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RV vs Residential Refrigerators

Attwood RV Fridge

Attwood RV Fridge

Which one is best for you?

Remember when RV fridges were all 3 way?
You had a choice of which power source you wanted to use choosing between 12 volt, 110 volt, or propane. If you chose propane you had to hold down a button with one hand while you pressed the ignitor  with the other until the lp burner lit. If it took a while you were often greeted with quite the little explosion when the gas and spark finally connected.
Then they invented electronic ignition and suddenly RV fridges were really cool! About that time they made the fridges more efficient and on all but the smallest units eliminated the least efficient12 volt.

Now a lot of RVs come with residential electric refrigerators, just like the one you have at home.

I guess I’m old school but when I saw my first all electric fridge in an RV I was impressed with the extra storage but concerned because  ” what would happen when we boondocked?” I’ve since talked to a number of boondockers and they all love them.

Let’s have a closer look at those old RV fridges: first of all its estimated that every year there about 4,000 RV fires in North America and that a good percentage  of them are caused by malfunction in the fridge.

For every propane appliance in your RV you need to carry more propane. Some of the new higher end motor homes being built now are all electric and so carry no propane.  No propane tank equals safer, lighter and extra storage space for something else. We’ll talk about how they do that in a later article.

All Electric residential style fridge

All Electric residential style fridge


Residential fridges are far more efficient them their RV cousins and have a lot more interior space. They can also be placed anywhere in the RV, not so with their rv brethren because rv fridges cool by heating (don’t feel bad, I never understood that either) so their RV brethren always need to be on an outside wall.

Our coach has the older RV style fridge. If it ever has a serious problem I’m betting we replace it with an all electric and while we have no plans to trade, if we ever did an electric fridge would be mandatory.

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