Are ICECO Refrigerator/Freezers One Of The Best You Can Buy? The VL60D Reviewed
(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
By Kelly Beasley
Portable refrigerator/freezers are great for many reasons when RVing or overlanding.
ICECO has a good number of well-made units to choose from, and we're going to share with you the good and bad points of the unit we've used.
Full Disclosure: ICECO sent us a VL60D refrigerator/freezer to do an ICECO review. As with all products we agree to test, we are under no obligation to write a glowing review for a product just because it was given to us. If we like a product and think it's a good fit for our audience, we will discuss it on Camp Addict. If we don't like the product, you will never hear about it from us.
ICECO Refrigerator Freezers Review
There are many companies on the market that make portable refrigerator/freezer units.
If you camp, overland, RV, or need something to get your groceries home in good shape, one of these units might come in handy for you.
This is our review of ICECO's VL60D unit. It's unbiased and un-swayed, and we'll keep you updated on its performance.
Here's my ICECO refrigerator review so far!
But I Thought You Only Recommended One Competing Brand?
Yes, before now, we only recommended Dometic portable fridge/freezers, as they have the best price and quality for freezers that go down to -8º Fahrenheit.
What's so important about -8º?
It's because -8º keeps ice cream hard while 0º doesn't.
Many portable freezers don't go that low or are ridiculously expensive, so we only recommended the one company.
But we now realize our flaw in that that Dometic is not in everyone's budget (though an ICECO will still set you back good money as it's a quality-made product).
Additionally, not everyone needs a freezer or eats ice cream.
So, when we were approached to test an ICECO, we adopted a different perspective and decided it would be a good thing to try out a competitor that was cheaper.
This unit only goes down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, but that's going to be OK for some, even many.
Here are our findings (so far).
We've had it at this point since 2-24-2022. Article publish date is 4-14-2022.
UPDATE: We used the fridge/freezer through December 2022. We got rid of the unit as we were moving into our new vans. The unit was used mostly to keep refrigeratables cool while driving around doing errands in the Arizona heat. The only time it had an issue was when I forgot to vent my 4Runner and left it in full sun in a parking lot for about 30-45 min. When I returned, the vehicle smelled like electrical burning. The unit wasn't damaged it still worked perfectly. I learned my lesson, to always vent when I left in 100 degree temps. Now a friend of ours has it in her van and we're sure she will update us if anything goes south.
What Is An ICECO Portable Refigerator/Freezer?
ICECO is a Chinese company that makes a variety of portable refrigerators and freezers for tent camping, car camping, overlanding, and RVing.
Similarly, you can use one for everyday personal use.
For example, you might need one to get groceries home or keep cold beverages in your car on a long trip.
They are also great to have in the garage to have cold ones handy.
Additionally, they are excellent for emergency situations when power is lost, long as you have a generator or something from which you can run it.
How Is It Different From An Electric Cooler?
What makes these different from electric coolers is that a fridge/freezer has a compressor keeping things cool, whereas a cooler does not.
(A cooler uses a thermoelectric cooling mechanism, which isn't nearly as efficient or good at cooling.)
A cooler can only keep the interior (and the items you are trying to keep cool) about 40 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the outside temperature.
A portable fridge/freezer can do much better than that and can sometimes even freeze food, despite a very warm ambient temp.
ICECO's fridges come in many sizes and configurations.
You can get one that only cools, or one that cools and freezes.
Also, some of their units have lids that can be opened from either side. Very handy!
A Quick Word About Their Website...
I'm using the ICECO website as a partial source of information about their refrigerators.
That said, yikes, it is FULL of grammar and punctuation mistakes.
I'm surprised that such a quality product has overlooked the importance of good copy (they ARE based out of China but have warehouses in the USA).
But don't let this steer you away. I'm personally sensitive about these things, but you might not be.
It's not a reflection of the product quality itself.
As an FYI- here is their China website.
Which Portable Refrigerator Is This ICECO Review For?
We went with the ICECO VL60D dual zone portable fridge freezer. With two separate compartments, you can set a separate temperature for either side.
It's large enough for a van lifer to keep a week or two of food in their van while not taking up TOO much space (the next size up is 6" longer!).
The VL60D can also fit easily in most SUVs or trucks for overlanding.
It can cool or freeze both sides simultaneously, or choose one side to freeze and one to cool. (0℉ to 50℉ Cooling Range.)
This unit also has the coveted Secop compressor the overlanding world raves about.
The compressor either needs a 120 volt or a 12 volt power supply. 12 volt power is what you most likely would use in a passenger vehicle and maybe inside a recreational vehicle.
So you have an idea of its capacity, it holds (one at a time):
- 89 cans
- 50 bottles (.55 L)
- 20 wine bottles
What Is An ICECO Portable Fridge Made Of?
When we pulled it out of the impressive boxing (it was double-boxed, in a way), it was immediately apparent that the unit was solid and very well-made.
It has an indestructible, almost military-like quality about it.
The hinges, latches, and digital display are hefty, of solid construction, and perform well. Nothing flimsy on it whatsoever.
We got the VL60D. It's surprisingly heavy and won't fall apart during my lifetime!
The unit has an outer metal shell and it has protective bumper pads on all corners and under the latches.
So we (so far) have used the unit three times (real-life/in the field testing for extended periods of time. But we've also tested it empty and in the house).
No, we haven't had it for years, but we did agree to do a review (on our terms otherwise) after a few months of usage.
But we will update as time passes if anything changes.
It has been out with me:
- Many trips from grocery store/filled with cold and frozen items.
- On an RV trip to Sonoita, AZ (used it for a week.)
- On a second RV trip to Sonoita (used it for two weeks.) (And yes, Sonoita, AZ is well worth visiting multiple times.)
Overall, we are impressed with the quality, the function of the unit as well as the very minimal power consumption we've seen it pull.
As long as it doesn't break down, it is a sure workhorse and a keeper.
VL60D Specs (according to their website):
- 65.7 lbs
- Length: 31.1 inches
- Width: 18.3 inches
- Height: 18.7 inches
- Power Use: 60-65 Watts
- Max & Eco Mode
- 3 Battery Protection Level
- 40 degree tilt Operation. Up To 131 degrees outside ambient temperature
- Anti-EMC System
- 0℉~50℉ Cooling Range
- 60L capacity
Side note- the site says it's 65.7 pounds.
We (Marshall) weighed it and minus Marshall, it was 62 pounds.
Their refrigerators are great for tent camping, car camping, RVing, if you need a spare fridge, and it's great to have cold beverages and food in your vehicle on long trips.
I like how they have, on the inside of the left side lid, food type examples and suggested temperatures to store them in.
They also have other specs there.
Let's dive into the deeper review details.
ICECO Power Consumption
When we initially got the unit, we took it out and immediately plugged it into a 120v outlet in the house.
We were curious how quickly it would cool down inside a temperature-controlled home (average 76 degrees).
I put two thermometers inside the unit, one on each side to see how it matched up with the digital display that says the temperature (and often, it didn't on both sides).
I even ended up putting both thermometers in the same side to see if one of them was off or if they matched up.
They matched up.
After two separate checks while timing the cooler, it took the unit about 30 min to cool to 39 degrees Fahrenheit, and the other (smaller) side took right at an hour to get to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
We tested both using a 12-volt power source and a 120-volt power source and there wasn't any appreciable time difference between them.
The second test, for your reference, the interior temperatures of both sides was 65 degrees.
It was likely the same for the first test.
Surprisingly, it requires very little power.
When the compressor is on, it uses between 40 - 45 watts when on 12v, though their website claims it uses 60 - 65 watts.
When attached to my Jackery Explorer 1500 power station via the 12v cable, it used 40% of its stored power in 24 hours.
All in all, with it cooling one side (right) to zero and the other side to 38 degrees, it lasted ALMOST 48 hours on the 1500W Jackery.
Keep in mind the unit was empty. The power supply would last a bit longer if the fridge was full as the mass of cooled food would help keep the inside cool longer.
ICECO VL60D Portability
Now, the company does make smaller (and larger) units than the VL60D.
Our unit weighs 62 lbs. No way this 5'4" chick can carry it around anywhere by myself, it's too wide and heavy.
Marshall (6' tall) even has a little struggle picking it up solo due to its width.
But obviously refrigerator/freezers of this size are not made to be carried around often.
This model does not come with wheels.
That said, its handles are just as well-made and sturdy as the rest of the unit.
But they make smaller, easier to tote models if that's what you need.
I do believe the smallest one they make is the ICECO 12.8QT T12 Mini Smart Refrigerator, and it weighs just 24.4 pounds.
And yes, it also has a compressor and is a full-fledged refrigerator. It's not a cooler.
Visit ICECO Amazon Store
So, upon watching the ICECO for days while working, it became apparent that the temperature fluctuates on the digital display quite often (this was tested when empty).
When set at 39ºF, the left side went up to 47ºF at times.
The side I set to freezing stayed within 2 degrees of the set 0-degree temp. (The freezing side at the time was the smaller side.)
This test was performed inside a temperature-controlled house (averaging 76 degrees).
The thermometers I placed inside the empty unit read the temperature even warmer than the digital display read, by 5-6 degrees at times.
I'm not too bothered by this, as it's still keeping things cool, there's just some fluctuation in temperature (but not to dangerously warm levels).
You will need to "learn" the fluctuations of your ICECO portable fridge and compensate the set temperatures as needed.
Not a big deal. Just something to be aware of and a great reason why you should be using a separate thermometer to know what really is going on inside with the temperature.
It might regulate temperature better if the unit was full.
I have no doubt that in warm to hot temps, the refrigerator will still cool just fine.
I'll test that scenario soon as summer is in full swing.
If you're picky about temps staying very steady, you might want to reconsider this product.
ICECO VL60D: The Good
- Comes incredibly well-packed for delivery
- Reinforced corners
- Roomy inside with removable baskets
- Unit is heavy-duty, military-grade build
- Can choose cooling, freezing, or a mix of both
- Low Battery protection (so it doesn't kill your vehicle battery)
- Compressor and parts warranties
- Comes with two power cords, 120v and 12v
- 40-degree tilt operation for off-roading
ICECO VL60D: The Bad
- Pricey (But more affordable than their biggest competitor, Dometic)
- Big, maybe too big if you need to tote it around a lot (But easy to move with two people)
- Temp control isn't perfect. Our unit Is off up to 8 degrees at times on the right side. Left (bigger) side seems to be better with temps.
- Lowest temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Means pretty soft ice cream if you store it.
In addition to being able to purchase ICECO compressor refrigerators on Amazon, you can purchase directly from ICECO and receive a 12% discount for being a Camp Addict reader. Discount will be taken out during the checkout process.
Your choice! Buy from Amazon (without the 12% discount) or purchase directly from ICECO and receive a 12% discount.
So far, we love the VL60D ICECO. But the ICECO review will continue.
It is clearly well-made, holds temperature close enough to keep your food cold or frozen, and keeps groceries cold/frozen on way home (30+ minutes for us) from the store.
It's impressive looking, works well, and so far has been reliable.
We have only used it for two months, but we will be updating this page as we continue using the unit.
All in all, we believe ICECO gives Dometic (and others) a run for their money with a quality-made, warrantied product that's competitive in price.
At this time, we feel confident recommending this company for their portable refrigerator-freezers.
Author: Kelly Beasley
As a seasoned and passionate RVing expert, I have dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 5.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road. Join me on this journey and let's make some unforgettable memories.