A portable fridge is a must-have for the modern drivers. Obviously, it is an essential device for travelers or those who spend hours on a highway.
At first it seems to be very easy to choose a device as every manufacturer of fridges offers a wide range of different models. However, the worst you can do is to choose the first available model. Before choosing the device it is necessary to:
- understand the demand: what exactly do you need a fridge for, how will you use it?
- understand the setting: where will you place the device, what are the available dimensions for its installation?
- do market research: find something good for the price.
See below the description of the most popular types of mini refrigerators for truck drivers and some tips on how to choose the best refrigerator for truckers.
How to Choose?
Firstly, we advise you to come up with an idea of a model/type of a mini fridge.
While analyzing the market we have distinguished the most common types of mini-fridges and cooling devices:
- compressor and absorption mini fridges;
- car coolers;
- insulated bags.
Thermoelectric mini fridges
Thermoelectric auto-refrigerators are the simplest variant available at the market. Such devices operate due to the current supplied through semiconductor wafers and can cool down drinks and snacks by more than 20 degrees. However such refrigerators are quite slow and cope with this task not as fast as you would expect.
Thermoelectric refrigerators are rather compact, the max. Capacity is 49 L. The cheapest models are powered via vehicle power supply system and more professional versions normally operate only under the power of 120 V.
However don’t think that you can put the hot drink in it and in a half an hour you will get a cold one. It is necessary to put already cooled products into a thermoelectric device, as it gets down to a target temperature very slowly.
Compressor fridges are similar to full size fridges. The operating mode is similar. The capacity of such fridges is 250 L and they build up the necessary temperature range very quickly and are able to keep it down to -20°С. The disadvantage is that they are not particularly cheap.
Some drivers avoid buying fridges of this type due to their price. A vice versa – choosing the cheapest model is a big mistake. It may sound strange but buying the expensive model saves you money in the future.
Unlike other models, the operational principle of gas auto-refrigerators is based on heating ammonia liquor. The active components are absent, and the desired temperature is achieved due to the absorption of ammonia with water under the gas heater. The capacity of such refrigerators reaches 140 liters, and they are just a little bit cheaper if compared to compression models.
You don’t need a special type of refrigerator if there is a need to cool food down to 5-10°C. However if you are transporting frozen meat or there is a need to chill food down to 22°C, you should choose a portable freezer. Such devices exist and they are not much more expensive than compressor fridges. In addition, they can work without an external power source, keeping the temperature low for 6 hours after being switched off.
Taking into account the freezer characteristics, it is obvious that it will not be suitable for all tasks and types of vehicles. Its capacity is excessive for just cooling food and drinks, and it consumes too much energy.
Recently, drivers have been choosing nylon insulated bags with an isothermal layer to keep their food cooled. Such containers will never replace highly capable mini refrigerators, but they are considered to be a favorable alternative for short-term storage of cold drinks and food. Its volume varies from 6.5 to 64 liters.
What else do you have to keep in mind while choosing a fridge?
Refrigerators with a capacity of 70-80 liters, for example, compressor type, are suitable for trucks, allowing you to store a wide variety of products.
High-power refrigerators are able to cool and even freeze more food and work without interruptions.
The refrigerators having a metal body are very reliable.
There are a lot of models on the market, from light (for example, hot bags) to heavy ones (for example, compressor refrigerators equipped with an engine that allows not only to cool products, but also to maintain a negative temperature).
5. Heating mode
Some refrigerators (for example, thermoelectric ones) are equipped with this function, owing to which they can replace the stove and thermos.
6. Type of control
You have to distinguish between mechanical and electronic refrigerators. Electronic ones can often fail-out, but refrigerators with a mechanical type of control are much more reliable. Simple and secure!
And one more reminder: it is better to choose a steady fridge, which wouldn’t be flying all over the truck while you are driving.
There is a huge variety of types of car refrigerators, and it is impossible to say which one is more suitable. Therefore, if you do not want to make a mistake, you should not be limited to one parameter. Check all the parameters, put it on paper, consider pros and cons and you are there!
There is one more option to get a mini fridge, which is joining the HMD workforce and getting a free fridge as a part of standard truck equipment set.
The choice will become obvious if you do all that right.