Camping is undoubtedly one of the most popular recreational activities. Whenever people get a chance to take a break from their busy lives, they often head out for a camping trip in their RV. And RV owners would agree that the most important factor in camping is how well-equipped your RV is for the trip. So let’s see 5 Best Portable 12V Refrigerators for Your RV and Camper.
Having said that, it’s entirely up to the owner to decide what variety of accessories and supplies they want in their RV. There are some luxury RVs that have an array of impressive types of equipment and features.
On the other hand, many people also own simple RVs with bare necessities, that serves its purpose very well on camping trips. However, there are some essential items that every trailer must-have.
These are mainly items that we often find in our household too, such as a power source, an oven, an electric or gas stove, a refrigerator, etc.
So our focus today will be on one such essential RV accessory – portable refrigerators. First, we’ll give you a brief idea of the features and benefits of a portable refrigerator. Then we will guide you through the 5 best portable RV refrigerators currently available in the market.
What is a Portable 12V Refrigerator?
A portable 12 refrigerator acts just like the normal refrigerator at your home and runs from a 12V power source like your RV’s battery. It lets you control the inside temperature and you can keep your foods cool for a long period of time. It’s a smaller and compact version of your home refrigerator.
However, before buying one, all RV owners must know the difference between a refrigerator and a cooler. A cooler only keeps your food cool to a certain degree below the outside temperature. You can’t control the temperature inside to cool the foods as per your need. Coolers are of two types – thermoelectric coolers that run on 12V power, and absorption coolers that run on electricity as well as gas.
They are both completely different from refrigerators, which have a compressor for regulating the temperature. Refrigerators are often expensive as compared to the coolers. Still, their price is justified compared to their usefulness.
If you are having a short trip with a few friends, then a cooler may be suitable for you. But if you’re planning on a long and adventurous camping trip, you definitely need a refrigerator at any cost.
Things to know before buying a portable RV refrigerator.
As we already mentioned above, the first thing to consider is whether you need a cooler or a refrigerator. If you’ve decided that a refrigerator is what you need, then make sure that it has a compressor.
The second thing is to be ready to pay a good price for them. Efficient RV refrigerators do not come very cheap. Depending on the manufacturers, they range from $400 to $1000.
If you ever come across a product that is very cheap, then it most likely isn’t a true refrigerator. So don’t be tempted to buy the low priced ones. Be willing to pay the cost for a reliable brand that will serve you well for many years.
The best part is that there are many benefits of a portable 12V refrigerator. It runs on a 12V battery which means it doesn’t take up a slot from your RV’s inverter. You will be able to power it up directly from your vehicle’s battery. Which means that you will also be able to use it in your car, or any other vehicle.
Portable refrigerators are small in size but give you the full functionality of a normal refrigerator. They don’t need to be leveled to work, so that makes it perfect for camping. They usually serve as a freezer too, and they are very energy efficient. Overall, they are really worth the price due to all these features.
Now without further ado, let’s take a look at the 5 best portable 12V refrigerators, along with their features explained in detail.
List of 5 Best Portable 12V Refrigerators
1. COSTWAY Car Freezer, 54 Quart Compressor Travel RV Refrigerator
Our first pick is the Costway 54 Quart Portable Refrigerator. 54-quart size is more than enough to store plenty of foods and drinks. So storage space will never be a problem with this product. There is an internal LED light inside the refrigerator for better visibility.
There is an LED display at the front that you can use to digitally change the internal temperature. This product works as a fridge as well as a freezer, and you can switch between those modes from the display as well.
It has a shockproof design along with battery protection mechanism. There are two types of cooling mode – ECO mode that consumes low power to save energy, and MAX mode that consumes more power but provides fast cooling. With fast cooling enabled, the temperature drops from 90o F to 32o F in 30 minutes.
Price: $ 395.99
There are a few standout points of this product. First of all, it’s actually quite low priced for a portable refrigerator. It is equipped with all necessary functions and even has an energy-saving mode. So if you have budget limitations, then this is the perfect choice for you.
However, if you can afford a higher price, then you should go for other options on the list. The reason for that is simply because other manufacturers, such as Dometic, are proven to be more reliable in terms of product quality.
2. Whynter FM-45G 45-Quart Portable Refrigerator
The next product is from the Whynter FM series. This 45-quart portable refrigerator comes with a simple look but has some really neat features. It has a plastic body that is lightweight but durable as well. The design is compact and it is easy to carry around.
The main feature that is noteworthy is its capacity as a freezer. It has a Fast Freeze mode that can cool the internal temperature to as low as -6o F in a short amount of time. As such, it is sufficient to keep your food cold or even frozen for extended periods.
On top of that, it is not just a 12V device but it actually has dual voltage configuration. So you can operate it from a 12V battery or from an AC power source. So you can use it not just for camping, but also as household equipment, or during your backyard parties.
Price: $ 512.90
The freezing capacity of this refrigerator is really commendable. And its dual voltage configuration makes it quite versatile. It will be useful for more than just camping,
so it’s worth the price. 45 quart of storage space should be sufficient for most of your trips. Buy it once, and it should serve its purpose efficiently for a couple of years.
3. Dometic CFX 40W 12V Portable Refrigerator
The Dometic CFX range is one of the nesting range of portable RV refrigerators. The CFX 40 W model has many features that make it a compelling buy. In terms of cooling capacity, it can maintain a minimum temperature of – 7 o F. It is very energy efficient and consumes only 0.665 kWh in every 24 hours.
The manufacturers have also focused on the durability of the product, as they have reinforced the corners for extra protection. And one of its best features is that this device can be integrated with a Wi-Fi app, that lets you remotely control it’s cooling and temperature.
It also comes with a battery protection mechanism and even has a USB port that you can use to charge other small devices. A 2-year warranty is also available on this product.
Price: $ 829.46
Dometic is a well-known brand for RV equipment and their CFX range of refrigerators are one of the best models in the market. With a robust design, lightweight body and efficient performance, the Dometic CFX 40 W refrigerator has everything you would want in an RV fridge.
The remote app control feature also sets it apart from its competitors. But this product is not just about fancy features only. It’s very efficient at what it does – and that is to keep your food super cool and fresh.
4. Ausranvik 26-Quart Portable Fridge Car Refrigerator
The next entry on our list is a relatively cheaper product for those who are running on a tight budget. Despite its low price, it does not compromise on its features. It is a fridge/freezer with a freezing capacity of up to -4o F.
The refrigerator contains the standard three-stage battery protection like most other portable refrigerators. It even boasts of a powerful cooling mechanism with insulators that keep the food frozen for up to 10 hours even after you turn off the power connection.
Other features include dual voltage support that works on both AC and DC connection, and an LED display screen with touch controls to regulate temperature and mode settings. It also has a drain plug at the bottom, which allows you to clean the interiors easily.
Price: $ 279.00
The 26 Quart size may be a bit small for some people, but this product is really outstanding given the features it has packed in for a cheaper price. The only downsides are small size, and its freezing capacity of -4o F, which is less than most other products in this list.
But the best feature of this refrigerator is its insulation property that keeps food frozen even after turning off the power. Combine that with its reasonable price, and you have an amazing product that you can afford even on a low budget.
5. ARB 10810602 63 Quart Portable Fridge/Freezer Weatherproof Portable
The final product on our list is a heavy-duty, durable, weatherproof portable refrigerator. We are not including this in our list just for the sake of variety. The ARB weatherproof is incredibly tough and perfect those who spent a lot of time camping and outdoor activities.
The highlight of this product is that it’s designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. As such, you will be using this refrigerator not just inside your RV but in many outdoor occasions.
The main body is made of stainless steel, with ASA plastic molds at the corners for protection. Security features are also top-class, as you can lock this fridge with a security pin, or use a padlock as well. It has an LED display at the front to control the Lock/Unlock, temperature and mode settings.
It is also very spacious with a size of 63 quarts. If the size is too big for your needs, then you can also check out smaller sized models from the same manufacturer. However, this specific weatherproof model only comes in a fixed 63-quart size.
Price: $ 1372.27
The ARB Weatherproof refrigerator is the best option for RV enthusiasts who spend a considerable amount of time outdoors camping. Those who continuously live on the road for long periods and enjoy the RV lifestyle will benefit a lot from this product. It’s extremely durable with impressive features, so it will serve its purpose for many years. The quality is well worth its price tag for those who can afford it.
These were our handpicked choices for the best portable RV refrigerators. Not only are these products high in quality and loaded with features, but they have also received largely positive customer feedback. To summarise everything we have covered so far, here is a shortlist of all the products we mentioned above:
- COSTWAY Car Freezer, 54 Quart Compressor Travel RV Refrigerator – $ 395.99
Highlight: Low price, 54-quarts – impressive size given its price.
- Whynter FM-45G 45-Quart Portable Refrigerator – $ 512.90
Highlight: Average price, has all basic features for its price range, the best feature is its Fast Freeze Mode.
- Dometic CFX 40W 12V Portable Refrigerator – $ 829.46
Highlight: Impressive cooling capacity, highly energy-efficient, can be remotely controlled with a Wi-Fi app.
- Ausranvik 26-Quart Portable Fridge Car Refrigerator – $ 279.00
Highlight: Provides all essential features for a comparatively lower price, has internal insulation that keeps foods frozen for up to 10 hours after it is disconnected from the power source.
- ARB 10810602 63 Quart Portable Fridge/Freezer Weatherproof Portable – $ 1372.27
Highlight: Extremely durable outer body that can withstand rain and harsh temperatures, impressive security features – can be locked with a digital security pin code, or a simple padlock, very long-lasting.
So these are our top picks for the portable fridge for your RV. We hope that you liked the list and were able to find a product that meets both your needs and your budget. When out camping, you would want to enjoy fresh and delicious foods. And every product we have listed is more than capable of keeping all types of food cool and fresh during your camping trips.
Check them out and see what suits you best, or if you own or previously owned any of these products, then let us know about your feedback in the comments below.
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