In our latest Emergency Preparedness product evaluation series, we look at an option to keep your food & drink fresh and fit to consume away from your regular base or even at home when a disaster strikes.
A little while back we were sent a Setpower Portable 53 quart Fridge/Freezer to evaluate for our Emergency Preparedness series. Like most products you “test and evaluate”, you should try your utmost to create some form of realistic emergency scenarios where you may well find yourself needing said product. In these strange times of lockdowns and social distancing, we initially found ourselves not fully able to evaluate the unit in some form of emergency conditions for the blog review as we'd hoped. However, unfortunately for us but fortunately for the blog, we were presented with those exact disaster conditions in the form of the Texas Winter Freeze/Snow Storm in February 2021.
The unexpected well-below-freezing temperatures that hit many parts of Texas during the storm were having devastating effects as water lines started to freeze and power supplies were affected. In our town, many homes were already seeing water pressure drop to a trickle despite running the faucets in an attempt to avoid the dreaded frozen pipes. Rolling power outages started and power companies advised customers to unplug all major appliances, including refrigerators! Conditions never experienced before by many Texans were getting worse by the hour. In the early hours of February 14th 2021 the freeze had set in hard. Interstate highways and state roads were starting to freeze. Heavy snow started to fall making driving conditions extremely difficult and treacherous.
Overnight, the power company turned off all power to the city, the city turned off the water to repair their own damaged equipment, and all attempts to keep the water pipes warm enough to avoid freezing were lost. By 5am, we were without power and had suffered multiple burst pipes. The temperature inside the house was at 23 deg Fahrenheit and we had no electrical power, no heat. With the inside temperature of the house continuing to drop, we decided it was time to leave the house and stay with friends for 24 hours while the power company worked to restore power.
We returned home the following morning. Power had returned, thankfully but with MANY broken water pipes. We were totally without running water. We turned on the refrigerator/freezer and, after a while, were horrified to see it wouldn't get any colder that 50 degrees! The freezing conditions had affected the electronics/system of the fridge somehow. A bottle of water in our little upstairs fridge gave us a clue to how cold things had gotten inside the house during our absence... frozen solid INSIDE the fridge with NO power on! We looked at buying a new refrigerator, but couldn't get one delivered for three weeks. The only question on our minds in that moment was "Now what do we do?"
"Hang on," my wife said, "we have the SETPOWER!" It seemed that I'd finally get to put the Setpower through the paces in a true emergency situation. We quickly powered up the AJ50 plugging it into the house 120v outlet and set it to 25 degrees to use it as a portable and temporary (so we thought) freezer . After a short time, the AJ50 display was showing 25 deg so we transferred all the frozen food we'd rescued the day before into the AJ50. As the day progressed the AJ50 kept and constant 25 deg and our food remained perfectly frozen.
As time progressed and damage was assessed, we began the tiring process of insurance claims, trying to get claims adjusters to inspect damage etc. Our insurance company worked with us as best they could, after all, we weren't the only ones affected by this disaster. It took us around 3 weeks until we could get the fridge delivered due to supply shortages!
In that 3 week period, we used the Setpower AJ50 set at 25 deg as a freezer, 24 hours a day. It performed perfectly without any hiccups. It does exactly what it supposed to do for a lot less money than some of the more popular big name, big dollar units. We've since used the AJ50 in refrigerator mode with it set at 35 degrees for test 2 week period. Again it ran perfectly. This amazing unit has proven it can be relied on to work for a weekend away camping or an extended trip away as as either a fridge or freezer. The AJ50 has two compartments, the larger one cools to the set/required temperature. The smaller compartment normally reads at a couple of degrees above the main compartment setting. A handy light illuminates the contents of the AJ50 when you open the longitudinally hinged lid. There are four handy cup recesses in the lid too. Sturdy handles either side of the unit make it easy to move from one place to another. It can be moved by one person when empty but I do recommend having two people grab a handle each when it's full of goodies.
There is a basket that fits in the larger section allowing you to remove all the items in the section if desired.The door closes and the latch locks with a satisfying click. There is no leak of the temperature through the lid thanks to a full lid seal. We used freezer blocks (frozen by the Setpower) in a large hard sided cooler for items that needed refrigeration while we were using it as a freezer. The unit was amazingly quiet too. In fact, it was quieter than the full size fridge that died in the freeze. In this situation, a huge benefit with the Setpower is that it wasn't operationally affected by the freeze at all.
The AJ50 comes equipped with a Max and Eco settings. Switch it to MAX mode for fast cooling and when the desired temperature is achieved, switch over to ECO mode for energy saving while maintaining your temperature setting.The Setpower AJ50 uses compressor refrigeration technology with adjustable temperature from 0℉-50℉, which for us in our disaster situation was a bonus!
The supplied power cord comes in three sections, a power block, a 12 volt DC car cigarette style plug and a 120/240 volt AC plug, all of which allow you to choose which power supply option you need. The AJ50 comes with multi-level battery power protection too. It protects against the main vehicle battery drain issue when using a portable fridge/freezer without the vehicle engine running.
You can find the Setpower AJ50 Portable Freezer Fridge HERE through our Amazon affiliate link.
Freezes Without Ice: Strong compressor refrigeration technology with adjustable temperature from 0℉-50℉.
Multiple Use: AC and DC cables are included in the original package, DC Power Cable for Car (12/24V); AC Adapter for Home Socket (110-240V).
Design: MAX Mode for Fast Cooling. ECO Mode for Energy Saving. 3 Level Voltage Battery Protection: prevent the car battery for running down.
Ooutdoor Adaptable: Work normally within 30° bumps, easily handle muddy mountain roads or steep valleys, perfect for Overlanding.
Quality Assurance: 2 years warranty on compressor and 1 year for other parts.
Capacity: 53 QT / 50 L Dimension (L*W*H): 27.5'' x 13.6'' x 20.7'' Temperature Range: 0℉ - 50℉ Wattage: 55 Watts
Voltage: DC—12/24V, AC—110V-240V Weight: 37.7 lbs
AJ50 Unit, 12V Car Cigarette Lighter adapter, AC Adapter, User Manual, AJ50 Insulated Cover (sold separately)