When you’re traveling with your family, you need some way to keep snacks and beverages cold for the whole family like an ice cooler or travel fridge. A travel fridge has obvious advantages over a simple ice cooler in that you don’t have to buy ice for the portable refrigerator, you don’t have to deal with the melted ice, your food doesn’t get soggy from the moisture, and you have much more accurate control of over the temperature.
There are some foods you would never think of taking with you in an ice cooler on a trip that you might seriously consider if you had a travel fridge.
What should you consider among an ice cooler, thermoelectric cooler, and a compressor-based true refrigerator?
The problem, of course, is the cost. If you have a family of four or more, you need a large cooler. Large ice coolers, large thermoelectric coolers, and particularly large, compressor-based travel refrigerators cost more money. In the case of a compressor-based fridge, you could be paying more than a thousand dollars.
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For the average family, shelling out that much money is a non-starter. Still, if you could find a large true refrigerator that wouldn’t break the budget, I’m thinking you might consider it.
Short of a compressor-based refrigerator, there are thermoelectric coolers. They are much more convenient than ice coolers because they don’t need ice, but they also don’t have temperature controls so it’s hard to judge what time of food will do well. Probably the biggest drawback of a typical thermoelectric cooler is their ambient temperature operating range.
You probably don’t think of the ambient temperature in your home as having an impact on your home refrigerator, but it does. Your home refrigerator operates in a pretty well-controlled environment that’s heated in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer.
If you took that same home refrigerator and put it outdoors in the desert or at the North Pole, your refrigerator would provide drastically different performance that probably wouldn’t meet your expectations.
The same is true of a thermoelectric cooler that depends heavily on ambient temperature for its performance. The difference is that if you want cold drinks like in your home refrigerator, you should not use the cooler in temperatures above 80 degrees F. That’s because the average thermoelectric cooler can only reduce its compartment temperature to 36 degrees F below the ambient temperature. That means as the temperature gets above 80 degrees F your cooler is already at the borderline of keeping its contents cold.
Compressor-based refrigerators don’t have the same ambient temperature limitations as a thermoelectric travel fridge, but they do have a big drawback of costing a lot.
Fortunately, there is some good news in all of this. More recently some manufacturers have been releasing true, compressor-based refrigerators at unheard of prices.
Although these models are budget-priced they have a lot of the features you’re looking for like a large 54-quart capacity, quality construction with durable materials, input power flexibility to handle 12/24VDC or 110-240VAC with an adapter, accurate temperature control, the ability to be used as a refrigerator or a true freezer, protection for your vehicle’s battery, sturdy, shockproof design, and quiet operation.
We searched travel forums, manufacturer sites, retail sites, consumer sites, customer review sites, and social media, to find the most popular and highly rated large, budget true refrigerator-freezer.
Take a look at our choice and see if this Costway travel fridge is the best portable refrigerator for your needs!
Costway aims to provide customers with the high-quality products they are looking for at affordable prices. They are one of the top retailers in North America and their Costway 54-Quart Portable True Refrigerator-Freezer in Black and Grey demonstrates their commitment to quality and value. This 12VDC fridge, with additional compatibility with 24VDC, features a large, family-sized 54-quart capacity, both refrigerator and freezer capability, 30-minute fast cooling from 90 to 32 degrees F, a sturdy and durable ABS plastic shell, flexible input power compatibility including 12/24VDC and 110/240VAC with adapter, ECO mode for energy saving, a shockproof design that can handle what your adventure dishes out, and more. Easy to use, this travel fridge has an LCD display with digital temperature adjustment. Ideal for all your travel adventures, you can use it as a camping fridge or car fridge and it’s perfect for fishing trips, RVs, home use, picnics, tailgating, parties, and more.
Travel Fridge: Features
- 54-quart, compressor-based, true refrigerator or freezer
- Sturdy, durable ABS plastic shell and shockproof design for long life
- Fast 30-minute cooling from 90 to 32 degrees F
- Flexible power input compatibility including 12V/24VDC and 110/240VAC with the home outlet adapter
- Its handy interior shelf tray keeps food organized and won’t shift during travel
- Integrated battery and vehicle electrical system protection has three different levels, Low, Med, High depending on your specific vehicle’s requirements
- LCD display shows digital temperature reading and provides for convenient adjustment
- ECO Mode save energy while MAX Mode cools down fast
- Controls are placed in a protected location to minimize the risk of damage
- Low noise operation maintains a quiet environment
- Internal LED light is great for low light environments
- Heavy-duty chain holds the lid in place while travel fridge is open
- Unit measures 27.5L x 14D x 21H inches and it weighs 36 lbs.
1 – 12/24VDC power cord
1 – 120/240VAC power adapter
- Keeps food and drinks very cold
- Large size is great for families or group events
- Durable construction and materials
- None noted
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What do you think of this budget travel refrigerator? Which portable fridge are you planning to buy? Please take a moment to leave a comment below.
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A travel true refrigerator is a convenient and cost-effective way to take plenty of food and drinks with you bypassing convenience stores and restaurants. For families on a budget, you need to take a real refrigerator with you instead of a limited thermoelectric model. Also, the larger the better, so you can cater to every member of your family’s personal diet. We sincerely hope that this article has provided you with valuable information that helps you choose the best travel fridge for your needs!