• RV Life and Living

Why Do we Need A RV 3-Way Camper Fridge For Our RV And What Are The Options?

As an RV’er, we need a few items to make our camping trip complete. Shelter, provided by our camper, bathroom with toilet, cooktop, to make breakfast before the campfire is going. The last, and one of the most essential items for our RV is the RV refrigerator. This little 3-way camper fridge keeps our food and beverages cold and fresh. Whether we are plugged into the campground power or in the wilds running of LP Gas, the RV gas fridge is the cornerstone of our cooking arena. As far as propane appliances go, the propane refrigerator is probably the most important and handy RV appliances.



Why is the Propane Refrigerator so different from your typical household refrigerator? In a nutshell, the 3-way Camper fridge is two refrigerators in one. First, these RV Appliances fridge can be run on straight electricity when your RV is plugged into a 30amp or 50amp outlet. Now, when you are traveling, this same fridge becomes a propane fridge. This gas fridge continues to provide cooling to your perishables by means of a propane flame that boils the ammonia based materials in the cooling unit.


The reason these RV Appliances are called 3-way camper fridge appliances. They are will automatically change between gas and electric based on if there is an electrical current provided to the camper and the control board. If no electricity, then the Propane Fridge uses LP Gas. If there is Electricity present, then these RV Appliances run off the camper’s power provided by the 30 or 50 amp connection. This feature makes them very handy for our life on the road.


Now, you might ask why we don’t use these Propane Appliances in our homes? There are a couple of reasons we don’t use this propane fridge in our kitchens at home. The first is that the RV Appliances tend to be small when it comes to their cubic foot ratings. Yes, you can get up to 12 cf, but 6 or 8cf are the most common sizes for these propane appliances.

Another major factor we don’t use this 3-way Camper Fridge at home is cost. You will note that the cost of a 8cf gas fridge is approximately $1500. A bit pricey if compared to the household models, by about 2 times the price is a good estimate.


Finally, Another major reason this propane refrigerator is that they are not efficient. Whether it is being used as a gas fridge or electric fridge, neither operation is cost effective over the long term. For instance this 8cf RV Refrigerator used on electric will cost you around $50 per month. This is double your household unit.


As a gas fridge, a 20 pound lp tank will last around a week, if your lucky. Since at this time, propane is approximately $25 for 20 pounds, you are still around $100 per month for this Propane Appliance.


However, in your Travel Trailer, this Propane Refrigerator is the perfect RV Refrigerator because the automatic feature of this 3-way camper fridge is flexible and a valuable convenience.


Now, If you need to replace your Propane Refrigerator, you have limited suppliers that manufacture this RV Appliance. Dometic and Norcold are the larger manufactures with some smaller brands like SMAD now making headway into this Gas Fridge market. Prices are all fairly close for similar sizes and they all operate on the 3-way Camper Fridge design.

So let’s take a look into the Propane Refrigerator Market, looking at RV Refrigerators that are 8cf in size.


First up is the RV Refrigerator Leader, Dometic. They have been specializing in RV Propane Appliances from the beginning, and therefore are the industry authority. The Dometic Camper Fridge has led the industry for years. I have own several throughout my years of camping.



8 cu. ft. Dometic Americana II Refrigerator DM2872RB1. Dometic Camper Fridge

The Dometic Camper Fridge is the perfect choice for life on the long road in your RV. There latest model 3-way Camper Fridge, The Americana II has been completely redesigned and offers the features you want at an good value. The Two wide crisper bins with built-in carry handles for your convenience are perfectly sized to handle all of your vegetable and cheeses. The Ergonomic integrated locking door Handles on this Dometric Camper Fridge keep your refrigerated contents safe while you’re in transit.


The Solid steel frame construction for this Propane Fridge is built for rugged durability. The unit provides Two-way operation—LP gas or 110-volt AC. Electronic controls with automatic LP gas ignition allows for easy operation. Six and eight cubic foot models are the most popular sizes for most RV Refrigerator applications. It offers convenient eye level electronic controls with hands-free automatic LP gas ignition on Plus models. Optional Ice Maker available on Plus models. Door panels and hardware freezer and fresh food door panels are 1” taller than N6 panels.



• Convenient Adjustable thermostat puts the user in control.

• Easy to operate true eye-level control panel.

• Integrity, Quality, reliability and durability built into every model.

• Fits 52 7/8”H x 23 ½”W x 24”D rough opening.

• Replaces N641/NX641 series that fit in the same cutout.

• Door panels sold separately upon request.


This Dometic Camper Fridge is the perfect RV Appliance to keep your camping rations cold and safe during your travels in to the wilds. Whether you are operating the unit in the campground on the electric option, or off grid using LP Gas, this Propane Fridge is the perfect combination of industry leading technology and durability to get the job.


SMETA 110V/Gas Propane Refrigerator Fridge Up Freezer,9.4 cu ft,White

Brand: SMETA. Holds a 4.3 out of 5 stars rating on the Amazon Platform. This unit is available in several size options. This unit we’re looking into is the 9.4 cu ft model.

Price: $1,699.00

Item Dimensions LxWxH 23.6 x 29.1 x 64.2 inches

Capacity 9.4 Cubic Feet

  • · This Propane Fridge is a great alternative to the Dometic Camper Fridge and allows you 3-way camper fridge operation while you are off grid. The unit operates 110V/gas and is a durable propane absorption refrigerator with freezer to keep all of your camping foods cold and safe.

  • · High capacity interior with egg tray, ice cube, clear balcony and tall container storage to organize your goods

  • · Easy to clean unit with powder-coated shelves, adjustable shelves, reversible doors in a durable white color. The reversible doors mean that the door swing can be left or right, depending on your needs.

  • · Multi-scene usage mean this unit isideal for hotel, home, apartment, villa,farms, cottages, chalets, grid-off place such as your cabin

  • · Approximate gas consumption per day: 1.6 lb.

  • · Thermostat: Adjustable Electric/Gas thermostat

  • · Ignition: Piezo Ignition, with visual Flame Indicator

  • · Easy to operation as control panel is located at the bottom to switch from the electric to gas operation.

  • · Very suitable for store beverage, canned drinks, fruits, meats, ice cream, milk, medicine, cosmetic...Any items for your camping adventure.

  • · Warranty: 1 year warranty is provided. They also have a professional after-service department should you have and problem.



This Propane Fridge was developed without compressor or fans so that this absorption refrigerator is totally quiet and can be used with either electricity or LP Gas.

Originally developed for commercial/residential use or similar.


With its totally silent operation and attractive exterior design, you will enjoy the convenience and comfort of this gas fridge for years to come.


Norcold Polar 3-Way AC/LP/DC 7 cu.ft. RV Refrigerator with Cold Weather Kit and Fan, Right Swing Door

Norcold is another of the top 3-way Camper Fridge manufactures in the RV Appliance Market. Their RV equipment is built strong and durable to with stand life on the road. They offer several sizes to accommodate your RV needs.

Price: $1,579.99


New updated state-of-the-art technology allows the Norcold gas fridge to increase interior storage space so you can enjoy the benefits of a 7 cu.ft. refrigerator in a 6 cu.ft. enclosure. This simplifies the process of swapping out your refrigerator by utilizing the existing cutout from your factory installed unit.


The Norcold Polar Gas Refrigerator offers an upgraded appearance with enhanced, modern styling. The Taller door panels provide you a built-in look, while the hidden liner, the hidden hinges, and the recessed door handles create a more impressive look. The upgraded refrigerator control panel features an LCD display, handy adjustable thermostat, and mode select options. This refrigerator includes the cold weather capability down to 0°F.


The New MAGNAStrips allows you to use existing door panels, if not, additional door panels are sold separately. The new model fits the same cutout as the Norcold N641/NX641 Series Refrigerator. This model is proudly made in America by an American-owned company.

  • · Adjustable thermostat puts the user in control

  • · Clear door bins, dual clear crispers, 4 shelves, thermostat back-up mode

  • · Does NOT include ice maker

  • · Easy to see and operate true eye-level control panel

  • · Cold weather capability to 0°F

  • · LCD Control Display

  • · 7.2 cu ft refrigerator space in a 6 cu ft cutout design, allows you easy swap with existing unit while offering you 20% more space inside for your perishables.



This Norcold 3-way camper fridge is the perfect alternative to the Dometic Camper Fridge. Comparable in many areas, this USA b0uilt product uses industry leading designs and is built to last. The cold weather package allows this unit to operate at temperatures down to 0 degrees. You never know where or when you will be camping, so this is an amazing feature.

After looking at 3 of the industry leading Propane Refrigerators for your RV or Travel Trailer, you can see that they all offer durable construction, industry leading technology and options for the amount of interior space for your perishables. Pricing is all fairly consistent, around $1500. Also, Please be aware that none of the above gas fridge options come with gas hose or gas regulator. These units are designed to be installed into your existing fridge cutout where you already have access to the gas line. Your RV gas line is already utilizing a regulator, so no need to add one.


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