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Best 12 Volt Refrigerators for RV 2024

    Updated January 2, 2024

    Nothing quite replicates the comforts of home on the road like having a 12 volt refrigerator in your van or at your campsite. With refrigeration, you may keep food that is still fresh and other cold things like dairy, meat, poultry, veggies, and beer. It frees you from having to deal with a cooler filled with ice and soggy food. The best 12 volt refrigerators for campervans aren’t cheap, but owning one allows you to prepare your own food for less money (and healthier food).

    One of your greatest van-building investments will be a nice 12V refrigerator. Additionally, you must be certain that the refrigerator you purchase will satisfy your demands, endure the rigors of a life on the road, and fit within your budget. With the entry of more recent low-cost competitors like Iceco, Alpicool, and Costway as well as the rising price of established brands like Dometic and ARB, the world of 12V refrigerators has become very complicated.

    We guide you through all of the vanlife refrigeration alternatives in this post, from budget-friendly to high-end to do-it-yourself. We discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the top 12V refrigerator models. We talk about whether the pricey 12 volt refrigerators are truly worth the money and what you could be giving up with the less expensive models.

    COSTWAY Car Refrigerator, 55-Quart Portable Compressor Freezer

    COSTWAY Portable Car Refrigerator, 55-Quart Dual-zone Electric Cooler with LCD Display, Shockproof Design, -4°F to 50°F, 12V/24V DC, 100-240V AC, 12 Volt Refrigerator for RV Travel Camping, Silver
    • ❄️[A Multi-voltage System] This portable car refrigerator operates at 12V/24V DC and 100V~240V AC power source, which allow you to plug in a socket at home or use it with a cigarette lighter on the car. The original package includes 1 DC power cord and 1 AC adapter. You don’t have to reset the temperature when you change the power source because of the memory function.

    There is no better feeling than having all the conveniences of home, including drinks and food storage, while traveling in a recreational van with your loved ones. Due to its trustworthy features, the Costway 54 Quart Portable Refrigerator/Freezer is one excellent option when looking for an RV freezer or refrigerator.

    For starters, compared to other RV refrigerator models on the market, it has a huge capacity of 52 liters, which is rather outstanding. No matter how many beverages we need to add, we won’t run into any issues. There is also plenty of room for family-size meals and snacks. We no longer have to stress about taking too little gear when we go camping. The same holds true if we are residing in an RV since we have a ton of storage.

    In addition to its large capacity, the Costway 54 Quart Portable Refrigerator also consistently maintains a predetermined temperature, which is helpful if you wish to store some sensitive medications. I enjoyed that it is also shockproof. As you are already aware, the RV has a challenging atmosphere, especially while it is moving. A device that is not shock- or vibration-proof may be harmed by jolts and continuous movement. This refrigerator for an RV is made for moving places.

    This refrigerator is suitable for usage at home, in cars, outdoors, or when fishing. The refrigerator is perfect for its quick chilling, though, which enables it to reach up to 32 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 minutes, in addition to all of these characteristics. I also like that customers could select an eco mode to conserve electricity. It also features a MAX mode for rapid cooling, on the other hand. By selecting the COSTWAY ref, you can also safeguard your RV batteries. In fact, it has three different levels of battery protection, low, medium, and high, so you can match your needs while still keeping your battery safe. This is the Best 12 Volt Refrigerator for RV in 2023.

    ARB 10802442 Zero Portable Fridge Freezer Single Zone 47QT

    ARB 10802442 Smart Portable Refrigerator Freezer Single Zone 47QT Zero Model, App for Phone, 12V/110V for Car, Boat, Truck, SUV, RV, Camper, Fridge and Cooler Ideal for Camping, Outdoor, Fishing
    • Capacity of 65 x 375ml Cans. Wireless monitoring and control via compatible Bluetooth-enabled devices, Front Opened Quick-release lid with non-slip glass/bottle provision

    The Zero fridge models from ARB’s most recent range of top 12-volt refrigerators are tough and designed for off-roading. You should anticipate a high level of durability from ARB because the company originally created 12v fridges for 44 excursions in the Australian outback. With the top-opening, detachable lid of ARB refrigerators, you can access your food and beverages even in a smaller car.

    Both dual-zone and single-zone refrigerators from the ARB Zero series are available. The two sizes of dual-zone refrigerators are 73 qt and 101 qt, which makes them rather large and suited for an RV or larger vehicle. The dual-zone refrigerators contain two distinct compartments with their own temperature controls and covers, and they provide both refrigeration and freezing.

    The popular 47qt and 63qt single zone ARB Zero 12-volt refrigerators are perfect for a tiny campervan, SUV, or car. While the 63qt model has a reversible, side-opening lid, the 47qt model has a front-facing lid. The refrigerators made by ARB Zero have an easy-to-read display and a mobile app that allows you to keep tabs on the fridge’s health from a distance. One reviewer did claim that the app isn’t particularly good, though. To keep your ARB 12v fridge stable when traveling on rocky dirt roads, you can install a slide or tie-down system.

    ARB is a popular brand because of its reputation for being strong and high-quality. Online and in van life communities, the 12 volt compressor refrigerators consistently receive positive feedback. This is the Best 12 Volt Portable Refrigerator for RV in 2023.

    ICECO VL90 ProD Portable Refrigerator

    ICECO VL90 ProD Portable Refrigerator, Multi-directional Lid, Dual USB & DC 12/24V, AC 110-240V, 90L DUAL Zone Steel Compact Refrigerator Powered by SECOP, 0℉-50℉, Home & Car Use [Upgrade, 95 Quarts]
    • 【Multi-opening Lid Design】 You can change the opening direction of the lid without assembly. Access to cold storage can become very easy even in the tight space inside a traveling vehicle.

    Since its establishment in 2005, ICECO has established a reputation as a leading producer of premium mobile refrigerators for van life. These top-12-volt refrigerators for van living are very well-liked by campers looking for a dependable, sturdy solution for off-grid living.

    The VL90, which comes with a massive 90-liter capacity and a split zone architecture, is the largest 12-volt refrigerator that ICECO produces. Each compartment has a separate cover and digital thermostat control. A convenient feature is the ability to quickly alter each lid’s opening direction to fit your area.

    The best 12-volt refrigerator for van life has a pair of USB ports for charging portable electronics and 12/24 volt DC ports on either side. You may also pre-cool your refrigerator using a household outlet before traveling thanks to the built-in AC transformer. We adore the ICECO’s uncomplicated design and robust build. This 12-volt refrigerator’s designer has put a lot of effort into it as evidenced by elements like a practical drain hole, corner protection, and detachable handles.

    DOMETIC CFX3 55-Liter Portable Refrigerator and Freezer with ICE MAKER

    Dometic CFX3 55-Liter Portable Refrigerator and Freezer with ICE Maker, Powered by AC/DC or Solar
    • UNIQUE ICE MAKER: The Dometic Freezer is the first electric cooler with its own ice maker, allowing you to have ice on hand wherever you go. The rapid freeze plate can make ice in just a few hours without affecting the temperature of the rest of the cooler.

    The Dometic CFX3 55IM powered cooler + icemaker makes ice in a matter of hours, but be aware that when in ice-making mode, it will use more electricity. The tough Dometic 12v campervan fridge has a large 52-liter storage capacity and can accommodate up to 83 cans. You can fill it up with enough food and beverages to survive off the grid for days.

    During a hike or bike ride, use the free app to keep an eye on your 12 volt refrigerator and change the temperature as necessary to make ice for a refreshing beverage. The Dometic CFX3 is portable, has variable power options, and features an easy-to-use interface. Use a 12-volt outlet or a typical household AC outlet to charge it.

    The rapid freeze-plate and included silicon ice trays produce ice in a matter of hours, while one reviewer claims that the plate doesn’t produce enough ice at once. a detachable wire divider makes it easier to arrange the food and drinks. We haven’t yet discovered a 12-volt refrigerator with ice-making capabilities as great as this one, and we adore it.

    Alpicool CF45 Portable Refrigerator/Freezer 48 Quart Vehicle

    Many van lifers choose the Alpicool 12v fridge when they don’t want to spend a lot of money on the best 12 volt refrigerator with a Danfoss compressor. You can easily move this inexpensive 12 volt fridge around your campsite thanks to its trolley design. They are compact, transportable, and receive favorable comments on Amazon and in van life communities.

    However, you must assume a worse quality when the price is lower. According to some reviewers, the clasp snapped off after a few usage as a result of the plastic’s poor quality. The Alpicool refrigerator, like the other top 12-volt models, includes an integrated LCD control panel that makes adjusting the temperature simple. It works at a 45-degree angle and is vibration-resistant, making it ideal for off-roading.

    This is also one of the lightest 12 volt refrigerators we could find, weighing only 30 pounds. You can choose the Alpicool portable fridge that best meets your needs from a range of sizes.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Top door vs side door 12v fridge

    The most energy-efficient of them is a top door 12-volt refrigerator for van life. The greatest 12 volt refrigerators involve stacking of food, but they also retain cold air more effectively than front-loaders. This is due to the fact that cold air typically hangs around at the bottom, thus less air escapes when you open this box-style 12v fridge from the top.

    high door 12v fridges are small, some of which may be used as seats, and simple to set up. Simply open the lid of this 12-volt refrigerator, which fits between your car’s two front seats, to have a cold beverage. Some individuals like the side door refrigerator because it matches their specific campervan or RV style better. Compared to a top-door 12v fridge, it is simpler to grab food and beverages. A side door compressor fridge typically performs well if you have a little extra room to open and close the door.