The Best Portable 12-Volt Refrigerators For 2021
(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
Going on a road trip and want to keep your favorite beverages and food cold? Need to supplement that small refrigerator in your RV or van?
You need a portable 12-volt refrigerator! But which one??? And what should you look for in a portable refrigerator?
Read on to find which 12-volt fridge freezer is best for you.
Portable Refrigerator Guide
Do you need an electric cooler or an actual 12-volt portable refrigerator? Do you even know what the difference is? Read our Portable Refrigerator Guide today and learn all the things!
Why Only Dometic 12-Volt Portable Refrigerators?
If you own an RV, then you most likely have at least one Dometic product in it.
Dometic is a trusted RV appliance manufacturer, but that's not why we rank their portable refrigerator-freezers and their 12-volt coolers as the best.
We do so because, well, they ARE the best!
Here's our reasoning:
What about ARB fridge freezers, Engel refrigerator-freezers or Whynter 12-volt portable refrigerators?
These are three well-known brands in the portable 12-volt fridge market, so why not include them?
Either they are (sometimes WAY) more expensive than the Dometic offerings, or they don't have the superior cooling capability of Dometic's CFX line of portable fridge freezers, or sometimes even both.
Dometic has positioned itself to be the leader in the small portable refrigerator marketplace and we see no reason to not go with the leader when they are the best!
12-Volt Portable Refrigerator Reviews
We broke down 12-volt refrigerators into a few different categories so you can find the one that will best meet your criteria.
These include the best overall 12-volt portable refrigerator-freezers, the best dual zone refrigerator-freezers, and the best 12-volt coolers.
Each of these serves a different need, so let's get to reading and find out which refrigerator review best suits your needs!
Best 12-Volt Portable Refrigerator/ Freezer
Dometic CFX Fridge / Freezers
Dometic's CFX line of small portable refrigerators offers efficient compressor technology which means they function like a house refrigerator OR a freezer.
They are small and lightweight so you can take them on the go.
Choose Your Capacity
Continue Reading Dometic CFX Line of 12v Portable Refrigerator Freezers Review
Best Dual Zone 12-Volt Refrigerator/ Freezer
Dometic CFX-65DZ / 95DZW
Need to have both a refrigerator and a freezer compartment at the same time?
Then the Dometic CFX Dual-Zone portable refrigerator-freezers are just what you need.
The CFX-95DZW offers true dual-zone capability in that you can set an individual temperature for each of the two compartments.
However, the CFX-65DZ relies on air spilling over from the freezer compartment to cool the refrigerated section.
Continue Reading Dometic 12v Dual-Zone Portable Refrigerator Freezer Review
Best 12-Volt Cooler
The Dometic line of Tropicool 12-volt coolers are a great option if you are looking for cooling (and/or heating) capability without needing a true portable refrigerator.
This is a great option for short trips.
Choose Your Capacity
Continue Reading Dometic Tropicool Portable Electric Cooler Review
Portable Car Refrigerators: True Compressor Technology in a Compact Size
The Dometic Tropicool line has some great 12-volt car coolers.
However, what if you want an actual car refrigerator, there are better (but more expensive) options.
That said, what do we mean by a car fridge?
We mean a portable DC refrigerator that uses compressor technology (like your home's refrigerator) instead of the imprecise thermoelectric technology used by the Tropicool line (and all thermoelectric plug-in coolers).
The Dometic CFX line are true portable refrigerators using a compressor to cool the units. They are great choices for portable car refrigerators.
If you are looking for a smaller portable car fridge, then the three choices below from the Dometic CF line are worthy options.
If you want anything larger than the three below choices, then it makes sense, from a cost perspective, to go with an offering from the CFX line of portable 12v fridges.
(They have a better compressor than the below three CF line offerings, allowing the CFX line to cool to a lower temp).
Dometic CDF-11, CF-18, and CF-25 Portable Car Refrigerators
The Dometic CDF-11, CF-18 and CF-25 are narrow, small capacity portable car refrigerators that have true compressor technology.
They allow you to precisely set the interior temperature.
They can operate as either a refrigerator or freezer, with the capability of cooling down to 0º Fahrenheit (-18º C).
Camp Addict co-founder Marshall had a Dometic CDF-11 (pictured below) for a while.
He was impressed with how well it maintained its cool (see what we did there?).
It is the smallest portable compressor refrigerator Dometic makes, with a capacity of 0.4 cubic feet.
You aren't going to fit much into it, but it will keep the contents at a precise temperature.
And it makes a great center console, cup holders included (2.67" in diameter).
This portable mini-refrigerator costs more than the Tropicool line of thermoelectric portable electric coolers.
This is because they offer the same cooling technology as a full-size household refrigerator.
You get much better cooling capability with one of these DC fridges.
If you need a larger capacity portable car refrigerator, then you should check out the DC fridges in the Dometic CFX line reviewed above.
Dometic CDF-11, CF-18, and CF-25 Features and Specs:
Capacity (in cubic feet, quarts and liters) and Dimensions
Capacity (cu ft/qts/liters)
Dimensions (W x H X D)
9.4" W x 14.1" H x 21.6" D
11.8" W x 16.3" H x 18.3" D
10.2" W x 16.7" H x 21.7" D
Weight and Power Usage
2.5 amps @ 12v
3.1 Amps @ 12v
3.1 amps @ 12v
- True compressor technology allows for precise temperature control
- Power source: 12/24 volts DC or 120 volts AC
- Made from high-impact resistance plastic with extra thick insulation
- Set temperatures between 0º F (-18º C) to 50ºF (10º C) so these portable car fridges can function both as a refrigerator and as a freezer
- Electronic thermostat with digital temperature display
- Three-level battery monitor to prevent the fridge from draining your vehicle's battery (you can choose at what battery voltage the fridge shuts off to prevent complete battery drain)
- Dometic CDF-11 cup holders are 2.67 inches (68mm) in diameter
- Warranty: 2 years
Dometic Portable 12-Volt Refrigerator Accessories
Now that you've purchased that shiny new Dometic CFX portable fridge, it's time to treat it right!
Dometic makes insulated, protective covers for the CFX line of 12-volt fridge freezers.
They also make slides that allow you to access your CFX fridge when it is in tight quarters.
Dometic CFX Insulated Covers
Dometic makes protective, insulated covers for their CFX line of portable 12-volt refrigerator-freezers.
Made from high-quality nylon fabric with extra insulation, these covers improve the cooling capability of your portable fridge (and thus reduce the battery power used), while providing some protection.
The top flap(s) open to allow easy access to the fridge contents, and exterior pockets provide extra storage space.
Dometic makes an insulated cover to fit various sizes of their CFX line of portable fridges.
Click on the 'Buy on Amazon' button below and then choose the model you need a cover for:
Choose Your Cover
Dometic CFX Slides
If you want to install your Dometic CFX portable refrigerator in 'tight' quarters and need a way to access it, the CFX slide is the answer.
You can install your CFX refrigerator freezer on the base of the slide.
Connect it either via the supplied straps or by using screws into the bottom of the fridge.
The slide itself is mounted onto your vehicle, and you simply 'slide' out the tray to access your 12-volt portable freezer/refrigerator.
Each size slide fits two different sizes of CFX portable fridge freezers.
If you have a CFX-35 or CFX-40 refrigerator, then purchase a CFX-SLD3540 slide.
If you have a CFX-50 or CFX-65 fridge, then purchase the CFX-SLD5065 slide.
Finally, if you have a CFX-95 or CFX-100, purchase the CFX-SLD95100 slide.
Choose Your Slide
Having a portable 12-volt refrigerator is handy if you need to keep your food safe and cold for extended periods.
They are great for off-roading and to have extra storage space in your RV for longer trips off-grid.
Read our Portable Refrigerator Guide to learn more about these 12-volt appliances.
Now you have the tools to decide what portable refrigerator will work best for you.
Whatever you pick, just make sure you get out there and use it.
Question? Comment below, but read them first- we don't answer the same question twice!
Now, Camp on, Addicts!
He-llllo. I'm the co-founder of Camp Addict, which my biz partner and I launched in 2017. I frigging love the RVing lifestyle but in December of 2020, I converted to part-time RV life. Heck, I lived in my travel trailer for over 5.5 years, STRICTLY boondocking for pretty much all of it. Boondocking is a GREAT way to live, but it's not easy. Anyway, I'm passionate about animals, can't stand campgrounds, I hardly ever cook, and I love a good dance party. Currently, I can be found plotting and scheming whether or not to start collecting farm animals (or plotting my next RV trip!) at my beautiful new 'ranch' named 'Hotel Kellyfornia', in Southern Arizona.
Camp Addict co-founder Marshall Wendler brings his technical expertise to help explain RV products in an easy to understand fashion. Full-time RVing from April 2014 - December 2020 (now RVing about 50% of the time), Marshall loves sharing his knowledge of the RV lifestyle. Marshall spends the majority of his RVing life boondocking. He is the part of Camp Addict that knows 'all the things'. He's good at sharing his technical knowledge so you can benefit.