Picking the right refrigerator for your RV might seem easy, but when you begin to ingest the many types, sizes, and factors involved, the decision can become complicated.

One thing is for sure when selecting your next RV fridge, you have to weigh the pros and cons of model types, and decide what is most important to you. So, how do you pick the right one for your needs? In this article, we will discuss the types of RV fridges, and the factors to consider when picking the model that's best for you!

Types of RV Refrigerators

There are two types of RV refrigerators - absorption and compressor models. When you buy a new RV or are looking to upgrade your RV refrigerator model, you will have to decide which model is best for your wants and needs.

Absorption model RV refrigerators

An absorption model RV refrigerator uses a chemical reaction, usually involving copper tubes, to create the cooling effect. As the motor of the fridge runs, it cools down inside the refrigerant and brings down the temperature. An absorption fridge runs on propane gas and can, depending on the model, run off battery power when off shore power.

The pros of an absorption model RV fridge are that they are usually quieter than compressor models because the heat exchange system of cooling means the refrigerator runs completely silent. Another benefit is they can run for an extended period of time on the gas flow of the vehicle.

The cons are that they take longer to cool down than compressor models, so if you're looking for a fridge that can rapidly chill your beverages, this might not be the best option. Other cons include the need to be level and require good ventilation. Additionally, an RV absorption refrigerator will tend to have a shorter lifespan and require more upkeep than compressor refrigerators.

Compressor Model RV Refrigerators

A compressor model RV refrigerator uses a motor to run a compressor, which creates a cooling effect much like your residential fridge at home. The compressor works by compressing the refrigerant, which raises the temperature and causes it to evaporate. As the refrigerant evaporates, it absorbs heat from the air around it and cools down compressor refrigerators. Unlike an absorption fridge, a compressor RV refrigerators require no LP gas to operate.

Today, many in the industry believe the best RV fridge is a 12-volt compression model. There are many significant benefits of a 12V compression model including superior cooling speed, more usable capacity, lower power consumption, more reliable cooling, and better boondocking capabilities with the ability to use solar power for charging.

The main downside to RV compressor models is the increased noise level. If you're looking for a quiet fridge, this might not be the best option. They also tend to be more costly than traditional absorption RV refrigerators.

Factors to Consider When Selecting The Best RV Refrigerator

Now that you know the types of RV refrigerators, it's time to decide which one is best for you. To help make your decision, there are many factors to consider when selecting your next RV fridge. Here are a few to remember as you are trying to decide between the best RV refrigerators.

RV Refrigerator Size

Size is an important consideration when picking the right RV refrigerator. You need to make sure the fridge will fit in your RV and have enough space to store all of your perishables. Many RVers who are picking a new RV fridge are looking to upgrade or replace an old model, which makes selecting the size easier.

Remember to also take into account the type of RV you have. If you have a small RV or are looking to save space, a smaller fridge might be the best option. If you have a larger RV or entertain often, you might want to consider a larger model. Don't forget to remember to consider things like venting space or required gaps when picking the right size.

RV Refrigerator Capacity

The next consideration is storage capacity. How much food and drink do you need to store? If you're light eaters or have a small family, you might be able to get away with a smaller fridge. If you entertain often or have a larger family, you'll want to make sure your fridge can accommodate all of your perishables.

Camping can often leave you in locations that make it difficult to get more food and drink supplies. Remember to consider interior storage space when picking out the right capacity as packing extra is never a bad thing.

Everchill models, for example, come in a variety of sizes from mini or wine fridges, all the way up to 18 cubic feet which is more like the residential refrigerator you might have at home.

RV Refrigerator Layout and Style

Like your residential refrigerator, the style and layout of your RV version can vary. Many RVers prefer side-by-side or french door models because they offer easier access to food and drinks. Others like top-freezer or bottom-freezer models because they're more compact.

Some manufacturers are making life easier for RV owners. Way, for example, is rolling out models with dual swing capability in the summer of 2022. This will benefit both RV manufacturers and increase the convenience for owners who have layout challenges in their RV kitchen.

RV Refrigerator Finishes

Just like your residential fridge, there are different finish options for your RV fridge. The most popular is stainless steel because it looks great and doesn't show fingerprints. If you're looking for something different, many manufacturers offer black or white finishes as well.

To match the rugged outdoor lifestyle of RVing, Everchill has introduced a new premier glass front finish for many of its models. The new glass finish not only looks incredible, and matches the aesthetics of any RV kitchen, but it is dent resistant to meet the rugged camping lifestyle.

Do You Want your RV Refrigerator to have a Freezer?

Another important consideration is whether you want your RV refrigerator to have a freezer. Many RVers find it helpful to have a separate freezer because it allows them to store ice cream, frozen meals, and other items that need to be kept cold. Others find that they never use the freezer and prefer RV refrigerator

A large refrigerator, like the Everchill 11 cubic foot 12-volt model, comes with a separate freezer compartment. Most larger size, residential refrigerator models in RVs will have a freezer option. Not only do some models have great features like a freezer, but they may also include an ice maker.

Type of Power Source 

We have already discussed the type of RV refrigerators, and with the different types, come different power requirements. If you have a generator, you're likely going to be able to use any type of RV fridge. If you don't have a generator or plan to do a lot of boondocking, then a 12-volt dc power model is going to be your best bet as they can run off of batteries.

Some campers opt to have both types of RV fridges. They use the 12-volt fridge when boondocking and then switch to an absorption fridge when they're plugged in at a campsite. This gives them the best of both worlds and more flexibility with their perishables.

Picking the right RV refrigerator doesn't have to be hard, but there are many factors to consider. With a little research and some careful planning, you'll be able to find the perfect fridge for your RV kitchen.

Ease of installation

Installation can be an important factor when picking your next RV refrigerator. Absorption fridges, for example, will require you to vent them to the outside. 12-volt models, on the other hand, can be installed without any special ventilation.

12-Volt models may also require some additional installation in order to charge when you're not plugged in. If you don't have a generator, you'll need to install solar panels to help power your unit.

Do you Want to Take Your RV Refrigerator off Shore Power?

Some RVers spend all their time at a campsite, attached to shore power. Others, however, like to go off the grid and boondock. If you're planning on doing a lot of boondocking, you'll want to make sure your RV refrigerator can operate without being plugged in.

12-volt models are the only type of RV fridge that can run without being plugged in. Most RVers use a combination of solar charging and backup generators to power their coach while off the grid. If you have a solar system or a generator, you can use any type of RV fridge, but if you don't want to be tied down to shore power, a 12-volt model is your best bet.


The last factor that will impact your RV refrigerator decision will be the cost. When trying to decide the best RV refrigerator for your needs, try to establish a budget that won't break the bank.

Remember, depending on the type you choose, there could be extra costs for installation or modification to your RV. 12-volt models may also require the purchase of an additional battery bank and solar power for your RV travels.

Final Thoughts: How to Pick the Best RV Refrigerators

RV refrigerators are an essential part of any vehicle's kitchen. They come in many different types, sizes, and capabilities.

The RV fridge you choose will depend on your lifestyle, budget and the space in your RV. We hope this article has helped point you in the right direction when picking between the best RV refrigerators.

For more information about Everchill 12-Volt Refrigerators, contact us to learn more! Happy travels!