View Full Version : Portable Refrigerators

09-07-2014, 06:25 PM
I found an old topic that was closed but there wasn't much of a discussion so I thought I would start a new one. I'm looking to make a purchase soon. Looking at Dometic, Engel, ARB, EvaKool, Edgestar. There is a wide range of prices, and the least expensive, Edgestar 80 Qt (http://www.compactappliance.com/Edgestar-80-Qt-Portable-Fridge-Freezer-FP861/FP861.html) gets excellent reviews on CompactAppliance.com. The one I really like is the ARB 82 Qt (http://store.arbusa.com/ARB-Fridge-Freezer-82Qt-10800782-P21329.aspx) . It comes with a 3 year warranty and has an integrated battery protection system. I also like the way the lid is easily removed when there is no overhead clearance. Does anybody have any experience with any of these?

09-08-2014, 10:34 AM
Scott, is it a fridge/freezer unit that you are looking for? We bought a 3.3 cf double door about 4 years ago. We got it at Lowes with an ad from Kmart for less than Lowes wanted. I think all the ones at the big box stores are all the same (made by the same company in China) with different names on them. Ours has been bullit proof. But we did however find that you can't run it on the highest setting. It froze all the sodas...SOLID.

09-08-2014, 12:32 PM
Thanks Bob. Are you running it on an inverter while travelling or just using it when plugged into shore power? My intentions are to put it on a sliding tray in the basement and to use it mostly as a freezer. I'm also looking at a 33" x 90" Mor/Ryde two direction tray.

09-08-2014, 01:55 PM
This is a cool thread (no pun intended). I'm waiting for all the responses, I might need something like this.........There is always more refrigeration needed. I'm especially interested in being able to run on inverter/solar.

09-08-2014, 10:40 PM
I looked at the ARB today at a 4WD shop that is a dealer. It is impressive but expensive (2X the price of the Edgestar). It claims to only use 0.7 - 2.3A DC and has a user selected battery saver that shuts the unit down if it falls below a preset voltage. I liked the durability of it but I'm not sure that is what I need most. It is made to be more portable and less stationery. On the other hand, the Edgestar is too tall in the comparable size unit and I would have to go with a smaller size. It's almost 24" tall which is the height of the basement, let alone a sliding tray. Without the sliding tray, it would be useless. Most of these units are not available to see in person. I was fortunate that someone local stocked the ARB. You have to rely heavily on reviews and Blogs.

09-09-2014, 10:08 AM
Scott, no it would not work for what you want. It is way too tall for a basement. We put it in the W/D cabinet. I don't think it would work off an invertor....but maybe. It would depend on how many watts/amps it would draw.

09-11-2014, 08:41 AM
Scott, we have been using the Dometic version for 5+ years now. Most of the time it is a beer and wine cooler. Temp adjustment is not perfect, but it works well enough.

On our current trip we are out for 3 weeks in rural areas, so it is currently being used as a freezer. The minimum set temp is 0, but, at the moment it is -15 inside.

We have one of those auto setting clocks on the wall that also has in and outdoor temps. So I keep the outdoor sensor in the cooler.

Runs on either DC or AC.
For the first two years I used it on DC mostly with no issues.
When I got the ice maker I added dedicated circuits in the garage that are supplied by a pass through inverter. So they are always on AC now.

Pricey, but works well for traveling. And the labels stay on the bottles.

09-11-2014, 05:27 PM
Engel seems to be the granddaddy of all fridge freezers. But I found both the Engle and the Mr Heater at Cabela's.

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Mr-Heater-BaseCamp-ACDC-42-Quart-FridgeFreezers/1435446.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch.cmd%3Fform_state%3D searchForm%26N%3D0%26fsch%3Dtrue%26Ntk%3DAllProduc ts%26Ntt%3DMr%2Bheater%2Bfridge%2Bfreezer%26x%3D0% 26y%3D0%26WTz_l%3DHeader%253BSearch-All%2BProducts&Ntt=Mr+heater+fridge+freezer&WTz_l=Header%3BSearch-All+Products

09-11-2014, 06:20 PM
I have the Norcold ref-freezer 12 V works good.

09-11-2014, 06:58 PM
ARB makes nothing but quality products.

09-11-2014, 07:05 PM
I have 2 Norcold portables. One is new and the other is ancient. Both work well.

Coincidentally, I went by the Dometic display at the Hershey show this week. They have a bunch of new units in their portable refer lineup. They also told me that their units that previously could be set for 0 degrees at the lowest temp can now be set for some level well below zero. I forget the number.

09-11-2014, 07:49 PM
Well, I took the plunge and bought the ARB. Dometic was my other choice and it came down to dimensions of their 80 Qt size, since I also ordered a sliding tray. The ARB has great reviews and is considered to have about the lowest energy consumption.


09-11-2014, 07:51 PM
We have the ARB freezer/refrigerator. It works great. When we had our boat, it was always used as a freezer. We used to go for one week at a time and never had battery issues. Now that we have our trailer with the residential fridge, we use it as an outdoor fridge and store it in the basement.

The unit is most likely the most expensive units available. We have not used any of the others so it would be unfair to offer a comparison.

09-11-2014, 07:52 PM
I guess the norcold is the American version of the Engel. It appears that it uses the Sawafuji compressor which is said to be the compressor of choice for portable refrigerator freezers. These have been known to last over 30 years. Bu the Norcold is hard to come by, I cant find on anywhere. They have the plastic versions and Im sure they are good, but I would like a metal MRFT 40. The implications for solar are tremendous at less than 1 amp hour.

I have the Norcold ref-freezer 12 V works good.

09-11-2014, 07:53 PM
Well, I bit one off and bought the ARB. Dometic was my other choice and it came down to dimensions since I also ordered a sliding tray.

You will not be disappointed. We have the same unit.

09-11-2014, 07:57 PM
For those of you that use one of these, are you running them off of 12V? If so did you mount a power port near it. Where did you tap into the 12V?

09-11-2014, 08:02 PM
Mine runs right off the battery it's working as a refrigerator now I have it loaded for the IL rally we are leaving in the morning

09-12-2014, 07:37 AM
Scott - toy hauler - I ran a 4 or 6 gauge (don't remember which) marine rated wire right from the battery bus to the garage for multi use. But mostly for a winch in case one of the toys can't get in the garage under it's own power. I added a cigar lighter receptacle to the box, real lighter socket, not a power port.

09-12-2014, 10:28 AM
I installed a power port the other day. I fretted about how to get at wire to my battery for a long time. My install was on the wooden panel on the side of the bed, when I picked up the bed, I found a bundle of DC wires. Turned out they powered only the two LED lights above the headboard and were protected by a 10 amp blade fuse. I tied in to them and I was done. Perhaps you can do the same thing. I found a power port that has a switch plate cover marked $6.99 at an RV dealer who failed to keep up with changing shelf prices. It made for a clean installation.

BTW on my Heartland BC, the DC wires are paired white, one with a red stripe. I used a white heavy duty extension cord and paid $2.99 for it, I put a red line on one with a red marker/sharpie because I could not find the color coded wire for a reasonable price.

09-12-2014, 01:49 PM
My fridge/freezer is going to be in the DS basement on a sliding tray. I think I will mount a cigar lighter on the wall between the basement and generator compartment. It will practically be on top of the DC bus bar. BTW, our 4100 has a hot wire hanging near the DS frame at the back of the rig. Anybody know what it is intended for?

09-12-2014, 02:55 PM
Electric jacks maybe? My power runs down the left side to the rear then crosses over to the right side for the jack switch. Also supplies the power ram for the ramp.