Our Guide To Caravan Fridges

Our Guide To Caravan Fridges

Purchasing a specialised caravan refrigerator can be an arduous task for campers unfamiliar with what they’re looking for. The market for caravan refrigerators is vast, encompassing many differing makes and models. As a result, navigating the copious amounts of jargon and terminology can be difficult. This is where our guide comes in handy. 


What Type Of Fridge?

Most caravan refrigerators can be categorized as either a compressor fridge or a three-way absorption fridge

Caravan compressor fridges function much like home refrigerators by using a compressor with moving mechanical parts to promote cooling. Compressor fridges run off 12/24V and 240V power. Compressor fridges are an execellent choice for off-the-grid campers or those who camp out for extended periods and love being off the grid. These fridges are more efficient than their counterparts, they can provide more consistently cool temperatures even in very hot environments. They can also run well on uneven terrain. 

Three-way absorption fridges, on the other hand, are a bit different. Three-way absorption fridges can be run through a variety of means, including LPG, as well as 12V/240V power. They provide cooling by using liquid ammonia gases mixing together in a series of piping at the rear of the fridge.

Absorption fridges are preferred by some off-the-grid campers because the gas option allows them to completely remove the fridge from the electrical system, ultimately saving battery life by using other options available such as LPG gas. Certain absorption models additionally feature an integrated Automatic Energy Selection option, which automatically selects the best source of energy to be used, if when you have 240-volt power dismissed it will automatically choose the preferred option available. 


Size Of The Fridge

When it comes to caravan refrigeration, you need to discern whether you are restricted by cabinetry size, how many people you normally travel with and the types of climates you're most likely to encounter. Some travellers also need to keep in mind the age level of your travelling companions and health restrictions such as diabetes where the traveller might need to store their insulin in a cool dry refrigerated area. So before choosing your next RV refrigerator make sure you go over the aformentioned and always remember that a larger storage compartment for your food and beverages is always the best option. 



Cheaper caravan refrigerators DO NOT work as well as higher-quality models, which happen to be more expensive due to the additional research & design behind them. Higher-priced caravan fridges are designed and built to suit the elements of the Australian outback as we all know that they can be a high extremity whilst upon your travels. The purchase of lower quality fridges will have a shorter life span and will not be as efficient on your selected fuel and you will find they also have a shorter warranty period.

The top four efficient RV fridges on the market are Dometic, BushmanEngel and Vitrifrigo. The efficiency of your fridge will also be determined by your outside temperatures, battery life and the selected fuel. A 3-way absorption fridge and compressor fridges will all operate at different efficiency levels as both have their own specific fundamentals when put to the test in different applications. So, when choosing your next caravan, motor home, bus, boat, truck or trailer fridge look no further than the range Caravan RV Camping has to offer. 


Here Are A Few Things To Consider

Type Of Fridge:
There are currently two types of caravan fridges for sale:

For now, it’s only important to know that compressor fridges work just like regular home refrigerators while 3-way absorption fridges use liquid ammonia to promote cooling. 


Your Camping Habits:
Because compressor and 3-way absorption fridges differ in the cooling techniques used, each has their advantages and disadvantages to specific types of campers. 

Caravan Parkers: Campers who mainly stay in caravan parks often make use of 3-way absorption fridges because they can be run by a caravan’s fuel supply using a provided 240-volt power supply. 

Off-the-Grid Campers:  These types of campers generally make use of both types of fridges. Compressor fridges generally require much less energy than 3-way absorption fridges and can be run of a solar / battery system however, some campers prefer the ability to live strictly off their own on-board fuel supply. 


Solar & battery systems have become quite sophisticated and will provide enough power to run an energy efficient compressor refrigerator almost indefinitely. The following compressor models are highly sought after by customers travelling off-grid:


Check the specifications on the product page to find the power consumption of each fridge. For example, the Dometic Coolmatic CRX110 has an advertised power consumption of as low as 1.2 Ah/h (@12 V, +5°C Fridge, -17°C Freezer , 25°C ambient temperature) setting 3.


Fridge Size:
When it comes to caravan refrigerators, bigger is definitely not better. If you have two identical caravan fridges differing only in size, you are always recommended to buy the smallest one that can accommodate your needs. If your fridge is stuffed with food, there’s less air inside of it to be cooled. A needlessly giant fridge can actually cost you much more in regard to long-term fuel/power costs. 


Amount of Insulation:
Higher quality refrigerators, as a general rule, such as DometicEngel and Vitrifrigo tend to be manufactured with larger amounts of insulation. This added insulation is not without its cost, however, with these fridges generally being sold for at least $1,000 to $2,000. Although a cheap price tag can initially appear attractive, cheaper fridges tend to skip on the insulation and other much needed componentry, ultimately forcing the owner to purchase additional layers. Choosing quality over pricing ultimately ensures that you always save money in the long run.


Automatic Or Manual:
If you’re interested in a 3-way absorption fridge, it should be noted that some models offer Universal Energy Selection (UES) settings while others are manual. UES allows you to switch between automatic mode or manual mode. Automatic mode monitors the 3 way fridge to determine the available fuelling method (LPG/natural gas or 12/240-Volt) and automatically switches the refrigerator settings for you.

There is only one manual model left on the market: Dometic RM2350 90 Litre MES 3-Way Fridge. All other 3-way absorption fridges in our range have UES settings.

With these pointers under your belt, you should be well on your way to finding a caravan refrigerator specifically suited to your needs. Now, go crack that beer, some fresh condiments and enjoy the well-deserved break.

Please note, the primary power source for 3-way absorption fridges is gas or 240V. The 12V DC operation is purely designed to be used when travelling while the auxiliary battery connected to the fridge is being charged by the vehicles alternator via the starter battery.

If you require further information, please feel free to contact one of our friendly team members on 1800 787 278 or on our live chat www.caravanrvcamping.com.au

DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.