RV refrigerators are a necessity for anyone who loves spending time on the open road. When selecting the right RV refrigerator, There are many different models to choose from that can provide adequate food storage. 

One of the most important decisions you will make when purchasing a new unit is whether to go with a frost-free or direct cool RV fridge. These two types often make up those seen in recreational vehicles and are engineered to cool differently.

Everchill, Way's brand of leading RV refrigerators, touts a frost-free freezer with turbo cooling. Let’s discuss this often overlooked benefit and show why “frost-free” is the superior choice when selecting an RV Fridge.

What are Frost-Free and Direct Cool Refrigerators?

Frost-Free RV Refrigerators

A frost-free refrigerator is a model that uses electric fans to evenly distribute the cold air within the fridge and freezer compartments.  While this might not seem important, it is a massive benefit as it allows the freezer to remain free of frost or ice build-up.

Frost-free models are what you are used in your residential refrigerator. Typical models won’t see freezers overwhelmed with ice and allow for maximum storage and minimal cleaning. 

Direct Cool RV Refrigerators

Direct Cool refrigerators are an older and more outdated form of refrigerator and freezer technology. 

Similar to an icebox, direct cool models’ air circulation occurs naturally and is not evenly distributed. This natural convection process generates an uneven temperature dispersion around the freezer chamber, causing frost to build in the unit. Some models provide a manual defrost button to thaw the ice inside, while others simply provide no solution for ice build-up besides manual defrosting. 

Benefits of Frost Free RV Refrigerators

Let's look at all the benefits of a frost-free refrigerator in your recreational vehicle like the Everchill 11 cubic foot 12V model.

No Frost Build Up

The main benefit, and possibly the most important one, is the lack of frost build-up.

Frost Free RV Refrigerator

Refrigerators that use frost-free freezer technology, like the RV industry's first 

12-Volt Everchill models, prevent ice from building up inside the freezer. This means you will never have to manually defrost your RV fridge’s freezer. Even better, you won't have to worry about the potential of mold sprouting in your unit and being harmful to you or your family.

Ice can form when the cold evaporator coils in a direct cool freezer come into contact with warm or humid air (for example, after opening the door on a hot day). This internal moisture will begin to freeze and have larger and larger ice build-up until manually thawed.  Not only is this process inconvenient, but if not done correctly, it can lead to mold and other issues.

Improved Air Circulation


Another great benefit of a frost-free RV refrigerator is improved air circulation. Everchill units use electric cooling fans to circulate the cold air, which leads to more evenly cooled food items. This also prevents large items, such as milk jugs, from blocking the airflow and causing other items in the fridge to spoil faster.

Direct cool models do not use a fan to circulate cool air and can leave warm spots within the refrigerator compartments. For example, the front of direct cool units can be slightly warmer than the back (where cooling takes place) causing uneven cooling. 

Frost Free RV Fridge

Fast Cooling to Temperature

Everchill frost-free models with turbo cooling get to temperature in under an hour. This is faster than other frost-free models and can allow you to pack your fridge full and hit the road while your unit quickly gets down to your desired temperature. 

Direct cool models get to temperature quickly but can take longer to reach the desired cooling settings when filled to capacity with food.

Better Usable Capacity

Frost-free models provide the best usable capacity in RV refrigerator models.  No matter the size (Everchill touts models up to 17 cubic feet) frost-free models sufficiently cool while allowing maximum storage space.

Direct cool fridges aren't ideal in larger sizes. Sufficient for eight or fewer cubic feet models, direct cool won't adequately cool large capacity "residential-style" sizes like 11 or even 16 feet. Direct cool models will typically only come in single-door builds, while frost-free fridges can come in double, french, or as many as four-door varieties. 

Less Cleaning

As discussed previously, the worst-case scenario for RV refrigerator maintenance is forgetting to defrost your direct cool unit and having to deep clean because of mold growth. Even if mold isn't an issue, regular ice does require more routine cleaning.

Frost-free RV refrigerators don't require manual defrosting and, in turn, require much less maintenance or time spent cleaning your freezer. This becomes a real benefit out on the road and while boondocking.

The coils on the rear side of many direct cool refrigerators are exposed and accumulating dust and requiring regular cleaning. Frost-free refrigerators like Everchill have the rear side covered and will not allow for excess dust accumulation. 

Advanced Settings

Direct cool refrigerators do not come with the extra settings and features that you mostly find in frost-free models. This type of technology is older and less advanced than its frost-free counterparts. These advanced settings in frost-free models can help you better manage battery life and internal temperature or find potential problems.

Everchill fridges include digital temperature settings, a battery indicator, LED lighting, and an added diagnosis function that can detail common fridge issues.

Frost Free RV Fridge Battery Monitor

Final Thoughts: Frost Free is the Way to Be

We hope this has helped you better understand the benefits of frost-free refrigerator models. While all types of RV fridges have their place, the advanced technology and added consumer benefits of frost-free models like Everchill make it easy to choose your next RV refrigerator. 

Ready to see our frost-free models and pick the right one for you? Shop our leading RV 12-Volt Everchill Refrigerators