Looking to upgrade your boat this season? Consider adding a refrigerator to help extend your adventures. Soft-sided coolers are great for day trips around the harbor, but if you want to make a bigger travel choice, it might be good to invest in a more substantial option.
With proper food storage choices available, 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 if investing in a refrigerator for marine travel.
By the way, after you are done reading our awesome reviews of refrigerators for boats, check out our updated 6 Best Oil for 5.7 Hemi Engine Guide.
Benefits of Using a Refrigerator for your Boat
It provides more flexibility and mobility for your maritime travel. Bringing a soft-sided cooler with you can become tedious. You can only pack enough food for one day, and it is not enough to entertain other guests.
You must constantly stop to restock, or only bring enough food for a short trip. Soft-sided coolers are difficult to clean, leaving room for unsafe food storage conditions. A boat refrigerator is a 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 if 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. If traveling on a boat at sea, it is important to avoid pathogenic bacteria and to keep food fresh 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 that met or exceeded our expectations for best refrigerators for a boat in 2021.
4 Best Marine Refrigerators Reviews 2021
OUR TOP PICK
If you are looking for a compact refrigerator, the Alpicook C20 is a great option. This refrigerator is 21 quarts and comes in a sleek gray color with a glossy finish. It will not take up too much space on your boat. Its overall dimensions are 23.54 x 12.6 x 12.6 inches.
This refrigerator weighs a total of 19.8 pounds meaning that it can easily be carried on and off your boat with ease. It runs off DC power. Although it is a small refrigerator, it will hold a significant amount. To put it into perspective it can store 25 cans of soda.
It helps to keep your food fresh and you can use it as a refrigerator or a freezer. It contains a temperature memory function and is securely sealed when in use. It is made of durable plastic.
It has a useful USB port to charge your phone and an LCD screen to check the temperature. The only downside is that there is no mention of this product having a warranty.
- Lightweight and easy to transport
- USB port to charge your phone and other electricals
- Temperature memory function
- Securely sealed
- No warranty mentioned
The Whynter refrigerator can be used as a refrigerator or a freezer. It has a chest design with a lifting lid. It comes in a grey color and has a glossy finish. The overall dimensions for the Whynter are 23.5 x 16.5 x 20.5 inches.
It is one of the larger models we have included in this article. Given this, it is heavier than similar models on the market. It weighs a total of 45 pounds.
What is great about this model is that it has two separate baskets. The baskets are deep and have a good capacity. This is great if you are planning to stay on your boat for a good couple of days.
The total capacity is 40 quarts and it can hold up to 60 cans of soda at once. This is a significantly larger capacity in comparison to some of the other models we have included.
The Whynter has a fast freeze mode and insulated walls and a lid. It comes with both an AC and DC power cord. The outer shell of the appliance is particularly durable and it has stainless steel handles to allow for easy transport.
- Can be used as a refrigerator and a freezer
- Two separate baskets
- Good capacity
- Can be powered with AC and DC
- Quite a heavy refrigerator
If you are looking for a fancy portable fridge, this is a great option. The Ausranvik has a smart LED touch control system. There are many things you can control, from the battery protection to eco mode.
The system is easy to operate and control. It allows you to choose what temperature you would like your refrigerator to be set at.
There is a USB charger that allows you to charge your phone and other electronic devices. The Ausranvik comes in white color with a glossy finish. Its overall dimensions are 23 x 13 x 14 inches.It weighs a total of 29.7 pounds.
While it is not the lightest refrigerator available, it does come with two handles to allow for easy carrying. This is a chest type refrigerator that is spacious. It has an insulation thickness of 1.4 inches.
It can be used with both AC and DC power. If you have small children you will not have to worry about their fingers getting caught in the lid of the refrigerator. The Ausranvik has an anti-pinch design that stops fingers from getting caught.
- LED touch control system
- USB Charger included
- Uses both AC and DC power
- Anti-pinch design
- It is not the most lightweight of refrigerators
This is a popular choice when it comes to refrigerators. The design is similar to your standard refrigerator, with a door that opens instead of lifts. It is 1.1 cubic feet and is fairly compact.
Its overall dimensions are 18.5 x 17.7 D x 19.5 inches. As you can see, this is one of the smallest refrigerators we have included. It would be great for smaller spaces and boats.
It is black in its design and has a flush finish thanks to its recessed door. It has a freestanding setup. It uses compressor cooling and is quiet while running. It weighs a total of 36 pounds. As it is free standing it will need space around it for ventilation.
This refrigerator comes with a lock and a set of two keys. This is great as it adds a level of security. It uses very little power so you will not have to worry about it affecting your supply. The temperature control is manual and it will automatically defrost.
- Small and compact refrigerator
- Compressor cooling
- Comes with a lock and two keys
- Manual temperature control
- It requires space around it for the correct ventilation
What to Look for When Making a Purchase
What Are Your Travel Needs?
With so many different models on the market, how do you know which one is the premium option 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 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 come with multiple power adapters for any power source and can be placed wherever is convenient and near an outlet.
How Much Time Do You Spend On Your Boat or RV?
The amount of time you plan to spend on your boat or RV is a factor when deciding the onboard refrigerator capacity you need. If you only take short day trips, a unit with a smaller capacity will serve the purpose of keeping small amounts of food.
You 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.
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 a good 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? 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?
There are many smaller features that can enhance the fit of your refrigerator. Locking doors keep food from falling out of the unit if 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 reviews before making your choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is more efficient- top opening or front opening?
A fridge with a top opening offers greater cooling power, but a fridge with a front opening is convenient for organization.
The choice depends on whether you want to move everything 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?
A refrigerator keeps food chilled at the recommended temperature of 40 degrees. An icebox is a box that is filled with ice in order to keep food cold. While it requires little to no power, it is not as efficient as the most highly rated alternatives.
An ice maker is a machine that makes ice. It can be helpful 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?
Be sure to read the specs before you make a 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 a good 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.