There’s nothing like having an ice-cold beer ready for dinner even while in camp. Good thing you need not forego this luxury when you’re in your RV because you can get a 12-volt refrigerator to cool things up. If you’re looking for the best 12 volt refrigerator for your rig, this article can definitely help you.
Whether you’re going to camp, on the road for work or simply need to make your mobile home more comfortable, getting a reliable portable refrigerator is important. We’ve reviewed the top 5 travel refrigerators to help you find the one that best matches your needs.
Every item on our list run on 12 Volts DC, which means it can run with just power from your RV or trucks’ cigarette lighter, perfect for when you need a drink while on the road.
Dometic is a reliable company known for manufacturing 12 volt refrigerator for trucks and RVs. The CDF11 or CF11 is actually the smallest in their line of coolers. Although it can fit only 18 cans or about 11 liters, it’s good enough if you want a cooler that you can place right beside you because of its small size.
It is on the more expensive side than other coolers in our list, but the Dometic CDF11 is so much more energy efficient than others. It can go from 90 degrees Fahrenheit to 20 degrees Fahrenheit in just 30 minutes, which is fast enough for me. When you first plug it, it can use anywhere between 40 to 60 watts to reach your desired temperature. However, once it reaches your target temperature, it will only consume about 1 to 2 watts to maintain the coolness inside. This means it is really energy-efficient, which actually makes up for its price.
What I love about this 12 volt refrigerator for RV is that it is small enough to carry around, and its material is thick and durable. You can simply knock on the material to know that it is not made of cheap plastic. It’s great for an overnight camp for when you need to chill or freeze your meats and vegetables. However, because of its small size, it will not be able to fit a lot. Also, one thing I noticed is that if it’s not plugged to maintain the coolness inside, the temperature can easily increase. This means it is not well insulated and works like a typical refrigerator at home.
Since we already tested the smallest of all Dometic refrigerators, our next step is to find other bigger Dometic coolers that are rising in popularity. The next in our list is Dometic CFX40W, which can store 60 cans, equivalent to 38 liters of storage. What I like most about this one compared to CDF11 (aside from the size), is that you can use either AC or DC for this 12 volt cooler. This means you can use this for your solar power system.
This cooler is energy-efficient as well, although of course it consumes more energy than the CDF11 because of its larger size. This would be great for when you would need to be on the road for three to four days as it can store up your meats, vegetables, and sandwiches efficiently. If you are traveling or camping with your family, this cooler can be good enough since a couple days’ worth of food can be stored inside.
Another thing I like is that you can monitor and set the temperature using the Wi-Fi app, which is a pretty nice feature. You can even charge your mobile devices as it has a USB port – a great way to make full use of your power when you’re out camping.
This portable 12-volt refrigerator is a product that I will never get tired of – it cools drinks pretty fast and keeps them in the right temperature while on the road: truly perfect for road trips.
I ordered this before the 4th of July as I thought it would be nice to use for tailgating – and I was right! I didn’t run out of cold beer even though there were about 10 adults in our group – people noticed it and kept asking where I got it from. They were pretty surprised by how it just keeps spewing out cold drinks even though we kept taking out perfectly refreshing drinks from it.
I really liked how it could store a lot (54 Quarts or 52 liters) and still get from 90 degrees Fahrenheit to 32 degrees in half an hour – I think even my old fridge at home can’t do that.
It’s great at keeping frozen items from going bad, especially while on the road. I don’t like wasting food so I think if I don’t find a campsite to plug into the grid and I have frozen food that I don’t want to go to waste, I would just use its 12-volt DC power source option.
I wouldn’t say it’s a deal-breaker, but I think if it were a few pounds lighter (it weighs 36 pounds when empty), it would be much more convenient to use. My wife wanted me to bring it to my kids’ soccer game so I brought it; but I think if it were just her, she would find it a bit heavy to load it into the trunk by herself.
Actually the most expensive in our list, the Dometic CFX 65DZ is also the biggest. It can store up to a whopping 60 liters, or about 106 cans. Although really expensive, it has been improved significantly from other models. I like that even with this size, its power consumption is nearly the same as that of CFX40W, which is around 30% improvement as compared to its predecessors.
This is a great portable refrigerator for camping as it can store up to a couple of weeks’ worth of food for a family of four to five. It has three battery setting levels, but I feel like using only the lowest setting is best. I actually don’t like the high battery setting as the unit turns off almost as soon as it is attached to a battery.
Once it has reached the temperature you set, the compressor hardly runs anymore, which means they greatly improved the insulation on this one. It can go as low as -7 °F, which is great for your deep freezing needs.
If you want an actual refrigerator to bring with you on your adventures, then the Whynter FM-45G is the one. I love the no-nonsense, sleek industrial design of this 12 volt portable cooler, that when you look at it, it doesn’t look as if it won’t run on your cigarette lighter, but it definitely would. You can plug it on AC or DC, whichever is available to you at the moment.
This bench-type mobile freezer has a flat surface, which can be doubled up as a small table. However, we don’t recommend that the Whynter FM-45G be sat on because the weight of a person might compromise the insulating seal on the lid. This unit is very well insulated; it’s as if you’re running it from your home instead of from your truck because of how well it can maintain its cold temperature, which is pretty awesome for its price. What I love most about this unit is that you don’t need to use insulated covers or jackets to prevent any coldness from seeping out, which is wonderful. It means it’s well-insulated.
It maintains an even temperature all throughout, which is so much better than other coolers that cool the bottom but is warmer at the top. However, this can also be the disadvantage if you want to just maintain the coolness of some food, and freeze the rest, because you can only set it to one temperature. If you set it at a very low temperature, you might end up freezing everything.