Including a refrigerator in your RV setup adds so many opportunities to your camping trip. But past these opportunities, you need to understand which kind of refrigerator is best for you and your RV. If 12V or propane fridges aren't your choice, then maybe 110V RV refrigerators are more your style.
110V refrigerators are sometimes called residential refrigerators because they use a wall plug as your residential fridge does. Oftentimes, they are more powerful than other RV refrigerators, however, this power comes with a cost. 110V refrigerators use a compressor and freon to cool the unit, which is powerful and cools the interior quickly but the compromise is that they need an electrical power source at all times, preferably shore power. Your decision on what kind of refrigerator to get will depend on your RV's capabilities, size, and power availability as well as how you are wanting to use the refrigerator. Are you going to be on month-long trips that require quite a bit of food storage or are you just going on weekend getaways? Knowing what you want is key to finding what you need. To see if a residential or 110V refrigerator is for you, keep on reading.
Pros and Cons
So how does a 110V refrigerator compare to other RV refrigerator models? While there are many pros and cons, it all comes down to which capabilities and perks you are most interested in.
110V refrigerators generally come with more space inside due to the difference in the internal mechanisms. With this extra space, you don't need to take as many trips to the grocery store during your stay. Instead, you have enough room for your food, leftovers, and even a built-in ice maker. Vacations are meant for convenience and relaxation and this extra room can really impact that. They also tend to have an increased cooling capacity. It tends to be less impacted by environmental factors such as the level and the temperature of the environment. This creates a constant temperature range that keeps your food cool. It's more consistent in keeping your food cool and takes less time to cool down. It often requires less maintenance as well, which is a great perk. There are a few cons, though.
110V refrigerators require a bit of power. Because of the fact they run off of 110V power, they will require you to be plugged into shore power or to have a larger battery, generator, or solar power reserves available. This is completely possible and doable, but it is something to keep in mind when thinking about the kind of camping you will be doing. They also may be larger than 12V or propane fridges, which is a consideration for smaller or more restricted RVs. The increased interior space translates to a larger exterior space requirement as well and, though there are smaller options available, many 12V RV refrigerators have a larger footprint than the 12V fridges or propane gas fridges. If you are able to accommodate the size differences, these can be a really great option for you.
Tips and Considerations
Batteries: Because 110V refrigerators often run off of shore power, many people are worried about dry camping or power outages. While they are not able to run off of propane, they are able to be run off of a generator and battery power. Just keep in mind that they may require more power than a smaller unit. To adjust for this, take a look at your current generator and battery reserves and see how they measure up to the power requirements of your 110V fridge. You may need to increase the power and capacity of these units.
Space: Does your RV have enough space for it? Space considerations are always an issue, no matter what you are adding to your rig. For a refrigerator, you'll have to think not only about the size of the unit but about whether you need space for ventilation. You may need to make modifications to accommodate these measurements, however, RV-specific 110V fridges often have already considered this and have included this information in their manuals.
Size: Similar to the space it will require, keeping the size in mind for weight and installation ease is important. RVs and towable units have weight restrictions, which is something to remember when including anything new to your rig. Also, the size of your door frame may restrict what you can include in your rig. Take the measurements of your door and the measurements of your new appliance to see if you'll need to make other adjustments to get it into your rig.
Adding a refrigerator to your RV increases your storage capacity for food, keeps your items fresher, and can extend your vacation. Deciding which kind of fridge to get can be difficult, but by keeping these tips in mind, you can make a more informed decision for you and your RV. If you're unsure whether your rig can support an appliance, please remember to contact your RV manufacturer.