Best Fridge for Van Life [2019] Buying Guide


One of the things that worry most when we leave the campsite is where to store the food, so we decided to find the best fridge for van life, one where I could carry it all comfortably and keep my food fresh, which was not possible in the past.

When traveling, the least you want is to spend more, so the waste of food is not an option and to prevent this from happening, it is essential to have a good quality refrigerator to preserve food and also be portable, so you can be inside the caravan without problems.

If you’re looking for the best campervan fridge like me, we’ve got good reviews, I’ve run into some models that have made me freak out as they’ve got everything they need besides being affordable.

What is Fridge for Van Life?

Between searching and searching, we found that conventional models of the fridge for caravans can be found, which are the compressor or also trivalent refrigerators that function through chemical reactions with a different system.

There’s also the electric, thermo-electric and gas, but choosing the model indicated for the van will depend on your needs and your budgets, of course.

For someone who just starts in the caravan world, finding the right fridge model can be a bit confusing, so we’ll give you a review to make the search easier with this comparison.

Review of the Best Fridge for Van Life

1. COSTWAY 54 Quart Portable Refrigerator/Freezer Compact Vehicle Car Mini Fridge Electric Cooler

This refrigerator could hold a large number of drinks with a large capacity of 52L. There is also plenty of room for food and snacks. At home, camping fishing or vehicles, you could apply it. For the constant temperature of cosmetics or medicines, the appropriate temperature could also be chosen. This cooler could be able to withstand the harsh environment.

Even the jouncy road condition would be in good condition. This refrigerator could achieve fast cooling of 30 minutes from 90 ° F to 32 ° F for the compressor cooling technology. You can also choose ECO mode for energy-saving or MAX mode for quick cooling (empty container or environment temperature cannot exceed 89.6 ° F).

Battery protection levels are 3 different: Low, Med, and High. This design can meet your various needs and protect your battery for your vehicle. Digitized temperature adjustment with LCD display. Adjusting temperature and mode is convenient. The operation is easy to learn how to use it quickly.

2. Alpicool C15 Portable Refrigerator 16 Quart(15 Liter) Vehicle, Car, Truck, RV, Boat, Mini fridge freezer

Do you want to keep the beer cool on an outdoor trip? Going away for a while and having food to be kept in a freezer? The Alpicool C15 Portable Fridge is a great choice of kit for those looking for a portable refrigerator/freezer. It is suitable for car and home and works great with your solar system. Can freeze up to-4 °F(-20 ° C) for authentic car cooling and home compact fridge.

Easy to move with portable handles on both sides. Resistant vibration design to protect the safety of the device while driving on the road. Safe to run from horizontal angles up to 45 ° —great for 4WDing! Electronic temperature control digital control panel. High-efficiency compressor with ECO and HH modes that are adjustable. Whether you’re going to the park for a picnic or camping on the road for months, the New Alpicool C15 Portable Fridges are invaluable to keep your food fresh and your drinks cold!

It can be powered from 12V and 24V car batteries and can also be powered at home from 110V-240V mains. Moreover, we have a 3-level car battery protection system that allows the batteries of your vehicle to remain charged without running down. Ready to hit the highway and have a great time on your adventure? Let’s go to the C15 Alpicool!

3. Engel AC/DC Portable Tri-Voltage Fridge/Freezer w/ABS Plastic Shell – 40 Qt

Engel AC / DC Portable top-opening fridge-freezer may brace a breath of salt air for you in the morning, but on steel, it can be tough. We’re offering the Engel MR040 for that reason. It offers the same performance with an ABS case that is durable and corrosion-resistant-and more suitable for marine applications. The Engel Swing Motor Compressor is featured in all Engel fridge/freezers.

Highly efficient, it usually draws approximately 1 to 2 Amps per hour (check the specs below), about 40% less than a traditional compressor. Engel fridge/freezers run on battery power (12V/24V DC) or 110V/120V AC, so you can use your Engel to make life a little easier, whether you’re on the road, on the water or at home.

4. ARB 10800472 Fridge Freezer- 50 Quart

ARB refrigerator-freezers are designed to cool your food and drinks both actively and passively, even when the vehicle is off. When the refrigerator’s internal temperature rises above the setting of the digital thermostat, the compressor activates to refresh the contents. The adjustable built-in battery protection system enables the refrigerator to sip battery power while your vehicle is off, keeping your food and drinks cold without draining your battery too much.

The 50-quarter model is able to maintain sub-freezing temperatures at a temperature of 90 degrees while drawing only 0.87 amps per hour from a 12-volt power source. This is less power than the drawing of a single headlamp. Once at temperature, when compared to other leading brands, ARB fridge freezers consume the least amount of power.

The 50-quarter model is the ARB fridge size most popular and is perfect for small groups. Its footprint is suitable for most medium to large SUVs, pick-up trucks and wagons. The main indoor compartment is 13.27 “deep, 11.22” wide and 15.79 “high; and the dairy compartment is 5.95” deep, 11.22 “wide and 8.11” high. It can hold up to 72 12-ounce cans, as well as a two-liter soda bottle.

All ARB fridge freezer models are designed with travelers and off-road drivers in mind and come equipped with a super-sustainable patented hinge system with a front opening lid that allows easy access to refrigerator content. This design is compatible with ARB fridge freezer slides, providing quick drawer-like access to the entire unit and allowing you to bolt your vehicle’s fridge.

ARB refrigerator-freezers can be mounted up to 30 degrees at extreme angles without affecting operation or reliability. There are two separate power cords. The DC power cord connects to the DC power outlet of your vehicle, providing the unit with 12 and 24-volt power while on the go. The AC power cord connects to a standard household electrical socket and provides power to the refrigerator when you are at home or at your destination.

When not in use, an integrated cable retention system keeps the power cords neat. Within the fridge unit, the power system is fully self-contained, so there are no external transformers or “bricks” to worry about. As with any refrigerator, it is important that the quality of the cable runs to the power outlet in which you plug the refrigerator. This minimizes harmful drops in voltage that can damage internal components. It is recommended that you protect the fridge freezer against weather and elements for increased product life.

5. Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer

The portable refrigerator/freezer Dometic cfx compressor provides excellent cooling performance even at extreme ambient temperatures and low power consumption. They can be used for both standard cooling and freezing. High-tech cfx refrigerator/freezers are equipped with heavy-duty features such as reinforced corners, stainless steel hinges and a robust lid lining that can withstand the most demanding loads.

They are, however, remarkably lightweight and easy to carry. The models cfx 35W to cfx 100W provide you with the convenient option to control and monitor the cooling temperature with the WiFi app (excluding cfx-28 & cfx 65Dz). Appropriate for deep freezing up to-7 degrees F(-22 degrees C) without ice. Everyone operates on 12/24 Volts DC and 120 Volts AC, so they move from home to vehicle seamlessly. (Including 12/24 V DC Cord and 120V AC Cord).

Cfx special digital temperature display electronics. Extremely efficient operation and superbly quiet. The USB port for charging small electronic devices or smartphones. Drain plug makes it easy to clean. Indoor LED light energy efficient. Suitable for operation with solar power. Protection of the 3-story battery. Memory keeps temperatures preset even when the system is switched off.

There is a removable wire basket in the cooling compartment. Great for any RV, car, truck or boat to add refrigerator or freezer space. You can take your refrigerator / deep freezer with you on any adventure with the ability to use multiple power sources.

6. Coleman Cooler| 40-Quart Portable Cooler

When you’re on the road, the Coleman PowerChill Portable Thermoelectric Cooler keeps food items at the right temperature. Without the need for ice, this portable thermoelectric cooler keeps its contents up to 40 degrees cooler than the surrounding temperature, making it ideal to keep drinks and perishables cold. This portable cooler and food warmer is perfect for long road trips and features a compact design that fits easily into most cars ‘ cabin or trunk.

A storage tray helps you organize your food and beverages while a convertible door opens from either the right or left side to provide additional flexibility in placement. And you can easily power this portable cooler with a car or boat outlet thanks to the included 12-volt plug and 8-foot power cord.

7. SMETA Electric 110V Mini fridge Freightliner Cascadia 12V Truck Refrigerator RV Can Cooler Camper, 36 qt

Because of their high science and technology, absorption refrigerators are widely used in hotels. However, this product is not really known to many users. This item is designed to improve your living and enjoy comfort. The refrigerator for the absorption system is a compact, completely silent refrigerator that does not use any compressors or fans.

Designed originally for commercial use or similar use. You will enjoy the convenience and comfort for years to come with its silent operation and attractive design. Rear Mounted, Reversible Door, Balcony, Automatic defrosting, LED light, No Freon lock, no pollution, low energy consumption, environment-friendly, no sleeping noise. Best for home, dorm, hotel, hospital, bar, camping, traveling, car, truck, boat.

What are the types of refrigerator/fridge for vans?

First of all, passive refrigerators or bags are known that simply use ice to keep their interior at low temperatures, then the most common thermoelectric coolers are those connected to the cigarette lighter of the car, that is, where the cigarettes are lit and they work with 12 volts.

There are also compressor coolers, which, despite their low power consumption, offer high performance and there are models that even have a cooler. And finally we have trivalent or absorption refrigerator models because they work with a combination of electricity and gas, these are different from the others.

Bag coolers or passive refrigerators

The use of ice packs, gel or frozen water bottles to preserve food inside and keep drinks at a good temperature characterizes this type of refrigerator.

They are used for camping because they can keep the temperature without melting for many days. Moreover, they are usually the least expensive refrigerator models, so if you have a reduced budget, they will be the best option.

Thermo-electric refrigerators

On the other hand, these refrigerators are the most common and the most sought-after, for various reasons, including their low weight, which can cool many degrees below room temperature.

They are the perfect allies if you have some sort of constant energy source, such as solar energy, as they usually discharge the battery of the caravan quite quickly.

Compressor refrigerators

The compressor of the refrigerator work in the same way as the refrigerators we have at home, they are mechanical and have a great quality of cooling. Their energy consumption level depends on the outside temperature as they will need more energy to work at higher temperatures, but this does not interfere with their internal temperature. This type of fridge has the best performance among all models, even though it tends to be more expensive.

Trivalent or absorption refrigerator

This type of refrigerator uses different mechanisms to operate, i.e. they use electricity and gas, which is usually propane gas, they can cool down to 30 ° C below room temperature, and they are extremely quiet, making them ideal for camping out.

How to Choose the Best Fridge for Van Life?

Before buying a refrigerator for a van, there are different factors to consider, the main thing is the space you have in the caravan, how much you are willing to spend and which is best suited to your needs among all the models.

As well as being affordable, thermoelectric refrigerators are perfect for small spaces and will be the winning option if you have constant energy in the van, such as solar or wind power.

On the other hand, the trivalent refrigerators have a great ability to cool, they are silent and can last a very long time with the proper care, their disadvantage is that they can have difficulty cooling in very hot climates because they do not have sufficient air passage in their system.

Compressor refrigerators have great advantages as their cooling capacity is not affected by any circumstances or temperature changes, these occur in many sizes and designs, plus their compressor uses no constant energy.

If you have no idea what the best fridge for van life and you are a newbie in this world, you need to know the basics and fundamentals.

These fridges work a little different from the ones you have at home, mainly because they do not consume as much energy, they are portable, they occupy little space, so they are the best option to take on a trip and for camping. These are classified into different models, as already mentioned throughout the article.

This type of refrigerators, being of the small compressor or having models that do not even have one, require constant maintenance to ensure that they continue to function correctly.

This is the case of refrigerators that work with different types of energy sources, such as trivalent refrigerators, which in addition to using electricity, which can be 110 watts or 120, also use gas to operate.

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