Best 12V Caravan Fridge Brands:
No piece of gear is more important than your 12V caravan fridge. Except perhaps the caravan itself. So how do you know you’re making the right choice? It can be as simple as looking at the brand.
My Generator has tested caravan fridges for years (on our own adventures, as well as for our business) and during that time we’ve tried out a lot of well-designed, robust models. We could give you a rundown of all the fridges and their features. But if we had to tell you one of the key secrets to determining the right 12V caravan fridge for you, we’d say look at the brand first.
Here, our experts reveal the 12V caravan fridge brands that reign supreme:
Best Upright Compressor 12V Caravan Fridge Brands
There’s something very special about a global brand that designs products and some of their componentry especially for the Australian market. And that’s why we love Dometic. Unlike most brands who use a universal compressor, Dometic has built a compressor with the Aussie environment in mind. We’re talking about world-leading technology that is extremely efficient. For extra peace of mind, the company also offers a two-year warranty with its upright fridges.
Additional nice touches include their LED interior touch controls, reversible door hinges, and for their smaller models, you can remove the freezer compartment all together so the unit can run entirely as a freezer.
Dometic Delivery Times:
Need one last selling point? The following Dometic compressor fridges will be dispatched one day from order:
- Dometic CoolMatic CRX50 Fridge & Freezer 45L
- Dometic CoolMatic CRX65 Fridge & Freezer 57L
- Dometic CoolMatic CRX80 Fridge & Freezer 78L
- Dometic CoolMatic CRX110 Fridge & Freezer 108L
- Dometic CoolMatic CRX140 Fridge & Freezer 135L
Bushman offer both portable camping fridge and 12V upright fridges. These 12/24V fridges range from 50 litres right up to 285 litres!
These fridges feature a low power design and are run by a Secop Danfoss compressor. Some options that Bushman offer include the Bushman DC85X 12/24v Upright Fridge/Freezer 85L and Bushman DC130X 12/24V Upright Fridge/Freezer 130L.
On paper, you might say this brand is an outsider. After all, their fridges are made in Italy – what could they know about the Australian conditions? A lot, as it happens. Vitrifrigo fridges are especially good for marine exposure as well as RV’s. They come with a built-in compressor and air-front operated lock so the door stays tightly sealed (this is a huge bonus on the road). Many of their models are stainless steel material, meaning you will pay a bit more for them.
You’re still covered if things go wrong too – Vitrifrigo Fridges are backed by the Camec national service agent and spare parts network.
If there’s one thing Engel knows it’s refrigeration! Their fridges are known to last due to their famous Sawafuji Swing Motor, which only has one moving part!
Their range starts at 40 litres and goes up to 95 litres. This caters to 4WD canopies, boats, smaller caravans and RV’s.
Engel is one of the few upright fridge manufactures that do a 95L complete freezer model and 95L complete fridge model. This is popular for marine customers who want to pair a 95L fridge and freezer next to each other. The remaining models are all fridge + freezer.
With a 3 year warranty, these fridges are well priced and trade off a powerful brand in the Australian market.
Evakool offers two upright compressor fridges: 95L and 110L. These models are 12/24V only.
Evakool’s best seller we can’t go without mentioning is their 40L drawer fridge. Boasts a massive 40L fridge space, and is the only drawer fridge on the market that can be run entirely as a freezer!
It features a removable tub for easy cleaning and comes standard with an Anderson plug for easy installation. Did we mention it is only 326mm high, making it the perfect fridge for your 4×4?!
This draw fridge also has a great average power consumption (stats measured at 32ºC over a 24 hour period):
- Set on 2ºC – 1.2 A/Hr
- Set on -16ºC – 2.4 A/Hr
Best Upright 3-Way Absorption 12V Caravan Fridge Brands
Dometic delivers everything you need in a 3-way fridge. Probably because they’re the ones who pioneered the absorption technology back in 1922. But that hasn’t stopped them from continuing to pack them with even more high-performance features. Like the Universal Energy Selection (UES), which means the refrigerator can be set to automatically select the best energy source available, maximising efficiency. However, manual switching is still available for those who prefer the old method. It doesn’t compromise on support either – Dometic fridges are of course backed by national service agent network.
If you want to run your caravan fridge on Gas, then a Dometic Absorption fridge is for you. Just note that whilst it can run on a 12/24v power source, it is only designed to do this whilst your vehicle is running. These absorption fridges are primarily designed to run on gas and can run for several weeks on a single 9kg gas bottle.
Thetford is the only other brand to measure up to Dometic in the 3-way market! Their absorption fridges are extremely popular in the Australian climate as they all are T Rated (tropical rating), meaning they are designed to work up to 43 degrees C! If you’re looking for a slim fridge to fit into your caravan or RV, then the Thetford N4141 138 Litre, 3 Way Slimline Fridge may be for you! The fridge is only 418mm wide compared to the normal 525mm! The fridge however still boasts more than 140L! Just like Dometic, Thetford fridges are also designed to run on gas, and all models have a 3-year warranty.
Best Portable 12V Caravan Fridge Brands
If you’re looking for a portable 12V caravan fridge that ticks all the boxes, Dometic has it covered. Dometic has the best all-rounders on the market. They’ve got all the details sorted, like built-in USB charging points or drop-down handles to create more space in your caravan or 4×4.
The latest Dometic CFX3 models even let your monitor the 12V caravan fridge remotely using your smartphone. They are also one of the few brands that have their own compressor running the fridge – and the famous Waeco compressor is built with the harsh Australian conditions in mind… many other caravan fridge brands use the same universal compressor from the likes of Secop (Danfoss). But Dometic are a market leader and their waeco compressor is designed for their fridges, so you get a nice synchronicity throught the design and operation of the whole fridge.
Even the best-laid adventures don’t always go to plan. So, in the event that something goes wrong, Dometic offers a 5-year warranty on their famous CFX3 models!
Aside from Seinfeld and Smells Like Teen Spirit, a few other good things came out of the 90’s. Evakool is one of them. It might have started small, but today this brand offers a humungous choice of 20-plus portable fridge models. And here’s the kicker – they’re awesome value for money.
The fibreglass models are worth a special mention. As Evakool’s premium offering, these 12V caravan fridges deliver exceptional insulation and performance, even in extreme heat. The fibreglass models reach low temperatures quicker than plastic cabinet fridges. They’re easy to clean and won’t absorb any smells – which makes them a good option for fishing trips. And camping, caravanning, 4WD trips…
The only downside? They’re a little bit more expensive and being fiberglass means that they are slightly easier to damage compared to the poly or metal cabinet fridges. If the fiberglass models are bit out of your budget, then check out the rest of Evakool’s portable fridge range – there are some great quality models at very reasonable prices.
Bushman offer the Original Bushman Portable Expandable Fridge 35L-52L. It features a powder-coated steel cabinet, heavy duty anchor points, steel slip hinges and you can also choose to run the fridge as a smaller 35-litre fridge for your shorter trips, 52-litres for longer trips, and 45 litres for any adventures in the middle.
myCOOLMAN is the new kid on the block! They launched in the market with a high end, heavy duty portable fridge freezer range. These start at 36L and go up to 105L. With a five year warranty, myCOOLMAN fridges have similar features without paying the full price tag.
Features of myCOOLMAN fridges include:
- Drop down handles
- Dual zone options available
- Bottle opener
- USB charging port
- Bluetooth app
- LED interior lighting
- Robust exterior construction
myCOOLMAN also manufacture a 15Ah portable power pack, which can be used to power their fridges while camping for a picnic or BBQ. Check out our myCOOLMAN bundles here.
If you’re looking for a brand that has been manufacturing fridges for more than fifty years, then look no further than Engel! These fridges are built tough – most of the range have a rugged steel construction and they all feature their famous Sawafuji Swing Motor. This motor only has one moving part which is the reasoning behind their longevity!
The Engel MT-V portable fridges are extremely popular with farmers, bush folk and campers due to their durability – they have a reputation to never die! All models come with a 5 year warranty and just like our other best brands, Engel is backed by a national service agent and spare parts support network.
What Should You NOT Choose?
Good question. While we can’t steer you away from specific brands, we can say this: always go for a 12V fridge brand that has a national service agent and spare parts support. Avoid no-name brands (like those on eBay), even if the price-tag is irresistibly low. They won’t be there for you if anything goes wrong, so you’ll end up paying more in the long run.
Check out our full range of market leading 12V caravan fridges HERE.
DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.