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Portable Refrigerator Freezer Buyer’s Guide | How to Choose the Best One for Your Camping Needs

A portable refrigerator freezer can be a large investment if you are one of the campers that frequently go out. It will almost certainly be the most expensive thing in your camping gear. This does not necessarily imply that you need the most expensive refrigerator on the market; it all depends on your specific needs. 

Finding a good camping fridge at a reasonable price that does all you want it to can be difficult, but once you know what features to look for, you can go shopping without fear of buying a dud that will cost you much more than you need to pay. 

To begin, there are three main types of portable camping refrigerators on the market; knowing which one you’re looking for will help you narrow down your options.

Thermo-Electric

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The first is a thermo-electric device, which is the least efficient and uses a thermoelectric ceramic that causes heat inside the cooler to be “sucked out” through a small thermoelectric element, and can typically reduce the temperature by 15-20 degrees below ambient. 

While they are less expensive, you can find that by using a small ice box or a cooler bag with ice bricks is more effective at keeping drinks and snacks cold in the real world. Despite the low price, the ‘Peltier’ technology used in these systems has a long way to go before it can compete with the portable refrigerators in the next two categories.

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3-Way

A 3-way camping fridge is the next style. These are one of the most flexible camping fridge systems available, with the ability to operate on a 9KG LPG gas tank, 12v power, or 240v mains power. 

These systems are effective at lowering temperatures by a significant amount; however, since a 3 way camping fridge operates by heating an ammonia solution. 

It is very efficient when operating on gas; however, when operating on 12v, the heating element uses about 75Watts of power, resulting in about 6-7amps of power draw, which is around 5-6 times more power than a standard camping fridge.

As a result, a small generator may be needed to keep this device running at a safe temperature for long periods of time, making this a slightly less desirable configuration.

Compressor Style

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A compressor style portable refrigerator is the last kind of refrigerator. By compressing a refrigerant and keeping the pressurized gas inside a condenser, and then releasing the compressed gas in a regulated manner, you can rapidly and easily reduce the temperature of the device, similar to how a gas bottle on a BBQ gets cold after a while of use.

Since there is less resistance in a machine that isn’t trying to produce heat, a compressor-style portable refrigerator tends to use a lot less energy. When using the vehicle’s 12v system, the compressor fridge uses an average of 0.85 amps/hour, making it one of the most efficient ways to keep food and drinks cool.

Top Features To Look For In A Portable Refrigerator Freezer

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A freezer is one of the most costly and necessary pieces of equipment to purchase when planning your offroad vehicle to travel to remote locations. The variations between the most common models are examined.

Size

Large refrigerators have more power but draw more electricity, and they take up more room in your vehicle. A fully loaded fridge could drive your car over its gross vehicle mass with a whole family and gear already onboard (GVM). Some refrigerators also have expansion inserts that clip onto the top for extra capacity when required.

The sizes are described in liters, but since this can be difficult to visualize, we’ve included a more universal unit of measure: cans of soda.

  • Under 25L – 27 cans: These lightweight fridges, which are essentially driven coolers, are ideal for holding lunch cold in a work truck for you and your coworker. They’re also a safe choice if you need to keep drugs refrigerated and close to hand.
  • 35L – 47 cans: Perfect for a weekend getaway for two, or a week if you’re traveling alone.
  • 40L – 60 cans: The most popular or standard size, 40L fridges are ideal for a long weekend with two or three people.
  • 50L – 72 cans: Enough for a week-long trip for two people or a long weekend for the entire family.
  • 60–65L – 106 cans: A decent size fridge for a family of five, or provide sustenance for your sporting party.  There’s plenty of room to keep the team’s half-time oranges on ice, just keep in mind the amount of space and weight it takes up in your car.
  • 80L+ – 120 cans: Enough room for a week away with a large party, but size and weight can be a factor. It may be more cost-effective to split the load between smaller refrigerators and separate vehicles.

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Two-way or Three-way Portable Fridges?

Two-way refrigerators use electricity, whereas three-way refrigerators use both electricity and gas. So, which is the better option?

Two-way refrigerators use the same compressor technology as a standard refrigerator, but they’re designed to operate on a 12-volt battery as well as mains power. 

They’re ideal for most uses because they’re built to run off your car’s electrical system without pulling too much current, but they can also be converted to 240 volts in powered camp sites or at home.

Compressor models, unlike gas fridges, require daily battery charging, so they may not be the best option for a month in the field, but they’ll work fine with a small solar panel system.

Current Drain

Look for a portable refrigerator that uses little power, particularly at 12 volts. This is a clear indicator of how long your battery will last at your campsite or in a parked car, as well as how long your fridge will work. 

Five amps is a lot of power, and one amp is a lot of power. Remember that vehicle temperatures will quickly rise, so if you’re parked in the sun with the windows down, your fridge will have to work extra hard.

Opt for a model that cuts over a reasonably high voltage to prevent your battery from hitting the bottom if you’re operating your portable fridge off your starting battery.

Since deep cycling a standard car battery with a portable fridge will shorten its life and leave you stranded, you should consider installing a dual-battery system for regular fridge use. Keep this in mind when calculating the overall cost of your refrigerator.

12-volt Plug-in

Make sure your refrigerator has the right connector for your car. It’s best to use an Anderson style socket, but you might need to get one built. Many portable refrigerators come with a cigarette lighter plug that fits into your vehicle’s accessory socket, but these plugs aren’t designed for high-current draw applications like refrigerators. When you encounter a bump, they can also unplug your fridge, turning it off entirely.

Insulation

Thick walls and insulation will help your compressor run more efficiently. Consider the materials used for the outer casing: metal is more rigid than plastic, so it absorbs heat more readily. Additional insulation is available in the form of thermal covers.

Sturdy Construction

Look for sturdy construction, solid hinges, and tough casings in your refrigerator to ensure it can withstand the rigors you’ll be subjecting it to. A good refrigerator should be capable of withstanding the weight of a person standing on it.

Portable refrigerators come in a range of casing materials, so think about which one is best for you. Metal is durable and ideal for heavy-duty applications, plastic flexes a little and is a good option for touring, and fibreglass is sturdy and corrosion-resistant, making it ideal for marine applications.

Hardware for Mounting

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To avoid your fridge tipping over on sharp corners or being a trigger in an accident, you’ll need sturdy mounting hardware. To keep your fridge in place, look for solid mounting points and ensure your vehicle has matching tie-down points.

You may want a specialized mounting kit if you take your outdoor adventures seriously (let’s face it, whether you’re buying a portable fridge, you probably do), and there are a range of OEM and aftermarket mounting kits available for most fridges. 

Check that the kits are compatible with both your fridge and your car, and that attaching and removing your fridge is simple when you get home or to camp.

A fridge slide makes it easier to reach refrigerators, and a drop slide makes it even easier – particularly if your 4×4 has been lifted. You may also want to think about shock-absorbing solutions like a foam base.

Fridge Power 

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A power supply isn’t needed for passive coolers, but you’ll have to keep refrozen an ice pack. You’ll definitely need a powered fridge if the temperature is high or if you’re going on a longer ride. 

Do you want to be able to use your car’s battery to fuel it? Is there a power outlet on the campsite, or would you need to bring your own? Absorption coolers may be powered by gas or, in some cases, solar energy.

Fridge Slide

Whether you’re going to put your fridge in the back of your 4WD, on the ute tray, or in your camping trailer, you’ll need a fridge slide to make it roll in and out.

Bear in mind that refrigerator slides are normally bolted to the floor when preparing the installation. Be sure to account for the size and weight of the fridge slide to ensure that it will match your intended refrigerator. 

Keep in mind that they will increase the height of the fridge and the clearance for the lid by a few centimeters.

Final Thoughts

If you’re hiking, boating, fishing, or just going outside for the day, have your favorite refreshments on hand for your next outdoor adventure. This buying guide has all you need to give you an insight into all of the considerations that go into selecting the right portable refrigerator freezer for your needs.

Recommended for You: Costway Car Refrigerator Review | Camping Had Never Been This Cool

Costway Car Refrigerator Review | Camping Has Never Been This Cool

If you are a frequent camper, you have probably considered purchasing a 12-volt camping fridge like the Costway Car Refrigerator at some point. There’s no denying how useful a camping refrigerator can be, particularly in the summer months when you need to keep your essentials cool.

An RV fridge, like a refrigerator at home, cools your food to a comfortable temperature for storage. It’s usually smaller to fit into the RV’s room and has a few unique features, such as latching doors and the ability to operate on various power sources. 

Since it transfers heat from inside the fridge to outside the fridge, the RV fridge is called a heat pump, much like your home fridge.

How Portable Fridges Work?

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A traditional refrigerator doesn’t always provide enough room for the food and drinks you need to keep. You may need a second mini fridge or portable refrigerator at other times, such as while traveling, camping, or relocating to a new venue, such as a college dorm room. You may enjoy the comfort of a second, compact refrigerator by following a few simple food safety rules and selecting the right appliance.

When overlanding in a campervan or hitting the trails, a camping fridge is possibly the most important thing.

It’s not as easy as putting a cooler in the back of your car and grabbing whatever you want because, let’s face it, the cooler box would turn into an icky pool of foul-smelling liquid, making all of your food soggy and sticky!

Food that can be frozen helps you to camp and stay put for longer periods of time without worrying about running out of supplies. It’s even more difficult to depend on Plan-B if you’re trapped in a remote location!

About Costway 55 Qt. Portable Car Refrigerator

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A camping fridge is probably the most valuable item when overlanding in a campervan or hitting the trails. It’s not as simple as throwing a cooler in the back of your car and taking whatever you want because, let’s face it, the cooler box will turn into an icky pool of foul-smelling liquid, soggy and sticky all over your food!

Food that can be frozen allows you to camp for longer periods of time without having to worry about running out of supplies. When you’re stranded in a remote area, it’s much more difficult to depend on Plan B!

Costway has only been in business for a little over ten years, and we are amazed by how far it has come in that period. Costway makes the 55-Quart 12V Refrigerator with Freezer, which is one of their products. The purpose of this article is to go over the features of this mini refrigerator, but first, we’ll go over the brand’s past and what it stands for today.

See Where CostWay Car Refrigerator Ranks in Our Best Portable Refrigerator Freezer

Costway 55 Qt Features

Despite the fact that it is not as well-known as other well-known brands, Costway has risen to become one of the biggest retailers in North America and Europe in less than a third of the time that the others have been in operation.

Costway also provides excellent customer support and is able to deliver goods quickly thanks to its nine warehouses located in the United States and Europe. According to the brand, you can choose from an extensive range of items that provide good value at reasonable prices.

We appreciate good quality at a reasonable price, and we’re sure you do as well. So, let’s see if this product lives up to its reputation.

Cooling Efficiency

This cooler’s quick and effective cooling is one of its best features. It can cool from 90 degrees Fahrenheit to 32 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 minutes, just like a normal refrigerator. It also has an ECO mode for energy conservation and a MAX mode for rapid cooling.

It cools in cycles because it is a compressor type, which means it does not operate continuously. This also means you won’t have to worry about your battery draining in a short amount of time. This cooler’s compressor technology is another intriguing aspect. The cooling is independent of the ambient temperature thanks to this technology.

So, even though your vacation destination is in the desert, you can be certain that this cooler can keep your food and drinks fresh.

Storage Capacity

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The capacity of this Costway 12V Cooler is very large. The 54-quart capacity is large enough to hold over 50 cans of soda, 1-liter bottles, and even wine bottles.

It has an inner shelf tray that looks like a basket and helps to organize and group everything in the cooler. This tray can also be removed to free up space in the cooler and make cleaning it easier.

Having said that, this cooler will hold enough food and drink to last you and your family for many days.

Smart Features

Another of the smart features of this cooler is the three-level battery protection.  Low, Medium, and High are the three battery levels. They can be customized to meet your needs while still protecting your vehicle’s batteries.

As a result, you’ll be able to easily view and change the temperature of your cooler.

You can also set it to ECO mode to save energy and MAX mode to cool quickly. The interior LED light is an extra feature that is extremely useful. At night or when the cooler is in a dimly lit area, the interior LED light can come in handy.

Design

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You’ll appreciate this cooler’s practical nature, which makes it ideal for your travel needs.

It can withstand extreme environments and conditions thanks to its shockproof construction. It also aids in the preservation of the cooler’s contents. As a result, the tilting and bouncing that can occur while driving on rugged terrain will have no effect on the food and drink within the cooler, nor will it affect the cooler’s quality.

This Costway cooler comes with a 110-240 AC home adapter in addition to its 12V/24V DC cable. This means you can use it not only on the road, but also at home, in the workplace, in a hotel or motel room, and so on.

Noise Level

This cooler is incredibly quiet for a cooler that uses compressor cooling technology, and you can hardly hear it when it’s on. This is a big benefit because you don’t want to deal with a loud machine.

When you use it in your home or workplace, where there is no car engine to block out the noise, the quiet cooling becomes much more useful.

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Other Features

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Super Capacity: This 52-liter compact refrigerator is perfect for storing beverages and beer. It can also be used to keep medications and cosmetics healthy.

Fast Cooling: Using compressor cooling technology, this energy-efficient refrigerator can easily cool from -4 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 minutes. It has the ability to conserve energy while providing rapid cooling.

Strong and Durable: This compact refrigerator is made of high-quality ABS material and is shock-resistant, ensuring that your food is safely stored even on bumpy mountain roads.

Battery Security and Low Noise: Three different battery protection levels, high, medium, and low, will meet your various needs while still ensuring safety. Furthermore, the noise produced by the refrigerator during service is less than 45 decibels, ensuring that you are not disturbed.

Easy to Use: The refrigerator has an LED monitor and digital temperature controls, allowing you to change the temperature quickly and easily. The refrigerator is compact and light, with a handle to make it easy to pass.

Product Specifications: 

  • Color: White and gray
  • Overall Dimension (L x W x H): 27.5″ x 14″ x 21″ 
  • Voltage: 12 V/24 V (DC), 110-240 V (AC)
  • Rated Power: 50 W
  • Capacity: 52 liters/55 quarts
  • Weight: 36 lbs
  • Cooling Range: -4°F – 50°F
  • Energy Consumption: 0.16 kwh/24 hrs
  • Refrigerating System: Compressor
  • Refrigerating Medium: R134 a/40 g

Pros:

  • Fast and efficient cooling
  • Design that is long-lasting
  • Practicality in style
  • Quiet air conditioning
  • A large storage room with an LCD temperature monitor and control
  • Battery protection modes

Cons: 

  • It’s a little on the heavy side.
  • The fixed temperature is reset to 32 degrees Fahrenheit when the cooler is switched off.

Caring for Your Portable Mini Refrigerator

Electrical machines, such as 12 volt coolers, should never be immersed in water or any other liquid. Only a damp cloth should be used for washing, whether it is interior or exterior. 

You may use a mild, easy-to-remove detergent or bleach; just make sure to rinse the cloth thoroughly and wipe the cooler surfaces again to remove dirt, food, and detergent. Make sure that no excess water from the fabric gets into the cooling system.

Routine Maintenance of Portable Mini Refrigerators

cleaning-the-portable-refrigerator

These portable fridges, like a home computer or laptop computer, use small dc powered fans and heat sinks to help in cooling and warming performance. To extend the life of the fan and other cooling elements, these fans and heat sinks should be kept as clean as possible. 

Optimal efficiency can be achieved by keeping the fan and heat sink clean and free of dust and other airflow-restricting materials. Canned air can be used to disinfect the fans and heat sinks in the same way as dust can be cleaned from a computer fan.

Final Verdict

It’s a pain to have to adjust the temperature any time you stop the car or want to use the cooler, but if you don’t mind doing so and you’re sold on the other features, this cooler might be ideal for you. There are several reasons to love the Costway 55-Quart 12V Refrigerator.

We believe this cooler is worth every buyer’s cent, thanks to its large capacity and cool smart features, as well as its rugged build that is built to withstand harsh conditions.

Under any weather situation, this refrigerator can keep food and beverages cold. Unfortunately, when this cooler is switched off, the temperature is reset to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which could cause the contents of your cooler to freeze.

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Wagan 12v Cooler Warmer | A Must-Have Portable Fridge for Roadtrips

Portable fridges are gaining popularity, particularly among city dwellers who live alone in small apartments and those who travel frequently. Mini refrigerators such as the Wagan 12v Cooler Warmer Portable Fridge have many benefits over regular refrigerators since they can be used in a variety of areas where a standard refrigerator might be inconvenient. 

These small refrigerators are ideal for student dorms, small apartments, offices, motels, hotels, and automobiles. One of the best in the market today is the Wagan 12v Cooler Warmer Portable Fridge. Let’s take a look at the advantages you’ll get when you buy this portable fridge.

Portable Fridge Offers Ultimate Convenience

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Many people find that having a mini refrigerator provides them with a lot of convenience. It can be easily transferred from one room to another within the home, as well as to the backyard or swimming pool area. 

A mini refrigerator is relatively light in weight and can be easily moved by one person due to its small size. As a compact fridge user, you can even take it on the road with you when driving, as most models come with a 12 volt charger that works well in a variety of vehicles.

Extremely Useful

Your office is one ideal location for your compact refrigerator to come in handy. You should keep your snacks and drinks in the fridge, which you can keep by your desk. Furthermore, since you can have more variety of foods for your lunches, it can be a great place to store lunch. 

It will also save you money because you will not have to purchase products from the costly soda and snack vending machines. Additionally, you should put the fridge in your mini-bar area or entertainment room at home to avoid getting up repeatedly to get drinks or snacks from the kitchen fridge.

Keeping your take-out cozy, on the other hand, normally entails turning up the heat and riding home sweaty. We plugged in the Wagan Personal Fridge and Warmer to see if the company’s solution made us hot, cold, or both.

About Wagan Personal Fridge and Warmer

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This Wagan 6-Quart 12V Personal Cooler/Warmer is only one of several robust and high-quality Wagan items. The aim of this review is to provide you with all of the information you need to make an informed decision about the Wagan cooler. However, we’ll start with what Wagan stands for as a company.

Wagan is surrounded by creativity and is able to keep up with new trends and patterns since it is located in the heart of Silicon Valley. They do it while maintaining their high-quality and well-known brand name.

But it’s their tech line, which includes their 12V coolers, that were most interested in. Wagan 12V coolers come in a variety of sizes and configurations, all of which are of excellent quality.

See Where Wagan 12V Cooler Warmer Ranks in Our Best Portable Refrigerator Freezer

Wagan 12V Cooler Warmer

This Wagan 6 quart personal cooler/warmer is suitable for a single person, as the name implies. This does not, however, imply that it can only be used by one user. With a storage capacity of up to 9 cans, your mates will be able to join in the fun and enjoy this cooler as well.

Features of the Wagan 12V Cooler Warmer

You will find out if this cooler matches your needs by taking a comprehensive look at all of its features, which you can do by continuing to read.

Efficient Cooling and Warming

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Wagan’s cooling unit serves as both a cooler and a heater. You can easily pick which mode you want the cooler to be in with the help of a simple switch. It also has indicator lights so you can quickly see what mode your cooler is in and prevent mistakes like bringing hot drinks out of your cooler.

The cooling mode allows your portable refrigerator to chill food and beverages, but, as with all cooling systems, it works best if the products are pre-chilled. Thermoelectric cooling is used to power this cooler. This implies that its cooling is influenced by the outside temperature (the temperature of the environment).

On the other hand, its warming feature is unaffected by the outside temperature. The cooler will heat up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping your soups and leftovers steaming hot. However, using your cooler to heat for long periods of time is not recommended. 

Apart from the fact that the cooler was not built for such use, it also violates food handling regulations. We recommend not heating food in your cooler for more than 40 minutes.

Environment-Friendly

This is a feature of this cooler that we really like, and we hope you will as well. If you’re concerned about the environment, you’ll appreciate the fact that this cooler contains no refrigerant. It also lacks CFCs (Chloro Fluoro Carbons), which are known to be toxic to the ozone layer and the atmosphere. This cooler employs thermoelectric cooling technology, which allows it to cool effectively while minimizing environmental impact.

Another advantage of using a thermoelectric cooler is that it is quiet. Unlike other compressor models, this cooling unit is extremely quiet and creates very little noise during operation.

Lightweight and compact

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There isn’t a lot of space in the Wagan EL6214. A couple of 2L water bottles, a few soda cans, and a few fruits will suit. It’s best for a maximum of 2-3 people. It has the advantage of being smaller than most compact coolers. 

If you have a tiny car, it can fit between the seats on the floor. You may also put it in the trunk or on one of the benches. The cooler is easy to bring to and from the car thanks to a nylon carrying strap.

Power Cord with Extra Cord

The Wagan 6214, like most portable electric coolers, plugs into a 12V socket in your vehicle. The 9-foot power cord is extra long, allowing you to position the cooler anywhere you want without worrying about not being able to reach the outlet.

Compact Design

This cooler is designed to be small and portable. It helps you to store just the right amount of food and drink in your car without taking up much space. It’s perfect for you if you’re short on space.

Simple to Use

One of our favorite features of this cooler is how easy it is to use. It lacks complicated controls that may be difficult to use. With its easy switch and indicator lights, you can easily switch between cooling and heating.

This device also includes a built-in carry-on strap for transporting your personal cooler from one location to another.

Cooling Capacity of 6 Degrees

This cooler will not freeze your food or beverages, as previously mentioned. It also takes an eternity for something you put in to cool down.

It works well for keeping cold or frozen items cold or frozen, much like an ice box. If you put frozen food in it, it will stay frozen for days. Even in hot weather, some cold beverages inside the cooler remain cold.

Product Specifications:

Wagan-personal-cooler-warmer-specs
  • Cooling technology: Thermoelectric
  • Warming function: Yes
  • Dimensions: 19”L x 10.25”W x 12”H
  • Weight: 13lbs
  • Capacity: 14 liters
  • Power: 12V outlet
  • Weight: 18.75 lbs
  • Power Consumption: 48W
  • Insulation: Polyurethane Foam
  • Input Power: 12V DC
  • Cord length: 8ft

Pros:

  • Silent and efficient cooling
  • Cooling and heating that is effective
  • Environment-friendly, portable, and lightweight
  • It’s easy to transport
  • Style that is both versatile and practical

Cons:

  • The AC adapter must be purchased separately.

Read Before Buying the Wagan 12V Cooler Warmer

  1. Do not use a different power source than the one for which it was made.
  2. If an appliance is plugged into a socket, the engine should not be started. The voltage surge caused by engine ignition will cause damage to the device and void the warranty.
  3. To stop battery drain, use this appliance while the car is driving.
  4. If your vehicle’s electrical system is weak or disabled, do not use this device.
  5. The device is only meant to be used on the go. It’s not meant to be left up all the time.
  6. A built-in fan helps to dissipate heat in the building. Do not obstruct or block the fan’s airflow. While the device is working, do not put any items on top of it.
  7. Never use the device in a car compartment or a boat cabin without sufficient and free air flow provided by an air conditioning system or an open window.
  8. When not in use and before washing, unplug the machine. Allow for cooling before cleaning and storing the machine.
  9. Do not leave the device out in the rain or submerge it in water.
  10. Allowing children to use unsupervised is not a good idea. Do not move the device between cooling and warming modes at the same time. Until switching to a new mode, turn the device off and wait at least 30 minutes.
  11. Without adequate temperature regulation, do not eat or drink perishable foods that could have spoiled.
  12. The machine isn’t built to hold open liquid containers.

Final Verdict

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It’s a must-have for all road trips regardless of their length. With its quiet cooling, you almost won’t notice any of its operational noises especially with your engine on.

Wagan 12v cooler warmer is also the perfect gift to give to your family and friends on their birthdays, at Christmas etc. Who wouldn’t want such a practical gift and it does help that it is pretty affordable too.

It’s a small room, so it may not be ideal for everybody. You would want to invest in a much larger cooler if you’d like to have the option of a larger capacity for grocery shopping or long trips.

We have to give Wagan 12v Cooler Warmer Portable Fridge a 9 out of 10-star rating because it is well worth the cost. All of these fantastic features for such a low price.

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Best Portable Refrigerator Freezer | Making Your Car Trip Extra Cooler

You might wish you had your freezer with you while driving cross country or going on a long camping trip, whether to safely store meats or transport sweet snacks like ice cream. Thankfully, the best portable refrigerator freezer makes this possible. 

While some coolers, such as those made by Yeti, will keep your food cold for up to a week, there are occasions when even that isn’t enough. 

Portable freezers can maintain much cooler temperatures for longer periods of time, allowing you to store foods that you wouldn’t be able to bring on a trip otherwise. Driven coolers are another name for portable freezers.

Benefits of Portable Refrigerators

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Keeping food and beverages cold while camping or on a long road trip is critical, and while coolers have served us well for the past century or so, it’s about time we started looking at more sophisticated systems to ensure comfort at every stop along the way.

This is why the best portable freezer is the ideal way to ensure that your next adventure is not hampered by stale alcohol or inedible food. These handy little cases come in a range of sizes and features you never thought you’d see outside of your smart home, based on what you really want.

You can depend on fresh food even if anything else around you isn’t running, whether you’re hit by a storm, outage, hurricane, earthquake, or just want to dive headfirst into off the grid living.

Best Portable Refrigerator Freezer

One of the most important decisions you can make for your camper van is which portable refrigerator to buy. Portable refrigerators take up a lot of room and can use a lot of power in your van. 

Refrigerators designed for RVs and boats would be the perfect option for van life because they are well-built and insulated to withstand the harsh conditions of a mobile lifestyle.

We’ve put together a list of the best portable refrigerators to help you figure out which one is right for you.

#1 Alpicool C20 20-Liter Portable Fridge Freezer

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The Alpicool Electrical Appliance company has a huge manufacturing base in ShunDe, China, dubbed “The City of Lights” by locals. The area is home to a variety of businesses, including Alpicool, and is a major export hub in China.

Because of the high quality of its product, Alpicool has earned a reputation over the years and stands out among rival brands. It has done so by providing high-quality goods at reasonable prices.

Alpicool has a long list of accomplishments under its belt, including being a leading producer of 12V refrigerators and exporting its goods to countries all over the world.

The Alpicool portable freezer and refrigerator is suitable for use both indoors and outdoors. It can be powered by 12/24V DC, 110V-240V AC, or small solar systems. This is ideal for those who live off the grid or who have just returned from a fishing trip and need to keep their fresh catch cold.

It has enough space to hold about 25 cans of soda. Although the plastic material is light and simple to hold, be aware that it can slip around in your vehicle.

Features

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This Alpicool cooler uses compressor technology, as do other 12v refrigerators from this company. The cooling capacity and efficiency of this unit are exceptional. It works much like a normal refrigerator and can reach temperatures as low as -4 degrees F (20 degrees C), which is cold enough to shape ice.

Pre-cooling your things before placing them in the cooler is recommended for the safest and most refreshing experience.

Because of its adjustable temperatures, this cooler can be used as both a refrigerator and a freezer. When it’s hot outside, you’ll be able to enjoy cold beverages. You can also freeze meat, make ice, or prevent ice cream from melting as an alternative.

Specifications:

alpicool-c20-portable-refrigerator-freezer-specs
  • Color: Gray
  • Finish Type: Glossy
  • Brand: Alpicool
  • Form Factor: Mini Fridges
  • Item Dimensions (LxWxH): 23.54 x 12.6 x 12.6 inches
  • Capacity: 0.7 Cubic Feet
  • Shelf Type: Plastic
  • Cooling range: 20℃~-20℃
  • Volume: 20L
  • Energy Consumption: 0.2kW.h/24h
  • Noise: <45dB

Pros:

  • Effortless and Lightweight
  • Quiet and attractive, it cools quickly and at a low cost.
  • It’s even possible to use it as a fridge.
  • In Eco mode, there is a low power consumption.

Cons:

  • There is no interior thermometer.
  • There might be a difference between the temperature shown on the screen and the real internal temperature. 
  • The manual is poorly written and almost non-helpful.
  • Menus that should be in the manual but aren’t.
  • Hoped it had some chunky rubber feet and a rope to tie it to the back or side then it wouldn’t bounce around in a moving rv when being towed.

Where to buy Alpicool C20 20-Liter Portable Fridge Freezer

#2 Engel MR040F-U1 40 Qt Portable Refrigerator Freezer

engel-mr040F-u1-portable-fridge-freezer

Engel, a well-respected firm with over 5 years ’ experience in the cooling industry, was founded in 1962 as a leader in portable and cooling refrigeration.

Engel fridge freezers are designed to be simple, compact, and practical. They’re also known for their reliability and ability to keep food and beverages ice cold, thanks to their German engine.

Engel fridge freezers are specifically designed to be the perfect companion for tourists, campers, and caravan owners because Engel fridges are so lightweight and designed for portability.

Each Engel portable fridge will ensure a worry-free experience both on the road and at home, thanks to the hermetic closing and thermal insulation of each freezer, particularly since they are both battery-operated (12/24V DC) and current-operated (110V AC). So, without further ado, let’s take a look inside the Engel 40 Quart Freezer.

Incredibly Durable

engel-mr040F-u1-portable-fridge-freezer-durability

The longevity of this portable fridge/freezer is one of its most prominent design features. It’s made of tough ABS plastic, and it’s built to keep the entire freezer, as well as its contents, safe and stable.

Cooling Capacity and Efficiency

This Alpicool cooler uses compressor technology, as do other 12v refrigerators from this company. The cooling capacity and efficiency of this unit are exceptional. It works much like a normal refrigerator and can reach temperatures as low as -4 degrees F (20 degrees C), which is cold enough to shape ice. Pre-cooling your things before placing them in the cooler is recommended for the safest and most refreshing experience.

Because of its adjustable temperatures, this cooler can be used as both a refrigerator and a freezer. When it’s hot outside, you’ll be able to enjoy cold beverages. You can also freeze meat, make ice, or prevent ice cream from melting as an alternative.

Temperature Control

Temperature monitoring is one of the major highlights of the Engel 40-Quart Fridge Freezer. The Engel electric cooler has variable temperature control, unlike other portable fridge freezers on the market.

This means you’ll be able to choose how cold you want this fridge to run while still being able to choose the voltage automatically. All you have to do is change the button to go from AC to DC.

Not only that, but you’ll be able to change the temperature to be a little warmer if necessary, especially if you’re in very cold weather, thanks to the variable temperature control.

Product Specifications:

  • Exterior Dimensions: 25″ x 15.5″ x 18.5″
  • Interior Dimensions: 14.5″ x 10.5″ x 14.4″
  • Weight: 55 Lbs
  • Quarts: 40 Qts
  • Power Options: 12V/24V DC & 110V/120V AC
  • Power Draw: Variable from 0.7-3.0 Amps (12V DC)
  • Gas Type: HFC-134a
  • Outer Shell: Galvanized Steel and ABS Plastic

Pros:

  • Allows for the automatic switching of power between AC and DC.
  • This compressor is very efficient, but it runs quietly.
  • Sturdy side handles and a heavy-duty outer shell.

Cons

  • It is very costly, but it is long-lasting.

Where to buy Engel MR040F-U1 40 Qt Portable Refrigerator Freezer

#3 COSTWAY 55-QuartCar Refrigerator Freezer 

costway-car-refrigerator-freezer-55-qt

Do you need a small refrigerator-freezer to take on road trips, hiking, or living in a van? Check out the Costway Portable Fridge Freezer, which has a large capacity but is small enough to fit in tight spaces.

Costway makes the 55-Quart 12V Refrigerator with Freezer, which is one of their products. Costway, which was established in 2008, has been in operation for just over ten years, and we are amazed at how far it has come in such a short time.

Despite the fact that it is not as well-known as other well-known brands, Costway has risen to become one of the biggest retailers in North America and Europe in less than a third of the time that the others have been in operation.

Offers More Flexibility and Efficiency

costway-car-refrigerator-freezer-55-qt-capacity

As compared to extra-large car coolers, the Costway 54L offers more flexibility in terms of placement. It also cools faster and is less expensive to run. Furthermore, when the price is smaller, it will save you a couple hundred dollars.

As a result, if you don’t need a large cooler but also need the ability to chill and freeze, Costway is a reasonable option. By the way, this portable refrigerator/freezer is far from thin. It can carry around 75 12-ounce cans, for example.

In addition, several smaller, personal-sized car coolers are unable to reach a freezing point. The Costway 54L is once again a viable option.

Not to mention that the extra room makes this machine more versatile. For example, holding medicine cold or storing fishing supplies during family camping trips, tailgaters, larger parties or picnics.

Product Specifications: 

costway-car-refrigerator-freezer-55-qt-specs
  • Color: White and gray
  • Overall Dimension (L x W x H): 27.5″ x 14″ x 21″ 
  • Voltage: 12 V/24 V (DC), 110-240 V (AC)
  • Rated Power: 50 W
  • Capacity: 52 liters/55 quarts
  • Weight: 36 lbs
  • Cooling Range: -4°F – 50°F
  • Energy Consumption: 0.16 kwh/24 hrs
  • Refrigerating System: Compressor
  • Refrigerating Medium: R134 a/40 g

Pros: 

  • Cooling that is fast and efficient
  • Durable design
  • Style that is practical
  • Cooling that is quiet
  • LCD temperature display and control on a large storage room
  • Modes of battery safety

Cons:

  • It’s a bit heavy
  • When the cooler is turned off, the fixed temperature is reset to 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Where to buy COSTWAY 55-Quart Car Refrigerator Freezer 

Check Out Our Individual Product Review for CostWay Car Refrigerator Freezer

#4 ICECO GO20 Portable Refrigerator Freezer

iceco-go20-dual-zone-portable-refrigerator

So, what distinguishes the Go20 from the rest of the pack? It’s essentially a compact refrigerator/cooler that you can bring with you everywhere you go. Of course, the system can be plugged directly into any AC wall socket, but the included cable can also be used to draw power from a 12-volt car port.

As a result, you’ll be able to keep your essential things cold when on the go. Better still, the cooler can be powered without an outlet by an optional add-on battery pack or by plugging it into a portable power station.

Dual Climate Zones

The Go20 has dual climate zones on the inside, allowing you to set the temperature for each separately. This means you can keep meat, ice cream, and other frozen foods apart from your drinks, which will stay cold but not frozen.

On the outside of the cooler, there’s a control panel with controls for both areas, as well as an on/off switch and a button for quick freezing. It also has Bluetooth compatibility, allowing users to track and change temperatures from their phones.

Capacity and Efficiency

iceco-go20-dual-zone-portable-refrigerator-capacity

The standard iFreezer comes with cords for connecting to a 12-volt power port in your car or a standard socket. It also has a divider that allows you to set two temperature zones and hold items frozen and fresh at the same time, as well as separate temperature controls for each compartment. 

There is enough room for about 20 beer cans or a weekend’s supply of meals in the maximum storage capacity of 21 quarts, which can be set to be a freezer or fridge. You can also divide it with the divider into 7.4 quarts of freezer space and 12.2 quarts of fridge space.

Product Specifications:

iceco-go20-dual-zone-portable-refrigerator-specs
  • Brand: ICECO
  • Item Weight: 23.8 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 12.6 x 12.4 inches
  • Capacity: 20 liters
  • Noise: 45 dB
  • Consumption: 50W
  • Included Components: AC adapter & DC power cable & Cover
  • Power: 110V to 240V AC for home use
  • App control: Car Fridge (iOS & Android)

Pros: 

  • Dual-zone design that is both excellent and versatile. The fridge has a removable partition and two freezer and refrigeration areas, as well as two interactive screens. You’ll have plenty of room inside after removing the panel partition.
  • Touch-based controls and a smart program. Your ICECO GO20 12V Dual Zone Portable Refrigerator can be connected to Bluetooth, allowing you to adjust the temperature, cooling, and battery security with just a few clicks.
  • Car battery safety in three stages. It has a three-stage battery protection system that prevents car battery drain.
  • Cooling quickly and efficiently while conserving energy. You can choose between max and eco modes, which can be fine-tuned as required.

Cons:

  • The app was slow and unresponsive to touch, but you don’t need it to operate any of the features on this device.

Where to buy ICECO GO20 Portable Refrigerator Freezer

#5 BougeRV 12V Car Refrigerator Freezer

BougeRV-Portable-Car Freezer-12v

You’ll need a way to store food for your travels if you travel on the road. Sure, a simple Coleman cooler would do for a day at the beach or a day of camping. However, for long-term storage over days or weeks, you’ll need a refrigerator. 

A travel fridge, on the other hand, must fulfill a range of specifications. It must, for one thing, run on DC electricity. Since cars, semi trucks, and even RVs use DC instead of AC, most regular refrigerators aren’t suitable. 

Similarly, a travel fridge must be built so that it does not deplete the battery in your car. Otherwise, you may not be able to start your car when you wake up in the morning.

A new portable freezer from BougeRV, a firm that focuses on off-grid accessories, can keep your food and drinks cold no matter where you’ve been staying. If you need extra fridge and freezer space on long boondocking trips or want to keep food and drinks in the car while driving, their new portable freezer comes in handy in a variety of circumstances. 

BogueRV has a fridge which freezer compartment and can be used anywhere there is a DC power supply.

Size & Capacity

BougeRV-Portable-Car Freezer-12v-capacity

Their new portable freezer can be used in any car, RV, truck, SUV, camper van, or boat that runs on 12/24 V DC fuel. Solar panels, a generator, an auxiliary battery, or a portable power station like the Jackery can all be used to power it. It can also be operated from a regular 110/240V outlet at home.

The device has a three-level battery monitor to prevent it from running out of juice. To prevent the battery from fully draining, you can select what battery voltage the fridge shuts off at. 

If the freezer has reached the desired temperature, you can choose Eco-Saving Mode, which uses 45W of power instead of 60W in MAX Mode.

Design Concepts

The BougeRV 53 Quart Portable Car Freezer/Refrigerator is a well-built device with plenty of space for its size. The majority of refrigerators with this capability are at least two feet long on one side. This one, on the other side, has a depth of 22 inches, a width of 13 inches, and a height of 21 inches. As a result, it can fit into tighter spaces than most other high-capacity refrigerators. 

It’s worth noting that a 42-quart version is also affordable. It has the majority of the same features as the larger version, but it is smaller. The larger model we’re looking at today weighs 46 pounds when empty. It can be very heavy when fully loaded.

Product Specifications:

  • Brand: BougeRV
  • Model: 42 Quart
  • Inverter Type: Has Inverter
  • Item Dimensions (LxWxH): 22 x 13 x 17.5 inches
  • Refrigerant: R-134A
  • Specification Met: CE
BougeRV-Portable-Car Freezer-12v-how-to-run

Pros: 

  • The truck freezer is built to be quiet so you can get a good night’s sleep after a long drive.
  • A three-level battery monitor is built into the RV fridge/freezer to prevent the fridge from draining your vehicle’s battery.
  • This car fridge can be used in a variety of vehicles with 12/24 V DC fuel, including SUVs, trucks, RVs, campers, Jeeps, vans, boats, and more.
  • We guarantee a 2-year warranty on the compressor and accessories since they are CE and FCC certified.
  • This 12v Portable Refrigerator will store enough food for a week’s worth of trips for you and your family.

Cons:

  • This product is made of plastic. Apart from the compressor and tubing, it doesn’t have any metal. It would be difficult to bolt to the floor in vans because of this.

Where to buy BougeRV 12V Car Refrigerator Freezer

#6 AstroAI Camping Fridge Freezer

astroai-portable-freezer-refrigerator

The AstroAI Camping Fridge is ideal if you’re on a budget and want a decent camping fridge. It’s about half the price of most others on the market.

The fridge is built to last, with an anti-shake design that ensures it lasts on the road. It also cools quickly. The fridge can reach minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit in an hour and has both Max and Eco modes.

It also has an intelligent battery device that tells you how low your car battery is, showing heavy, medium, or low draw, so you know when to start it and charge it again.

It’s not limited to your car’s 12 volts; it can even be found in a wall socket at home, which is ideal for pre-cooling it before a camping trip. There is a USB charging port on the fridge, as well as an adjustable temperature and various modes, so you can charge your phone while the fridge uses the car’s 12-volt port.

Overall, it’s a nice camping fridge that’s both inexpensive and effective at cooling; however, the directions aren’t very straightforward. However, with a little patience and time, you should be able to figure them out.

astroai-portable-freezer-refrigerator-capacity

Big Capacity: With a 15L capacity and interior dimensions of 13.8″(L)x 9.6″(W) x 7.1″(H), it may be used as a fridge or freezer to hold items like beverages, fruits, ice cream, vegetables, seafood, meats, skin care, and breast milk cold at different temperatures. Picnics, barbecues, camping, home parties, and travel are all good ideas. Ideal for both men and women.

Fast Cooling: With a strong compressor, an empty car freezer will reach a maximum temperature of 95°F in 30 minutes and a minimum temperature of -4°F (-20°C) in about an hour. You’d choose max mode for fast cooling or ECO mode for energy conservation. (The maximum working temperature is 131°F.)

Battery Protection: The car fridge will prevent your vehicle battery from running out with three levels of battery protection: Low, Medium, and High. It saves you time by remembering your settings for the next time.

Designs With Purpose: The LED display panel may be used to verify and set the temperature in dimly lit areas.

Charging with Ease: When you need to charge your devices, use the USB Charging Port. UL The UL-listed car cigarette lighter extension cord has a built-in ceramic fuse that protects against overheating and short circuits.

Multi-use: This fridge will cool things at home or in your car thanks to the 12/24V DC and 100V to 240V AC adapter. With a portable power bank, you can also do it outside.

Product Specifications:

  • Product Dimensions (LxWxH): 13.8″x 9.6″ x 7.1″
  • Capacity: 15L
  • Operating Temperature: does not exceed 131℉
  • Model Name: PF150G
  • Maximum Cooling: 95℉
  • Lowest: -4℉

Pros:

  • It can be used as a refrigerator or a freezer.
  • It has a maximum low temperature of -4°F and is available in a variety of sizes to suit your needs.
  • Your car will still start thanks to battery safety.
  • USB charging port for your phone that is both durable and well-made.

Cons:

  • There aren’t many directions included.

Where to buy AstroAI Camping Fridge Freezer

#7 Wagan 14-Liter 12V Fridge Cooler

Wagan-12v-personal-cooler-warmer

If you want to keep your drink cold without the mess that ice packs cause, this is the cooler for you. Maybe all you need is a warmer to keep your lunch warm and toasty. You’ve come to the right place because this cooler has both of these fantastic features. 

The Wagan 14-Liter 12V cooler has a lot of great features that will meet all of your needs, no matter how diverse they are. This cooler is an excellent travel companion for hot summer days when you need to quench your thirst with cold beverages. 

It will also be useful during the cold winter months when you need to keep your food and drink warm.

Uses and Capacity

Wagan-12v-personal-cooler-warmer-uses

These aren’t the only uses for this cooler; it may also be used to keep medication or vaccinations cold. It can also be used by nursing mothers to keep milk fresh and warm it up when needed. The numerous applications are endless, and users can be as imaginative as they want with this cooler.

Its wide capacity allows you to store as much food as you want, while its practical nature and the fact that it does not require additional ice make it lightweight. There’s even a carry-on harness that makes transporting the cooler a breeze.

On the outside, the device is made of sturdy, easy-to-clean plastic and features two cup holders on the top. The front has controls for turning the unit on and off, as well as a front fan vent to dispel heat. The fan makes some noise, but not enough to be bothersome.

Thermoelectric Cooling and Heating 

The Wagan EL6214 cooler cools and warms the inside using thermoelectric technology. It’s not as powerful as compressor technology used in mini fridges, but it’s less expensive, uses less electricity, and needs no upkeep.

Although it won’t actually freeze your drinks, it will keep them cold. It can also be used to warm food or keep takeout warm. The machine automatically switches to warming mode when a switch in the back is flipped (max 140 degrees).

Product Specifications:

Wagan-12v-personal-cooler-warmer-specs
  • Weight: 18.75 lbs
  • Insulation: Polyurethane Foam
  • Power Consumption: 48W
  • Input Power: 12V DC
  • Cord length: 8ft
  • Cooling: 36°F / 20°C below ambient temperature*
  • Heats up to 140°F (60°C)
  • Holds up to 60 (12oz.) cans
  • Control panel: Mode settings, Power indicator
  • Modes: Cooling or Warming

Pros: 

  • Environmentally friendly
  • It has two functions.
  • Cooling and heating that is effective
  • Unit is small and compact.
  • Style that is practical
  • It comes with a seatbelt harness to ensure that it is securely fastened to the seat.
  • Convenience and Design
  • Cooler that is not too heavy

Cons:

  • It does not include an AC power cable, which must be purchased separately.

Where to buy Wagan 14-Liter 12V Fridge Cooler

Check Out Our Individual Product Review for Wagan 14-Liter Fridge Cooler

Buyer’s Guide

A portable fridge is a battery-powered mobile cooling device that uses your car’s 12-volt electrical system to keep your food and drinks cold (or frozen) for an extended period of time. It may cost more than just a cooler, but you’ll never have to worry about running out of ice again.

Sizes

Large refrigerators have more power but draw more electricity, and they take up more room in your vehicle. A fully loaded fridge could drive your car over its gross vehicle mass with a whole family and gear already onboard (GVM). Some refrigerators also have expansion inserts that clip onto the top for extra capacity when required.

The sizes are described in litres, but since this can be difficult to visualize, we’ve included a more universal unit of measure: cans of soda.

27 cans for 25L and under

37 cans in 35L

60 cans – 40L

72 cans – 50L

106 cans (60–65L)

120 cans – 80L+

Is it Better to Have a Two-way or Three-way Fridge?

Two-way (compressor) and three-way portable refrigerators are the two most common models (absorption). This simply denotes the form of energy they require to function. 

Two-way refrigerators use the same compressor technology as standard refrigerators, but they can be powered by a 12-volt battery as well as mains power. They can be converted to 240-volts for use in a powered campsite or at home, and they can run off your car’s battery without drawing too much current.

Three-way refrigerators are more flexible in this way because they can use electric power sources in addition to coal. They’re great if you’ll be off the grid for a long time, as a single LPG cylinder will last for weeks.

Portable Refrigerators With Two-way Compressors

Two-way refrigerators use the same compressor technology as a standard refrigerator, but they’re designed to operate on a 12-volt battery as well as mains power. 

They’re ideal for most uses because they’re built to run off your car’s electrical system without taking too much current, but they can also be converted to 240 volts in powered camping sites or at home.

Compressor models, unlike gas fridges, require daily battery charging, so they may not be the best option for a month in the field, but they’ll work fine with a small solar panel system.

Final Thoughts

A portable fridge is a battery-powered mobile cooling unit that uses the 12-volt electrical system in your car to keep your food and drinks cold (or frozen) for a long time. 

You’ll never run out of ice again and it’s more expensive than just a cooler. Our extensive list of the best portable refrigerator freezers has you covered no matter what power you need or how you want to use it.

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