Camping, RVing, tailgating – What do you need for all these activities? Drinks and food. Most people take a Styrofoam or plastic cooler packed with ice. However, coolers only keep food and beverages fresh for hours.
When you have an all-day or weekend excursion planned, you need a solution that maintains the freshness of your food for the duration of your trip. That solution is a portable electric-powered freezer/refrigerator.
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Going from an ice-filled cooler to a compressor-run portable fridge is a big leap. Like any appliance, you want one that will last for years. These five portable models offer reliable performance and solid construction.
Whynter FM-452SG Elite Portable Freezer/Refrigerator
Slim without sacrificing space. The Whynter Elite offers 1.5 cubic feet of storage and two removable baskets for food organization. The LED display offers at-a-glance temperature, battery and wattage information. Plus, there are indicator lights for automatic and low-speed mode.
You can connect the unit to a 12-volt DC outlet and receive notifications when the power is low, or the door is open. The fridge/freezer is completely insulated, and the lid’s metal latches keep the contents of the unit secure.
Whynter FM-45G 45-Quart Portable Refrigerator/Freezer
This Whynter FM-45G 45-quart can hold a whopping 60 cans of soda. It comes with one small wired basked and one large wired basket, both of which are removable. Its hinged handles make carrying the fridge/freezer easy, and the metal casing protects the unit from bumps and dings.
From the arrow buttons next to the display screen, you can set the temperature from -8 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. There is even a fast-freeze mode when you need to store expensive meat or ice cream. Whynter also provides an 8-foot-long AC cord and a 5-foot-long DC cord.
Dometic CFX40W 12v Electric Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer
You can describe the 40-quart Dometic CFX40W in one word – robust. It boasts hinges made of stainless steel, reinforced corners and a snap-close hinged lid. This fridge/freezer offers three stages of battery protection and can be used with AC or DC connections. Plus, there is a USB port you can use to charge your phone.
A sleek touch button panel lets you lower the temperature to 7 degrees Fahrenheit, and you can monitor the fridge/freezer with a smartphone app. Dometic even integrated an interior light for at-night visibility.
Whynter FM-65G 65-Quart Portable Refrigerator/Freezer
Got a large crowd to feed? With its 65-quart capacity, the Whynter FM-65G can handle it. The two baskets in the freezer/refrigerator come out for clean or more storage room. You have the option of using DC or AC power.
Fast-freeze mode cools the unit to a freezing temperature with a quickness, and you can set the temperature from -6 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit via the LED display. The lid and walls are covered in insulation, and a pair of metal hinges can withstand frequent use.
Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Small but efficient. This Dometic freezer/fridge holds 27 quarts of food and beverages, and it can reach a low temperature of -7 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a wire basket for organization and a drain plug for easy maintenance.
You can opt to use the AC or the DC cord and even charge your tablet or smartphone. Reinforced corners lend to its durability while touch buttons make setting the temperature a breeze. With the CFX28, you get the security of a heavy-duty latch and the convenience of an interior light.
ARB Portable Fridge Freezer
Keep up to 72 12-ounce cans or your two liter bottle of soda ice cold and ready to refresh you with the ARB Portable Fridge Freezer.
This two-piece fridge freezer is perfect for inside your vehicle or RV and can perfectly maintain an interior temperature of 0 degrees for faultless refrigeration and freezing at all times.
The best part? The ARB Portable continues to actively cool its contents even with your vehicle switched off, and it won’t run down the battery, so you can always crack open a cold can, no matter what time it is.
Whynter FM-65G 65 Quart Portable Refrigerator
With room for up to 107 cans, the Whynter FM-65G is perfect for in your vehicle, RV, or even at home. Its 8ft AC power cord and 10ft DC power cord means can place your portable refrigerator almost anywhere, and with its insulated lid, you’ll never have to worry about losing energy or coolness.
An LED temperature display and Low Power Indicator on the Whynter FM-65G help keep you in the loop, and with its Fast Freeze mode, you can cool and freeze anything even more rapidly, plunging the temperature down to -8°F in no time.
Related Post: Whynter vs. Dometic Portable Freezer/Fridges
As with a full-size refrigerator, you have to weigh the features of a portable one before you buy it. Here’s what to look for when you’re shopping around for a portable electric-powered freezer/fridge.
Portable fridge/freezers come in a range of sizes. A portable electric-powered freezer/refrigerator should have a large enough capacity to hold all the food and drinks you need. Manufacturers describe the capacity in several ways – quarts, the number of soda cans the fridge can hold and cubic feet. Consider the average length of your trips and the number of people who come with you when determining how big the capacity should be.
Dimensions are another aspect of size to consider. Since you’ll most likely be hauling your portable freezer/refrigerator, you need one that fits in your vehicle. Manufacturers post the dimensions of their portable fridge/freezers in the product description.
Take a look at the dimensions and measure the bed of your truck or trunk of your automobile to make sure the fridge/freezer will fit. If you have a small automobile like a compact crossover SUB, a slim-profile freezer/fridge is a great choice. Remember, never operate the portable unit when it’s enclosed in the trunk of your car. Otherwise, the heat expelled by the fridge/freezer won’t be able to ventilate.
An electric-powered portable fridge/freezer is an investment, and you want yours to last for many years. Therefore, choose one that is made of durable materials. On the inside, the door and the wall’s insulation should be thick. On the outside, look for metal hinges and handles as well as reinforced corners.
Every portable electric-powered unit runs off AC, or alternating current, voltage. This is the same type of electricity that is used to power appliances in the home. However, many units are also equipped with a DC, or direct current, voltage outlet. With this kind of outlet, you can use your automobile’s DC connection to power the fridge/freezer. Those that offer dual outlets also come with both power cords.
You can get a portable electric-powered fridge/freezer with extras. Many come with one or two baskets that are removable. A few models offer a USB port, so you can turn the fridge into a charging hub. Another common extra is an interior light that makes locating items in the fridge/freezer easy.
You can think of portable electric freezer/fridges as a scaled-down version of refrigerators used in homes. These portable models contain a compressor, which controls their interior temperature as well as evaporator coils and refrigerant.
When the freezer/fridge is powered on, the refrigerant is drawn into the compressor. Then, the compressor pushes the refrigerant into the portable freezer/fridge’s coils. Once the gaseous refrigerant comes into contact with outdoor temperatures, which are always cooler than the refrigerant, the refrigerant liquefies. As the refrigerant circulates, it absorbs the fridge’s interior heat, cooling down the inside air.
Long gone are the days of R12 refrigerant, or Freon. In a few years, manufacturers will cease production of R22 refrigerant. These outdated refrigerants are contributors to ozone depletion due to their chlorine content.
To proactively protect the environment and fall within legal guidelines, appliances like portable electric-powered freezer/refrigerators typically take R134a refrigerant. Unlike R22, R134a contains no chlorine. Therefore, R134a is safer for the environment.
Heat and dust are two of the biggest performance-reduction culprits. As vapor, refrigerant can reach up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Although this temperature is still hotter than a heat wave during the summer, high outdoor temperatures can make a portable freezer/fridge work harder.
The higher the outdoor temperature, the more the compressor runs. In turn, the condenser has to play catch-up to expel the hot refrigerant. To mitigate this issue when the unit is operating, always run a portable freezer/fridge in a shaded area and never keep it enclosed in a small space like the trunk of your car.
Then, there is dust, which is unavoidable when you spend time outdoors. Dust easily accumulates on a portable fridge’s power supply and condenser coils. After every excursion, be sure to give your portable electric-powered freezer/refrigerator a good wipe down. Also, avoid using it in areas undergoing major landscaping or construction.
To prevent your food from spoiling, the refrigerator portion of the portable freezer/fridge should be put on the right setting. For perishable food, keep the temperature within a range of 32 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit.
The freezer will need to be kept at a colder temperature. The ideal range for freezing ice and keeping food frozen is 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since a full-size refrigerator or freezer works the same as an electric portable one, the freezing time is no different. The average time it takes for a portable unit to freeze a tray of ice is about 3 hours.
Of course, the actual time varies on the basis of several factors, including how often you open the unit and how cold the water was when you placed it into the freezer.
Once you plug in the portable electric-powered freezer/refrigerator, it doesn’t take much time for the unit to get cold on the inside – 30 minutes to 1 hour is the average time frame.
If the fridge is empty, it will take less time for the interior to cool.
If there are a lot of items in the portable freezer/fridge or items that are hot, it will take longer for the refrigerator to get cold.
There may be times when you don’t need to use your portable freezer/fridge. You won’t damage the unit with periods of inactivity. However, it’s good practice to run the unit at least one time a month.
By doing so, you’ll keep the unit’s mechanical parts well-lubricated, preventing premature breakdowns.
The wattage used depends on whether or not the compressor is active. While the portable freezer/fridge works to lower the interior temperature, the compressor runs, and the unit uses about 60 watts of power.
After the interior temperatures reaches the desired setting, the compressor shuts down, and the wattage dramatically decreases.
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Last update on 2021-06-12 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API