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Having a good RV freezer is vital for anyone who plans long road trips or camping trips with their caravan.
Many larger RVs will come with their own built-in fridge or freezer, but they often require a massive amount of power to run at a consistent temperature, meaning they can drain your battery quite quickly if they’re too large or always on.
Here is where many portable RV or camper van freezers come into play, as tons resemble coolers that connect to 12 Volt Batteries to provide cooling to a smaller container. These are often portable, too, meaning you can take them outside while camping or move them to wherever is most convenient, making them a great utility for any RV owner.
Comparison Chart of the Best RV Freezers
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How to Choose an RV Freezer
Before we review some of the best models in the market today, let’s look at some important factors and considerations to make before investing in one.
Size and Capacity
Size refers to the dimensions of the freezer. These dimensions should totally be in accordance with the space you need to place the freezer in. Moreover, the capacity will determine how well it works with a certain amount of food items inside.
So, if you are looking for a freezer for larger foods or a variety of food items, look for the one with the highest capacity.
Options for Power Source
We refer to these based on their power options as one-way, two-way, and three-way. A three-way freezer will allow you to choose a power source from the three options; AC, DC, and gas supply.
A three-way freezer is our top recommendation, but it also depends on where you are going to travel and what your preferences are.
Layout and Structure
This refers to the design such as its door, compartments, weight, and features like wheels for portability and build materials.
Review of the Best RV Freezers
Now that we have looked at the most important features and functionalities of RV freezers and how they work, let’s take an in-depth look at eight best in the market. The reviews will help you in identifying and choosing the best and most suitable product for yourself.
COSTWAY 54 Quart
If you are in search of the best compact refrigerator at an affordable price, then this COSTWAY freezer is your answer. The appliance, just like COSTWAY’s other products, is a highly reliable, well-performing, and high-quality product. It weighs 36 pounds and measures 27 x 13.5 x 21 inches. Moreover, this has a large 54-quart capacity that can cool a large number of cold drinks and food items at a time.
It also has a sleek and unique design with its double tone black and silver finish. It has a good storage capacity with separated compartments for drinks and food items. The compartments make it easier for setting and organizing the contents of the freezer.
It also has extra features like LED lighting that allows you to look through the stuff even if this dark, making it perfect for campsites. And nothing beats the highly convenient, easy-to-read and well-lit LCD display that has all the information and controls.
It also qualifies as a highly convenient and portable model with its intelligent design that includes a safe carry handle on the sides for easy handling. It will fit every small space and you can easily flip it to change the direction of the door opening.
This unit can run on a 12 volt DC battery or with a 110-240 volt AC outlet. It also offers three levels of battery protection for your vehicle so you don’t come out to a dead battery.
Overall, we could not find any deal-breaking cons for this model, which means that it’s a 10/10 option for any traveler. It can hold a large amount of food and drinks to cool in about 30 minutes, has a highly durable and safe build, and also has a simple and unique appearance that won’t stand out.
Runner-up and Best from Dometic:
Dometic CFX3 55IM
Dimensions: 28.3 x 18.9 x 17.9 inches (55IM size)
Weight: 70 lbs
Power Supply: AC/DC or Solar Panel
Exterior: ExoFrame construction, aluminum alloy handles, fender frame protected edges
This freezer might seem like a premium product, but the Dometic CFX3 is an incredible RV freezer that can accomplish nearly anything you need it to. It can hit freezing temperatures extremely fast but won’t make much noise and has an adjustable thermostat with multiple temperature options to ensure you don’t overchill anything inside.
It’s great as a portable freezer for RV users, particularly when using the larger sizes, but the smaller sizes are even more versatile for those who might need to a portable fridge freezer.
The Dometic CFX3 is one of the most top of the line options for RV freezers. Some user reviews mentioned errors that were difficult to solve, but most found this product was exactly what they’re looking for at this price point.
Best for the Money:
Whynter CUF-110B Freezer
Flexibility, reliability, and a travel-friendly design are the core features and benefits of the Whynter freezer. The is highly compact and sleek. It weighs 44 pounds and measures 17.7 x 18.5 x 19.5 inches.
Furthermore, it also has a noteworthy design and appearance that will blend well and even enhance the look of your van’s interior. It has an all-black finish with a stainless steel body. It is a free-standing refrigerator which is equipped with a black reversible swing door, and also has built-in locks and keys that make it suitable for travel.
It is equipped with a white shelf inside that is removable, so you can easily adjust it according to your needs. Moreover, it is also an Energy Star certified, which further adds on to its reliability and qualifies it as one of the best options.
To help you keep track of the performance, it also features an LED indicator of its power mode. It has the capability to cool the contents from -8 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
To sum it up, this Whynter freezer qualifies as a great, affordable, and efficient refrigerator for travel purposes. It has a good amount of capacity and also has the capability of cooling up to very low temperatures. Overall, the model adds great value to your money.
Best 12-Volt Model:
Engel Tri-Voltage Freezer
This is a 12-volt portable freezer by Engel that has a portable top opening and is designed specifically to meet your traveling needs. The most distinctive feature is its highly durable and sturdy cover which is also resistant to corrosion. This makes it extremely travel-friendly and will also last you a long time.
Another prominent feature of this model is its power-efficient operation. It is a compressor-based model that consumes only about one to two amps of power per hour. In addition to this, it is also a two-way freezer, which allows you to choose from either a DC power supply or an AC power supply. This is able to quickly switch between the two power sources depending on which is in use. However, AC is designated as the priority to protect your battery usage.
The is designed intelligently to meet all your travel needs, such as the highly convenient, safe, and removable plastic handles that you can place or remove accordingly.
Overall, the freezer is highly portable and good for traveling purposes. However, there are some lacking extra features and capabilities like no light and or LED back-lit temperature controls. Other than that, the design, as well as its functioning, are all factors that make the best freezer for a convenient traveling experience.
Best Chest Freezer:
Whynter FM-45G Freezer
If you’re looking for a heavy-duty, well-designed, and efficient chest freezer, then the Whynter FM-45G is the best choice. It also has a capacity of holding up to 60 cans or 45 quarts.
With this high-quality appliance, you can also select whether to use it as a refrigerator or a freezer, depending on your need. Moreover, it has two power options, AC and DC. It is equipped with fast freeze technology that can rapidly cool the contents inside up to -8 degrees Celsius.
It weighs 45 pounds and measures 18 x 28 x 20.8 inches, which makes it a compact and lightweight freezer that will fit in any small and limited space. These features and its efficient design make it suitable for traveling. It also has a good and attractive appearance, so you don’t have to worry about ruining the look of your RV with a freezer.
This is a 12-volt model, which not only means that it is power efficient, but it also ensures it performs well. Furthermore, it also provides ultimate convenience and ease of use with its LED-displayed temperature information. The LED display is easy to read and understand, hence, requiring minimum experience and expertise with using this type of product.
We could not find any major cons that could break the deal, except some of the complaints by customers about its durability. However, all other aspects of the freezer, such as its insulated walls, two removable wire baskets, and AC to DC option make it an outstanding choice.
Smallest RV Freezer:
This Alpicool freezer is the smallest and most compact model form our list. Don’t let the size cause you to doubt its functionality and performance, as it is equipped with all the essentials that larger models have.
It weighs about 21 pounds, which makes it extremely easy to carry around while traveling. It works on a power supply from a car battery, either AC or DC, and can also be solar powered. This makes it a highly versatile, as well as an eco-friendly small model.
If you are concerned about it using your car’s battery and running it out, then worry no longer because this is equipped with the three-stage car battery protection system.
What makes it an even more convenient and portable model is the two handles on the sides that make it easy to move around. It is built with sturdy material that is also resistant to vibration, making it safe to carry in a moving vehicle.
This is a highly well-designed and efficient small RV freezer specifically designed to meet all the travel requirements in the car. It has a good capacity and a vibration-resistant build that makes it fit well in a car even when on-the-go.
Best Portable Freezer:
Dimensions: 37 x 24 x 22 inches
Weight: 70 pounds
Power Supply: AC/DC
Exterior: Stainless steel, ASA protective corner pieces
We would forgive you for thinking this was just a sleek industrial container, as the massive ARB 10810602 Portable Fridge & Freezer is both one of the largest models you can find. It’s essentially the size of a standard large cooler, but with a little extra bulk to contain its remarkably efficient cooling system and perfect seal. This sturdiness comes with just as much utility, opening smoothly, thanks to a unique gas strut to hold it open in narrow or wide positions and featuring heavy insulation from any outside heat.
This freezer is undoubtedly large, but it’s spectacularly effective if you need something spacious and heavy-duty. You may want to look into a fridge slide to more easily move it in and out of compartments, but the interior of this fridge hardly suffers from its heavy exterior.
How Does an RV Freezer Work?
RV freezers are different than the regular residential models in many ways. One difference between them is that RV freezers do not have compressors like the residential ones. This is one of the reasons these types are much less noisy, meaning that they are suitable for small spaces like vans.
These models are equipped with absorption refrigeration technology that uses either electricity or sometimes gas to heat the absorption refrigerator coils. The heat boils the gas refrigerant or ammonia, which then evaporates and condenses, turning into a liquid. The liquid or ammonia then turns back into a gas when it reacts with hydrogen gas. This is the evaporation process that takes place rapidly in the freezer, keeping the freezer cool as the boiled gas turns from vapor to liquid to gas again.
They also do not have any moving mechanical parts. They work slower than large residential freezers and also consume less energy. The core difference between the residential freezer and the RV version is that RV versions boil and change gas to a liquid, while compressor-based freezers boil a liquid and change it to gas.
What You Can Expect From a New RV Freezer
RV freezers can prove to be hugely beneficial to you in your traveling days. They can be highly convenient, flexible, and will also feel like home. An RV freezer is a far better option than carrying a compressor-based freezer which is much heavier and inconvenient. The following are the benefits of investing in a reliable and high-quality model:
It Can Run on More Than One Power Source
Many RV freezers allow you to flexibly choose either an AC power source, DC power source, or gas supply. This makes it suitable for more than just one place and one situation. You can easily shift between power sources depending on the conditions of the environment and availability.
Small and Compact
RV freezers are specifically small, compact, and can fit into most small spaces. Usually, RV vans or camping setups are small and do not have a lot of space to accommodate a residential model. While you are carrying smaller versions of all the essentials, carrying a smaller version of a refrigerator will also be necessary.
No Need to Make Any Changes to the RV
Carrying large residential freezers to your vehicle can require you to modify or make changes to the setting. This can be highly inconvenient, but the day is saved by RV freezers, which are designed to be easy to install and occupy smaller spaces.
Popular RV Freezer Brands
While these products are certainly worth your time as an RV owner, it’s important to know a specific product isn’t the only way you can choose your ideal RV freezer. There are a few prominent brands with products at several price ranges, and each one can provide you with different features and benefits based on your personal needs.
Whynter freezers are all about utility, providing a smaller amount of freezer space and consistent cooling with extremely simple freezers that don’t have too many exceptional features. While they succeed best as RV freezers, they’re better to look at as a general portable freezer since the company makes all sorts of products for full kitchens, but as a result, they have fairly low-cost RV freezers that don’t struggle as much as you’d expect for their price. They won’t hold their cold as well as other brands while unplugged, but for the most part, it’s a spectacular level of quality for a budget option.
As opposed to the more general approach that Whynter has with its products, Dometic is much more targeted at RV refrigerators and freezers specifically, meaning they have much more functionality than most portable freezers. The company has existed since 1919. It makes all sorts of kitchen equipment, but RV products have been their specialty since the 1970s.
Today, the brand provides excellent RV freezers with temperature control, lockable seals, and even compatibility with a solar panel as an alternative power source to the usual 12-volt batteries.
ARB can be most accurately described as your premium option, featuring some of the most well-crafted but highly-costed RV freezers. Much of this is thanks to their roots in creating appliances for vehicles since 1975.
They take pride in the size, sturdiness, and quality of any product they make for RVs and 4x4 vehicles. This brand provides products with the greatest size of any RV freezer brand, the strongest seals, and the most weather-proof and damage-proof exteriors, all of which lead them to be nearly indestructible after several years of use.
Price Points of RV Freezer
An important thing to know with any RV Freezer is what your money goes towards. Freezers will often have different perks and strengths-based on their price, and it’s important to be aware of what you’ll get with a cheap RV freezer compared to a premium model.
$400 - $1000
Most freezers you encounter at this lower price range are going to be fairly straightforward. Products at this cost from brands like Whynter and Dometic are generally older models that won’t typically have additional options, will lack storage space, and often have blander appearances than your typical modern RV freezer. These can be effective and will have excellent door seals, but they’re easier to think of as utilities than accessories.
$1000 - $1400
While the quality of the product can vary massively within this price range, this is going to be the standard cost for a quality RV freezer. This range is where you’ll get greater temperature control, more spacious interiors, and some unusual features like Bluetooth connectivity so that you can control its temperature and keep it locked using your phone. These sorts of products much sturdier as well, making them the ideal price for the most efficient current models
If you want to go a little higher and try a premium RV freezer, going over $1400 is going to get you an astonishingly sturdy freezer that will hardly let you down. This is where products like the earlier-mentioned ARB 10810602 appear, and others in similar ranges will have a similar degree of the sturdy exterior with perfect lockable sealing to keep the interior cold for long periods, even when it remains unplugged for a long period. If you plan on taking it in and out of your RV during longer trips, it’s unlikely to break down through both time and damage.
Types of RV Freezers
An RV is a recreational vehicle, which is why it needs a specially designed freezer that is suitable for use in remote vehicles. RV freezers are designed to meet the refrigeration needs of people planning on staying outside for a long time. They are different from residential freezers as they utilize the principle of absorption using heat and are not fitted with a compressor. The most common types of freezers include:
Two-way refrigerate, also called AC or LP gas-powered refrigerator run on either LP gas or Ac power. They switch to LP gas automatically when there is no AC power, thus providing users with the benefits of running on both. These refrigerators come in handy on long trips as they last longer than other refrigerators.
The term three ways refer to the number of possible power supply that this refrigerator could run on, namely AC, DC, or LP gas supply. Most people prefer this type of refrigerator, particularly for camping expeditions.
Powered by gas or propane, this type of refrigerator uses ammonia as the coolant in the system. It creates a continuous refrigeration cycle with water and hydrogen. Liquid ammonia produced at the condenser passes on to the evaporator, which converts the liquid to gas, thus producing the required cold temperature.
Typically the refrigerators in our homes run on AC power. RVs, on the other hand, runs on a normal car battery, which is why investing in a refrigerator that runs solely on AC will not be suitable for recreational purposes. An AC/DC refrigerator is designed to alternate its power source from AC or DC, which makes them very convenient for RV purposes.
Chest vs Upright Freezer - Which is Best for an RV?
There are two variations of refrigerators available that can be used in an RV. Your decision will depend on your needs and the suitability of a particular type to your specific RV. The following pros and cons of both these types will help you choose the one that is best for you:
Chest freezers are deep as compared to upright freezers. They sit horizontally on the floor and are great for adding more food items, but it also means that searching for older items can be quite a hassle.
On the other hand, upright freezers stand vertically and are similar to refrigerators. They are designed with shelves and compartments, which help in the systematic storage of food. They are more space-saving as compared to chest freezers and can easily slip in places where there is little horizontal space. Chest freezers are wide in length and width, which makes it difficult to find a spot for them.
Chest freezers utilize an airtight locking seal to keep the food frozen and fresh, which makes them more energy-efficient than upright freezers. Upright freezers, on the other hand, have small gaps in door mechanisms; therefore, they need an increased amount of energy to keep the food cold.
Both these options are available in different sizes, thus providing users with enough space for their needs. However, the organization of food inside these freezers is a whole different matter.
Chest freezers come with wire baskets to organize the food, but food items can be hard to locate in this type of freezer as they become buried under one another. Moreover, lifting, moving, and bending is required to find the food item that you are looking for.
One of the advantages of a chest freezer is that you can easily fit large items in it. There are no shelves, which increases the usable space by up to 20% compared to upright freezers.
Upright freezers have shelving compartments that ensure the neat organization of food items. Removable and adjustable shelves and door storage bins further allow users to make better use of space. However, these shelving compartments reduce the space vertically, making it difficult to store large items.
12-Volt vs 120-Volt Freezer For an RV - Comparison Overview
Most refrigerators nowadays are designed with 12-volt variable speed compressors as they are more energy-efficient, high-quality products. However, most 12-volt DC freezers can be powered from 120-volt AC. This is possible due to the built-in inverter that converts 120-volt AC to 12-volt DC. This means that even though you are plugged into 120-volt, your freezer still works with 12-volt DC.
Most products work on both 12-volt and 120-volt. The only difference is that 12-volt has no efficiency loss while there is efficiency loss associated with conversion to 120-volt AC. This is the reason why 12-volt freezers have become the preferred model for people living off the grid.
How to Clean a Freezer
It is easy to let spills and leaks collect in your freezer and for sticky food to accumulate in its corners. If the freezer is not cleaned and organized regularly, it could become a smelly addition to your kitchen. Cleaning a freezer is not difficult; neither will it take a lot of time if you follow the steps given below:
- Shut down your freezer before you begin cleaning your freezer.
- Remove all the food from the freezer and place it in a cooler.
- Remove all detachable shelves and drawers and wash thoroughly.
- Make a cleaning solution in a spray bottle and liberally spray inside the freezer. To make this cleaning solution, you can use warm water and vinegar equally or mix two tablespoons of baking soda with one-quart hot water.
- Use a dishcloth to wipe down the freezer. For stubborn gunk or stuck-on food particles, you can also use a cleaning brush or an old toothbrush. Spray the solution and leave for a few minutes. Scrub gently to ensure that your freezer is perfectly clean.
- Make sure to wipe the freezer door and its surrounding seal.
- Use a dishtowel to completely dry the inside of the freezer.
- Replace the shelves and put all the food back in the freezer. Don’t forget to turn on the freezer!
- If you are still not clear about this whole process, you can also watch the following video before cleaning your freezer.
Whatever you go with, it’s important to make sure your choice of RV freezer is right for you. It can be disastrous to have a product that either won’t fit where you want it to or won’t have the capabilities you need. Thankfully, most RV freezers will come in various sizes and styles, and many brands offer specific models with multiple options, so make sure you research and measure anything you need as you get started looking for the correct RV freezer.
People Also Ask
A freezer is essential for your RV, which is why you want to invest in a model that is right for your family and storage needs. It is best to research a little about the various types of freezers and how they work before making a choice.
If you are going to buy an RV freezer, there may be a lot of questions coming up in your mind after learning about several technical terminologies and concepts. In addition, answers to the following questions will help clear some of the common queries that people usually have about freezers:
Do RV Freezers Freeze Ice?
In a sense, most RV freezers can remain below freezing temperature, meaning you can usually freeze water in an ice cube tray or keep bags of ice frozen. That said, most models will need to remain plugged in to maintain a consistent temperature this low, meaning you won’t likely be able to keep ice solid if you open it frequently or remove it from a power source.
How to Defrost an RV Freezer
Defrosting an RV freezer is a very simple job and can be done quickly by following the steps given below:
- Turn off the freezer and empty its contents into cooler bags.
- Place an extra-absorbent chamois towel on the bottom of the freezer compartment. This will help soak the water from the melting ice.
- Use a hairdryer to thaw the freezer walls. If you have a high wattage hair dryer, keep it on a low setting and make sure that there is a distance of at least eight inches between the dryer and freezer walls.
- Check the temperature of the dryer with your hand to make sure that it is not too high. Too much heat can damage the plastic walls of your freezer. Also, make sure to keep the hairdryer moving to protect the freezer walls.
- Remove the chamois towel, wring it and wipe down the freezer before putting the food back in the freezer.
Why Does My RV Freezer Get Frosty?
Frost inside the RV freezer is caused when moisture comes into contact with the coils inside and freezes. This can be caused by opening the door of your RV freezer too often and for too long. It can lead to loss of storage space, odors, and ineffective sealing of your freezer door. Moreover, it can affect the quality of your food and lead to a condition called freezer burn or frostbitten food.
What is Freezer Burn and What Causes it?
When the contents or food items are oxidized, it is called a freezer burn. This happens when air reaches the food. It then dehydrates the food by reacting with the water molecules. This leads to grayish and brown-colored spots on your food. Not storing your food in airtight containers or putting them in the freezer when they are still hot can lead to freezer burns.
What Temperature Should a Freezer Be?
Usually, people keep their refrigerators at an ideal temperature of 39 degrees F (4 degrees Celsius). However, for freezers, we recommend keeping the temperature at around -0.4 degrees F (-18 degrees Celsius). Keeping at these ideal temperatures will lead to better performance of the freezer as well as make your food last longer.