Latest Best 12v Refrigerator Units for Campers’ Camping Van and Tent

Refrigerators are considered the heart of the kitchen. We store our foods there, starting with breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. It enables us to stock up on products and maintain freshness.

What if there are compact refrigerators? Can you even imagine the convenience and benefits it can offer?

The good news is, there are compact cooling chests available in the market. If this specific cooler is new to you, then this article and more astonishing reviews would help you learn everything about it and help you choose.

Ideally, these appliances are for on-the-go people. For long trips, wanders, outings, and other outdoor adventures, these are used to maintain food’s freshness and maintain your drinks cold.

Road trips with family or friends are always fun and exciting. It enables us to get away from stress and refreshes our minds.

For fun and successful road trip, we must bring many snacks. However, the major problem we encounter most of the time is maintaining our meal fresh.

Since these appliances are compact and can carry around everywhere, they may be the right solution for maintaining food and beverages.

Before deciding on which compact cooling chest you should buy, many factors to consider. In line with that besides, there are different types of small refrigerators. In choosing the fittest appliance, brief research is necessary, so you’ll be able to get what would ideally suit your preferences.

As you browse this web page, you’ll be able to sort out what is perfect for you as we will go through them. These products we’ve researched are better than Yeti manufactured products such as Yeti YHOP30T portable cold storage, and it is currently not available in stores.

Editor’s Choice

Best Overall
Engel MR040F
Engel MR040F

A heavy-duty cooler is 40% less than any other traditional compressor, more durable, more adapted, and corrosion-resistant ABS case.

Best Value
Dometic CFX28
Dometic CFX28

Applicable in extreme circulating temperature, excellent cooling performance, and minimal electricity consumption with the superbly quiet operation mode.

Premium Choice

A true freezer/ refrigerator with two separate cords for power works best with a 4×4 trunk that enables you to chill or freeze. 

Product Comparison Table

Image Product Features Price
Dometic CDF11 Dometic CDF11
  • Capacity: 10.5 Liters
  • Size: 21.6” x 9.4 x 14.1 inches
  • Special Features: Energy Efficiency
Check Price On Amazon
Dometic CFX40W Dometic CFX40W
  • Capacity: 26 Liters
  • Size: 13.42” x 16.9” x 24.4”
  • Special Features: Temperature Control via Mobile app
Check Price on Northridge4x4
Costway Car Freezer Costway Car Freezer
  • Capacity: 52 Liters
  • Size: 27.5″ x 14″ x 21″
  • Special Features: Fast Cooling and electricity Saving
Check Price On Amazon
Dometic CFX 65DZ Dometic CFX 65DZ
  • Capacity: 60 Liters
  • Size: 37.6” x 18.5” x 20.86”
  • Special Features: Detachable and Reversible Polypropylene lid
Check Price On Amazon
Whynter FM-45G Whynter FM-45G
  • Capacity: 45 Quarts
  • Size: 23.5″ x 16.5″ x 20.5″
  • Special Features: Rapid Freezingid
Check Price On Amazon
New Engel MT45 Platinum New Engel MT45 Platinum
  • Capacity: 40 Liters
  • Size: 26” x 20” x 15”
  • Special Features: Can stand vibration and shock
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Ausranvik 37QT Ausranvik 37QT
  • Capacity: 26 Quarts
  • Size: 23” x 13” x 14”
  • Special Features: Has Intelligent Battery Protection
Check Price On Amazon
Alpicool C20 Alpicool C20
  • Capacity: 20 Liters
  • Size: 23.54” x 12.6” x 12.6”
  • Special Features: Lightweight and can be carried
Check Price On Amazon
Premium Choice
ARB 10800472
ARB 10800472
  • Capacity: 50 Quarts
  • Size: 27.75″ x 14.96″ x 20
  • Special Features: Huge full grip EZ latch
Check Price On Amazon
Cho Power Sports Cho Power Sports
  • Capacity: 40 Liters
  • Size: 23” x 15” x 19”

Check Price On Amazon
Best Overall
Engel MR040F-U1
Engel MR040F-U1
  • Capacity: 40 Quarts
  • Size: 25″ x 15.5″ x 18.5″
  • Special Features: All plastic exterior
Check Price On Amazon
Dometic DM2652RB Dometic DM2652RB
  • Capacity: 2 Liters and ½ Gallon
  • Size: 53 ¾” x 23 11/16” x 24”
  • Special Features: Eye-level Electronic Control
Check Price On Amazon
Norcold NRF30 Norcold NRF30
  • Capacity: 30 Liters
  • Size: 15.6” x 22” x 15.7”
  • Special Features: Separate compartments for freezer and refrigerator
Check Price On Amazon
Dometic TC21-DC-A Dometic TC21-DC-A
  • Capacity: 20 Liters
  • Size: 16.5” x 17.7” x 11.9”
  • Special Features: Can set the hardware to either cool or warm
Check Price On Amazon
Smeta Smeta
  • Capacity: 45 Liters
  • Size: 15.75” x 17.72” x 26.3”
  • Special Features: Has an automatic defrost system
Check Price On Amazon
TruckFridge/Indel B 12V Travel Box Fridges TruckFridge/Indel B 12V Travel Box Fridges
  • Capacity: 51 Liters
  • Size: 24 x 14.75 x 22.75 inches
  • Special Features: ECO electricity saving mode
Check Price On Amazon
Koolatron Thermoelectric 36 Quart Koolatron Thermoelectric 36 Quart
  • Capacity: 34 Liters
  • Size: 20.5″ x 15.5″ x  15.75″
  • Special Features: Can stand horizontal and vertical
Check Price On Amazon
Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler 40QT Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler 40QT
  • Capacity: 37.9 liters
  • Size: 21.9 “ x 15.2” x 16.8”
  • Special Features: Has fans that circulate air
Check Price On Amazon

Our Top 18 Best RV Refrigerators Product Reviews 2020

1. Dometic CDF11 12v Electric Powered Portable Fridge


  • electricity saving and can be powered through solar electricity
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Can deep freeze up to 0 degree
  • Comes with an adjustable shoulder strap


  • Does not maintain coolness when unplugged
  • Limited snacks and beverages storage


In the line of portable coolers for trucks and campervans, Dometic is the most reliable. It is considered one of the most compact and miniature among other freezers, but the performance is beyond expectations.

The total capacity of Dometic CDF11 is more or less about 10.5 liters, making it best for small vehicles and short trips. In addition, it can store at most 18 cans of soda.

Though this cooler is quite a little expensive, it can still be an excellent buy because it is electricity efficient compared to other coolers. When you first plug it, the cooling time will take around 30 mins. This process consumes about 40 to 60 watts until it reaches your desired temperature.

It can cool up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it reaches your desired condition, the electricity consumption will decrease to 1 to 2 watts, just enough to maintain calm.

Since this product is compact and small, measuring only 21.6″ x 9.4 x 14.1 inches, you can bring it around effortlessly, requiring minimal effort to transfer it from one place to another. It is also light, weighing only 19 lbs.

The product is made of high-quality material, making it durable—equipped with a light condenser with a slim design.

2. Dometic CFX40W 12v Electric Powered Fridge Freezer


  • electricitBuilt-in automatic turbo cooler with memory function
  • Mobile app controls
  • USB port for charging small devices
  • Efficient deep freezing performance with minimal electricity consumption
  • Separate cooling compartments
  • Can operate with batteries


  • Needs a separate thermal cover to maintain coolness when unplugged and battery operated


When it comes to compact cooling devices, Dometic is one of the well-known brands. However, long travels, outings, or adventures may require many snacks to store. A giant cooler is ideal for these kinds of trips.

Unlike CDF 11, the Dometic 40W model is more prominent. The hardware’s dimension measures about 27.2″ W x 18.1″ H x 15.7″ D (update this), with a volume capacity of up to 40 Q, making it an excellent choice to accommodate a more significant volume of snacks and beverages.

If you are keen on storage and organization, this will best suit your preferences because this product has two separate compartments for cooling and freezing. It also comes with a wire basket making it even more ideal for organization.

CoolFreeze Special Electronics power has an intelligent cooling system and a memory function feature. It can operate on both AC volt and DC volt and solar electricity. Another plus is the USB port to plug on your devices like cell phones.

What makes it even more fascinating is that you can control its thermal reading via a mobile app. It can as well connect this cooling hardware with wifi.

The physical structure has a robust closing mechanism and reinforced corners, making it heavy duty. It also has interior LED lights which only consume very low electricity. In addition, it is easy to bring with space-saving foldable and detachable handles.

3. Costway Car Freezer Travel Refrigerator


  • Large volume capacity
  • Comes with an interior tray for organization
  • Can be switched into ECO mode for electricity saving
  • Shockproof and durable
  • Quiet compressor


  • A little heavy, weighing about 36 lbs.


If you are in the group of scouts of a bigger compact cooling chest that can accommodate a lot of foods and beverages, Costway Car Freezer Travel 12 v would be your top option.

It has a large capacity of 52 L with an overall dimension of 27.5″ x 14″ x 21″, making it efficient to hold enormous food and beverages simultaneously. This hardware is appropriate for extended outdoor stays and road trips.

It is equipped and designed with a fast cooling and electricity-saving system. The condenser cooling technology can cool up within 30 minutes from 90 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit down. In addition, you can switch it to an ECO saving mode to ensure rapid cooling and electricity saving.

The batteries can be set into three levels: low, medium, and high, making it convenient to choose your desired condition.

If we consider durability, this product is on the first-rate list. Made with ABS sturdy and heavy-duty shell for long-term use. It has an LCD monitor for a comfortable setting of thermal reading controls. It can withstand bumpy roads as it is shockproof as well.

4. Dometic CFX 65DZ 12v Electric Powered Portable Fridge


  • Large vCFX Special Electronics for turbo cooling and intelligent memory function
  • electricity saving
  • Has separate basket and dairy compartment ideal for storing perishables
  • USB Port for charging small devices
  • Wifi operated app
  • Heavy duty
  • Large volume capacity
  • Has three battery levels
  • Can be used on AC or DC as well as solar electricity
  • Portable


  • Expensive among other Dometic Series


Among our list, this cooler belongs to the expensive appliances. However, the performance is beyond expectations and might be why you can get your cash’s worth.

Dometic 65DZ has a volume capacity of 60 L, enabling you to put a lot of stuff within. Therefore, this model is ideal for prominent families’ camping and other outdoor leisure vehicle activities. 

Like the other Dometic series, this is equipped with the CFX Special Electronics responsible for the automatic and intelligent turbo cooling process and the memory function.

The CFX Special Electronics features electricity saving because it automatically reverts into low electricity consumption mode once the turbo cooling process is done. It can let you save up to 35% of electricity compared to the previous series as it is now designed to have a high-performance condenser and reliable, durable insulation.

Other features are very convenient and easy to use too. For example, it has a USB port that can be used as a charging station for small devices. In addition, the thermal reading can be adjusted and controlled via a wifi mobile app.

This model’s robust, heavy-duty design makes it suitable for long-term usage. In addition, it can withstand harsh environments. It comes with a detachable and reversible Polypropylene lid for practical use.

5. Whynter FM-45G 45-Quart Portable Refrigerator Freezer


  • Large vCFX Special Electronics for turbo cooling Can be switched to both AC and DC at the same time so if AC fails, it will continue to run using DC source
  • Can be used as cold cache or freezer, cooler
  • Has baskets for organization
  • Has a low electricity indicator light inside
  • Durable and for long term use
  • Rapid freezing feature for faster cooling performance


  • Insulated bags are sold separately
  • The size sometimes cannot fit the standard vehicle compartment size.


One of the most reliable and efficient brands is the Whynter FM-45G 45-Quart Portable 12 v Refrigerator Freezer, designed with innovation and premium quality. This device can best suit your leisure activities and put on within your campervan, boats, or campsite.

It can work like a ref, a cooler, or a freezer simultaneously. The high volume capacity of 45 quarts equivalent to 60 cans offers a convenient solution for maintaining your food fresh and your drinks cold while on long travels.

This product also has a rapid freezing feature, enabling it to cool up whatever is inside for a short amount of time, making it electricity-saving! In addition, it can be switched to a 110 volt AC or a DC electricity source such as your campervan battery at the same time.

The package comes with separate baskets, which is ideal for goods organization. In addition, when you overuse the product, a warning light will be seen to let you know that it is about to shut down when unplugged.

When it comes to its physical structure, it is built with heavy-duty materials. The lid and walls are well insulated, which helps maintain coolness within. The external dimension measures 23.5″ W x 16.5″L x 20.5″ H.

6. New Engel MT45 Platinum 12volt 110volt


  • Compatible to most Engel Series accessories
  • Can run with AC or DC source
  • It has LED digital control monitor
  • Solar electricity compatible
  • Vibration resistant
  • Can still operate when inclined up to 30ª off level


  • Heavyweight
  • Cannot be moved around easily


We are always hunting for tools to make our lives easier in this modern era. We’ve never been thankful enough that the best 12v refrigerators were invented to maintain our products fresh. What if you can bring your cooling chest with you when you travel?

Compact cooling chests are the best option to maintain your drinks cold for rvers who travel a lot and are all outdoor leisure outdoor activities. Engel, one of the promising brands in this specific line of products, has released a new line of their compact cold depot series.

The new Engel MT45 Platinum 12v 110 volt has added features and fans. In addition, it has a capacity of 45 quarts, making it convenient to store a lot of drinks and perishables. 

It is designed to have digital condition control with a LED monitor, making it user-friendly. In addition, it has a built-in battery monitor as its unique features as well.

Since it is made from heavy-duty materials, the product can stand vibrations and shock, making it easy to handle when you run into bumpy roads. In addition, it has a built-in Engel Swing, which features 40% less electricity consumption than other products. It automatically selects voltage whether you plug it into AC or DC.

7. Ausranvik 37 Quart Portable Fridge


  • Compatible to most Engel Series accessoriEasy LED display and touch control
  • Has two cooling modes; Max and Eco
  • USB plug for charging small devices
  • Intelligent battery feature
  • Has thick 1.4” insulation thickness which maintains coolness within for up to 10 hours max after being unplugged
  • Shockproof sleek design
  • The compressor can go as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit, ideal for deep freezing
  • Has a built-in drain at the bottom for easy cleaning


  • Handles are small which makes it quite hard to carry


When looking for a compact appliance, it is a plus if it can run and withstand extreme ambient conditions without consuming a lot of electricity. The Ausranvik 37-Quart Portable Fridge Car Refrigerator makes it efficient hardware with high cooling performance.

It works like a refrigerator and freezer, plugged into AC or DC. This product is an ideal option for both tent and vehicle use. In addition, it has a memory function feature that you do not have to reset the thermal reading when you plug it off and then re-plug it into another source.

It has a LED display and touches control, enabling the user to set the desired condition. The appliance has two modes: the Max fast cooling mode and the ECO electricity saving mode. A convenient USB plug is available for users to charge their small devices.

This appliance’s most significant feature is its intelligent battery protection, high, medium, or low. In addition, it monitors your battery to automatically shut off to keep your battery from draining when the electricity runs lower than its requirement.

The dimensions are 23″ x 13″ x 14″ inches and typically weigh about 32.4 lbs. The package comes with an AC electricity cord and a DC electricity cord.

Another exceptional feature of this compact cooling chest is its drain plug at the bottom, enabling the user to drain liquids effortlessly. But, of course, this feature is for easy cleaning too.

8. Alpicool C20 Portable Fridge Freezer


  • Lightweight and can be carried around effortlessly
  • Can be placed inside a tent
  • Heavy-duty for long term use
  • Has a battery protection feature
  • Can deep freeze


  • The temperature display is not accurate.


If you are looking for a compact cooler that is easy to carry around everywhere, then it is for you. Alpicool C20 Portable Fridge Freezer has a 23.54 x 12.6 x 12.6 inches dimension and measures only around 19.8 pounds. The total capacity of this hardware is 20 liters.

It can work as a deep fridge and a cooling chest as well. It has max and eco mode for rapid freezing and electricity saving too. It can both be plugged into ac or dc, even solar electricity sources. 

The cooler has a battery protection feature set into three modes; low, medium, and high. This product helps protect your vehicle’s battery life.

Though it is very compact, it is heavy-duty and made durable plastic material, lasting long. In addition, it has high-density foam insulation that can maintain coolness for some time.

9. ARB 10800472 Fridge Freezer 50 Quart


  • It has built-in electrical cable withhold
  • Large internal capacity
  • It has an electronic thermal reading setting
  • Designed with drain plugs for easy cleaning
  • Front opening for convenient accessibility
  • Separate fruit and buttery compartments
  • It has a user-friendly front-facing thermostat controller
  • It has a unique stainless steel quick-release mechanism hinge
  • It has an integrated battery protection feature


  • Needs extra insulation cover or bag to maintain coolness


If your family is about to venture on long trips or encampment, it will best suit your preferences. The ARB 10800472 Fridge Freezer can accommodate a large number of goods. It is designed with a volume capacity of 50 quarts enabling the user to store up to 72 pieces of 12 ounces with extra space for snacks and perishables.

The ARB portable freezers are designed with a front opening lid for easy access. Its exterior footprint dimension is 27.75″L x 14.96″W x 20″H, the main compartment measures 13.27″ D x 11.22″ W x 15.79″ H and the dairy compartment is 5.95″ D x 11.22″ W x 8.11″ H.

It can maintain a 0-degree condition within and cool even not plugged into an electricity source. The package comes with two charge cables. One is the AC cord, which can be plugged into any standard house outlet, and the other is the DC cord, which can be plugged into your van’s 12 volt DC electricity outlet.

It is designed with an accessible, user-friendly control panel, and it comes with an electronic thermal reading setting. It has a superb robust hinge to ensure durability too. Another excellent feature of this hardware is the enormous full grip EZ latch that provides the lid’s quality seal.

10. Cho Power Sports Portable Refrigerator Freezer 30 Liter


  • It has built-in electrical cable withhold
  • Large internTelescopic handle and wheels for easy transport
  • Can be placed even inside camping tents
  • Two different cooling modes; HH and ECO
  • USB port for charging devices
  • Can be plugged into a power outlet
  • Has high quality and heavy-duty insulation


  • Protruding wheels can be a hindrance to smooth transport.


This freezer has a simple design yet offers excellent cooling and freezing performance. Ideal for outings, van life, road trips, and long boat rides. The Cho Power Sports Portable Refrigerator Freezer 30 L weighs up to 28 lbs with 30 liters. It measures 25″ x 16.5″ x 16.25″ unit dimensions.

This product has a telescopic handle, built-in side handles, and wheels, making it easy to transport and drag around even in your tents. In addition, it has quality interior insulation to keep you cool for a long time.

The outer part of this product is made with heavy-duty plastic that is super durable. It also comes with s USB port for charging small devices. 

The cooling system, powered by a condenser unit, can be set into the HH and ECO modes. HH mode is for rapid cooling, while the ECO mode is for electricity saving. The remarkable thing is, it does not drain your battery electricity.

The Cho PowerSports Portable freezer brand has different sizes and volume capacities; 9 liters, 15 liters, 30 liters, 40 liters, and 50 liters.

11. Engel MR040F-U1 AC DC Portable Refrigerator


  • IAC and DC compatible
  • The external shell is made with durable and high-quality ABS plastic
  • Shockproof and can withstand extreme outdoor conditions
  • Reliable and efficient Engel Swing motor
  • Has interior wire basket for easy organization
  • Can still operate even inclined for up to 30 degrees off level


  • Does not have a security system


It has the same ultra-efficient cooling feature as the MT45 model. The Engel MR040F-U1 AC DC Portable Refrigerator is ideal for boaters and outdoor van life campers because it now has a plastic exterior making it weather resistant. Power switches automatically from 12/24v DC to 110v AC.

Moving on to its specifications, it weighs about 48 pounds, and the dimension measure is 25 x 15.5 x 18.5 inches. This product offers the same performance as the other Engel portable refrigerator series model. The only difference is that this model has an ABS shell case, which best suits marine applications.

This product is equipped with a highly efficient Engel swing compressor, which consumes around 1 to 2 amp per electricity consumption. Like other compact cooling hardware, this product is compatible with AC and DC electricity sources. It works well with solar electricity too.

Another outstanding feature seen in this product is that it maintains coolness even when you turn off your vehicle or plug it off from your home outlet. In addition, this product is relatively compact and movable, considering its size and weight.

12. Dometic DM2652RB Americana Double Door Refrigerator


  • IAC and DCMade with durable solid steel frame
  • Can be operated with electricity or propane
  • Has organizational racks and layers
  • Doors can be securely gripped
  • It has an eye-level automatic controller
  • Doors can open up to 180 scales.


  • Not for vehicles with small compartments


One of the most remarkable Dometic products is the Dometic DM2652RB Americana Double Door Refrigerator, a stand-up refrigerator measuring 60.96 x 58.42 x 136.53 cm and weighing around 55.8 kg. The total volume capacity of this product is about 6 or 8 cubic. Feet.

The Dometic Americana double door cooling chest features two-way power source options such as the 110 volt AC or an LP Gas. It is the best-built cooling system because it has a solid steel durable construction and improved electronic controls.

For easy organization, it is designed with a versatile racking system. In addition, it has an adjustable shelving system and a three-position freezer shelf. 

Another commendable feature of this product is its eye-level electronic control, which automatically adjusts the condition within and maintains natural cooling depending on the ambient condition outside. In addition, the doors can be gripped securely, which means that all goods inside stay safe even during a bumpy ride.

13. Norcold NRF30 Portable Refrigerator


  • Stainless steel interior
  • It has a user-friendly electronic control panel
  • A built-in battery protection system
  • Has an interior wire basket for easy organization
  • Separate compartments for freezer and refrigerator
  • Has interior light
  • Can be placed inside tents
  • Made with durable materials


  • The package does not include an AC plug.


This cooling hardware is the best option for prominent families during their vanlife campings, sail boating trips, road trips, or even tents. The Norcold NRF30 Portable Refrigerator has 30 liters and measures 15.6 x 22 in x 15.7. It weighs only 17.9 kg, making it easy to transport and move around.

This equipment has an electronic control panel that indicates the condition on the technical side. This control panel is easy to use and very user-friendly. The user would control or set the desired state through this. In addition, it has a light indicator for specific installation issues or even battery levels.

The product’s review of safety is proven and tested. It is designed with CFC-free insulation foam and refrigerant. The condenser is hermetically sealed and has built-in low voltage protection as well.

Another feature is the battery protection with three levels. First, this prevents your battery from being drained. It automatically turns back the machine once an available electricity source is detected.

The package comes with an interior wire basket making the organization secure. In addition, the product is made from stainless steel in the interior, which prevents stains and improves cooling.

For clear visibility, this product has an interior light. In addition, it has a separate compartment for freezing products and a refrigerator section to keep the items fresh.

The exterior is made from heavy-duty plastic material, which is corrosion-proof. It is designed with a removable hinged lid and durable, removable handles.

14. Dometic TC21-DC-A Tropicool Thermoelectric 12v Cooler


  • Dual purpose, cooling, and heating
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Has 7 stage thermal reading setting
  • Convenient to use
  • Has memory function
  • Has electricity save circuit


  • Too small for big families


If you are looking for a versatile compact cooling chest, this is for you. The Dometic TC21-DC-A Tropicool 12v Cooler can also function more relaxed and warmer.

The thermoelectric technology is a fantastic feature it can offer. With this technology, you can set the hardware to cool or warm the products inside.

The physical product measures around 16.5″ H x 17.7″ W x 11.9″ D and has 20 liters. It is designed to be lightweight and has sturdy polymer carry handles to ensure convenient portability.

This cooler has a 7 stage thermal reading regulation, enabling you to choose the best condition setting you need. In addition, it has a memory function that allows the appliance to remember your past settings even after switching off.

This product can cool up to 27 Celsius below ambient conditions to keep your items chilled. On the other hand, it can warm up to 65 degrees Celsius to make your meals warm.

The interior has an efficient storehouse system to help you organize what’s within. In addition, it can be plugged into a DC electricity source.

15. Smeta 12V Lockable Refrigerator


  • Absorption refrigeration system
  • Automatic defrost
  • Does not emit pollution
  • Low electricity consumption
  • Has a door grip


  • Not for small vehicles


The Smeta 12V Lockable Refrigerator is an upright, compact mini cooling chest best for your van, boats, trucks, and apartments. This product uses an absorption refrigeration system, which means there are no built-in compressors or fans.

The dimension of this cooling appliance is (W*D*H): 15.8*16.1*19.7 inches. You can plug the cooling machine into a 110v AC electric or DC source.

This standing-up cooling chest has a reversible door, and it can also be rear-mounted. It is secure so that the things within will remain safe even during bumpy rides.

Another feature of this cooling hardware is its automatic defrost system. In addition, it has interior led lights for easy visibility.

It is considered an eco-friendly system because it does not emit pollution and consumes low electricity. In addition, it can cool up to 37 to 53 degrees Fahrenheit.

16. TruckFridge/Indel B 12V Travel Box Fridges


  • Light and compact dimensions
  • Budget-friendly
  • Reliable and efficient
  • It has a sturdy injection-molded lid with integrated closing
  • Battery protection feature
  • It has internal LED lights
  • Easy to handle and compact
  • Thermostat control to minimize electricity consumption


  • Produces loud noises


Fluckfridge is known to be the American brand of IndelB. IndelB is an Italian brand that has been in compact cooling unit manufacturing since the sixties. They also designed a particular unit for a space shuttle for additional info.

Since IndelB is a reputable brand, its units are highly reliable and efficient. The TruckFridge/Indel B 12V Travel Box Fridges are budget-friendly. They cost a little lower than the other brands, but they offer high-quality performance. These units are equipped with Danfoss BD35F compressors, which are pretty reliable.

The unit’s total dimension is 23 x 11 x 16.5 inches, and it weighs around 18.04 lbs. The total volume capacity is 15 liters. This product is suitable for trucks and other off-road vehicles. One of its features is the ECO mode, which helps with electricity saving.

Like other units, these models have three-level battery protection, which can prevent your batteries from draining. In addition, you could either plug it into an AC or DC electricity source if you prefer. Another feature is that it has electronic thermostat control.

17. Koolatron Thermoelectric 36 Quart (34 L) 12v Thermoelectric


  • No need for ice
  • Can warm your food
  • Can stand horizontally or vertically


  • Produce loud noise


Koolatron is a well-known brand when it comes to the thermoelectric industry. This particular feature can either warm up or cool down your meal or drinks.

You can plug it directly into your vehicle’s outlet. In addition, Koolatron has a removable shelf so that you can organize and separate meals and drinks.

18. Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler 40QT


  • Has fans that circulate the cold breeze
  • Adjustable metal shelf


  • Handles are not durable


The Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler 40QT is a convenient appliance because you can place it vertically or horizontally, and it does not affect its performance like the other Igloo models. It is a 40 qt chest appliance with 21.9 x 15.2 x 16.8 inches and weighs 18.75 lbs.

The Igloo brand is a well-known brand in the thermoelectric industry. They have made several appliances with excellent-performing reliability.

Different Types of Best RV 12V Refrigerator 

Refrigerators have been around for quite some time. Advanced technology makes it even better and more convenient to use as time passes by. So what’s even better than bringing a cooling chest with you on a road trip?

The latest tech advancements made compact cooling chests and coolers available. There are a lot of varieties to choose from. If you are an adventurous person, having a cooling compartment in your vanlife would be super awesome!

In choosing the correct device to fit your demands, it’s best to know their differences. Each type offers excellent performance and reliability.

Start by getting familiar with the heart of every freezer, the refrigeration system. There are a few refrigeration systems: the 12-volt condenser types, the thermoelectric coolers, and the three-way absorption refrigeration system.

Before going into an in-depth review of these systems, let’s talk about how refrigeration works first.

The refrigeration’s basic principle is that the refrigerant is compressed by a heat pump, increasing its thermal reading and pressure, then processed into the condenser depending on ambient conditions.

The refrigerant gas will then circulate to the cooling chest’s coils, therefore, making its condition even lower. Later on, the refrigerant will turn into a liquid state. Then, as the pressure lowers, the liquid will evaporate again into a gas state. Then, it will go back to the condenser to start the process again.

With this in mind, we can now move forward to Fridges and an in-depth explanation about the condensers and refrigeration elements.

12 Volt Compressor

Compressor fridges are the most popular and commonly known cooling device for a van. These fridges work the same as our refrigerators in a tent. It has a compressing element that processes the refrigerant into a cycle to lower conditions and pump back the warmness on top.

These coolers are the most reliable and efficient; they are trendy. In choosing the finest car condenser cooling hardware for your vehicle, there are a few things to consider:

  1. Pricing (and your budget)
  2. Interior Capacity
  3. Freezer Capabilities
  4. Energy Efficiency
  5. Exterior Dimensions and Weight
  6. The lid opening or the door
  7. Standard Features and Extra Features
  8. Warranty and technical aids

In this article review, we’ll go through them so that you’ll be able to compare and choose the best brand that will suit your preferences.

Thermoelectric Coolers for Camper

These coolers have a Peltier plate within that makes them more relaxed cool. This plate consumes 3-5 amps. This device can only make it within a cooler 40ª colder than the outside. For example, 90ª outside, the hardest the appliance makes is 50 degrees. 

  • Affordable. $100-$150
  • They are designed for short road trips. 
  • Less efficient than a compressor.
  • There is no risk of getting kicked or dropped because it has few moving parts.
  • These coolers don’t get cold enough, so it is not recommended for full-time travel.
  • Not safe for foods that require less than 40 degrees. (meat, butter, milk, cheese).

3-Way Absorption Fridges 

A 3-Way Fridge has three power sources. LPG, 12 Volt, and main power (240 Volt). This cooling chest essentially removes the hotness by using a heat exchange system, the gas flow. This refrigerator has five main elements that use ammonia as refrigerants. 

The Generator is responsible for generating ammonia gas while the Separator separates ammonia gas from water. First, the condenser creates liquid ammonia by cooling and condensing hot vapor. Then the Evaporator removes heat within the cabinet by evaporating liquid ammonia. Finally, the Absorber absorbs ammonia gas with water.


  • Can use a 9 kg gas for 2-3 weeks.
  • Convenient and efficient for bush camping or delaying at a rest area.
  • Exceptionally quiet because of the absorption technology and minimal moving parts.
  • It almost doubles the lifespan of the compressor.
  • It could last up to 20 years, depending on the brand and how well you look after it.


  • You can’t use gas or 240V when driving.
  • Drains battery quickly if used too long.
  • If not installed by a certified and licensed gas-fitter, it could pose a safety risk.
  • It requires ventilation to outside portals.

Buyer’s Guide

Compressor VS. Absorption Fridge 

Since we’ve already defined the differences of best RV ref types, let’s compare these two since they are the most popular.

Choosing the best vehicle fridge will depend on your personal preferences, priorities, and travel plans. Weigh your priorities and try to narrow down the choices. This way, you’ll be able to see which will best suit your demands.

Compressor Fridges are Best for:

  1. For RVers who demand regular cooling: Compressor fridges efficiently cool down regularly, not significantly affected by ambient conditions. It is the best option to bring frozen and perishable goods with you during your leisure travels.
  1. For RVers who love boondocking, this type is the best choice if you love to go to remote areas. Compressor types are not sensitive to tilting. Most are designed to work even when not leveled on the ground. They are shockproof or vibration proof to not be affected by nasty bumpy rides.
  1. People who have budgets for batteries and charging equipment. We have different options for electricity sources. To maximize those and save cash in the future, you must invest in high-quality batteries and inverters.

Absorption Fridges are Best RV for:

  1. People who travel and stay outdoors for long periods. More often than not, absorption freezers are powered by LPG gas, which can most likely last for more than three weeks.
  1. They are traveling on leveled grounds. Most absorption types are not efficient when tilted. They most likely will not work or malfunction along the way if they are not adequately balanced on the ground. So, it is not recommended for bumpy rides.
  1. People who do not require regular cooling. These appliances can be significantly affected by ambient conditions. The cooling process will not reach its highest peak if it is hot outside.

Reasons To Buy a 12-V refrigerator Product.

If you have just discovered a new hobby or want to go on outdoor leisure activities, you already have a valid reason to buy a cooling appliance. Camping and staying outdoors is no fun when there is no food. Therefore, the main reason you purchase a cooling device is food.

These cooling fridges keep your meal fresh and beverages ice cold. If you plan to go on a long outdoor journey that will last for a day or even more, you need this the most.

Conventional coolers are helpful but require ice to maintain low conditions within. If you are not convinced of continuously putting and replacing ice, the best RV 12v van fridges could be the best option.

It can plug these compact appliances into AC, DC, or solar electricity sources. So they do not need ice to maintain low condition regularly. Just fill it on an electricity source, and it will start rapidly freezing for about 30 minutes. Afterward, it will automatically maintain the shape.

Some appliances can be used for heating or warming food too. Electronic thermal reading controls enable the user to set the desired condition. If you want to keep your meal warm, then you could just press the suitable option, and you’re good to go.

These types of freezers are compact. They are primarily designed to be carried and transferred to almost anywhere. You do not have to worry about unplugging it because most still work even when unplugged. You just have to look for a freezer with high-quality insulation walls or buy an insulation bag to ensure that the coolness will stay for a long time.

The New appliances are designed with USB ports to re-charge small devices like cellular gadgets. This feature is perfect for keeping your gadgets working even when camping.

Chest-style vs. Upright Refrigerators

After learning about the compact best 12v refrigerator’s technical features, you should research and consider which style suits your vehicle’s life. There are two types of styles that you can choose from. First is the chest style, the most popular, and the other is the upright style.

To get a better grip on deciding which of them you should choose, let us have an in-depth and brief review of these two.


Compared to upright freezers, chest freezers are deep. They are horizontally placed on the floor. Since the compartment is deep, searching for items can be a hassle sometimes. Some chest coolers have wire baskets for easy organization.

On the other hand, an upright cooling chest sits on the floor vertically. It has a systematic organizational solution because of the shelving elements and compartments.

Ideally, upright freezers can be built within a shelving element, making it a space saver.

Energy Efficiency

Almost all appliances require electricity to operate. The same is with the compact coolers. Some coolers are designed to have rapid freezing and automatic settings, whereas it reverts into an electricity-saving mode once the proper condition is reached.

They can either be plugged into an AC power source or a DC power source and operate through solar electricity sources. Therefore, it is right to determine which brand consumes more electricity.

Why Chest Fridges are More power and electricity Efficient

Chest freezers are proven to be the most electricity efficient. The main reason is that the cold breeze tends to sit and stay at the bottom. In addition, since the chest fridge is laid down horizontally and designed to have the doors on top, the cold snap won’t easily. This means that the device will maintain the condition longer and won’t have to run on rapid freezing again to reach the desired shape.

On the other hand, since upright appliances have more space, the air tends to circulate, losing its excellent condition. Another factor is the doors. The doors of the perfect fridge sometimes have very little room where the cold breeze seeps into.

Therefore, this type of freezer’s interior temperature increases and will trigger the condenser to initiate rapid freezing again. Rapid freezing consumes more electricity than it takes when the cooler is just maintaining the temperature within.


There are plenty of designs to choose from. Each comes in different styles, features, and sizes. You should consider the organization selecting the most refined vehicle cooling appliance style for you.

Chest freezers, as the name implies, are like a treasure boxes. You just pop and stack the products within. Some come with separate freezing and cooling compartments for a convenient organization. Other appliances have wire baskets to separate the stuff, which does not require frosted.

Chest Fridges Can Hold More Items than Upright Fridges

This more relaxed type lets users store more significant or bulky items that you cannot do with the upright appliance styles. This is because the decent appliances have removable shelving appliances placed horizontally. Therefore, it does not provide more vertical spaces.

It can sometimes be hard to locate products with chest appliances, especially if it is already stuck at the bottom. However, since you can stack and pile goods upward, you can store more products within.


Chest-style appliances are designed with handles, making it convenient for users to bring them anywhere. Most of the time, these kinds of devices are designed to maintain coolness even when unplugged. Thus, making them reliable for portability. 

Chest Fridges Are Portable and Can Double as Coolers in Emergencies

For example, you went camping and decided to leave your vehicle. You can just unplug the more relaxed and transfer it to your camping site. Since most are designed to maintain temperature, you will not worry about meal spoilage, and you will be able to keep your drinks chilled.

On the other hand, good appliances are easier to be included in a vehicle’s floor plan. They can be installed within a shelving element because their doors are designed to open from the front. However, this may require the more remarkable to be permanently mounted, making it impossible for the user to place it in another location.

Getting to Know More About Chest Fridges features


  • Heavy duty and hard-shelled appliances can be used as a seat or work surface.
  • Food will not fall when opening the cooling chest.
  • Can store meat for months when stored on the lower part of the freezer.
  • Can store bulky items


  • Limits breeze circulation and irregular temperature because it doesn’t have a fan
  • It takes up more space

Getting to Know More About Upright Fridges features


  • It takes up less space than chest fridge
  • Easy to organize because it has a shelf


  • More expensive than a chest fridge.
  • Items might fall when opening.

Determining How Much Electrical Capacity You Need For Your Ideal Refrigerator

A typical cooling chest can be plugged into three different sources. The following sources are the AC outlets: 110v, DC 12v electricity source, and solar electricity.

The condensers of these cooling appliances do not run 24 hours a day; they turn into an electricity-saving mode when the set temperature is reached. It depends on the circulation of temperature as well.

This means that when it is hot outside, it is more likely that the appliance will consume more electricity to keep the temperature low. On the other hand, when the outside temperature is cold, the condenser is not required to run.

There are no exact ways to identify how much electrical electricity a cooler consumes. It will all depend on different circumstances. Therefore, it is best to have a storehouse source to have a backup if one fails. 

Giving you something to jump-start your consumption calculations with, a usual compact cooler takes 1 to 5 amp per hour. Bear in mind that these appliances take much higher numbers when it is just about to start cooling.

It is advised to do in-depth research about this so you will be able to avoid battery drainage, especially if your cooler does not have a battery protection feature.

A tip to prevent drainage from happening is to connect your cooler to a solar power system or an external battery source. This will help your cooler stay cool just in case an electricity source fails.

What to Look for in Portable 12V Refrigerators

Pricing and your budget for Compressor Freezer 

As you notice in our product reviews, high-end brands and budget brands have quite a range of rates for the best vehicle 12V compressor fridge. If you can’t afford the higher-end brands, you might want to look at the cheaper ones. But if you’re full-time, having a quality appliance is worth investing in.

Interior Capacity and Freezer Capabilities

The first is to know the cooling chest space you want. Buying a big fridge means giving up more space for your van and spending a considerable amount of cash. However, buying a small fridge means frequent going to grocery stores. 

Most 12V fridges can store a week’s worth of food. Besides, most of them can function as a cooling chest or a freezer. Some brands offer dual-zone freezers with separate compartments if you need both simultaneously.

Energy and Power Efficiency and Compressor

Living off-grid, the considerable concern one will have is electric efficiency. Batteries and solars are way more expensive, so the more electricity efficient the appliances are, the more cash you can save.

Most 12V Portable compressor fridges are generally efficient. However, some brands can give better reliability because they have excellent insulation, configuration, and condenser control.

Exterior Dimensions and Weight

Every fridge has different dimensions and weights. Some brands have more enormous footprints but squatter, while others are taller. So you have to make sure that every option you consider will fit the designated spot you choose for your fridge.

 Weight is a factor if you plan to regularly move the fridge or stay on a specific weight limit. As you have noticed in the table above, we listed dimensions on every fridge we have collected.

The direction the Lid Opens

Some fridges have lids that hinge from the back, while others have side-hinged covers. It seems like there is a minor consideration, but it can make a big difference for your van life setup and the appliance’s portability.

Having a read-hinged fridge between the front seats will make it easier to access everything. The lids that hinge on the side needless overhead clearance to open since you’re facing the fridge on the longer side. But every vanlife is different, so it depends on your specific setup.

Standard Features and Extra Features of Fridge

LED lighting within the fridge, floor drain plug to clean the refrigerator easily, low voltage cut-off for battery protection, divider, lift-out baskets, and separate dairy compartments are some of the most 12 Volt Compact Fridges got the same. In addition, some brands include more advanced features like wifi apps, remote readouts, digital controls, and additional accessories.

Warranty and Reliability

A reliable cooling appliance will not make you use the warranty. However, if your device malfunctioned, the contract will help you get a new machine or maintain free adjustment.

Ensure that the warranty covers whole appliance replacement or free adjustment and replacement parts during purchase. Some companies offer free maintenance inspections too.

Most of the time, warranties are valid for 1 to 3 years. If your appliance malfunctioned beyond the listed date, then it is not covered by the warranty already.


Your fridge needs to withstand the occasional bumps on the road and the change in weather. As a result, some appliances are designed to be shockproof.

It is advised to examine the materials used as well. More often than not, a reliable appliance should have well-insulated walls and a heavy-duty exterior.

Doors should not have gaps where the cold breeze could escape. Sturdy handles and grips are a must too.

Power Usage of Freezer

Your fridge mustn’t use too much electricity since you’re only relying on the vehicle’s engine. An efficient appliance can be plugged into both AC and DC and solar.

The updated models are designed with rapid freezing. This can help you save energy and power usage since it will allow the appliance to cool down for at least 30 minutes. After doing so, it will automatically switch on to an energy-saving mode.

It is essential to set your appliance to a proper temperature as well. For example, if it’s not too hot outside, you might want to put it to medium or even low.

Making Your Refrigerator More Efficient

An essential feature of an ideal compact cooling appliance is making items frozen or maintaining the freshness of products within our cooler reviews. Though it offers this kind of convenience, there are still ways to make our appliances even more efficient.


Like most freezers, it just maintains coolness right after the condenser finished working on rapid freezing. However, sometimes, an appliance can lose its chill because of different causes.

One cause is when people tend to open the appliance door repeatedly. This will cause the cold breeze to escape, increasing interior temperature. Another reason is that the cold snap will seep into the gaps when the door is not fitted correctly into the lid.

Generally, an efficient appliance must be designed with built-in proper insulated walls to keep cool. If not, insulated covers or bags can be purchased separately.


It is very significant to keep in mind that most of these cooling appliances depend on ambient temperatures. Where you place it matters as well.

When placed in an area with no proper ventilation, the tendency is that there will be no space for the appliance to emit the warmth that the condenser releases. Therefore, it is vital to put it into areas that will allow its exhaust systems to breathe. Right then, the heat will not be trapped and will be disseminated.

Consider Buying Used 12-V Refrigerator

Best vehicle cooling appliances usually cost a lot of cash. However, if you are on a tight budget but consider buying, you may purchase a 2nd hand appliance.

There are a few things to consider when you are interested in buying a used fridge. First, since they are not brand new, it is recommended to examine if the product has issues.

Often, mishandling and improper usage cause a ref to malfunction. The first step is to ask how long the 12-volt refrigerator has been used. Overall, you will know if the appliance is already worn out or not.

The next thing to consider is the status of the condenser. Make sure that it still works like new because of condenser aid as the heart of the refrigerator.

If the appliance is only slightly used, they might as well ask about the warranty. Check if the date still covers the warranty period. It is a smart move to research if there are aids and parts available in your country so that if in case the appliance breaks, you will be able to get it repaired.

Cooling Refrigerator Trips and Tricks

  1. Make sure that the appliance is appropriately leveled on the ground. This way, you’ll be able to get its overall performance. Some 12-volt refrigerators do not work well when tilted.
  2. Cool and freeze your food and beverages ahead of time. The best vehicle refrigerator may take 30 minutes to 1 hour to cool down. Adding in cold and frozen foods will help the portable fridge work more efficiently because you have already minimized the high-temperature stuff. There should be spacing within the refrigerator so that the cold breeze can circulate properly.
  3. Install an inexpensive battery-operated 12-volt refrigerator fan to assist the flow of the hot breeze outward. It will help the refrigerator decrease its cooling operation by about 50%. The fan allows the hot breeze to disseminate too.
  4. Always inspect the vents of the appliance’s fan. Ensure no blockage in your fridge that might prevent the hot breeze from escaping.
  5. Ensure that the area where you put the 12-volt refrigerator is well ventilated and does not cause the ambient temperature to rise.
  6. The outside temperature affects the appliance’s overall performance. If it is cold outside, try to set the temperature to low. If it is hot and sunny, park your vehicle in a shaded area.
  7. Consider placing a thermometer within the 12-volt refrigerator to scan if the coolness is stable periodically.

Why picking the most excellent 12-volt refrigerator can be confusing.

The internet is full of vast information. Since there are many online platforms where we can purchase many things, we turn to them because you do not have to leave the comfort of your own homes to get what you want.

However, the vast information that we can get can be overwhelming. It can confuse us, especially if we are not familiar with the product.

Portable cooling system refrigerators are no exception. When searching for it on the internet, the result will give you various brands and models. Just looking at the pictures can be confusing, too, because everything almost looks the same.

If you are not a technical person, try to get help from those who already have experience using this appliance. If you are on your own, try to list the things you prefer. Then, ask yourself questions to answer.

If you prefer a low energy-consuming appliance, look for a device with different modes to switch. For example, some 12-volt refrigerators have ECO mode, which reverts power usage into energy saving.

Then, measure the area where you plan to place the 12-volt refrigerator. Will the dimensions fit the site, and is it well ventilated?

Then, look for extra features that come with the appliance. For example, some machines have USB ports convenient for charging small devices, especially outdoors.

Inspect the appliance’s electricity source requirement. The most reliable device should also be plugged into AC, DC, and solar sources.

Determine if you require upright or chest cooling appliances because there is a massive difference between the two. Then, make sure to pick one that perfectly suits your preferences.

Things to Consider When Buying the Best RV 12V Refrigerators

Top Door VS Front Side Door 

Believe it or not, the door of your cooling appliance can significantly affect its performance. Studies show that top door refrigerators are the most efficient and reliable.

In further explanation, a cool breeze automatically sinks in at the bottom. Therefore, the cold snap trapped below cannot simply escape because you open the appliance on top.

Upright cooling appliances have front doors, causing the cold breeze to escape the moment you open it quickly. This will still depend on how often you repeatedly open the door.

The Size Matters

The best vehicle cooling appliances are available in different sizes. You are choosing the best device to determine the storage capacity you want. A large machine with high storage capacity will be ideal for a big family.

Inspect your vehicle’s floor plan. Make sure that the appliance’s dimensions will fit. Aside from that, the cooling apparatus needs extra space for the fan vents. For chest freezers, allow extra space on top because the doors are opened upwards.

Calculate the Power Draw

A portable freezing appliance needs a specific time before thoroughly cooling down. Most devices work with rapid freezing. During the fast freezing process, the machine tends to consume more electricity.

Not all appliances consume the same amount of electricity. Some devices are made to be electricity-saving. Other machines are designed with steel wall insulation to help maintain interior temperature.

Inspect if the appliance can continue to run with batteries even when unplugged. This way, you’ll be able to control electricity usage.

It is highly suggested to inspect the compressor type. It is better to choose a compressor with an electronic control appliance. This will enable the user to control the temperature within the freezer. Make sure it has battery protection to prevent your van’s battery from running down as well.

Dual Zone VS Single Zone

The updated appliances are mainly designed with two separate compartments. Each of the compartments has different features. For example, more often than not, one compartment is designed to freeze products. On the other hand, the additional compartment is used as a refrigerator, which helps maintain your food’s freshness.

A dual compartment appliance is ideal for storing food and other perishable products that do not need freezing. A single compartment will suffice after freezing beverages or other merchandise. Just make sure that the single zone appliance you choose can freeze products. Some single-zone devices are designed only to keep stuff relaxed or chilled.

Some appliances are incorporated with wire baskets for easy organization. You might as well consider this if you are eyeing the single zoned devices. This will at least help you organize what you’ll put within.

Check the Warranty

Portable refrigerators are not available worldwide. Some countries do not support the product’s availability. If products are imported, there are no available parts available for repair.

If the warranty covers the product and your country, check its scope. Sometimes contracts do not guarantee complete appliance replacement. Check the date of warranty expiration as well.

If the warranty expires, companies still offer repair maintenance for a duration of time. Make sure to get this benefit. However, inspect first if the repair maintenance covers your area.

Maintenance Tips and Tricks for Your Cooling Appliance

Like any other appliance, vehicle coolers should be maintained to get maximum performance for a long time. By doing so, you are saving yourself the trouble of malfunctioning appliances. Here are tips on how to maintain a steady and high-performing cooling device.

Regularly Defrost Your Fridge

Thick walls of ice may affect your appliance’s performance. But, at the same time, it occupies a lot of space. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the interior is frost-free to keep the fridge running well.

Tips on defrosting

  • Plug it off to ensure safety
  • Remove all the products within
  • Open the door and let the ice melt
  • Place dry towels within to soak the water that will seep into the sides
  • Dry off the interior entirely and plug it back on

Keep Your appliance Clean.

Aside from the hygiene safety measures, a clean fridge is proven to last longer. In addition, it is excellent to clean right after you defrost your appliance.

Make sure that the door seals are clean. This ensures that the door keeps its grip and prevents the cold breeze from escaping. Sometimes, dirt makes it less efficient.

A door that does not close properly will encourage frost build-up. Do not forget that extreme frost can affect your appliance’s performance.

Use an Insulation Cover

Insulation covers are designed to help your appliance maintain its temperature and protect it from outside factors that can harm it. It can also help prevent dust and dirt from getting into the compressor.

Insulation covers can also protect your appliance from scratches and other damages. 

Run Your appliance at Least Once A Month

Running your appliance once a month is recommended, even if you cannot use it for van life camping or long trips. This is to ensure that the parts are working correctly.

Get a Scheduled Expert Check-up

An annual inspection from a registered troubleshooter is also recommended to keep your appliance well maintained. The examiner will most likely inspect the gas supply lines for leaks, gas pressure, AC voltage, and the combustion seal during the examination.

Generally, they will inspect more than what meets our eye. However, sometimes we are not aware that our appliances already need troubleshooting.


Do all 12-v refrigerators have USB ports?

Incorporated USB ports in a compact cooling appliance can be very convenient, especially camping or outdoors. However, not all devices come with this feature. 

The main reason is that not all compact cooling appliances can store electricity backups. In addition, some devices only work when plugged into an electricity source such as an AC outlet, DC, or solar power.

Can a cooler drain the car battery?

A cooling appliance with no battery protection feature can drain a van’s battery. Therefore, it is an additional factor to consider before purchasing a cooling device for your vanlife.

The updated vehicle cooling appliances have a unique battery protection feature, set into three levels; low, medium, and high. This feature enables the user to control the electricity the appliance consumes while the vehicle is on.

When an appliance is plugged into the ignition switch, it automatically turns off when the car is off.

How to Clean a Freezer Appliance?

When your appliance is already smelly, it means that bacteria are building up within, and there is a poor air conditioner. That is the time that you need to deep clean your freezer already. Not regularly cleaning your fridge will result in serious health problems.

Cleaning your appliance is very easy. Here are steps on how to do it efficiently:

  1. Unplug your freezer and defrost it. Before doing so, remove all the stuff within.
  2. Once defrosted, use a clean cloth to wipe off the interior’s surface.
  3. Get a chemical-free cleaner and pour some into the clean cloth. Use it to wipe the surfaces to ensure that it is disinfected and clean. You can also use natural air conditioners like lemons and baking soda.
  4. Inspect each drawer and compartment. If the drawers are removable, remove them and wash them clean.
  5. Check the groves where the drawer or the shelves sit—most of the time, the bacteria and dirt build up. Wipe them as well.
  6. Wipe off the exterior shell and the door of the appliance.
  7. Check for mold build-up. If there are molds within your fridge, get a mild detergent and a soft brush. Start scrubbing the surface gently and then wipe it off with a clean cloth. Since molds are smelly, you can put them in an air conditioner.
  8. Check for leaks. Leaks can cause a big mess within the fridge.

How long will a freezer keep food cold when disconnected? 

On average, excellent quality and an efficient appliance can stay cool for 10 hours even when unplugged. However, this circumstance can be affected by other factors.

The outside temperature can significantly affect an appliance’s cooling performance. For example, if it is hot outside and unplugged, it will be faster to increase interior temperature. However, if it is cold outside, the appliance will probably retain the low temperature.

Another factor affecting the longevity of coolness is the frequent opening of the appliance’s door or lid. If you repeatedly open it, the cold breeze escapes. You might also want to consider the sealing factor of the tops. The stronger the grip, the harder it is for the cool breeze to run.

There are also tips and tricks in helping your fridge retain its interior temperature even when unplugged. The first is to freeze products before putting them in the refrigerator. Another piece of information is to add ice packs within to help it maintain a low temperature.

Can dust affect an appliance’s performance?

Yes, dust can affect your appliance’s performance. It is because the dust collects on the condenser coils. Sometimes, collected dust can also cause poor power connections.

Can I operate my fridge using Solar panels?

You need to use a solar panel as an electricity source. However, you cannot plug the freezer directly into it. You have. Instead, you wire your panels into a battery to plug your appliance into.

Why does my freezer get frosty?

When you repeatedly open your appliance’s door for too long, the tendency is that a hot breeze will enter within. It will result in moisture build-up. When moisture touches the cold coils, that’s the time extra ice will start to freeze.

Compilation of Popular Portable Best 12v Refrigerator Brands and Models

We listed our top picks and a brief review of different brands’ leading efficient compact coolers in this article and product reviews. In addition, we compiled and listed all the other models under a specific brand to give more information.

It gives you the idea that there are still more in the market, and if in case you cannot find your preferred appliance on our review list, you can still opt to search for another. Most of the time, brands release new models under a series. It is because they update and add more good features.


Dometic is one of the most trendy brands for compact coolers. It is the most trusted and reliable vehicle fridge manufacturer. They have already released a lot of series. Here are some of their models.

If you are looking for other Dometic models not included in our review above, these are other options.

           CFX Series

Coolfreeze 28 (26 Liters)

Coolfreeze 35 Professional (32 Liters)

Coolfreeze 40 Professional (38 Liters)

Coolfreeze 50 Professional (46 Liters)

Coolfreeze 65 Professional (60 Liters)

Coolfreeze 100 Professional (88 Liters)

CFX3 Series

CFX3 35 (32 Liters)

CFX3 45 (40 Liters)

CFX3 55IM (46 Liters)

CFX3 55 (48 Liters)

CFX3 75DZ (65 Liters Dual Zone)

CFX3 95DZ (82 Liters Dual Zone)

CFX3 100 (88 Liters)


Another top manufacturer is ARB. As you can see, ARB 10800472 belongs to our editor’s picks.

Aside from the reviewed model above, a compiled list of their most updated and popular series is compiled.

Zero DZ Series

69L Portable DZ (24 Liters, 45 Liters Dual Zone)

96L Portable DZ (41 Liters, 55 Liters Dual Zone)

Classic Series II

35L Portable SII (35 Liters)

47L Portable SII (47 Liters)

60L Portable SII (60 Liters)

78L Portable SII (78 Liters)


Whynter brand has been well known for its appliance’s fast freeze feature. Their appliances can rapidly cool the interior temp for as low as eight ªF within a short time.

In addition to our top pick, here is a compiled list of other whynter cooling system models.

FM-452SG (45 Quarts)

FM-45CAM (45 Quarts)

FM-45G (45 Quarts)

FM-62DZ (62 Quarts Dual Zone)

FM-65G (65 Quarts)

FM-85G (85 Quarts)

FM-901DZ (90 Quarts Dual Zone)

FM-951GW (95 Quarts Wheeled)


When it comes to marine refrigerators, Norcold is the finest brand. However, aside from marine cooling appliances, they have made vehicle fridges for a long time. The NRF series is their entry-level to the Best 12v refrigerators market for additional info.

NRF-30 (30 Liters)

NRF-45 (45 Liters)

NRF-60 (60 Liters)


Alpicool offers a variety of models under different series. This brand has paved its way to popularity too! Their most popular appliances are known to be the most efficient when it comes to portability.

A Series

ARC22 (22 Liters)

B Series

B20 (20 Liters)

BD45 (45 Liters)

BD60 (60 Liters)

BD75 (75 Liters)

C Series

CF8 (8 Liters)

C9 (9 Liters)

C10 (10 Liters)

C12 (12 Liters)

C20 (20 Liters)

C25 (25 Liters)

C30 (30 Liters)

C40 (40 Liters)

C50 (50 Liters)

C75 (75 Liters)

          MK Series

MK18 (18 Liters)

MK25 (25 Liters)

MK35 (35 Liters)

TW Series

TWW75 (75 Liters Wheeled)

TWW95 (95 Liters Wheeled)

TW75 (75 Liters)

TW95 (95 Liters)


There are a lot of reliable and best 12v refrigerators in the market. However, most appliances are expensive, so it is great to get a device you will use for a long time.

These best RV cooling unit systems will make your vehicle life more exciting, fun, and convenient. Choose the best RV appliance that will suit your style.

Always consider the most critical factors discussed in this article’s reviews when choosing. These are the cost, size, durability, enough volume capacity, type of condenser, electricity consumption, and other added features.

With all this information in mind, there is no doubt that you’ll successfully choose the perfect fridge.


About The Author

Brian Voytovich is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hiking, camping outdoors, and exploring new scenic areas. He has traveled across the country in his RV for the last 20 years and has visited hundreds of camping and RV spots. His love for everything camping and outdoors resonates in his articles and reviews for various camping products and RV camping sites.

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