Out of all the options on our list, we chose the Whynter FM-45G as our best RV refrigerator due to its outstanding quality. It’s rugged, works well, and keeps your frozen foods frozen, and your cold foods cold. It’s also portable being a lightweight 45 lbs. and a compact size of 23.5” x 16.5” x 20.5”.
We love the fact that this fridge freezer model runs on either AC or DC power. It would be nice to have the option to run on liquid propane (LP). It only uses 65 watts, so it’s a low-power device, making it ideal for RV use.
It has decent handles to carry it, which is in contrast to some chest-style refrigerators we tested that have inadequate handles.
Overall, this is an excellent refrigerator/freezer for an RV. It’s a little pricey, but the good thing is when you pay for quality first time around, you’ll only need to pay out once.
Keeping your Food & Beverages Cool While You’re on the Road
Grilling out is an integral part of RV camping or living. But you’ll need a refrigerator to store all those cold drinks and food you plan on cooking. We have created this guide to help you learn all you need to know about RV refrigerators as well as to give our RV refrigerator reviews on some of the best RV fridges out there. Keep reading to find out more.
Looking for the Best RV Refrigerator?
- Why all RV owners need a great fridge
- What you should consider when buying
- Reviews of the best camper refrigerators on the market
- Our unbiased recommendation for the top refrigerator for RV use
How to Choose a Great Refrigerator for Your RV
There is a wide variety of types and styles of refrigerators for your recreational vehicle you can choose from, so you want to know what your specific needs are. Do you have limited space and want a small RV fridge? Do you want one that runs on propane or electricity or both? Do you need freezer compartments? Knowing what to look for in a motorhome refrigerator will make choosing one a quick and painless process. We’ve outlined some important points below that you can use as a reference during your search.
When we talk about choosing a type, we mean choosing between an actual RV refrigerator or a mini-refrigerator (mini-fridge). Mini-fridges can make great motor home refrigerators because they’re small, portable, and powerful. They Also cool more efficiently due to having a compressor, however this also makes them louder.
RV fridges are called absorption refrigerators because they’re cooled from the condensation that comes from heated chemicals cycling through the unit. RV refrigerators also tend to be a little smaller than mini-refrigerators. Knowing these two facts, you may be wondering why everyone doesn’t just pick a mini-refrigerator to start with.
The reason is because of how they’re powered. RV refrigerators use several different power sources, this can be AC electricity if you are connected to shore power, DC power, and the RV’s LP hook up, giving you a choice of how you want to power your refrigerator. Mini-refrigerators can only be powered by AC power. This means that you’d better have a powerful battery if you plan to use a mini-refrigerator for an extended period. If something happens to the AC power, you’ll no longer have a running refrigerator.
If you’re confident in your battery or you have a great generator, then you may benefit from having a mini-refrigerator over a refrigerator.
Power consumption is an important consideration, especially in the case of mini-fridges. Your house battery or generator has a maximum number of watts it can handle. This includes the sum of all appliances’ watts that you are powering. You absolutely must make sure that a refrigerator won’t exceed this maximum, or you won’t be able to use it. Make sure you consider the starting or surge watts since this number will always be much higher than the running watts.
There isn’t a standard set of dimensions for camper refrigerators. You’ll need to measure your RV refrigerator compartment, or whatever space you plan to put it in, so you’ll know what size refrigerator will fit in. Even if you choose to go with a mini-fridge that won’t be put into your RV refrigerator compartment, you still want to make sure you’ll have room for it since RV space is already at a premium.
The overall dimensions of your camper refrigerator will somewhat determine the storage capacity of your refrigerator. However, it mostly has to do with the interior design of the model. Consider how much food you need to store as well as what kind of food. Maybe you need a freezer area. Perhaps you need a large freezer area.
Once you’ve figured out what you want to store it will be a lot easier to choose a refrigerator capacity measured in cubic feet (cu. ft.). Fridges for RVs and mini-refrigerators often fall between one and eight cubic feet.
RV refrigerators and mini-fridges often have a plethora of accessories and features that make them stand out from the rest. While many of these features and accessories are optional, knowing which ones you need can ensure that you get the maximum benefit out of the refrigerator you choose. We’ve listed some of the more popular features and accessories below.
Two- or Three-Way Power
In the case of RV refrigerators, you will need to decide if you want a 2-way or 3-way RV fridge. There are three ways to power your RV fridge with AC, DC or with LP gas. With a two-way refrigerator you have the choice to run your fridge from one of two of these options. With a three-way RV refrigerator you have the ability to run from one of all these options, an AC or DC electric power source, or from propane gas.
For more information on how to power your RV appliances check out our articles on RV generators and inverters, or indeed how to create your own electricity with an RV solar power kit.
Evidently, if you want to go for the gas option you will also need a supply of gas from canisters or a propane tank.
One very helpful feature is the automatic switch feature. Some refrigerators for RVs can automatically switch from electric power to LP gas as a fuel source. That’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about if you have this feature.
Shelving System, Door Bins and Drink Holders
Do you want your refrigerator to hold a lot of meat, a lot of beer, or a lot of both? Fridges often come with many different types of food space to drink holder ratios. Some fridges are geared more towards beers and sodas because they’ll have a ton of drink holder slots. Some of them may have a space for a 2-liter drink. Others may have multiple shelves and sections for you to arrange your food. Racks and drink holders don’t have anything to do with the quality of your product, but everything to do with what you need the fridge for.
Out of the two types, mini-fridges make the most noise, but with the advancement of modern technology, even mini-refrigerators are more on the quiet side. Noise level is measured in decibels (dBa). For a frame of reference, 60 dBa is the level of a normal conversation. Thirty dBa is the level of a whisper, and 100 dBa is the level of a motorcycle. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a decibel level of 60 or lower.
A travel trailer refrigerator or mini-fridge is an investment. You don’t want to potentially throw money away by not having an excellent warranty to back you up if parts of the fridge go haywire. Any refrigerator, no matter what kind it is, is intended to last for a very long time. A warranty should reflect this by being lengthy as well. If the model has a guarantee of less than a year, steer clear of that product. We urge you to consider fridges with at least a two-year warranty.
The Best RV Refrigerators – The Results
SMAD Small Three-Way Refrigerator
The SMAD 3-Way fridge is a versatile RV refrigerator for camper travel. With the ability to use propane gas, AC or DC electrical power sources, you can rest assured that your unit will keep on working in any situation. It has a freestanding design, and can be placed anywhere it will fit in your RV as long as you make sure it has adequate ventilation.
This model comes in two different capacities of 1.4 or 2.1 cubic feet. It doesn’t have a freezer, but the interior is designed well so that you’ll benefit from the maximum use of its space. It measures 15.8 x 17.7 x 24.8 inches and weighs 40 pounds.
Both capacities have the same internal design inside the fridge. They have two wire shelves in the main body and two racks in the door, with one rack made for tall bottle storage. The only difference between the two is the space capacity, so only go for the larger size if you think that storing three or four extra drinks is worth an additional $100 or so.
- Comes in multiple capacities
- Is extremely quiet, even when you first power it up
- Reversible door
- Complicated to ignite
- When it’s hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the unit has difficulty staying cooler than 50 degrees
Bottom-Line: The SMAD 3 way RV refrigerator doesn’t have any frills about it, but it’s a good model that will keep things cold.
Dometic Americana DM2672
The Dometic Americana DM2672 is a spacious double-door model with plenty of shelves to organize your food and drinks. The unit measures 24 x 23 x 53.8 inches and has six cubic feet of storage. It’s cumbersome – weighing in at 115 pounds meaning once you set it in place, you probably won’t be moving it around very much.
This model is a top-quality product constructed with an all-steel frame (which is why it’s so heavy) and with locks on the doors so they stay closed when you’re driving. We were impressed with the two, crisper drawers and adjustable shelves. Even the freezer shelf can be adjusted to three different positions.
This is a camper fridge that was constructed with the user in mind. It’s a 2-way RV refrigerator that runs from AC power or LP gas and has an automatic switch feature. It’s spacious, convenient, and works well. It would be hard not to be pleased with this purchase.
- The electronic controls are at eye level
- Reversible door
- Automatically controls temperature based on the surrounding temperature
- Easy to use
- Has automatic ice maker
- High gas consumption (1501.28 BTU/h)
- Is very expensive
Bottom-Line: This is a budget breaker, but a top-performing model that makes for an excellent long-term investment.
This 45-quart portable refrigerator can also double up as a chest-style RV freezer. It’s a two-way unit that runs from a DC or AC power supply and uses only 65 watts. It’s robust, powerful, and portable. If you require a lot of storage for food and drinks, this is an excellent choice. It has a 45-quart storage capacity, which is enough to hold 60 standard cans. You can adjust the temperature from -8°F to 50°F, with a fast freeze mode for rapid freezing, it’s going to keep your food fresh and frozen with no problems.
This small RV refrigerator comes with two wire baskets to help separate your food. The walls and lid are insulated, so this helps with cold retention. To wrap it all up nicely, the unit has a brightly lit LCD panel that gives you the control diagnostics and temperature.
The 12 volt Whynter FM-45G measures 23.5 x 16.5 x 20.5 inches and, surprisingly, only weighs about 45 pounds. It has a one-year warranty. While we wish the warranty was longer, it’s better than nothing. Despite this, this unit is great for people who need a ton of storage space for a lot of different items.
- Works even if it isn’t completely level
- Has two metal handles to make carrying it easy
- You can get it in a camouflage color
- Compressor makes it loud
- The LCD is in an awkward spot
Bottom-Line: This is a fantastic lightweight option for travel trailers, it’s energy-efficient, portable, and can be used as a fridge or freezer.
If you need a genuinely portable fridge, the Alpicool C20 is a phenomenal choice. It’s compact, sturdy, and works well. It’s also lightweight, so it’s easy to move around. You can even use it outdoors.
The Alpicool is chest-style and can freeze down to -4 degrees. It’s made of a lightweight plastic which we usually don’t like, but it’s still constructed well, and most importantly does a good job keeping cool. It’s a 2-way refrigerator that can be powered by either a DC or AC power supply and has an easy-to-operate built-in control panel on the top of the unit for temperature control.
The unit weighs only 20 pounds making it easy to move around and comes with handles to carry it. The handles are a little small, and you’ll probably only be able to fit your fingers underneath instead of your whole hand. However, this model is so lightweight it still shouldn’t be too difficult to pick up and move around.
- Comes in multiple capacities from 16 quarts to 53 quarts
- Has a three-stage protection system to prevent the battery from draining
- The unit works even if it’s not on a level surface
- The temperature on display is sometimes inaccurate
- The freezer can over-freeze your food
Bottom-Line: If you are camping out or traveling light the Alpicool C20 may be the best RV fridge freezer for you.
Midea 3.1 Cubic Feet Compact
This double-door mini-fridge and freezer looks and operates just like a full-size residential fridge you would have in your home. The top freezer compartment has 0.9 cubic foot interior space and freezes as cold as -11°F. The bottom fridge is 2.2 cu. ft. and the adjustable thermostat has a temperature range between 32°F to 50°F. The only difference between the Midea and a full-size fridge is the capacity.
This mini-fridge has a compressor, so it’s not whisper-quiet, but it’s quieter than a lot of other compression fridges on the market. The noise level is less than 45 dBa, which is only slightly louder than light rain. Another feature we are impressed with is the interior design. It features glass shelves, a fruit/vegetable crisper, and a drink holder.
The Midea mini-fridge measures 18.5” x 19.4” x 33” and weighs a little over 50 pounds. It’s a great, high-quality unit that comes with many perks. It has a one-year warranty, which isn’t ideal, but with the quality of the product, you most likely won’t need the warranty any time soon.
- Has an interior light
- Ample room for 2-liter drinks
- Reversible doors
- There may be some problems with condensation
- The temperature can fluctuate
Bottom-Line: This is a great, typical mini-fridge that’s affordable and has some interesting features for the price.
Last update on 2024-02-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API