Three types of RV refrigerators are commonly found on the market: two-way refrigerators that operate on both propane and 120v AC power, three-way refrigerators that operate on propane as well as 120v AC and 12v DC power, and residential refrigerators that operate solely on 120v AC power.
Refrigerators for recreational vehicles that run on propane
RV refrigerators that operate on both propane and 120v AC electricity are known as two-way refrigerators. In the event that you are not plugged in at a campground with electrical hookups, running your refrigerator on propane is the most convenient option.
A three-way RV refrigerator can be powered by propane, as well as by both alternating current and direct current electricity. Three-way refrigerators are typically small and can be found in vans and truck campers, among other places. This RV refrigerator can be powered by propane, house batteries, or a power pedestal at a campground, depending on your preferences.
Furthermore, two-way and three-way RV refrigerators are constructed with travel in mind and are capable of withstanding the rigors of the road. They are perfect for boondocking and other off-grid adventures.
- It can run on both electricity and propane
- It is ideal for off-grid camping
- It is more durable and can withstand road vibrations and bumps
- It is more affordable.
- They typically have a smaller interior
- They are not as efficient at keeping cold
- They can be more expensive if you are purchasing a new refrigerator.
Installing a small DC fan on the outside of a propane refrigerator, behind the refrigerator’s workings, can help to improve the temperature in the refrigerator. Aim the fan so that it draws air in from both sides and up. In addition, many RVers install a small, battery-operated fan inside the refrigerator to improve the flow of air inside the unit.
Refrigerators for recreational vehicles in the home
The RV industry has transitioned to residential refrigerators, at least for the larger and higher-end Class As units; these are the same as home refrigerators and can only be powered by 120v AC electric power. This means that you’ll either have to stay at a campground or RV park with electrical hookups, or you’ll have to run your generator off-grid in order to keep your refrigerator running at all times.
Occasionally, RVers are able to run a residential refrigerator on solar power, but they must have installed extra batteries and have a significant amount of solar power on their roof. The operation of a residential refrigerator can consume a significant amount of electricity. More importantly, a residential refrigerator is intended to be used in a fixed location and is not intended to be transported.
It has several advantages, including: more interior storage space, superior cooling performance, and lower cost of ownership.
- It is not designed to withstand the bumps and vibrations of the road.
- It is not designed to be used for off-grid camping.
- You’ll need an alternating current power source, which will be more expensive and time-consuming to maintain.
While it is possible to install enough solar and batteries to power a residential refrigerator throughout the day and night, such a setup is not inexpensive. Furthermore, there is still the issue of road vibrations and bumps damaging a residential refrigerator; this is especially true when driving on a dirt road and hitting washboards or other obstacles.
What Type of RV Refrigerator Is Right for You and Your Family?
Be sure to consider the type of camping you want to do before you purchase an RV. Do you want to travel across the country and stay at RV resorts, or do you want to camp in the wilderness and be off the grid?
Consider the type of refrigerator that will work best for your style of RV living when selecting a recreational vehicle. Some RV manufacturers may not provide any options when it comes to the type of refrigerator that they install, so make your selection carefully. Removing and replacing a refrigerator is not only expensive, but it is also difficult to maneuver in and out of a small space.
The cost of purchasing and installing the number of batteries and solar panels required to power a residential refrigerator off-grid could easily outweigh the savings realized by purchasing and installing a small commercial refrigerator. Similarly, running a generator around the clock is not only extremely inconvenient for any nearby neighbors, but it can also be extremely expensive in terms of fuel.