How to choose a fridge for your motorhome

A van conversion with the door open, exposing a fridge

If you’re kitting out a motorhome, caravan or campervan, or updating an existing one, there are lots of decisions to be made. Among them are choosing a fridge and like most pieces of leisure vehicle equipment, there are lots of things to take into consideration.

As well as being compact enough for the space, but with sufficient capacity for your needs, there’s also power consumption to consider. How you’re planning on using your motorhome will have an impact on the choice you make.

If you’re a family who always pitches up at a campsite or holiday park, where electric hookup is readily available, you’ll choose something different to a couple who like going off-grid. Everyone uses their leisure vehicle in their own way.

We spoke to Chris Feibusch, marketing director at Penguin Refrigeration, to get the lowdown on keeping things cool in your leisure vehicle. He believes the efficiency of modern compressor fridges, combined with advances in solar and battery technology, make true off-grid operation both achievable and affordable.

Mr Feibusch told CaravanTimes: “Around the world, smaller campervans have all but moved away from the old three-way technology. This is due to the various downsides including complicated installation and excessive power consumption.

“Today, the shift towards compressor refrigeration is gathering momentum in the larger motorhome sector, particularly in the movement to reduce reliance on gas, and ultimately, removing it altogether.”

A compressor fridge only needs to be wired into the 12V circuit and will function much more
efficiently than a three-way fridge when running on electricity. For a medium-sized fridge, you can expect an average consumption of 1Ah, or even less in some cases.

There also isn’t a need for ventilation to the outside with compressor refrigeration, meaning you won’t be required to cut holes into the side of your leisure vehicle during installation.

When considering a fridge purchase for your motorhome or caravan, as with any product, there are varying degrees of quality in the market. The price point is usually a good indicator of where you are on that scale.

Mr Feibusch said: “The old adage of ‘buy cheap buy twice’ applies here. Vitrifrigo fridges, for example, feature aluminium finned condensers, which are more expensive to manufacture than steel alternatives, used by other manufacturers. Aluminium condensers are the best for heat dissipation, which translates into market-leading efficiency.”

Penguin Refrigeration will be launching new products in its Vitrifrigo range in 2024. They promise to offer game-changing technology for even greater efficiency and weight savings.