The Benefits of a 3 Way Fridge Freezer in your RV


Time to replace your old RV refrigerator? Or maybe you're kitting out your new RV? A fridge freezer is arguably the single most important appliance in your RV. So it's critical to take your time researching and choosing the right unit for your needs. Here are the benefits of a 3 way fridge freezer in your RV.

3 Way Caravan Fridge: Dometic RUA Series Review

Many RV owners choose a 3 way fridge freezer. The reason is simple: they offer maximum convenience on the road because they can run off 12 volt power, mains electricity, and LPG. Instead of a compressor, a 3 way unit uses a gas flow heat exchange system in the back of the fridge, which essentially removes the heat rather than creating the cold.

There are lots of reasons to choose a 3 way fridge freezer for your RV. We've been talking to our customers and they told us 6 benefits you can't afford to ignore:

3 way fridge freezer
We've been talking to our customers and they told us 6 benefits you can't afford to ignore:

1. Runs for weeks on one bottle of gas

When you're staying out in national parks, stopping at a rest area, or bush camping, bottled gas is a very efficient and convenient way to power your fridge. In fact, your 3 way fridge freezer can run for approximately 2-3 weeks on a 9kg gas bottle before it needs refilling. So, you can still do a big shop and enjoy chilled food and drink in the most remote spots.

2. Runs off 240v when mains power is available

Chances are you'll spend time in some caravan sites along the way. Often you only need to pay a little extra for a powered site. Make use of the mains electricity for your 3 way fridge freezer and it will run efficiently.

3 Way Fridges for Recreational Vehicles

3. Runs off a 12 volt battery when driving

When you're back on the road, gas and mains power are no longer options for your fridge. But there's no need to worry about all that freshly caught fish spoiling, because your 3 way fridge freezer can run on the 12 volt power from your RV or car battery. Just be sure to switch it to gas or mains when you're stopped for extended periods so you don't drain your car battery!

4. Super quiet

Because a 3 way fridge freezer uses absorption technology rather than a compressor, it has minimal moving parts and is exceptionally quiet. Far quieter than your fridge freezer at home. Of course, at home you're not sleeping in your kitchen - in your RV, nothing is ever that far away from you, so quiet operation is a bigger advantage than you might initially realise.

5. Extremely low maintenance

The same reason 3 way fridge freezers are quiet means they are also low maintenance. No need to worry about lots of routine maintenance while on the road - once installed, they pretty much look after themselves.

3 way fridge freezer
3 way fridge freezers often have the ability to fit a laminate or ply to the doors to match the interior decor of your van.

6. Can last for up to 20 years before replacement

When you choose a top brand, like Dometic or Thetford you can rest assured that your 3 way fridge freezer is made to withstand the demands of being on the road in an RV. They are designed to take the bumps and knocks, deal with the harsh Australian climate and still last for years. In fact, a 3 way fridge freezer will often only need replacing after about 20 years, which is often about double the life span of their compressor (or 2 way) counterparts.

Of course it depends on which model you choose and how well you look after your RV fridge. But that's where the manufacturer comes in. With reputable brands like Dometic, you get national service agent and spare parts support, which is a must-have if you're planning lots of long road trips.

3 Way Caravan Fridge Review, Dometic RM2350


Any Downsides?

Its worth noting a couple of extra things with a 3 way fridge freezer:

  • Absorption 3 way refrigerators need to be installed and certified by a qualified and licensed gas-fitter, as improperly or illegally installed products will void the manufacturer's warranty, and could pose a safety risk.

  • Absorption 3 way fridge freezer models are not quite as effective as compressor driven RV fridges in hotter temperatures. For example, in the north end of Australia in tropical environments, Absorption fridges are not able to get down to the lower temperatures that compressor driven fridges can.

  • Absorption fridges are best run on gas. You can run them on 12v power when your vehicle is moving, but once your vehicle stops, it is best to use either 240V power or gas, because they will drain your battery quickly if kept on 12V draw.

Still not sure if you should have a 2 way or 3 way fridge for your RV? Check out this article for more pros and cons or check out or full range of Caravan Fridge Freezers HERE.

2 Way Fridges vs. 3 Way Fridges for Recreational Vehicles


DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.

4 thoughts on The Benefits of a 3 Way Fridge Freezer in your RV

29 November 2017
Thank you so much for your opinion and consider these important things. The points which you mentioned above a very significant and will surely helpful for us. More @

12 October 2017
Thanks for some great information. We are in the process of looking at caravans and this was one area that we have been discussing. (Need to show some of the salesmen!!)

1 August 2017
This post is GOLD! Rarely do I read a blog post about blogging that isn’t 90% stuff I’ve heard of before. I cannot wait to click and try a bunch of these as I draft my new post today.

19 June 2017
New to caravanning and fridge styles., but understand that absorption style fridges dont work as effectively in hot environments e.g. northern Aust in summer. What sort of fridge temps are we talking about? e.g. freezer doesnt freeze and the cabinet gets too warm to keep food?

My Generator Response
Hi Pedro, Thanks very much for the inquiry. Climate Class Ratings for 3 - Way Fridges are a hot topic (pun intended). The European Union (CEN) fridge performance standard is becoming increasingly accepted and the main rating that caravan enthusiasts look out for is the “T” rating. Climate class ratings are as follows: - T Rating (tropical): designed and rated to work up to 43 degrees C - ST Rating (sub-tropical): are designed and rated to work up to 36 degrees C - SN and N (sub normal and normal): are designed and rated to work up to 32 degrees C. You can see the tropical ratings for each fridge within the Specification particulars. Most Dometic 3 Way Fridges are T Rated, with some models ST Rated. What we find with 3-way absorption fridges is that they will take longer to cool than a compressor driven fridge, particularly in hotter environments. Overall; if you want to run a fridge from Gas, then you'll need a 3-way absorption RV fridge - they will still perform in hotter environments, they will just take longer to cool. Remember, while they are very fuel efficient when running on gas, they are not energy efficient when running on a 12/24 volt battery source; you should really only use this power source for a 3-way absorption fridge when your vehicle is moving. Conversely, a 2-way compressor driven RV fridge (mostly all T Rated) is designed with 12/24 volt operation in mind and are very efficient on a battery source and will cool more quickly in hotter environments. Hope that helps - Thank you.

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