I get really excited whenever a product review gets me out of my home office — especially if it leads to me enjoying the spoils of summer with delicious food. You see, I'm one of those outdoorsy tech nerds who's always busting out some new drone or portable speaker at the cabin or around the campfire at night. There's just something about using the right tech to enhance the mood that makes me happy.
So when the opportunity to check out the iFreezer Go20 arrived in my inbox, you know I had to find out if this portable freezer is the real deal. It's an IndieGoGo project that has well-surpassed its funding and is in the final production phase, so I really wanted to push the iFreezer Go20 in real-life scenarios to see how it performs.
The ICECO team behind the campaign are clearly marketing this as a luxury item, and given there are comparable coolers (opens in new tab) available out there are, here's the $450 question: Is the convenience and performance of this portable plug-in freezer worth the extra preparation and cost?
- Love the sleek and clean design
- Easy to set up and use touch controls
- Compressor runs quietly
- Dual-zone freezer/fridge setting works great
- Built-in fridge light is perfect for camping
- Expensive and more than a little bougie
- Smartphone app is mostly pointless
- Tough to thoroughly clean
ICECO iFreezer Go20 What I like
Right out of the box, I was pretty impressed with the iFreezer Go20's exterior design. From the recessed handles to the touch controls on the top for setting temperature, it all looks and feels appropriately futuristic while still performing the duties of a typical cooler. Empty, the cooler weighs in at 23lbs — for reference, the compressor alone weighs around 5lbs — which is heavier than a traditional cooler but not unreasonably hefty. Then again, this is definitely not a traditional cooler.
The standard iFreezer arrives with cords for plugging it into a standard 12-volt power port in your car or into a standard outlet. It also comes with a divider that lets you set two temperature zones and keep things frozen and fresh at the same time, with dedicated temperature controls available for both compartments. The full storage capacity is 21 quarts which can be set to be a freezer or fridge and offers enough space for around 20 beer cans or a weekend's worth of food. Alternatively, you can use the divider to split it into 7.4 quarts of freezer space and 12.2 quarts of fridge space.
My big test for the iFreezer was a two-night camping trip where I packed the cooler full of fresh meat and produce with no backup plan if the iFreezer failed. Things got off to a somewhat rocky start when I learned why you shouldn't leave it sitting in the back of a black SUV sitting out in the hot sun. Powered by the vehicle, the fridge compressor struggled to keep a cool temperature while fighting off the summer heat. I realized I should have kept the cooler in the house and plugged into the wall and loaded it last to maximize the cooling efficiency. Either way, by the time we were on the highway the car interior was cool and the iFreezer had hit its set temperature despite cramped confines inside a packed SUV.
Once we got to our campsite, which was wired up with electricity and water, I used the AC adapter to keep the cooler powered throughout the weekend. This is not a weatherproof product at all, and it's not recommended to be left uncovered outside but it worked really well out on the campsite nonetheless. The refrigeration is powered by a compact compressor that stays whisper quiet — even if you leave it running in your tent at night while you sleep. It worked flawlessly and kept all my food at the perfect temperature all weekend long.
A product like the iFreezer is unlike most tech products I get to test in that even if it works great — which it does — a portable freezer is simply too niche of a product to broadly recommend to everyone unless you already know exactly how this mobile freezer would enhance some aspect of your life. I love to cook when I'm camping, and having a reliable smart cooler keeping my food precisely chilled —without needing to fuss with ice — is nothing short of amazing.
The iFreezer is the type of high-tech gadget that you'll go out of your way to find reasons to use it — and that's not a bad thing when that means more hang outs with friends and family.
ICECO iFreezer Go20 What needs improvement
As great as it is to use the iFreezer Go20, there's definitely some room for improvement in some pretty key areas. For starters, the user manual that shipped with mine had spelling errors (always a red flag) and some sections were more than a bit confusing. For instance, the section on "App Contorl" (sic) didn't actually explain where to download the Android app that you need to control the fridge temperature using a Bluetooth connection to your phone — not that that's a feature I really care about anyways. The tips and suggestions page was the only useful part of the whole guide as I otherwise figured out how to get things set up in spite of the manual.
Probably the biggest issue I have with the iFreezer Go20 is that it's marketed as a fridge you can keep in your car, but you actually shouldn't leave it in your car unless you're actively using it for a trip. I learned this the hard way when I left it in my trunk for a night and then tried to use it to keep ice cream frozen after a grocery trip. When I plugged it in, it read Fahrenheit temperatures in the 90s. Yikes! The ice cream didn't stand a chance. Hours later, the fridge temperature had reached around 40 degrees, but my ice cream was now soup. The lesson learned was two-fold: this is really not a permanent accessory that you'll want to leave in your car, and you'll always want to pre-chill the cooler before putting your foodstuff in it and hitting the road.
Coming back around to the cost, $450 might seem like a high cost for a mobile freezer, but it's pretty close in line with its competition from brands like Dometic (opens in new tab) and Costway (opens in new tab). Now I've only tested ICECO's product and honestly, given my experience with it, I can see the added value of the optional heat-insulating case and portable battery pledge rewards — but that will jack your final cost up another $240 and at that point it's harder to justify the costs. Then again, the campaign boasts about partnerships with luxury car makers so they must be pretty comfortable with the upper-middle class demographics they are targeting here.
The last concern I have involves cleanliness. With my dumb old Coleman cooler, I can tip it over and blast it with a hose and some soapy water to clean it out without concern about bacteria buildup, but keeping the iFreezer clean is not as simple. To start, there are little crevices on the inside of the storage compartment that seems ideal for bacteria to fester in. The manual doesn't give any cleaning instructions so I've been using cleaning spray and a damp cloth to hand wash it after each use. I definitely don't want to risk damaging the electrical bits with a hose.
Do you need a mobile fridge for your car or cottage?
If you're still reading this far down, chances are pretty good that you're interested in what a mobile fridge has to offer. Given the trials and successes I've had testing the iFreezer Go20, I'm happy to recommend it just as long as you fully understand some of its limitations and restrictions going in. The fridge-to-freezer divider, in particular, is a really great party trick that you won't find anywhere else, but owning a product like this also requires you to set proper time aside to prepare the fridge for use and clean it up when you're done.
4 out of 5
This is undoubtedly an extravagant product in many ways, but I always appreciate this type of technology more for inspiring me to spend time organizing little backyard get-togethers with friends and family or setting off on impromptu picnics or road trips. Maybe you see this portable fridge and think how great it would be for tailgating parties. I live just a couple hours away from lake country, so I can't stop imagining how great this would be for any family who owns a cabin on the lake. Just load it up with food and drink and hang out all day down by the water — a pretty nice way to spend a summer weekend.
It's a fridge for your car
Bring fresh food and cold drinks everywhere
The iFreezer Go20 is an extravagant solution for keeping your food and drinks ice cold without the ice on road trips, down at the dock, or at the campsite. One of the coolest gadgets you may just want to drop $500 on.