Most of us are so accustomed to the conveniences of refrigeration that we rarely stop to think about it.
However, if you’re RVing, living or adventuring off-grid, or switching to a more sustainable lifestyle, it’s crucial to consider what refrigeration entails.
If you’re looking for the best method to refrigerate your food, beverages, and other items away from home, you’ve come to the right place.
We have gathered information on portable electric and solar-powered refrigerators to help you determine the best choice for your use case.
Read on to learn more about the benefits and disadvantages of traditional portable and solar-powered refrigerators.
See how they stack up head-to-head.
What Is a Portable Fridge?
Portable refrigerators provide the convenience of a household refrigerator in a smaller, easier-to-transport form.
Portable fridges are ideal for RV living or extended outdoor activities like camping, tailgate parties, or other off-grid outdoor adventures.
Most portable refrigerators run on AC or DC electricity, and many contain a battery for storage.
Typically you can plug many portable fridges into your car’s DC output, the onboard electrical circuit in an RV, and household AC electricity.
Portable refrigerators can be versatile, providing refrigeration in a compact form at campsites, on RVs, or on boats.
As long as you have access to electricity or sufficient battery capacity, you can enjoy fresh meat and vegetables, cheeses, ice-cold beverages, and more — without worrying about how to store everything safely!
- Portability: Compact size makes it easier to transport your portable fridge. It’s ideal for travel, camping, road trips, and more.
- Versatility: Portable refrigerators suit various use cases, from tiny home living to outings on your boat. Portable fridges aren’t just for traveling. They can also serve as valuable space-saving appliances in close quarters.
- Power Usage: Due to their smaller size, portable refrigerators use less power than your typical full-size refrigerator. They’re an excellent option for those trying to reduce their energy consumption or living off-grid.
- Power Availability: One of the most common challenges with portable refrigerators is finding a source to charge them running out of power. Many portable fridges have limited electricity storage capacity — or none at all. This can be a dealbreaker if you don’t frequent sites with shore power or lack easy access to the supported charging methods.
- Capacity: Many portable refrigerators’ interior volume and cooling capacity are limited. You’ll have to make wise choices about how much food and drink you pack or purchase that requires consistent refrigeration.
What Is a Solar-Powered Refrigerator?
A solar-powered refrigerator runs on energy converted from the sun’s rays.
It’s a great way to embrace sustainability and reduce your carbon footprint.
Solar-powered refrigerators use solar panels to convert sunlight into energy that powers the appliance, helping lower your electricity bills and enabling you to operate your fridge off-grid.
For example, once you add the optional 298Wh plug-in battery to EcoFlow GLACIER, you can connect a 220W Bifacial Portable Solar Panel directly to the fridge for solar charging.
Unlike most other refrigerators that advertise themselves as “solar,” no portable power station or other balance of system components are required.
With the plugin battery fully topped up, GLACIER operates continuously for 40 hours without recharging.
Not enough cooling?
Consider the GLACIER + RIVER 2 Pro portable power station combo. You can go up to three days without recharging — or even longer if you connect solar panels!
- Sustainable Power Source: Powering your refrigerator with solar energy reduces your carbon footprint without sacrificing convenience.
- Range of Options: You can power a full-size refrigerator with solar or even purchase a portable refrigerator with solar panels attached. Solar power gives you a range of options for off-grid refrigeration.
- Lower Energy Costs: Solar-powered refrigerators use a renewable energy source. Unless you recharge or operate a fridge like the GLACIER with AC power, you needn’t worry about how much electricity your refrigerator uses and how it impacts your utility bill.
- Requires Sunlight: To keep your device charged and operating, you’ll need access to sunlight — or either AC or DC electricity. The sun doesn’t always cooperate, so you should take that into account.
- Battery Storage Capacity: To operate your solar fridge off-grid consistently, you’ll need a battery or portable power station. Some solar fridges come with a built-in battery — but its capacity may be limited. Look for solar fridges with easily expandable battery capacity so that it can grow with your needs.
- Higher Upfront Cost: Solar-powered fridges usually have a higher price tag than traditional portable refrigerators. Don’t forget that solar power can save you money on electricity bills that outweighs your initial investment over the long term!
3 Key Considerations To Help You Choose
Consider the following to determine whether a traditional portable or modern solar-powered refrigerator is right for you.
Access to Power
If you plan on bringing your refrigerator on camping trips, you’ll often find yourself without AC or DC electricity — but with plenty of access to sunlight. Solar-powered fridges, especially those with expandable storage capacity, are more well-suited for off-grid use.
Is portability important to you? Both traditional portable refrigerators will fit the bill — and so will most solar fridges. Plus, you’ll get the advantages of innovative refrigeration technologies. For example, GLACIER has separate fridge and freezer compartments.
It even makes ice!
A solar-powered refrigerator lets you enjoy all the benefits of renewable energy without sacrificing portability.
Weighing only 50.7 lbs (23 kg) — and with optional wheels and handle — you can roll it around like luggage. It’s too big for carry-on, but you won’t have to pay extra for cargo.
Traditional portable refrigerators usually cost less upfront.
But every kWh you save using your fridge with solar instead of on-grid electricity goes towards making your initial outlay a wise investment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Solar-Powered Fridges a Good Option?
Solar-powered fridges reduce electricity costs and make extended off-grid refrigeration possible by using renewable energy. If you spend a lot of time off-grid and outdoors, they’re an excellent option for saving on electricity bills — and helping to save the planet.
Who doesn’t want to enjoy the best of both worlds?
With the EcoFlow Glacier Portable Refrigerator, you get a portable fridge that can operate and recharge using AC and DC electricity and—you guessed it—solar.
Get lightning-fast cooling and freezing capabilities, expandable storage, and all the convenience of refrigeration that you can take on the go in one innovative appliance.