RV Refrigerator Buyers Guide


Your refrigerator is the biggest and probably the most used appliance in your RV, therefore having the right refrigerator to fit your personal needs is a big must. There are a few different things you want to look at and be aware of when choosing your RV refrigerator. You will first need to choose what power source or sources you will be using. Some refrigerators come with built in ice makers, decide if this is important to you and you start to narrow your search from here. There are two main types of refrigerators available. You have the choice between powering your refrigerator using gas or electric. There are also combination models available that will give you a choice between one or more power sources. 

Gas or LP is a popular choice among RV’s as a way to power and cool their refrigerator. The one nice quality about a gas refrigerator is that there are no moving parts. A gas refrigerator uses ammonia as the coolant. Heat is produced by burning propane and this causes the ammonium to boil and eventually mix with hydrogen where both evaporate and separate from the water which is what creates the cool temperatures flowing through your refrigerator. A gas refrigerator is made up of 5 main parts: the generator, the separator, the condenser, the evaporator and the absorber. The combination of these parts working together creates a continuous cycle of ammonium flowing through your refrigerator keeping it cool and providing you with a way to keep your food cold. The most important thing to remember about a gas/lp refrigerator is that this process can only work if the unit stays level. A gas refrigerator is made to operate within the bounds of 3 degrees off level side-to-side and 6 degrees off level front-to-back. If this cannot be achieved at all times then a gas refrigerator might not be the right choice for you.

Another choice for powering your refrigerator is electricity. This can either be done through the use of an AC or DC power supply. An AC/DC refrigerator is a little less picky as far as environment as they are created to still function up to 30º out of level. The second nice thing about an AC/DC refrigerator is that they require very minimal ventilation which is a plus for tight or smaller travel trailers. On a DC model refrigerator you should connect the refrigerator directly to the battery. No other switches, lead wires, or electrical equipment should share the wiring between the refrigerator and battery. AC power is chosen as a default when the refrigerator is turned on, when or if there is no AC power available this is when your refrigerator will switch and draw power from your DC supply. When dry camping or when you are not plugged into shore power make sure to keep an eye on your battery level as your DC power is limited where as AC power would not be.

You can also have a combination of power supplies available for the same unit. Here are some common terms that you should be familiar with when searching for your refrigerator.

Gas Absorbtion - This unit will operate on LP gas as its power supply.
AC/DC - This unit can run on either AC or DC power depending on which is available.
2-Way- These units are designed to run on AC power or LP gas.
3-Way – These refrigerators can run on any AC, DC, or LP gas supply.

 Norcold Ultraline - 1210, 1210LRIM  Norcold N1095 - N1095R, N1095IMR  Norcold DE0061 - DE0061TR  Norcold DE0788 - DE0788B

Capacity is also a big factor in choosing the refrigerator that is right for you. If you are replacing a unit measure your cut out dimensions and this will help your choose a model that will work with your existing space. If you are adding a unit it is up to you to choose the size and space that your new refrigerator will occupy.


Norcold Portable MRFT-60

Another alternative option for those that have limited space or do not wish to permanently install a refrigerator is a portable unit. Portable units can save a lot of space if you have a pop-up or anther smaller trailer where there is not room for a large refrigerator. Some portable units can give you the same amount of storage space at a more affordable price. All portable units run on an AC or DC power supply making them not only useful in your camper but virtually anywhere a power source is available.

Norcold Portable MRFT-40

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