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Old 07-26-2021, 03:21 PM   #1
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Is it Just Me? Compressor Refrigerator/Freezers

Am I the only person who thinks residential 120VAC and 12VDC refrigerators are the worst thing to happen to RVs?

Just take a look at all of the posts here about everything people have to worry about and go through to use these things — all of the money people are having to spend on batteries and solar just to keep their food cold. I just don’t get it.

I have many Amish friends who have LP refrigerator/freezers in their homes that are larger than the huge 120VAC one I have in my home. Why didn’t the RV industry take notice of what the people who build these things use in their own homes and just make larger units to make life easier on all RV owners?

14 cubic feet, made in the USA:

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They make them much larger, too.

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Old 07-26-2021, 03:26 PM   #2
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You are not the only one, but I'm on the other side of the fence. I had an RV with a residential and I would love to have a residential again.
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:08 PM   #3
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Most of the time I am boondocking in a totally shaded site. Solar is almost useless and I don't want to run my generator every day to recharge my batteries just to run a compressor fridge.
I will never buy a TT with a compressor fridge if at all possible.
Leave my LP fridge alone.
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Old 07-27-2021, 07:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by BarabooBob View Post
I will never buy a TT with a compressor fridge if at all possible.
Leave my LP fridge alone.
Same here.

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Old 07-27-2021, 07:44 AM   #5
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We looooove our residential fridge. I guess every version has its use.
Boondocking... yea... residential has a lot of cons.. but if you're always at sites with full hookups... lots of pros... it all depends on 'how' you intend on using them in reality.
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Old 07-27-2021, 08:08 AM   #6
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My last two RV's have had Residential Style (compressor) refrigerators and neither RV had solar. My MH I removed a Norcold and replaced it with a Whirlpool (residential style) after frequently loosing food. My current Vibe has an Everchill 12v Compressor style Refrig that has worked flawlessly. Having the compressor style refrig is one of the reasons why we purchased the Vibe over other models/brands that only offered absorption style refrigs.

I think one's like or dislike of either style (absorption vs compressor) is driven more by the type of camping/travel you do. If you mostly boondock, an absorption style is a better option, if you travel and have shore power, the compressor style is a better fit.

So its not about which Refrig style is better, but which better fits your camping needs.
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Old 07-27-2021, 08:36 AM   #7
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Another vote for 12v compressor fridge

We have a 12v compressor fridge in our 2021 Flagstaff 26RBWS, and we couldn't be happier. It gets colder much faster than the gas/electric we had in our previous camper (about 1 hour, vs 12 hours, to reach temperature), and there are no worries about running the propane during long driving days (which are frequent, because we camp a lot). We rarely boondock, except for an occasional night at a Harvest Hosts, which is no problem with 2 AGM batteries and the 190w solar panel that came standard with the 12v fridge on our Flagstaff. Otherwise, we stay at campgrounds that at least have electric, which most state parks -- our preferred destinations -- have. I have to agree with others that it really depends on how you camp. If you rarely boondock, then to me the 12v fridge is a huge improvement over the gas/electric. For frequent boondockers, I can see that the 12v fridge would be an issue. Everything I've seen online seems to indicate that the manufacturers are moving toward 12v but intend to keep gas/electric available as an option, so everyone can get what they want/need.
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Old 07-27-2021, 08:38 AM   #8
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My friend who owns an RV and boat service only shop is making lots of money off of these new RVs with residential refrigerators. He said the worst part isn't that they are residential, but that they are cheap residentials and don't hold up to the demands of constant movement. The fact that most residentials have to be replaced through a slide or window just drives up the cost.
He said the smaller 12v only units haven't been much of a problem, other than folks bringing in their rigs wondering why their batteries don't last very long.
He has started charging by the hour to explain and demonstrate how their new RVs work to folks who have never owned one and have no clue
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Old 07-27-2021, 09:30 AM   #9
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when buying MOST people do not even consider the fridge power supply, especially people that are new to the lifestyle...

There should be a requirement that a label be posted on the fridge unit that spells out power requirements and typical times that a 12V battery would last in 80 degree heat.

Instead they put in whatever fridge is easy to find into units that should not have them.
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Old 07-27-2021, 04:05 PM   #10
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Some residential refrigerator are so large they can't be removed through your door. Read about one where they had to remove the windshield to get it out. The windshield guys of course will not replace that windshield with your old one so you need a new one. And we know the windshield replacement cost $5,000 or more. This is camping guys. If you need such a large refrigerator, I can certainly see it in a park model, but not a traveling RV.
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Old 07-27-2021, 04:10 PM   #11
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As mentioned, it depends on your camping style.
Seasonal campers and those who ALWAYS go to hook-up campgrounds absolutely love having the same style refrigerator they have in their home.

Those that spend hours on the road and/or do a lot of boondocking have different needs.

Many others simply want the insurance of auto-change over to LP if the power goes out.

It would be wise to consider what one wants to accomplish before choosing one.
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Old 07-27-2021, 04:23 PM   #12
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I prefer the LP refrigerators if boon docking is in your plans. We searched for a used 35' 5 th wheel w/ LP refrigerator, very few to pick from. Dealers told me it was because most buyers in that RV size range want the residential refrigerator here in North TX. So far, so good but adding batteries and doing less boon docking.
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Old 07-27-2021, 04:58 PM   #13
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I don't care about HOW it gets cold, what I care about is THAT it gets cold... and stays cold. Absorption refrigerators do not cool as well as compressor refrigerators. If anyone wants to trade, I'll gladly give up my Norcold N8V absorption for the 12v model. We never camp with hookups, but we have massive amounts of LiFePO4 and solar.
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Old 07-27-2021, 05:10 PM   #14
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I had nothing but troubles from my absorption fridge. Lost lots of food with that pos.

Will never go back.
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Old 07-27-2021, 05:27 PM   #15
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My 2006 6 CU Ft Dometic absortion refrigerator freezer works great. Berries and salad stuff too. We make and keep ice in the freezer never a problem. I always start it 18-24 hours before departing but the freezer is always ready for stocking after a few hours.

Was on a trip out west May 30 - June 24 and didn't lose any food due to spoilage. Some days it was over 100 F.

I've always run a small battery (2 D cell) fan in the refrigerator and it does a great job of circulating air keeping temperatures consistent. Berries, salad stuff too.
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Old 07-27-2021, 09:24 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by lesptr View Post
I had nothing but troubles from my absorption fridge. Lost lots of food with that pos.

Will never go back.
Funny, we have NEVER lost any food due to our LP/120 volt reefer failing us.
Works good easy to operate no worries no fuss.
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Old 07-27-2021, 09:33 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by DouglasReid View Post
Funny, we have NEVER lost any food due to our LP/120 volt reefer failing us.
Works good easy to operate no worries no fuss.
x2! Have had 2-way fridges for 15 years and never had any problems.
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Old 07-27-2021, 11:02 PM   #18
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Both of our fivers have 120v/ LP fridges. No issue with either one. Switch to auto, and if you loose 120 power, it automatically switches to propane. Maybe takes a little longer to cool, initially, but never lost any food (touch wood!) to date.
I recall seeing an ad / info video from a large US dealer stating they will no longer sell or service RV’s with residential fridges. They were tired of removing slides / windshields / walls in order to remove the fridge from the RV. ( I might assume these were warranty issues). As noted elsewhere, I understand these fridges are built ‘light duty’.
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Old 07-27-2021, 11:42 PM   #19
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Refrigerator type

Simple answer. DW prefers the residential model. Nuff said...
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:56 AM   #20
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It is probably a matter of past preference. This is our first trailer and we opted for the 12v compressor refrigerator for a variety of reasons including dealer’s recommendation. It’s only been a month and nearly 3000 miles towed, but really like our setup. Again, we don’t have any past experiences to compare to. My daughters’s first trailer has the two-way and she wouldn’t want anything else. Our dealer believed the 12v would be the norm in coming years. Guess he was right, as I understand Rockwood has made the 12v standard and the two-way is now the option.
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