Choosing the best camper van fridge for your home on wheels is simple and easy with my guide featuring some of the best picks available today. Keeping food fresh when travelling has never been so easy, with a range of camper van fridges available to suit your needs and power capabilities. 

How do you choose the best camper van fridge?

Choosing the best camper van fridge means opting for a fridge suited to your camper van’s power system along with the interior space you have available.  Compressor fridges, three-way fridges, and thermo-electric coolboxes are all great choices, but it’s vital to consider budget, power, and size to make an informed purchase.

Since buying a fridge for my campervan, I now can’t imagine not having one on board with me! My fridge has become an essential part of my daily life, where I’m constantly using it for cold drinking water, and to keep milk, fruits, veggies, and more fresh and free from potentially harmful bacteria. Looking for vanlife upgrades such as a campervan fridge 12V can be hard with so much choice out there! Hopefully, my guide will bring you the clarity you need for your fridge purchase.

Read: The Ultimate Guide To Vanlife (For Beginners)

Can You Put A Normal Fridge In A Campervan?

It isn’t impossible to put a normal fridge in a campervan, and if you have a huge motorcoach with abundant space and power, this might be a feasible option for you. For most of us with smaller campervans and less powerful electrical systems, putting a normal fridge in a campervan isn’t a wise option.

Standard household fridges in the UK typically run at 230V which requires a high power supply and in turn, a large electrical system with components such as an inverter. Fridges intended for use in campervans generally have a smaller power draw, with some being able to be powered using gas instead of electricity.

Read: A Beginner’s Guide To Buying A Campervan In The UK

What Type Of Fridge Is Best For A Campervan?

There are a few factors to think about when working out what type of fridge is best for a campervan. Considerations include the budget you have available, as campervan fridges 12V can be quite pricey. It’s also wise to give some thought to where you want to put the fridge inside your van, and if you even have the space for it!

One of the biggest concerns, however, is power. So much comes down to power in a campervan, and when you’re looking to upgrade and add some new components to your build, it’s vital to consider the impact this will have on your power. Make sure your campervan battery can cope with the power draw of the fridge, as if not, you may need to upgrade your power system. 

There are 3 main types of campervan fridges available including a compressor fridge, three-way fridge, and thermo-electric coolbox. Each type has pros and cons, so it’s worth looking into all the options as they can range in size, budget, and power.

Read: 10 Vanlife Essentials You Need For Your Campervan

What Are The 3 Types Of Campervan Fridges?

Having 3 types of campervan fridges to choose from makes the buying process easier, as you can explore the upsides and downsides of each type, and work out which will benefit you most. 

Compressor Fridge

A compressor campervan fridge is what I chose to install in my campervan and it’s turned out to be a quality, dependable choice using 12V (often with the ability to also run on 240V). These types of fridges are popular for many as they are compact with low power consumption. They can also perform on uneven surfaces like those presented when driving down bumpy tracks in a campervan!

Take a look at this 38L capacity fridge similar to the one I purchased for my van.

Three-Way Fridge

The name gives away exactly what a three-way fridge is; a fridge able to be run by 240V, 12V, or gas. Having multiple ways to power a fridge can be useful, and since three-way campervan fridges are substantial in size, they are a great choice for a group of travellers. Installing this fridge type can be challenging, especially when running it on gas, so if you’re not comfortable doing the job, it’s wise to call out the professionals to take a look. 

Explore this 40L three-way campervan fridge.

Thermo-Electric Coolbox

Cool boxes are an ideal solution for campers unable to include a sizable, fixed fridge in their van, but still want to enjoy a dedicated appliance for keeping food and drinks cold, fresh, and delicious. A thermo-electric coolbox uses 12V to keep a significantly cooler temperature inside the fridge than the exterior air surrounding it.

Learn more about what a thermo-electric coolbox can offer and explore this budget-friendly option.

Stealth camping in Dorset


What Size Fridge Do I Need In A Campervan?

The size of fridge you need to install in your campervan will likely be considerably smaller than the one you’re used to in a standard household environment. There’s still a wide range of campervan fridges available, all in different sizes, with varying power needs, and ability. Grab a measuring tape, and work out the prime location for your campervan fridge. Make sure it’s a safe location where you can wire it in and use it functionally. Popular campervan fridge sizes range from 30L to 50L and beyond.

How To Choose A 12V Refrigerator?

12V refrigerators tend to be common choices for vanlifers looking to remain as power efficient as they can living on the road. Fridges need to be dependable at keeping food fresh and dealing with the bumpy terrain and movement of a campervan, alongside not taking too much power to run them. Work out your needs in terms of the size you have available for the fridge, your budget, the different styles of fridges, and the fridge capacity. 

What Is The Best 12V Compressor Fridge?

Dometic is a company renowned for manufacturing campervan fridges, with the Dometic CoolMatic CRX 50 Compressor refrigerator being a favoured choice. This fridge is available in a range of sizes and styles from 45L to 78L capacity, and with countless positive reviews, it’s clear to see why so many are choosing to install fridges from this brand in their campers.

How Long Will A 12V Battery Run A Refrigerator?

A 12V battery will generally run a campervan compressor fridge continuously as needed, as they cut in and out depending on the interior temperature of the fridge. This can vary greatly between different fridge types, the type of battery you own, the amount of power you have, and the draw of the fridge. You can help support your campervan’s electrical system, by adding solar power to your roof. This is a way of charging your battery, and topping up your power so you can comfortably use your campervan fridge 12V worry-free!