Are you on the lookout for the best marine refrigerator? Whether you are off for a road trip, water cruising or heading for camping having a portable marine refrigerator that can function similarly like the kitchen fridge is very handy. Aside from preserving the desired cool temperature of your chilled food items the marine refrigerator will surely make eating and drinking more pleasurable even when outdoor. I have personally prepared this product review on marine refrigerators to help you pick the best from these listed top ten portable refrigerators. Take time reading each product review, so that you will be properly guided during your buying process.
Table of Contents
Best Marine Refrigerator Reviews in 2021
1. Alpicool C20 Portable Refrigerator 21 Quart
This portable fridge has the control panel at the top part including the buttons. You will find the up and down arrows used for setting the desired temperature situated at the left. This unit’s temperature can be set up to -4 degrees F.
It has also a digital display that indicates the current temperature setting. The on/off buttons are located at the right. This 20-liter capacity fridge can only hold 25 cans of drinks. For me, this is quite small when compared with other models out in the market. So, if you planning to bring the entire family for a long weekend getaway like camping, you may not be able to bring enough food and drinks.
This fridge is powered by DC and AC cords and both are included for customer’s convenience. It can also be used at home as your additional storage, either at the kitchen, living room or inside the bedroom. It a versatile cooling device that you can place any corner of the house and have immediate access to a cool drink while watching tv or playing video games.
When it comes to portability this fridge can be perfectly fit inside the car, RVs and boats. The cooling performance can reach up to -4 degrees F.
Other features that make this product a good candidate for potential buyers are the density foam insulation, decent construction and lightweight.
If you want a low-cost fridge for your planned travels, this meets your requirement because it is affordable, energy efficient, designed for safe operation and vibration-resistant.
2. Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart
The Whynter fridge has 45-quart capacity. I love this particular product because the exterior part is made of metal, giving it a sturdy look. It would be a great traveling companion both for any outdoor or water activity because it has multi-function, both as a fridge and freezer. So, if you prefer to invest in a boat freezer this product will definitely perform efficiently with its adjustable temperature between -6degrees F to 50 degrees F.
The shape of this marine cooler is rectangular, which can be mistaken for a storage box. The control panel is located under the handle, making it quite hard to distinguish on initial glance. It has two stainless steel handles, better than the old models that only come with plastic handles.
Operation of the control panel for setting the desired temperature is done by up and down arrows. You will determine if the preferred temperature is met via the LED digital display found on the left.
If you are going to ask, “Where are the AC and DC port located?”. Well, it is also situated under the control panel. The length of the AC cord is 8 feet long while the DC cord is 5 feet. Inclusive in this portable fridge are two removable wire baskets that you can take out any time you wish.
You may also discover a hole at the bottom part intended for drainage when cleaning the inside of the fridge.
Another excellent feature of this product which I like most is the insulation. It has insulation in lids and walls, allowing you to cool food and beverages in just a few hours.
3. Costway 54 Quart Portable Refrigerator/Freezer
Whether you want a sailboat freezer or sailboat refrigerator the Costway 54-quart is my best option. Why? It can function both as a portable fridge and at the same time a sail boat freezer.
This product measures 27 x 13.5 x 21 inches. Its lid is designed to open on either left or right side. You will also find a chain connected to the bod and lid.
The control panel is located at the top part of the handles and has LED light indicator to tell it is turned “ON”. The temperature can be set with the up and down arrows and range from 4 degrees F to 50 degrees F, which is why it can function as a fridge or freezer.
The LED light indicator will display a green color to indicate the current temperature. The mode setting has two options, the ECO mode and the MAX mode. I suggest you set it under the ECO mode to save on power. However, if you want faster cooling performance, choose the MAX mode.
One of the unique features of this particular portable marine refrigerator is battery protection. It has three levels of setting; Low, Medium and High. So, if you want to preserve your vehicle’s battery, select the appropriate battery power setting. It will automatically shut off upon reaching the desired setting. How does this battery protection feature work? For example, if you want a high setting the fridge will automatically turn off while the vehicle’s battery has enough power. I do recommend to any first-time owner of this product to avoid setting it under the LOW level because the fridge will drain the battery’s power.
This product comes with two compartments inside. The bigger compartment has a removable basket. You will find a divider in the middle part, giving you the privilege to separate food and drinks. The small compartment is ideal for storing fruits and veggies.
4. Engel AC/DC Portable Tri-Voltage 40-quart
Next on my list is the Engel Portable Tri-Voltage that weighs 48 pounds and has 40-quart capacity. The measurement of this marine fridge is 25 x 15.5 x 18.5 inches. This fridge is very colorful. The topmost part is red, the lid is grey while the body is light grey. I do like the color combination.
The shell covering is made from ABS plastic material, rated to be extremely durable and corrosion resistant. If you are looking for a long-term portable fridge this product is the best. The big handles of Engel can be carried with ease, even with a weight of 48 pounds. Rest assured that two people can perfectly carry it both without difficulty.
One distinct feature of this portable fridge is the 4 reinforced corners. They serve as added protection against accidental drops. The lid boasts of two locks, assuring the owner of a tight seal. What does this mean? Well, if you are bringing a pet you have peace of mind that it would not succeed in opening the lid.
If you want a dual-purpose fridge for any outdoor activity, this cool marine refrigerator would make an excellent cooling partner.
This fridge operates only with one control dial. When adjusting the temperature, you need to make sure the power indicator lights first. For colder temperature setting, simply rotate the control dial in the right direction. Inclusive in the fridge are the AC and DC cords for your convenience.
As for the handles you need to install them. You just need to follow the instruction stated on the product’s manual.
The best deal this marine fridge has to offer is its 3 years warranty coverage. This is why this product has been a top favorite because of its long life span. What is only lacking with this model is the innovative features like digital control panel and low voltage shut-off system.
5. Ausranvik 26-Quart Portable Fridge
I am truly impressed when it comes to having the most efficient marine refrigeration is the Ausranvik 26-Quart. It is designed to fit on boats, travel trailers, campers including houses. The built is compact, making it easy to transport anywhere.
Another innovative feature that this portable fridge or freezer has is the touch control panel, LED display and small battery protection. All you need is select from the available temperature settings your desired temperature. The temperature ranges from -4 degrees F to 68 degrees F. Similar to the Costway this product comes with battery protection and allows you to set the level on battery power usage to low, medium and high.
It also has a drain plug, making it convenient to clean the interior, AC and DC cords. I did find the insulation to be superb due to its 1.4” thickness. You can even leave it disconnected from the power source and the stored food and drinks will remain chilled or frozen for at least ten hours.
Other features that set this particular model of marine refrigerator apart from others is the availability of USB port on the control panel. This is indeed a cool addition to charge your mobile phone or other electrical devices.
The drawback I discovered on this product is the smaller section is not as cold when compared with the main section. So, if you prefer some foodstuff to stay chilled and not frozen, better store them inside the smaller section.
6. Portable Refrigerator 42 Quart – Ezzicool
The next portable marine fridge I did manage to review is the Ezzicool 42 Quart. It possesses the features anyone is looking for a portable fridge such as frost-free cooler, compatible to both 110 volt and 12 volts power cord, 3 level battery protection, accurate temperature control, and LCD display panel. It also has a shock-proof design, meaning it can withstand any harsh condition.
This portable refrigerator is ideal for home and outdoor use. It is subdivided into two compartments, one for storing chilled drinks while the other compartment is intended for frozen food items. I think this is a cool feature because it allows you to separate accordingly your food and drinks.
If you are searching for a portable fridge that has a dual purpose, both for home and outdoor the Ezicool 42 Quart should be yours. With its micro size you can easily fit and plug it inside your car.
7. EdgeStar CRF150SS-1 1.1 Cu. Ft.
In case you prefer the smallest portable fridge, then, I must say the EdgeStar fits this specific requirement. The actual size of this model is 1.1 cu. ft. and can be used as a fridge or freezer. Its physical appearance represents a modern look with its black cabinet, stainless steel door with stain resistant feature and impressive thermostatic control.
If you will use it solely as a freezer, it can deliver the highest level of freezing up to 0 degrees F, which is a rare feature that you will not find oh other models of the same category. This fridge would be a suitable fridge for offices, houses with tight space kitchens, gaming rooms including dorms.
This product is recognized as among the best depth counter fridges. Why? First of all, its material made of from stainless steel, known for durability. Second, storing food is made easy because you can set the desired temperature based on your cooling or freezing requirements. Third, this product comes with a reversible door, making it a perfect fridge for any small space. Lastly, among the highlighted features of this miniature fridge is the energy saving capacity.
8. Dometic CFX 50W
Dometic CFX has been proven to be a highly dependable portable cooler for many years, ensuring owners of efficient cooling in most of their outdoor adventures. In fact, it was even won the Editor’s Choice award for being a powerful cooler that has everything from accurate temperature control, consistent energy usage, easy to operate and portable.
What do I love about this product? Well, based on my personal experience this is the quietest cooler I found in the market. It also has battery protection mode, giving you peace of mind that your vehicle’s battery will not drain.
The drawbacks for this particular model are the short cords, plus its expensive price. If you plan on using the Dometic 50W for home use, you have to find ways on how to work it out on short cords. As for the price, you need to spend more. However, if you will weigh the pros including features this product has to offer, it is all worth your money.
I did find the Domestic impressive with its tough built, proven top cooling performance and amazing features. So, if you want a cooling gear that will be there for all your adventures on road and on water, this model is the right one for you.
9. Norcold Nr751Bb Dc Refer 2.7 Cu. Ft.
The Norcold is truly an awesome model because it has a universal voltage, meaning it can be operated via a 12 or 24 volt. This type of marine refrigerator allows you to store more food products. It is equipped with a Danfoss BD35 compressor, a type of compressor that can deliver higher temperatures. So, even if the present temperature in the area hits 90 degrees F the stored items remain frozen at 10 degrees F and the fridge section retains the freshness at 33.5 degrees F.
Among the standout features that this particular model showcase to potential buyers is a flush-mount capability, positive center locking latch, Blue LED interior light for the night.
10. Isotherm Cruise 130 Classic
Isotherm Cruise 130 is perfect for owners of caravans and RVs and those individuals that love to do various marine applications. This portable fridge unit is powered by 12v or 24v DC.
Overall look I love it because this fridge has a small compartment that serves as an icebox, three adjustable shelves and a vegetable bin at the bottom part.
The operation comes straight from a 12v or 24v battery system. It is also equipped with interior lighting. As for the compressor, I must say it just a standard fan-cooled compressor. This model’s fridge section is 122 liters whereas the ice box has 6 liters capacity.
The Cruise 130 Classic can provide additional storage space for cold drinks including refrigerated stuff if the freezer compartment is removed. I also find the adjustable shelves to come pretty useful for keeping various sizes of bottles and jars in a secured upright position. The air circulating fan of this portable fridge allows cold air to circulate evenly all throughout the shelves.
If you want a frost-free model of portable fridge this product is my best bet.
What to Look for When Buying a Marine Refrigerator
Now that you are completely aware of the different models of marine refrigerators sold in the market, let’s go over the factors that will guide you in the selection. Remember, many styles, sizes and features are present in each model and the final decision on which to buy can be challenging. Be sure to read this part carefully, so you will get a model that answers to all your needs.
- Top door vs. side door 12v fridge
If your concern is to save on energy usage, then, this factor is a major consideration while shopping around for a marine fridge, top door or side door fridge. A top door has the capacity to retain the cold air more than a side door. Besides, cold air stays at the end part of a top door fridge.
However, if you prefer a portable fridge that can fit nicely inside a van, I recommend choosing a side door model. Why? It gives you easy access to food and drinks than the top-door design. Just a piece of advice, you will have to consider the availability of area to close and open the side door fridge.
- The space of the fridge really counts
Yes, the size really counts when making a selection from different models of marine refrigerators. It is crucial that you get an accurate measure of the preferred spot inside your vehicle as well as the amount of stuff you need to store. Size plays an important role in decision making so that you will invest in a fridge that will run efficiently.
- Compressor type
Portable refrigerators come with various compressors. This is why I suggest to all prospective buyers to look closely on the compressor type of the unit you want. If you will ask my opinion, I recommend going for a portable fridge with 12 volts or Danfoss compressor. This type of compressor has been tested to perform excellently in the industry because it has built-n speed control, thermostat indicator, thermal protection and switch off feature to prevent battery damage.
- Power draw
Another factor that will help you determine which among the portable refrigerators is the best one for you is the amount of power it draws from the external battery. Power draw can be either solar or connected to your vehicle’s battery. If you worry of damaging your vehicle’s alternator, then, opt for a solar-powered fridge.
The other option is the fridge being connected to the battery while driving. Here, you can use either a portable solar panel, battery combination or generator to ensure the fridge keeps going even when you stopped for your final destination like a camping site.
According to a pioneer manufacturer of portable refrigerators, the new models of cars can opt for the 12volt fridge because it automatically shuts off the moment it detects low voltage.
Remember, not all portable refrigerators with two compartments that serve both fridge and freezer can operate with a 12 voltage. The final say still depends on your specific needs, whether you will go for a 12volt fridge or single zone.
- Travel needs
As I have mentioned different models are available on the market and finding the best marine fridge that matches your needs should be a priority. Ask yourself, “Would you prefer a permanent fixture on your boat or vehicle? Or, perhaps you want a model that has multi-purpose. I strongly advice you sit down and list your travel needs, both for land or open water. I am sure you will find a model that can have various applications such as home and outdoor use. So, factor in your traveling needs when deciding on the model.
- Warranty coverage
Yes, this is also an important factor when making a selection from a long list of models, the warranty coverage. Why? Buying a marine fridge is a major expense and getting the best deal is a must. I think finding a model that offers more than a year coverage is a wise investment. Read carefully the terms and conditions applicable to warranty coverage such as repair or replacement.
- The time you will spend on your boat
Among the other concerns that will impact your final decision on which type of marine fridge to buy is the time spent on a boat. If you only have short trips, then, a smaller unit is advisable. However, be aware that you will have little space for storage or have to sacrifice on a model with no freezer.
If you plan to travel for longer trips such as overnight camping the best marine fridge is a bigger size because it will have enough storage space, both for chilled and frozen items. Consider the marine cold plate refrigeration of the product for efficient output.
- Power source
This is another vital element that should be considered when making a selection on various models of the power source. Can it be powered through your car’s power outlet? The more options for power source the better.
- Features that will enhance your usage
Lastly, this is very important regardless of the type or brand you will choose for your portable fridge, the features. The more features a marine fridge has the higher the satisfaction it can give to the user. Among the top features that will assure enhanced usage includes locking doors, separate compartments, LED light display, durable exterior, adjustable shelves, dependable insulation system, shock-proof or noise free compressor. All these features will count when deciding on which model or brand to buy.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is a Marine Refrigerator?
A marine refrigerator is an enclosed box with insulated walls. This device is mainly used to store chilled food and drinks. The marine refrigerators come in different styles and features, but all are equipped with insulation.
How does it work?
The marine fridge is a special kind of refrigerator designed to fit in vehicles like cars, campers, trailers, trucks including boats. They are mainly used for outdoor activities both on land and open water. It can also be found at homes as extra storage for food and drinks.
The function of a marine refrigerator is similar to the standard fridge we have in the kitchen area. The difference is its compact built. It can be powered by LP, propane or AC/DC depending on the model bought and availability of power source.
What are the different types of marine refrigerators?
There are three types of marine refrigerators based on compressors:
- These portable refrigerators visual appearance is similar to compressor refrigerators, but cost less. Price plays an important element if you want a top performing compressor fridge.
- If compared with the compressor type of fridge performance the thermoelectric is less efficient.
- Thermoelectric fridge is not temperature controlled, but, uses air from the outside to determine interior temperature. The cooling capacity range from 36-40 degrees.
- These types of portable refrigerators are suitable for road trips.
- The standard absorption refrigerator is powered by three power sources; the gas, AC or DC cords. The most efficient is powered by gas.
- Cooling capacity is 30 degrees below and no controlled temperature.
- For an absorption fridge to work efficiently it should be completely level.
- They draw more of power source than the compressor refrigerators.
- You can see this type of marine refrigerator in RVs.
- The actual size resembles the college mini-fridge.
- This is the coldest type of portable fridge you will find in the market.
- Draws less power than the absorption fridge, but more on a thermoelectric model.
- Runs with the same compressor type used for standard refrigerators used at home.
- Temperature is controlled both for the fridge and freezer.
- Come in different sizes, but generally compact.
- A bit expensive than the thermoelectric and absorption refrigerators.
Why do you need a marine fridge?
There are many reasons why anyone would benefit most from the purchase of a marine refrigerator. Since its physical built is smaller than your kitchen fridge, it can fit inside a vehicle. Below are some of the reasons that will convince you to invest in a marine refrigerator:
Yes, this is one of the biggest reasons why marine refrigerators have a huge demand in the market. It has many applications both for land and open water. You will find a marine fridge being used on boats, camping sites, fishing trips including trucks heading for long-distance travel.
When it comes to portability the marine refrigerator is an excellent model because its design and size allow anyone to move and transport it from one location to another. A lot convenient transporting it than the standard kitchen fridge.
- Easy to operate and use
Another reason why many favor the marine refrigerator is due to its easy operation and usage. Just like your standard fridge at home you will also have to set the controls settings available for temperature as well as other features.
- Tough built structure
Most of the marine refrigerators sold in the market are made from heavy-duty materials. Rest assured that this unit can withstand rough roads or extreme weather conditions.
Since it comes in a miniature size the marine refrigerator is considered to be very convenient to use because it has the capacity to retain the desired temperature for chilled drinks and frozen food products.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted marine refrigerator brands?
The brand name of a marine refrigerator can affect a potential buyer’s decision making. Apart from the pricing, buyers will rely heavily on the brand’s track record in the industry as well as ratings shared by satisfied customers. It is also important to check the marine refrigeration system of the product.
If you are going to ask my recommendation on the trusted brand, I suggest you do personal research online, read reviews or visit forum sites that have a discussion on which brand to trust when planning to buy a marine refrigerator. Your final choice really depends on you alone based on the information and surveys you gathered from each brand
Here are 10 best marine refrigerator brands in the market:
What size marine fridge do I need?
Your size preference may depend on your specific storage need for food and drinks, where you will place it, availability of space and budget. If you intend to use it only for short-distance trips a small marine fridge will do. However, if you plan to spend a two-day camping trip with the whole family or friends, then, go for a bigger model of marine fridge. This is why it is crucial you assess first your needs before determining which size of the marine fridge would suit you best.
What boat refrigerator accessories should I buy?
Here are some important accessories you can buy in protecting and securing your boat refrigerator.
- Refrigerator transit bag
- Fridge slides panel
- Refrigerator Tie-Down panel
How to install a boat fridge?
Installation of a boat fridge is quite simple. All you need to do is connect the unit with the available AC or DC power or whatever is available. Some models are built to work efficiently with solar power or off-grid application. You can do the installation alone with the assistance of an expert.
How to use?
If you plan to invest on a 12v refrigerator the operation is a lot easier. It is similar to the operation of a standard fridge at home. Just like the kitchen fridge, it has adjustable temperature control settings that you can set based on your cooling or freezing needs.
How to care and clean?
Each model of the sailboat refrigerator may have specific care and cleaning requirements. Be sure to read thoroughly the manufacturer’s manual. On the other hand, some models have very straightforward cleaning instructions such as draining the inside and using normal dishwashing liquid to clean the interior and exterior.
What is the warranty?
Warranty coverage may vary from one manufacturer to another. You may find a cheaper model to offer only 1-year warranty and has limitations of coverage such as parts replacement only. Of course, you will find a price brand of the marine fridge to offer 3 years warranty.
Danfoss compressors are known to offer the best warranty coverage. They also have a good reputation in producing top performing portable refrigerators.
Where to buy?
Purchase of a marine fridge can be done right in the comforts of your home via a reputable shopping site like Amazon. Be sure to browse carefully on the categories provided by this online shop to help find the right product. For you to locate the most efficient marine refrigeration, only make this purchase on a legitimate online shopping site with a proven track record of selling trusted brands.
The above review is intended to educate you about everything you need to know about marine refrigerators, uses, pros and cons. I do hope you did realize that there are many factors that will affect your decision making. If at this stage you have set your mind to invest only on the best marine refrigerator, do not think twice of reading this review again. You might have missed something important and reading it for the second round will direct you to the right brand and model.
I am Dave, Marine Talk’s content creator. Boating experiences matter when planning a boat trip for your family or going by yourself. Therefore, I am here to tackle all things relevant to boating so even the inexperienced ones can start their boating safely.