The best portable electric fridge has to be the one that best suits your travel style and budget.
It all depends on the use you’re going to give it. You can start with an ice cooler fridge (decent) or a thermoelectric machine and then move on to a compressor (the best 12V portable refrigerators), and if you’re going to leave it fixed, you can choose a 3-way fridge.
As you can see, you have many options. For example, if you’re traveling sporadically or just want to try it, you can choose a good quality cooler or thermoelectric connecting to your car’s 12V charger.
If you have a camper van with an electrical system installed with solar panels and an auxiliary battery, my recommendation is a mini car fridge 12v
Compressor refrigerators can also serve as auxiliary fridges for your RV.
To travel by car, the best refrigerators are the thermoelectrics that connects to the car’s lighter. You do not need an electrical installation for a compressor fridge.
If you are going camping, you can choose a portable fridge that connects to the 100- 220V power grid. This way, you will keep your drinks cold and the food well preserved.
Portable Shower for camping and camper vans
Different types of portable refrigerators
There are different types of portable refrigerators for your car or camper van. Here’s the one that best suits your travel style and budget.
Portable 12V compressor fridge
12V compressor refrigerators are the most popular and the ones you’ll see most during your travels, and for a good reason.
These refrigerators are designed for all types of vehicles, from 4×4 to boats, and are built with durability and efficiency in mind.
12V compressor refrigerators have highly efficient variable speed compressors that consume very little energy, can be used as a refrigerator or freezer.
They come in various configurations, including chest, vertical, and dual-zone refrigerators/freezers – and usually have the ability to operate at an inclination of up to 30 degrees (other types of refrigerators must be kept perfectly level when operating).
This combination of features makes these refrigerators perfect for van life.
Although the compressor refrigerators are amazing, they have one drawback: the cost.
Portable 12V refrigerators are more expensive than other options, and that’s important to keep in mind. Also, since you’re going to need to add an auxiliary battery and a means to charge them (such as solar panels, 110/ 220V connection, or a switch to the vehicle alternator).
If your goal is to turn the van into a wheeled house, investing in a refrigerator with a high-quality 12V compressor is worth it.
And please don’t do like us in our first van, and put a 220V fridge with an inverter. All you’re going to get are headaches and spoil the auxiliary battery too early.