Some of the best RV camping months are warm ones. Whether you’re chilling with some cold brews or keeping your groceries cold you need something effective and efficient.
The obvious choice is a good RV refrigerator.
Whether you’re replacing an old refrigerator or upgrading your existing one you’ll have to make some good choices.
In this article, we’re going to go over what you need to know before you buy one. We’ll also take a look at some of today’s top RV refrigerators so you can save time shopping and spend more time camping!
Best RV Refrigerators
|Whynter FM-65G RV Refrigerator||Norcold N410.3UR RV Refrigerator||Dometic CFX28 Fridge / Freezer|
|Dimensions:||28” x 18” x 21”||56” x 24” x 24”||17” x 24” x 13”|
|Volume:||65 quarts||4.5 cu ft||27 quarts|
|Power:||AC or DC||AC, DC, Propane||AC or DC|
|Weight:||57 Pounds||77 Pounds||29 Pounds|
Quick Answer: The 6 Best Rated RV Refrigerators For 2020
- Whynter FM-65G 65 Quart Portable Refrigerator
- Norcold N410.3UR RV Refrigerator
- Dometic CFX28 Electric Powered Fridge Freezer
- Kuppet Compact Refrigerator Mini Refrigerator
- SMETA Propane Refrigerator with Freezer
- CECO VL45 Portable RV Refrigerator
RV Refrigerator Reviews
Best Portable RV Refrigerator
- Size: 28” x 18.25” x 21”
- Interior Volume: 65 quarts
- Power Source(s): AC or DC
- Weight: 57 Pounds
You’ll enjoy this one as a true fridge/freezer. As long as it fits in your physical space you can be ready to go in minutes!
Let me be clear right off the bat. This unit is either a fridge or a freezer. You can set your preferred temperature from 55 degrees to -6 degrees Fahrenheit. However, there’s only a single inner compartment so you can only set one temperature at a time.
So, how is it powered? You can juice this fridge up with either a standard 110-volt AC plug or a 12v DC lighter plug.
I think this makes a good choice for short-term weekend use as long as you can find a balance of temperature to keep all your groceries safe.
Best Replacement RV Refrigerator
- Size: 56” x 23.69” x 24”
- Interior Volume: 5 cu ft
- Power Source(s): AC, DC, or gas
- Weight: 77 Pounds
Looking for a drop-in replacement that looks at home in your mobile kitchen? This is a great choice to update or repair your RV kitchen!
Alright, let’s break this one down. It’s clearly made to drop into an existing RV fridge cavity. The front of this one is a faux-wood panel. It also features a gasket around the edges so you can fit it into your existing cavity with a clean, finished look.
Once you’ve got it fitted you can take advantage of a couple of advanced features. At the top of this unit is a self-diagnostic unit that gives you control and quickly lets you see the status of your fridge.
One of the biggest features is that this fridge runs off propane, AC power, or DC power. This makes it a really solid choice for situations where you’re not sure what your power source might be.
It also changes between power sources automatically so you don’t have to worry about it.
Best RV Camping Cooler
- Size: 16.7” x 24.4” x 13.4”
- Interior Volume: 27 quarts
- Power Source(s): AC, DC
- Weight: 29 Pounds
If you like camping and cold beverages then this is your new best friend. While it’ll keep your drinks cold it also has freezer space for versatility!
While this might not be a drop-in replacement for big RV fridges, it’s a great choice for smaller rigs. If you’ve got a pop-up or small trailer you can keep a reasonable number of beverages and groceries cold enough to use.
Okay, so the biggest thing on this fridge is the wifi app. You can literally use your phone to check the status and control your fridge. This might be cool for some but it may seem unnecessary for others – it’s up to you!
This is a good choice if you have limited space and/or need to transport your fridge. In a way I think you can look at this as a powered cooler.
Best Electric RV Refrigerator
- Size: 19” x 34” x 20”
- Interior Volume: 3.2 cu ft
- Power Source(s): AC
- Weight: 53 Pounds
Looking for an affordable easy solution to keep your goodies cold on your next trip? This dedicated fridge/freezer takes us back to the college days.
I think the most obvious feature we need to address is the divided fridge/freezer area. Most RV refrigerators in this size class don’t have divided space.
If you like dedicated spaces, that’s great. The drawback is that it’s a less efficient use of space so you get less room overall in the same package. It’s a tradeoff.
Another important note here is that you’ll only be able to run on AC 110v power. That’s not a big deal if you only camp at powered RV parks but it’s more troublesome if you like to get off the grid – you’ll need a power source capable of delivering.
Best Propane RV Refrigerator
- Size: 21” x 23” x 32”
- Interior Volume: 3.5 cu ft
- Power Source(s): AC, DC, propane
- Weight: 76 Pounds
If you’re doing a custom build, remodel, or don’t mind a free-standing fridge this one has a lot going for it. By far one of the nicest looking modern styled RV refrigerators on our list it will add a lot to your interior space.
Propane refrigerators make sense everywhere from RVs, boats, garages, to off-grid dwellings. This one has a great modern design and simple controls. It’ll also happily run off of common AC or DC power sources.
Maybe the only downfall of this fridge is size and weight. It’s got a decent footprint so you’ll want to double-check your measurements before you order. If you’ve got the room for it, however, it will make a great built-in fridge for any RV kitchen.
Inside you’ll find organizer shelves and a crisper drawer just like you’re used to at home.
Most Versatile RV Refrigerator
- Size: 25” x 15” x 19”
- Interior Volume: 45 quarts
- Power Source(s): AC, DC
- Weight: 49 Pounds
An ice-chest style refrigerator that is light enough to be portable but big enough to keep you going all weekend. If you’re camping out of a less conventional rig then this option should be a great pick.
This one can be a steadfast companion for practically any kind of rig. Whether you’re camping out of the truck bed, in an RV, or just want extra refrigerator capacity for a long-term setup with your RV it’s a can-do.
Because the unit is a standalone chest-style you can put it outside of your RV. It’s also rainproof so you can have peace of mind with it outside in case wind-driven rain blows under the awning.
Powered by both AC and DC you can find a use for this RV refrigerator basically anywhere that you’ve got access to a power pedestal or generator. Additionally, it’s light enough to be portable.
RV Refrigerator Comparison Table
|RV Refrigerator||Dimensions||Interior Volume||Power Source||Weight||Rating|
|Whynter FM-65G Portable Refrigerator||28” x 18” x 21”||65 quarts||AC or DC||57 lbs||4.4 / 5.0|
|Norcold N410.3UR RV Refrigerator||56” x 24” x 24”||4.5 cu ft||AC, DC, Propane||77 lbs||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dometic CFX28 Electric Powered Fridge Freezer||17” x 24” x 13”||27 quarts||AC or DC||29 lbs||4.5 / 5.0|
|Kuppet Compact Refrigerator Mini Refrigerator||19” x 34” x 20”||3.2 cu ft||AC||53 lbs||4.3 / 5.0|
|SMETA Refrigerator w/ Freezer||21” x 23” x 32”||3.5 cu ft||AC, DC, Propane||76 lbs||4.2 / 5.0|
|ICECO VL45 Portable Refrigerator||25” x 15” x 19”||45 quarts||AC, DC||49 lbs||4.5 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best RV Refrigerator for You
Let’s start with the obvious one – size.
No matter what your needs, it’s important to think about size in making your decision. However, it’s critical for those who are replacing an existing fridge.
Why? Because your replacement has to fit into the cavity the old one came out of. Get this wrong and you’ll be up the creek without a paddle, as they say.
Now, remember, you can make adjustments and retrofit a too-small fridge to fit into a larger cavity. You cannot, however, fit a too-large fridge into a tiny cavity. Therefore it’s probably better to err on the side of caution when choosing a replacement fridge or putting a fridge into a confined space.
If you’re planning to use your fridge just free-standing on the floor or outside under the awning then space becomes less critical. Still, you should consider that larger fridges are hard to move and get in the way.
Before you buy your fridge, use some masking tape and a ruler to measure out and mark the dimensions of the fridge in the area you plan to use. This will give you a tangible sense of scale so you can make a better decision.
This factor is less important for replacement refrigerators and more important for mobile ones.
If you’re choosing a fridge that will be mounted into an existing cavity and stay stationary then don’t sweat the weight too much. If, on the other hand, you’re going to be moving your fridge then keep it to a manageable weight.
You might want to move your fridge if you already have one in the RV but want an extra for outdoor storage. You might store it under one of the RV compartments and take it out when you get to your destination to chill extra groceries or cold beverages under the awning. If that’s the case then think about the maximum weight you can safely manage.
RV refrigerators come in three power flavors: AC, DC, or gas/propane powered.
AC refrigerators are pretty standard. They plug in or are wired into the power of the RV which in turn is powered from the pedestal at your campsite. These are common, convenient, and easy to use.
DC refrigerators are a bit more uncommon. These fridges are powered by DC which usually is found in battery banks such as those used in solar arrays. If you have access to or plan to use DC power, then consider this as an option. Alternately, some fridges use DC power as a backup.
Last, but certainly not least, is the gas powered fridge. These are generally run off of liquid propane. They’re very common in the RV world but you’ll need your rig already set up to deliver propane to the fridge (or have this done by a qualified professional) so you don’t blow yourself up.
LP, or liquid propane, is a common power source for camping on the fridge and on the stove. If your rig isn’t already set up for LP, however, think twice before you take on an LP fridge. It may be quite expensive to get your rig set up to safely run on LP.
There’s no single answer to “which power source is best”. Instead, you need to think about where you typically take your RV. If you only go to RV parks with power pedestals then an AC fridge is fine.
If you want a backup or if you plan to go to more remote areas where AC power may not always be available then investing in a gas-powered fridge is worth it.
This one isn’t rocket science. Interior volume is simply the total space available inside the fridge you’re choosing.
Interior volume may be represented either in cubic feet, or liters typically.
There are a couple of things you should keep in mind when buying.
If you are looking at a refrigerator with a divided fridge/freezer take an extra moment to understand the total volume. Sometimes manufacturers can make confusing statements so look for the volume of your fridge and the volume of your freezer space.
Divided spaces are less efficient because the insulation and divided walls take up space. This means you’ll have a bigger exterior footprint for an equivalent total interior size.
We’ve talked about this briefly but let’s dive into it a bit more.
If your installation location is in an existing cavity as a replacement then you need to work within those boundaries. Generally, try to find as close a fit as possible and use the same power source(s) that your original refrigerator had.
Another location you may choose is a floor-placement. If your rig doesn’t have a cabinet cavity for refrigerator placement you may want something that can standalone. Maybe you have an older RV or a popup camper and need a fridge that can just hang out on the floor.
For standalone refrigerators you need to consider a few things. How much space will it take up? How will that affect comfort and traffic flow? Will it have access to the proper power source? Can you move it? Will you store it in the same place during transport?
We have a few refrigerators on our list that can easily be stored in the bed of the truck during transport and then moved inside once your rig is set up – or the other way around if you choose! Either way you want to go, just think through the logistics before you pull the trigger on your purchase.
Last, but not least, is the outdoor storage option. Maybe you have a fridge in the RV but you need more space for groceries or cold beverages. You may want to consider a portable refrigerator option that can be stored in the truck bed or RV storage and then set up when you arrive at your destination.
In these cases you’ll need to make sure the fridge is light enough to move around. You’ll also want to make sure it’s very well protected from the elements – such as under an awning – or weatherproof itself.
FAQs About RV Refrigerators
Q: Can I replace my RV refrigerator with a standard refrigerator?
A: To replace your RV refrigerator you need two major things: correct size, and a correct power source.
For a true replacement you’ll need to fit your new fridge into space the old one came out of. You can fit a smaller fridge into a bigger space, but you can’t fit an oversized fridge into a cavity that’s too small.
Additionally, you’ll need to make sure that your replacement fridge has the same power source as your original. Or, at the very least, that the power source of your new fridge is going to work with your RV setup.
So, you can replace your RV refrigerator with a “standard” fridge if it fits those criteria.
Now, an RV-specific fridge may have many features that help make it easier or more likely that your replacement will be seamless. That said, your replacement fridge doesn’t necessarily have to be labeled “for RVs”.
Q: How does the refrigerator work in an RV?
A: RV refrigerators in RVs usually are powered by multiple sources.
When you’re at the campground you might have access to standard AC power. If you’re off-grid you might be powered by DC solar. Alternatively, you might have liquid propane power in a wide variety of situations.
The most robust refrigerators designed for RV use typically utilize all three power sources. Many RV fridges can take power from both AC and DC electricity as well as propane power.
Don’t be confused, though. There’s no reason that you must have all three power sources. If you only camp at places with available electric power then you may consider skipping a propane-powered fridge.
Q: Why are RV refrigerators so expensive?
A: As we learned earlier, many RV refrigerators use multiple power sources. This makes the technology that goes into them that much more complicated. Unlike the fridge in your house which operates off standard AC power, an RV fridge often needs a lot more versatility.
Of course, in the age of technology, we all know that when you pack tech into smaller spaces the cost goes up. RV refrigerators need to pack all the hardware needed to do their job into a small space and do so safely.
For drop-in replacement refrigerators you can expect higher prices. That’s because they typically are made with extra features such as flashing to help cover up and seal the gap around the cavity into which they fit.
Q: Can I run my RV refrigerator on propane while driving?
A: Yes you can.
There is no functional reason why your RV refrigerator needs to have the propane turned off when driving.
Some argue, however, that there is an additional safety risk factor in case of a traffic collision while driving. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not it’s worth the potential risk.
I am certainly not a traffic collision safety specialist and this should not be taken as advice for or against your decision to run your propane RV refrigerator while driving.
Q: How long does a propane refrigerator last?
A: Propane refrigerators should last indefinitely if they are made with quality serviceable parts.
Of course, we don’t really expect any appliances to last forever. Just know that it’s more likely your propane refrigerator will go out of style and be ugly long before it’s functionally unable to be repaired or continue operating.
Expect modest repair and maintenance cost over the life of your refrigerator but that’s about it!
Whether it’s time to buy a new drop-in replacement or a standalone unit to bolster your camping there’s something on our list for you. Remember to check out our “how to choose” section before you commit to a final decision and you’ll have a few more things to think about.
There’s no single solution for everyone as to what constitutes the “best” RV refrigerator. Instead, like most things, the best option for you may be very different than the best option for the next person.
We hope this article helps you take the time to think through your needs and then make a great choice for your next RV refrigerator!