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Portable Refrigerators

11 Best Portable Refrigerators in 2021

Never send an icebox to do a refrigerator’s job. Imagine going on a nice summer trip and opening up a box full of floating beers in room-temperature water. Way to dampen the mood! A portable refrigerator would never do that to you. Sure, it’s a pricey investment, but definitely more convenient than constantly having to change out the ice in a cooler. Today’s portable coolers and refrigerators are built to last and withstand rocky roads and long drives too.

If you plan on going on a long road trip, a portable fridge to keep your food and drinks cool would be ideal. They come in varying capacities depending on what you need and may also come with a built-in freezer too. Family BBQ or solo camping trip — there’s a portable fridge for it. Plus, we even found some that aren’t noisy, are energy efficient and have fast-freezing abilities! In this article, we want to share with you our favourite picks from the bunch of portable fridges out in the market. Finding the right fridge for you might sound like a lot of work, so we’d like to extend a helping hand. Hopefully, one of them becomes your new handy buddy on long trips out. Let’s get started!

The Best Portable Refrigerators

1. Our Pick: Dometic CFX3 Portable Refrigerator and Freezer

Gadget User Rating 5

Dometic’s new line of portable fridges, the CFX3 is our definite favourite on the list. With a design so rugged yet so sleek, you could put this on the set of an imperial fleet in Star Wars and no one would suspect a thing. This new and improved Dometic fridge/freezer sports a thicker seal and durable exterior to ensure maximum insulation. Furthermore, Dometic CFX3 stays true to its promise of freezing down to -22ºC while using as little power possible. You won’t have to worry about this bad boy hijacking all of your power source on your weekend trip thanks to its fail-proof three-stage battery protection system. This prevents the fridge from drawing all of the power from a battery source.

In bigger capacities of the CFX3 like the 55IM model comes with silicone ice trays so you can truly enjoy cocktails even when you’re off the grid over the weekend. When plugging into a power socket over a couple of days isn’t an option, the Dometic CFX3 is a portable fridge you can rely on. It’s quiet, durable and functions as if it were a regular kitchen-appropriate fridge. If you’re worried about external elements damaging your fridge, you can also get a sleeve protector that fits snugly on the fridges and doesn’t get in the way of opening it either.

Gadget Features Inspired For You

Quick Cooling | Quiet | Smartapp Compatible | Sleek Design | Durable

Product Specification

Sizes available:35L, 45L, 55IM, 75DZ, 95DZ, 100L

Benefits

  • Heavy-duty durable frame
  • Aluminum handles
  • VMSO3 compressor for fast freezing & cooling
  • Smartapp assists in temperature control and record of usage history
  • Three-stage battery protection system
  • Roomy compartment for maximum storage
  • Fridge/Freezer

Drawbacks

  • None

2. Premium Pick: ARB Portable Fridge Freezer

Gadget User Rating 5

In all of ARB’s models, the compartment is big enough to fit a two-liter bottle inside and still have space for more. In fact, you can put in at least 72 cans in this spacious portable fridge. This heavy-duty portable fridge has been designed to cater to four-wheel drivers — needless to say it’s prepared to withstand bumpy adventures. It is necessary to use the mounting hardware wherever you go too. Notably, this is quite a heavy model as well. It has a front-opening lid that opens length-ways; which can be quite troublesome and inconvenient.

If you’re looking for a portable fridge to use casually, the ARB may not be the investment to make. However, if you’re looking for an extremely durable and heavy duty portable fridge to last you through the years, ARB gets the job done just fine.

Gadget Features Inspired For You

High-Quality Insulation | Extremely Durable | Long Battery Life | Three Year Warranty

Product Specification

Sizes available:50 Quart (47.3L) , 63 Quart (59.6L)

Benefits

  • Fridge/Freezer
  • Unique & patented hinge
  • Easy to clean
  • Front-opening lid
  • Simple control panel functions
  • Easy mounting

Drawbacks

  • Temperature control needs trial and error
  • Quite noisy

3. Best Value: Cooluli Mini Fridge Electric Cooler and Warmer

Gadget User Rating 5

Need a personal mini-fridge at work? Or perhaps a handy beauty fridge for your vanity to store your skincare products? Cooluli is just the friend you need. With a top handle, you can easily carry this around with ease — just be wary not to swing it too much as the door isn’t secured with a lock or a strong enough suction to stay firmly shut. It fits exactly six cans with no room left for anything else, which is great for keeping your lunch in at work or for your moisturisers, face masks and serums. May not be able to fit a tall bottle of water so you may have to work around that. However, it runs well plugged in and unplugged with no difference inefficiency. It gets as cold as a regular-sized fridge, so you won’t have to compromise on its cooling power. Check out this fun-sized portable fridge now!

Gadget Features Inspired For You

Compact | Retro Style | Lightweight | Portable | Durable

Product Specification

Sizes available:4L
Dimensions:10.2 x 7.7 x 10.5 inches
Weight:2.2 kg

Benefits

  • Fitted with an energy-saving cooling chip
  • Energy efficient
  • Quiet
  • Comes with AC, DC & USB power cords
  • Top handle for ease of portability

Drawbacks

  • Door isn’t secure, may open while being carried around

4. ENGEL MR040F-U1 Portable Tri-Voltage Fridge/Freezer

Gadget User Rating 5

The ENGEL MR040F-U1 Portable fridge is a mean machine that can withstand even the rockiest of trips. It’s equipped with a hardcore plastic external shell that is corrosion resistant and can last for a long time (years!). It’s also fitted with an extremely powerful compressor that is so efficient that one customer even remarked that the fridge is almost too good at freezing things quickly. The best part? It only draws 40% less energy than an average portable fridge compressor. Engel prioritises manufacturing the perfect portable fridges to cool things quickly even when it’s hot outside. The temperature control is very simplistic and easy to maneuver as well.

These machines run on 12V/24V battery or 110V/120V AC — perfect for long road trips, yacht parties or even at backyard parties. It’s extremely energy efficient and uses very little power, thanks to its compressor. For a rugged fridge like this with enormous capabilities, it doesn’t even make a lot of noise to disrupt you. If you are looking for longevity, durability and energy efficiency, Engel will not let you down. Find out more here.

Gadget Features Inspired For You

Vibration-Resistant | Heavy-Duty Durability | Amazing Compressor Ability | Huge Capacity | Quiet

Product Specification

Sizes available:40L
Dimensions:25 x 15.5 x 18.5 inches
Weight:21.8 kg

Benefits

  • AC/DC Compatible
  • Powerful Engel Swing compressor
  • Solar compatible
  • Removable handles
  • Interior wire basket
  • ABS plastic external shell
  • Fridge / Freezer

Drawbacks

  • Latches aren’t solid

5. Alpicool C20 Portable Refrigerator

Gadget User Rating 5

The Alpicool C20 portable refrigerator is configured with an eco mode setting, which allows the fridge to draw less electricity than a regular mini fridge. With its thick foam seal, it efficiently insulates the fridge’s contents better, which also helps with energy efficiency. In fact, you can cool down any item in at least 15 minutes. Whether you’re at a picnic, on a fishing trip or a long road trip, Alpicool can come in handy.

An average capacity would be the Alpicool 21 Quart model, which can hold up to an equivalent of 30 cans or 15 water bottles or nine wine bottles. We recommend investing in straps, or rubber mounts to install on this portable fridge during travel as it may slide around during travel. It lacks built-in mounts to keep it still, but other than that, it’s an amazing portable fridge that covers the basic necessities for a very affordable price.

Gadget Features Inspired For You

Solid Structure | Great Insulation | Budget-Friendly | Compact & Portable

Product Specification

Sizes available:16 Quart (15.1L), 21 Quart (19.9L), 23 Quart (21.8L), 32 Quart (30.3L), 37 Quart (35L), 42 Quart (39.7L), 48 Quart (45.4L), 53 Quart (50.2L), 58 Quart (54.9L)

Benefits

  • Fridge / Freezer
  • Sleek & Simple LCD control panel
  • Freezing power up to -20ºC
  • Adjustable temperature control
  • Thick Insulation Foam Seal
  • Quiet
  • Three battery protection settings
  • Vibration resistant
  • Eco mode

Drawbacks

  • The Manual not descriptive enough
  • Needs better mounting to prevent movement during travel

6. Wagan Tech 6244 46-Quart 12-Volt Thermoelectric Cooler

Gadget User Rating 4.8

Technically, this may not be so much of a portable fridge. It’s a thermoelectric cooler — a slightly upgraded icebox. The Wagan Tech 6244 looks just like luggage disguised as a cooler thanks to its collapsible handle and wheels for easy portability. Plus, it can carry up to 60 cans, providing you ample space for ready-cooled drinks and food for a day out at the pier or beach. It comes with dividers that you can move around to organise your contents too! The split, magnetic doors are extremely convenient and helps to make  packing and unloading super easy.

This cooler is also configured to have both warming and cooling modes. You don’t need ice or heat packs to help you with that either. We recommend this for one-day occasions for maximum quality performance. Any longer could test its ability. It could be hard to bring around as it gets pretty heavy when full, and you may need to put in ice for longer trips for better reinforcement. If you’re not ready to commit to a portable fridge but still need something a little more efficient than an icebox, check out this Wagan Tech 6244 thermoelectric cooler now.

Gadget Features Inspired For You

Magnetic Doors | Convenient | Easy to Organise | Big Capacity

Product Specification

Sizes available:46 Quart (43.5L)
Dimensions:17.25 x 9.25 x 13.5
Weight:10 kg

Benefits

  • Removable doors
  • Equipped with handles & wheels
  • Comes with removable dividers/shelves
  • Cooling & warming functions

Drawbacks

  • Heavy when full
  • Can get noisy

7. YAPASPT Electric Car Cooler

Gadget User Rating 4.8

Don’t be fooled — the YAPASPT may look like a regular travel bag, but it’s actually a high-tech electric cooler. Its collapsible design makes it easy to stow away when not in use too. Be warned, this cooler bag is bigger than it looks. It can hold up to 34 cans and has numerous pockets for easy storage. Great for a picnic, BBQ at the park or just a long drive. Additionally, the cooler is made from 600D polyester and has a polyethylene insulative layer to ensure that your contents stay cool for a long time. You don’t even need to fill it with ice! Plus, it’s so durable that it can withstand bumpy rides without damaging its contents. While charging it may be awkward, we recommend doing so overnight before the trip to avoid spillage. Even if you do encounter a spill, this bag is leak-proof and won’t ruin your car seats.

Gadget Features Inspired For You

Extremely Durable | Comfortable to Carry | Great Capacity | Compatible with Cars

Product Specification

Sizes available:25 L
Dimensions:15 x 11 x 13.4 inches
Weight:2.15 kg

Benefits

  • Comes with a car cable
  • Leak-proof
  • Versatile
  • Designed for comfortable portability
  • Many compartments for storage
  • High-quality insulation

Drawbacks

  • Inconvenient placement of wire at the bottom of the bag

8. COSTWAY Car Refrigerator

Gadget User Rating 4.7

Alright, it may look like an office printer — but don’t underestimate this powerful machine. It’s shock-proof, astoundingly roomy and quiet! So don’t be afraid to pack this with you on a rocky road trip, it’s built to take the bumps like a champ. For its price, it really delivers more than you expect it to. COSTWAY’s ‘Max Mode’ means you get your drinks cool fast. It’s a mode that goes from 32ºC to 0ºC in half an hour. Talk about that amazing compressor power! If you’re in no hurry, you can activate its ECO mode to save energy.

Another impressive feature is its long flip-up top, which can come in handy if you’re pressed for space in whichever vehicle you are carrying it in. Additionally, you can use the COSTWAY car refrigerator for any purpose. With an easy-to-operate control panel, you can adjust the temperature to take care of your drinks and snacks for a camping trip, or cosmetic items for when you’re moving houses, or to hold medication! What an all-rounder, am I right?

Gadget Features Inspired For You

Long Battery Life | Vibration Resistant | Great in Any Temperature | Quiet | Quick Cooling | Budget Friendly

Product Specification

Sizes available:54 Quart (51.1L)
Dimensions:27 x 13.5 x 21 inches
Weight:16.3 kg

Benefits

  • Large capacity
  • Versatile uses
  • Easy temperature control
  • Interior LED light
  • Multi-voltage system
  • Three stages of battery protection
  • Efficient compressor system
  • Fridge/freezer

Drawbacks

  • Adapter provided is not of good quality

9. Whynter FM-45G 45-Quart Portable Refrigerator Freezer

Gadget User Rating 4.8

Boat-owners, RV-owners — this monster truck of a portable refrigerator is the best thing you will ever invest in. Sure, it’s heavy, but it’s also heavy-duty durable and just plain amazing at doing its job. If you’re looking for a lightweight cooler, this may not be ideal. It’s bigger than the average portable fridge/freezer, and mostly fits in the trunk of most vehicles. It has an enormous capacity with two temperature zones, so you can operate it as a fridge and freezer at the same time. The Whynter FM-45G is praised for its powerful compressor and its ‘Fast Freeze’ mode, so don’t worry about having to pre-freeze your food and drinks before loading up. Great for fishing trips on a boat to store your spoils of the day or to hold your food and drinks!

When you get this fridge, it comes with metal racks to help with organisation of its contents and to also protect the interior insulative layer from damage. Plus, it emits low to no noise during operation, so fret not over drone-like noises during long drives. The best part is that this is cheaper than most of its counterparts — you’ll definitely be banking on a great value find here.

Gadget Features Inspired For You

Quick Cooling | Quiet | Budget Friendly | Durable | Great for Big Vehicles | Ideal for Long Trips

Product Specification

Sizes available:45 Quart (42.5L)
Dimensions:16.5 x 23.5 x 20.5 inches
Weight:20.4 kg

Benefits

  • Spacious capacity
  • Powerful compressor system
  • 12V cable provided is not of good quality
  • Two temperature zones for versatile uses
  • Fast freeze mode
  • Heavy-duty external casing

Drawbacks

  • It will take up a lot of space

10. Ausranvik 26-Quart Portable Fridge Car Refrigerator

Gadget User Rating 4.8

Planning a camping trip? We recommend including this into the plan. The Ausranvik 26-quart portable fridge is a great fridge/freezer that has the ability to freeze all the way down to -20ºC, and keep your contents frozen or cool for a long duration. Additionally, the portable fridge draws on very little power possible to function. It also comes with a power cord for convenience wherever you need it to be. Another plus point is that it has a USB port too, which is super handy especially if you have to charge your phone.

You don’t have to tinker around often with the Ausranvik because it’ll remember the first temperature settings you set it to the first time until you change it. It’s relatively shock-proof as well, so don’t worry too much about damaging it on terraneous road trips or rough boat drives. It’s marketed to be super energy efficient as well, taking up less energy than a car’s headlight whether it is in MAX or ECO mode. It’s expertly insulated as well to ensure your fridge stays cool all day and night. It’s anti-pinching configuration also ensures safety when you constantly need to open up the fridge to grab drinks and such — it slows down before completely closing to spare any fingers.

Gadget Features Inspired For You

Excellent Compressor Power | Quick Cooling | Energy Efficient | Solar-Friendly | Sleek Design | Lightweight | Budget-Friendly | Quiet

Product Specification

Sizes available:26 Quart (24.6 L)
Dimensions:23 x 13 x 14 inches
Weight:13.5 kg

Benefits

  • LED touch control panel
  • Powerful 12V DC compressor
  • Built-in battery protection system
  • AC/DC friendly
  • Anti-Pinch door design
  • ECO mode available
  • Easy to clean

Drawbacks

  • Fragile exterior, would recommend getting a bag to prevent scratches

11. Cho Power Sports Portable Refrigerator Freezer

Gadget User Rating 4.8

The Cho Power Sports Portable Refrigerator/Freezer is constantly hard at work to keep your drinks and snacks cool while you’re out camping, fishing, or road tripping. It’s easy to wheel around, and is super lightweight thanks to its plastic exterior. It costs less than the average powerful compressor portable fridge, and runs on considerably low power too. In fact, it has such amazing freezing power that it may cost frost build-up during use over a long period of time. No matter the temperature you need, just as a fridge or a freezer, it’s super simple to maneuver its control panel. It functions well even on a hot, summer day.

Plus, it’s extremely easy to clean too — just pull out the drainage plug and you’re good to go. The wheels and retractable handle ensures you don’t have to strain too much lugging it around; but do be wary of the wheels when you’re pulling it around. It sticks out and may get caught on something or make for a potential tripping hazard. We recommend this for shorter trips when you just need a really good cooler to keep your drinks and snacks in order.

Gadget Features Inspired For You

Efficient Cooling | Low Noise | Energy Efficient | Low Power Consumption | Enhanced Portability

Product Specification

Sizes available:50L
Dimensions:25 x 21 x 16 inches
Weight:16.3 kg

Benefits

  • Anti-Vibration
  • Touch Screen Control Panel
  • Easy temperature control
  • Fitted with USB port
  • Comes with wheels & handle
  • Huge capacity

Drawbacks

  • Wheels stick out and can get caught on something
  • Frost builds up if used too long

Buying Guide

If our picks don’t interest you or shipping isn’t available where you are located, we’ve crafted a simple guide to aid you in the search for the right portable refrigerator. Trust us, finding the right product can get dry really quickly, so hopefully, this alleviates the process for you!

Size

Size & capacity depends on the occasion you require a portable fridge for.  A solo camping trip definitely calls for a smaller and more lightweight fridge, while a family fishing trip might need a bigger, heavy-duty one. Sizes may be hard to understand, especially when sometimes it’s listed using the Quart unit instead of Litres. In our article, we’ve made sure to indicate the litre equivalent of listings that use quart. But if you need more help visualising the capacity, here’s a general comparison using regular canned drinks.

Important Features

1. Insulation

Here’s the thing — better insulation means longer cooling and longer cooling means your fridge buddy won’t have to work as hard to keep things cold. Great insulative layers also means less power consumption, which is always a great thing especially when you’re going off the grid for a longer time. Casing also plays a vital role in insulation, which brings us to our next point.

2. Durable Housing

Metal housing may mean higher durability, but could also prevent proper insulation. If so, perhaps investing in a bag with insulative materials could solve this problem.

Besides preventing excessive heat gain, the outer casing of the fridge is imperative in protecting it during terraneous journeys — both land and sea. A portable fridge of top quality would be able to take the weight of someone standing or sitting on it. The three most common materials used are metal, plastic and fibreglass; which each have benefits depending on the purpose of your trip. Plastic generally is durable to withstand most situations, metal is the next strongest material, and fibreglass is the strongest and the most resistant to scratches and damage.

3. Compressor

The compressor is the most important part of any fridge. A good one would mean longevity and efficiency. Basically, it is what keeps your contents cool and/or frozen. The presence of a compressor is what sets it apart from a regular ice box.

A plus point would be that it emits little to no noise when functioning. The last thing you need is a buzzing sound while you drive.

4. Hardware

It’s necessary to check that your portable cooler comes with an appropriate connector or power cord that fits your vehicle. Low quality cords tend to easily unplug themselves during rough rides, so you might have to look into investing in one or getting an adapter to ensure you don’t accidentally drain too much power from your car’s battery.

Additional accessories you could get include an insulative cover, bands to strap your fridge down, or a sliding-drawer device structure to mount your fridge on, and to easily pull it out of the back of your truck when you need to use it. There are also metal slide structures you can attach to the bottom of your portable fridge for smoother portability.

Conclusion

Whether you’re an avid off-roader or someone who’s on the road a lot, a good portable fridge can really make the difference. A good tip? Fridges with great insulation will use less power. No doubt that there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to searching for the right portable refrigerator for you — it all boils down to what you intend to use the fridge for. You have to be prepared with information like temperatures of the areas you intend to go to, how long you’ll be off the grid and the food you have to bring.

Hopefully, this article has helped you out in your search and that it has provided you with useful information on portable fridges.

FAQ

Danielle Roman

A reformed impulse-buyer. Post-purchase cognitive dissonance? Can't relate! I can't purchase anything without doing thorough research. If I could put "Investigative Skills" in my resumé, you bet I would. Awarded UWA Global Excellence Scholarship.