Buying a camping fridge can seem like a daunting task, they are not all the same, so many brands, confusing technical information.
How do you choose one?
It depends on how you plan to use your portable fridge. Camping, 4wdriving, fishing, or is it going to live in the shack for 2 months?
A thermoelectric fridge is more of a cooling box as it doesn't usually get cold as a fridge.
These work using the Peltier effect, which is the ability to create heating or cooling when electricity passes through two different conductors.
The “Peltier Effect” means that if you pass electricity through a special metal plate in a certain direction, you will make the plate hot, or if you pass it through in the opposite direction you will make it cold. A fan then blows air across the cold plate and into the box to cool it down.
Great for picnics and short road trips. Popular with courier and truck drivers to keep lunch and drinks cold.
Can be run on LPG gas, 12 volt and 240 volt power supplies. When used correctly, they are a very efficient and reliable.
A 3-way fridge uses an absorption method which is a fully sealed system that relies on heat to get it started. Water and ammonia are heated in a ‘generator' and rises to a ‘separator' where the water and the ammonia gas are separated. The gas rises to a ‘condenser' where it cools and forms liquid ammonia which mixes with hydrogen and evaporates, removing heat from the cabinet. The mixture then heads to an ‘absorber” where the ammonia mixes with water again and the cycle continues.
Extended stays at a shack or if you intend on setting up camp for long periods. Also suitable for 4wdrivers and as a caravan fridge.
These are the most popular camping fridge due to low current draw and high cooling efficiency.
I'll try and keep it simple – a compressor is used to pump refrigeration gas around the system. The gas is compressed to a liquid and sent to the cooling elements where it evaporates, removing heat from the cabinet. The gas then gets pumped through outer fins releasing the heat before returning to the compressor.
Camping, 4wdriving or an extra fridge/freezer at home, they will do it all.