Looking for a reliable RV refrigerator? We’ve got you covered!
Living in an RV doesn’t mean you can’t have appliances to make your life easier. An RV Refrigerator is a great product to own, especially for keeping your food fresh and drinks cold during the summer.
We have created this buyer’s guide to help you understand a bit more about RV fridges. And of course, we will be sharing our top picks to let you know about the perfect model for you!
Comparison Chart of the Best RV Refrigerators
COSTWAY Compact Refrigerator
Midea WHD-113FSS1 Mini Fridge with Freezer
Best for the Money
Best from Dometic
Best from Norcold
Whynter FM-45G 45-Quart Refrigerator
Best 12V Model
Smad Gas Refrigerator
Best Propane Model
Dometic DM2852RB Double Door RV Refrigerator
Best 2-Way Model
SMAD Compact RV Fridge
Best 3-Way Model
How Does an RV Refrigerator Work?
You should know an RV fridge works differently than a traditional fridge. Of course, it requires a source of power to heat the fridge and allow it to keep food items chilled.
Inside an RV fridge, you will see a combination of ammonia, water, and hydrogen gas. Such a combination causes evaporation. The vapors help cool the appliance.
Depending on the model you go for, the unit can work on electricity or propane. This helps in providing convenience to the owner. Even if you don’t have access to electricity, the fridge can still work. Also, depending on the kind of unit you purchase, it will run on electrical power while plugged in and switch to propane when disconnected from an electrical power source.
And yes, there are RV fridges that only run on electricity, including 12-volt batteries. Such a type is great for those who prefer using solar power. Two-way fridges are common. They run off LP Gas or AC power. The three-way units use LP Gas, AC power, or DC Power to function.
How Long Should a Refrigerator Last?
A good fridge should be able to last at least 12 years, if not more. Some well-known brands produce refrigerators which can last up to 17 years. However, your fridge may begin showing signs it needs to be replaced before that.
Some of the signs to look out for include:
If you notice water droplets, mold, or mildew by looking at the rubber sealing around the fridge’s door, it might be time to replace the unit. Signs of condensation can occur inside, too. For example, the unit isn’t cooling as it’s supposed to.
If your food begins to smell or spoil quicker than usual inside the fridge, you need to replace it. This also includes if it’s taking too long for water bottles or drinks to become chilled.
Defrosting the freezer too often is also a sign the fridge isn't working correctly.
Too Many Repairs
Refrigerators older than ten years do require repairs. It is better to replace the unit instead of continuing to waste money on fixing an older, less efficient model.
Too Much Noise
A fridge creating too much noise is another sign you need a new one.
Aspects to Consider Before Buying
To ensure you’re purchasing the best RV refrigerator, here are some aspects to consider before buying a unit:
You can’t just go ahead and put any fridge into an RV, a space with already limited room. Do measure the space you have present in the RV and then select a reliable fridge which can be easily placed in said space. Remember to take accurate measurements. Also, will the fridge be able to enter through the door of the RV? Will you be able to open the fridge door without hassle?
The Power Source
Do check the type of power source the fridge will require. You can opt for an electrical unit, a gas unit, or even a hybrid, depending on what is convenient for you.
Your sleeping space is likely inside the RV, meaning you should opt for a quieter fridge. No one likes to be annoyed by a loud machine at night.
Make sure you check the storage capacity the fridge delivers and if it is sufficient for the food items and drinks you want to store.
Does the fridge give you an easily adjustable thermostat? Does it come with adjustable shelves and storage space inside the doors? The more features a fridge has, the more convenient it’s likely to be.
Review of the Best RV Refrigerators
We have created, for you all, a well-researched review list with the best refrigerators. Let's take a closer look at each model:
COSTWAY Compact Refrigerator
We are going to begin our list with our Best Overall selection. When you are in an RV, you need appliances that are not only reliable, but also don’t take up too much space. A refrigerator is an appliance which can help you throughout the year, especially during summer. For users, a fridge needs to be small, yet provide ample storage space while operating efficiently. The COSTWAY Compact Refrigerator offers all of these features.
It has a two-door design and provides you with 2.2 cubic feet of fresh food capacity. You can use this appliance to keep your food stored in an organized manner. Furthermore, it also has a one cubic foot freezer capacity, so, you can store frozen foods, too. The two doors are there to keep the fridge and freezer separate. You can access them at your convenience.
The crisper drawer is there to keep your vegetables and fruits fresh. As for the freezer, it will keep your ice cream and drinks cool throughout the summer months. And yes, an ice tray is included, so you can have ice cubes whenever you need them. The shelves can be adjusted depending on the kind of space you want.
The built-in lamp allows you to see at night. Of course, the thermostat is adjustable on this 20 x 17.5 x 34-inch appliance.
The COSTWAY Compact Refrigerator is our best overall choice because of the numerous features it offers. It doesn't take up too much space. It has a two-door design with a freezer. The shelves are adjustable and it is efficient enough to serve you for a long time.
EdgeStar CRF321SS Compact Fridge
The runner-up on our list is the EdgeStar CRF321SS Compact Fridge. This is a True Zero Degree freezer. It is energy efficient and offers you 3.1 cubic feet of space. It works just like a normal-sized freezer, but everything is presented in a more compact form.
Of course, the fridge and the freezer are separated so you can better utilize the space. This appliance will freeze items down to 0°F. The dimensions (19.8 x 18.8 x 33.5 inches) make this item perfect for being placed in an RV or travel trailer. You won’t have to worry about it taking up too much space.
This fridge gives you stainless steel doors with black cabinets. You can easily defrost it, too, when required. The slide-out shelves offer added convenience. Using the thermostat (34-60°F range), you can set the temperature for your food items and drinks. With this appliance, you get one adjustable wire shelf, along with a single glass shelf. There is also a vegetable crisper and in-door storage.
Additionally, you don’t have to worry about taking items out at night or when it is dark inside the RV. This fridge has a built-in light to let you see inside when you open the door. You also get a 90-day warranty with this item, so you can be confident in your purchase.
The EdgeStar CRF321SS, our runner-up selection, is recommended for those who want an energy-efficient fridge for their RV. While it can be a bit loud while operating, it will keep your food items cold and fresh. The stainless steel doors make this item durable.
Best for the Money:
Midea WHD-113FSS1 Mini Fridge with Freezer
Our best for the money selection is the Midea WHD-113FSS1 Mini Fridge with Freezer. This appliance has tons of features to offer, and at an affordable price. With this unit, you get adjustable temperature ranges for both the fridge and the freezer. The effective thermostat allows you to control this appliance the way you want depending on the environment you're in, as well as the food items you are storing.
Furthermore, this fridge has adjustable legs. This means it can fit in a variety of spaces. It allows you to decorate your RV in the way you prefer. The reversible door can open from the left or right for added convenience (depending on how you attach it).
The interior light enables you to look inside the fridge at night. You won't have to worry about defrosting issues with this unit. The automatic defrost feature is included to make your life easier.
It has a separate vegetable and fruit drawer. You can arrange food items any way you like with a capacity of 2.2 cubic feet. This appliance comes with a full one-year warranty to let you know it is from a brand you can trust. The whisper-quiet technology helps this unit operate silently.
The Midea WHD-113FSS1 Mini Fridge with Freezer has a lot to offer at a suitable price. Your food items will remain fresh and cool with this unit. It, this fridge model, won't take up too much space in the RV, due to the dimensions being 18.5 x 19.4 x 33 inches. The effective thermostat allows you to control this unit exactly to your specifications.
Best from Dometic:
Dometic DM2652RB RV Refrigerator
If you’re someone interested in buying a reliable fridge from Dometic, we have you covered. Dometic is a brand you can rely on. They offer a range of products for mobile living. When it comes to their fridges, our selection is the Dometic DM2652RB. It has numerous features that work to make your RV life easier.
The design of this fridge boasts a versatile racking system along with a three-position freezer shelf. Such a design gives you a lot of choices when it comes to organizing the food items the way you want. The dimensions come in at 24 x 23 x 53.8 inches.
You can go ahead and store fruits, vegetables, drinks, and even frozen items without feeling you ran out of space quickly. The three-position freezer shelf is perfect for those who like a level of organization when using freezer space. This unit offers six total cubic feet of space.
The thermostat allows you to set the temperature. Depending on the location you're in, you will need such an effective thermostat to ensure this fridge is cooling the way it is supposed to. The electronic controls are at eye-level for convenience and the doors can be securely locked. This is beneficial, especially when traveling over rough terrain or with curious little ones who always want to open and close everything.
The Dometic DM2652RB RV Refrigerator is a great two-way fridge that will make your life easier while traveling in an RV. Not only can the doors be locked, but this unit also offers a lot of organizational space. With the three-position freezer shelf, you can place your items most efficiently.
Best from Norcold:
Norcold is another brand that also has refrigerators which can be placed in an RV for comfortable living. Our best Norcold selection is the Nr740Bb. This is a compact fridge which can fit in a number of spaces. It comes in at 22 x 18 x 23 inches. Now, we have to be truthful and say this unit isn’t the best reviewed when compared to other units available in the market. However, having mentioned that, it is still a unit you can opt to rely on if you wanted to purchase a fridge from the Norcold brand.
The thermostat is easy to control. Depending on the weather you find yourself facing, you need to make sure your fridge is working the best it can. The thermostat in this unit does a great job of controlling the temperature to ensure your food items don’t get ruined. Furthermore, the overall operation is quiet. So, you won’t be annoyed by the sound while sleeping.
The design is also quite modern. The construction focused on durability and keeping itself stable during travel. It is also easy to clean. The shelves are powder-coated for longevity. Whether you decide to place fruits, vegetables, or drinks, this item is more than up for the task.
As we’ve mentioned, while the Norcold Nr740Bb isn’t the most highly reviewed refrigerator available, it can still be an option for people interested in a fridge from Norcold. This unit is easy to clean. The thermostat is easy to control. It also has a modern design which many find appealing. Furthermore, the shelves are powder-coated and easy to clean.
Best 12V Model:
Whynter FM-45G 45-Quart Portable Refrigerator
If you're looking for a highly portable RV refrigerator, we have the Whynter FM-45G 45-Quart, which is also our selection for the best 12V model RV fridge. It gives you a capacity of 45 quarts or 60 cans (12FL oz). It works well for storing drinks, vegetables, or even fruits. Also, take note, this unit functions as both a fridge and a freezer. The "Fast Freeze" mode is present if you wish to store frozen food items or want to ensure your drinks are chilled.
The vertical design of this unit from Whynter makes it great for boasts, fishing trips, boats, and RVs, of course. This is a highly portable appliance and can be easily taken anywhere. It can be attached to a 12-volt battery if you wish to operate it outside the RV and in the area while enjoying time with your friends or family. The thermostat can be adjusted to ensure the temperature you prefer. The LED temperature display is present for your convenience.
Another thing to note is that this RV fridge unit functions even when tilted 30°. This means, even if the terrain is a bit uneven, you can still use this item for some chilled drinks and snacks. An eight-foot AC power cord and five-foot DC power cord are included for your convenience. The two removable wire baskets allow you to organize the inside of this fridge efficiently.
The Whynter FM-45G 45-Quart Portable Refrigerator is a great 12V model for those interested in purchasing a highly portable fridge. The two wire baskets allow you to organize your food and drinks and this unit can operate outside the RV, too.
Best Propane Model:
Smad Gas Refrigerator Freezer 110V/Propane Fridge Up Freezer
There are going to be certain instances where you find yourself somewhat off the grid. In such places, it is recommended you opt for a fridge which operates on gas. The Smad Gas Refrigerator is our choice for the best propane model available in the market. This is a two-way fridge which also has a freezer. It has a gas and electric thermostat to help you set the preferred temperature.
Furthermore, the operation of this unit is very quiet. There's no need for you to be annoyed by noisy fridges anymore. This unit has no Freon and thus, it doesn't play a part in spreading pollution. It also features low energy consumption. It measures 23.6 x 29.1 x 64.2 inches and offers you quite a lot of storage space. The fridge volume is 7.3 cubic feet while the freezer volume is two cubic feet.
Smad is a brand which was established back in 1999. It has made a name for itself over the years. Now, while this specific unit isn't the most reviewed, if you want an appliance manufactured by Smad, you should know about this gas fridge and freezer. As an added bonus, it has a flame indicator to let you know when a flame is lit.
The Smad Gas Refrigerator Freezer is a reliable option for those interested in a fridge which can work on gas as well as electricity. It is easy to use this appliance. It doesn't vibrate or produce a lot of noise during operation. While it might take up more space for some RV users, it is great when you're in off-grid areas.
Best 2-Way Model:
Dometic DM2852RB Americana Double Door RV Refrigerator
Nearing the end of our review list, we have the Dometic DM2852RB Americana Double Door RV Refrigerator. As mentioned, this is a brand you can rely on when it comes to appliances made for mobile or remote living. The versatile racking system works great to help you organize your food items and drinks in the most efficient manner.
With this unit measuring 28.5 x 143 x 63.5 inches, you get a lot of space to store the items you want. Furthermore, it has a three-position freezer shelf which works great for those who want to have a well-organized freezer.
This unit has removable door bins for convenience. It also has eye-level automatic electronic controls to make your life easier. The controls work well to maintain consistent cooling inside this fridge. The included two-year warranty highlights that you are purchasing from a reliable brand. Also, due to this unit having an appealing design, it will look great wherever it's placed.
For those traveling and living in an RV, they require a fridge which is durable and can sustain the bumps when driving over uneven terrain. This model has a durable make which ensures the unit, as well as the items stored in it, are secure on your travels.
The Dometic DM2852RB Americana is our selection for the best two-way fridge. Even though the electronic controls might leave some users wanting more, it is still a reliable unit. The durability ensures this unit continues to work as you travel in your RV. It offers a lot of space for efficient organization of food items and drinks.
Best 3-Way Model:
SMAD Compact RV Fridge
Having reached the end of our list, the final selection we have is another unit from Smad. This is a three-way fridge which measures 15.8 x 18.1 x 24.8 inches. It can fit small spaces and won't look out of place in an RV.
One of the most beneficial features of this unit are the adjustable and removable shelves. You set the shelves any way you like depending on what you wish to store in this appliance. Furthermore, this unit gives you a tall container storage. The total storage is 1.4 cubic feet to accommodate a variety of fruits, drinks, and more.
It has a gas and electric thermostat. However, it doesn’t come with a regulator and hose. This unit is a good option to consider if you wish to save on electricity consumption. If you wish to operate this unit on gas, ensure the area is well-ventilated, especially if you sleep in the RV. This fridge has been made using whisper-quiet technology. Such quiet operation enables you and your family to sleep peacefully.
Take note, this is a free-standing fridge, with a reversible hinge. You will find it very easy to install in any place. Having such a unit, which works on gas and electricity, is great for those who are in somewhat off-grid areas and aren't near to an electrical supply.
For those who don't have easy access to electricity, the Smad Compact RV Fridge can be useful. It can run on gas and electricity. It doesn't take up a lot of space and features whisper-quiet technology. The durable construction ensures it can withstand being carried around in an RV.
Types of RV Refrigerators
As you might have noticed, there are different types of RV Refrigerators to choose from. The two main categories are determined by the type of power source being used.
As the name suggests, this is the type of unit which can run off an LP gas supply, AC, or DC power. Such an appliance lets you choose the power source depending on what's convenient for you.
This type of unit requires an LP gas source or an AC supply to run.
You will need propane or gas to power such an appliance. It uses ammonia as a coolant. A reaction between hydrogen, water, and ammonia allow the fridge to remain cool.
Such a type runs exclusively on an electrical power source. You can attach it to a primary electrical power source, or run it on a battery. Due to the mobility of an RV, opting for an exclusively electrical-powered unit might not work out best for everyone.
Benefits of Investing in a Quality Refrigerator
We have created the review list by going over some of the best refrigerator models available on the market. Selecting any of the fridges we have mentioned can offer you numerous benefits.
Built for Travel
Refrigerators meant for RVs have been constructed to be durable. They will continue working and keeping your contents safe even when you're traveling over uneven terrain. For example, the Dometic DM2652RB RV Refrigerator on our list allows you to lock the doors securely
They Fit in Small Spaces
The dimensions of such fridges allow them to fit in a variety of small spaces.
Manufacturers understand the need of having silent fridges in RVs. For example, the Midea WHD-113FSS1 Mini Fridge with Freezer features whisper-quiet technology.
Fridges for RVs are highly portable. There’s no hassle when it comes to placing them in an RV or even when taking it out. The Whynter FM-45G 45-Quart Portable Refrigerator is a great example of a fridge which is highly portable and even operates when tilted to a certain extent.
We hope you were able to obtain useful information from our buyer’s guide. Always remember to opt for an appliance which can easily fit into your RV and that offers you the features you require, as well as runs on the power source most convenient for you.
People Also Ask
Some people might have certain questions related to RV refrigerators. It is great to be pro-active when it comes to maintaining the fridge in your RV. You should know if a residential fridge can be used in an RV. Furthermore, knowing about how much propane is required for a certain fridge model is valuable information to have.
We have tried to answer several RV fridge-related questions in this guide.
Can You Use a Residential Refrigerator in Your RV?
Well, three and two-way fridges are meant for RVs. However, if you prefer a residential refrigerator, then yes, you can use it in an RV, too. However, a residential fridge won't do you much good in the long run. It is recommended only if you plan to say in an RV for a couple of days.
How Many Amps Does an RV Refrigerator Draw?
The amps an RV fridge draws are mentioned by the manufacturer. However, typically, it is between the 0.15 to 7 amps range. A double-door fridge might need seven to eight amps to start. Take note, running amps are lower than the starting amps. An RV fridge, usually, can run on two to four amps. Defrosting a refrigerator can take up to one to two amps.
How Much Propane Does an RV Refrigerator Use?
The manufacturer mentions the amount of propane required by an RV fridge to run. Generally, the amount of gas used is determined by the space. For example, a 12 cubic foot fridge can consume around 1.5 pounds of propane daily. Of course, a smaller model will consume much less. Keeping your fridge maintained can help the unit consume less gas to operate.
How to Remove an RV Refrigerator
Always remember to consult the manual for removing an RV refrigerator. Here are a few common steps to help you out:
- Take accurate measurements so you know the dimensions the new fridge will need for easy installation.
- Always remember to turn off the electrical or gas power source before removal.
- Remove all of the frame screws.
- Go ahead and remove the screws from the frame base.’
- Disconnect the wiring. Make sure the main power source is off.
- Remove the silicone caulking.
- You are ready to remove the old fridge.