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HomeRVRV Fridge Fundamentals: Varieties, Shopping for Information, and Upkeep

RV Fridge Fundamentals: Varieties, Shopping for Information, and Upkeep


Everybody has an opinion in terms of RV fridges. The subject is bound to start out up vigorous debate amongst RVers. Like all different issues RV-related, your RV fridge is a matter of non-public choice. And your RV journey type will extremely affect that choice.

With that stated, some RV fridge fundamentals will assist you already know what you’re once you’re out on the showroom ground.

RV Fridge Varieties

Most new motorhomes and used motorhomes provide both compressor-driven fridges or absorption fridges. Absorption fridges are the commonest, however you’ll additionally see “residential-style fridges.”

Sadly, this time period may be complicated. Some RVers and RV producers use that time period to check with the design, and others to imply a fridge designed to be used in a set residence. Let’s make clear some data on how completely different RV fridges work.

Absorption Fridges

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Picture by Tenting World

The commonest kind of fridge you’ll discover in RVs is an absorption fridge. Absorption fridges can run on propane, along with {an electrical} energy supply. This makes them extra versatile than compressor-driven fridges.

A “2-way fridge” refers to an absorption RV fridge that may run off of AC Energy and LP gasoline. A “3-way fridge” refers to an absorption RV fridge that may run off of AC Energy, LP gasoline, and DC Energy. This fridge can run off of shore energy (or a generator), propane, or home batteries.

Absorption fridges present extra flexibility as a result of you’ll be able to swap to propane to preserve energy. Switching to propane additionally helps you keep out longer with out shore energy. They typically don’t cool as rapidly, evenly, or effectively. You additionally should park the RV nearly completely stage for the fridge to operate correctly.

Should you’re contemplating an absorption fridge, we suggest testing a high-performance RV propane tank and different helpful equipment. Lots of our choices are light-weight and refillable.

Compressor Fridges

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Picture by Tenting World

A compressor-driven fridge in an RV typically requires AC/DC energy to run. This implies you’ll be able to run it off of shore energy in case your RV is plugged in or your coach batteries if it’s not. Residential fridges, as within the ones which are utilized in mounted houses, are additionally compressor fridges, however they will solely run when plugged into an AC outlet.

Should you put in a real residential fridge in your RV, you’d want an inverter when the RV just isn’t linked to shore energy or a generator. Compressor fridges have a tendency to chill sooner and extra effectively, and so they’re not affected by altitude.

Residential-Fashion Fridges

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Picture by Tenting World

You will discover a “residential-style” fridge in some giant journey trailers (together with used journey trailers) and Class A RVs. They’re in style due to their larger capability and since they cool extra evenly. They’re additionally typically inexpensive than an RV fridge.

You may consider a “residential-style” fridge as a “one-way fridge.” They solely work off of shore energy. The one means they will operate when not plugged in is thru using a generator or an inverter. An inverter will convert DC energy out of your batteries into AC energy your fridge can use.

Bear in mind that some RV producers could use the time period “residential-style” to check with the design, bigger dimension, or the truth that it cools via a compressor. So that you may discover an AC/DC compressor fridge, which isn’t just like the fridge in your house as a result of it will also be battery-powered, described as a “residential-style” fridge.

Which RV Fridge Is Proper For You?

There’s no proper reply. All of it will depend on your preferences, and there are lots of opinions about the very best RV fridge.

Some RVers swear by residential fridges. Some like the choice of getting propane. Others hate having to refill propane and like an AC/DC compressor fridge (keep in mind, since this type can run off of two energy sources, it’s not a real “residential-style” fridge).

Issues To Think about When Looking for RV Fridges

For each professional, there’s a con. For each argument a method, there’s a legitimate counter-argument. However, listed here are some questions to contemplate that can assist you whereas RV fridge procuring.

How A lot Meals Do You Wish to Retailer?

A refrigerator that could be used in an RV

Should you cook dinner quite a bit or camp with a big household, it’s your decision the capability of a “residential-style” fridge. Should you’re at all times plugged in since you solely keep at developed campgrounds with electrical hook-ups, you need to run into only a few issues.

Nevertheless, if you happen to boondock or do in a single day Walmart stays, your finest wager is to improve your battery financial institution and/or add photo voltaic panels to your RV if you happen to go together with a “residential-style” fridge. A heavy-duty battery financial institution (most inventory battery banks aren’t beefy sufficient) will guarantee you’ll be able to keep off-grid with out working out of energy.

Should you don’t have to retailer a lot meals, you’ll benefit from the space-saving nature and adaptability of AC/DC compressor fridges or absorption fridges.

Is Your Battery Financial institution Simply Accessible?

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Picture by Tenting World

Upgrading your battery financial institution is comparatively simple and might price just a few hundred {dollars}. Should you’re contemplating an RV that doesn’t have an simply accessible battery financial institution, you may wish to take into account an absorption fridge.

A “residential-style” fridge works finest with an upgraded battery financial institution, and an AC/DC compressor fridge can drain your inventory battery financial institution when boondocking.

Would You Like To Refill Propane Much less?

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Picture by Tenting World

Some full-time RVers discover it fairly a chore to refill the propane tank. If that is you, you’ll wish to go together with a compressor fridge. Water heaters and furnaces nonetheless typically use propane, so it is not going to solely eradicate the necessity for propane.

Some RVs are propane free, however not many. The much less propane you wish to use, the extra upgraded your battery and photo voltaic capability must be.

Are You All the time Completely Stage?

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Picture by Tenting World

Should you’re at all times completely stage, you’ll don’t have any downside with absorption fridges. Nevertheless, if you happen to’re not, a compressor fridge could also be a good suggestion. You received’t be comfy in case your RV is so unlevel that you simply and your belongings are sliding over to at least one aspect.

However, if you happen to do plenty of Walmart overnights, Harvest Host stays, or driveway stays with household, it may be good to not should deliver out the leveling blocks or fear about being precisely stage. Discover ways to stage your RV proper the primary time, whatever the fridge you choose.

Do You Primarily Boondock?

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Picture by Tenting World

Should you love boondocking in nature, an absorption fridge is a brilliant selection until you’ll be able to improve your battery financial institution instantly. Should you can improve your battery financial institution, you possibly can boondock with a “residential-style” fridge. You might additionally go together with an AC/DC fridge, eliminating the should be stage.

Does Your RV Have an Inverter?

A pure sine wave inverter is a "must" for a "residential-style" fridge.

In some instances, an RV could have a “residential-style” fridge—one that’s AC energy solely—and never have an RV energy inverter onboard. In that state of affairs, you’ll be able to’t spend a lot time off-grid until you put in an inverter earlier than your subsequent journey.

If in case you have an onboard or moveable RV generator, you’d should run it, which may battle with quiet hours and noise restrictions in some campgrounds. Should you’ve ever rented an RV from a standard RV rental firm, you could have skilled this.

RV Fridge Upkeep

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Picture by Tenting World

Preserving your RV fridge working effectively requires finest practices and routine upkeep. Listed here are just a few RV fridge upkeep suggestions:

  • Open the door as little as doable and restrict the period of time the door is open once you do.
  • Be sure you’re stage if you happen to’re utilizing an absorption fridge.
  • Guarantee it’s not overstuffed so it will probably cool effectively.
  • Maintain spare fridge components and equipment readily available.
  • Think about a fridge fan to flow into extra air contained in the fridge if you happen to use an absorption fridge. This helps hold a extra constant temperature and might help keep extra even cooling.
  • Absorption fridges needs to be defrosted month-to-month or bi-monthly.
  • Take your RV in for normal fridge service. Flue cleansing and an airflow verify will hold your fridge working easily.
  • With a “residential-style” fridge, you’ll need an RV equipment verify.

That is particularly vital in case your RV is stationary for lengthy intervals of time. Disuse may cause extra injury to an RV fridge than misuse. Altering out an RV fridge may be sophisticated as a result of new fashions could not match via RV doorways or could require modifications to fridge cupboards.

Should you can’t have all of it “out the dealership door,” err on the aspect of upgrading your energy capability. It’s typically a better mission than swapping out a fridge.


RV fridges are a sizzling subject, and there are lots of opinions on what’s finest. There are good factors for and towards each possibility. Studying the fundamentals will allow you to as you store for an RV. Typically, it’s simpler to start out off with the fridge you actually need.

What kind of fridge is in your RV? Depart a remark under.


Nadia hit the highway full-time in an RV along with her husband, Jon, and their 2 canine. She goals of touring the world, creating content material that conjures up, and hugging a koala bear. She’s been an educator and a marketer for a Fortune 500 firm. Today, she works as a content material creator and advertising and marketing strategist from the highway. She writes for varied blogs and magazines, additionally documenting her adventures with Jon at their weblog RoamingRemodelers. Till she finds that koala to hug, she’s completely satisfied boondocking, visiting indie bookstores alongside the best way, and ingesting as a lot tea as doable.



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