Do pop up campers have a fridge? (the ultimate guide)

​​In this article, we will discuss the following topic: Do pop up campers have a fridge? We will help you choose the best fridge for your pop-up camper according to size, volume, power and price. 

Do pop up campers have a fridge?

Not all pop-up campers have a fridge by default, but you can definitely install one. The best thing about pop-ups is that they can be customized. You can, therefore, easily add a fridge to your small camper. 

Which fridge for my pop-up camper?

When choosing a fridge for your pop-up camper, remember that motorhome fridges adopt two different refrigeration methods: absorption and compression. Are you wondering what the differences are? Here is our comparison:

Refrigeration methodDetails
The absorption pop up camper fridgeIt is the most popular model among campers, acclaimed for its low noise level (important in a small cabin such as a motorhome) and above all for its automatic choice of energy mode. 
The AES system that equips them indeed allows you to select the power supply: gas when you are parked without being connected to a terminal, the 12 V supply when you are driving and the 230 V supply when you are connected to an electrical terminal. 
Which is therefore very practical for an optimal level of performance and not to waste your batteries unnecessarily!
The compression pop up camper fridgeCompression refrigerators are more popular among campervans because they only run on electricity, so they don’t need a gas cylinder or an air vent. 
If it is less versatile in terms of its power supply, the fact that it works like a classic domestic refrigerator gives it the advantage of producing cold very quickly, and of maintaining this cold temperature constantly. 
However, these models are louder than their absorption counterparts.

More tips on choosing a fridge for your pop up camper

After you decide which refrigeration method will suit you best, let’s move to other factors that you should consider before investing in a fridge for your pop up camper. 

  • Volume. Be careful not to “think too big” and invest in a fridge with too large a volume. Indeed, if it does not pose a particular problem to supply energy to a large refrigerator when you are plugged into an electrical terminal, the situation changes while driving! 

The power supply may be insufficient, and you will therefore draw on your auxiliary batteries with the risk of completely draining them and therefore causing an electrical failure in your cell on the road.

We particularly recommend a volume of 80 to 150 liters for absorption models, and 40 to 90 liters for compression models. Then, the ideal volume will depend on your shopping and reserve habits. 

  • Price.  The refrigeration system (absorption or compression) does not really affect the price of a refrigerator, rather the volume will determine the price of the latter. For a small 40-litre model, count $300, $600 for an intermediate 90-litre model and a little over $1,000 for a top-of-the-range 150-litre motorhome fridge.

The most famous brands specializing in motorhome refrigerators are Dometic, Webasto and Thetford.

Different other criteria can be taken into account when buying a fridge for a pop-up camper:

  • Consider the space you have in your camper: obviously there are different sizes of refrigerators with all the necessary functionalities to offer comfort. It is recommended to choose one that makes efficient use of the available space inside the caravan. Before buying, keep in mind to take measurements, and never forget to calculate the space that the refrigerator occupies with its door open.
  • Consider the type of energy you are willing to use: not all refrigerators work the same. Some work with gas, others with electricity, battery, etc. So, before buying one, you should analyze which is the best for you.
  • Currently, some of the most sold camper fridges are those that work with batteries. They are the most common on the market. In addition, you should bear in mind that nowadays refrigerators are very quiet (although this depends a bit on the model you choose and how it works).

What to consider before buying a fridge for your pop-up camper

The most important thing before deciding on a type of camper refrigerator is that you take into account the following characteristics:

  1. Thermoelectric refrigerators are refrigerators in which the cooling temperature depends on the ambient temperature and usually cool between 20ºC and 30ºC below the ambient temperature. They continuously consume current and operate at 12v and 230v.
  1. Absorption refrigerators cool about 30ºC below room temperature and also cool according to that temperature. In addition, they work at 12v and 230v and with gas, therefore, they continuously consume either electric current or gas and do not emit noise.
  1. Compressor refrigerators have a great cooling capacity and do not depend on the ambient temperature, their cooling range is usually between + 10ºC and -22ºC. They are high performance and consume little heat and are cool. The current consumption is discontinuous (since the compressor does not run continuously) and they emit some noise. Also, you should keep in mind that they work at 12v and 230v.

Refrigerators for pop-ups according to their size

The types of caravan refrigerators that exist are mainly based on the characteristics that we have discussed above. In addition, the types can also be divided by their size:

  1. Large refrigerators: they are refrigerators that have a large storage capacity. Normally the capacities of this type of refrigerator range between 151 litres and 190 litres. In addition, they usually come with a built-in freezer. The disadvantage is that due to its size, it will depend on the space available inside your camper.
  1. Small Refrigerators: Small caravan refrigerators have an infinite variety on the market. Their capacity usually ranges from 20 litres to 136 litres. It should be noted that some have a built-in freezer (due to the use to which these refrigerators are usually destined and due to their size they do not usually have a freezer).

If you are interested in having a small fridge with a freezer, the Thetford brand has several models, with capacities between 81 litres and 113 litres. They are certainly a good option.

Cooler: Another option is the typical beach cooler that can keep your food well for a limited time. This refrigerator keeps the cold for a few hours and is useful for occasional trips, taking into account that you will not live in it. It is useful for small day trips or for people who do not usually require a refrigerator because they do not put great use to their motorhome.

The best brands of refrigerators for pop-ups

We recommend two brands: Thetford and Dometic, as they are the best known and offer interesting appliances.

Thetford – They don’t skimp on good home appliances. You can find refrigerators with the latest technologies, large and small, ecological and with a guarantee.

Dometic: is a company specialized in refrigeration and has a great variety. They are easy to install and you will surely find the one that best suits your needs.


You now know everything about the different models of pop-up camper fridges! The perfect model for you will then of course depend on your needs and usage patterns, such as your home refrigerator.

Please feel free to contact us, should you have any comments or questions about the content. 

FAQ on Do pop up campers have fridges?

Does the camper fridge need a battery to run on propane?

Although propane refrigeration does not require electricity to run, you will still need at least a 10.5 V battery power to get it on. This energy boost is needed to open the gas base and spark the ignitor, otherwise, the fridge will not run. 

How dangerous is gas from a refrigerator?

The oils and gases of any refrigerator remain inside and in its tank, despite the fact that it is already an old fashioned one. These chemicals damage the ozone layer. Even keeping a useless refrigerator at home is dangerous, as a leak could trigger a tragedy, such as a fire or explosion.

How does the camper refrigerator work?

A camper propane refrigerator works with a propane gas flame to heat ammonia and distilled water using hydrogen gas to circulate vapour and liquid ammonia to cool it down. There are no power lines or inverters and generators to power the refrigerator.


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