20+ RV Fridge 2020 (Tips & Tricks)

replacing dometic rv refrigerator

RV Fridge – Usually, an RV fridge is way more expensive than regular fridge you find at home. Other than the cost, it also differs in sizes.

For new RVers, RV fridge might be overwhelming because it functions differently from regular fridge and some of it doesn’t come with large space. Read our article below to know more about RV Fridge. 

How Does An RV Fridge Work?

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Basically, an RV fridge works differently than a regular fridge. While household fridge usually is powered by an electric pump, RV fridge use different type of system called a gas absorption fridge, which is powered by a propane burner. However, once you park at spot with electricity, propane can be turned off and run the fridge with the shore power. Below we write how a fridge works in details.

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Boil The Ammonia

The process starts with a vessel with water containing dissolved ammonia inside, as known as generator. The burner heats the generator until it reaches the ammonia boiling point. The ammonia leaves the generator and wafts up into the condenser because ammonia boils at a lower temperature than water does. Then, the ammonia starts to cool and forms liquid ammonia in the condenser, without water in it.

Cool It Down

The ammonia flows down from the condenser into the evaporator, a chamber filled with hydrogen with low pressure. In the evaporator, the ammonia expands and cooling rapidly. It is the fan on the evaporator that cools down the air as it blows past. Then, the cold air will circulate through the fridge.

Back to The Beginning

The absorber sends water trickling through the evaporator. While ammonia dissolves easily in water, the hydrogen is otherwise. Then, the water trickles down with the dissolved ammonia in tow and flows back to the generator, starting the cycle from beginning.

Types of RV Fridge

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Since RV has various kinds, the types of fridge that used in RV are also varies. Here are some commonly used types of RV fridge. 

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Propane / Electric Combination Fridge

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The propane and electric combination is a traditional camper fridge. The highlight of this fridge is its ability to use multiple fuel source which it versatile. However this type of fridge is expensive to buy and repair. Furthermore, the fridge must remain level while it’s running. The fridge will get too hot and probably destroy itself when left in an uneven position for too long.

12-Volt Fridge

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Photo by amazon.com

The 12-volt/electric combination fridge runs off of 12-volt DC power and 120-volt AC power. That means, the fridge can be powered by a 12-volt battery as well as by a typical  house outlet. Usually, this RV electric refrigerator costs more than the propane/electric combination fridge. However, this fridge is known for its durability.

Mini RV Fridge

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Photo by amazon.com

For those RV owners who own a small RV or just want to install a small fridge, this might be the choice for you. Moreover, this fridge is the least expensive among the three types. However, this type of fridge have compressor that is not built to withstand the constant movement of RV. In addition, the fridge can only run off of 120-volt AC power, thus, it might be an issue for RVers who love to go to places that don’t have electric hookups. 

RV Fridge Tips and Tricks 

rv residential fridge

When it comes to RV fridge, there are some things that you need to do to ensure the fridge always working properly. Below we write a few tips and tricks to keep your RV fridge running efficiently for a long time.

  1. Turn on the fridge the night before you hit the road. That way, the fridge gets to temperature and be ready to store the food.
  2. Store only frozen, cold and room temperature foods in your RV fridge. It’s because warm foods take much more time and power to cool.
  3. Leave space between the foods because a packed fridge restricts airflow that can cause food to cool unevenly.
  4. Get a battery-operated RV fridge fan, because it decreases the cool down time by 50%.
  5. Do not open the fridge too much because the temperature should always be 34 to 36 degrees to keep the food fine.
  6. Keep a thermometer in the fridge to know if it’s working properly or ready to store food.
  7. Defrost the freezer once or twice every month. Just turn off the fridge completely or put a pan of hot water in the freezer.
  8. Make sure the fridge is always in level position. As mentioned above there are RV fridges that can destroy itself if it’s put on uneven position for a long time.
  9. Run the fridge once in a while when you are not RVing. Because if the fridge isn’t running for a long time, the sediments in the liquid chemicals will settle on the bottom and clog.
  10. Park with the outside vent in the shade because the outside temperature affects how the fridge works.
  11. Keep things in place with expandable fridge bars. 

Keeping Your RV Fridge Cold

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There are several ways to keep your RV fridge cool while you are on the road even if you are not running it. Here are what you can do to keep your RV fridge stay cold. 

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1. Always keep the fridge door closed

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Photo by Speedyrefrigeratorservice.com

When the coldness setting is on, the inside temperature of the appliance will gradually drop until it reaches the desired temperature. Thus, when the fridge door is open, it releases some of the coldness. Then, the inside temperature will go up several degrees and gains room temperature air from outside and it will take longer to get back to the previous temperature. As an alternative, bring a cooler and stash what you need for the day in there.

2. Avoid Fridge Gaps

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Photo by Thefamilyhandyman.com

Fill empty space with frosty treats such as cold cans, bottles, or small food items that can retail their coldness. Avoid using ice or anything that can freeze easily because it will melt somewhat. It would be a waste when the food thaws and go bad. Also when the ice melts, it makes the fridge leak.

3. Crank Up The Coldness

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Photo by byhydro.com

Turn the RV fridge to the coldest setting a day before your trip and leave it overnight. That way, when you unplug the fridge, everything inside will be ice.

4. Run A Generator

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Photo by Plasticinehouse.com

Power the fridge by hooking it to a generator. Afterward, make semi-frequent stops and let the generator running for a while. When using the generator, make sure never put it inside your RV because it releases fumes that can be poison. Keep the generator several feet away from the RV. That way, the fumes will filter into the air and not into your RV. 

Best RV Fridge 

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The choices for RV fridge are limitless and it might be confusing especially for new RVers. Below we put few of best RV fridge for you to consider.

Dometic DM2852RB Americana Double Door RV Refrigerator

samsung rv fridge
Photo by amazon.com

This double door RV fridge is constructed of solid steel frame. Not only comes at an affordable price, the great fridge also has 2 years warranty. The fridge features an eye-level electronic that controls automatically the temperature inside to maintain consistent cooling, regardless of the outside temperature. Furthermore, the adjustable shelves and door bins provide the flexibility of the fridge.

Coastway Compact Refrigerator

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Photo by amazon.com

The 2-door RV fridge gives enough space to keep food cool and organized with its 3.4 cu. ft. large. Also, the two exterior doors allow easy access to the freezer to freeze foods. Also, the freezer compartment has ice tray that can make ice cubes. This fridge ensures powerful performance by cooling quickly and evenly. Furthermore, the fridge is equipped with crisper drawer that is designed to keep fruits and vegetables stay fresh. In addition, the adjustable glass shelf makes it easier when organizing or cleaning.

Avanti AC/DC Superconductor Refrigerator

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Photo by amazon.com

This Avanti AC/DC Superconductor fridge features a full-range temperature control, soft interior light with on and off switch and auto-defrost. Furthermore, the shelf is removable and adjustable, and the tall bottle rack on door can hold a 2-liter bottle. Also, the stainless steel door has reversible swing. In addition, this fridge is equipped with 5-ft. AC power cord and 6-ft. DC power cord. This fridge offers a lot of space, and has the lightweight frame or insulation.

Dometic CFX 28 Electric Powered Cooler

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Photo by amazon.com

This Dometic fridge provides excellent cooling performance, even at extreme ambient temperatures and with minimal power usage. This electric powered fridge can be used for standard fridge and also for freezing. This fridge is equipped with heavy-duty features such as reinforced corners, stainless steel hinges and a robust lid lining, which makes it able to withstand the most demanding of loads. However, this fridge is incredibly lightweight and easy to move. Furthermore, this fridge features energy-efficient LED interior light and 3-stage battery protection. In addition, the memory maintains present temperature even if the system is off. Since it has the ability to utilize multiple power sources, this is a great item to use for your RV.

Alpicool C5 Portable Refrigerator 16 Quart

Photo by amazon.com

This Alpicool fridge is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a portable fridge. Keep your food and drinks fresh and cold with this New Alpicool C15 Fridge. This smart fridge can be powered by 12V and 24V car battery and also 110V -240V. Furthermore, the fridge features 3 level car battery protection systems. 

Portable RV Fridge 

rv propane fridge

Portable fridge is the perfect type of fridge to use whether you are off to campsite for days or on the road for months. Below we put some best portable RV fridge for you.

Midea WHD-113FB1 Double Door Mini Fridge

Photo by amazon.com

Keep things cold and frozen with this great RV mini fridge. This 3.1 cu ft. mini fridge features adjustable and removable glass shelves, adjustable legs and reversible door. Also, it provides enough space to store food and drinks. Furthermore, the noise level of the fridge is nearly non-existent.  In addition, the manufacturer offers full 1-year warranty.

Avanti RA7316PST 2-Door Apartment Size Refrigerator

Photo by amazon.com

With its perfect height, this fridge is easy to fasten in place. The interior space with great depth allows you to store enough food and drinks in it. The front side of the fridge has leveling feet which screws in and out. Also, you can put a piece of foam on each side near the top as an alternative to keep it from rocking. This solid fridge works perfectly with great circulation and cools better than a propane model. 

SMAD Electric/Gas RV Compact Refrigerator with Piezo Ignition and Flame Indicator

Photo by amazon.com

This SMAD compact fridge has manual control that is easy to use. Furthermore, this fridge is equipped with gas/electric thermostat, perfect to use for RV. Also, the removable shelves allow you to store a tall container. 

Dometic CDF-11 Smallest Portable Freezer/Refrigerator

Photo by amazon.com

This Dometic RV fridge is equipped with 3-stage battery monitor, LED indicators, soft-touch operating panel and a high-efficiency Danfoss compressor system.  Also, this excellent fridge features high-impact weather-resistant polypropylene cabinet. Furthermore, this fridge can quickly reach and hold subfreezing temperatures, even in a warm environment. In addition, this fridge draws an average of 3.75 amps (45 watts) when running on 12 VDC, but it also can use 1120 VAC without a bulky power brick. Moreover, this unit can be connected to 120 VAC and 12 VDC simultaneously using two supplied cords. This is a great choice for RVers who occasionally have access to 120V shore power during camping. 

Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator

Photo by amazon.com

This great fridge cools and freezes fast while only using 60 watts on AC and 5 amps on 12VDC. Furthermore, the noise level is also almost non-existent. This solid fridge is well insulated and built by all metal but only weighs about 48lbs. This Whynter fridge is also equipped with 3 compressor power settings that are MAX, Auto, and Eco-mode. In addition, this small refrigerator has automatic switching from AC to DC and back to AC without moving wires, switches or plugs. 

Conclusion

Generally, RV fridge is really different from household fridges. Thus, we hope this article helps you when choosing the best fridge for RV and also taking care of it. 

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