Best Refrigerators For Semi Trucks – 2021 Ultimate Review

| Last Updated: June 29, 2021

Truckers tend to spend a lot of time in their trucks, which is why it makes sense to make the experience a little more comfortable. A lot of truckers are reliant on truck shops, which isn’t bad in any way but not a healthy option in the long run. 

This is where a truck refrigerator comes in. It provides convenience to store food, which is better for the pocket and health as well. 

This post provides you with the ultimate review of the best refrigerators for semi-trucks. If you want to learn more about them, keep on reading:

Comparison of the Best Mini Fridges For Semi Trucks

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • All cables needed for operation included with the inverter
  • Drain plug included for easy cleaning options
  • Made with a lightweight and durable design to last longer
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  • A weatherproof control panel to keep your appliance safe
  • Strong corner pieces installed for added durability
  • Easy stay open lid with gas strut for your convenience
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  • Best for the Money
  • Low to high protection with car battery to keep unit safe
  • Durable construction with reliable sealing option to stay cool longer
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  • Best 12 volt Refrigerator for Semi Truck
  • Can be used for wide range of outdoors and indoor applications
  • Comes equipped with low voltage protection for safety
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  • Best Small Refrigerator for Semi Truck
  • Fully closure design to keep cooler for longer
  • Operates at quiet a low noise output
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Pros and Cons of Having a Mini Fridge in Your Semi Truck 

Some of you may be contemplating whether or not investing in a mini-fridge for your truck is even a good idea. 

Is it worth it? Well, we can’t make the decision for you but can surely present you with the pros and cons of owning one, so you can decide for yourself. 

Pros

The pros largely outweigh the cons. It would be fair to say a mini-fridge can be a great investment for the following reasons:

Convenient Storage

It’s not possible to keep food items in the truck without a fridge as they would soon go bad. Owning a mini-fridge provides you a convenient way of storing food. Mini-fridges, as the name suggests, are smaller in size, which allows them to only take little space, so they are convenient to keep. 

Dometic CFX28

Cost Efficient

It may seem like a big investment at first, but you save money in the long term if you think about it. Mini-fridges are more energy-efficient than electric coolers. Plus, when you have food with you in the truck, there will be no need to constantly stop and buy food.  

Healthy Alternative

Truckers heavily rely on truck shop food to feed themselves during their long journeys. This isn’t healthy at all. Having some healthy alternatives in storage will allow you to take better care of yourself and save your buck. 

Cons

Owning a mini-fridge certainly has many pros, but the cons are worth mentioning as well. One of the most prominent con is:

Design Limitations

You can’t store a lot in a mini-fridge. You can only keep the bare minimum, which isn’t that bad but not enough for long rides. Furthermore, some mini-fridges make a lot of noise; therefore, you need to keep it somewhere you aren’t constantly bothered by it. 

How to Choose a Refrigerator

What should one look for when looking for a good refrigerator? Well, certain factors will ensure that the unit you invest in is the right one for you. These include:

Compartments

It’s important to have different shelves or compartments. People often don’t think about it, but shelving is a key factor in proper organization and storage. It aids in making the most of your storage capacity. 

Good Warranty

A good warranty depicts the brand’s trust in its product. It also shows how reliable a product is; therefore, it is important to invest in a product that has good after-sales service and is backed by a solid warranty. 

Durability

It’s important to invest in a unit that is sturdy, well-constructed, and durable. This is important because the unit should be capable of withstanding the rigors of bumpy rides.

A lot of cheaply built fridges don’t last for long and are unable to cope with the vibration. Some common issues arising because of vibrations are thermostat malfunction or compressor failure. These can be very easily avoided. 

SMETA Mini Fridge

How to Choose Refrigerator Size

People tend to have the misconception that they need to buy the biggest mini-fridge they can. This needs to be cleared. You might not need the biggest model out there or the smallest one. Consider the number and size of items you need to store and invest in a unit that allows you to do that without a lot of hassle. 

Buying an unnecessarily big product won’t just be heavy on your pocket, but it will also take up more space than you would like it to. The capacity of a mini-fridge is measured in either cubic feet or quarts. 

As a general rule of thumb, you can get started with fridges within the 25 to the 35-quart range. This should work for most truckers but if you feel that you need a unit that’s smaller or larger for your truck than the mentioned range, just go for it. 

Review of the Best Mini Fridges for Semi Trucks

There are several options for semi-truck refrigerators in the market, which may seem intimidating for those of you shopping for them for the first time. Therefore, we have reviewed and enlisted some of the best options in the market that are definitely worth checking out.

Let’s take a look at them:

Best Overall:
Dometic CFX28

Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer

PROS

  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Equipped with a drain plug to make cleaning easy
  • Rugged construction with a beautiful glossy black finish
  • Suitable for deep freezing down to -7° F without needing ice
  • Removable wire basket and energy-efficient interior LED light
  • Suitable for solar operation and equipped with a three-stage battery protection

CONS

  • Wi-Fi feature isn’t the best
  • Consumers find that the displayed temperatures aren’t very accurate

What Recent Buyers Report

Consumers are pretty happy with this unit. They find it incredibly convenient to use as it has two compartments; one for cooling and one for freezing. This allows an easy organization. Furthermore, they find it pretty easy to carry, given its lightweight and portable construction. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are several aspects of this unit that caught our eye. It has a rugged construction, which makes it sturdy and durable. Plus, the overall black glossy aesthetic makes it a wonderful addition to any setting. Despite the sturdy construction, it is lightweight and portable.

It is easy to clean as well as it is equipped with a drain plug. Moreover, the cooling compartment has a removable wire basket that allows it to be adjustable. It has an energy-efficient LED light and is suitable for solar operation. Plus, it has three-stage battery protection. 

Bottom Line

This unit is incredibly well-designed and is overall a great investment. It has a portable and lightweight design with two separate freezing and cooling compartments; therefore, it’s easy to organize and carry.

Runner-up:
ARB 10810602

ARB 10810602 Portable Fridge/Freezer Weatherproof Portable Fridge/Freezer

PROS

  • Offers increased fridge cabinet insulation thickness
  • Features a 304-grade stainless steel lid and main body construction
  • Equipped with a four-digit pin code-protected electronic locking system
  • Weatherproof control panel and tamper-proof bolts for permanent mount options
  • Evaporator height is increased, and it surrounds both primary and secondary compartments

CONS

  • Buyers find it to be heavy
  • Handles are lower than normal, making it awkward to hold

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers seem to be quite impressed by this product. They applaud the innovative design, which takes into consideration factors such as security and weatherproofing. Furthermore, the sturdy and solid construction makes it durable and capable of working well in the long run. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

There aren’t many units as well-designed as this one, which is why it managed to pique our interest. The design of this product is worth the appreciation it gets. It has a 304-grade stainless steel main body and lid with raised features and an embossed logo. It also has a heavy-duty tamper-proof stainless steel hinge.

It has a four-digit pin code protective electronic system. Furthermore, it has an increased evaporator height, which surrounds both the primary and secondary compartments. Plus, the control panel is weatherproof. 

Bottom Line

Overall, it’s a decent product backed with a good design and strong construction. This allows for easy organization and excellent storage. The weatherproof construction plus an electronic locking mechanism makes it highly safe and secure.

Best for the Money:
Alpicool C20

Alpicool C20 Portable Refrigerator 21 Quart(20 Liter) Vehicle, Car, Truck, RV, Boat, Mini Fridge Freezer for Driving, Travel, Fishing, Outdoor -12/24V DC

PROS

  • Convenient to operate and easy to monitor control panel
  • 20-liter capacity (21 quarts) and can fit about 25 cans of soda
  • Thick and dense foam insulation for proper sealing construction
  • Features temperature memory and three-stage battery protection
  • Provides a deep chilling performance and can function as both a freezer and a fridge

CONS

  • Doesn’t come with a cover
  • Display temperature is off by a few degrees

What Recent Buyers Report

This unit seems to be a consumer favorite for various reasons. It can fit about 25 cans of soda and has a 20-liter capacity. It offers a deep chilling performance, and it can function both as a freezer and a fridge; thus, consumers appreciate its versatility. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This unit captured our attention with its optimal design and superior construction. It has a robust and sturdy construction, which allows it to withstand vibrations and last even on the bumpiest rides. It has a reliable sealing construction. The thick and high-density foam insulation effectively locks temperature to prevent leaking any cool air. 

One of the biggest pros of this product is its quiet operation. It isn’t disturbing and can perform smoothly. It is convenient to operate, given the simple LCD control panel it features. 

Bottom Line

All in all, this unit is a great investment. It has a good design, solid construction, and a certain amount of versatility as well, given that it can function both as a freezer and a fridge.

Best 12 Volt Refrigerator for Semi Truck:
Norcold NRF30

NORCOLD INC 1.1 cu. ft. Portable Refrigerator/Freezer for RV, Trucks, Boats, Camping - NRF30, Gray (NRF-30)

PROS

  • Sturdy and durable stainless-steel interior
  • Durable and corrosion-resistant plastic exterior
  • Easy-to-clean wire basket can hold 86 12 oz cans
  • Offers battery protection with three adjustable levels
  • Features a hermetically-sealed compressor with a built-in low-voltage compressor

CONS

  • It develops a slight whine noise after some uses 
  • Consumers find that the plug wasn’t tight enough

What Recent Buyers Report

This unit seems to be largely applauded by consumers because of its innovative and interesting design. It has different compartments with a removable wire basket, which is easy to clean. The convenience and durability that this unit offers make it a great investment. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like this product for many reasons. It has a sturdy and durable stainless steel interior and a durable and corrosion-resistant plastic exterior. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about bumpy and long rides. Plus, it has sturdy and heavy-duty removable handles. The lid is also reversible and removable. 

The construction is pretty safe and secure. It has a hermetically-sealed compressor to keep the cool air in. Plus, it has built-in low-voltage protection and CFC-free insulation. 

Bottom Line

To sum up, this unit is truly a gem. It has a sturdy construction and a convenient design that allows it to be easy to use and sturdy. This makes it a great unit to invest in.

Best Small Refrigerator for Semi Truck:
SMETA Mini Fridge

SMETA Mini Fridge No Noise: Absorption Refrigerator 12V/110V Portable for Dorm Office Truck Camper, with Lock, DC AC, 1.0 Cu.Ft, Black

PROS

  • Easy operation
  • Silent operation as it has no moving parts
  • Spacious with a 1.0 cubic feet storage capacity
  • Offers voltage election between AC and DC power with AC priority
  • Features a reversible door to adapt your refrigerator to the kitchen layout

CONS

  • Does not have a freezer compartment 

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers gave an overall positive response to this product. They appreciate the easy-to-operate nature of the unit as it offers convenience. It doesn’t have any moving parts, which makes its operation practically silent. Some buyers did complain that it doesn’t have a freezer compartment. However, the overall design is superb. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This unit will certainly prove to be a great addition to your truck. It is incredibly versatile as it has an easy operation, which makes it great for your home, dorm, garage, truck, etc. Moreover, it has a sturdy and solid construction with excellent storage capacity. It is capable of storing 16 330 ml of soda cans. 

It is equipped with a reversible door to adapt your refrigerator to the kitchen layout. It isn’t equipped with any moving parts; thus, it offers a largely silent operation. 

Bottom Line

Last but not least, this is one of the most promising units in the market. It has a reliable and sturdy construction along with a convenient design. Plus, it is incredibly spacious, which makes it a great investment.  

Refrigerator Organization Tips

Organizing your refrigerator is a task that not everyone finds easy, which is why this section takes you through some tips that make it easy for you. Organizing your fridge may seem excessive and daunting; however, it enables you to take full advantage of the storage capacity and access the food items without any hassle. 

  1. The first step to organizing your fridge is to clean it and discard any expired items.

  2. Adjust and set your shelves according to preference. Adjustable shelves are crucial for a well-organized fridge.
     
  3. Line the compartments and drawers with a water-resistant liner to make cleaning easy.

  4. Grouping related food items will make reaching for what you need easy.

  5. Snacks are the most sought-out food items; thus, keep them in front.

  6. Stack bottles on top to save space. 

  7. Keep fresh produce in containers to keep them fresh.

  8. You can use natural items like baking soda and vanilla to keep the fridge smelling nice, or you can use special products for it as well.

Refrigerator Troubleshooting 

There are some probable issues or fixes that come up with a time when you get a refrigerator. People often get worried by them; however, they are common and can be fixed upon some effort. It’s always better to have a heads up about them, so you know how to deal with them. 

One of the most common issues that come up is noisy operation. Furthermore, frost buildup, thermostat malfunction, etc., are some more issues that may arise. Let’s look at how to troubleshoot some of these problems:

Refrigerator Noise Troubleshooting

Loud noises arising from your refrigerator indicate trouble with the defrost timer, compressor, or condenser fan. The first step to fixing the issue is determining which component is causing the problem. If the noise is coming from your condenser fan, try cleaning the fan to remove any accumulated dust or debris. Make sure to switch the power off before doing so. 

If the noise pursues, it might be coming from the compressor, which indicates a slightly more complex problem and requires professional maintenance. An evaporator fan can also potentially be responsible for the sound. It is located at the back of the freezer. Access the evaporator fan and check if the components are working smoothly, displaying signs of wear and tear, etc. 

Mini Fridge Troubleshooting

The right way to approach troubleshooting a mini-fridge is firstly by checking the power cord. This might seem unnecessary and too obvious to be a problem, but it is important. Make sure the power cord is tightly plugged in and hasn’t been loosened by vibrations. This ensures a reliable power supply. 

After checking the plug, check the electric panel and make sure the breaker isn’t tripped. If the mini-fridge still hasn’t started working, take a look at the power outlet using a multimeter. Examine the extension cord if you are using one. Then, check the thermostat and make sure it’s properly functioning. 

Check the condenser coils, fans, and interior vents for any malfunctioning components. If there is a freezer compartment, check that and defrost it if needed. 

How to Fix a Mini Fridge That Won't Get Cold?

There are several reasons why a fridge might not get cold. One of the most common ones is blocked vents in the freezer compartment. If that is the case, make sure no ice trays or food items are blocking them. It is possible that the thermostat has been turned down or isn’t working, in which case you need to invest in a replacement. 

If the coils under the fridge are clogged, it will not work; thus, try vacuuming them. Plus, if there is anything stuck to the condenser fan, a fridge won’t work. So, remove the fan and clean the blades, which might help. If the fan still doesn’t run, it likely needs a replacement. 

How to Clean Refrigerator - Refrigerator Cleaning Tips 

Cleaning a refrigerator is an important part of its maintenance. Proper maintenance is crucial for the smooth functioning and long-term reliability of the product. Here’s a step by step breakdown of how to clean a refrigerator:

  1. You will need latex gloves, towels, a garbage bag, bleach, a bucket, and a sponge with a scratchpad.

  2. Firstly, wear gloves to protect your skin from bacterial growth, mold, or harsh cleaning agents.

  3. Place a paper towel or old newspaper in front of the refrigerator door in case any leftovers fall while cleaning.

  4. Empty the refrigerator and toss out expired food, empty jars, etc.

  5. Mix bleach and warm water in the buckets according to directions. Bleach is great for sanitizing the surface and killing any bacteria.

  6. Take the sponge or cloth and dip it in the bleach solution, then wipe the outside and inside of the fridge with it.

  7. Use the scratchpad of the sponge to remove any stubborn debris or food particles.

  8. Wipe the inside and outside of the fridge with a dry cloth.

  9. Use the damp cloth to wipe the surfaces of jars, bottles, and tubs before putting them back in the refrigerator. 

  10. You can now stock your clean fridge!

Conclusion 

It can be pretty daunting to find the best refrigerator for semi-trucks, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Therefore, we took this opportunity to provide you with all the information you need to buy a refrigerator for your truck. This includes incredible recommendations, maintenance tips, and more. Hopefully, you can now find the ideal unit without any problems!

People Also Ask

People tend to have a lot of questions when it comes to buying a fridge, and rightfully so as it can be an expensive purchase. We took the liberty of answering some of your most frequently asked questions, so any confusion you may have is cleared. Let’s jump right into them:

How Many Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use?

The power wattage for each product depends upon size and insulation levels. Generally, mini-fridges use about 50 to 65 watts. This range might not stand true for all fridges, as some may use lower or greater wattage than the mentioned range. 

How Cold Should a Refrigerator Be?

A refrigerator should be kept at or below 40°F or 4°C, whereas the freezer temperature should be kept at 0°F or -18°C. 

How Long Does a Refrigerator Last?

How long a refrigerator lasts will depend upon several factors, including maintenance. For some, a fridge may last ten years, whereas some claim their fridge lasted 25 years. However, on average, a refrigerator works up to 12 years. You will need a replacement after that time. 

How Long Does it Take for a Mini Fridge to Get Cold?

This depends upon the model of the fridge. Typically, small and powerful refrigerators will take about two hours to get cold after being set up, whereas others will take about four to five hours. Despite their size, some fridges will take about 24 hours to reach their complete cooling capacity once properly set up.



After spending years on the road, I had a lot of time to think about the hardships that came with the trucking industry. I realized there was an opportunity to lend a hand a create a resource for truckers by truckers. With the help of my tech-savvy son, I built Trucker Geek as a way to show people that becoming a driver doesn’t need to be a stressful headache.