Can I Run An RV Refrigerator On Battery_

Can I Run An RV Refrigerator On Battery?

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Who wouldn’t like some cold drinks as they go on a road trip or camping? When you’re going camping, one of the important accessories that you need in your RV refrigerator. With an RV refrigerator in your RV, you can cut costs by cooling your drinks yourself instead of purchasing them when you need one and storing fresh food in the refrigerator.

Yes, you can definitely run an RV Refrigerator on a Battery. It’s possible, however, it’s not necessarily the best option to run your Refrigerator cause it will drain your battery. An RV refrigerator can be cast as a normal refrigerator by using different power sources to keep working; they are quite pricey but are usually worth the money at the end of the day. But when you’re on the road, there’s usually no electricity you can plug your RV refrigerator into.

Your power supply source becomes your battery; this leads to the critical question we’ll be answering in this article. But before we go into the details, let’s quickly look at what an RV refrigerator is and how beneficial it is to you.

What is an RV Refrigerator & How Does It Work?

As the name suggests, an RV refrigerator —shortened for recreational vehicle refrigerator — is a lightweight, small-sized, more efficient, and trip-friendly fridge that features no compressor or moving parts like the regular fridges. They are typically regarded as an absorption fridge because of their capacity to hold out against different harsh conditions. 

This type of fridge makes use of hydrogen gas, water, and ammonia to the level of temperatures needed to keep food and drinks cool. Unlike a residential fridge that uses a compressor to keep items in it cool, an RV fry absorbs heat and uses those hydrogen compounds (NH3, H2O, and H2).

RV refrigerators work on the principle of condensation and evaporation of a refrigerant, a liquid agent that helps to keep fresh and cool foods and drinks that are stored inside the fridge. Designed specifically for road trips, the RV refrigerators make use of a range of methods as sources of power. These include liquefied petroleum (LP) gas, propane gas, inverters, and batteries. An RV refrigerator user will only have to connect to any of the above-mentioned sources of power (plus generator and shore power) to keep the fridge up and running all day. The heating element, called the refrigerant, generates the amount of heat needed to run the camper fridge. The RV refrigerator can also be run by the heat that comes from propane-generated open flame.     

What’s more, an RV refrigerator comes with a unique operational mechanism that integrates the act of creating a sort of chemical reaction, using different sources of heat to drive drinks, food, and other fluids through various channels. Your food and drinks remain fresh and cool throughout your trip and camping. 

The technology in the construction behind your everyday fridge is not too dissimilar from that of an RV-specific unit. Even though they both don’t work the same way, there is a lot of similarity between them. They are generally compact and deliver efficient performance. This is why they are used for RV road trips and you won’t have to spend so much on drinks and food as you journey along on your long trip.

Can RV Fridge Run on a Battery?

The simple answer to that is yes; RV refrigerators can run on batteries but running on the battery is not usually the best option. An RV refrigerator consumes a lot of power and will therefore cause the battery to drain really quickly. An RV refrigerator can run for eight or ten hours on the battery and even less when you’re taking the RV on a road trip.

The ideal choice at all times would be to use a secondary power source next to the batteries to power the RV refrigerator. This will ensure that your fridge keeps running for a long time but not necessarily that long. Batteries have always been the typical source of power for many people, but new innovative ideas are popping up as the world is changing.

 Now that manufacturers make use of LPG in refrigerators, it is necessary to make use of an inverter to power your RV refrigerator. If your refrigerator makes use of only DC electricity, your battery will only take the refrigerator for as long as three hours. But with this innovation, your battery can last for weeks when you use it with your propane gas because propane creates a current that speeds up the control panel. This generates a powerful draw to the refrigerator and therefore keeps it going for a long time.

Therefore, while using your battery to run your RV refrigerator is allowed, the best power source to use next to the battery is propane gas. In such cases, the battery is not the main source of power anymore. It becomes secondary to the propane and is only used to power the LED on the front panel and also the control panel. The regular RVs are built with four 6V batteries that will run the refrigerator for about twenty hours when it is properly charged.

An inverter can also help your battery last longer because it will help convert the DC power supply provided by the battery to the AC power source, which an RV refrigerator needs.

Why Do you Need an RV Refrigerator?

This is a question a typical camper will jump at and shred given that this kind of fridge is beneficial in several ways. From its ability to keep things fresh and cool for a long time to its compact design, lightweight, trip-friendly construction, and higher efficiency, the RV refrigerator boasts a lot of advantages that give it an edge over the normal residential fridge.

Here are a few of the advantages of using an RV refrigerator:

Extended time to Keep Food & Drink Fresh

Every summer traveler loves to have their drinks cool and chilled and their winter counterparts want their food fresh all day. With your normal fridge, you can only keep your food and drink chilled for a limited amount of time. After disconnecting it from the power supply, your everyday fridge cannot keep things cool for the time you will need them. However, with an RV refrigerator, you can be sure that food will remain in a cool and chilled state after some hours of power supply. 

Compact Design

As a camper or traveler, you need a camping accessory that can be stashed in the cargo compartment of your vehicle. An RV refrigerator is one of those accessories that can be carried around, thanks to its compact and small-sized design. It boasts a space-efficient size, ensuring it leaves more space in your boot. You can also put it anywhere under your seat. 


Added to the compact design and space efficiency of the RV refrigerator is its lightweight feature. it does not add more pounds to the net weight of your car. You can hold and carry it around while your food and drinks cool and remain fresh in it. 

Uses Compounds to Cause Chemical Reactions 

If traditional refrigerators feature the use of a compressor, the RV fridge uses ammonia, hydrogen gas, and water as compounds for keeping food safe, fresh, and cool. This way, it ensures that items remain in good shape for a long period. 

No Moving Components

Again, there is no part of the RV refrigerator that is movable. What that means is that the fridge will require less cost on maintenance and repair. Added to this is that the fridge can withstand extreme bumps, vibrations, and temperatures. This makes it a more durable option than a normal fridge.   

Supports multiple Power Sources

Another advantage of using an RV refrigerator is the ability to be powered by a range of power sources. As indicated above, you can power your RV fridge with a battery, LPG, inverters, propane gas, and battery. You can stow a set of batteries into the battery compartment of the fridge to supply power to the items you store in it. This is not a common feature of most of the normal fridges you have out there. 

Now, we learn that with a pair of batteries, the RV refrigerator can swing into action and work efficiently, let’s find out how the fridge can run on a battery and the length it can work on the battery. Back to your question: Run I run an RV fridge on a battery? 

How Long Can a Battery Sustain an RV Refrigerator?

There is no crystal answer to this question because it depends on a series of factors that define how long your RV refrigerator will last on your battery when added together. However, it is important to figure out the answer to this question before you go on a road trip or decide to go camping.

The first factor to consider when deciding how long your refrigerator will last on the battery is the type of refrigerator you have; your RV refrigerator could either be an absorption refrigerator or a compression refrigerator. Compression refrigerators tend to run for up to twelve hours on batteries while an absorption refrigerator consumes more power than compression refrigerators and can therefore last for only three or four hours on battery.

A second critical factor to put into consideration is the type of battery in your RV; an RV can run on one 12 volt battery while others require four 6V batteries to run adequately. The kind of battery you have determines how long your battery lasts. There are some batteries created to withstand heavy use and can be used until it is down to only 20%. When you know the rating of your battery and the volt, you can correctly calculate how long your battery will last.

However, it remains important not to let your battery drain below 50% of your battery wasn’t built to withstand vigorous use. With such batteries, you should only use the refrigerator for about three hours on such a battery. All it takes is to consider the setup of your RV and compare it with your type of refrigerator to know how long your refrigerator will last.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I leave my RV refrigerator switched on at all times? 

It is not advised to leave your refrigerator on at all times. However, if you intend to go camping, ensure you turn on your refrigerator at least 24 hours before you go on to the road, so your refrigerator has enough time to cool down. Make sure you store the fridge in a cool, dry place. 

Q: How long does it take for an RV refrigerator to cool?

Depending on the model of the fridge you are opting for, an RV refrigerator usually takes about four hours or six at most for it to cool down. That’s why it is best to turn it on a day before you leave on your road trip, so it takes a long time to cool down. d

Q: Can my RV fridge work while driving? 

You can use your RV refrigerator while you’re driving; it is entirely possible. You can simply set your RV fridge to use battery power so it can last you till you finally get to your destination. you do not necessarily have to use your car battery. 

Final Thoughts

It’s very easy to run an RV refrigerator on your battery power, but you will need to calculate just how long that will last before you step on the road. This will ensure you don’t get stuck and can make necessary preparations for a secondary power source for your refrigerator. Making use of propane in combination with the battery will keep your RV refrigerator going for a long time.

Also, determine the kind of road trip you plan on going on as it will affect just how much power will be consumed while you’re on the road. Ensure you take note of the rating of your RV battery and the Amp consumed by the RV refrigerator to be able to appropriately plan how long to use your battery to run your RV fridge.

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