The Best Portable Fridge for Traveling by Car or Campervan

A portable fridge is a great way to keep your food cold on the go. Whether you're heading out for the day or traveling across the country, this is an item that will make sure your snacks and drinks stay cool until you get home
Best portable fridge for car

You’re happening a street journey and need to hold your drinks and meals chilly? Do you want an additional small fridge in your camper van or motorhome, or are you on the lookout for one thing in your automotive or tenting?

You then want a transportable 12-volt fridge. Don’t know which one to decide on? Learn on; we assist you select the very best transportable fridge in your automotive or camper van street journeys.

Reading: Best portable fridge for car

Disclosure: A few of the hyperlinks on this submit are affiliate hyperlinks, which means at no extra price to you, I’ll earn a small fee for those who click on by and make a purchase order.

The 4 Greatest 12V Transportable Fridges

Should you don’t need to learn the entire submit, right here’s our collection of the 4 finest transportable fridges to journey and carry in your car.

  • Dometic CFX28 12v Electrical Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer.
  • Alpicool C40 Transportable Fridge 12 Volt Automotive Freezer 42 Quart(40 Liter)
  • Dometic CF110 12v Electrical Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer
  • Cooler: Coleman Rolling Cooler | 50 Quart Xtreme 5 Day Cooler with Wheels

Amazon’s Alternative: Dometic CFX28 12v Electrical Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer

  • Transportable compressor fridge
  • Works at 12V-24V and 100 – 240V (Consists of connection cable)
  • Refrigerates and freezes in two separate compartments
  • Freeze -7ºF (22ºC)
  • Capability 26 liters
  • 1.5-liter bottles enter vertically
  • Weight 28.88 lbs
  • Product dimensions: 13.42” W x 16.69” H x 24.4” D
  • Further options: USB Port – 5V, 500mA | Wi-Fi connectivity | Drain plug | LED Inside Mild | RCM certificates
  • Free transport on Amazon Prime

Execs: Works on 12/24V and 100-240V; it’s mild and has a cooler and freezer.

Cons: it’s small for lengthy journeys.

It has greater than 500 rankings with a rating of just about 5 (5 is the utmost).

Alpicool C40 Transportable Fridge 12 Volt Automotive Freezer 42 Quart(40 Liter)

  • 12/24V and 110 – 240V
  • It additionally works with small photo voltaic programs
  • 3 ranges of automotive battery safety
  • Quicker Cooling: Clever compressor cooling expertise, from 77℉(25℃) to 32℉(0℃) solely wants half-hour.
  • Capability 40 liters (42 Quart)
  • Two-liter bottles are available standing up.
  • Handles on the perimeters for straightforward transport.
  • Prime opening
  • Digital temperature show.
  • Product dimensions : 22.6″ x 14.4″ x 16.5″

Excellent for brief street journeys and tenting

Dometic CF110 12v Electrical Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer

  • Transportable compressor fridge
  • Works at 12V, 24V, and 110 – 240V
  • Low energy consumption utilizing AC or DC means it’s nice for photo voltaic setups or different off-grid functions (CDF11, CF18, CF25 are DC solely)
  • 3 stage of battery safety
  • Capability 144 cans | 112 quarts | 106 liters
  • Refrigerates and freezes
  • Temperature from 0 levels F to 50 levels F (-18 diploma C to +10 diploma C)
  • Distinctive efficiency
  • WLAN and USB connection
  • Dimension: 31.1 x 19.9 x 21.9 inches
  • Weight: 69.9 kilos

It’s good for street journeys, vans, camper vans, or as an auxiliary fridge in an RV.

Cooler: Coleman Rolling Cooler | 50 Quart Xtreme 5 Day Cooler with Wheels

  • Capability: 50 Quart (84 cans)
  • Cooler with Wheels
  • Retains Ice As much as 5 Days

It’s a superb low-cost possibility for brief street journeys.

Greatest Automotive and Camper Van Fridge

The very best transportable electrical fridge needs to be the one which most accurately fits your journey type and price range. Choices vary from $20 to $1000 or extra.

All of it will depend on the use you’re going to present it. You can begin with an ice cooler fridge (first rate) or a thermoelectric fridge after which transfer on to a compressor (the very best 12V transportable fridges), and for those who’re going to depart it fastened, you’ll be able to select a 3-way fridge.

As you’ll be able to see, you might have many choices. For instance, for those who’re touring sporadically or simply need to strive it, you’ll be able to select a superb high quality cooler or thermoelectric connecting to your automotive’s 12V charger.

You probably have a camper van with {an electrical} system put in with photo voltaic panels and auxiliary battery, my suggestion is a 12V compressor fridge; the Dometic is between my favorites and people of many vans and RVs.

Compressor fridges may function auxiliary fridges in your RV.

Greatest automotive fridge, the very best fridges are the thermoelectrics that connects to the automotive’s lighter. You don’t want {an electrical} set up like a compressor fridge want.

(Use the fridge related to the automotive solely with the automotive turned on)

In case you are going tenting, you’ll be able to select a transportable fridge that connects to the 100- 220V energy grid. This manner, you’ll hold your drinks chilly and the meals properly preserved.

  • Transportable Bathe for tenting and camper vans

Completely different Kinds of Transportable Fridges

There are various kinds of transportable fridges in your automotive or camper van. Right here’s the one which most accurately fits your journey type and price range.

Transportable 12V Compressor Fridge

12V compressor fridges are the most well-liked and those you’ll see most throughout your travels, and for a superb motive.

These fridges are designed for every type of autos, from 4×4 to boats, and are constructed with sturdiness and effectivity in thoughts.

12V compressor fridges have extremely environment friendly variable pace compressors that eat little or no power, can be utilized as a fridge or freezer.

They arrive in numerous configurations, together with chest, vertical, and dual-zone fridges/freezers – and often have the power to function at an inclination of as much as 30 levels (different varieties of fridges should be saved completely stage when working).

This mixture of options makes these fridges good for van life.

Though the compressor fridges are superb, they’ve one disadvantage: the associated fee.

Transportable 12V fridges are dearer than different choices, and that’s necessary to bear in mind. Additionally, because you’re going to want so as to add an auxiliary battery and a method to cost them (similar to photo voltaic panels, 110/ 220V connection, or a change to the car alternator).

In case your objective is to show the van right into a wheeled home, investing in a fridge with a high-quality 12V compressor is value it.

And please don’t do like us in our first van, and put a 220V fridge with an inverter. All you’re going to get are complications and spoil the auxiliary battery too early.

Coolers: Fridges that Want Ice to Cool Down

That is the everyday transportable fridge we’ve all began with. They’re low-cost, and you should purchase them anyplace, and for it to chill issues down, you must put ice.

Right here you might have very low-cost choices ($10 or $20, however they don’t hold the chilly lengthy.

My suggestion is those which might be round $80, just like the Colemans. They’ve good insulation, and meals can final you recent meals for two days.

To not have to make use of a lot ice, you’ll be able to put frozen meals, frozen water bottle, and many others.

Select those with a drain for the water to make it simpler to maintain it clear and don’t rot your meals.

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And for those who’re going to take it, for instance, to the seaside, select one with wheels, they’re much extra snug and simple to hold.

Thermoelectric Fridges (The proper automotive fridge)

Thermoelectric fridges are high-quality for brief street journeys and never too scorching locations.

Such fridges want a 12V connection however shouldn’t have the power to chill under room temperature effectively.

Though there are some that declare that they will cool 20ºC under room temperature, just like the MobicoolQ40.

Should you’re on the lookout for one thing to maintain your drinks or snacks chilly throughout your street journeys, then a transportable thermoelectric fridge can meet your wants so long as you don’t journey to scorching locations.

However for those who’re on the lookout for a fridge that actually refrigerates your meals throughout your van or tenting journeys, then my suggestion is to decide on 12V compressor fridges.

3-way Fridges (not transportable)

Trivalent or 3-way fridges are essentially the most generally utilized in huge vans and RV or motorhomes. It’s the one now we have at present.

They’re fastened fridges, which want a air flow outlet from behind and function at 12V, 100 – 220V, and propane.

It is extremely environment friendly once you join it to propane or 110/ 220V. Nonetheless, at 12V, it’s only used when you find yourself on route, and the engine is turned on.

For us, it’s the best choice if you’re going to depart it fastened in your van and when you’ve got the propane set up, in order to not depend upon going to campsites or areas with electrical energy.

It has very low consumption, a 13kg bottle can final you 2 months, utilizing it each day.

Our fridge is the DOMETIC RM 5380, 80-litre, trivalent, propane-powered, 220V, and 12V (Out there in Europe), fairly much like Dometic RM 2354 (Out there within the USA)

The Fridge that Opens Above or within the Entrance

You’ve gotten two varieties of transportable fridges, those that open above or those that open within the entrance (like those in the home, however in small).

You could find each fashions with the identical compressors and options and suppose that you just solely have to decide on the one you want essentially the most.

However they’ve totally different benefits, particularly in case your thought is to make use of it as a transportable fridge, you will see that it extra attention-grabbing than it opens up and now I let you know why.

  • Portable Refrigerator Dometic

Chest fridges (with the opening above) are typically extra environment friendly.

Why? A part of the reason being that chilly air naturally stays on the backside.

With the chest fridges, the door is on the prime, which implies that the chilly air will accumulate on the backside of the fridge, the place it has nowhere to flee.

However with vertical fridges, the chilly is preserved due to the insulation seal across the door. That’s why each time the door opens, the fridge loses chilly.

As a result of meals has the next thermal density than air, many of the chilly in any fridge is “stored” in meals or drinks contained in the fridge, so full fridges are a lot simpler to maintain cool than fridges with loads of house.

And with the structure of the inside cabinets of vertical-style fridges, you’re prone to find yourself with wasted empty house on prime of your meals.

Chest fridges have extra capability and are simpler to prepare

Should you’re used to a regular front-opening fridge like your own home or condominium, this could come as a shock.

How can it’s harder to prepare a front-opening fridge with cabinets and drawers than a chest-like fridge that forces you to stack objects on prime of one another?

The fridges with a entrance opening within the houses are enormous and offer you loads of house to prepare your meals.

However in a smaller van fridge, empty house is a wasted house that makes the fridge compressor work tougher (and eat extra power).

Even with the cabinets, you continue to have to stack the objects on prime of one another, and nonetheless, you’re going to want to maneuver the objects to get to one another. And also you’ll in all probability find yourself with plenty of empty air between the highest of your meals and the underside of the following shelf.

All of this implies wasted house with no actual organizational good points.

And in case your meals strikes contained in the fridge whereas driving, you received’t have to fret about every part falling off once you open the door with a chest fridge.

That’s why we now not purchase beer bottles, and now we solely purchase cans…

In conclusion

Chest fridges are simple to hold and simple to accommodate inside your van. However, it will depend on the design of your camper van.

Earlier than you determine on a transportable chest or entrance door fridge, check out your van and reply the next questions:

  • The place are you going to place the transportable fridge?
  • Are you going to alter the place inside your van?
  • Do you need to have it between the motive force’s and co-pilot’s seats?
  • Are you going to get it out of your van?

Electrical energy Wanted for Your Transportable Compressor Fridge

Working a 12V fridge in your camper van requires {an electrical} set up consisting of (not less than) a 12V energy outlet related to an auxiliary battery (not the automotive or van battery) and a method to cost it. However how a lot battery capability do you want?

Figuring out the Capability of Your Auxiliary Battery

To calculate the battery capability, it is advisable run your fridge reliably and first discover the fridge’s common energy consumption.

For instance, suppose our fridge consumes a median of two.0 amps per hour.

Over the course of a day (24 hours), a fridge that consumes 2.0 amps per hour will eat 48 Ah of the battery.

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Because you’re by no means going to need to drain your battery utterly, we advocate that you just take its energy consumption and double it to find out battery capability.

Due to this fact, you would wish an auxiliary battery with a minimal capability of 100 Ah on this instance, plus extra capability in your different electrical costs.

That is our case; now we have a 100 Ah auxiliary battery, together with a 100W photo voltaic board. Additionally, a 220V connection serves us to cost the auxiliary battery, the automotive, and digital gadgets.

What to Search for in a Transportable 12V Compressor Fridge

Right here’s a rundown of what you need to search for when evaluating fridge choices in your camper van:


12V compressor fridges could be fairly costly basically, however there may be all kinds of costs between high-end manufacturers and price range manufacturers.

In case your price range doesn’t permit you a spread fridge, we advocate fastidiously analyzing the least costly manufacturers.

Simply remember the fact that the fridge is an important a part of your camper van and street journeys. So it’s higher to save lots of slightly extra and purchase one thing of excellent high quality.

Indoor Capability and Freezer Capabilities

How a lot fridge house do you want? Shopping for a transportable camper fridge that’s too huge means spending greater than it is advisable and giving up extra space in your van.

Moreover, having a too-small fridge means buying extra typically. Wants differ from individual to individual.

In our case, now we have a DOMETIC 5380 fridge (80 liters) with sufficient house for every week of recent meals for each of us, a small freezer that works nice, and house to place bottles and small meals on the door.

Most 12V compressor fridges have the power to operate as a fridge or freezer. However for those who want each on the identical time, some manufacturers supply fridges/freezers which have separate compartments for every.

Power Effectivity and Compressor

To not hook up with the mains too typically, you must have as environment friendly as doable gadgets.

Most 12V transportable fridges available on the market use the identical extremely environment friendly variable pace compressor, though some manufacturers like Dometic/Waeco, Engel, and Whynter/Edgestar use their very own models.

Exterior Dimensions and Weight

If you have already got a delegated place the place you intend to put the fridge, you’ll need to make certain all of the choices you’re contemplating match.

Not all manufacturers have the identical measurement; some are taller, others are wider, even when they’ve the identical inside capability.

And dimensions generally is a figuring out consider shopping for your transportable fridge because it has to regulate to your van’s configuration.

Weight is one other necessary issue; for those who’re going to move your fridge often, it higher be lighter than for those who’re going to depart it fastened more often than not.

Cowl Opening Route

As I discussed above, this may occasionally seem to be a minor consideration, however it will possibly make an enormous distinction in your van’s configuration. For instance, some fridges have hinged lids from behind, whereas others have side-hinged lids.

Facet-hinged lids want much less prime free house to open utterly, and because you’re trying into the fridge from the longer aspect, it may be simpler to see and attain the content material.

The very best lid course will depend upon the precise configuration of your van.

Customary Options and Further Options

Most 12V transportable fridges have the next commonplace options:

  • Capability to function with an inclination of as much as 30º.
  • LED lighting contained in the fridge.
  • Ground drain plug for straightforward cleansing.
  • Low voltage reducing to guard your batteries.
  • Detachable dividers and organizing baskets.
  • Separate dairy compartment.
  • Some fridges embody extra superior options similar to digital controls, distant readings, Wi-Fi apps, and extra equipment.

Guarantee and Reliability

As well as, manufacturing facility warranties offer you some safety diploma if one thing goes incorrect and must be repaired or changed.

Status can also be an element right here. Danfoss compressors are identified to be dependable, so fridges with this compressor are sometimes a protected guess.

Dometic has a superb repute for reliability and help, and Engel’s Sawafuji spinning engine is known for working for many years with out issues.

The 5 Greatest 12V Transportable Fridge

These 5 12V transportable fridges could be bought from Amazon at the very best costs.

  • Dometic CFX28 12v Electrical Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer.
  • Alpicool C40 Transportable Fridge 12 Volt Automotive Freezer 42 Quart(40 Liter)
  • Dometic CF110 12v Electrical Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer
  • Dometic CFX3 75DZ Transportable Fridge and Freezer, Powered by AC or Photo voltaic
  • ICECO VL46 Transportable Expandable Fridge

The three Greatest Cooler

  • Coleman Rolling Cooler
  • Igloo BMX
  • REYLEO Tenting Cooler

The three Greatest Thermoelectric Fridges

  • Mobicool MT35W Thermoelectric Cooler – 34l
  • Coleman PowerChill Scorching/Chilly Transportable Thermoelectric Cooler
  • Ok-Field Electrical Cooler and Hotter for Automotive

Greatest 3-Manner Fridges

Though this submit will not be targeted on trivalent fridges, listed below are three choices you need to take into account for those who plan to put in a trivalent fridge in your van or motorhome.

  • Dometic RM 5380: the one now we have, and we’re very pleased.
  • Dometic Compact Transportable Fridge
  • Smad 3 Manner Fridge


As you’ll be able to see, there are 4 various kinds of transportable fridges to remove by automotive or camper van.

Relying on the service you need these fridges to present you, your price range, the house in your van for those who journey by automotive, when you’ve got {an electrical} set up and your journey type, you’ll select one fridge or one other.

In abstract, select a compressor fridge when you’ve got {an electrical} set up in your camper van or an auxiliary fridge in your giant quantity or motorhome.

Select a thermoelectric fridge to journey by automotive after which join it to the electrical grid, in campsites, for instance.

Select 3-way fridges for those who’re going to depart them fastened in your van or motorhome. And you’ve got the required set up to get essentially the most out of those fridges.

I hope this submit has helped you select your transportable fridge to journey. You probably have any questions, depart us a remark on the finish of the submit.

Put together Your Street Rrip

  • Street Journeys PDF Planner
  • What to pack on a camper van journey (Full packing record)
  • Ideas for newbie van vacationers
  • 7 Greatest Transportable Tenting Showers
  • Greatest Photo voltaic Pannels
  • Greatest Transportable Bogs

*For extra details about thermoelectric fridges, try this text on Wikipedia.

Final Up to date on 15 October, 2021 by Veronica

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