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Compare the best portable camping fridges

For the times when you don't want to completely rough it.

A camping fridge can be one of the most effective tools to keep food and drinks cold on long trips in a car or caravan. Compare top brands in various price points to help you find the perfect fit for your adventures.

Compare top camping fridges

NameAvg. price
(USD)
External Dimmensions (HxWxD mm)Weight (kg)TypeStorage capacity (litres)Purchase
Dometic Waeco CFX50W
Dometic Waeco CFX50W
$891.00471 x 725 x 45520.4Compressor50Shop now
Wagan EL6224
$61.00279 x 203 x 3045.5Compressor24Shop now
Dometic Waeco CFX75DZW
Dometic Waeco CFX75DZW
$891.00472 x 887 x 49531Compressor75Shop now
Igloo Iceless
$153.00556 x 427 x 3868.9Cooling fan38Shop now
Data obtained February 2019. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

What is a camping fridge?

A camping fridge is a portable version of a traditional household refrigerator. They’re made to be taken on the road so you can keep your food and drinks cold on your next camping trip.

While a portable fridge can keep items cold for long periods of time without needing to be refilled with ice, they can be pricey. If you’re looking for a way to keep your food cool without spending much, or you only camp occasionally, What types are available?
There are two main types of camping fridges: compressor fridges and absorption fridges. You’ll also find them called two-way and three-way fridges, respectively.

The main difference between the two is that compressor fridges require an electric power source such as a car battery, whereas absorption fridges can run on an electric power source or gas.

Compressor or two-way fridges

Compressor fridges can run on a car battery or wall power and can cool items quickly and efficiently. Most compressor fridges can also operate as freezers.

If you’re traveling somewhere remote, you’ll likely need to get an additional power source for your compressor fridge such as a second battery or solar panel. A second power source will keep your fridge from draining your car battery and leaving you stranded, but will cost extra.

Absorption or three-way fridges

Absorption fridges can run on battery power, wall power or gas. These types of fridges can last for weeks on a single nine-liter LPG gas bottle.

You’ll need to be careful if you want to run one using your car battery, as they can drain it quickly. Also, they can only operate on completely level surfaces, which can be difficult to find when camping.

ProsCons
Compressor fridge
  • Lowers the temperature more quickly and consistently than absorption fridges.
  • Most models also work as freezers.
  • Doesn’t have to be level to operate.
  • Runs more efficiently on battery power than absorption fridges.
  • Louder than absorption fridges.
  • Can require additional expensive equipment such as solar panels or generators if not connected to a battery.
  • Battery needs to be charged regularly.
Absorption fridge
  • Can run for weeks on a standard 9-liter LPG gas bottle.
  • Virtually silent.
  • Can connect to multiple types of power sources.
  • Must be kept level at all times.
  • Requires ventilation and can’t be used in closed spaces.
  • Inefficient when using battery power.

What size fridge do I need to take camping?

With fridges, bigger doesn’t always mean better. When choosing the appropriate size, consider the following four details:

  1. Group size. The more people sharing the fridge, the larger the fridge will need to be.
  2. Trip length. Will you be able to restock your food at some point during the trip or will you be traveling to remote areas?
  3. Food type. Someone bringing entirely fresh food will need more fridge space than someone bringing mostly canned items.
  4. Vehicle size. The maximum size fridge you can take may be limited by the size of your vehicle. Consider everything else you’ll be packing in your vehicle when figuring out the available space for a fridge. If you’re traveling with a lot of people and gear, you might want to consider hiring a caravan.

Fridges are typically measured in liters, but fridge capacity is often described by how many cans a fridge will hold. To help you decide on the right fridge size for you, we’ve compared the approximate storage capacity of common fridge sizes:

SizeApproximate storage capacityWho is it good for?
25 liters and under27 cansThese ultra-portable fridges are suited for individuals and can store small amounts of food or drink for picnics, lunches or day trips.
35 liters47 cans35-liter fridges can typically hold enough food for two people for a weekend of camping.
40 liters60 cans40 liters is the most popular size for camping fridges and is considered the standard size. These fridges can typically hold a weekend’s worth of food and drink for a family of three.
50 liters72 cans50-liter fridges can hold a week’s worth of food and drink for two people or a long weekend’s worth of food and drink for four people.
60–65 liters106 cans60 to 65 liters is considered the minimum size for more than a weekend’s worth of food for four people. This size of fridge can also hold drinks and snacks for a team.
80 liters and over120 cansA group of people needing food for a week or longer should consider an 80-liter fridge at a minimum.

How to compare camping fridges

When choosing a camping fridge, consider your budget, the size of the fridge and any additional features you may need. You’ll also need to decide whether you want a fridge, a freezer or both.

  • Cost. Camping fridges generally ranges from $350 to $2,000, depending on the type, size and brand. The average cost for a standard 40-liter fridge is between $800 and $1,300.
    • Fridge vs. freezer. Many camping fridges can operate as fridges or freezers, but not at the same time. Some dual-zone models can do both simultaneously.
    • Compressor. Many manufacturers consider the compressor to be the most important part of the fridge. A compressor from a reputable brand should come with a warranty.
    • Insulation. The better the insulation of the fridge, the less stress there will be on the compressor. Look for fridges with thick insulation and consider using an insulation cover to protect the fridge.
    • Power consumption. Power consumption — measured in amps per hour — indicates how long a fridge will run when connected to power and how much time it will take for the fridge to drain your battery. Camping fridges usually range from one amp per hour to five amps per hour. A low one-amp per hour or two-amps per hour fridge is an indicator of a low electric draw and longer battery life.
    • Low-voltage battery protection. Battery protection protects your battery from being drained or damaged by your fridge and helps ensure you won’t be left stranded due to a dead battery.
    • Off-road use. If you plan to use your fridge off-road, make sure to look for fridges that have multiple tie-down points and shock minimization.

    Compare popular camping fridges

    Bottom line

    If you’re a frequent camper, investing in a camping fridge can save you the headache of trying to keep food and drinks cool without continuously searching for ice. Compare models based on price, size and extra features to find the perfect fit for your needs and budget.

    How did we choose these products?

    To choose our list of the best camping fridges, we conducted online research to determine some of the most popular models currently available. We also factored in features such as the type, size, capacity, price and overall features.

    Frequently asked questions

    How long will my camping fridge last?
    The lifespan of your fridge will depend on how regularly you use it and how well you take care of it. Many fridges come with one-year to three-year warranties. If well maintained, they can last from five to 10 years or more.

    How well do camping fridges perform on very hot days?
    The warmer it is outside, the harder your fridge will have to work to keep its contents cool. The efficiency of your fridge will depend on the brand and type.

    What temperature should my camping fridge be set?
    Fresh fruit and vegetables should be stored no higher than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Milk, dairy and other perishable foods should be stored no higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

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