12 Volt Refrigerator
Best Portable 12 Volt Freezer & Fridge for RV Trucks

A portable 12 volt refrigerator works on either internal or external batteries and is grid-independent. The batteries can be charged using various electricity-generating sources, including wind, solar power and fuel cells.

Benefits of a 12 Volt Fridge

12-volt-refrigerator12 volt freezers and fridges run on batteries, cutting down on the cost of electricity. They are also highly convenient to use in places where power is unavailable or during power outages.

These mini fridges are generally used in cars, RVs, trucks and boats for chilling food items and drinks on the go. They are also used by rescue, fire and medical teams to store medicine and vaccines.

Most of the top loading 12 volt refrigerators come in large upright sizes. They offer a fairly large storage space and outstanding performance in item preservation.

A 12 v refrigerator is also highly durability. The exterior is galvanized and scratch-resistant, retaining the polished look for a long time. They save money with their low maintenance cost and the interior is easy to clean. They operate automatically and have a low voltage disconnection feature for battery protection.

The machines feature a lockable door to prevent items from falling due to jerking. The interior is fitted with a light to locate food easily. A 12 volt fridge also has a low-frost system to avoid frosting of foods and features baskets for easy food organization.

Winterizing a 12 Volt Refrigerator


EdgeStar FP630 Portable 12 Volt Freezer Refrigerator Review

First, locate its ventilation fins. In most models, the fins are located either at the bottom or on the sides. Use a measuring tape to calculate the distance between the vents and the edges.

Now, cut out square-shaped air entry holes from a Styrofoam cooler matching the vent location so that they fit exactly when placed inside the fridge. Place the fridge upright into the cooler and create a hole large enough to allow passage of the power cord through the Styrofoam.

Press some fiberglass insulation along the top and edges between the Styrofoam and the 12 volt refrigerator inward so that it lines along the surface area between the cooler and unit. Use a paint stick to gently remove the insulation from the holes so that the vents are visible through the cooler.

Next, place the Styrofoam lid over the cooler front and secure it with black duct tape in several places to seal the refrigerator inside. If you need to access the contents inside, gently peel off the tape from the sides and remove the lid. Replace it when you are done.

Installing 12 Volt Mini Refrigerators in an RV
  1. Run a 12 gauge wire to the installation site from the distribution panel of your RV.
  2. Remember, 12 volt refrigerators are electric appliances, so it's important to ensure that the power source is off by testing it with a 12v volt tester. Remove the fuse from the distribution panel if required. Retest until it detects no power.
  3. Use wire strippers to strip the insulations by a quarter inch to expose the copper strands inside. Twist three stripped wire ends tightly, the black and red wire on the fridge and another red one for the distribution panel.
  4. Insert the ring terminal over the black wire and crimp it with a multi-tool. Similarly, insert the red wire ends into the insulated butt connector of the 12 volt refrigerator and then crimp.
  5. Make sure that there are no inflammable substances within a 6-inch reach and shrink the materials around the wire with a heat gun to seal it from external moisture and contamination.
  6. Now, locate a solid metal part of the RV body and put the back wire with the ring terminal. Install a grounding screw to give the fridge a ground. Find the open fuse holder and attach the red wire from the fridge to its receptacle and tighten it with a flat head screw driver.
  7. Refer to the unit manual and insert the correctly sized fuse inside the fuse box.

Best 12 Volt Refrigerators to Buy

Engel-Freezer-12-voltEngel is one of the most widely used 12 volt portable travel refrigerators. Their refrigerator-freezers have a moderate 0.46-cubic-foot volume. Very popular among drivers, Engel is only 17.4 x 14.65 x 11.18 inches and is great for camping with its light weight and carry strap.

This 12 volt freezer is around $700.

Koolatron-Kargo-12-VKoolatron Kargo is another 12 volt portable freezer with a dimension of 19.8 x 16.8 x 13.9 inches and weighs 15 pounds. This 12 volt chest refrigerator has a split level cooler that keeps food cold while driving without using ice. The cooling system can be plugged into the car's 12-volt cigarette lighter to run.

The fridge is capable of holding up to 42 12-ounce soft drink bottles and can be placed both vertically and horizontally. It has a split lid/door and compartmentalized interior that makes the unit look more like a compact fridge than a cooler. Multiple stacking shelves with a bottom and top door are helpful in storing items with the internal temperature lower than the external one by 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This unit is quite cheap and costs only around $200.

You can also consider buying solar 12 volt refrigerators as they are low in cost and only need a solar charger. Portable 12 volt camping fridges are also good for outdoor use as they are light and portable.

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Updated February 2011