Choosing Your Portable Refrigerator
When on the search for a portable fridge you have to know what you are looking for. In this article, I will list the best portable mini fridge for camping. There are more than one!
When considering buying a portable fridge you have to look at certain things.Firstly, you have to look at the quality of the fridge. Having poor quality is a deal breaker since you are paying a lot of money for these portable fridges you want something that is going to last. Secondly, portable means portable so I wouldn’t consider something that an average person would not consider mobile. Lastly and most importantly, making sure the refrigerator keeps your food and drinks cold.
I am going to list the best portable refrigerators for camping under different headings below. I will include details of each one, and attached are the most recent prices available. Need to know how to power the fridge while camping?
How to power up portable fridges while camping?
Are you heading on an adventure out into the wild and need electricity? If that’s the case, you need a portable generator. The Yeti Generator on Amazon is a well known portable generator, it can be solar powered and it can easily be charged by any ordinary outlet. If you want to power a portable refrigerator for camping you need a portable power source. Read our Yeti Solar Generator Review or check out our other generators on our Best Solar Power Camping Gear article. Solar power is my recommended source of electricity while camping.
Portable Mini Fridges for Camping list:
Table of Contents
Best Quality Fridges to Have Camping
These fridges are a little more high-tech and costly. They are actually real fridges and are made by companies who put in the effort. Many people use them for camper van renos, or out at the cabin. However, let us keep in mind that they can easily be used during a camping adventure!
Dometic CFX Series
The Dometic CFX series is available on Amazon, it contains multiple different portable refrigerators. They all vary in different volume sizes, which changes the individual power consumption. Obviously the larger in volume, the more power it consumes and the heavier in weight. When going on a camping trip I usually wouldn’t recommend heavy products, although it is a personal decision. Dometic fridges are known to be a little on the heavy side however, they also are known to be one of the best quality portable refrigerators on the market.
I will list the series from small to large, including size volume in quarts, number of drink cans it holds, the weight, and power input in Watts. Each fridge is compatible with 12/24 volts DC and 120 Volts AC. Also included with each fridge is cords that accept a solar charge.
Quarts size 27 | Holds 43 cans | 29 Lbs | 40 Watts
The CFX-28 is the smallest of the Dometic series. Although it is the smallest, it is still a decent size fridge for camping. It has the lowest use of power input in the series, meaning it will consume your battery power at a slower rate. This fridge has been used by many off-grid travelers, from reading online reviews people love it. I certainly recommend the CFX-28 to bring on a camping trip.
Quarts size 34 | Holds 47 cans | 39 Lbs | 43 Watts
The CFX-35W is a bit larger than the 28. It becomes larger in volume and 10 Lbs in weight. This fridge includes Wifi capabilities, meaning with the download of an app you can change and monitor fridge temperatures.
Quarts size 40 | Holds 60 cans | 41 Lbs | 48 Watts
The CFX-40W can hold more than the 35W. It becomes larger in volume and 2 Lbs in weight. Includes Wifi capabilities.
Quarts size 49 | Holds 72 cans | 45 Lbs | 52 Watts
The CFX-50W can hold more than the 40W. It becomes larger in volume and 4 Lbs in weight. Includes Wifi capabilities.
Quarts size 64 | Holds 106 cans | 51 Lbs | 58 Watts
The CFX-65W can hold more than the 50W. It becomes much larger in volume and 6 Lbs in weight. Includes Wifi capabilities.
CFX Series Conclusion
After looking down through the series, it may not seem much of a change from one fridge to another. However, comparing the CFX-28 to the CFX-65W there is a massive gap in every category. The size changes tremendously, so be aware if you are interested in the Dometic portable refrigerator. Through long research, I recommend each CFX fridge, although for camping the smaller of the CFX series the better. Having an insulated protective cover is known to keep fridge running better, keeping it well protected from surrounding heat.
Check here for latest prices of the CFX series
The ARB fridge series is another great portable refrigerator for camping. Similar to the Dometic CFX series, they all differ in volume sizes. The ARB fridges all have a cooling capacity of +10°C to -18°C. Each fridge in this series is designed in a similar way, they include two separate compartments. One compartment is recommended for dairy and fruit, while the other is the main compartment. The main compartment is much larger, it is great for holding bottles and larger food items. ARB portable refrigerators are known to have the largest in its class for internal capacity for vehicle fridge freezers.
ARB series is known to have low amp draw, meaning it uses low amounts of power to stay running. Which is great for camping when you are using solar panels on a portable power source. Each fridge has built-in 12/24V DC and 100-240V AC power, making it easy to use on the road and compatible at home. The fridge thermostat is easily controlled, located on the front.
Here are the types of ARB fridges, assorted in sizes small to large:
50 cans | 45.6lbs
72 cans | 49.6lbs
63 Quart or 63 Quart Weather Proof
90 cans | 54lbs Regular | 70lbs Weather Proof
120 cans | 59.7 lbs
ARB Series Conclusion
To conclude, the ARB fridge series is known to be a great quality portable fridge. Many people bring them on off-grid trips, and from research, most can only give positive reviews. The fridge does its job keeping food and drinks cold, making it have a spot on the best portable mini fridge list.
If picking up an ARB fridge, get a canvas travel bag to keep your fridge in better shape. Make sure it is the right size for your fridge.
Check here for the latest prices of the ARB Series
Engel Fridge Review
The Engel Fridge series was actually introduced to us from the audience of our website. I got in touch with one of our guest comments and asked this Engel owner how the portable fridge actually works. With his permission I add his word below:
“It’s not often I hear from somewhere I left a review.
I’ve had my Engel for over 15yrs and the best thing about it is it continues to function like new. I have had several factory camper fridges and several very expensive “marine” fridges and they don’t hold a candle to my Engel.
Engel uses a sterling engine to cool. If you don’t know what that is look them up. (See Below) It never wears out. Very low power draw 3.2 amps on full blast. My solar panels had no trouble keeping up with the draw. Important stuff if you use the same battery to start your camping vehicle.
My Engel sat in a closed up sailboat for several years where the inside temperature would get well over 100f. With the dial set to about 1/3 of full power, it would keep my beer ice cold. It ran like this for about 10yrs. It’s the only thing on the boat I wouldn’t let go when I sold it.
I use it now when we go camping along with our yeti to keep the important stuff cold. The only thing I EVER use the factory installed dometic is for water and vegetables.
I have the extra outside jacket accessory and the locking plate that keeps the fridge from moving in rough seas and in one case kept someone from stealing the fridge. My radios were not so lucky.
Thanks for the opportunity to tell people what a great tool the Engel is. As you can tell I love mine.
Definition from Wikipedia “A Stirling engine is a heat engine operating by cyclic compression and expansion of air or other gas, the “working fluid”, at different temperature levels such that there is a net conversion of heat to mechanical work.” Click to see more about the applications of a Stirling Engine here on wikipedia.org. Under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License permission is given to use definition.
Many portable fridge owners say that the Engel fridge is the best they have ever owned. It is known to keep food and drinks ice cold. They are a high priced fridge, but with Engel, you get what you pay for.
Click here for the latest price of the Engel Fridge
Alpicool C15 – The Best Bang for Your Buck Camping Fridge
The Alpicool fridge on Amazon is a more affordable portable refrigerator for camping. Just because it is not as well known as the Dometic and ARB series, doesn’t mean it can’t get the job done. Just like the other fridges, it has 12/24V DC and 110V to 240V AC power inputs. Which is how it becomes a portable fridge, easily plug-able into your portable power source.
The Alpicool C15 has a thick layer of foam installed for better insulation. It is rated to have a -20°C cooling performance, however after I have read reviews it is easily maintained at -15°C. The fridge is 18.96 lbs, much lighter because it is made with more plastic material than the other high brands. Though it is made of plastic, the quality is known to be great, leaving this fridge the lightest and most portable on our list.
If looking to save a dollar and still have a nice portable refrigerator for camping, then grab an Alpicool because it will keep your food and drinks cold.
Check here for the latest prices of the Alpicool C15
The Norcold NRF30 on Amazon is known to last and keep your food at the right temperatures. The fridge has a built-in control panel great for choosing the temperature you want. It maintains its cold temperatures because of its insulated foam design. While on the road or camping it is always a need to keep food fresh.
Also when out on your travels, keeping your battery charged up is very important. The Norcold has 3 adjustable levels which gives you the option to use more or less energy.
People say they wish their first choice was the Norcold because it is the product that lasted. This fridge has great quality and it is only a 39.6lbs fridge. A great weight for a portable fridge, making it easy to move around on the campsite. The fridge holds 30L or 31 quarts. Great size portable fridge for bringing on any trip.
Check here for the latest price of the Norcold NRF30
Camping Fridges Under $100
These fridges may not be as durable as the fridges in the Best Quality section, however, they can be used on a simple camping trip. The sizes vary, and so does the quality. The prices are affordable for a reason, but they can still get the job done. Pick up a fridge and give it a try!
Cooluli Mini Fridge Electric Cooler and Warmer
The Cooluli Mini Fridge can be changed back and forth, from cold to warm. That’s a pretty unique advantage with this fridge. This mini fridge is a perfect choice to go with the Yeti generator series, why? The Cooluli comes with a regular plug and a cigarette lighter plug (12V). Easily enough lasting power when plugged into a Yeti.
The temperatures reach down to 40/45°F (4.5/7°C) and will warm up to 122-144ºF (50-62°C).
CHOOSE YOUR SIZE:
Wagan (EL6224) 12V Cooler/Warmer – 24L Capacity (BEST SELLING)
The Wagan 12V is one of the best selling mini-fridges/coolers on Amazon. It can cool and warm, similar to the Cooluli. This fridge is awesome for long road trips when on route to your favorite camp destinations. It will keep your drinks cold and steaks frozen, or maybe even keep your leftovers warm. The 12V cigarette plugin works great in a car and in the Yeti Generator Series.
Whats great about this fridge is the amount of size, it can hold four 2Litre bottles standing verticle or 27 cans.
The temperatures reach down 32°F/36°F (0°C/2°C) and will warm up to 140°F (60°C).
Click Here For the latest price of the Wagan (EL6224) 12V Cooler/Warmer
110V-240V AC to 12V DC Power Adapter
This AC to 12V DC adapter on Amazon is perfect for fridges that do not come with a normal AC power cord. The price is very affordable, under $20, and it is worth it for its convenient use. Not only is it perfect for mini fridges but it can be used for any DC/cigarette lighter plug!
Click Here for the latest price of the Power Adapter (Link Here)
SUAOKI Portable Car Fridge Electric Cooler and Warmer 12V (Amazon Choice)
The SUAOKI Portable Car Fridge Electric Cooler is another great portable mini fridge for camping. This fridge can go the coldest out of the Under $100 category. The awesome thing about the SUAOKI is that it can hold its cool temperatures for up to 2 hours without electricity. The thermal insulation system prevents the cold and heat from escaping.
Get the adapter above^ to use in a normal plug!
This fridge has 2 can holders and can hold up to about 10 cans. It is great for storing fruit when cold and leftovers when warm. The middle slot is best for food.
The temperature can go down to 18°F/36°F (-7°C/2°C) and reach up to 104°F/140°F (40°C/60°C)
Click here to see the latest price of the SUAOKI Portable Car Fridge
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Thanks for reading! Any questions involving any products feel free to ask. If you have a neat mini fridge that you use camping tell us about it in the comments!