heater)||Quiet and tiny, this is a decent personal cooler, though with several limitations||A small cooler that heats and cools, with a handy shape to be an armrest and convenient strap to tote it around|
|Rating Categories||Knox Gear 48 Quart||Costway 54||Koolatron Portable 45||Cooluli Mini Fridge||Wagan 12V 14 Liter...|
|Temperature Control (25%)|
|Energy Consumption (20%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Knox Gear 48 Quart||Costway 54||Koolatron Portable 45||Cooluli Mini Fridge||Wagan 12V 14 Liter...|
|Minimum Temperature Achieved (F)||27.2ºF below ambient||-8.9ºF||38.2ºF below ambient||32.4ºF below ambient||36.45ºF below ambient|
|Temperature Increase in 36 Hours Unplugged (F)||11.5ºF||27.9ºF||9.9ºF||26.6ºF||30.6ºF|
|Power Draw in Watts (cooling)||46.1 W||50.0 W
38.9 W (eco)
|62.3 W||33.9 W||56.8 W|
|Power Draw in Watts (steady)||N/A||1.0 W||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Power Draw in Watts (heating)||39.0 W||N/A||48.1 W||29.7 W||45.6 W|
|Voltage Use (cooling)||11.90 V||13.47 V||13.29 V||13.84 V||13.26 V|
|Amperage Use (cooling)||3.88 A||3.72 A||4.69 A||2.45 A||4.34 A|
|Hours to Cool (measured)||>12 hrs||9.5 hrs||>12 hrs||20.5 hrs||28.5 hrs|
|Maximum Temperature Achieved (F)||103.1ºF||N/A||130.8ºF||136.0ºF||137.3ºF|
|Temperature Accuracy (diff btwn display and actual)||N/A||+/- 3.8ºF||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Weight||14.4 lb||34 lb||14.2 lb||3.7 lb||8.4 lb|
|Claimed Capacity (volume)||45.4 L
|Measured Capacity (volume)||41.9 L
|Capacity (cans)||57 cans||72 cans||63 cans||6 cans||16 cans|
|Method of Cooling||Thermoelectric||12V compressor||Thermoelectric||Thermoelectric||Thermoelectric|
|Advertised Achievable Temperature Range (F)||40ºF to 130ºF||-4ºF to 50ºF||40ºF below ambient and up to 135ºF||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||Not specified|
|Exterior Dimensions (D x W x H)||15" x 22" x 16"||21" x 27.5" x 14"||16" x 21" x 17.25"||10" x 7.25" x 10.5”||19" x 10.5" x 11.6"|
|Interior Dimensions (D x W x H)||12" x 17.75" x 12"||10.4" x 12.75"/6.4" x 17.25"/10.6"||12.25" x 15.5" x 14.5"||5.75" x 5.25" x 8"||12" x 8.5" x 6.6"|
|DC Cord Length (feet)||4' 10"||7' 9.75"||8' 10"||6' 3.5"||8' 11"|
|AC Cord Length (feet)||3' 11"||6' 4.25" (AC adapter only)
14' 7" (DC and AC adapter)
|6' 11" (AC adapter only)
15' 11" (DC and AC adapter)
|5' 8"||(none included)|
|Comes With||AC cord, DC cord (both permanently attached inside lid)||DC cord, DC to AC adapter and cord||DC cord||AC cord, DC cord, USB cord (3' 1")||DC cord, extra fuse|
|Features||Cord storage, drain/plug, wheels and pull handle, heating ability||Eco power-saving function, internal light||Heating ability||Top handle, heating ability, USB power cord||Cord storage, heating ability, cup holders|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Running without ice, as it's designed to run, the Knox doesn't do an amazing job at cooling its contents. During our testing, it only reached about 25º F below ambient. It also didn't reach as high of a temperature as the other thermoelectric coolers we tested did, topping out at about 103º. However, the Knox monitors its own heat, turning off at certain times to avoid internal damage, whereas some others have to be manually unplugged every 45 minutes instead.
The thermoelectric models in our lineup performed similarly in our insulation testing, though the Knox didn't wow us even among a group of low-performing contenders. However, we think this unit feels like one of the best-built models we tested — much more sturdy all around. The wheels and handles feel decent, and the lid is thick, with a secure-feeling closure. Even the little fan components on top seem pretty solid.
The Knox is one of the most energy-efficient coolers we tested. It draws just 46.1 Watts of power while cooling, which is quite a bit less than the monstrous 62.3 Watts the Koolatron takes (which is more than half the compressor coolers!) It runs off even less power in heat mode, drawing just 39.0 Watts. If you plan to run this in your car, we think this is an important feature.
Ease of Use
Firstly, this is one of the few thermoelectric coolers we tested to come with both DC and AC cords, and secondly, they're both attached helpfully inside the lid. This serves as both a storage area and an organizational feature. It also has a drain in the bottom — important for being able to augment with ice. The capacity of the Knox is significantly smaller than advertised. When it comes to internal organization, the Knox has a single small divider that can fit in just one of two places. Nothing fancy.
Ding ding ding! We have a winner here, as the only cooler we tested with wheels! Wheels and a long handle to pull it with are excellent features of the Knox. And to boot, it's one of the lightest coolers we tested (especially for its capacity), at just 14.4 lb. While we love that this cooler comes with both AC and DC cords, unfortunately, both these cords are extremely short, at 4' 10" and 3' 11" respectively. But really, we enjoy the freedom that comes with those wheels.
Though not as fancy as some of the compressor models, the Knox has a few features that make it a very user-friendly cooler. The heating feature helps keep take-out warm all the way home. The drain in the bottom is clutch for using it with ice, and the cord storage and handy cool/heat switch hidden in the lid are a nice touch. It is a bit noisy to run, though not the noisiest we tested by far.
The Knox is actually among the least expensive coolers we reviewed. Though you'll still need to purchase ice to properly use this cooler, its cooling properties will help to extend the life of that ice and still save money over time. We think that if this cooler is the right fit for your life, then it's a pretty good deal.
Though it doesn't win any awards this time around, the Knox is a solidly usable powered cooler that adds just a little bit extra to your cooler game. Its cord storage is super handy, the wheels are fantastic, and the price just might be right. If you're okay with still using some ice, but are ready to take it up a notch, the Knox is calling your name.
— Maggie Nichols
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