Reefers-- propane/110 or 110/ inverter/batteries

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by motorcar, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. motorcar

    motorcar New Member

    I have been reading about reefers. Some recommend propane/110, others 12 volt, yet others have taken out their gas reefer and replaced it with a 110 off the shelf model, and used an inverter to run it.
    Are there any sites that anyone knows of that talks directly about this subject, pros cons etc.
    Does anyone know if you do one or the other, gas/110, 110 reefer- inverter- batteries, does the price come out about the same?
    I am thinking of building a camper, but want to read up on all the different options then try to decide the best way to do it, maybe not the cheapest.
    Are there good reefers out there that are 110v, but draw little current. I checked some sites, but none list amp. draw. Everything else but.
    Thanks Tom
  2. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: Reefers-- propane/110 or 110/ inverter/batteries

    Lots of questions with little organization, but I'll try to answer. There is a very simple reason that most RVs have for years come with a refrigerator that uses either propane or 120V-AC power. It is quite simply to allow you to operate that refrigerator when you have no supply of 120V-AC power and only one or two batteries for 12V. An RV refrigerator is an absorption refrigerator and does not have a compressor or any moving parts. If you put one of these in it will allow you to go for days with no outside power source and few batteries.

    If you do a little bit of price checking you can very quickly discover the #1 reason that some people replace the absorption refrigerator with a 120V house style and that is price. The typical RV type refrigerator will cost about $1200 to $1600, while the same size of 120V household refrigerator will cost $300 - $500. But the catch is that you need 120V power to supply it. If you stop in a place that has 120V shore power available every night, then you can probably do fine with the house type unit as they will generally stay cool for a day with no power, if you start with them pretty cold. Most of the draw about 3 - 5A of power when the compressor is running, a few up to 10A. Now if you supply that from a 12V/120V inverter, that converts to about 11 times the amount at 120V, or 33 - 55A of 12V-DC power. That means that to supply power to the refrigerator while traveling you will need a larger alternator that is standard on most vehicles to have enough power to run the other needs as well as the refrigerator. It also will mean that you will need two to four extra batteries just to run the refrigerator when you stop for the night in hot weather, with no shore power.

    There are 12V, compressor refrigerators now coming into the system that are all electric and which have very low current draw, but they are very expensive. Here are links to two sites that sell them:


    As you can see, they are small and very expensive, but they work very well.

    There are now RVs coming to market that use only household appliances and they sell pretty well, but they are not very practical for those who wish to spend much time camped in remote areas with no hook-ups.
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: Reefers-- propane/110 or 110/ inverter/batteries

    Not my type of camping ,, i will only stay where there is full hookups ,, never agian will i dry camp ,, i like the easy way of life ,, yes i know it get's costly ,, but what is 60 bucks a night for full hookups ,, and 9 bucks a day for wifi ,,that is my kinda living in an rv ,, but u know what i can afford it for along time ,, so that is the way i go :approve: :approve: :approve: :approve:

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