How to Choose and Buy an RV Refrigerator in 2019

RV Owners

Having a small fridge with you wherever you may roam is a wonderful thing. In fact, the RV fridge might just be our favorite RV appliance. After all, having a refrigerator with you during your adventures opens up a whole new world of snacking and meal options without the added task of finding and refilling an ice chest every day.

Unfortunately, while they are fairly durable, your RV mini fridge probably won’t last forever. This means you will eventually be stuck either repairing or replacing your refrigerator. In some cases, a repair makes sense. However, in many cases, a repair would be just as costly as purchasing a whole new unit. At this point, it’s time to start shopping for your new compact fridge.

If you’re like the vast majority of people out there, you have no idea what to look for in an RV refrigerator. That’s okay! We’re going to use today’s article to help you figure out exactly what you’re looking for, so you can shop with confidence.

Image source: Kathy McGraw

Finding a Small Refrigerator to Fit Your Space

The first thing you need to consider is the space you’re putting your new refrigerator into. In order to properly fit your space, be sure to measure carefully. You should be able to find a fridge to fit the space in your RV perfectly. If not, you may need to do a bit of cutting to make the new appliance fit.

Besides the amount of space your fridge takes up, you’ll also need to think about the amount of space it offers. Even if a refrigerator is the same size as another on the outside, that doesn’t mean it’ll offer the same capacity inside. Considering the fact that RV refrigerators are pretty small anyway, the more storage capacity you can get out of your new fridge, the better off you’ll be.

Mini Fridge with Freezer vs Mini Fridge Without

In some cases, the space an RV offers for a fridge might be quite tiny. In these cases, a very compact refrigerator about the size of a traditional mini fridge will be all you can fit. This poses the question of whether or not you should give any of your precious fridge space up in order to have a freezer.

Obviously, this is a personal decision and depends on whether or not you freeze things often. Either way, we suggest giving this some thought before starting your quest for a new fridge so you know just what you’re looking for and get exactly what you need and want.

Choosing Between All-Electric and Three-Way

Most modern RV refrigerators are what’s known as “three-way”. This means they can run on either electricity or propane, and have an automatic setting which ensures the fridge switches to propane mode whenever electricity isn’t available. These refrigerators are great for many RVers because they can be used with or without hookups, making boondocking a cinch.

As nice as three-way refrigerators are, they aren’t the only option, and in some cases, the option of an all-electric fridge is better. These refrigerators run on electricity only, just like a traditional house fridge does. In fact, if you choose to go this route, you won’t be shopping for an RV-specific fridge, but simply for a smaller-than-usual refrigerator.

The pros of having an all-electric fridge include:

  • Better cooling ability, generally speaking, than a three-way RV fridge.
  • Much less expensive.
  • More storage capacity than a regular RV fridge would offer.

The cons to having an all-electric fridge include:

  • Less freedom and flexibility since you need electricity to run the fridge.
  • More difficult to find the correct size.

What you choose is completely up to you, and both options are worth considering.

Best Mini Fridge Options

Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for, it might be helpful to know which refrigerators are best. Below are the ones we think are ideal.

If you’re looking for a three-way fridge and would like a variety of size options, we highly recommend looking into the Dometic or Norcold brands. These RV-specific brands have been used and trusted by RV manufacturers for years and are quite trusty.

Prefer a cheap mini fridge option? A great all-electric fridge that many people use in their RVs is this Avanti model. It’s the perfect size for many motorhomes and trailers and is listed on Amazon, making it easy to order.

No matter which RV refrigerator you purchase, you’re sure to be glad you have this amazing appliance during your travels, making cooking on the road as easy as 1-2-3.