ICECO JP42 Electric Cooler
The ICECO JP42 Electric Cooler is a great product. It's very well-built and will hold up well to daily use. It's not weatherproof so that makes its application among casual users more difficult. The cooler also has a hefty pricetag. That said, the unit functions very well and can cool down room temperature canned drinks within a few hours. The instruction manual was poorly written and hard to follow.
- EASE OF USE
JP42 Electric Cooler provides refrigeration without the need for ice when you are on the road.
Not too long ago, we took an extended road trip with some friends. These friends were not keen on the ‘road’ part of the trip as they typically fly whenever they travel. We convinced them that driving would be more fun as a group.
Naturally, we dragged along lots of snacks and, of course, drinks. We had a cooler that doubled as a refrigerator. It was the first time I had ever come across a dual-purpose cooler like this. That unit was unfortunately a dud. We discovered by the time we reached our destination that there was a huge crack in it and we almost tossed it out before driving home.
Even though that cooler didn’t work out, I thought the design and concept were worth trying again. That’s what led me to the ICECO JP42 3-in-1 Electric Cooler.
About ICECO & the JP42 Cooler
First, let’s talk a little about the company that makes this device. ICECO is a brand that specializes in designing, manufacturing, and distributing portable vehicle fridges. Their products are used widely in all kinds of transportation including RVs, trucks, commercial vehicles, and boats. All of their portable fridges include the BD Microcar compressor from SECOP (Danfoss).
ICECO has been in business for more than 15 years and its focus has been to provide cooling solutions for food and beverage while on the road. The company owns 104 technology patents and has sold its products in more than 66 countries.
The JP42 is considered a 3-in-1 Cooler because it can act as a portable freezer, refrigerator, or standard cooler. It is powered in one of two ways – via a standard wall outlet or with any 12-volt car socket. If it’s being used as a cooler, you simply fill it with ice as your normally would and use the drain plug when you need to gift rid of excess water.
If you want to use it as a refrigerator, plug it into a power source, set the temperature to 32 degrees and set your food and beverages inside. To keep items completely frozen, turn the temperature down to 0 degrees and you can even make ice. There are two modes – MAX and ECO. ECO mode is designed to preserve energy while MAX will get the unit cooled down much faster.
The compressor that is built into the unit features top-tier technology that can function in a variety of environments – even under a 40-degree tilt. ICECO offers a 5-year warranty on the compressor and a 1-year warranty on all other parts.
- Dimensions: 15.9″D x 28.4″W x 17.5″H
- Color Choices: Blue, Khaki, White
- Weight: 43 pounds
- Capacity: 42L
- Elastic Latch Seal
- Easy-to-Operate Control Panel
- Root-molded Handles
- Power-off Memory Function
- 40º Anti-shake
- 3-level battery protection
The JP42 was shipped in a very large cardboard box. It was well-labeled and it was clear to see what the box was holding inside. Because of its size and weight, the cooler is best handled by a team of two people. There is no assembly required. You simply pull the styrofoam pieces out of the box and remove the plastic from around the cooler and the JP42 is ready to go.
I got the blue version of the cooler because I’m a sucker for the color blue. It’s a very vibrant, turquoise-blue color. It’s the perfect shade for beach-goers or anyone who enjoys the water. The color reminds me of ‘old-Florida’ style decor.
As I mentioned, the weight and size make the cooler a bit unwieldy – especially for a single person trying to carry it. It is 43 pounds when it is empty. So, I would imagine if it were filled with the maximum 66 cans that it can reportedly hold, that would add an additional 53 pounds to the cooler. This is part of the reason that you need at least two people to transport the cooler. ICECO does make other models that come with wheels, which make moving the coolers from place to place much easier.
Once I got the cooler removed from its box, I took a look at what was included. It’s a very bare-bones kit. The JP42 comes with a user manual and power cables to be able to connect to a standard wall outlet and a 12V car socket. If you are looking at the front of the cooler, the left side has the built-in drain and the right side has the control panel. The right side of the unit also has the vents for where the compressor is installed. It’s very important to keep this area well-ventilated so that heat doesn’t build up.
The next thing I did was read over the manual. It’s not very long – only 6 pages of actual instructions – and unfortunately, it’s poorly written. When I started reading it, the manual reminded me of the one I got with the substandard cooler that I described at the beginning of this review. When I say poorly written, I mean that it is provided in English, but that sentences are broken. Here are a few examples from the manual.
- No responsible for the damage by ignoring the safety instructions.
- Make sure that leave enough space for the device to ventilate.
- Deforest the appliance one a layer of ice forms.
I have written these sentences out exactly how they are shown in the manual. The general organization of the manual gets confusing as well. For example, there is a heading titled “How to use the Refrigerator” and the first heading below that says, “When use as a cooler.”
I understand that ICECO refers to the unit as a ‘refrigerator’ in the generic sense, but since the unit has a refrigeration option for cooling, I thought I would find the instructions and settings to use it as a refrigerator under that heading. The manual actually never included the instructions I was looking for. So, I guessed.
I also find it confusing that there is a section entitled “Battery Protection Mode” since the JP42 does not run off of batteries. Again, I think this may be a case of bad writing (or maybe translation) of the manual.
After figuring out how to attach the power cable and power the cooler on, I set the temperature to 32 degrees. My goal in testing the cooler was to see how long it would take for it to cool down to the set temperature and then how long it would take to cool down some canned drinks and water bottles.
When I first turned the cooler on, the temperature read 59º. I used the arrow keys to increase the set temperature to 32. The default was 0 degrees for the freezer setting. I made sure the lid was closed and that the latches were locked in place and then I started my stopwatch. After approximately 20 minutes, the cooler had reached 32 degrees. I actually noticed that it had dropped 10 degrees in the first 8 minutes. I did have the cooler set on MAX mode.
This was actually very impressive to me. I had no idea it would cool down that quickly. I left the cooler plugged in for several hours after that and it stayed consistently at 32 degrees. I would hear the compressor kick on every once in a while, but for the most part, it held its temperature quite well.
The next step of my test was to add four cans of soda (2 x Diet Coke and 2 x Pepsi Zero) and two bottles of water into the chest. Then, over the course of 3.5 hours, I periodically checked the temperature of the drinks with an infrared thermometer and simply by touching the containers. When I started the test, the drinks measured between 54-70º which I would consider room temperature. These were all drinks that had previously been kept under a counter in our kitchen and not refrigerated.
The first time I checked the drinks’ temperature, only about 15 minutes had elapsed since I put them in the cooler. I had spaced them out in the chest – laying some on their side and standing others upright. I even left one can in the wire basket, which meant it was isolated and elevated above the rest of the drinks. There hadn’t been much change in the drinks’ temperature so I decided to move the containers closer together and wait longer to check them.
After about 45 minutes, I check them again. There still wasn’t a drastic change although they did feel cooler to the touch. After 30 more minutes, the drinks were still about the same temperature so I waited about two hours before checking them again. Finally, they were measuring about 15-20 degrees cooler than when I started the test and they definitely felt cooler. They weren’t as cold as a standard refrigerator, but they were much cooler than room temperature.
I did end up finding this explanation of how the unit cools its interior on ICECO’s website. It was part of the FAQs for the JP42 refrigerator.
Why is the temperature on the refrigerator display different from the temperature I measured with my thermometer? Because of the sinking nature of cold air, the different temperatures may exist in different locations in the refrigerator (the temperature of the bottom will be the lowest). The panel only shows the average temperature of the refrigerator.
The JP42 cooler is very well-built. It’s strong, secure and it functions as described. There were a few features that stood out to me more than others.
- The manual instructs the user not to expose the unit to weather. This is because it is not weatherproof. Many people would automatically take their coolers with them to the beach, but this type of use is not recommended for this particular unit.
- The rubber latches – while they might be common on larger coolers like this – were a new feature to me. At first, they felt foreign, but after opening and closing the lid a few times, I really like them now. They seem to create a very secure closure.
- The compressor is very quiet. When I first set the unit to run, it did run constantly for the 20 minutes I described. I had the cooler in an enclosed office and the noise was not distracting at all. It was a gentle hum that could easily be mistaken for a fan in the background.
The ICECO JP42 Electric Cooler is an expensive alternative to a traditional cooler. Depending on your color choice, the unit could cost more than $500. If you travel a lot or work in food service, this could be a great investment, but for a casual cooler user, it might be too pricey.
The product works really well and I really enjoy using it. I think this would be an absolute home run for me if the instructions were easier to read and understand and if the price were so cost-prohibitive. For anyone who travels a lot or takes. road trips this is a must have product to own.