Having a fridge in your RV isn’t a must, but it’s most certainly an amenity that makes RV living or camping much more accessible.
If you’re looking to replace an existing RV fridge or you’ve been without one, you might be curious about putting in a regular fridge or a mini-fridge.
Can you put a regular or residential fridge in an RV? Yes, you can put a regular fridge or mini-fridge in your RV. Both a regular fridge and a mini-fridge are viable means of keeping things chilled on an RV. But, there are several factors you should consider before committing to a regular fridge or a mini-fridge.
If you’re on the market for a new fridge to go in your RV, stick around.
There are a few options you can choose from, like a regular fridge or a mini-fridge, and navigating that choice can be a challenge.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about putting a regular fridge or a mini fridge in an RV.
Table of Contents
Can You Put a Regular Fridge or a Mini Fridge in an RV?
Camping and RV life are both better with cold beverages and meals made on a campfire. Both of these require some refrigeration. Hot dogs need to be kept cold, after all.
Sure, you could use a colder, but continuously replacing the ice is a pain, and it can get messy.
Refrigeration is much more convenient and efficient.
Related reading: Does RV Fridge Cool Faster On Propane? [The Truth]
Things to Consider when Choosing a Regular Fridge or Mini Fridge for Your RV
You can put a regular fridge or a mini fridge in an RV, but both require a little more work than simply plugging them into an outlet.
Since you’re not grounded with access to the electrical grid, you’ll have to plan your fridge unit wisely and according to your RV’s layout and available power.
How big of a space do you have for your fridge? You don’t want to go and buy a conventional fridge, haul it home, and plug it into your RV, only to realize it’s too big for the available space.
Before buying a new fridge, measure the height, depth, and length of the space.
Know exactly how much room you have to work with, so you don’t waste time and money with a fridge that’s too big.
If you have sufficient space for a range of fridge sizes, consider what size would best fit your needs.
Perhaps you don’t need to keep a lot of food stored in the fridge, but you want something lightweight and functional.
A conventional mini-fridge might be your best option. Or if you often travel with a large group of people, perhaps you need something more extensive than the average RV fridge.
A conventional compact fridge, or even a full-size fridge, if you have space, would be best.
Remember, absorption fridges offer the most flexible power options, and conventional fridges the fewest.
If your primary concern is power convenience, a conventional fridge may not be the best choice.
That said, if you’re willing to run your generator a lot, buy an inverter and extra batteries, or even install a solar energy system, you should have no problem keeping a conventional fridge running correctly.
Do you use your RV regularly? RV fridges are designed to handle periods of inactivity as long as they are cared for and maintained.
Conventional fridges may start to mold and stink if you don’t use them for long periods, so they will require some extra storage and maintenance to keep them in good working order.
Conventional refrigerators are a good option if you’re looking to save some money, as they are generally cheaper than RV fridges.
Pros and Cons of Putting a Conventional Fridge or Mini Fridge in an RV
If you’re on the fence about replacing your RV fridge with a standard fridge or mini-fridge, remember, there are pros and cons to everything.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of using a conventional fridge in an RV.
- Conventional fridges offer more storage space and features. Most conventional fridges (except for mini-fridges) are more significant than RV fridges. They also come with a wider variety of options. As long as you have space, you can choose a fridge with an ice maker and water dispenser, with french doors and bottom freezers, or any other features you can imagine.
- Conventional fridges are easy to install. They are generally more lightweight than RV fridges, making them easier to install and remove. Mini fridges, in particular, are often light enough to be installed and removed by just one person.
- Conventional fridges may be more dependable. Many people prefer conventional fridges and mini-fridges because they work better than absorption fridges and are less likely to cause fires. As long as they have the necessary power source and are cared for properly, regular fridges and mini-fridges seem to be the best overall option for keeping your food cold.
- Conventional fridges have limited power options. Because they only run off of AC power, the most convenient way to power them is to keep your RV plugged in or keep your generator running. This may not be a problem if you always camp in areas with ample electrical resources. But if you do a lot of boondocking or remote camping, you will have to run the generator always or do some extra work to keep your fridge running.
- Conventional fridges may require additional set-up. If your RV has an inverter, you will be able to convert from DC to AC power to run your fridge or mini-fridge off batteries. If you don’t have an inverter, you may want to buy one. You may also need to invest in extra batteries. Another option is to install a solar set up that will convert solar energy into AC power.
- Conventional fridges may need extra maintenance. If you let your RV sit for long periods between uses, you may want to remove your conventional fridge or mini-fridge, clean it well, and store it away. Leaving it sitting, unused, in your RV may cause mold and will undoubtedly decrease its life.
Tips for Installing a Conventional Fridge or Mini Fridge in Your RV
When it comes to installing a conventional fridge or mini-fridge, the installation process will not be much different than installing a new fridge in your house.
The main difference is, in an RV, you may have less room to work and maneuver.
The biggest challenge may be in removing the old fridge since RV fridges are typically heavier.
Make sure you have someone to help you, both with moving the old fridge out and moving the new one in.
Once the new fridge is where it needs to be, secure it in place, so it doesn’t slide around when the RV is moving.
Make sure it doesn’t fit too tightly into the available space, as a lack of airflow could cause the fridge to overheat.
Plug it into the outlet, making sure it has a suitable power source at all times.
Using a regular fridge or mini-fridge in your RV may be a great option, but it’s important to know ahead of time what you want in a fridge and how much space you have.
If you’ve got a large RV and don’t mind the limited power options, a regular fridge is great for storing lots of food and ensuring it stays cold.
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