How Long Will An RV Fridge Run On Battery?

Most appliances in your RV will run on battery power for a period of time, but how long your battery will last depends on how many things it has to power.

Your refrigerator is one of the things that draws the most power, so you may be wondering how long your RV fridge will run on battery before it needs to be recharged.

Most 2-Way RV fridges will run on battery power for about 4 hours, while 3-Way fridges will run on battery for up to 12 hours as they can run on DC power alone. This does vary depending on the type of refrigerator you have, the size of your battery, and how many other things are running on battery power at the same time

how long will an rv fridge run on battery

How Long Will An RV Fridge Run On Battery

How long your RV fridge will run on your battery depends on a lot of factors, but one of the most significant is the type of refrigerator you have. If you have an absorption refrigerator, it will use less power than a compressor fridge.

Other factors that will affect how long your RV fridge will run on battery include the size of your battery and how many other appliances are drawing power from it at the same time.

A general rule of thumb is that an RV fridge will run on battery for about four hours.

However, if you have a large battery and are only running your fridge and a few other small appliances, you may be able to get up to eight hours of run time before needing to recharge.

2-Way RV Fridge Battery Usage Explained

If you have a 2-way RV fridge, it will run on either propane or electricity. If your fridge is running on battery power, it will switch to propane when the battery gets low.

This means that your fridge will continue to run as long as you have propane in your tank.

Because this type of RV fridge runs off of AC power, it won’t run on battery power alone (which is DC power) unless you have an inverter.

An inverter is a device that converts DC power to AC power, and it’s what allows you to run appliances like your RV fridge on battery power.

Unfortunately, when you use an inverter to convert the power from DC to AC, it can draw quite a bit of battery power, which means your fridge will only run for a few hours on battery before it needs to be recharged.

Another downside to this type of setup is that some RVs aren’t wired this way or equipped to handle it, so it may not work at all to power your fridge with the batteries.

On average, a 2-way fridge will run on battery power for about four hours, but this can vary depending on the size of your battery and how many other appliances are running off of it at the same time.

It also only applies to keeping your refrigerator at a normal cooling temperature of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit; if you’re trying to keep it much colder than that, the battery will run out even faster.

3-Way RV Fridge Battery Usage Explained

If you have a 3-way RV fridge, it will run on either propane, electricity, or battery power. If your fridge is running on battery power, it will switch to propane when the battery gets low.

This means that your fridge will continue to run as long as you have propane in your tank.

Unlike a 2-way fridge, a 3-way fridge can run on DC power alone (without an inverter), which means it will last much longer on battery power.

In fact, a 3-way fridge can usually run for about 12 hours on battery before it needs to be recharged.

Of course, the actual amount of time your fridge will run on battery will depend on the size of your battery and how many other things are running on battery power at the same time.

If you keep your 3-way refrigerator at a normal cooling temperature of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it will run on battery power for about 12 hours.

However, if you’re trying to keep it much colder than that, the battery will run out faster.

Related: RV fridge freezing everything? Do this.

Does An RV Fridge Need A Battery To Work On Propane?

Not all RV refrigerators need a battery to work on propane, but some do, so it’s important to know which kind you have.

We made the mistake of thinking that because we have a 2-way fridge, it would switch to propane when we ran out of battery power and still keep our food cold.

Unfortunately, ours still requires a minimum of about 5 volts to operate, even on propane, so once our batteries were depleted, our fridge stopped working altogether.

However, if you have an RV fridge that works solely on propane, it will continue to work as long as you have propane in your tank, even if your batteries are completely dead.

camper refrigerator

What Is The Best Type of RV Fridge To Get?

If you’re wondering what the best type of RV fridge to get is, I recommend getting a 3-way fridge.

These fridges are more expensive than 2-way fridges, but they’re worth the extra money because they can run on DC power alone, which means they’ll last much longer on battery power and you won’t need an inverter.

Plus, if you ever need to use your RV fridge while you’re not hooked up to shore power, a 3-way fridge is the way to go.

A 2-way fridge will also work if you’re not hooked up to shore power, but it will deplete your battery faster because it requires an inverter.

Some people prefer RV fridges that run only on propane, so they don’t have to worry about electricity at all, but the problem with this is that it runs through propane quickly and it doesn’t leave you with any other options for power, even if you do have access to electricity.

It’s also important to look into whether you want absorption or compression cooling technology in your refrigerator.

I won’t get too technical here, but absorption cooling is more energy-efficient and it doesn’t produce as much heat, which can be important in hot weather.

On the other hand, compression technology is more common and it’s typically less expensive.

If you’re not sure which type of RV fridge is right for you, I recommend talking to an RV dealer or doing some research online.

There are a lot of different types of RV refrigerators on the market and it’s important to find one that will work well for your specific needs.

Here are 2 examples of what I would consider to be the best options;

1. Dometic DM2682RB1 3-Way Refrigerator

The Dometic DM2682RB1 is a 3-way refrigerator that’s designed for RVs. It can run on electricity, propane, or battery power, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for an RV fridge that will work even if you’re not hooked up to shore power.

This fridge has a capacity of 10.5 cubic feet, so it’s large enough to store a lot of food. It also has an automatic switchover feature that will switch the fridge to propane power when the battery gets low, so you don’t have to worry about your food going bad if the power goes out.

I like the look of this Dometic fridge because the stainless steel finish is sleek and modern. It’s also very easy to keep clean. Dometic does a great job of designing their RV fridges so that they look more like residential options.

One downside of this fridge is that it’s not frost-free, so you’ll need to defrost it manually from time to time. However, this isn’t a big deal, especially if you don’t live in your RV full-time.

The steel frame makes this fridge a lot more sturdy and durable than other options, which is great for heavy travel, and the adjustable shelves give you a lot of flexibility in how you organize your food.

Overall, I think this is a great option for anyone who needs a 3-way RV fridge.

2. Norcold N811RT 3-Way Refrigerator

The Norcold N811RT is another great option for an RV fridge. It has a capacity of 8 cubic feet, so it’s smaller than the Dometic fridge, but it’s still large enough to store a lot of food.

This fridge also has an automatic switchover feature that will switch the fridge to propane power when the battery gets low, so you don’t have to worry about your food going bad if the power goes out.

It can also run on DC power alone, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for an RV fridge that doesn’t require an inverter.

Norcold RV fridges tend to look like RV fridges, so the design may turn some people off. However, I think the design is functional and it’s easy to keep clean.

One downside of this fridge is that it doesn’t have an ice maker or water dispenser, so you’ll need to get an ice maker separately if you want one.

I also find that Norcold doesn’t keep as consistent of a temperature as other RV fridge brands, which can be a problem for long-term use.

RV Camper Van Fridge

Will An RV Fridge Run On The Battery While Driving?

This depends on your RV, your tow vehicle, and the connection you have. Our fifth wheel will allow the refrigerator to continue operating on battery power while we drive, because our trailer brake connection gives our RV batteries power from the truck’s batteries. This is pretty common in larger RVs and travel trailers.

Motorhomes will also allow this, because your appliances run off of the batteries in your motorhome while it’s running. However, smaller trailers don’t work this way, nor does every trailer brake connection.

If you’re unsure whether or not your RV fridge will run on battery while driving, the best way to find out is to ask the manufacturer, check your owner’s manual, or test it for yourself.

Once again, we found out the hard way that our truck batteries powered our RV batteries when we forgot to disconnect the trailer brakes overnight and we turned the truck off. When we tried to start the truck the next morning, the batteries were dead.

How Long Will A 12 Volt Battery Run An RV Refrigerator?

The length of time a 12 volt battery will run an RV refrigerator depends on the size of the refrigerator, how many other things are running on the battery, and how cold you need to keep your fridge.

As a general rule of thumb, a 100 amp hour battery will last about 8 hours if you’re running one appliance (like a fridge) on it, but this will decrease if you’re running multiple appliances or if you need to keep your fridge very cold.

It’s always best to err on the side of caution and assume that your battery won’t last as long as you want it to, so make sure to bring along a backup plan, like a generator, just in case.

The Importance Of Keeping Batteries In Good Condition

If you want your RV fridge to run on battery power, it’s important to keep your batteries in good condition.

This means regularly cleaning and checking the terminals, making sure they’re charged, and not letting them discharge too much.

Problems common to batteries in poor condition include not being able to hold a charge, not providing enough power, and not lasting as long as they should.

If you take care of your batteries, they should last 3-5 years, but if you don’t, they may only last 1-2 years.

As a general rule, the best thing you can do to maintain your batteries and keep them working properly is to keep them charged. This means plugging into shore power when you can and running your generator regularly.

You should also avoid letting your batteries discharge too much, as this can damage them. Try to keep them above 50% if possible, and if they do fall below 50%, make sure to charge them as soon as possible.

You should also clean your batteries regularly to prevent corrosion. This is especially important if you live in a humid climate, as the moisture can cause the terminals to corrode.

Conclusion

An RV fridge can run on battery power, but how long it will last depends on the size of the fridge, the type of battery you’re using, how cold you need to keep the fridge, and how many other things are running on the battery.

It’s always best to err on the side of caution and assume that your battery won’t last as long as you want it to, so make sure to bring along a backup plan, like a generator, just in case.

Madeline Cooper
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