Being off-grid is one thing, but being able to enjoy a cold beverage that’s been cooled by the power of the sun, that’s next-level camping with the best solar refrigerator.
Best Solar Refrigerators at a Glance
- Dometic CFX3 Portable Solar Refrigerator – Overall Best Solar Refrigerator
- Whynter FM 45g Quart Portable Refrigerator – Most Efficient Energy Use
- Alpicool C15 Portable Refrigerator – Best at Keeping Food Cold
- Dometic CFX28 Portable Refrigerator Freezer – Best Compact Product
- ICECO VL60 Portable Refrigerator – Most Durable
- ACOPOWERED RA Portable Solar Powered Refrigerator – Runner Up
- ICECO JP40 Portable Refrigerator Freezer – Fastest Temperature Drop
- COSTWAY Portable Car Freezer Refrigerator – Most Innovative
Camping is the perfect time to head out into nature and connect with your friends or family. You can feel close to the elements and as though you are on the edge of society, all while being in the comfort and protection of your campsite. But what happens when you need a place to store your items to keep them cold? Sure, coolers with icepack will work fine, but they can only last so long and won’t reach cold enough temperatures for your needs.
With any of the best solar refrigerators, you no longer have to worry about where you’re going to be keeping your food while on a camping trip. This fantastic solar fridge and freezer combos make camping easy, all while harnessing the power of the sun or the energy from your car. Whether you’re out camping with friends or you’re in an emergency with a power outage, these solar refrigerators will come in quite useful.
We’ve compiled a list of our 10 favorite solar refrigerators so that you can have a better understanding of what to search for when purchasing a solar device. Each of the refrigerators on our list is designed to make your camping trip easy and to harness an eco-friendly experience whilst out on the trail.
Our 8 Favorite Solar and Portable Refrigerators
Before we dive into the meat of the list, it’s important to note that while some of these refrigerators do include solar panels that gather solar power from the sun, others are your typical AC or DC fridge. Generally speaking, marketers will advertise their products as “solar-powered” if the device is able to run off a 12v/24v power supply. Whether that power supply is via your battery pack or directly from the solar panels, well, that’s up to you.
However, our list, unlike many that you’re likely to encounter that claim to be filled with the best solar refrigerators, actually does include solar fridge freezer devices. Whether you’re looking for a solar-powered refrigerator or a portable fridge that is simply safe for our solar system, we have the perfect products for you. Here are our 10 favorite solar and portable refrigerators.
1. Dometic CFX3 Portable Solar Refrigerator
This device is one of the truly solar-powered refrigerator products available as it includes solar panels that will keep your food cold as long as you need it to. The Dometic Refrigerator begins with the initial kick-in of the internal ac and dc batteries, but once those run-out, it can switch to any solar power it gathered throughout the day. Our favorite part of this product is that it does this automatically, without any flip of a switch. Once it senses depletion, it switches itself over.
Easily one of the best solar refrigerators in terms of durability, this fridge is made of an aluminum alloy frame that will keep it safe, no matter what happens to it. Trust us; we tried to damage it while testing it. The frame is a heavy-duty addition to this product. The best part about this protection is that it doesn’t add to the weight – the ExoFrame technology used by Dometic makes this a lightweight refrigerator and freezer.
As far as temperature control goes, you’re going to struggle to find a better solar-powered refrigerator than this one. Nothing gets in or out of this product unless you want it to with its well-insulated interior. The freezer can even deep freeze down to -7-degrees Fahrenheit if needed. This is easily the best solar refrigerator for heavy cold and temperature control. The solar panel will keep your food cold long after the batteries have died.
- Utilizes solar power once batteries die
- Heavy-duty frame
- Well-insulated and energy efficient
- Lightweight and solar-friendly
- The app is difficult to navigate sometimes
2. Whynter FM 45g Quart Portable Refrigerator
The best feature of the Whynter FM 45g Quart Portable Refrigerator is its power supply. While it might not be directly powered by the sun like the Dometic is, it makes great use of ac power and can switch to a dc refrigerator should the need arise. This high-efficiency refrigerator avoids too much energy consumption and is easily one of the most high-quality refrigerator-freezer devices on our list.
12/24v dc or 110v ac power will keep this fridge running long into the camping trip. Unlike the power independence of the Dometic, this refrigerator will need to plug into a power supply at all times. The DC input will allow you to attach this product directly to your solar panel’s charge controller. Another fantastic feature of this solar refrigerator is the space it offers. You’re getting 45 quarts of space, which can get as cold as -8-degrees Fahrenheit – even colder than the Dometic!
While the Whynter FM 45g might not have a solar panel, this is still one of the best solar refrigerator options on our list as it makes great use out of the power it has available. The charge controller is a fantastic addition that makes this fridge and freezer combo the perfect eco-friendly product. With so much space, you know that you won’t run out of room for your next camping trip.
- Highly efficient use of ac and dc power
- The internal charge controller keeps it running even when one power source runs out
- Energy-efficient and easy to use
- Doesn’t use solar power
- Temperature control can be annoying
3. Alpicool C15 Portable Refrigerator
This solar refrigerator is built to last but not to weigh you down. The plastic casing is both lightweight and durable, much like the Dometic. The Whynter solar refrigerator was quite durable but weighed a lot, making it difficult to transport easily. While the Alpicool C15 Portable Refrigerator might not be as big as other solar refrigerators on our list, that’s what makes this one so perfect for camping. It’s one of the most portable solar fridges we’ve tested and is perfect for any camping trip.
Our favorite feature of this device is the insulation. It utilizes high-efficiency foam to keep the cold in and ensure that nothing gets inside that you don’t want in there. You can customize the sizing options if you’re looking for a slightly bigger refrigerator freezer. Still, we found the smallest sizing option’s portable nature to be what really made this fridge stand out. Other fridge freezer combos can be difficult to transport, but not this one.
If you’re looking for a small solar fridge that can keep your food cold, no matter where you go, then the Alpicool C15 has you covered. Much like the Whynter, this fridge runs on a 12/24v dc input, so it can be easily attached to your battery pack or solar panel.
- Lightweight yet durable
- Designed for portability
- Keeps running long after the 12v dc is disconnected
- Doesn’t have solar power built in
- Difficult to use at first
4. Dometic CFX28 Portable Refrigerator Freezer
Back on our list is the company Dometic! They are one of the best solar refrigerator makers, and the two products we’ve featured of theirs so far are a testament to their capability. If you’re looking for a refrigerator with the best use of solar power from Dometic, then their other entry is the choice for you. However, if an eco-friendly refrigerator or freezer that makes highly efficient use out of 12/24v power is more your style, this is a fantastic choice.
The Dometic CFX28 solar refrigerator is a dc refrigerator that can keep your food and drinks cold, all the way down to -7-degrees Fahrenheit. With a capacity of 26 liters, this is another fantastic portable solar refrigerator that will make your camping trip both easy and energy-efficient. While it might not be as durable as other products on our list, it certainly can hold its own and will keep your food safe when in use.
As we mentioned, this is the device to go for if you’re looking for a dependable and reputable company that makes solar fridge products that run off 12v/24v DC power. Keep your food cold long into the trip with the Dometic CFX28 solar refrigerator.
- Highly energy efficient
- Small and transportable
- One of the best uses of DC power
- Some customers claim it died after a few months
5. ICECO VL60 Portable Refrigerator
If you’re looking for a heavy-duty device that even comes across as a little industrial, then this is the best solar refrigerator for you. The ICECO VL60 Refrigerator comes with impact-resistant caps and shock resistance so that you know it won’t be damaged, even on the rocky road to your campsite. Much like the Whynter portable solar fridge, this device doesn’t have solar panels mounted on it but utilizes AC or DC power depending on the situation. It’s an eco-friendly solar fridge that’s perfect for any solar system.
Easily one of the largest fridge freezer products on our list, this device comes with two compartments that can fit up to 89 cans of soda-worth of space. You’re never going to run out of space to place things with this fridge-freezer.
We highly recommend this fridge-freezer for anyone going on rough terrain for days looking for a shock-resistant device that can store plenty of food. Ensure that any food or drink you bring along is safe with the ICECO VL60 portable solar refrigerator. With plenty of cubic feet (cu ft) of space, this is sure to be one of the best refrigerators you can bring along for any camping trip.
- Plenty of storage space for food or drink
- Utilizes both AC and DC power
- Refrigerator and freezer keep your food cold even in the harshest conditions
- Durable and heavy-duty to a fault
- Less portable
- Doesn’t include solar panels
6. ACOPOWERED RA Portable Solar Powered Refrigerator
While this device might not have any solar panel directly included, the universal adapter allows it to be easily charged via the sun regardless. The ACOPOWERED Refrigerator is one of the best solar refrigerators for living off the grid. It can be charged using solar energy, a car power cord, a built-in battery, and so much more.
The main reason we like this model is the built-in battery, that with a typical charge, can last you anywhere from 10-15 hours at a basic 32-degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you need a quick chill, this freezer refrigerator has the ability to shoot down to -4-degrees at a moment’s notice. Our favorite feature of this portable solar refrigerator was the trolly design, which enabled you to take it almost anywhere without lifting it and carrying it the whole way.
Many refrigerators and freezers that utilize solar energy as a main source of power tend to have lower battery life. ACOPOWERED does a fantastic job at making sure that’s not the case with this fridge. With its access to a solar panel at any time and the ability to charge almost anywhere, this solar refrigerator will keep your camping trip going for days on end with a full charge.
- Portable trolly wheels
- Solar panel access provides energy anywhere you wish to camp
- Large cubic feet for a solar refrigerator
- Able to chill food to 10-degrees in less than 40 minutes
- Some issues with the charger adapters
7. ICECO JP40 Portable Refrigerator Freezer
The ICECO JP40 comes with a 5-year warranty, which is something their other solar refrigerators don’t even include. Though we doubt you’ll want to replace this refrigerator and freezer combo as it hosts some of the coldest temperatures on our list. With -7-degrees as its lowest point, the only product on our list can compete the Dometic CFX3.
With over 8 cubic feet of space, this little freezer is the perfect portable product for your camping trip. What made this fridge stand out amongst the rest was its eco mode. Many refrigerators and freezers put full power into everything they do, but that can quickly deplete their energy. The ICECO allows you to switch to eco mode to help preserve power and keep your solar refrigerator running longer.
With the 12-foot long DC adaptor, you can charge this solar refrigerator far from the car. ICECO does a fantastic job at creating some impressive refrigerator or freezer devices. Make sure that your food stays cold long into the camping trip with this impressive refrigerator and freezer.
- One of the coldest solar refrigerators on our list
- 5-year warranty protects your fridge
- Eco mode helps preserve the battery
- Not as durable as other products on our list
8. COSTWAY Portable Car Freezer Refrigerator
The most exciting feature of the COSTWAY Portable solar refrigerator had to be the transportability of the device. The extendable handle lets you carry it along behind you without having to bend over and irritate your back while the flexible wheels work on almost any terrain. This solar refrigerator makes the trip to your spot simple.
As far as practical in-use features, this solar refrigerator is pretty standard. It comes with a fridge and a freezer section so that you have plenty of storage space to place your items. It’s the feature that’s outside of the box which perk out interest the most. The COSTWAY connects to an app, that you can install on your phone, which allows you to control the device remotely. Some may say this feature is gimmicky/unnecessary, but we did find it handy to check the status of the box on those hotter days.
Compared to the rest on our list, there’s not much that makes this fridge and freezer combo stand out. And that’s a good thing! It has all of the standard ratings – easy to transport, reaches -4-degrees, highly efficient, and low energy consumption. Without any flashy features, this company spent their time focusing on the necessities, and it shows. Your food and drinks will stay cold for the entire duration of your camping trip with this solar fridge.
- Charges with both AC and DC power
- Ability to connect via phone app
- Flexible wheels are great for any terrain
- Temperature regulation can be difficult
- No solar panels
A Quick Buyers Guide to Solar Refrigerators
What to Consider in a Solar Refrigerator
The goal of any freezer that uses the sun’s energy should be to reduce any carbon footprint that you might leave behind. All of the best freezer options do their best to conserve energy and reduce their overall output. This is what makes the devices on our list “solar fridges,” as many of them don’t actually include solar panels for energy collection. With a solar fridge, the eco-friendly aspect is one of the most important features.
Sometimes, camping isn’t about pulling up to a spot and getting out of your car with the campfire right there. In many cases, you’re going to need to bring your device along a rocky trail before you’re at the right location. Having a product that can either maneuver across this rough terrain or is easy to carry along with you as you hike to your spot can be quite important.
With that being said, some fridges on our list are fine examples of devices that put focus into other categories yet still show plenty of reasons why people should buy them.
Many solar refrigerators are designed for remote use, not just for camping. If you live in an area where access to energy might be scarce, having a solar refrigerator or one that can access dc power will prove to be essential. Whenever you’re without power, your fridge shouldn’t be the thing you have to worry about. When your power cuts, your food will be fine when using a solar device.
As long as you have access to the sun or a source of DC power, your fridge should be able to withstand the power outage. This is one of the most important things to consider when shopping for a similar product and something that each of the devices on our list was tested for. Keep your food safe, even once your access to power is cut.
What Features Make a Solar Powered Refrigerator
First and foremost, if you’re looking for a device that will work off the grid and is perfect for bringing along with you for your next camping trip, then the power supply will be the most important feature to consider. Solar power is the best method of charging your fridge for anyone who will be without access to a direct source of ac or dc power. Collecting the energy from the sun will enable you to take your fridge truly off the grid.
However, if your fridge’s uses don’t necessarily entail living far from sources of energy, then having a hybrid fridge or one that is energy efficient through its use of AC and DC energy will work just fine. Again, the type of fridge you purchase will come down to what fits your situation best. For some, a solar-powered fridge simply isn’t what they need, while others cannot have one that connects to a power source.
The higher the number of cu ft you have, the better your organization options, right? Not necessarily. Some of the best fridges in the organization come in small packages with not too much space. It’s all about what the interior looks like and where they place their focus. Some of the largest devices with the most space are the ones with the worst organization available. This is because they simply provide an open cavity for food and drinks without separation or division available.
The organization is important as it will enable you to store much more in your limited space. The goal of many solar fridges is to keep as much food as possible cold for a long amount of time. If you have a refrigerator with plenty of organization options, then you’ll be able to make the most out of the space available and might even be able to store more than the larger competitors.
Keeping your food safe can easily be accomplished by keeping your fridge safe. With a durable, heavy-duty refrigerator, your food can be protected as the fridge’s body is unlikely to be compromised. This is especially important for any campers looking to take their devices on a long and rocky road to the campsite. With a strong product, you won’t have to worry about dents or breaches.
Products like the Dometic CFX3 accomplish this feature well as they encase all corners and edges with a strong, aluminum-alloy material that helps protect the overall structure and preserve the food inside. While ensuring that a device has quality insulation is important, none of that matters if the body is quickly compromised. With a strong exterior, your food will be safer than ever before. Protect your food by protecting your refrigerator.
Finding the perfect solar refrigerator for your needs doesn’t have to be difficult. By simply knowing what makes a quality fridge and what to avoid in a product and what features will be most important for your needs, you’ll be able to choose the perfect fridge in no time.
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