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 categorised 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 excellent 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 aforementioned and always remember that a larger storage compartment for your food and beverages is always the best option. 

If you are limited for space then it is worth checking out the range of drawer fridges available. These are a great alternative for motorhomes and campervans where room is tight. The Evakool 40 Litre Drawer Fridge/Freezer is one to check out. It boasts a 40 litre drawer capacity and can be used as an all fridge or all freezer. These are also quite popular for the Ute canopy or the back of your car. Easy to access and a low power consumption.



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 five efficient RV fridges on the market are Dometic, BushmanEngel, Thetford 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 compressor 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 NRX115 has an advertised power consumption of as low as 1.27 Ah/h (0 ~12°C Fridge, 15°C ~ -5°C Freezer Compartment).


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, Thetford 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.

Comments (7)

Replace failed fridge.

My Dometic RM 2555...failed completely after 5 years. At 4 wks holiday a year...20 weeks...a very poor product. Now discontinued...does anyone have an old stock or recent product that would fit the space.?
By: Hugh Stephens on 08 January 2024

www.caravanrvcamping.com.au Response
Hi Hugh Thanks for reaching out. If you want to stick to a gas fridge then check out the Dometic RM2350, this will fit in the same cut out and is a great unit. It is also available in the RM2356 which is a little dearer and has automatic energy selection. If you just camp at powered sites or have a decent battery and solar set up then check out the new NRX115C Compressor fridge, these run great especially in humid temperatures.

Best Fridge for me

I have a A'van camper the fridge doesn't keep my milk fresh for very long it is a three way I have solar panel on roof and two batteries I sometimes camp off grid what would you cergest for a fridge that stays cold enough to safety keep my milk cold so it doesn't curdle
By: Patricia Yarlett on 08 January 2024

www.caravanrvcamping.com.au Response
Hi Patricia, running an absorption (3 way Gas) fridge on 12v is not very economical. They have a very high 12v draw and struggle to cool especially in humid temperatures. 12v is only suggested on these fridges when in transit. It sounds like you have adequate solar and batteries so I would suggested changing over to a Compressor Fridge. These run off 12 and 240v and work well in humid conditions with approx 50% more efficiency than absorption fridges. Jump on our LIVE chat or give us a call on 1800 787 278 and we can step you through some options.

Caravan fridge

Hello I need to buy a new small fridge for my caravan as it cannot be repaired anymore. The size of my fridge is 1165mm high × 555mm wide. It is a fridge/freezer. Where can I buy this size fridge?
By: Francois on 08 January 2024

www.caravanrvcamping.com.au Response
Hi Francois, I have reached out to via email to help with your fridge enquiry. Please don't hesitate to contact us on 1800 787 278 or jump on our LIVE Chat to speak to us as well

Dp2600 vitifrigio overheating

My fridge will not cool sufficiently when 90% full. Freezer is fine. Door seals seem fine. I have installed fans at the top vent to improve ventilation. At max cool it sits on 7 degrees
By: Neil.Whitehead on 08 January 2024

www.caravanrvcamping.com.au Response
Hi Neil, We are sorry you are having issues with your fridge. If you purchased it from us, please feel free to email your concerns with images of your installation to sales@caravanrvcamping.com.au and we will be more than happy to assist in some troubleshooting.

Dometic RM2350

Hi, does my Dometic RM2350 automatically select the power source?
By: Amanda on 08 January 2024

www.caravanrvcamping.com.au Response
G’day, the Dometic RM2350 does not automatically select the best power source. The Dometic RM2356 has the option to have the automatic energy selection.

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