What is an RV refrigerator and how is it different? Complete Guide

Are you looking for a reliable and durable fridge for your RV? You’re not alone! An RV refrigerator is the perfect choice for those who need a compact, space-saving and energy-efficient fridge.

This guide will help you understand exactly what an RV refridgerator is and how it differs from conventional fridges so that you can make an informed decision.


An RV refrigerator is a piece of equipment used in recreational vehicles, motorhomes, campers, vans and even trucks.RV refrigerators are designed to run on one or more sources of energy, such as LP gas, electricity from the 12-volt batteries, or the AC power from an electrical outlet.These appliances provide a convenient way for RV travelers to provide cold beverages and other food items.

A typical RV refrigerator will have an automatic cooling system which will maintain a consistent temperature no matter how hot the outside environment gets. They also have adjustable shelves and drawers for efficient storing of items inside.Many RV refrigerators also come equipped with a freezer section below that bottom section where one can store frozen meals or even ice cream for long road trips!

RV refrigerators are generally smaller than their home counterparts, ranging in size from 2 cubic feet (ft³)to up to 10 ft³ depending on the model. However they still do offer ample storage space while providing the added convenience of not needing an electrical connection like in household fridges.They are also very efficient when it comes to energy consumption as they use less electricity than full-sized models – making them great for energy conscious RV owners!

Explanation of RV refrigerator

RV refrigerators (or recreational vehicle refrigerators) are RV appliances used for cooling and storing food. Unlike home kitchen refrigerators, RV refrigerators are typically powered by propane gas. This means that no electricity is needed for them to run, which makes them ideal for off-the-grid camping trips. In comparison to residential models, RV refrigerators also tend to be smaller in size and may not include a freezer compartment. They are often able to function as both an absorption refrigerator and a convection refrigerator.

An absorption refrigerator utilizes heat as the energy source instead of an electric compressor, while a convection refrigerator is powered by an electric compressor but still requires no propane during operation. Both types offer the convenience of being able to use the refrigerator while travelling over long distances or while parked at campgrounds or other locations away from an electrical outlet or a reliable source of propane fuel.

Like conventional home models, RV refrigerators feature storage shelves and/or drawers for food items as well as built-in temperature controls which allow users to adjust the interior temperature of their fridge based on their needs and preferences. Leak-proof insulation ensures that any moisture from condensation within the unit won’t damage furniture or other surfaces it may come into contact with inside the RVs interior space.

Brief history of RV refrigerators

The idea of the refrigerated recreational vehicle (RV) emerged shortly after World War II when people began travelling in larger numbers than ever before. At first, electricity was not available in many parts of the country and RV refrigerators relied on either gas or propane powered engines to keep food cold. Today, AC/DC powered units are the most popular choice for RV enthusiasts, as they allow for both convenience and efficiency.

RV chillers use an innovative absorption system to keep food and beverages cold and fresh without needing a separate compressor system. This absorption process is incredibly energy-efficient and allows RV owners to save space compared to traditional electric fridges when travelling. When combined with DC power supplied by a battery, this type of fridge can provide incredible cooling power for days at a time without using much energy.

Modern RV refrigerator designs can offer both AC & DC powered solutions depending on what type of power source best serves a particular journey. Smaller propane fridges may serve those who are backpacking or taking a relatively short road trip while AC/DC models—such as those found in some Class A’s, fifth wheel trailers, and small travel vans —might give more frequent travellers expanded access to efficient cooling options over longer trips.

Importance of RV refrigerators

RV refrigerators are vital as they provide you with convenient food storage and keep your perishables safe from spoilage. Having an RV refrigerator is important when traveling, as it allows you to store and bring along items that would otherwise not be easily transportable. Usually RV refrigerators run off 120-volt electric or propane, making it easy to find the right fuel source when you’re in a new place.

RV refrigerators are designed specifically for road travel, making them compact yet spacious enough to fit all your necessary items – even if that means having just a few extra bags of groceries! Aside from their convenience, they also reduce energy costs by allowing users to keep their cool without relying on popular city iceboxes. This also helps reduce waste in the form of plastic and aluminum containers which can become littered with food wrappers. Instead, keeping all of your items in an RV refrigerator preserves space and keeps ingredients fresh for longer periods of time.

Factors to consider when choosing an RV refrigerator

When choosing a refrigerator for your RV, there are several factors that you should take into account: size, type, cooling capacity and features.

Size: The amount of space that is available in your RV will determine what size refrigerator you can fit. Measure the opening where the fridge is to be installed to get an idea for size. Choose a model that will fit the space and will be large enough to store all of your food items.

Type: You have several options in types of refrigerators for RVs. There are standard models, 12V refrigerators and 3-way (propane) refrigerators—each has a different power source and operates differently. It’s important to know which one will be most suited to your RV’s power system setup and lifestyle needs before making a decision on which one to go with.

Cooling capacity: The cooling capacity of an RV refrigerator is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). The higher the BTU rating, the more efficient and powerful it is; however, remember that lower BTU ratings mean lower energy costs over time as well! In general, models with a higher BTU rating perform better than those with Lower or average ratings given similar conditions.

Features: Most manufacturers offer add-on accessories such as ice makers or adjustable racks that make it easier to customize the interior of your refrigerator for maximum efficiency. Such features can help make storing and accessing food items much easier—and more organized!

Packing your RV Refrigerator - RV City Blog

Size and capacity

RV refrigerators come in various sizes to fit a range of recreational vehicle sizes and types, from motorhomes and fifth wheels to smaller campervans and trailers. Depending on the model, their capacity varies from 3.7 cubic feet to 25 cubic feet or more. The size of the fridge can make all the difference when it comes to interior storage since some RV owners don’t have a lot of space – meaning that they’ll need an appropriately sized fridge in order to maximize what they can store.

Some larger RV fridges are designed with separate refrigerator and freezer compartments, while others combine them into one unit. In addition, some models also feature adjustable or removable shelving or ‘flex-trays’ which makes arranging items easier based on the user’s needs.

Energy efficiency

RV refrigerators are built to remain efficient even when operating in a mobile environment. This efficiency is derived from their design and energy source. On average, RV refrigerators use up to 1/3 of the power that an equivalent home refrigerator would use. This is achieved by using either gas absorption or evaporative cooling systems, which operate on very low power consumption and are more reliable than traditional compressor-based cooling systems.

Gas absorption systems, in particular, only require a low-powered electronic ignition that needs to be triggered manually – making them both highly efficient and safe for use in motorhomes and other small spaces.

Evaporation systems are ideal for larger spaces or those with areas where temperatures may vary significantly. They work by releasing chilled coolants from a series of vents along the refrigerator body, allowing it to maintain a consistent temperature throughout its interior volume. Their maintenance costs can be lower than other options over time due to their lack of need for compressor repair or replacement.

Additionally, many RV refrigerators also feature insulation panels between the walls for additional energy efficiency and temperature control.

Power source

The power source for your RV refrigerator will be significant in determining the model you choose. There are two main types of RV refrigerators with each having distinct power sources. The most common type is called an absorption refrigerator which runs on 12-volt DC or LP gas. It is necessary to install the correct switch or electrical outlet to accommodate this type of refrigerator.

The other type is a compressor refrigerator which must have an AC power source and runs on 110/115 volts, which means that it must have an AC switch and an outlet within one foot for the voltage plugin. Depending on the model, some RV refrigerators can run both off AC and DC successfully, so it’s important to investigate potential models thoroughly before making a purchase decision.

Maintenance of RV refrigerators

Maintaining your RV refrigerator regularly is an important step in keeping it running reliably and efficiently. Failure to do so may result in a breakdown or increased expense for repair or replacement. Fortunately, the maintenance of your RV refrigerator does not require any specialized skills and can be done quickly with minimal effort.

When maintenance is needed, begin by cleaning the outside of the refrigerator with a damp cloth and mild detergent or cleaner. This will help protect the exterior from corrosion and dirt. Once the exterior has been cleaned, inspect all connections for signs of wear or corrosion that may cause shorts or electrical malfunctions. Once completed, lubricate all connections with an electrical spray lubricant to help ensure smooth operation when you are on the road. Finally, ensure that all seals are intact and that they seal tightly against each other when closed — this will prevent cold air from escaping and potentially causing energy loss while you travel on your next adventure!

Can You Put a Residential Fridge in an RV? (2023 Guide) – RVBlogger


It is important to ensure your RV refrigerator is clean and free of debris before use. The cleaning process should begin with inspecting the vents, shelves, and walls of the refrigerator for crumbs, lint, food particles, or other debris.

Remove any items present in the interior spaces of the RV refrigerator and give it a thorough cleaning with a damp cloth. If needed, you may use a mild detergent mixed with water to help remove stubborn stains.

Be sure to inspect any rubber seals around the inside of the fridge and clean them regularly as they can easily accumulate dust and grime over time.

Regular inspection and servicing

Periodic inspections and professional servicing are important components of a regular maintenance schedule for RV refrigerators. During inspection, the type and condition of cooling fluid should be inspected, as well as the condition of the rubber hoses and connections. Lastly, all electrical connections should be checked for stability and continuity.

Professional servicing includes inspecting all components for proper function, cleaning the compressor and heat sink, replacing certain parts such as gaskets or fuses if needed, and cleaning the refrigerator coils. After completion of professional maintenance services, the RV refrigerator should be tested to ensure correct operation.


After learning the basics of RV refrigerators, as well as how they operate and differ from home refrigerators, you now should have a better understanding when it comes to selecting the right model for your recreational vehicle.

When selecting an RV refrigerator, make sure to carefully consider factors such as size, ventilation requirements and energy source. This information will help you choose the most suitable model for your needs.

Furthermore, it is important to understand that RV refrigerators require a certain maintenance expertise in order to ensure top performance over time. By following some simple tips such as using thermostat controls, keeping surfaces clean and performing regular checkups, you can avoid problems with your RV refrigerator and keep it running smoothly for years to come.

Summary of the article

This article provides a comprehensive guide to RV refrigerators and how they compare to normal refrigerators for residential use. It covers different types, what is included in an RV refrigerator, key features, average costs and installation tips.

We explain how the devices work and why they are preferred by many over traditional refrigerators. Additionally, the article will go over some of the most important questions buyers should consider before making a purchase such as weight capacity, size and energy efficiency.

Finally, the article concludes with a few additional considerations that owners of RV refrigerators may want to keep in mind when shopping for their new appliance.

Everything You Need to Know About Your Norcold RV Fridge

Importance of RV refrigerators

RV refrigerators are essential when traveling in an RV, as they provide a reliable and efficient way to keep food and beverages cold while on the road. RV refrigerators come in both electric and propane models, and they can be used to store groceries while camping or on extended trips. Electric refrigerators are incredibly useful for their convenience, but propane models can offer increased energy efficiency when used with an additional generator.

RV refrigerators also provide homeowners with an extra storage area not typically found in traditional homes. Whether you’re storing ingredients to cook dinner that night or packing up glassware for entertaining guests, RV refrigerators offer additional space without needing to open your cabinet doors every time you need something.

In addition to providing extra space for your grocery-shopping needs, these appliances can also save money on utility bills. Many RV production companies are looking into more efficient ways of utilizing electricity by making sure that coolants inside the fridge don’t waste power. Newer models of RV refrigerator utilize more advanced insulation materials, thus cutting down on potential power loss – helping you save money on your monthly utility bills.

See Also :

Leave a Comment