12V compressor refrigerators can be quite expensive in general, but there is a wide variety of prices between high-end brands and budget brands.
If your budget doesn’t allow you a range refrigerator, we recommend carefully analyzing the least expensive brands.
Just keep in mind that the fridge is an essential part of your camper van and road trips. So it’s better to save a little more and buy something of good quality.
Indoor capacity and freezer capabilities
How much fridge space do you need? Buying a portable camper fridge that’s too big means spending more than you need to and giving up more space in your van.
Furthermore, having a too-small refrigerator means shopping more often. Needs vary from person to person.
Most 12V compressor refrigerators have the ability to function as a refrigerator or freezer. But if you need both at the same time, some brands offer refrigerators/freezers that have separate compartments for each.
Energy efficiency and compressor
To not connect to the mains too often, you have to have as efficient as possible devices.
Exterior dimensions and weight
If you already have a designated place where you plan to place the refrigerator, you’ll want to make sure all the options you’re considering fit.
Not all brands have the same size; some are taller, others are wider, even if they have the same interior capacity.
And dimensions can be a determining factor in buying your portable fridge since it has to adjust to your van’s configuration.
Weight is another important factor; if you’re going to transport your fridge regularly, it better be lighter than if you’re going to leave it fixed most of the time.
Cover opening direction
As I mentioned above, this may seem like a minor consideration, but it can make a big difference in your van’s configuration. For example, some fridges have hinged lids from behind, while others have side-hinged lids.
Side-hinged lids need less top free space to open completely, and since you’re looking into the refrigerator from the longer side, it can be easier to see and reach the content.
The best lid direction will depend on the specific configuration of your van.
Standard features and additional features
Most 12V portable refrigerators have the following standard features:
Ability to operate with an inclination of up to 30º.
LED lighting inside the refrigerator.
Floor drain plug for easy cleaning.
Low voltage cutting to protect your batteries.
Removable dividers and organizing baskets.
Separate dairy compartment.
Some refrigerators include more advanced features such as digital controls, remote readings, Wi-Fi apps, and additional accessories.
Warranty and reliability
In addition, factory warranties give you some security degree if something goes wrong and needs to be repaired or replaced.
Reputation is also a factor here. Danfoss compressors are known to be reliable, so refrigerators with this compressor are often a safe bet.