Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer [Extensive Review]

Koolatron P65 Kargo 12v Portable Cooler

While our aim is to give you most of the information you would like to have about the Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer, we will start with a brief history of Koolatron and what the brand currently represents.

Since 1983, Koolatron has been producing innovative products and although it started as a manufacturer of travel coolers, it has grown way beyond that. Koolatron now boasts a wide range of RV refrigerators, wine cellars, compact fridges, freezers, and even rain barrels and garden products, just to name a few.

Now over 30 years after, Koolatron is a world leader for thermoelectric and refrigeration products and is known the world over for its Canadian 12 V coolers/ warmers and accessories. You may probably be thinking at this point that the name Koolatron is not very popular or that you don’t hear it so often but if you think back to the last Coca- Cola fridge or travel cooler you saw you would realize that Koolatron coolers are more popular than you think. Koolatron has partnered with some global brands, including Michelin, Coca-Cola, Coors Molson, and Corona among others.

With online stores and retailers all over North America and even in the UK coupled with amazing customer service we are quite certain the Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer as well as other products from this brand will be perfect for you.


Who Needs the Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer?

The Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer is a very portable and lightweight cooler/ heater which is perfect for most people. It will definitely come in handy when you need to take food for a picnic. Or if you have to get drinks for a small party with some friends.

It is portable and can be used as a chest or upright as a mini-refrigerator.  This unit is great for travel as it cools your food during the day in your vehicle and can easily be moved to your motel/ hotel room at night. With its AC adaptor, you can plug it in your home/ motel for continuous cooling through the night.

It is especially great for people that travel a lot and it can be used on most vehicles including RVs, campers, trucks, cars, and even boats. Its generous storage capacity, as well as its adjustable shelves, give a variety of perishable goods of different sizes.

There is also the option for custom thermoelectric coolers specifically designed for various uses. Some of which include, transportation of medical specimens and vaccines. They are also applicable in heavy farm equipment and in refrigerating special tobacco products for retail.

Koolatron P65 Kargo 12v Portable Cooler


Click here to get it on Amazon




Features of the Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer

Versatile and Unique Design

The Koolatron portable cooler has a simple and unique portable design and can stand both vertically and horizontally. This allows it to be used either as a mini-refrigerator or as a chest. It is well insulated for both heating and cooling which is great news for you as it means that if you have to turn it off for whatever reason it will keep your goods cool for several hours.

It has dual shelves that are designed to fit in multiple positions and work well with its different orientations. Depending on if you’re using it as a fridge or a chest you can adjust the shelves to suit your needs.

Another great feature of the Koolatron 12V Kargo Cooler/Warmer is its split lid design which promotes energy conservation and accessibility.


Large Capacity

One of the reasons we love this Koolatron portable cooler is that it provides vast storage space.  At the same time, the unit is lightweight and very portable, so much that it seems almost too good to be true.

Measuring approximately 20by 14by 16 inches, this 31litre (33quart) heating/ cooling unit is able to hold up to 42 12- ounce soft drinks. Which would be especially useful for road trips or even picnics and mini parties. It also has adjustable shelves that allow one to optimize the storage capacity as best as possible.

Dual Function

In addition to cooling food, this unit also functions as a heater and heats food up to approximately 135F(57C). This Koolatron cooler can be operated in the cooling mode by reversing the polarity of the power supplied to the cooler i.e. by gently pulling out the cord from the cooler, reversing the 2-pin plug and pushing it back in. While we agree with a lot of people who feel it would have been better if there was a switch instead, you will find that it’s not so hard to do. Once you get the hang of it you would probably even be able to do it with your eyes closed.

However, for safe food handling, it is advisable not to leave food in the warmer for very long. If you have to carry hot food around it would be best if it doesn’t stay in the heater for more than 45 minutes. That amount of time is in line with food handling guidelines. Also, heating the cooler for long periods of time could cause the cooler to bulge.

Koolatron P65 Kargo 12v Portable Cooler

Click here to get it on Amazon





Efficient Cooling

This unit, as well as others in the Koolatron travel cooler line, employs thermoelectric technology using the latest Peltier devices. Being a thermoelectric model, the Koolatron portable cargo cooler’s cooling is very much dependent on the temperature of the surroundings. This unit is, however, able to cool food and drink up to impressive temperatures. It cools to 40◦F, (which is about 20◦C) below the ambient temperature.

To get the best out of your cooler, it helps to pre-cool the unit and even the items (food and drink) you would like to place in the cooler. Though your cooler will still be able to cool warmer foods, it will take quite a long time for it to do so. It also helps if your cooler is almost full as opposed to it being empty. It is easier for your cooler like refrigerators, in general, to circulate the cool air when it’s about two thirds full.



Another one of the benefits of this model being a thermoelectric cooler is that it doesn’t contain any CFCs or polluting coolants that are harmful to both you and your environment. If you are someone who is conscious of your environment and health, you would be just as thrilled as we are to find that this cooler is environment-friendly.

In addition to being energy efficient, this cooler is durable and almost wear-free. It also doesn’t contain any moving parts apart from the fan.

Koolatron P65 Kargo 12v Portable Cooler


Click here to get it on Amazon


Pros of the Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer

i. Split lid design promotes energy conservation and accessibility

ii. Can stand vertically or horizontally for use as a chest or a fridge

iii. It has a Cooler/ Heater Dual function

iv. It has Generous capacity

v. Removable shelves provide flexible storage

vi. It is environment-friendly

vii. It is energy efficient

Koolatron P65 Kargo 12v Portable Cooler

Click here to get it on Amazon


Cons of the Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer

i. Sadly, it doesn’t come with a household adapter and that will have to be purchased separately.

ii. It doesn’t have a thermostat.


Check out these other in-depth articles/reviews…

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Costway 3.2-Cubic Foot Compact Refrigerator (Double Door) — Extensive Review

Dometic 70-liter 12V Cooler with Freezer [In-depth Review]

Besworlds 4-Liter Mini Fridge — Extensive Review

Arctic King 5.0-Cubic Foot Chest Freezer — Detailed Review

Magic Chef 3.2-Cubic Foot Compact Refrigerator [In-depth Review]


Alternatives to the Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer

More Affordable Option

Wagan 24-Liter 12V Cooler/ Warmer

While we all love the Koolatron portable cooler and feel it’s the perfect size we are also aware that it can get quite heavy when full. Considering that it has to be carried with both hands because of the placement of the handles it may not be so convenient. In light of this, we suggest a more affordable cooler which also functions as a warmer or cooler but has a heavy-duty handle that goes across the cooler and makes for easy handling.

Being a thermoelectric cooler, The Wagan EL6224 cooler is able to heat up to 140 °F and cool up to 32°F (20°C) below ambient temperature and has two temperature settings. It has a 24-liter capacity which is admittedly less than that of the Koolatron cooler reviewed but is still large enough to hold as many as 27 cans and will still be just as useful.

Wagan 12V Cooler/Warmer - 24L Capacity (6224)

Click here to get it on Amazon




Larger Capacity 

Knox 48-Quart 12V Cooler/ Warmer with Wheel

This cooler has a dual function handle and wheels for rolling it on the ground and double handles for convenient carrying. It also has a removable divider included which makes two compartments and allows you to organize food and drinks in it easily.

Its 48-quart storage capacity may seem quite large but we believe it is the perfect size for large families and long trips. We are quite thrilled that it keeps food and drink at 40F regardless of the temperature of the surroundings.

You can also read our detailed review of this product here.

Knox Electric Cooler and Warmer for Car and Home with Wheels - 48 Quart (45 Liter) Holds 60 Cans or 6 Two Liter Bottles and 15 Cans - Dual 110V AC House and 12V DC Vehicle Plugs

Click here to get it on Amazon





More High-End Option

Dometic Tropicool 33-Liter 12V Cooler/ Warmer 

This Dometic Tropicool thermoelectric 12V cooler has a seven-stage temperature regulation for both cooling and heating which is perfect for those who were disappointed at the lack of a thermostat or a temperature regulator in the Koolatron portable cooler.

This cooler is quite high-tech like most coolers in the Dometic line are and it has some really cool features like an intelligent power-saver circuit, a detachable lid with a magnetic lock, and even a memory function. In addition to keeping drinks cold and food warm, this Dometic portable cooler has an energy class rating A ++ and will work even in tilted positions e.g. in a boat.

This cooler however is almost double the price of the Koolatron cooler but with all its great features and superb performance, it is definitely worth every last cent of your money.

 Dometic Tropicool 33-Liter 12V Cooler/ Warmer



Quick comparison

  Featured Product More affordable Larger Capacity More High-End
Product Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer

Koolatron P65 Kargo 12v Portable Cooler

Click here to get it on Amazon!


 Wagan 24-Liter 12V Cooler/ Warmer

Wagan 12V Cooler/Warmer - 24L Capacity (6224)

Click here to get it on Amazon!

Knox 48 Quart 12V Cooler/ Warmer with Wheels

Knox Electric Cooler and Warmer for Car and Home with Wheels - 48 Quart (45 Liter) Holds 60 Cans or 6 Two Liter Bottles and 15 Cans - Dual 110V AC House and 12V DC Vehicle Plugs

Click here to get it on Amazon!


Dometic Tropicool 33- Liter 12V Cooler/ Warmer

 Dometic Tropicool 33-Liter 12V Cooler/ Warmer


Capacity 42 cans/ 31-Liter 27cans/ 24-Liter 60 cans/ 45-Liter 33-Liter
Dimensions 20 inches  x 14 inches  x 16 inches 11 inches x 8 inches x 12 inches 22inches  x 15 inches  x 15 inches 22.4 inches  x 20.3 inches  x 15.3 inches
 Features Double handles Heavy-duty single handle Dual function handles and Wheels Magnetic lock and Seven stage temperature regulator
Available Sizes 31-Liter 24-Liter 45-Liter 14-Liter, 20-Liter, 33-Liter
Available Colors White Blue Blue Grey, Green

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

What Users are Saying About The Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer

A lot of customers were thrilled with the size of this cooler with quite a number of them saying that it is just the right size. This is definitely because it affords a lot of space for drinks, snacks, and can even fit wine bottles. The split top allows you to open either half or all of the top, minimizing temperature changes thus conserving energy. This cooler in line with its claims does a very good job of keeping food and drink cool for long periods of time. This was the general review from almost everyone that used the product.

We were pleased to hear from those who had purchased this product previously that this product lasts for a very long time. Although the power supply doesn’t last as long and may need to be replaced after a while. The power supply pack also tends to heat up and while this wasn’t a problem for everyone, some users had this complaint.

Another drawback of this cooler is that when it is turned off, there’s a lot of condensation on the lid. This could cause dripping water when you open the cooler. The condensation could also make foods like sandwiches soggy if they’re not properly covered. This may not be a problem if you run this unit constantly but for those who have to turn it off and on again and again, then this brilliant hack suggested by a customer would greatly interest you. Keeping a dishtowel inside it will prevent water from getting all over your food.

While there are a lot of benefits of this unit as both a heater and a cooler, the fact that it doesn’t have a switch means accidents can occur. One can mistakenly connect it in heating mode whereas the intention was to leave it in the cooling mode.

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Magic Chef Refrigerator Freezing Everything [Solution]

How to Remove Glass from Samsung Fridge [Quick Guide]

Dometic Fridge Freezing Everything [How To Fix]

Neff Refrigerator Dispenser Problems [Solved]

Indesit Refrigerator Dispenser Problems [Solutions]



Our Verdict

There’s everything to love about this Koolatron portable cooler as it is versatile and lightweight which makes it perfect for almost anyone. Whether you are a truck driver who is always on the road, or a picnic lover, or even a frequent camper. Its generous capacity and efficient cooling surpassed our expectations in so many ways.

Its unique design allows it to stand as a fridge or as a chest if you would want. If you are going to run it constantly in your room or office, you might have to defrost it occasionally. We do wish it came with a household adapter but sadly it doesn’t. That’s too bad though because the adapter is definitely an additional and rather worthwhile purchase.

This unit is not as quiet as some other thermoelectric units. The noise is however bearable and almost unnoticeable with your car engine on. It also doesn’t have a thermostat and the temperature cannot be adjusted.

With all the evidence we’ve been able to gather, our conclusion is that for its size, durability, and effectiveness, this cooler is definitely worth your money.

Koolatron P65 Kargo 12v Portable Cooler


Click here to get it on Amazon



Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer — Related FAQs

Can the Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer be Connected for Days?

Yes, the Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer can be left connected for days and even months like a regular refrigerator. However, ensure that the vents on this 12V cooler are not covered or blocked so that the cooler can work efficiently.

Meanwhile, because this 12V cooler has a low humming sound when it is on, you may want to consider placing it somewhere else apart from your bedroom. You definitely don’t want any distractions when you sleep.

Also, note that irrespective of how long you keep it connected, the Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer is designed to keep your items cool. It won’t freeze anything.

Does the Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer Come With an AC Adapter?

No, the Koolatron 33-Quart Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer does not come with an AC adapter. It only comes with a DC Adapter to plug it to the cigarette lighter in your car or truck or any other DC power source.

So, if you think you will need to plug this Koolatron 33-Quart Cooler/Warmer into an AC socket, then you will need to buy a suitable AC adapter separately.

Koolatron Multi-Purpose Adapter 110AC to 12 Volts DC ( Model AC-16)

Click here to get this Koolatron Multipurpose 110V AC Adapter on Amazon


Does the Koolatron P65 Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer Have a Built-in Battery to Continue to Run When the Car is Off?

No, the Koolatron P65 does not have a built-in battery. So, it will keep drawing power from the car battery until you unplug it from the DC port or the car is turned off.

This means that items in the cooler will only keep cold for a short period until you plug it into a power source. You can place ice packs in the cooler to keep the items in the Koolatron cooler cold after unplugging it. That way, items will remain cold for up to 8 hours after unplugging the cooler from the car battery.

Cooler Shock 3X Lg. Zero°F Cooler Freeze Packs 10"x14

Click here to get this Long-lasting Ice Packs on Amazon

Can the Koolatron P65 Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer Run for a Long Time Without Killing my Battery?

How long your Koolatron P65 Kargo 12V Cooler/Warmer will run without killing your battery depends on how long the cooler stays connected to your battery.

For instance, if you plug it into your car or truck all-day while driving and unplug it all-night this cooler is not likely to drain your battery. But if you leave it plugged in all-night when the car or truck is not running, then it may drain the battery.

So, to avoid draining your vehicle’s battery ensure that the Koolatron P65 Kargo Cooler is only plugged in for not more than 8 hours in a parked vehicle.

Can You Set the Temperature on the Koolatron P65 Kargo Cooler?

No, you cannot set the temperature on the Koolatron P65 Kargo Cooler because it does not have a thermostat or any other form of temperature regulator.

However, the cooling temperature in this cooler depends on the surrounding temperature. So, it is designed to cool down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit below the ambient temperature.

You may also want to include ice packs in the cooler or at least ensure that the items that you put in the cooler are already cold before placing them in the cooler. This will increase the performance of the cooler and keep items cold for longer after unplugging the cooler.