Welcome to our ultimate guide to the best campervan fridges available on the market! Whether you want a more affordable portable fridge or want to build a fixed refrigerator into your van, our expert blog post will help you make the best decision for keeping your food and drink nice and cold.
While campervan fridges aren’t a necessity, it can seriously upgrade your van life experience. With a portable fridge, you’ll be able to store fresh foods and have access to cold drinks at any time during your road trip.
When researching the best campervan refrigerators, you’ll see there are hundreds of models choose from. While it can be confusing to figure out which style is best, it’s important to take into account the size, quality, price, and power consumption draw before you make your purchase.
That’s where we come in. After all, when it comes to campervan accessories, we’re the experts!
From 12 volt fridges with dual-zone compartments to chest style coolers with low voltage output, we’ve compiled a list of the best fridges for camper vans and RVs in the country.
We’ve also listed the pros and cons of each one, so you’ll know exactly what to expect before you purchase a campervan fridge.
WHAT WE LIKE
THINGS TO CONSIDER
DOMETIC CFX 3 PORTABLE FRIDGE FREEZER
DOMETIC COOLFREEZE CDF 11
COSTWAY CAR REFRIGERATOR
DOMETIC CF18 12V ELECTRIC POWERED COOLER
ENGEL MR040 PORTABLE FRIDGE
DOMETIC COOLMATIC CRX 65E
DOMETIC AMERICANA RM 2554
ARB PORTABLE FRIDGE - ELEMENTS
DOMETIC RM 3762
The 10 Best Campervan Fridges
With so many different types of refrigerators on the market, it can be challenging to pick the right model for your camper or van build. We looked at dozens of models and compared size, price, and quality to find the best and most energy-efficient refrigerators available.
We did the research so you can make sure you’re picking out the best refrigerator for your camper van.
Dometic CFX 3 Portable Fridge Freezer
As one of the biggest names in the biz, Dometic is known for making some of the best chest style coolers on the market today. Their products are built to last, especially considering the mid-range price point.
In addition, Dometic CFX coolers come decked out with nifty features like an ice maker, a digital touch screen panel, and built-in WIFI or Bluetooth (for controlling the temperature with your phone).
The cooling power is also as impressive as its high-tech feature list. With duel temperature gauges for both the fridge and freezer, this camper van refrigerator can be set down to -7 degrees Fahrenheit.
|* High-tech features|
* Mid-range price point
* Reputable company
* Freezer and fridge combo
|* Heavy to carry|
Dometic CoolFreeze CDF 11
If you’re living the van life, you understand how space is a valuable resource. Campervan fridges often take up a lot of room, but not the Dometic CoolFreeze CDF 11. This 12v compressor fridge holds 10.5L and is one of the smallest and most portable fridges we’ve seen. Best of all, it’s less than 15 inches high and 10 inches wide, so it can be installed even in the tightest of spaces.
It’s a single-cooling zone, which means you can either chill or freeze your drinks depending on what you need. And although it’s not as high-tech as other models, it does have an electronic thermostat and digital temperature display, which is really all you need for a compact coolor of this size.
|* Ideal for small or compact spaces|
* Sleek, low-profile design
* 2-year warranty
|* Basic features|
* Single-cooling zone
If you’re from Australia, this is by far the best campervan fridge you can find! In fact, it’s the exact one we use! The 12v duel fridge/freezer Bushman DC-130-X is a mini-fridge that packs a big punch. It can hold up to 130L of food and drink, which is impressive for a 12-volt fridge freezer of this size. It has everything that a normal fridge back home might have – adjustable shelves, interior LED lighting, large door balconies, and even a vegetable crisper.
When it comes to power, the Bushman DC-130-X also has a low power draw, which saves on solar power or battery energy. It’s a great refrigerator for RV owners, and while the price may be steep, it’s worth the cost to tick almost all the boxes a 12v fridge should have.
* Extremely spacious
* Reversible door
|* High price point|
* Not portable
Costway Car Refrigerator
If you want a decent campervan refrigerator that won’t break the bank, then the Costway Car Refrigerator is a great option. Holding up to 55 quarts (that’s enough space for 84 beers!), this cooler can be used as a fridge or a freezer. The high-efficiency compressor can easily be charged by a 12V/24V outlet, and even comes with a 110-240V outlet adaptor so you can use it once you return home.
It might not have as many fancy features as other fridges for campervans on this list, but for the price, it gets the job done.
|* Affordable price|
* Easy to read LCD screen
|* Only three month warranty|
Dometic CF18 12v Electric Powered Cooler
The ultra-durable Dometic CF18 12v Electric Powered Cooler is a dependable fridge you’ll want to take camping. This 12v compressor fridge/freezer can hold up to 18L (23 cans) to chill or freeze your drinks without needing any ice.
But what makes this cooler stand out from the rest is that it’s low-energy drawing, which is great for small vans or solar setups. And it has a three-stage battery protection system that shuts off before you get a dead battery. When you’re on the road for long periods of time, it’s nice to know you have one less thing to worry about!
|* Simple, portable cooler|
* Low-voltage shut off
* Can be used as freezer or cooler
|* Small interior size (18L)|
Engel MR040 Portable Fridge
The low voltage Engel MR040 chest fridge is highly efficient, extremely durable, and completely portable. This two-way fridge can run on a 12v dc or 110v electrical system and runs on average 40% less than other compressor fridges, which is great for battery protection. It’s also solar compatible, just in case you need some extra juice while traveling for long distances.
One of the only downsides to the Engel MR040 is that you can’t set an exact temperature. The dial nob can be set for coolness levels between 1 and 5, but can’t be set to a specific degree. But for the cost, you can’t go wrong with this type of campervan fridge.
|* Durable construction|
* Adjustable chest door hinge
* Extremely efficient
|* Can’t set exact temperature|
Dometic Coolmatic CRX 65E
The highly efficient Dometic Coolmatic CRX 65E is one of the best refrigerators for your campervan. The regulated compressor speed allows you to save up to 25% of energy and battery protection compared to other campervan refrigerators.
Inside, you’ll find 60L of fridge space and an additional 7L freezer compartment. However, their built-in 3-in-1 solution allows you to remove the freezer compartment to use the entire system as a full-time fridge. This makes it a versatile unit that can be customized to fit your needs. It’s also suitable for solar panels, so you can keep your food cold while being on the road for extended periods of time.
|* Can be used as fridge, freezer, or both|
* Energy-efficient with savings up to 25%
* Warranty for 2 years
|* Heavy and not very portable|
Dometic Americana RM 2554
At 5 cu ft, the Americana RM 2554 is one of the most popular refrigerators for RV owners. It works off of AC or LP gas and comes with many advanced features that you won’t find in other 12v dc styles. Like your fridge at home, the Americana Plus has adjustable shelves, door bins, and even a separate cooling system and a compartment for all your freezer items.
Additional features include eye-level control for temperature zones, a defrost water drain system, and positive lock door handles. As one of the most spacious portable fridge freezer units, you can guarantee that you’ll have everything you need to keep you satisfied for those long road trips!
|* Extremely spacious|
* Adjustable shelves and bins
|* Heavy and not portable|
ARB Portable Fridge – Elements
Despite the hefty price tag, the ARB Elements Fridge is a necessity for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s rugged, stainless steel design is one of the only waterproof portable refrigerator units for campers. Once it’s plugged into your vehicles 12v electrical system, it can be used as a fridge or freezer (temperatures can be set on the control panel between 0-50 degrees Fahrenheit).
As an extra security benefit, the chest style top can also be locked electronically or with a padlock. This is extremely useful if you’re mounting the fridge to the exterior of your camper van, or if you’re leaving it at your campsite unattended.
|* Durable weatherproof stainless steel|
* Bonus safety features
|* Does not have dual-zone cooling (only used as fridge OR freezer)|
Dometic RM 3762
This 3-way absorption fridge is a great option for the full-time van lifer. It can be used with a DC, AC, or gas hookup, which allows you to seamlessly travel off-grid without worrying about finding power for your RV refrigerator.
At 7 cu ft, this upright fridge has adjustable storage bins and door compartments can be configured to fit those tall bottles or large Tupperware containers. It’s one of the heavier absorption fridges on this list, but it’s a worthwhile investment for those looking for something practical and durable.
|* Durable 3-way fridge|
* Flexible storage
* Built-in defrost water drain
|* Heavy (119 pounds)|
* Left-hinge door only
Choosing the Best Campervan Fridges
A 12v compressor fridge (or 2-way fridge) is one of the most popular options for those in the van life community. It’s similar to the type of fridge you use at home, although a camper refrigerator runs off a 12V power source.
The compressor regulates a consistent temperature in the fridge and only turns on when necessary (which is generally once or twice an hour for a minute).
Compared to three-way fridges, a 12v compressor fridge have a powerful motor which allows them to cool even in hot temperatures.
But because they only use the van battery, they might require additional solar energy to operate for extended periods of time.
Gas fridges (also referred to as 3-way or absorption refrigerators), have three means of getting power, which is ideal for van dwellers living off-grid. They can use 12-volt battery power, 110-volt battery power, and LP gas.
They work by removing the heat, rather than creating cold air.
Because of the gas flow exchange, 3 way fridges can run for longer compared to compressor refrigerators. They also tend to be quiter, which is great for campers with limited space (or light sleepers).
However, there are some cons to owning a 3-way fridge. Absorption refrigerators can’t get as cold as compressor fridges, which means you’ll probably won’t get a unit with a built-in freezer.
And because they have to be installed to your LPG fuel tank, installation is more difficult and should ideally be done by a certified professional or gas technician.
Finally, gas fridges have to be leveled in order to properly ventilate, which can be an issue if installed on soft surfaces like carpet.
If you’re on a budget or traveling for a short amount a time, then a thermoelectric cooler might be your best bet. Only most fridges that regulate a cool temperature, a thermoelectric cooler simply removes the hot air from the container.
While they can keep drinks and food cool up to a certain temperature, they can’t keep items as cold as other portable refrigerators. However, it’s a great option if you’re looking to keep things cool without investing a lot of money upfront into a fridge.
Size and Capacity of RV Fridges
Unless you have a motorhome or RV, the size of your fridge will probably be small in order to fit inside your campervan. The benefits of a mini-fridge are that it requires less power to operate, which results in lower operating costs.
However, space is limited, which can be an issue if you plan on cooking most of your meals during your road trip. For people living off grid, a fridge with a large capacity is important unless you want to be making grocery store runs every few days.
While larger camping refrigerators can hold more food, they also take up more space and cost more to run.
Fridge Power Draw
Although you might have purchased a great fridge with all the bells and whistles, it won’t be much use unless you have enough power to operate it.
Efficiency is one of the most important factors when comparing RV refrigerators, which is why it’s important to look for a fridge with a lower power draw.
Compressor fridges are some of the most efficient because they only turn on once the internal temperature reaches a certain level. However, this could eventually drain your battery if you don’t have a back-up source of power.
Gas fridges, or three way fridges, will drain your battery quite fast if that’s the only source of power.
However, they have the option to also run on LP gas, which alone could last you several weeks.
Campervan Fridge Quality
Like any appliance, it’s crucial to look for a campervan refrigerator that is durable and long-lasting. This might mean investing more money into a fridge from a reputable company.
You might also consider purchasing a fridge with a long warranty, in case anything were to break during your trip.
Price of Campervan Refrigerators
A camper fridge is likely to be one of the biggest investments when outfitting your van life vehicle. If your budget is tight, you can find a decent 12-volt refrigerator for around $300 to $500.
They probably won’t have exciting features like a freezer compartment or touch screen LCD panels. And they probably won’t come with a multi-year warranty.
But if you’re looking for something with basic features that can keep things cold, know that it is possible to find a portable refrigerator for a few hundred dollars.
If you’re living a full-time van life, then it’s worth investing in a more efficient and longer-lasting fridge. Although they can cost upwards of $1,500, they are less likely to break or drain your battery and gas tank (which will save you money in the long run).
Higher-end refrigerator also can come with nifty features like Wifi connectivity, removable compartments, and extra freezer capacity.
This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase using our links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This allows us to maintain our website and give free, unbiased information for all you amazing van lifers out there. We appreciate your support, and only recommend products we know and trust. Thank you.