The need to keep food and drinks chilled is paramount, especially in the hot season. The small refrigerators have come in handy to assist with the cooling even when on the move. A 12V refrigerator works by moving heat away from the stored items.
Different sources power the coolers and one is able to choose depending on the source of power available. To get the best 12V refrigerator, thorough research on the products available is paramount. The review will help you choose the best product by providing a buyer’s guide and the types. Also, it is important to take into account customer reviews.
Top 3 Best 12-volt Refrigerator Reviews
1. ARB 10800472 Fridge Freezer- 50 Quart
The ARB is a 12-volt refrigerator able to chill food and drinks. The product suits in wagons, medium to large SUVs and pickups. The Danfoss compressor feature enables the product to provide refrigeration that keeps drinks and food cold. The freezer model of ARB reduces the temperature of the interior to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition, the freezer cools actively and passively. It carries out the cooling even when the vehicle is off by using the car battery. However, it does not drain the 12- volt battery. It draws 0.87 amps when providing sub-freezing temperatures. Most noteworthy, the freezer has a heavy-duty insulation that keeps the temperature low.
The compartments of the product are 13.27 deep, 15.79 high and 11.22 wide. Space allows the freezer to accommodate a two-liter soda bottle and 72 cans of 12 ounces. Moreover, the materials making this product are heavy duty making it durable. The patented hinge system and front-opening lid facilitate easy access to the contents stored. Also, the 12v fridge can be bolted to the vehicle to keep them secure. Furthermore, the mounting can be made at an angle of up to 30 degrees without affecting the product.
The product comes with two power cords. They include an AC and DC power cords. The AC cord plugs into a regular socket and provides power when at home. The DC cable, on the other hand, connects to the power outlet of the vehicle to provide 12 and 24-volt power when on the road. A feature that keeps the cords neat is a built-in cable retention system. For the product to last, it should be protected from the elements and weather.
A control panel with a LED display and large buttons is mounted at the front for the user to make necessary settings. Also, the product has a drain plug that aids in cleaning. There is also an internal LED light that illuminates the compartment automatically. Finally, it has EZ latches that are large and full-grip that secures the lid for tight sealing.
Our Rating: (4.6 / 5)
- The product is made using high-quality construction.
- It consumes little power.
- The freezer is durable and reliable.
- It is easily portable.
- Cleaning the unit is stress-free.
- It is quiet.
- The product is expensive when compared to other refrigerators.
2. Whynter FM-45G 45-Quart Portable Refrigerator/Freezer, Platinum
The camping refrigerator weighs 49 pounds and is able to cool between the temperatures of -8oF to 50oF. The product may be used in RVs, campsites, boats and fishing trips. It draws a current of about 4.5 amps when the compressor turns on. Also, it is portable and therefore be easily transported to the location needed. A standard volt outlet of 110 or a 12-volt power source provides power the freezer. Two cords come with the system. They include an 8-feet AC cord and a 5-feet DC cable.
The product comes with a powerful compressor that allows fast cooling and freezing. The product operates as either a refrigerator or freezer. The designers provide a temperature display that is LED to enable the user to monitor the system. Most noteworthy, the freezer operates even when placed at an angle or tilted.
Furthermore, the manufacturers insulate the walls and lids to prevent heat variations. Also, it has two wire baskets that are removable and it has a capacity of 45 quarts.
Our Rating: (4.3 / 5)
- The product is affordable.
- It works as a freezer and refrigerator.
- It does not produce a lot of noise.
- The power consumption is low.
- Many users have complained of the fridge breaking down severally.
- It takes up a large space.
- It is heavy.
3. Engel MR040F-U1 Marine Fridge Freezer (AC/DC), 40 Qt
The 12v fridge is made in Thailand and weighs 48 pounds. It uses 2.5 amps an hour when the compressor is on. A great feature of the product is an Engel swing motor compressor that enables to keep food and drinks chilled and fresh on long trips. Moreover, the compressor draws 40% less power than the conventional compressors.
The refrigerator runs on either vehicle or home power. These include 12 or 24 volts DC or 110 to 120 volts AC. The AC and DC cords come with the product. The product connects to solar systems since it is solar compatible. Also, it is UL approved with a compressor that is 100% CFC-free.
Our Rating: (4 / 5)
- The product is solar compatible.
- It is UL approved.
- The refrigerator utilizes low power.
- It is effective.
- The construction of the product is solid.
- It is able to maintain the temperature when set at a range.
- It is costly.
- The freezer is massive.
- It produces a noisy hum.
- There is no digital thermal control.
Types of 12v refrigerator
A 12-volt refrigerator works by removing heat in the compartment and transferring it to the outside. The mode of transfer is what distinguishes the types of 12V refrigerators. There are four types and they include;
- Compressor / 2-way fridge
These are fridges that run on AC and DC power. They work the same way as household refrigerators and are the most common. The fridges are able to maintain a low temperature while using low power.
- Absorption / 3-way fridge
The Absorption fridges run using either DC, AC or gas. They are the oldest types of 12-volt refrigerators. The camping fridges are efficient, especially when using gas. This is advantageous because the 12-volt fridge can be employed if there is no power.
However, these type of fridges is not active in warm temperatures. Also, they consume more power when using 12V DC power. They also do not work in a tilted position; they need to be flat.
- Eutectic fridge
The Eutectic camping refrigerator works similar to a compressor type. The only difference is that can work to keep contents fresh even without power. The 12-volt fridge has eutectic pods that cool when the vehicle is on. They are also known as briny solution pods and are at the side of the fridge. The fridge stops using any power once the pods freeze. The frozen pods then work to cool the contents of the refrigerator. These types help to save on power.
These 12 v refrigerators use electricity to move heat out of the storage compartment. They are not as effective as the other types. Also, they use up a lot of electricity.
Best 12-volt Refrigerator Buying Guide
The considerations to make before buying a 12-volt fridge include;
The sizes vary from 40, 50 and 65 quarts. A 50 size 12v fridge is enough for a couple while a family can use a 65 size. It is crucial to identify the number of people that utilize the fridge or the contents that will be stored. Also, the size of the space in the truck or car determines the size of the 12-volt refrigerator to purchase.
The compressor is the heart of the product and determines how efficiently the product will work. The motor compressors known to work are the SawaFuji and Danfoss. The compressors are high-quality and enable the fridge to last for years. Another company that is coming up is Waco.
There are high priced and low priced fridges in the market. The budget you have set will determine the products you will choose from. However, it is recommended to get a product that has the best features and is recommended by many users even though the price might be higher.
Power is another important factor. There are four types of 12V fridges available powered by electricity, gas, and compressors. The source of energy you have will determine the product to choose. Also, the location of using the fridge. This is because using the fridge on the move requires AC while in the house one can utilize DC or electricity. It is also important to ensure that the product does not consume a lot of power draining the battery.
These are the sections available to store the food and drinks. It is crucial to choose a well-compartmentalized fridge to minimize contamination. There are dual compartment fridges available.
A 12-volt fridge plays a crucial role in our day to day activities. There is, therefore, need to choose the best 12v refrigerator. There are different types of 12-volt refrigerators. They include the compressor, absorption, thermoelectric and eutectic. Some of the factors to consider before making a decision include the motor compressor, budget, power, compartments, and size.
From the review of the products, I would recommend the ARB 10800472 Fridge Freezer- 50 Quart. The product comes highly recommended by users. Also, it is made using high-quality materials that give sturdy construction. In addition, it has features that make it consume less power, easy to clean and portable.