12v fridge recommendations

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DRAX

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I can't recommend the ICECO VL-series fridges enough, great products, great support, and great value for the money. They are solidly built, reliable, and are great in terms of efficiency. If the VL60D we had would've fit the fridge slide in the new trailer I would've kept it. I can't say much about the other ICECO lines, but I'd put the VL-series up against the top-dollar products any day.
 

pcstockton

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I am in the market too, have heard good things about IceCo. I like the VL45. $559. They use the same compressor as the big name brands allegedly. I am SOOOO ready to be done with ice and soggy wet packaging. Might have to pull the trigger before the summer season rolls in
Dometic does not use Danfoss/Secop compressors. Many people incorrectly think that ARB and Dometic use them.

Dometic uses their own compressors. VMSO3 variable speed compressor.

Also, there are no cold/warm zones in the fridge. Many fridges are much colder at the bottom than the top.

You get what you pay for and there is no free lunch in this world.
 
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DRAX

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Many fridges are much colder at the bottom than the top.
Not many, all. Unless there is active circulation like some residential fridges have, it will always be colder at the bottom. That's just physics.
 
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Bulldogz71

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I can't recommend the ICECO VL-series fridges enough, great products, great support, and great value for the money. They are solidly built, reliable, and are great in terms of efficiency. If the VL60D we had would've fit the fridge slide in the new trailer I would've kept it. I can't say much about the other ICECO lines, but I'd put the VL-series up against the top-dollar products any day.
I second the ICECO brand. I have a VL75 single lid and it’s been great! Hasn’t let me down yet!
 

caj13

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Dometic does not use Danfoss/Secop compressors. Many people incorrectly think that ARB and Dometic use them.

Dometic uses their own compressors. VMSO3 variable speed compressor.

Also, there are no cold/warm zones in the fridge. Many fridges are much colder at the bottom than the top.

You get what you pay for and there is no free lunch in this world.
can you give me a reference to the Danfoss compressors. everything I can find on the internet says danfoss/ seacop - same thing - used by dometic, so i'm assuming you must have better sources?
as for much colder at the bottom - that's absolutely correct in a large box - but a small 20WQt box - I'm not so sure there is a big difference.

paying for good equipment - no problem, but paying for a brand name - when the research im seeing says - yeah its good - and these others are as good - well thats when i look at the cost savings!
 

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I have a small Engle we use as a freezer and a 64qt ARB. The Engle is 8 years old and running flawlessly. The ARB is in its 3rd season. Both draw very low AHs. Both will last a very long time. If budget is not an issue there are better ones out there that draw even less AHs, such as Snomaster or National Luna but those are luxury liners. Dometics? I’m not sold on them. I’m not sold on the knock off brands either, not until I see reports that they still work like new 10-15 years out. I know guys with engles and arbs that are that old. Just my opinion, not even worth 2cents! LOL
 
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JTLambert

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hi everyone. I just completed a 14 overlanding trip with my 4 year old daughter in Saskatchewan and Alberta. We visited Antelope lake regional park near Gull Lake SK, Drumheller AB, Oldman River north of Coleman AB, Medicine Hat AB, Cypress Hills Provincial Park and finally Pine Cree near Eastend Sk. I used a regular Coleman cooler on the trip using frozen water bottles and then bagged ice as needed. I prefer to go to remote places where ice isn't always available and I'm tired of everything floating in water. I've decided to upgrade to a 12v fridge/freezer. I am planning on also getting a solar panel to help keep my battery charged. I do run a dual battery set up in my jeep. I'm wondering if anyone has recommendations on a good brand of fridge/freezer. I would prefer a dual zone model as opposed to just fridge or freezer. Budget is always a concern but I'm willing to spend money on something that will last years to come. Thank you for the help
Hello Dave,
i don't have any experience with fridge freezers yet, but I just did some research and purchased the Alpicool CF55 from amazon. It is a single zone fridge OR freezer and was $319. It got pretty good reviews on Amazon and most of the youtube videos I watched. Alpicool CF55

Hope this helps
 

DRAX

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can you give me a reference to the Danfoss compressors. everything I can find on the internet says danfoss/ seacop - same thing - used by dometic, so i'm assuming you must have better sources?
as for much colder at the bottom - that's absolutely correct in a large box - but a small 20WQt box - I'm not so sure there is a big difference.

paying for good equipment - no problem, but paying for a brand name - when the research im seeing says - yeah its good - and these others are as good - well thats when i look at the cost savings!
Danfoss -> SECOP, prior to 2008 it was Danfoss, then SECOP acquired Danfoss Compressors. That's why you see references to Danfoss/SECOP, some may recognize the Danfoss name but not SECOP.

The VMSO3 compressor is made in-house by Dometic, it's not the same thing as or a rebranded Danfoss/SECOP. Prior to Dometic making compressors in-house for the portable fridges they did use Danfoss/SECOP compressors. The VMSO3 compressors are supposed to be even more energy efficient than the Danfoss/SECOP units, but I don't have any actual data comparing the two. Supposedly, Dometic's goal with the VMSO3 compressor was to only draw 1Ah. Not sure how close they are to that.
 
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B Miller

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Here's a photo and short video of what I use. The Dometic 35 powered off a power station. Just returned from a 2500 mile road trip and it worked great. Love this thing!

F2.jpg
 
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pcstockton

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can you give me a reference to the Danfoss compressors. everything I can find on the internet says danfoss/ seacop - same thing - used by dometic, so i'm assuming you must have better sources?
as for much colder at the bottom - that's absolutely correct in a large box - but a small 20WQt box - I'm not so sure there is a big difference.

paying for good equipment - no problem, but paying for a brand name - when the research im seeing says - yeah its good - and these others are as good - well thats when i look at the cost savings!
Firstly, there are MANY product lines and types of Dometic fridges/freezers. Maybe some of the RV/truck/drawer fridges use a Danfoss. The CFX3 line is the model that most overlanders use. It uses an in-house developed compressor as I noted above.

-P
 

pcstockton

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Danfoss -> SECOP, prior to 2008 it was Danfoss, then SECOP acquired Danfoss Compressors. That's why you see references to Danfoss/SECOP, some may recognize the Danfoss name but not SECOP.

The VMSO3 compressor is made in-house by Dometic, it's not the same thing as or a rebranded Danfoss/SECOP. Prior to Dometic making compressors in-house for the portable fridges they did use Danfoss/SECOP compressors. The VMSO3 compressors are supposed to be even more energy efficient than the Danfoss/SECOP units, but I don't have any actual data comparing the two. Supposedly, Dometic's goal with the VMSO3 compressor was to only draw 1Ah. Not sure how close they are to that.
In years I have run it, i never had it run over 1AH. Even in the summer.
 
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cyrus799

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This Dometic refrigerator is a great alternative to classic ice chest coolers, especially in tiny RVs. When it comes to effective and portable freezers for long-distance excursions, it's a game-changer. The tiny design can sustain a frigid temperature of -7 degrees Fahrenheit, which is colder than most typical mini-fridges.
 
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Walkers

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FWIW, I just spent the weekend with my new Massimo 40qt from Costco at $270. It worked very well. I ran it off my home brew power station all weekend. I charged the battery once for an hour because it was convenient, not sure if it really would have needed it. I kept it at 38* all weekend.
 

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Interesting observation I’ve made. Go to any other overlanding forums and the advice given for fridge freezers is completely different than here on these forums. Fridge freezer selection is all about quality of build, reputation and amp draw. That only leaves 5 or 6 brands that are worthy of extended use in the rough and tumble world of overlanding.
 
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John and Mandi

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We've run our Engel 40qt continuously for over 7 years, the only exception was when we were shipping the van. We chose Engel due to how we were installing it, a requirement was to be able to fully open it and remove the basket. At the time it was the only unit in its size that opened from the long side and not the short side. Anyway, we have been very happy with ours. What really has us sold is it jumped out of the slide mount on a very bad road in the Peruvian Andes and slammed into some opposing aluminum boxes. When we were able to get it all back in place it turned on and it hummed along like nothing ever happened. We'd love to fit a fridge/freezer combo but in our current configuration we just don't have the space. Just thought we'd share.
 

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You should check out ICECO VL series fridges. Dual zones are available or you can decide to go freezer or fridge. They use the SECOP compressor also used by ARB and Dometic. They offer a 5 year warranty on the compressor, free shipping, and way cheaper than the expensive brands.
 

Bob Berryhill

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I went with the Alpicool 16 quart fridge (Amazon.com: Alpicool C15 Portable Refrigerator 16 Quart(15 Liter) Vehicle, Car, Truck, RV, Boat, Mini Fridge Freezer for Driving, Travel, Fishing, Outdoor -12/24V DC : Home & Kitchen ) for $219. My wife and I have been from Alabama to California the last few weeks. It has held up well (100 degrees plus going through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Cali) in the slide out cabinet I built for it. We keep it about 39-41 degrees most of the time. I run it off the Jeep battery and so far no issues. I plan to add some ventilation holes in the cabinet because it does get warm in there in these temps. We are able to keep 4-6 beers, a few diet cokes, a liter of water, lunch meat, mayo / mustard, sausage, 1/2 dozen eggs etc. Bigger would be better but with a little planning and juggling we are happy with this budget friendly fridge.
 
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I used 2 fridges. I have a Snomaster traveler 35l - the cheapest in the lineup. As opposed to its bigger more expensive brothers, this one is made out of plastic and with thinner insulation. The fuse holder gave up second trip, I took it apart and rigged an inline fuse. That was sorted and it held, no issues after. The problem was that because of the thinner insulation, it was running a lot,. On top of it, back than I had an AGM with a simple VSR, so the battery was never full.

I saw on offer an engel 40 l, it was a really good price during the COVID lockdown , and I took it, and also installed a redarc DC to DC . The combination of lower amps and the better battery charge was like night and day, now the battery actually became overkill, so I was able to get something a lot lighter and smaller.
I still have the Snomaster in my house, it is running non stop for some years now.
My point is : if you lack space and weight is problem, a more advanced fridge allows you to go with a smaller auxiliary battery, or even no extra battery and just a solar panel to top off the starter one.
 

John and Mandi

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I`m wondering that here so many people are using fridges above 30l size.

I did travel 75`000 miles with an Engel 15l Fridge, often with 2 travellers. In our fridge is just: Butter, ham, bacon, salmon, steaks, fish, milk beer, chocolate.

Weight and used size in the vehicle is always an issue.

Everything else like eggs, tomato, potatoes, onions and other vegetables like chicory or garlic can easily be carryed withoud the coldness. Yes it has to be safely stored too, but with less weight. You find even Salami who doesnt need to be cooled, at least you dont start to use it.

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We’ve done a lot of miles as well and the advice about how most items don’t need refrigeration is spot on. Even store bought eggs in the US that are refrigerated can be stored outside the fridge for a long time (crack each one in a separate bowl to check them if concerned). We do have an Engle 40 but we can pack 2 weeks of food to get way out in the bush, we rarely eat non-perishables. We always have non-refrigerated salamis as emergency food. We would love to have a freezer…we’re getting soft.
 

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I had a smaller single zone Costco I think to begin with but then upgraded to the Ironman 4x4 Icecube 65 Quart dual zone and love it, works great and doesn't seem to pull to much juice. It has a maximum and minimum setting which is cool. I run it on max while the truck is running and then set it at minimum when parked and the truck isn't running. I have a 138ah Lithium battery that will run the fridge for 3 days no problems. With a Redarc DC to DC charger and 100W Solare panel I can pretty much keep the fridge running for as long as I want. This isn't a plastic fridge either, has a strong steel outer shell.

IceCube Fridge/Freezer 65L (68Quarts) - Dual-Zone | Twin Compartment