6 Best Off-Grid Solar Refrigerators In 2021

6 Best Off-Grid Solar Refrigerators In 2021
off-grid solar refrigerator
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Living off the grid and looking for a solar refrigerator option to keep your precious food cold and fresh?

You came to the right spot!

While living off the grid can be a wonderful adventure, ensuring your food doesn’t spoil can be a problem. 

Thankfully, there is an easy solution: the off-grid solar refrigerator!

Below you’ll find in-depth reviews on each solar refrigerator, put together by yours truly.

From personal experience, I know how important it is to have a great refrigerator when living off the grid. As a result, I spent a lot of hours researching and putting this review together to help make your decision easier, so hope you find it helpful. 

Solar Refrigerator
Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator
Dometic CFX 100W
Smad Solar Energy Refrigerator
Iceco VL60 Dual Zone Solar Refrigerator​
Unique UGP290L1DCB 
Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator AC 110V/ DC 12V True Freezer for Car, Home, Camping, RV -8°F to 50°F, One Size, Gray
Dometic CFX 100W 12v Electric Powered Portable Cooler, Fridge Freezer
SMETA Propane Refrigerator with Freezer 12V/110V/Gas LPG, No Noise, Fridge for Dorm Office Garage, Single Door, 3.5 Cu.Ft, White
ICECO VL60 Dual Zone Portable Refrigerator with SECOP Compressor, 60 Liters Platinum Compact Refrigerator, DC 12/24V, AC 110-240V, 0℉ to 50℉, Home & Car Use (with Insulated Cover)
Our Rating
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
Temperature Range
-8°F to 50°F
-8°F to 50°F
-7°F to 60°F
0°F to 50°F
28.4°F to 50 °F
Size (in Cubic Feet)
1.5 Cu Ft
3.1 Cu Ft
2.11 Cu Ft
7.5 Cu Ft
10.3 Cu Ft
Efficiency
1.15 KW/Day
.58 KW/Day
.53 KW/Day
1.56 KW/Day
.87 KW/Day
Why We Love This One
Best Budget Option
Excellent design, portable, & built to last
Beautiful Chest Style Design
Brand Is Known For Quality
Excellent Storage Capacity
Solar Refrigerator
Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator
Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator AC 110V/ DC 12V True Freezer for Car, Home, Camping, RV -8°F to 50°F, One Size, Gray
Our Rating
#1
Temperature Range
-8°F to 50°F
Size (in Cubic Feet)
1.5 Cu Ft
Efficiency
1.15 KW/Day
Why We Love This One
Best Budget Option
More Information
Solar Refrigerator
Dometic CFX 100W
Dometic CFX 100W 12v Electric Powered Portable Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Our Rating
#2
Temperature Range
-8°F to 50°F
Size (in Cubic Feet)
3.1 Cu Ft
Efficiency
.58 KW/Day
Why We Love This One
Excellent design, portable, & built to last
More Information
Solar Refrigerator
Smad Solar Energy Refrigerator
SMETA Propane Refrigerator with Freezer 12V/110V/Gas LPG, No Noise, Fridge for Dorm Office Garage, Single Door, 3.5 Cu.Ft, White
Our Rating
#3
Temperature Range
-7°F to 60°F
Size (in Cubic Feet)
2.11 Cu Ft
Efficiency
.53 KW/Day
Why We Love This One
Beautiful Chest Style Design
More Information
Solar Refrigerator
Iceco VL60 Dual Zone Solar Refrigerator​
ICECO VL60 Dual Zone Portable Refrigerator with SECOP Compressor, 60 Liters Platinum Compact Refrigerator, DC 12/24V, AC 110-240V, 0℉ to 50℉, Home & Car Use (with Insulated Cover)
Our Rating
#4
Temperature Range
0°F to 50°F
Size (in Cubic Feet)
7.5 Cu Ft
Efficiency
1.56 KW/Day
Why We Love This One
Brand Is Known For Quality
More Information
Solar Refrigerator
Unique UGP290L1DCB 
Our Rating
#5
Temperature Range
28.4°F to 50 °F
Size (in Cubic Feet)
10.3 Cu Ft
Efficiency
.87 KW/Day
Why We Love This One
Excellent Storage Capacity
More Information
 

Features

  • Great option for 1-2 people
  • Works as either a freezer or a fridge
  • Includes convenient removable wire baskets
  • Best Budget Option

OUR RATING

5/5

5 out of 5

If you’re looking for an unbelievable solar refrigerator at an excellent price, this is the one you want (and it’s got to the reviews to back it).

whynter solar refrigerator

The Whynter FM-45G is a 45-quart solar portable refrigerator. It’s designed to give you a durable and easy to use DC or AC powered fridge wherever you wander.

It runs on either AC or DC power and is capable of cooling down to -8 °F when in freezer mode. That gives you enough space for multiple days of a single person’s groceries or a few days for a couple/family.

The FM-45G offers several really cool features for the off-grid user. To start with, it’s designed with thick insulation to resist temperature changes. It’s easy to set up and adjust the temperature and even set it into low power mode.

Whynter Fm-45G solar refrigerator

This allows you to maintain the internal temperature without opening the lid for greatly reduced energy. It can reduce the overall drain by as much as 50%.

All in all, I absolutely love this refrigerator, and I can’t recommend it enough. If you’re looking for a bigger option, they have 65 Quart and 85 Quart Options. 

Specifications:

  • Power Draw: 1.56 KW/Day
  • Storage Capacity: 42.5 liters or 1.5 cubic feet
  • Dimensions: 18” x 28” x 20.8”
  • Fridge/Freezer Range:  -8 °F to 50 °F
  •  

Pros 

  • Good for one to two people
  • Durable and attractively designed
  • Works as either a freezer or a fridge
  • Includes convenient removable wire baskets
  • Best Budget Option

Cons

  • Smallest option on our list

Our #2 Rated Off Grid Solar Refrigerator: Dometic CFX 100W (Most Versatile – Great For 1-2 People)

Solar Refrigerator

Features

  • Extremely durable and well insulated
  • Highly efficient
  • Good option for one, possibly two people 
  • Functions as both a fridge or a freezer

OUR RATING

4.8/5

4.8 out of 5

The Dometic CFX 100W is a beast of an off-grid refrigerator. It’s built into a heavy-duty chest style body with added toughness from things like reinforced edges, stainless steel hinges, and very heavy insulation.

Dometic CFX 100W

It offers 88L of capacity or about 3.1 cubic feet. This is just about enough space for a week’s worth of groceries for a single person. It’s designed to run off either 110 V AC or 12 V DC power.

This allows you considerable flexibility in how you choose to power it from your solar system. It can be run as either a fridge or a freezer depending on your needs. Just set the desired temperature using the digital display or by pairing it with your smartphone.

Dometic CFX 100W Mobile Paired

You read that right, you can connect your smartphone to the CFX 100W via Bluetooth to monitor and control it. This is a useful feature if you have anything that’s temperature sensitive inside and want to make sure it’s right where it should be.

It has very thick insulation that helps maintain a stable temperature even with changing room temps. It also lowers the overall cost to operate the Dometic substantially.

This video shows an unboxing so you can see what exactly what it looks like shipped (skip to 6:15 in the video to get to the actual unboxing).

The Dometic CFX 100W is built to last and at a great price point, for this size, you’ll be hard pressed to find one better. 

Dometic CFX 100W Amazon Review

Specifications:

  • Power Draw: .58 KW/Day
  • Storage Capacity:3.1 Cubic Feet
  • Dimensions: 18.6″ H x 37.7″ W x 20.9″ D
  • Temperature Range:  -8 °F to 50 °F

Pros 

  • Extremely durable and well insulated
  • Highly efficient
  • Good size for one, maybe two people 
  • Functions as both a fridge or a freezer

Cons

  • Not great for families
 

 Our #3 Rated Off Grid Solar Refrigerator: Smad Solar Energy DC/AC Side-By-Side Freezer/Refrigerator (Best Portable Design)

Features

  • Easy-to-use LED temperature control
  • Customize temps for each side
  • Doors open individually for fridge and freezer
  • Ample space for up to a family of 4
  • Can be moved around very easily
  • Runs on both 110 V AC and 12 V DC

OUR RATING

4.5/5

4.5 out of 5

The Smad Solar Energy DC/AC refrigerator is a side-by-side solar refrigerator and freezer combo. It offers a total of 7.5 cubic feet of capacity with the ability to be either half freezer half fridge or all fridge.

This is a good amount of space for a family of four and ample room for a single person or a couple. The temperature for each side can be controlled by an easy to use LED control pad. 

It has very thick insulation and is mounted on four universal casters. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.

It makes moving it around really easy but can also make it more difficult to put it into a permanent spot.

Smad DC/AC Solar Refrigerator

One of my favorite features is its double door design. Despite being a chest-style freezer it’s possible to open the fridge or the freezer.

This helps improve overall energy efficiency by keeping the side you aren’t using closed uptight.

The Smad Solar Energy refrigerator/freezer combo offers a good product at a fair price.

It’s a bit more affordable than our top-ranked product but doesn’t fit as well into a standard kitchen in a tiny house or off-grid cabin.

Specifications:

  • Power Draw: .53kw per 24h
  • Storage Capacity: 7.5 cubic feet
  • Dimensions: 47.7” x 29” x 32”
  • Fridge Range:  32 °F to 60 °F
  • Freezer Range: -7 °F to 50 °F

Pros 

  • Easy-to-use LED temperature control
  • Customize temps for each side
  • Doors open individually for fridge and freezer
  • Ample space for up to a family of 4
  • Runs on both 110 V AC and 12 V DC

Cons

  • Because of its portable design, may not be the best permanent option for a kitchen space

Our #4 Rated Off Grid Solar Refrigerator: Iceco VL60 Dual Zone Solar Refrigerator (Best Portable Option)

Features

  • Robustly designed for long-term use
  • Runs on both AC and DC power
  • Energy efficient design to save you money
  • The perfect size for one to two people

OUR RATING



Our #4 Rated

4.3/5

4.3 out of 5

The Iceco VL60 is a dual zone solar refrigerator. It provides 60 liters of capacity and is designed to run off either 110 V AC or 12 V DC power.

It’s large enough to hold nearly a week’s worth of food for one or several days for a couple. It has two equally sized fridge and freezer compartments that can be adjusted independently.

You can choose between having a fridge and freezer or setting both to refrigerator temperatures.

If you’re not one for ice cream and frozen pizzas this can be a really useful feature to have.

Everything about the Iceco VL60 is designed to reassure you as to its strength and durability. It has reinforced edges, impact-resistant corner caps, and several different organizational features.

You can adjust the temperature of either side with the LED control panel, which makes it easy to switch out compartment settings when you need to.

ICECO VL60 Amazon Review

Specifications:

  • Power Draw: 1.15 KW/Day
  • Storage Capacity: 2.11 cubic feet
  • Dimensions: 31.1” x 18.3” x 18.7”
  • Fridge/Freezer Range:  0 °F to 50 °F

Pros 

  • The perfect size for one to two people
  • Robustly designed for long-term use
  • Runs on both AC and DC power
  • Energy-efficient design to save you money

Cons

  • Not the best option for more than 2 people

Our #5 Rated Off Grid Solar Refrigerator: Unique UGP290L1DCB (Best Overall Option)

Solar Refrigerator

Features

  • Provides the same experience as a traditional refrigerator
  • Downright roomy compared to many other DC refrigerators
  • Plenty of space for a week’s groceries for a family of four living off-grid
  • Free shipping can be a serious savings over some other refrigerators
  • Available in three attractive colors to better match your existing aesthetic
  • Best for couples and families 

OUR RATING

4.2/5

4.2 out of 5

When it comes to solar refrigerators, the Unique UGP290L1DCB is in a league of its own. 

Seriously, I can’t get over how much I love this refrigerator. 

To start, it’s an upright fridge/freezer combo designed to run off of 24V DC power and provides a total of 10.3 cubic feet of storage space with adjustable temperature levels.

That’s downright roomy for solar fridges, and plenty of space for a week’s groceries for your average couple or family.

It can easily store all the fruit, vegetables, meats, beverages, and even ice cream for all you sweet tooths out there (myself included).

It uses a compact DC cooling system designed to provide excellent performance without blowing through too much power, and works great on a reasonably sized solar system. 

It provides the same fridge and freezer experience you’d get from a traditional AC powered unit in an off-grid setting. Even better, it ships free of charge within the continental U.S.

That’s a major savings over some other solar fridges.

Honestly, if I could list this as my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd best choice for solar refrigerators, I would.

From all my research and experience living off grid, there simply isn’t a solar refrigerator that compares in when you consider the value you are getting for the price.

And when you factor in how much you’re saving in comparison to similar propane refrigerators, it’s really a no brainer. 

Check out this sweet unboxing to see what all comes with it. Toni loves it so much, she actually started crying when talking about it haha 

I wanted to include one last video review from Nick. The video was made with an Iphone so not the easiest to follow but provides some really great insight into owning the Unique UGP290L1DCB.

To finish the video, Nick says “I’m very happy with mine. I’ll never go propane again, especially with their twice as much new.” That’s saying something…

Specifications:

  • Power Draw: .865 KW/Day depending on ambient temperature
  • Storage Capacity: 10.3 Cu Feet 
  • Dimensions: 24” x 61” x 27”
  • Fridge Range: 28.4 °F to 50 °F
  • Freezer Range: Down to 28.4 °F

Pros 

  • Provides the same experience as a traditional refrigerator
  • Downright roomy compared to many other DC refrigerators
  • Plenty of space for a week’s groceries for a family of four living off-grid
  • Free shipping can be a serious savings over some other refrigerators
  • Available in three attractive colors to better match your existing aesthetic

Cons

  • Don’t have any

Our #6 Rated Off Grid Solar Refrigerator: VoltRay 6.1 Cu. Ft. DC Refrigerator

Features

  • Designed to be as energy efficient as possible
  • Natively capable of operating on 12 V DC power
  • The perfect size for a couple, up to a family of 4
  • Offers ample freezer space
  • Includes auto defrost feature optimized for power savings
  • Very close to the experience of a traditional refrigerator
  • Best Overall Value

OUR RATING



Our #6 Rated

4.0 out of 5

4/5

The VoltRay is an upright solar refrigerator designed to run exclusively off of DC power. It offers 6.1 cubic feet of storage space and includes both a refrigerator and a freezer.

That’s just about enough space for a week’s groceries for a couple or several days for a family of 4. The included freezer section makes up 2.12 cubic feet of that space, generous for an upright fridge/freezer combo.

It uses Voltray’s specialized compressor system that’s optimized for solar power.

It requires less power than similarly sized units and enhances overall reliability. This makes it easier to maintain and less likely to breakdown over long-term use.

The interior of the fridge includes multiple shelves and built-in LED lighting. This gives you excellent visibility inside your refrigerator without drawing much power at all.

I gave the VoltRay 6.1 cubic foot solar refrigerator the top spot on my list because of how familiar it is.

It provides the closest thing to a traditional fridge experience while still containing most of the best features in demand for off-grid solar refrigerators.

Specifications:

  • Power Draw: .36-.45 KW over 24H depending on ambient temperature
  • Storage Capacity: 6.1 cubic feet
  • Dimensions: 19.1” x 20.5” x 61”
  • Fridge Range: 35 °F
  • Freezer Range: -10 °F

Pros 

  • Designed to be as energy-efficient as possible
  • Natively capable of operating on 12 V DC power
  • The perfect size for a couple up to a family of 4
  • Offers ample freezer space
  • Includes auto defrost feature optimized for power savings
  • Very close to the experience of a traditional refrigerator

Cons

  • If you want to run off AC power, it requires an additional adapter 

How Solar Refrigerators Work 

The vast majority of solar refrigerators work on the same principles as traditional home fridges. They have an electric compressor that increases the pressure on a refrigerant and forces it into coils outside the refrigerator.

This causes it to radiate off heat and convert from a gas to a liquid and flow back into the refrigerator. It absorbs the heat inside the refrigerator and flows back to the compressor.

In solar refrigerators, this process is just done more efficiently and with greater insulation on the exterior of the refrigerator.

Benefits of a Solar Refrigerator

Energy Efficiency 

The key benefit of a solar refrigerator is how energy efficient they are. The whole point of choosing a solar refrigerator over a traditional home fridge is to lower the amount of solar power you need to generate.

Solar refrigerators accomplish this through several different methods, including highly efficient compressor systems and thicker/denser insulation.

Greater Insulation 

Most solar refrigerators incorporate substantially thicker and more efficient insulation into their design. This makes it much easier to cool them down and keep them at temperature.

This is most commonly seen in chest-style solar refrigerators. They’re designed to run on extremely small amounts of power for efficient use with solar power banks.

Depending on the model you choose they may also include a locking door that helps prevent temperature loss. 

Dual Power Modes

Many off-grid solar refrigerators are wired to run off either 110 V AC power or 12 V DC power. This allows you to either connect them through an inverter or hook them straight up to your solar battery bank.

Off-Grid Solar Refrigerator Buying Guide

Price

There’s no getting around it: Solar refrigerators are expensive. Most models approaching standard home size will cost over $1,000 and smaller units can still cost multiple hundreds of dollars.

It’s best to look at buying a solar refrigerator as a long term investment. They use less power than traditional fridges and will save you money on the overall size of your solar power system.

They’re also pretty durable when compared to a traditional home fridge. They still require periodic maintenance but are built from tougher stuff than most.

Choosing the Right Size Solar Refrigerator

When discussing the size of a solar refrigerator we’re referring to two different metrics. The actual exterior size for installation purposes and the storage capacity.

Start by finding the area of your cabin, RV, or tiny home you want to place your refrigerator in. Break out a measuring tape and find the dimensions available. Knowing just how much space you have to work with can help you narrow down the best off-grid solar refrigerator for your needs.

The best way to determine how much storage capacity you need is to put together your refrigerated groceries. This will let you know exactly how big a refrigerator you and your family will need on average.

Power Consumption & Start-Up Draw

Figuring out how much power you need for a solar refrigerator is one of the most important steps to take. You need to factor in how much it draws per hour and how many hours of sunlight you get.

For the most part, a 100 W solar panel won’t effectively power any of the fridges on this list. During peak sun, while it may produce enough power, it wouldn’t have enough left over to charge a battery for the hours when the sun’s down.

Figure out how many watts you need to power your refrigerator for a year. Once you have that figure find a solar insolation map and find out what your average daily hours of sunlight are over the year.

This tells you how many solar panels and batteries you’ll need to consistently generate and store enough power for your fridge.

One last thing to keep in mind is the start-up draw of a solar fridge. When compressors are first spooling up they pull in substantially more power than they do when operating.

In some cases, this can be as much as 6X regular operational draw. Double check and make sure your power system can handle surges of that magnitude without tripping a breaker or blowing fuses.

Single Zone or Multi-Zone Solar Refrigerators

Another important factor to consider with a solar refrigerator is if you also want a freezer. Single zone solar refrigerators are often more efficient than dual zone fridges.

If you decide to go with a dual-zone solar refrigerator I recommend you choose an upright model. Apartment-style solar refrigerators have a small freezer section on top with a refrigerator section below. 

This is the most efficient arrangement for multi-zone refrigerators.

 

Solar Refrigerator
Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator
Dometic CFX 100W
Smad Solar Energy Refrigerator
Iceco VL60 Dual Zone Solar Refrigerator​
Unique UGP290L1DCB 
Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator AC 110V/ DC 12V True Freezer for Car, Home, Camping, RV -8°F to 50°F, One Size, Gray
Dometic CFX 100W 12v Electric Powered Portable Cooler, Fridge Freezer
SMETA Propane Refrigerator with Freezer 12V/110V/Gas LPG, No Noise, Fridge for Dorm Office Garage, Single Door, 3.5 Cu.Ft, White
ICECO VL60 Dual Zone Portable Refrigerator with SECOP Compressor, 60 Liters Platinum Compact Refrigerator, DC 12/24V, AC 110-240V, 0℉ to 50℉, Home & Car Use (with Insulated Cover)
Our Rating
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
Temperature Range
-8°F to 50°F
-8°F to 50°F
-7°F to 60°F
0°F to 50°F
28.4°F to 50 °F
Size (in Cubic Feet)
1.5 Cu Ft
3.1 Cu Ft
2.11 Cu Ft
7.5 Cu Ft
10.3 Cu Ft
Efficiency
1.15 KW/Day
.58 KW/Day
.53 KW/Day
1.56 KW/Day
.87 KW/Day
Why We Love This One
Best Budget Option
Excellent design, portable, & built to last
Beautiful Chest Style Design
Brand Is Known For Quality
Excellent Storage Capacity
Solar Refrigerator
Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator
Whynter FM-45G 45 Quart Portable Refrigerator AC 110V/ DC 12V True Freezer for Car, Home, Camping, RV -8°F to 50°F, One Size, Gray
Our Rating
#1
Temperature Range
-8°F to 50°F
Size (in Cubic Feet)
1.5 Cu Ft
Efficiency
1.15 KW/Day
Why We Love This One
Best Budget Option
More Information
Solar Refrigerator
Dometic CFX 100W
Dometic CFX 100W 12v Electric Powered Portable Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Our Rating
#2
Temperature Range
-8°F to 50°F
Size (in Cubic Feet)
3.1 Cu Ft
Efficiency
.58 KW/Day
Why We Love This One
Excellent design, portable, & built to last
More Information
Solar Refrigerator
Smad Solar Energy Refrigerator
SMETA Propane Refrigerator with Freezer 12V/110V/Gas LPG, No Noise, Fridge for Dorm Office Garage, Single Door, 3.5 Cu.Ft, White
Our Rating
#3
Temperature Range
-7°F to 60°F
Size (in Cubic Feet)
2.11 Cu Ft
Efficiency
.53 KW/Day
Why We Love This One
Beautiful Chest Style Design
More Information
Solar Refrigerator
Iceco VL60 Dual Zone Solar Refrigerator​
ICECO VL60 Dual Zone Portable Refrigerator with SECOP Compressor, 60 Liters Platinum Compact Refrigerator, DC 12/24V, AC 110-240V, 0℉ to 50℉, Home & Car Use (with Insulated Cover)
Our Rating
#4
Temperature Range
0°F to 50°F
Size (in Cubic Feet)
7.5 Cu Ft
Efficiency
1.56 KW/Day
Why We Love This One
Brand Is Known For Quality
More Information
Solar Refrigerator
Unique UGP290L1DCB 
Our Rating
#5
Temperature Range
28.4°F to 50 °F
Size (in Cubic Feet)
10.3 Cu Ft
Efficiency
.87 KW/Day
Why We Love This One
Excellent Storage Capacity
More Information

Final Thoughts

When picking out a solar refrigerator, it comes down to how much capacity you need and how much power you have to work with. 

For those who’re okay with something a little smaller, the Whynter FM-45G or Iceco VL60 may be more your speed. They’re less expensive than the full-size refrigerators and still provide enough food storage space for one to two people.

If you want a more traditional refrigerator experience the Unique UGP290L1DCB is a good option. It offers great performance and efficiency for your money.

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