Can I Use A Residential Refrigerator In An RV?

residential fridge

You’ve got a sweet motorhome and you want to keep your food cold while you’re travelling. You also have a brand new, beautiful refrigerator that’s just sitting in the garage collecting dust. What should you do?

Can you use your residential fridge in an RV? Is there anything special about RV refrigerators that makes them different from their home counterparts?

Can I Use A Residential Refrigerator In An RV?

Yes, you can use a residential refrigerator in an RV. The only caveat is that it has to be able to draw power from the generator or power inverter. If you don’t have access to those things, then using a residential refrigerator might not be feasible for your situation. It all depends on the type of RV and its power sources.

As long as your refrigerator is properly connected and operating, then there shouldn’t be any problem with using it while on the road (or off-road).

What Type Of Refrigerators Do RVs Come With?

Properly installed, a residential refrigerator will keep your ice cream frozen and the milk fresh. So what’s the difference between an RV fridge and a residential fridge?

  • Residential refrigerators are larger than RV refrigerators, but only by about 5 cubic feet. This may not seem like much, but it can make a big difference in available space, especially if you’re on a tight budget or have limited storage space in your motorhome.
  • Residential refrigerators use more energy than RV refrigerators do because they have to run longer to cool down when they first start up. However, over time they should use less electricity overall thanks to their high-efficiency ratings.

Is It Worth Using A Residential Refrigerator In An RV?

When it comes to refrigerators, you have two options: a residential refrigerator or an RV-specific refrigerator.

RV refrigerators are made to withstand the rigours of motorhome life. They’re built with thicker insulation, stronger doors and more durable parts, and they cost less than residential models. But despite their lower price tag, these refrigerators aren’t perfect for everyone.

Your refrigerator’s performance depends on how you use it and where you live, elevation can affect the temperature inside your camper. If you’re considering buying an RV fridge, there are some things to consider before making your decision.

The Pros And Cons Of Using A Residential Refrigerator In An RV

So, you’re thinking about using a residential refrigerator in your RV. Before you do, here are some pros and cons to consider:


– Convenience

A residential refrigerator is usually larger than an RV fridge, so it’s easier to store more food at once. Additionally, since they plug into a standard 120-volt electrical outlet, instead of being powered by propane or gas, they’re safer for use in RVs that don’t have permanently installed power systems.

– More space

Residential refrigerators are also typically taller than their RV counterparts, adding extra storage space inside the appliance itself as well as beneath it when mounted on top of cabinets or counters.

Additionally, if you’re staying in one place long-term, you can get away with storing less food at one time because your refrigerator won’t need to keep up with temperature fluctuations like those experienced while travelling down the road.


– More expensive

Even if you get it on sale, a residential refrigerator will likely cost more than an RV fridge—and the extra power consumption could add up over time. More power hungry. The average home refrigerator uses about 600-700 watts of electricity per hour, compared to only 250-300 watts for your typical RV model.

– More noise

they have to cool down large amounts of food quickly after being opened, residential refrigerators often make more noise than RV models when running or defrosting.

– More maintenance

If you choose to go with a residential refrigerator for your RV, it will likely require more upkeep and repairs throughout its lifetime than an RV model would because there are fewer parts that need replacing and thus less work is needed.

How Much Power Does a Residential Fridge in an RV Use?

The amount of power a refrigerator consumes depends on the model. Residential refrigerators use about 10-15kWh per month, although this can be less or more depending on the size and features of your appliance.

A general rule is that if you have an RV refrigerator that uses more than 1kWh per day, then it’s probably too much for your campervan or motorhome. That said, keep in mind that different models use different amounts of energy to operate at the same level of efficiency.

So while one fridge may use 10kWh/month and another might use 15kWh/month, they still might be equally efficient when it comes to keeping things cool.

Will I Need Bigger Batteries if I Install a Residential Fridge in My RV?

If you’re installing a residential refrigerator in your RV, it’s good to know that you won’t need to buy larger batteries. In fact, if you don’t use the fridge at all, or if you only use it when using the generator and not when plugged into shore power, then your battery life can be extended by several years.

It’s possible that your batteries will last longer if you have a residential refrigerator, simply because they’re not being used as much. The best way to extend their life is to make sure that you keep them charged while the RV is plugged into shore power. When running off of solar power, remember to use only the most efficient appliances.

How Long Will a Residential Refrigerator Last in an RV?

The lifespan of your refrigerator will depend on many factors, including how often you use it and the quality of the unit you select. If you’re looking for an appliance that will last for years, it’s best to select a residential unit designed specifically for RVs instead of one designed for homes.

The latter is likely to perform poorly when used frequently or in conditions like those found in RVs.

Can I Boondock with a Residential Refrigerator?

You can use a residential refrigerator in your RV, but it will not last as long as a commercial unit. Residential refrigerators are designed to be used in homes and not on the road where they face more wear and tear. They do not have the same insulation or cooling efficiency as commercial units, so they will not perform well when used for extended periods of time.

If you plan to boondock with a residential refrigerator, keep these things in mind:

  • The temperature inside the RV must remain above 40 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. If it drops below this level (or rises above 90), the compressor will shut off and you won’t be able to get any cold food or drinks.
  • A 110-volt AC power supply must be available at all times so that your fridge can run its compressor continuously without being plugged into shore power.

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We hope that we’ve answered all your questions about using a residential refrigerator in an RV. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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Written by Jane Miller

I'm Nomadic Jane, a digital nomad and travel blogger. Since 2009, I've been traveling the world and exploring cultures through my travel blog.

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