6 Best Solar Refrigerators For Better Camping & Survival

By "Just In Case" Jack | Updated: 09/21/2023

Today I have something really cool to share…

A Complete Guide On Buying (and Utilizing) A Solar Refrigerator For Camping & Survival

Because in recent years, solar refrigeration is booming in popularity.

And thankfully, prices are dropping.

So whether you’re:

  • An off-grid enthusiast
  • A hard-core camper
  • Or a prepared survivalist

It’s time to gear up and invest in this new technology!

TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE…    ↓(click to jump)
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Best Solar Refrigerators For Sale Today

We’ve scanned the internet and found the seven best solar refrigerators on the market, so you don’t have to:

1 Our Top Pick
ICECO VL45 Portable Refrigerator with SECOP Compressor

Starting off our list is the VL60 portable refrigerator from ICECO.

It has a built-in DC adapter, but the compressor electronics use both AC and DC. It comes with two separate power cables to connect 12/24VDC and 110V to 240V AC power.

This solar refrigerator unit comes complete with solar panels and a power station.

And the compressor itself has a great safety feature. When connected to a car, it will auto shut off, so you don't kill the car starter battery.

It's also compact enough to fit in the back of a car for extended camping trips. But it still has a large 60L capacity for all the food and drinks you need.

There are two heavy-duty metal handles on the side so two people can lift it in and out of the trunk.

It also has a fast cooling compressor with variable control. That way, you set the temp you need with dual cooling zones allowing you to select one as a freezer and one as a refrigerator.

There's also a great LED display. This display allows you to see even in bright light. So you can adjust the temperature and mode during the day.

ICECO works with international brands like Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac, providing vehicle fridge solutions.

And it comes with a five-year warranty for the compressor and one year on everything else. So ICECO has you covered.

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↓ Overland Fridge On A Budget Overview

ACOPOWER LionCooler X40A Combo

The ACOPOWER is a tremendous portable fridge for day trips and overnighters. It's made to cool and freeze all your food items off-grid.

It charges with solar and runs on a battery with a long-lasting 10 hours of chilling and freezing time.

With 42L capacity, it is ideal for:

  • Camping
  • Tailgating
  • Fishing
  • Rving
  • Picnics

It comes with rigid 6" wheels and a telescopic luggage handle to easily pull & roll it around.

Having a battery-powered fridge freezer like this one is a game-changer in portability.

On the refrigerator, you have three different charging modes:

  • AC
  • 12-volt DC in the car
  • Solar panels

This package allows you to drive to your campsite and keep things cool without depleting your refrigerator battery.

Your battery only kicks in when you unplug the other sources of power.

There is a digital smart control panel for temperature control. But you can also remotely manage it through a free app for your phone.

The battery takes around 4-6 hours to charge fully, but you are good to go for up to 10 hours.

They also come in sizes from 15QT to 52 QT, so you can pick the one that fits your needs.

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↓ First Solar Powered 12v Cordless Fridge

GOSUN Chill Solar Cooler + SolarTable 60 & PowerBank

GOSUN's Chill solar cooler is what you want on your next camping trip or off-grid adventure.

This solar chest refrigerator comes with its own 30 Watt solar panel and power bank. So you have everything you need without buying extra equipment.

This package is more than just a cooler though; it's your bug-out solar refrigerator.

It has a touch screen to control the cooling environment from -4 to -68 degrees F.

With the included power bank, it charges the Chill cooler as well as your tablets and phones. And when you connect the solar panel, you charge everything up with the power of the sun.

Once charged, it will keep your food items nice and cool for up to 14 hours.

Then plug it into either an AC plug-in, DC volt cord, the power bank, or solar panels, and your food will never spoil.

This cooler has a large capacity and doesn't need room for ice like your typical chest cooler. It comes with:

  • Chill solar cooler: AC adapter, 12V power cord, and two bungee cords
  • Solar panel 30+: 30 Watt solar panel, DC coaxial cable
  • Power Bank: 144Wh power bank, soft-touch C

GOSUN's Chill solar refrigerator will keep your food safe when you're far away from the grid.

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↓ Solar Electric Cooler | GoSun

SetPower RV45S Portable Fridge Freezer

Having a way to keep your food from spoiling on the road or in your remote cabin is vital.

And with the RV45 portable solar refrigerator, you're good to go.

You can power the Setpower's RV45 with DC 12V/24V and an AC power cord (when you have access to grid power).

You can plug in your solar panels and/or power bank to charge the batteries, so off-grid doesn't mean spoiled food.

With two settings, you have a MAX mode to quickly cool the unit and a MIN mode for extended cooling between charges.

This mode will keep your food safe but save power.

The unit's construction is robust with a hard metal shell and steel handles and latches.

The interior walls are plenty thick to keep the cool air inside. And while charging from a car battery, it has a 3 stage protection system, so it doesn't drain your car dead.

The LED display is pretty good and allows you to see what you are doing in the dark.

And it comes with a removable basket that allows you better organization inside the unit.

It's a worry-free investment with a two-year warranty on the compressor and one year on the other parts.

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↓ Setpower RV45 – Overland Fridge – Real Review

BODEGA 12 Volt Car Refrigerator / RV Portable Freezer

Bodega has a portable refrigerator that connects to solar for your next remote trip.

This unit is a dual-zone car freezer with 45.5L on one side and 29.5L on the other.

This refrigerator allows you to control the temperature on each side independently. That way, you can have a freezer and fridge in one unit.

For power, you have options. It comes with a 12/24 DC cigarette lighter connector as well as a wall plug and adapter.

It also has excellent battery protection when plugged into the car during your trip. So you'll never end up with a surprise dead car battery.

Power up and charge with the sun and this refrigerator keeps things cool at night.

The powerful compressor brings the temp to freezing levels in just 30 minutes when empty.

Then load your food in, and everything is safe.

Solid wheels and a retractable handle make moving it around a snap. And the LED light display makes changing settings a breeze.

Or you can use an app to operate and change settings.

This is a great solar refrigerator to protect your food when you're away from the power grid.

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↓ Cool 12 Volt Refrigerator | Freezer Review

Whynter FM-62DZ 62 Quart Dual Zone Portable Fridge/Freezer

When you need the advantage of a fridge and freezer, Whytner has what you are looking for.

This large capacity 62Q solar refrigerator is a 2-in-1 appliance with a powerful compressor. It's designed to cool and freeze between -8 to 50 degrees F.

These dual zones are independently temperature controlled. That way, you can set it up for your personal needs.

It even has a fast freeze mode.

For power, you have the option to use AC and DC so it can transition from on and off-grid seamlessly.

Bring along this unit with your solar setup, and then all you need is the sun to charge up.

The outside is powder-coated steel housing with stainless steel handles. And the inside has a rugged insulated interior. Plus, it comes with two removable wire baskets for better organization.

For outdoor recreation activities, take this unique solar refrigerator along. You'll be glad you did.

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↓ Whynter Is Coming, Be Prepared! First-Time Setup Test

What Exactly Is A Solar Powered Refrigerator?

In its most basic terms, it’s a unit that can keep food and drink cool or frozen using the sun’s photovoltaic energy.

You set it in direct sunlight, and it converts the sun’s rays into energy through attached solar panels.

They usually come with onboard batteries so they can operate even when the sun isn’t shining.

This feature allows you to keep meat and dairy cold and extends your off-grid timeline.

That way, you can survive and thrive even in remotely populated areas.

And in urban locations, major weather events can take out the power grid.

But a solar refrigerator allows you to keep your fresh food and calories from spoiling.

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How Do Solar Refrigerators Work?

Solar refrigerators function just like traditional ones except for their source of power.

They can run off the power of the sun.

Most units need at least 5 hours of daily sunlight to keep food cold over several days.

But as we know, the sun doesn’t always cooperate.

That’s why most setups include a large battery pack and inverter.

The solar panels feed the battery pack while the refrigerator pulls power from this battery pack.

If you generate enough solar over a series of days to keep the battery net positive on power, you’ll never run out.

And the more solar panels you have, the better your chances of staying net positive on power.

Now, solar panels produce DC power.

And the batteries tend to store DC power as well.

But refrigerators have a compressor that typically runs off.

That’s why most have an inverter onboard.

These inverters take the DC power from the battery and convert it to AC power.

That’s the general setup of most solar-powered refrigeration systems.

However, below we go over three different cooling mechanism variations:

1. Solar Photovoltaic

This solar-powered refrigerator has solar panels with photovoltaic cells.

These cells transform the sun’s rays into DC power.

Then a converter switches that power to AC to operate the onboard compressor.

The compressor pumps refrigerator fluid around the unit.

This setup keeps out the heat and keeps everything cold.

This type of solar refrigeration is the most common type available today.

2. Solar Mechanical

This system uses solar power from the sun to heat a solution running the engine.

This setup allows the compressor to cool the system.

This system creates high temperatures and converts a fluid into gas under pressure.

This gas operates the compressor, after which it gets condensed and recycled.

It is not as effective as other solar refrigeration types.

Why? Because of the performance reduction caused by the high-temperature surges.

3. Solar Absorption

Solar absorption works by using two fluids that cycle through the system.

The first one is a refrigerant that performs evaporative cooling.

This then extracts heat as it turns into gas.

It then absorbs into the second fluid creating low pressure and runs through the unit.

Finally, it heats the combined fluid, and the refrigerant evaporates out for recycling.

This mechanical circulation system cools the refrigerator.

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Using Battery Banks or Power Stations As A Power Buffer

Perhaps you have a small solar charger (like this one).

Many folks own one to charge a phone, laptop, and a few small appliances.

Lantern SolarFor example, this Anytime Solar Battery Charger is the one we recommend.

But these small solar chargers are not enough to power larger appliances.

Instead, you’ll need quite a bit more wattage to run a solar-powered refrigerator.

It’s more power-hungry and will need at least 1,500 watts to operate long-term.

The good news is:

Most solar panels connect seamlessly with any power station.

If you are a serious survivalist and want to get off-grid, you should get a power station.

Solar panels are great when the sun shines but are not worth much at night or on overcast days.

That’s why storing solar power in batteries is vital for success.

Well, a power station is essentially a smart battery.

One that helps you capture the most sun from panels and invert that power from DC to AC for easier usage.

If you want to learn more about power stations:

Bluetti Power Station ReviewCheck out my Bluetti Power Station Review.

This unit will help you create even more portable off-grid energy – the energy you can use to power nearly any household appliance.

The bottom line is:

If you want to maximize a solar refrigerator’s capabilities, pair it with a power station (like this Bluetti).

You may need to get an adapter; otherwise, you’re good to go.

Plus, many power station companies also make their own panels as well.

These bundles help to remove unnecessary confusion and guesswork.

You can set up a power station for your portable solar panels and plug them into a refrigerator.

Or just a small regular portable refrigerator.

This daisy chain will keep everything charged and running.

And when the sun gets blocked, you still have 100% power in the battery pack to keep the refrigerator doing its job.

This setup is excellent for your system.

And it’s one that serious off-grid campers and survivalists use all the time.

6 Reasons To Invest In A Solar Refrigerator

First off, who doesn’t want a solar refrigerator?

It’s a great appliance to have when you are away from the power grid.

Sure, there are limitless ways to spend your hard-earned money.

So let’s go over six reasons why you should invest in a solar-powered refrigeration system.

1. It’s Free Energy

Plug in your solar panels and enjoy your cold storage unit if you have an existing solar refrigerator system.

If not, then you’ll have to buy a solar panel or two and maybe a power unit.

But the point is:

After the initial costs, there’s no more money necessary.

You get to harness what the sun provides for free from there on out.

It becomes a free supply of energy for refrigeration.

2. It’s Eco Friendly

Is saving the planet a priority for you?

If so, running a solar-powered refrigerator is a step in the right direction.

As more and more devices become solar-compatible, we should all invest in them.

Why? Because they lower our dependence on fossil fuels for energy.

Buying a solar refrigerator means you are part of the eco solution.

3. Comfortable Camping

Camping is great fun for the family, and one of the most important things you bring is delicious food.

We all tend to eat more when out in the elements, especially around the campfire.

That’s why you need to keep your food cool because the last thing you want is to go for more ice or lose food to spoilage.

With a solar system, you’ll keep your food fresh the entire trip.

The bottom line is:

This appliance allows you to have an extended off-grid vacation or homestead.

4. Preparedness

Here at SkilledSurvival, we’re all about informing and educating for preparedness.

And perhaps that’s why you’re here because you want to be more resilient for any future emergencies.

That’s why you should stock your bug-out location with food, water, and essentials.

And if you have the means, you should invest in solar equipment.

That way, you can thrive in an off-grid environment for long periods.

A solar refrigerator will allow you to keep fresh produce, dairy, and meat for long periods.

That way, you can concentrate on other survival essentials around your remote location.

5. Safe And Clean

Solar power is among the most reliable sources of energy there is.

If the sun burns out, we’ve got bigger problems than running our solar panels, that’s for sure.

Until that happens, you’ve got a renewable resource for your solar refrigerator.

It’s clean energy that doesn’t produce any negative carbon outputs.

And because most solar-powered refrigerators run on 12 volts, it’s incredibly safe.

Also, there’s no fuel or gas necessary to power them.

So it makes it less of a danger for the family.

6. Blackout Immunity

Depending on where you live, you may experience frequent disruptions in power.

Storms bring down power lines all the time.

And the last thing you want is to be in the dark without electricity for days.

Having your own solar refrigerator solves your power outage food problem.

You can be the only one on the street with viable food to eat and in a crisis.

As long as you get some sun every few days, your solar-powered refrigeration system will keep your meat cold.

You no longer have to depend on the fragile power grid.

After some serious thought, they make perfect sense.

You don’t want to be the family that struggles when TSHTF.

Instead, be the resilient family that’s prepared and thrives in a volatile environment.

Final Thoughts

Heading away from civilization doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice.

By equipping yourself with a solar refrigerator, you’ll not only survive but thrive.

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