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Who doesn’t love a good road trip?

But a road trip can easily be ruined if you don’t have any drinks and snacks for long periods on the road. Especially when there’s a long distance between gas stations.

And the last thing you’d want is to run your refrigerator off the van’s battery. How can you keep to date with traffic news if you can’t listen to the radio because you have to save battery?

But don’t worry, there’s a solution. You can get yourself a little propane refrigerator for your van, and keep your favorite sodas and snacks cool as you turn the van radio to maximum volume and enjoy the ride.

We’ve been checking out some of the best propane refrigerators on the market today. And, after much deliberation, we were able to handpick our top 5 favorites to show you.

That’s coming up next. And after that we also have a brief buying guide for you that lays out all the key things to think about before you buy. You might also want to stick around for our FAQ section at the end.

So, without further ado…

Best Propane Refrigerator

1. Smad Off Grid Compact Propane Refrigerator

Smad Propane Refrigerator Off Grid Compact Refrigerator with Freezer, 3.5 Cu.Ft, White

If you know you’re going to be off grid, this would be a great refrigerator to go for. Although it can also be powered by electricity if you prefer, it also works perfectly well powered by propane gas.

We love that it has a freezer compartment – perfect for stashing your favorite ice cream or maybe some ice pops!

The freezer compartment is a nice size at .05 cubic feet, and there’s another 3 cubic feet available for everything that you want to keep cool rather than frozen.

We also like that it has an adjustable thermostat to manually control the temperature, so you can turn it down a little if you wish to. The shelving is all adjustable too, so you can move things around to fit larger items in.

It has a crisper drawer for all your fresh veg. And it runs super quietly, you won’t even hear it.

Smad provides an excellent after-sales service, and the fridge comes backed by a limited 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.

If you click on “Check price” you’ll be taken to the product page on Amazon that explains how to use the fridge, including troubleshooting codes etc.

Pros

  • You can go off grid
  • Includes a freezer compartment
  • Includes a crisper drawer
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Adjustable shelving

Cons

  • Premium product at a premium price
Smad Propane Refrigerator Off Grid Compact Refrigerator with Freezer, 3.5 Cu.Ft, White
  • 3 Way Powered - 110 V, 12 V and propane input. Propane refrigerator is perfect for off-grid places. Approximate gas consumption: 0.6 lb/day
  • Compact Size - 3.5 cu.ft. capacity with 3.0 cu ft refrigerator and 0.5 cu ft freezer. Product dimensions (W*D*H): 20.6*23.2*32.2 inches
  • Adjustable thermostat - Manual Electric Thermostat to control temperature between 32~50 ℉(freezer -0.4℉~32℉)
  • No Noise - 0 dB silent running with advanced absorption cooling system
  • SMAD SATISFACTION GUARANTEE - We stand behind our products and pride ourselves with exceptional customer service care. You enjoy a 1-YEAR WARRANTY and just feel free to contact us via Amazon or Smad official site anytime in need

2. SMETA Propane Refrigerator with Freezer

SMETA Propane Refrigerator with Freezer 12V/110V/Gas LPG, No Noise, Fridge for Dorm Office Garage, Single Door, 3.5 Cu.Ft, White

What we love about this propane refrigerator is how it features a freezer compartment. It’s great for keeping ice cubes for your favorite drink after a long day on the road, or to stash your favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

The freezer compartment takes up 0.4 cubic feet, leaving a generous 3 cubic feet for your drinks, sandwiches and snacks. In fact, it can take up to 56 cans of soda or beer, enough for a party we reckon.

It will use up about 0.6 lb of propane gas each day. But if you were to run out of gas you can run it through the AC or DC.

There’s a crisper drawer for stashing your veg if you need to. And the storage shelves can slide right out, which is super convenient.

It’s quiet to run, easy to ignite, and there’s an integrated thermostat so you can rest assured everything’s as it should be.

If it wasn’t for the high price tag, we would have made it our number one pick. And the dimensions might put some people off too. It’s probably better suited for a dorm room or home office than a van.

Amazon occasionally has deals on this product, just click on “Check price” to see if there’s a deal on now. And you can pay in instalments with Amazon too.

Pros

  • Can fit 56 cans of soda
  • Includes a freezer compartment!
  • Includes a crisper drawer
  • Also works via electricity

Cons

  • Premium product at a premium price
SMETA Propane Refrigerator with Freezer 12V/110V/Gas LPG, No Noise, Fridge for Dorm Office Garage, Single Door, 3.5 Cu.Ft, White
  • Propane electric absorption refrigerator with freezer. Approximate gas consumption per day: 0.6 lb
  • 3-WAY Powered: Propane(LPG)/ AC110v/DC12v, ideal for dorms, campers, RVs, garages
  • Product dimensions (W*D*H): 20.6*23.2*32.2inch, 3.0 cu ft refrigerator and 0.4 cu ft freezer
  • Large storage areas with slide-out storage shelves and clear plastic crisper drawer
  • No noise and easy to operate: piezo ignition, flame indicator, gas/electric thermostat

3. Smad 3 Way Refrigerator

Smad 3 Way Refrigerator 12v Fridge for RV Trucks Peopane Refrigerator No Noise, AC/DC/LPG,55 Qt, Removable Shelves & Reversible Door, Black

If you’re looking for a small refrigerator, this would be a good choice. It measures just 18.11 x 18.9 x 26.77 inches, which is ideal if you have limited storage space in your van or RV (or wherever you want to keep it).

It features removable shelves, with several spots to slide the shelves back in, so it’s a very adjustable system, and you can easily squeeze taller items in there if you wanted to.

It works perfectly well off propane, but if you were to run out of gas, you could always hook it up to a car battery or electricity, seeing as it’s a 3-way model.

It has a reversible door, so left-handers can have a door that works for them for once.

It doesn’t make a noise as it runs, and you won’t know it’s there until you want something from it.

It also comes with a free pressure regulator, so you don’t need to buy one separately.

Along with the refrigerator you also get Smad’s excellent after-sales service should you ever need it. And it’s backed by Smad’s 1-year warranty to boot.

If you click on “Check price” you’ll be taken to the product page which has more detailed instructions on, for example, how to ignite the fridge.

Pros

  • Compact dimensions
  • Adjustable shelving
  • 3-way model
  • Reversible door
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • No freezer compartment
Smad 3 Way Refrigerator 12v Fridge for RV Trucks Peopane Refrigerator No Noise, AC/DC/LPG,55 Qt, Removable Shelves & Reversible Door, Black
  • Easy-to-use mechanical control, equipped with GAS/Electric thermostat
  • LPG 110V and 12V 3 way working, no noise absorption cooling system
  • Removable shelves allow tall container storage, with adjustable foot for uneven surface placement. Reversible door designs for different requirement of opening door
  • Measuring 18.11 x 18.9 x 26.77 inches, this 3-way absorption mini refrigerator is very compact and perfect for car, camper, vehicle, basement, garage, apartment, villa, off grid cabin and so on
  • Reading the user manual is essential. Come with a free pressure regulator. We stand behind our products and pride ourselves with exceptional customer service care. You enjoy a 1-YEAR WARRANTY and just feel free to contact us via Amazon anytime in need

4. Smad Small Propane Fridge

Smad Small Propane Fridge 3 Way Refrigerator for RV Outdoor Camper Gas 110V 12V,1.4 Cu.ft.

This propane refrigerator is available at a great price. However, this is because it’s a very small fridge at just 1.4 cubic feet. Or more specifically at 15.75 x 17.71 x 25.2 inches.

That’s not always such a bad thing however. It means it’s easier to fit in your van or RV, and it’s more lightweight. And you’ll still be able to fit plenty of cans or small bottles in there.

Plus, the shelves are removable, so you can swap and switch them around as you see fit, which is great if you want to pack a nice bottle of wine.

And if you’re afraid that the propane might run out, you needn’t be. Because the fridge can also run off your van’s battery or off a portable generator.

It runs completely silently, and the noise certainly won’t disturb anyone’s sleep.

If you find the door opening inconvenient, you can always reverse it and have it open the other way.

It comes complete with Smad’s excellent after-sales service and 1-year warranty.

Pros

  • Very compact dimensions
  • Adjustable shelving
  • Silent running at 0 dB
  • Reversible door opening
  • Smad’s 1-year warranty

Cons

  • No freezer compartment
  • Minimal storage space
Smad Small Propane Fridge 3 Way Refrigerator for RV Outdoor Camper Gas 110V 12V,1.4 Cu.ft.
  • 3 WAY REFRIGERATOR & FLAME INDICATOR - LPG, 110V & 12V 3 powers working. Easy connection of gas power, 3/8" Male flare
  • REVERSIBLE DOOR & REMOVABLE SHELVES - Features a reversible door hinge that allows you to open the door from left side and right side. Removable shelves help you stay organized in busy days
  • NO NOISE & GREEN - No-Freon absorption cooling system, runs at 0 db silence and makes no pollution, perfect for light sleepers or home with kids or the elders
  • Measuring 15.75*17.71*25.2 inch, very compact mini propane fridge that is perfect for small space, perfect Christmas gift for the one you love
  • Reading the user manual is essential. Come with a free pressure regulator. We stand behind our products and pride ourselves with exceptional customer service care. You enjoy a 1-YEAR WARRANTY and just feel free to contact us via Amazon anytime in need

5. SMETA 3 Way Propane Refrigerator

SMETA 3 Way Fridge Propane Refrigerator without Freezer Gas/12V/110V for RV Truck Camping Off Grid Fridge 2.1 Cu.Ft, Black

If you’re short on space, then this would be a great fridge to go for.

At just 2.1 cubic feet, it measures 18 x 18.7 x 27.1 inches, so finding room for it in your van or RV should be fairly easy and straightforward.

Of course, on the flip side, this also means that it has a smaller capacity. That said, it should prove to be spacious enough for short trips, even as a couple.

The shelving is adjustable which is good, it means you’ll always be able to accommodate larger items just by moving a few shelves around.

If you were to run out of propane you could always switch to the other methods of running it, 110V AC, or 12V DC, whichever is easier for you. But it will only use up about 0.4 lbs a day, so your tank should last for you.

And thanks to its advanced absorption cooling system, you won’t be able to hear it run, it’s so quiet.

It has a reversible door, which is good to know, could come in handy in small spaces.

It also happens to be a bestseller with online retailers in the category of RV refrigerators.

Pros

  • Compact dimensions
  • Adjustable shelving
  • Reversible door
  • 3 method running
  • A bestselling appliance

Cons

  • No freezer compartment
  • Limited capacity
SMETA 3 Way Fridge Propane Refrigerator without Freezer Gas/12V/110V for RV Truck Camping Off Grid Fridge 2.1 Cu.Ft, Black
  • 110V/12V/Gas 3-Way (Propane, 110V AC, or 12V DC), great for your cabin, cottage, RV or camping
  • Dimensions 18*18.7*27.1 inches, campact size easy to carry on the way
  • Approximate gas consumption per day: 0.4 lb
  • Temperature range 32℉~50℉ without freezer
  • Reversible door. Advanced absorption cooling system, super quiet without noise.

Best Propane Refrigerator Buyer’s Guide

As promised, here’s your buying guide.

Please note this buying guide is for propane refrigerators and not cool boxes.

Capacity vs Dimensions

Capacity and compact dimensions might be something that you’d look for in a propane refrigerator. But unfortunately, the larger the fridge’s capacity, the less compact it’s dimensions are.

If you’ve come here to look for a propane refrigerator, it’s probably because you’re looking for a propane refrigerator that you can fit in your van or RV. In which case, you might decide that the smaller the fridge is, the better. In this instance something that’s about 2 cubic feet or so will do just fine.

However, if you do have enough space, you might be interested in a fridge that’s big enough to accommodate more food and drink, like a regular refrigerator. In which case one that’s closer to 3.5 cubic feet would be a better idea.

How It’s Powered

The beauty of propane fridges is that you can take them completely off grid. So long as you have a tank of propane you can get your fridge to work. You don’t need to find a campsite with electricity.

But what if you unintentionally use up all of your propane?

We recommend that you get yourself a propane fridge that has multiple ways of operating. A 3-way refrigerator can be powered by either propane, 110 volts of AC electricity, perhaps from a portable generator, or 12 volts of DC, perhaps from the battery of your van or RV.

That way, you’ll always have a working fridge, and your food won’t go off, and your drinks and snacks remain cool. It always pays to have a back-up plan.

Fortunately, all of the propane refrigerators in our shortlist of top 5 picks all have this vital feature.

Freezer Compartment

You will need to decide whether or not you want your fridge to have a freezer compartment. But the freezer compartment that comes with these sorts of fridges don’t tend to be very big, and you’ll be able to store very little in there. Suppose it depends on how much you like to have ice in your drinks.

Adjustable Shelving

Adjustable shelving is a great feature to have in a small fridge, because not all of your drinks and snacks are going to be uniform in size.

And it’s nice to be able to move shelves around so that you can fit in larger items that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to store.

Quiet Running

There’s nothing worse than having really loud appliances always whirring away in the background. So, if the number of decibels is given for a product, take a look.

Sixty dB is the noise level of a normal conversation, so you should always look for appliances that run quieter than that.

Reversible Door

The benefit of a reversible door is not just for left-handers. If you find yourself short on space, perhaps in an RV, then you might prefer your fridge to open one way rather than the other, to allow people room to manoeuvre.

Brand

There are two main brands in propane refrigerators that we feel stand out above the rest, and they are Smad and Smeta. We were sure to include both brands in our shortlist of top 5 picks.

Cost

Ok, so we’re going to level with you here. Propane refrigerators are expensive and cost hundreds of dollars. The more affordable propane refrigerators cost just over $400, while the higher-end variety can sometimes cost over $1000.

So, our advice, as always, is to check the prices as you go along, and learn what your money buys you, so you can learn what your money buys you, and set your budget accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best propane refrigerator?

This is a tough question to answer, but if we had to pick a favorite it would be the Smad Off Grid Compact Propane Refrigerator. It ticks every single box…

It can be powered in 3 different ways, it has a freezer compartment, adjustable shelving, a reversible door, and plenty of space inside for your drinks and snacks. It also features quiet running, it has a crisper drawer, AND it has an adjustable thermostat. Not to mention the 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Of course, it’s not perfect. It’s quite expensive compared to some of the smaller models you can get, including within the same top brand. And being so spacious and accommodating, it doesn’t have such compact dimensions.

Are propane refrigerators efficient?

Propane refrigerators are highly energy-efficient, although the exact efficiency varies between different models. If you want to save energy you can resort to powering by electricity or battery on most models.

You can increase the efficiency of your propane refrigerator by tips you can find online. The main energy saving tips are as follows:

  • don’t keep leaving the fridge door open
  • don’t stuff the fridge too full of stuff
  • Keep the refrigerator as level as possible
  • Encourage air flow, maybe with a mini fan
  • Only switch to propane when absolutely necessary

How long does a propane refrigerator last?

If you use a standard 20 pound propane tank, you should be able to get it to run for more than 11 days, possibly 2 whole weeks. Again, this differs between models. As a general rule, the smaller the fridge, the less propane that’s required to keep the contents cool.

But this also depends on how hot the climate is, since the hotter it is, the harder the fridge has to work to remain cool.

A 30 gallon propane tank should be able to last a whopping 150 days.

What is the best propane refrigerator for a cabin?

We would argue that the best propane refrigerator for a cabin would be the the Smad Off Grid Compact Propane Refrigerator. It ticks every single box…

It can be powered in 3 different ways, it has a freezer compartment, adjustable shelving, a reversible door, and plenty of space inside for your drinks and snacks. It also features quiet running, it has a crisper drawer, AND it has an adjustable thermostat.

And unlike buying a refrigerator for an RV, you don’t have to worry as much about it taking up too much space. And you’d probably be prepared to pay a bit more money for a fridge for a cabin.

What is the best propane refrigerator for an RV?

We think that the best propane refrigerator for an RV would be the Smad 3 Way Refrigerator, because of its small dimensions. You’ll have no problem fitting it in your RV, and you can run it off 12 volts of DC whenever you want to save on your propane.

It also features adjustable shelving, quiet running, a reversible door, a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty, and, it comes with a free pressure regulator, so you don’t need to buy one separately.

Are propane refrigerators worth it?

Some propane refrigerators are very expensive, especially the ones that contain a freezer compartment. You’ll have to judge the decision based on your particular needs.

If you’re only going for short trips, then a cool box is a much more affordable option than a fridge, but sometimes only a proper refrigerator will do.

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