If you’re on a long road trip or camping getaway, the biggest problem you end up facing could be how to keep your food cool and fresh. That’s where off-grid solar refrigerators come in! If you have one of these amazing refrigerators, you can make sure your food and drinks stay cool and fresh without lugging a ton of ice on your trip with you either to the campsite or in the back of your car.
Best of all, using solar energy is great for the environment and will help you stay independent and completely off the grid. With an off-grid solar refrigerator, you’ll be able to camp in style and comfort without breaking the spirit of the activity and going into “glamping” territory. Just because you’re going out into nature doesn’t mean you have to give up any modern earthly pleasures, and an off-grid solar refrigerator is the absolute best way to get away from it all without adding unnecessary stress thinking about how you’re going to take care of your food.
Keep reading below to check our extensively research picks for the best available off-grid solar refrigerators, as well as a summary of what makes each model special. Or alternatively you can skip right to the #1 winner here.
What Should You Look For in an Off-Grid Solar Refrigerator?
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you’ve never bought an off-grid solar refrigerator before. That’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Most people haven’t. While being incredibly useful, off-grid solar refrigerators are still very niche, so most customers probably don’t know exactly what to look for in one, or how to differentiate the good solar refrigerators from the bad ones.
But that’s what we’re here for. We’re going to quickly and simply breakdown the criteria you should look for when evaluating your off-grid solar refrigerator. This way, you’ll understand how we picked the refrigerators on our list, and you’ll know what to look for in the best refrigerators so you can better conduct your own research, if our list doesn’t have the solar refrigerator you’re looking for.
Criteria #1: Cooling – Obviously, we want our solar refrigerators to actually do a good job of cooling our food and drinks, and we want results quickly too. Refrigerators will usually have their temperatures clearly labeled. Most of the best solar refrigerators will go from a range of about -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that they’ll be able to function as a two-in-one fridge-freezer.
But, as we said, we want speed in addition to the right temperature. Again, the best solar refrigerators will be able to get to their functioning temperature quickly and cool your food and drinks that much quicker. We want you to be able to crack open a cold one as soon as you get up to the campsite.
Criteria #2: Size –Everyone living off the grid is going to want a different size from their solar refrigerator, and in that pursuit, we’ll make sure to include larger and smaller options, but in general we’re aiming for a medium-sized, solar-powered refrigerator.
A refrigerator that’s too small is just useless, and a refrigerator that’s too big won’t really be a lot of use for you if you’re on-the-go. As is often the case, your solar refrigerator should usually be in that Goldilocks Zone. We want something that will get you through a full weekend of camping, but that will also let you move around without throwing your back out. As a frame of reference, we’ll describe the products on our list by weight in pounds and volume in quarts or liters.
Criteria #3: Additional Features – Those extra features can sometimes make a big difference. Some solar refrigerators will have useful features that will let you quickly adjust the temperature or that will let you be flexible with the power output. Some products will also have two different compartments for a refrigerator-freezer combo build that will let you use both at the same time. The fanciest solar refrigerators even connect to wi-fi and can be managed through a smartphone app.
There are all kinds of solar refrigerators out there. The makers of the best solar refrigerators found unique ways to stand out against the crowd. We want you to be privy to cutting-edge technology when you find your best solar refrigerator.
Criteria #4: The Price – We’re definitely not wanting to get you to spend more money than you should. This criterion is more about overall cost performance and seeing if the price justifies the value. A model that costs more but is underpriced compared to the value to provides is preferable to a cheap product that breaks easily, performs poorly or just isn’t otherwise worth the money. Keep in mind that, in general, solar refrigerators are not exactly cheap. You will have to be prepared to spend some money, but we will have a budget option on our list for anyone looking to save as much as possible.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Top Off-Grid Solar Refrigerators
We compiled information about many popular and well rated products and judged them against our criteria. We compared them and finally made a determination to see which ones are worth purchasing. We also checked reviews from customers, as well as various blogs and “best off-grid solar refrigerators” articles to get a feel for the overall sentiment and if they are as good as what they say. Not everyone has the same needs or wants so we also included a couple of niche options on the list so that everyone will be able to find the perfect fridge for their needs.
So let’s get into it. Here is our list of our favorite off-grid solar refrigerators.
#1: Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator (Best Value – All-Purpose)
It stands to reason that our best solar refrigerator should be something that’s accessible to everyone. That’s why we went with the high-value Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator. This 45-quart solar-powered refrigerator checks all of our boxes. It’s versatile, effective and efficient, appropriately-sized, and, best of all, affordable.
Our best solar refrigerator can fit about 60 cans-worth of contents. It has a wide temperature range that goes from -8 degrees Fahrenheit up to 50 degrees, so it’s very much a double fridge-freezer. On top of that, the Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator has a “fast freeze mode” that will speed up the cooling process and help the temperature in this solar refrigerator quickly plummet to -8 degrees, so you can have a refreshing drink or freeze your food as quickly as possible.
In terms of function, this solar refrigerator has an LED screen that shows you the temperature of the fridge, a battery low indicator to tell you when you need to charge, and a tough coated steel housing that’s well-insulated and durable. Our best solar refrigerator also has two removable wire baskets inside to help you stay organized and maximize the space of the fridge. Finally, the Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator gives you plenty of input options, coming with an 8-foot AC power cord and a 10-foot DC power cord.
Whytner is a large name in solar power and solar refrigerators. Any list you see of the best solar refrigerators is sure to have a Whytner product somewhere on it. It’s not just us or the professional reviewers who love this solar fridge, the Amazon reviews are positively glowing. One user called the Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator “the best bang for your buck,” while another called this solar fridge-freezer the “truck driver’s dream.”
This portable solar refrigerator and freezer has everything you could need from your solar-powered refrigerator. It’s nicely-sized and uses that size well. It has an intuitive design that will help you feel in control, and its “fast freeze mode” is a dream for anyone who’s in a rush or just not very patient. You get all of this for an affordable price that’s on the cheaper end for solar refrigerators and freezers, and that is why the Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator was an easy pick for our best solar refrigerator for anyone who’s interested in living off the grid.
#2: Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler (Best Machine)
Our second solar refrigerator, the Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler, is both smaller and more expensive than the Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator. But that just goes to show that size and price aren’t everything. It wouldn’t have been inexcusable to put the Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler as our number one pick, and there are a few reasons, which we’ll address below, that someone might decide to splurge a little and pick this refrigerator and freezer for their solar fridge to get them started living off the grid.
Reason #1: Separate Fridge and Freezer
“It’s not the size, it’s how you use it.” The Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler proves that this is true by offering a superior design compared to our number one solar fridge. This portable solar fridge gives you a separate compartment for the refrigerator and freezer functions, which lets you be more flexible than with the Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator.
Since the Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator only has one compartment, it forces you to choose between freezing and cooling your drinks and food. On the other hand, the Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler gives you the same flexibility that a standard in-unit fridge and freezer would give you. You can freeze food while cooling drinks at the same time. This will make your off-the-grid living experience much more comfortable, and you’ll feel like the royalty of the campsite while you’re living the high life.
Reason #2: Wi-Fi Connectivity
The Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler welcomes you to the future. This solar refrigerator and freezer is compatible with your smartphone and wi-fi to give you the most streamlined experience possible. You’ll be able to check on everything and stay in full control without even approaching the fridge. This is perfect if you have it packed away in an annoying-to-reach spot like the trunk of your car. Just whip out your phone and open up the app and you’ll be able to see the temperature inside the fridge and make any changes necessary. You’ll be able to drive the whole way up to your destination without rummaging through your car to check on things, and you’ll be able to cool all of your drinks and food to the perfect temperature for the situation. This solar refrigerator will help you make sure that everything is in order without even getting up from your seat. Isn’t technology amazing?
The Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler weighs 28.88 lbs. and has a capacity of 26 liters, which, as we said, is smaller than our number one solar energy-powered refrigerator-freezer. It has a similar convenient LED screen, and you’re getting that improved flexibility and organization. This Dometic product also gets to a low temperature of -7 degrees, so it’s essentially tied with the Whynter fridge in that regard.
If you want the more standard option with more room that will give you everything you need in an effective and relatively cheap design, then you should stick with the Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator. But if you want the fanciest fridge around that will usher you into the future with its smartphone app and that will let you do everything at once, then the Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler is calling your name.
#3: IceCo VL60 Dual Zone Portable Refrigerator (Most Durable Refrigerator)
If you’re going to be doing some serious off-roading with your portable solar refrigerator in the back of your car or truck, then you’ll need to buy the IceCo VL60 Dual Zone Portable Refrigerator. This durable refrigerator and freezer is the only solar energy-powered fridge that will be able to keep your food cool and fresh while you’re bumping up and down along those more intense dirt roads – if you can even call them roads.
The IceCo solar refrigerator comes with an insulated protective cover and features a shock-resistant design that will let it stand up to the elements and the road. Plus, the 18.8-inch height of this solar power-backed refrigerator and freezer is specifically meant to fit with most pick-up trucks. It couldn’t be clearer that this solar refrigerator was intended for the true outdoorsman trying to incorporate solar power into their lifestyle and diet.
The total size of this solar refrigerator is 60 liters, and it has two compartments to allow it to function as a refrigerator-freezer. It gives you even more flexibility by letting you set both compartments to function as a refrigerator and double your cooling space, so you can suit this fridge to your specific dietary and cooling needs.
This sturdy solar refrigerator also has a screen that will show you the temperature of both compartments, and a simple control panel to quickly help you make all the changes you want. Finally, if you just don’t need all of the space and you want to save a little power, you can turn off only one of the compartments while keeping the other one on. And just in case you doubted how resilient this solar refrigerator really is, it’s completely rain-proof. It can function even while on a 40-degree slope. Most solar refrigerators run into trouble once they’re on an incline, but the IceCo VL60 Dual Zone Portable Refrigerator can keep on trucking while you’re on that steep mountain road.
The IceCo VL60 Dual Zone Portable Refrigerator is a bit expensive, and while it’s a solid solar refrigerator, it doesn’t offer much that sets it apart other than its durability. That means that, unless you’re really in need of a fridge that can take a beating or if you really like the two versatile compartments, then you should go with another option. But if the flexibility and durability of this fridge are traits you can’t say no to, there’s no option for you other than the IceCo VL60 Dual Zone Portable Refrigerator. The review section on Amazon for this fridge is one avid off-roader after another being nothing but satisfied.
#4: Acopower P15 Portable Compressor Fridge (Best Low Cost)
You might be starting to get the feeling that there’s a big price wall in front of getting a good solar refrigerator. I wouldn’t blame you. All of our options have been pretty expensive so far, even the Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Refrigerator isn’t exactly cheap. If you’re starting to think that a solar refrigerator is just too pricy of an investment for you, I’m here to reassure you and prove that that’s not the case, and I’ll have some valuable help from the Acopower P15 Portable Compressor Fridge.
Acopower is another bigger name in solar power, and they offer a whole array of products for all of your ecological power needs to help you get off the grid. It’s no surprise then, that they’ve gotten in on the market for solar power-operated refrigerators. The Acopower P15 Portable Compressor Fridge might just be the cheapest solar refrigerator out there, and it proves that you can buy an eco-friendly portable fridge without paying with an arm and a leg.
The trade-off of this solar refrigerator is that it’s a bit on the small side, but depending on your needs, that honestly might be a good thing. It can hold 16 quarts, or 15 liters, of food inside, so while it’s smaller than our other options, it’s not like you’ll have trouble getting through a weekend with this affordable solar fridge. This fridge also gets down to -4 degrees Fahrenheit, which again is a bit warmer than the other refrigerators and freezers on our list, but more than cool enough for almost all conventional purposes. Also, in addition to being smaller and lighter than the competition, this budget solar fridge has handles on the sides to make it extra portable.
On top of its cheap price, the Acopower P15 Portable Compressor Fridge does have one big selling point: It has a built-in USB port. That’s right, the Acopower P15 Portable Compressor Fridge can charge your phone and all of your other devices. This fridge will be the life of your camping trip, and it’ll free up some packing space as you won’t need to pack power banks or chargers. Your speakers will be ready to go, and you’ll have music throughout the whole weekend.
There honestly aren’t any glaring drawbacks to this product, especially considering its price. It’s a little smaller and a little warmer than the rest of the crowd, but if those factors aren’t a huge deal to you, there’s no reason to not save some money and go with this fridge. If you have something specific that you do want, like the fast freeze mode of the Whynter fridge, then our other options will be more suitable for you. But if you just want a cheap solar refrigerator that gets the job done and will even charge your phone, there’s no better choice than the Acopower P15 Portable Compressor Fridge. Your friends will be shocked when they find out how cheap your new portable fridge was.
#5: Sundanzer Solar-Powered Refrigerator (Most Eco-Friendly Option)
If the biggest reason you’re making the jump to solar power is that you care about the environment, then, first of all, know your efforts are appreciated. But second of all, realize that the Sundanzer Solar-Powered Refrigerator is the fridge for you. Even among other solar-powered refrigerators and freezers, the Sundanzer Solar-Powered Refrigerator is the most ecofriendly refrigerator-freezer out there. Your new solar energy fridge is sure to help make the world a cleaner, greener, better place. We should point out, however, that you will need an 8-watt solar panel, a 15-amp charge controller, and a 110-Ah battery to power this eco-friendly fridge.
The fridge itself is honestly unremarkable in terms of specs. It’s big and a little bulky, but this of course offers you a lot of room. The inside of the fridge has a shelf to help you maximize the space and stay organized. The fridge also has a bland design and very little in the way of extra features. If you’re looking for a tailored user experience, you’re definitely better off going with one of our other options.
The biggest drawback of the Sundanzer Solar-Powered Refrigerator is its price. It falls in the same range as the more expensive products on our list, like our second and third pick. Of course, it makes up for this by being low-maintenance and energy-efficient. If you have the money for it, and saving the environment is your chief concern, then you can’t go wrong with the energy-efficient Sundanzer Solar-Powered Refrigerator.
How Do I Set Up a Solar-Powered Fridge?
I’ll spare you a long-winded explanation – there are plenty of sources online for that – but I will mention that it’s unfortunately not as simple as sticking your fridge in a sunny spot and letting the solar energy do the rest.
As we mentioned when reviewing the Sundanzer fridge, you’ll need to connect your fridge to solar panels, and if you want to be able to use your solar fridge at night, you’ll also need a battery and a charge controller. That, unfortunately, means that making the jump to solar power can be a bit of an investment. But if it’s a journey you’ve already started, adding a fridge into the mix isn’t too bad.
Of course, if you don’t already own solar panels, a battery, or a charge controller, there are cheap options to be found so that you don’t spend a fortune getting your fridge set up. The actual setup is pretty intuitive, and it’s mostly as simple as putting the correct wires in the correctly-labeled sockets, and you’ll have your solar power rig up and ready to go in no time.
Verdict: Your Best Off-Grid Solar Refrigerators
That’s our full list. Hopefully, you’re starting to get an idea of which one of our high-quality solar refrigerators is best for you, and you feel prepared to set it up once it comes to that. But we know it’s not always such an easy decision, and all of those choices can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re going to quickly recap our top products and highlight their standout features. This will help you focus on the important characteristic of each fridge and help you buy the one that’s best for your personal needs.
If you want the best value for money, pick the Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator.
This is our number one product for a reason. This fridge really does have it all and should meet the needs of anyone and everyone, especially if you’re buying your first solar refrigerator. Its 45-quart size will fit almost anyone’s needs, and it offers the full range of temperature to be a good freezer-refrigerator. The battery indicator and the LED screen are incredibly convenient, and this fridge even has a solid and durable casing. Finally, nobody will complain about the fast freezing mode that will save you precious time waiting for your drinks to get cool. This is the best way to keep your food cool while staying off the grid.
If you need the absolute best fridge, pick the Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler.
It’s smaller and more expensive than our number one pick, but the Dometic solar refrigerator is probably the strongest fridge on our list when it comes to the specs. It gets just as cold as the Whynter, but it has a separate compartment acting as the refrigerator and the freezer, so you can have all of your food prepared at once. Also, the fancy wi-fi connectivity will make you wonder how you ever got by without it, as you’ll be able to monitor your fridge and change the temperature to perfectly suit its contents without even getting up. This is the best fridge for anyone who wants their solar-powered lifestyle to be one of luxury.
If you want to keep the spending cheap, pick the Acopower P15 Portable Compressor Fridge.
The phrase “solar-powered” conjures up a mental image of futuristic and expensive products, but there’s always a budget option to be found. This affordable Acopwer product is perfect for anyone looking to get into solar power and become more energy-efficient without spending an insane amount of money. It will do everything you can ask of it, but it is a bit small and only has one compartment. However, a big pleasant surprise from this cheap machine is that it has a USB port built-in, so it can charge your phone.
There you have it. That’s it for our list of the best solar refrigerators, a quick explanation of how to set up your new machine, and a recap of our best-of-the-best products. If the highlighted options weren’t what you’re looking for, you might be more interested in the super-durable IceCo VL60 Dual Zone, or the incredibly eco-friendly Sundanzer machine that’s featured on several lists and has garnered attention for its green-friendly design.
When making your decision, remember to focus on which traits are most important to you. This will help you narrow down the search and realize that, usually, only a few products are real contenders to suit your needs. Then before you know it, you’ll be setting up your new fridge and basking in the wonder that is solar energy as you travel or hit up the campsite.