Best 12V Fridges For Campervans

One of the most essential components of your van conversion will be the electric cool box or refrigerator. The trusty standard cool box and ice are just fine for short trips, but for longer trips and off grid excursions, you’ll need something more permanent, consistent and reliable. Enter a 12v fridge! Or better yet, a 12v fridge freezer.

Things to consider in a 12v fridge

Annoyingly, camper and caravan appliances are often more expensive than a standard setup. As they’re a bit of a speciality item, designed to operate at lower power, and more efficiently and ergonomically designed for tighter spaces, they come at a premium.

Remember this when you budget for your van conversion and think of it as an investment. You want to enjoy your escape in your adventure mobile, so having kit that will hold enough food and look after it well means you have to worry about it less and enjoy your time more! A well-researched and appropriate choice will also show up in the van’s sale value when you decide it’s time for a new campervan.

You’ll most likely be on a budget living and/or travelling in your van, so you’ll most likely be cooking your own food. Depending on where you’re travelling, fresh produce may be expensive or hard to come by, so you might need a freezer.
How important is ice cream to you? Some produce is fine to store in a cool, dry cupboard in the van, but if you’ll be in a hot climate, even with adequate ventilation, ‘cool’ may not be cool enough. If meat is part of your diet, you’ll need room for that as well as produce, milk, juices, etc.

What’s the size of your rig, and depending on the above, how much of it do you need to prioritise for your fridge? Be sure to consider the fridge size you’ll need as part of the measurement and planning process of your layout, and leave room around the fridge for adequate ventilation.

Are you setting up a solar powered rig for off grid adventures? Will you have only your van battery, and otherwise be hooking up to mains power sources at campsites? Are you planning to operate on gas for some appliances? Some of the options we’ve listed below will work in all three scenarios. If you’ll have your own solar power system, you’ll likely be looking at one of the built-in 12V fridge freezers we’ve listed.

We opted for the Dometic CRX 80 fridge freezer and have absolutely loved it. But there are quite a few options out there and it’s important to consider which is best for your needs, your van size, budget, etc. We’ve done our research and here are some excellent 12v camping and caravan fridges for you to consider. You’ll notice Dometic (formerly Waeco) features heavily, as they are one of the few camping and caravan appliance brands.

Our picks of the best 12v fridges

Dual source fridges

Outwell Ecocool 35 ltr Coolbox 12V & 230V

Outwell Ecocool 12v

The Outwell Ecocool Coolbox is an energy efficient portable fridge that will do the job and won’t break the bank. It will run off of either your car or mains electricity, so it’s a versatile option if you need to plug in at a campsite or even in the backyard. If you’re in need of even more space-saving, it also comes in a 24 litre size.

Pros

  • Can use two types of power source
  • Chest fridge so the most economical

Cons

  • Does not have built in methods to secure to camper kitchen
Height43cm
Width52cm
Depth32cm
Power draw / per hourNot stated
Weight8kg

Dometic CombiCool ACX 40 3 Way Fridge

Dometic Combicool ACX 40 12v fridge

If you need the three way fridge capabilities (meaning you can plug in to 12v car, 230v mains or operate off of gas), the Dometic Combicool is another great camping fridge. It has good reviews and looks stylish if aesthetic is something you want to consider. Depending on your van conversion set up, you may need a fridge like this that opens from the top, rather than outward like a standard mini fridge.

Pros

  • Can store 2L bottle upright
  • Aluminium finish is sleek and easy to clean

Cons

  • Heavier and less portable than standard cooler
Height44cm
Width50cm
Depth50.8cm
Weight15kg
Energy consumption1.6kwh per day

Dometic CoolFun 40D Hybrid Cooler/Freezer

dometic coolfun hybrid 40d 12v fridge

If you’re looking for a portable fridge freezer, consider Dometic’s CoolFun Hybrid. Again, working off of either car or mains power, it offers 38 litres of space and thermoelectric cooling on vehicle battery or compressor cooling on mains power.

Height51cm
Width57cm
Depth57cm
Weight20.5kg
Energy usageNot stated

Dometic CFX 35 Portable Compressor Fridge Freezer 12V/24V

dometic cfx 35 12v fridge

For more of an ‘investment’ option, the Dometic CFX Compressor Fridge Freezer has excellent features and great reviews. Its 32 litre capacity is conservative but efficient, and this kit boasts compression cooling, extremely low power consumption, compartments and nice little extras, like a USB charging port and an interior LED light. If you need even more capacity and your budget allows, this portable camping and van fridge freezer is also available in 38 ltr, 46 ltr and 60 ltr sizes.

 

Pros

  • Energy efficient chest design
  • Freezing to -22 degrees celcius
  • Battery protection

Cons

  • Expensive

12V Only Fridges

If you have a solar set up and/or a larger van (like our LWB Sprinter!), you’re probably planning on a built-in, fixed 12V fridge or fridge freezer set up. We’ll start with our own fridge of choice and offer a few more options.

Dometic CRX 80 Fridge

dometic crx 80 12v fridge

We eat A LOT and fresh fruit and veg are a so we invested in a large fridge freezer. The CRX 80 has a 78 litre capacity, including a 7.5 litre freezer compartment, and can be used either as a full freezer, full fridge or combo. The compression power and efficient shape and sizing were other factors that led us to choose this fridge. You can read more details in our full review of the CRX 80.

Pros

  • Easy access
  • Flexible fridge freezer compartment

Cons

  • Fragile storage compartments
  • Expensive
Height64cm
Width47.5cm
Depth52.8cm
Energy Usage1amp per hour
Weight24kg

Thetford T1090 Compressor Fridge

thetford t1090 90l

For even more space, the new Thetford 90L fridge will give you plenty of space if your dimensions and budget allow it. The freezer compartment is only 6.5L but the larger fridge compartment allows for more fresh produce. Like our Dometic CRX, you can install the door on either a left or right hinge depending on your layout.

 

Pros

  • Curves to van wall
  • Day & night mode

Cons

  • Less energy efficient
Height97.5cm
Width41.8cm
Depth48.5cm
Energy usage0.45kwh per day
Weight21kg

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