Things to Consider When Buying a Caravan Refrigerator

Author: Tahlia Maynard   Date Posted:19 September 2016 

A caravan refrigerator is a beloved appliance amongst caravan campers everywhere and it’s likely because very little tops an ice-cold beer and some deliciously fresh food. Selecting the right caravan fridge, however, is not quite as enjoyable as slamming back that cold one you’ve been daydreaming about. Caravan fridges are relatively expensive and differ vastly in regards to operation, features, and power consumption. If you’re looking to purchase or upgrade a caravan refrigerator, 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 compression fridges work just like regular home refrigerators while 3-way absorption fridges use liquid ammonia to promote cooling. 

Camping Habits 
Because compression 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 only 15-20g of fuel per hour. 
Off-the-Grid Campers:  These type of campers generally make use of both types of fridges. Compressor fridges generally require much less energy than 3-way absorption fridges, however, some campers prefer the ability to live strictly off their fuel supply. 

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 regards to long-term fuel/power costs. 

Amount of Insulation
Higher quality refrigerators, as a general rule, 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 $800 to $900. Although a cheap price tag can initially appear attractive, cheaper fridges tend to skip on the insulation, ultimately forcing the owner to purchase additional layers. Choosing quality over pricing ultimately ensures that you always save money in the long run. 

Top or Side Loading
When selecting a caravan fridge, it should be noted that top-loading models seem to be slightly more efficient than side-loading models. Because hot air rises while cold air sinks, top-loading refrigerators prevent more cold air from escaping when the refrigerator door is opened. 

Automatic or Manual 
If you’re interested in a 3-way absorption fridge, it should be noted that some models offer Automatic Energy Selection (EAS) settings while others are manual. EAS monitors the 3-way to determine the available fueling method (LPG/natural gas or 12/24V) and automatically switches the refrigerator settings for you. If you’re apprehensive regarding EAS, you might want to pick a manual model. 

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.