Choosing the right Fridge, how does one know which to choose?


Expedition Leader
I have been looking at so many different makes and models of refrigerators my head is spinning.

Space and size are not a problem for me, power consumption while not a problem for me, obviously I'd like to keep it as minimum as possible. I have a decent solar power system that I will upgrade shortly, you can never have too much electricity. Lol
I like the idea of having a top load refrigerator, but it requires much more space above it. A front loading refrigerator can be mounted into cabinets and doesn't require any additional room.

If I were to say I have a budget of $500 which would you suggest?
I'm only feeding myself so I don't need anything huge... but I would like the option of being able to keep things frozen or freeze things as needed. Basically that's my only requirements.
Thank you for any and all possible advice!


The scratch/dent 63qt Edgestar just came back in stock - check the last post in the <$400 fridge thread. That's what I'd go for (I just ordered one). 63qt is probably larger than you need for one person, but from what I was reading the exterior dimensions aren't that much more than the 43qt. That is going to be top load, though, and have a bit more power consumption than some (e.g. ARB, but those start at $800+).


The reason a lot of fridges you see on here are top load is they are a much more thermally efficient design. Front loads allow the cold air to fall out as they are opened. Doesn't happen with a top load. So top load fridges actually use less power for that reason.

I've seen a lot of people put top load fridges on a slide and mount them under a cabinet.

If you're looking to freeze stuff, those dual zone Edgestar/Whynter models are pretty slick. Dometic makes a dual zone model as well.


Expedition Leader
Sorry, I'm not looking to freeze & cool at the same time, just the ability to freeze if nessarry.

Since I'll be running only on solar I'd really like for the lowest power consumption.
Understand the cold falling out of front loading.

It would appear the truck fridge TF41 best suits my needs?

Since this will be my first ever portable refrigerator I would like to really make the right decision the first time.
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I too have the Edgestar 43qt (FP430) and overall have been quite happy with it (bought it mid-2010).
I've tested it in a controlled environment and it's very well within the pack as far as efficiency goes.
It has had the usual issue of a broken plastic carry handle, but it takes maybe 10-15 minutes to install a pair of sturdy chest handles from Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. (also I put a better DC input connector on mine as well).

Just from looking at pics, the Indel/Truckfridge units don't appear to have quite as thick insulation as most others, but I haven't tested one to see if it actually is less efficient or not.


At a $500 price range you are pretty much limited to edgestar whynter. Ive have my edgestar 43 since 2011 and its worked great. Im now looking into a better one and will sell my edgestar because edgestar cant handle a hot car. It kinda over heats and never turns off. only a few with the more powerful compressors can handle that arb/engel/waeco.

If you missed this review, check it out.
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I am now biased. We just purchased 2 ARB fridge/freezers. 50qt & 82 qt. VERY impressed & i am not impressed easily. These things simply ROCK !!! Gets cold quickly. Was able to reach -1* F overnight in 70* temps. Went from 72*F to 25*F in about 35 minutes. These are designed for off road & will work at up to a 30* incline. I say wait & save up some more $$$ & get an ARB. But like i said, i am now biased.


If budget is an issue then why not scour the for sale forums and E-Bay for a second hand Engal MT32,45 or 60? They are bullet proof and will work for years.

Stay away from the modern plastic body fridges...plastic breaks and then you're screwed. The ARB has had issues with the thermosat and is now on the 3rd generation...thank god they finally fixed it.Early models had different coloured LED display to the later ones....I just wish I knew which was early (non-servicable) ARB and the later ones...I think the new ones are BLUE display but check around.
The handle on my mates ARB broke off too....lucky it was under warranty and ARB coughed up a new one.
In our 4x4 group I know of three guys who've had ARB issues....but they do 'look nice' :)

I had to borrow a Weaco recently and although it was plastic I must say it worked really well under extreme, harsh and high ambient temperatures.


I'm the type of person that likes to touch the item before i buy it. Nobody near where i live had one of any brand to look at or buy. So, lots of i'net time.
Settled on an ARB 50 last year. Love it. Wife was iffy on the cost, but now no problem. Even just going to grocery store, cold stuff goes in ARB.
Have used it in the garage at 95F, in the house, in the car, and in the adventure trailer. Easy on the battery. Used it last weekend, since we had to bring ka-bobs for 25 people. Made them at home, traveled to party with ARB, so no spoilage worries.
I did buy the travel cover. Not sure if I should be impressed or not. Did find condensation between cover and bottom of ARB when using it as a freezer. So, cover is off the body for now.


The Credible Hulk
In terms of size, my 40 quart Engel is bigger than I need for myself.

Budget aside, I would get an ARB or Engel, with a slight edge to ARB for their customer service. Quality pays in the long run.


Expedition Leader
I agree quality is definitely worth the money, so is customer service. But a budget needs to be met in my case. I can possibly go over $500 a little... but not all that much.