How to Choose the Best Camping Fridge
A typical cooler often doesn’t provide enough space for the food and drinks you have to store. You may need a mini-fridge or portable refrigerator when traveling, camping, or moving to a new location like a college dorm. You may enjoy the comfort of a second, compact refrigerator by following a few simple food safety rules and selecting the perfect model.
Three distinct types of portable refrigerators are available: thermoelectric, absorption, and compressor. Thermoelectric refrigerators are often less expensive than others, but they typically cannot get as cold as a compressor refrigerator.
This is because they use the air temperature of the surrounding atmosphere to determine the internal temperature for the fridge. They are perfect for going on a road trip or a short camping getaway where you won’t have to keep things cold for an extended period.
How do Thermoelectric Refrigerators Work?
To keep food cool, thermoelectric fridges use what is called the Peltier Effect. It heats up, with one end getting hot and the other getting cold when an electric current passes through various conductors. Within the fridge is the Peltier’s cold end, keeping the products chilled inside, and the hot end is outside the refrigerator, releasing the warmth into the outside world.
Although these thermoelectric fridges are smaller and more portable, they also need more energy to operate effectively.
Compressor fridges, except for smaller ones, are most like the fridge you probably have at home. They’re also the coldest choice of the three available.
When it comes to power use, these fall into the middle of the spectrum. They drain more energy than a thermoelectric refrigerator and less than an absorption refrigerator. The internal temperature of your refrigerator will fluctuate, so the setting should be six degrees higher than normal if the external temperature is very hot. It should be set six degrees lower if the external temperature is freezing.
How do Portable Compressor Refrigerators Work?
A pump carries coolant fluid into a high-pressure condenser chamber outside the cooler compartment to compressor fridges. The fluid then flows within the refrigerator compartment through a small valve and a low-pressure evaporator. It heats up as the fluid in the condenser is pressurized, releasing it from the outer chamber into the air.
After that, the temperature becomes cold as the fluid flows into the lower pressure evaporator. The fluid cycles between the two, thus pumping the hot air out into the surroundings, retaining the coldness inside.
Absorption fridges are the most powerful when they run off gas, but can also run off AC or DC. These refrigerators are not regulated by temperature and will only go 30 degrees lower than the temperature of the outer region around them. They also have to be on a flat surface, or they will not work as intended.
These refrigerators are usually used in RVs, technically making them not completely portable. However, camping trips and road trips are the best bet for when you’re going to have a power supply. Some might consider these to be the ideal van life fridge.
How do Absorption Refrigerators Work?
The cooling process begins in an absorption fridge with the refrigerant fluid evaporating in a low-pressure system as it absorbs heat from the refrigerator’s interior. Since it’s in a low-pressure chamber, the necessary heat is low. A salt solution consumes the refrigerant, which evaporates into steam and then heats it again, allowing the gas to evaporate out of the refrigerator.
The heat loss allows the gas to be transformed again into a liquid to continue to supply the evaporation phase so that the process can cycle. This process will continue as long as the heating coil is heated and will keep the fridge cold. If there is an airflow source over the heating coils, absorption coolers work best, mainly if you use this portable refrigerator in hotter weather.
Advantages of a Mini-Fridge
The most apparent advantage of a mini-refrigerator is its portability. They are perfect for a college dorm room or an office where you cannot have a full-sized fridge. It is also possible to take them camping and on road trips.
They are always very quiet, so they will not disturb a workday or a student’s busy lifestyle. They’re helpful in that they work well in most conditions comfortably. Ultimately, you’ll find that a portable refrigerator can fit just about anywhere you can need it.
If you’re traveling with a mini-fridge, you could buy a battery-powered camping fridge. This is one of the most energy-efficient ways to keep your refrigerator going and needs minimal maintenance. For those not running on batteries, you can expect them to absorb a varying amount of energy depending on the size, brand, age, and temperature you select, and whether it defrosts manually or automatically.
Ultimately, the additional convenience is the most significant advantage of having a portable fridge. You make this purchase at the end of the day to satisfy a desire to have snacks and drinks more readily available and in various places. Most portable fridges will suffice this need.
Disadvantages of a Mini-Fridge
One of the main drawbacks of a portable refrigerator is that it is small, meaning that it may be challenging to fit larger products inside. Another disadvantage is that if you keep the fridge in a camper van or RV, you’re relying on a power source, which means it may be challenging to get up and go inside whenever you want a drink or snack.
Keeping a portable refrigerator in a car or other vehicle can be dangerous, so you have to make sure you do not over-extend your car battery and end up with a fridge full of rotten food and a car that won’t start.
Choosing Your Camping Fridge
There are a few different styles and brands to choose from, depending on why you need a portable refrigerator. A thermoelectric refrigerator will probably be a reliable option for those looking to travel with their mini-fridge. One with a compressor is perhaps the best choice for those who want to keep a refrigerator in a small space, such as a dorm room, garage, or office.
A few of the best brands for mini-fridges are Danby, Insignia, Midea, Frigidaire, and EdgeStar. This is the right place for you to start your research before buying.
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