If you spend time off road and you don’t have a rugged auto refrigerator in your vehicle, you’re probably dealing with watery, gooey messes, soggy sandwiches, warm drinks, and everything else that comes with using an ice cooler.  Ice is expensive and hard to find off the beaten path, so a rugged 12V portable auto refrigerator that can hold enough drinks and food for the whole crew is the perfect solution.

Auto Refrigerator Dobinsons 4x4 12V Portable Fridge Freezer Series ViewWe’re talking about a real, compressor-based auto refrigerator that doesn’t depend on the ambient temperature, like a thermoelectric model does.  That means you will get ice cold drinks and food even when it’s burning hot outside.

What kind of features should you look for in a capable, compressor-based 12V portable fridge freezer?

Efficient Compressor

Not just any compressor will do.  You need a very efficient, very reliable, durable compressor specifically designed to be used in a portable refrigerato that uses the least amount of your precious battery power as possible.


Interested in learning about other high-quality portable fridge freezers?  Be sure and see our other articles about some of the best!


Rugged Design

Any auto refrigerator you buy for off road use needs to be rugged and capable of enduring the harsh environments that are out there.  That includes a lot of bouncing around that is a staple of the 4×4 environment which means the car refrigerator needs to be capable of being secured or tied down.

Auto Refrigerator Dobinsons 4x4 12V Portable Fridge Freezer Cover ViewEffective Insulation

The compressor puts cold in, but the insulation keeps it in.  The best portable 12V refrigerators have thick yet lightweight insulation that can keep the cold longer, reducing the burden on the compressor, and reducing its power requirements.

Battery Protection

An important feature of any 12V portable auto refrigerator is the ability to detect a low voltage condition and cut-off power to prevent inadvertently draining your battery.  Another handy feature is the ability to restart automatically once proper battery voltage has been restored.

Dual Power

While you expect a portable auto refrigerator to run on DC voltage, particularly 12V power, it’s also very convenient to be able to use AC power when it’s available.  The best portable refrigerators will support at least 12V DC and 110V AC.





Dual Zones

Most portable refrigerators are designed with one zone and are capable of being used as either an auto refrigerator or portable freezer, but not both simultaneously.  Dual-zone models are available that let you set the temperature controls independently so you can use them as both a fridge and freezer at the same time.  The model we’re reviewing has this powerful capability.

Auto Refrigerator Dobinsons 4x4 12V Portable Fridge Freezer Control Panel ViewProtective Cover

Protective covers are available as an extra cost option on most of the better portable refrigerators and their not cheap.  They do provide additional protection that will keep your refrigerator from sustaining dings and scratches or any number of other indignities.  The model car fridge we’re profiling does come with a protective cover so you don’t have to buy it separately.


The top manufacturers offer long warranties because they have faith in their materials and workmanship.  No matter how well made, compressor-based refrigerators have moving parts and they fail.  Look for the longest warranty on a compressor and portable fridge freezer you can find.






Until now, when you said portable 12V real auto refrigerator, you were talking about a model from Dometic, Whynter, Engel, or EdgeStar.  There is a new player in the portable real refrigerator market.  Dobinsons is better known for its four-wheel drive suspensions which it has been manufacturing in Australia for more than 60 years.  Its move into off-road accessories, particularly rugged off-road refrigerators, is a natural move.


Take a look at this new 80-liter outdoor refrigerator from Dobinsons 4×4 and see if it’s the best portable refrigerator for your off road adventures.


Dobinsons 4×4 80-Liter Dual Zone 12V Portable Fridge Freezer

Auto Refrigerator Dobinsons 4x4 12V Portable Fridge Freezer Main ViewFeaturing the highest quality Danfoss BD-35F compressor that produces maximum cooling efficiency with minimal power drain, the Dobinsons 4×4 80-Liter Dual Zone 12V Portable Fridge Freezer has an outstanding cooling capacity down to 5 degrees F so you can use its dual zones as a fridge, freezer, or both as you require.  This large portable auto refrigerator is perfect for camping, road trips, sporting events, fishing and boating, parties at home, man caves, garages, workshops, and for use during inclement weather to keep valuable, perishable foods from spoiling.  Use it in your car, truck, SUV, RV, boat, bus, ambulance, travel trailers, or another vehicle.  Here’s what you need to know.

Auto Refrigerator Features

  • Durable, rugged, 80-liter, 84-quart portable, compressor-based, dual-voltage, dual-zone (25L/55L split) with cooling capacity down to 5 degrees F (-15 degrees C)
  • Efficient Danfoss BD-35F compressor produces maximum cooling efficiency with minimal power drain and has a 3-stage selectable low voltage cut-off with auto restart to protect your battery
  • High quality, effective insulation maximizes interior capacity while minimizing external size
  • Dual voltage capability accepts 12V/24V DC or 110V AC power using the external AC adapter
  • Dual zones (25L/55L split) feature independent temperature control so you can use this auto refrigerator as a fridge, freezer, or both simultaneously
  • High quality ABS plastic body is resistant to dents, rust, and corrosion
  • Easy-to-read digital control panel
  • Interior light in the large compartment makes it easy to see the fridge contents in low light and shuts off automatically
  • Auto Refrigerator Dobinsons 4x4 12V Portable Fridge Freezer Latch ViewRemovable fridge baskets make it easy to load and unload
  • Heavy-duty latches keep the unit closed despite vibration and bumps, heavy duty handles are durable for long life, and built-in rubber feet help keep the unit stable and in place
  • Includes FREE insulating cover bag
  • 5-Year limited warranty on the compressor motor and a 1-Year limited warranty on all other parts against defects in materials and workmanship


Another optional accessory that will come in handy is the FF80-3945K Fridge Strap Kit.


Customer Reviews

See Dobinsons 4×4 80-Liter Dual Zone 12V Portable Fridge Freezer Customer Reviews >>>









Auto Refrigerator Comparison



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