Whether you’re living in an RV or using it as a home away from home, the likelihood is that you will need a refrigerator to store your food in. This is an essential appliance for any RV owner, and it can be really handy to keep food, snacks, and drinks cold.
However, purchasing a refrigerator for an RV isn’t nearly as simple as buying a refrigerator for your home. There are certain voltages and specific requirements needed. Many different brands and models offer refrigerators of various sizes, colors, and even cooling abilities too, making the job even harder.
Needless to say, this can make finding the perfect refrigerator for your RV a difficult and seemingly overwhelming task. Especially if you don’t have the knowledge you need to guide you.
But don’t worry - we’re here to help. To help make things a little clearer, we have compiled a list of the top RV refrigerators available to purchase online. We’ve also put together a super handy buying guide, and it’s here that you can find all of the information you need to make a well-informed decision about which product is most suited for life on the road.
Top 5 Best RV Refrigerators
OUR TOP PICK
The Midea Compact Refrigerator is our top pick with its ability to cool quickly, quietly, and evenly. Midea has engineered a quiet compressor that can barely be heard when the appliance is in use.
This makes it an ideal product for an RV as it isn’t going to interrupt your quiet time with unnecessary noise. This is without doubt, one of the best RV refrigerators on the market right now.
Its freestanding design makes it compatible with almost any space in the room, or it can be tucked away under the counter to maximize space. It also has all the same features as a larger version, compacted into a smaller size.
This refrigerator features reversible doors that can be attached to either the right or left side. This means that the door can be opened from whichever side is most convenient, making it more easily accessible. Its adjustable legs can also help to make it fit into a space in your kitchen area.
It has durable glass shelves that can be removed, a storage rack for drinks, and a drawer at the bottom to maximize storage. It even has a small section at the top that can be used for storing frozen foods.
The mechanical temperature control range of 32ºF - 50ºF makes it much easier to control the settings and set the temperature to your preference. This product also operates with energy star efficiency, which contributes to energy savings.
- Quick and even cooling
- Easy to control the temperature
- Quiet compressor for reduced noise levels
- Reversible doors for easier access
- The temperature may not be uniform throughout
Midea takes not only our first spot on our list but also the second. While it has many features that are the same as our first pick, it has different features that might not quite live up to the expectations of the previous choice.
Similarly to its more compact counterpart, you can enjoy the convenience of a free-standing product that is easy to fit into the required space. It also features the same whisper-quiet technology and energy efficiency.
However, this product has a slightly different design that helps utilize more space. The reversible door adjustable legs also give you more versatility over installation and allow you to personalize it to the needs of your RV.
This refrigerator does support the option to control the temperature, but the temperature range of 32ºF - 35.6ºF is slightly smaller than you might expect. There is no capability for storing frozen foods wither, but this does leave more room for fresh food. The shelves can also be removed for additional space.
- Quiet technology that makes very little noise
- Innovative design to utilize available space
- Removable shelves for easy cleaning and extra storage space
- Has a small range of temperature settings
Compact and convenient, this refrigerator is a great option for any RV owner. It has a large capacity with removable shelves to not only make more room but to make it easier to clean inside too. It also has a flat back design for space-saving, making it a perfect addition to any RV.
This appliance also has the reversible door option for easier access and temperature control capabilities, with the lowest setting being 32ºF. There is also a full-width small freezer section at the top for your convenience.
With ultra-quiet, low sound operation (45dB), it is great for an RV, where you don’t want a noisy appliance buzzing away while you’re trying to sleep.
This product also comes with a 1-year warranty for parts and labor, so you don’t have to worry about anything going wrong with it. However, there is no light inside the refrigerator, which may be inconvenient if you’re ever in search of a late-night snack!
- Large capacity for food storage
- Flatback design for saving space
- 1-year warranty for parts and labor
- Low sound operation
- No interior lighting
Taking our fourth spot is this retro-styled refrigerator with multiple sizing options. You can purchase this appliance in 8 different sizes, which makes it a unique choice. This would make it much easier to find a space inside your RV that would be a perfect spot for a refrigerator. Sizes range from 2.5 to 12 cubic feet, so you can measure your available space and choose a size that suits your needs.
It has two removable glass shelves and a freezer compartment at the top. There is also a drawer at the bottom that allows you to separate different types of food, such as fruit and vegetables.
To fit in with the retro theme, this refrigerator has a double chrome handle instead of the standard recessed handle that comes with most refrigerators. This refrigerator can add some style and color to your kitchen area.
It also uses a high efficiency and low energy consumption compressor and is illuminated inside by an LED light. It produces low noise levels at just 42 dB and has an adjustable thermostat control that ranges from 32 to 47 degrees Fahrenheit. This could be a bright and fun addition to your RV due to its retro appearance combined with modern technology.
- Multiple sizes and colors available to suit you
- A separate drawer at the bottom to keep food segregated and fresher for longer
- Low energy consumption
- Low noise levels
- No reversible doors
Stealing our fifth and final spot is this RCA mini-refrigerator that measures in at 3.2 cubic feet. With its compact size and reversible doors, this appliance is great for fitting into any available space in your RV.
This refrigerator features compressor cooling to provide the best possible performance, even in particularly hot weather, so you won’t have to worry about it overheating during the summer months.
It has a sleek and modern design and blends in well with different decorative themes. It also features a smart interior design that maximizes the use of all available space. The storage racks inside can be easily adjusted according to your preferences and the shelves are removable too.
You can also adjust the thermostat inside to keep your food cooled to a temperature that suits you.
- Compressor cooler to avoid overheating
- Smart interior design
- Adjustable thermostat
- No interior light
Things to Consider when Buying a Refrigerator for your RV
When it comes to choosing the best RV refrigerator, there are a few factors that you will need to consider. These can be factors that affect your choice like space and durability, or even things you might not necessarily think of, such as electricity usage.
Before you even start looking, take a moment to read through some of the points we’ve listed below. Giving each of these a little consideration will help you find the perfect refrigerator for your RV the first time around.
Size & Capacity
First of all, you need to know how much space you have available to utilize, as this will tell you roughly what size refrigerator you can get. It is vital to measure the space before-hand so that you don’t end up purchasing a refrigerator and finding that it doesn’t fit when it arrives.
You should also consider the capacity of the refrigerator and how much food you will need to store at one time. Whilst some refrigerators may be similar in size, the internal capacity may differ. It will be helpful to look at the storage optimization inside to find out if it will suit your needs.
This is where features such as reversible doors are going to be handy in terms of utilizing space.
Another thing to consider is installation. Not everyone is suited for DIY, and it can be difficult to install your refrigerator without any experience. If you don’t feel able to do this yourself, you should find someone who can install it for you.
There are two main types of refrigerator that you can get for an RV. These are the absorption type and the compression type.
The absorption type is the most common of the two and it can run off of liquified gas, making it more flexible. The ‘two-way’ fridge refers to the appliance being able to run off of liquid gas or AC power. The ‘three-way’ fridge can run using both of these, and also DC power.
These types of refrigerators are more flexible because you can save power by switching to gas, so you can go longer without having to use shore power. The only issue with these types of refrigerators is that they don’t tend to cool quickly or efficiently, and they don’t work well if the vehicle isn’t level.
The compressor type is powered by either AC or DC power. This allows you to operate the appliance using shore power when necessary, but it can run off of the battery otherwise. This type tends to cool better and faster. The type that you choose is entirely up to you and your preferences.
Depending on the refrigerator that you buy, you might also need to get an inverter. An inverter allows you to convert DC power into AC power to run certain appliances. Make sure to choose an inverter that has a high enough watt rating for the appliances that you need to use.
Another thing to consider when it comes to these refrigerators is noise levels. It all depends on the type, make, and model, but some tend to make more noise than others. If you are sleeping close to where the appliance is, it isn’t ideal if it is making noise.
Absorption types are typically almost silent because there is no motor. This may be a better option for you if you don’t want your quiet to be interrupted by the humming of a refrigerator.
Maintenance is another important thing to be aware of when buying an electrical appliance for your RV. Try not to open the door too often and make sure you don’t accidentally leave it open for a long time.
You could also get a fan for inside an absorption fridge to help circulate the air and maintain a more consistent temperature. You should also defrost and clean your refrigerator every other month. A good refrigerator can last up to ten years, or sometimes even longer when it is properly maintained.
The more features that a refrigerator has, the more convenient it is likely to be. Some features to consider are:
- Adjustable thermostat
- Reversible doors
- Extra storage inside the door
- Removable shelves
- Compressor cooling
- Adjustable legs
It’s not just added convenience that comes from extra features. The more features your RV refrigerator has, the more value you’ll be getting for your money. Check out what sort of warranty is included with your refrigerator too. This also gives you a bit more extra bang for your buck and acts as a testament to its quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an RV refrigerator?
It is a compact refrigerator with everything you would need, just in a smaller size. This is so they can be used in smaller areas where there may be limited space. Generally, it is the same as a standard residential fridge, but they can function without a compressor or moving parts.
They are also typically sturdier as they need to be reliable in a moving vehicle to avoid damage.
Can I put a normal refrigerator in my RV?
You shouldn’t put a standard household refrigerator in your RV because they aren’t typically built to last in this situation. They simply aren’t as durable and they also work differently. There are many moving parts inside that can be disrupted if you were to hit a bump in the road.
What temperature should it be?
In normal operation, your refrigerator should be between 32 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit for proper function. When it is first set up, it can take a few hours to reach the temperature that it is supposed to be at. If your appliance doesn’t tell you the temperature, you can use a thermometer to get an accurate reading.
Keep the door closed to maintain the temperature. In general, the ideal temperature is 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
How do I stop my refrigerator from going moldy?
Mold is a cause for concern as it can be harmful to your health and make you unwell. Mold thrives on moisture and can appear in your refrigerator due to condensation. If you do spot any mold, then you will need to make sure that you properly clean it up. If any mold gets left behind, it will quickly spread again.
If you are not planning on using your RV for a while, then you shouldn’t leave any food inside. It can also help to leave the refrigerator door open to prevent any moisture build-up. You can wedge it open if the door will fall closed by itself.
If you store your RV in an area that is typically hot and humid, you can get a dehumidifier that will regulate the amount of moisture in the air.
Will my inverter operate my refrigerator?
This will all depend on the number of watts required to operate the appliance. If the amp rating on the compressor motor of the fridge is lower than the continuous output of the inverter, then the inverter will operate the appliance. If not, you will need an inverter with a higher output.
Why isn’t my RV refrigerator cold?
The most common issue that can arise with a refrigerator is that it isn’t cooling properly or at all. This can be due to the heating elements, control board, and thermostat. Some other common reasons for your fridge not cooling properly can include:
- Lack of air circulation - Insufficient air circulation can occur in warm conditions and means that the fridge cannot cool down sufficiently. To help with this, you can install a fan to enhance the airflow.
- Blocked exhaust - If the hot air inside your refrigerator cannot escape, then it will remain warm inside. Sometimes, the vent on the back can get clogged with dust and dirt, which will prevent the warm air from getting out. You can clean it to try and get rid of any blockage. Make sure that the outer airflow is not obstructed.
- A build-up of ice - Ice can sometimes form inside your refrigerator, especially if there is a freezer section. Sometimes this ice can obstruct the natural airflow system. To fix this problem, all you need to do is defrost your refrigerator and remove the excess water.
- Unlevel ground causing disruption - For your refrigerator to cool properly, your RV should be level. This helps the solution inside to circulate as it should.