Looking to upgrade your boat this season? Consider adding a marine refrigerator to help extend your adventures. Soft-sided coolers are great for day trips around the harbor, but if you have bigger travel goals, it might be time to invest in a more substantial option. With proper food storage, entertaining onboard is a breeze. Add a permanent solution to your vessel with a built-in model, or invest in a portable option with multiple uses.
There are many choices available on the market today. To help make the choice easier, we’ve compiled this guide with our top three best marine refrigerator options. Here’s a closer look at some of the things to consider when investing in the best refrigerator for marine travel.
Benefits of Using a Marine Refrigerator
A marine refrigerator provides more flexibility and mobility for your maritime travel. Bringing a soft-sided cooler with you daily can become tedious. You can only pack enough food for one day, and often it is not enough to entertain other guests as well. You must constantly stop to restock, or only bring enough food for a short trip. Soft-sided coolers are also more difficult to clean, leaving room for unsafe food storage conditions. A marine refrigerator is a much more sanitary option.
As the day wears on, the ice in a soft-sided cooler will melt, leaving your food susceptible to dangerous bacteria. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports there are two different families of bacteria that cause problems with our food. Pathogenic bacteria grows when food is kept over the safety zone temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Pathogenic bacteria are odorless and tasteless, but can cause serious gastrointestinal effects.
Spoilage bacteria turns food rotten over time. Refrigeration keeps pathogenic bacteria away and slows the growth of spoilage bacteria, keeping your food safer for longer periods of time. When traveling on a boat at sea, it is important to avoid pathogenic bacteria and to keep food as fresh as possible until reaching a point to restock.
We’ve taken a close look at the choices and narrowed them down to our top three favorites. We chose a few different types to give you options no matter where the wind may take you. Here are the ones that met or exceeded our expectations for best refrigerators for a marine of 2019.
3 Best Marine Refrigerators Reviews 2020
OUR TOP PICK
Norcold’s DE0041R 3.6 cu. ft. Refrigerator is our top pick for a front-opening marine refrigerator. It offers many different features, making it a versatile choice for your marine adventures. The flush mount style of this model means it will slide right into place in your vessel.
Create your kitchen area around it, or create a bar area to entertain guests. The exterior black color is sleek and looks beautiful with almost any decor. And you won’t have to worry about fingerprints.
On the inside, it offers storage for a variety of different sized containers and bottles. The bins in the door are adjustable to fit anything from 2-liter bottles to ½ gallons to multiple 12-ounce cans. It also boasts a full-width freezer compartment and 3.6 cu of space, letting you store both frozen goods and perishables with ease. The interior light lets you view your choices at any time of the day or night.
On the technical side, the hermetically-sealed compressor makes it quieter than other similar models. The 12-volt fan improves circulation throughout the unit, therefore making the cooling process more efficient. Everything is covered by a 2-year warranty, making it a safe and practical choice for your marine kitchen.
- Quiet Running
- Flush-mount style
- Adjustable Door Bins
- Full-Width Freezer Compartment
- Can’t be removed for travel elsewhere
The Alpicool A30 Portable Refrigerator is a flexible option for traveling the seas. You can use this handy refrigerator anywhere you go. It offers multiple travel adaptors to jump from land to sea with ease, and can also be paired with solar power.
Pack your food in the morning and keep it cool on the road and during your time at sea, keeping everyone on board safe from spoiled food. This model can act as either a refrigerator or a freezer. It has the potential to bring temperatures down to -4 degrees, putting your food in subzero temperatures and inducing a deep freeze.
If you are considering a long adventure, this is a great option for preserving food for longer periods of time. The high-efficiency compressor can drop the temperatures within the chest in 30 minutes, getting you ready to sail faster.
The stainless steel exterior is stylish and sleek, fitting in with almost any decor. The door can swing open in either direction for easy access to all your favorites. The roomy interior has a 32-quart capacity. It can hold up to 42 12-oz cans at a time. Create a space for this chest in your marine kitchen, or move it around the boat as needed. The exterior handles allow for easy maneuvering, while the outer body of the cooler is designed to resist any vibrations while on the road. Keep your food and drink safe wherever you go.
- Great for on-the-go travel
- Cools down in 30 minutes
- Door swings open either way
- Can be a refrigerator or freezer all in one
- Can’t use refrigerator and freezer at the same time
The ARB 10800602 Fridge Freezer is a large-capacity option to handle all your needs. It boasts one of the largest interior capacities of any portable marine refrigerator.
The roomy 63-quart interior can hold up to 90 12-ounce cans, making it a great size for family excursions and long trips. Keep the galley fully stocked for your next trip.
The front control panel offers LED backlit controls for easy viewing anywhere. It comes with multiple power cords, making it easy to transition from land to sea. Power it up with the power outlet in your car, or plug it in and recharge the battery backup. Use this large capacity refrigerator in your car on your next family road trip, and then pack it to take on the boat the next weekend.
The newest compressor technology even allows the unit to continue cooling when the boat is not running. This flexibility makes it a great choice for every aspect of your travels.
When the going gets choppy, the EZ Latch system keeps your food and drink from spilling out on the floor. Separate compartments for fruits or dairy products means room for organization inside and easy of finding what you want when you need it. Don't sacrifice the ability to find what you want. Instead, enjoy quick access to all your food on the go.
- Large capacity
- Latching lid to prevent spills
- Front control panel with LED controls
- Can maintain zero temperatures for a true freeze
- Battery use may not last your whole trip
3 Best Marine Refrigerators Reviews 2020 Tips & Buying Guide
What Are Your Travel Needs?
With so many different models on the market, how do you know which one is the best marine refrigerator for your needs? One of the first things to consider is your travel needs. You can purchase a drop-in marine refrigerator that becomes a permanent fixture on your boat. They are very efficient and can use multiple power options to stay cold during your travels. Or, you can opt for a portable refrigerator option.
These can be used for multiple purposes including travel on land or at sea. They typically come with multiple power adapters for any power source and can be placed wherever is more convenient and near an outlet.
How Much Time Do You Spend On Your Boat?
The amount of time you plan to spend on your boat is a factor when deciding how much onboard refrigerator capacity you need. If you typically only take short day trips, a unit with a smaller capacity will serve the purpose of keeping small amounts of food. You probably also can get away with a unit with little or no freezer capacity. Longer trips for overnight travel or spending weeks at a time at sea will require more food storage space.
Most likely, a unit with both refrigerator and freezer space would be best in this case for the most food storage options. Take a look at your travel plans paired with any size restrictions of your boat and you should be able to get a clear picture of the best marine fridge freezer for your needs.
What Will You Use for a Power Source?
Another important consideration is the power source for your unit. What kind of power options are available onboard? Some units come with multiple power adapters, allowing you the flexibility to utilize everything from your car’s power outlets to solar options. The more options a unit gives you, the more chances the until will work with your needs.
What Features Will Enhance Your Use?
Finally, there are many smaller features that can enhance the fit of your best rated marine refrigerator. Locking doors keep food from falling out of the unit when the water turns choppy. Interior lighting makes it easy to find what you are looking for in any lighting. And adjustable bins and shelving let you customize your unit to fit your exact needs. Be sure to check all of these features and read the marine refrigerator reviews before making your choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is more efficient- top opening or front opening?
Answer: A fridge with a top opening offers greater cooling power, but a fridge with a front opening is more convenient for organization. The choice depends on whether you want to move everything around inside the unit every time you want to find something, or if you prefer maximum efficiency for long trips.
What’s the difference between a refrigerator, an icebox and an ice maker?
Answer: A refrigerator keeps food chilled at the recommended temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. An icebox is a box that is filled with ice in order to keep food cold. While it requires little to no power, it also is not as efficient as the best rated marine refrigerator. An ice maker is a machine that makes ice. It can be helpful when onboard for keeping food and drinks cold with ice, but it does not provide any food storage. You would need to use both an ice box and an ice maker to keep food from spoiling.
How can I power my marine fridge?
Answer: Be sure to read the specs for your marine refrigerator before you purchase. There are several different ways to power each unit. Choosing the right option for you will depend on what is available on your boat, and where you plan to use the
Choosing the best marine refrigerator can be tricky, but once you weigh the options you can make an informed decision that fits your lifestyle. Get ready to take your fun on the water to the next level with safe food storage, keeping everyone safe and healthy this season.
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