Best 3 Way Fridge

October 25

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Best 3 Way Caravan & Camping Fridges in Australia

Are you looking for a new caravan fridge?

Caravan fridges are one of the most important appliances in your camping vehicle. We all want to keep our food and drink cool and safe from spoilage. However, there are tons of different options out there - so what fridge should you buy?

The answer to this depends on your budget and the amount of space you have available in your van.

There are several types of caravan fridges on the market. We’re going to focus on 3 way fridge freezers here, with one exception. In case you aren’t aware, 3 way fridges can run on 12V, 240V and LPG, making them highly versatile.

Let’s look at some of the top options out there and see which is the best one for you.

 

Dometic 153L Absorption Fridge/Freezer

Thetford 91L 3 Way Absorption Fridge

Dometic 188L RUA 6408X 3 Way Fridge

Bushman 185L XCD185-X, 2 Way Fridge/Freezer


Dometic 153L RUA5208X
Our Pick
Thetford 91L Fridge
Dometic rua6408x
Best Value
Bushman xcd185l

3 way

3 way

3 way

2 way

146 L

91 L

188 L

185 L

13 L

10 L

46 L

45 L

550 x 1,191 x 677 mm

556 x 770 x 582 mm

550 x 1,447 x 677 mm

660 x 1,460 x 640 mm

49 kg

28 kg

60 kg

72 kg

12V/240V/LPG

12V/240V/LPG

12V/240V/LPG

240V/LPG

3.9 kWh/24hr

2.7 kWh/24hr

5.8 kWh/24hr

??

380 g/24hr

240 g/24hr

500 g/24hr

500 g/24hr

Left

Reversible

Right

Reversible

3 years

3 years

3 years

3 years

Best 3 Way Caravan Fridges Australia

Dometic 153L Absorption Fridge/Freezer

Dometic 153L RUA5208X

Runner Up

Pros
  • Touch control display
  • LED lighting
  • Medium weight
  • T-rated cooling unit
  • Built-in door storage
  • Narrow footprint
  • 3 year warranty
Cons
  • Expensive
  • The door isn’t reversible
  • Freezer capacity small

Dometic is one of the most popular brands in the caravan fridge universe.

Their 153L Absorption Fridge is a popular option because of its compact height. It stands at about 1.2m high, making it a reasonable option for most camping vehicles. This fridge also has a weight of just under 50kg, which is typical for these units.

When it comes to specifications, this 3-way caravan fridge is nothing unusual. As expected, you can power it from your vehicle with a DC or AC connection. However, Domestic recommends using gas as this is the most efficient fuel source.

Unfortunately, it’s not the most economical fridge as it consumes 380g/24hrs. This isn’t massive but considering the size of the unit’s storage space (153L), it’s not the best. Another irritating point is that the door isn’t reversible.

The other issue is that the freezer capacity is small at just 13L. If you have a bigger vehicle and plan on spending a lot of time off the grid, this might not be the fridge for you. But it would make a great caravan fridge as it’s not too big or heavy.

A touch control display for adjusting settings gives this fridge a classy feel. It also has a Tropical-rated cooling unit, making this fridge effective even in Australia’s hottest conditions.

Thetford 91L 3 Way Absorption Fridge

Thetford 91L Fridge

Our Pick

Pros
  • Cheaper than rivals
  • Compact and light
  • Reversible door
  • Electric display
  • T-rated for intense heat
  • AGA approved to Australian standards
  • 3 year warranty
Cons
  • Size won’t suit everybody

Thetford’s 91L 3 Way Absorption Fridge is an outstanding appliance. This isn’t the biggest 3-way fridge freezer, but it holds several advantages over the Dometic 153L unit.

Firstly, it’s over $1,000 cheaper. That’s an incredible saving relative to the Dometic units. This caravan fridge also has a 3 year warranty.

It only has 91L overall space and this may turn people away. But if you have size restraints, do shorter trips or plan on eating out a lot, this may well be the best caravan fridge for you.

The size is really the only drawback that we have found with this fridge. If you can get past this, then there are so many positives. It has an electric display as well as a reversible door. This is very convenient and makes it suitable for all camping vehicles.

Thetford wants this to be the best caravan fridge for the Australian market. It’s AGA-approved to Australian standards and designed to run in intense heat. Meanwhile, it’s easy to clean and comes with an ice tray.

For its size, this is the best caravan fridge in Australia.

Dometic 188L RUA 6408X 3 Way Fridge/Freezer

Dometic rua6408x

Runner Up

Pros
  • Large capacity
  • Narrow cabinet design
  • T-rated cooling system
  • Automatically switches from DC to AC power
  • TFT control panel display
  • 3-year warranty
Cons
  • Higher fuel consumption
  • Very expensive
  • It may be too big for some vans
  • The door isn’t reversible
  • Must be installed in a fridge recess

Another excellent Dometic product, this is one of the biggest 3-way caravan fridges on the market. This will either be a pro or a con depending on the size of your camping vehicle and the space you have available.

It’s probably best suited to RVs and larger motorhomes because of its size and weight (60kg). It also requires a fridge cutout so that it stays secure when travelling. Many caravans and smaller campers won’t have one of this size (see specs in table at start of article).

Unfortunately, Dometic seems to be allergic to reversible doors for some reason. This is a shame because a reversible door would make this a much more versatile fridge.

This fridge has some great selling points. It has the same T-rated cooling system as the others yet it comes with a sharper TFT control panel instead of an LCD like the others.

However, this fridge consumes a lot of energy compared to smaller options at a rate of 500g/24hrs. That’s the sacrifice you make for a 188L fridge including 46L of freezer space.

The final issue with this fridge is the cost. It retails for just under $3,000, making this a hefty investment. You really need to make use of it for it to be worthwhile.

Bushman 185L XCD185-X, 2 Way Fridge/Freezer

Bushman xcd185l

Best Value

Pros
  • Cheaper than similar-sized rivals
  • Low power consumption and effective absorption
  • Large size and generous freezer space
  • Great door storage
  • Quiet operation
  • 3 year warranty
Cons
  • Only a two-way fridge
  • Heavy

Unlike the other entries on this list, the Bushman XCD185-X isn’t a 3 way camping fridge. It’s actually just a 2 way, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Usually, 2 way fridges only run off 240V and 12V power. The Bushman is closer to a 3 way fridge because it can use either 240V AC power or LPG gas like a typical 3 way.

The Bushman runs silently thanks to the lack of compressor and is large enough to hold food for a family. This makes it great for an RV or a big campervan. At just over $2,000, it’s almost $1,000 cheaper than the similarly-sized Dometic RUA.

The 185L storage capacity includes a 45L freezer. It also consumes the same amount of gas as the Dometic RUA at 500g/24hrs.

One potential issue is the Bushman’s weight. It is a very hefty 72kg and difficult to maneuver into position. Consider whether this fridge is too heavy for your vehicle or not.

Things to Consider When Purchasing A 3 Way Fridge

There are several factors to consider before you buy a camping fridge. Let’s look at these now.

Budget and Size

This may seem obvious, but your budget and the available space in your van are the most important points to think about.

Firstly, bigger fridges typically cost more. However, this also brings value for money into the equation. If you have limited space in a caravan the likes of the Thetford 91L 3 way fridge may suit you perfectly.

It’s cheap, light and works amazingly well. But if you are travelling with a family or will spend a lot of time off the grid, you may want something bigger. That’s where a camping fridge like the Bushman comes into its own.

There’s bound to be a caravan fridge out there for every budget and caravan.

Lifestyle

Think about your lifestyle and what you like to do.

If you plan on cooking in your van most of the time, you’ll probably need a bigger fridge. This is especially true if you’re going into the outback or spending a lot of time driving. Then, the Bushman or the Dometic RUA are great options.

However, smaller fridges may suit a lot of people if they plan to eat a lot in restaurants. In fact, if you hardly ever cook, a portable compressor fridge or even an icebox can be enough to keep your milk and sandwiches cool.

Staying Safe

Safety is a major concern when it comes to any gas appliance. 3-way caravan fridges are no different.

You must hire a qualified technician to install your new appliance. This isn’t negotiable - it’s simply Australian law. It’s also extremely irresponsible if you don’t take this measure.

Gas is dangerous for several reasons. Firstly, it’s highly pressurised and flammable, and secondly, a leak can cause carbon monoxide poisoning which isn’t great in a tight space like a camping vehicle.

Using a gas technician removes these safety issues from the equation. If you are also installing an LPG heater, they can install and certify this for you at the same time.

Check the relevant legislation for more information.

Buy A Brand

We understand the temptation to save hundreds of dollars by buying an unknown brand of caravan fridge. But this is a risky move that can cost you more money in the long term.

The likes of Dometic and Thetford are well-known and respected manufacturers. As they’re so popular, it’s also easy to get them serviced. It can be very difficult to find parts if something breaks on a lesser known brand.

Meanwhile, recognized brands will come with a decent warranty. As you can see above, all four of these camping fridges have a three-year warranty. This shows that they stand by their appliances and will support you for a long time.

Bonus Features

There’s more to caravan fridges than just keeping your food cool.

Reversible doors are a very useful feature if you’ll be storing your fridge in the corner. Unfortunately, that’s a drawback of both Dometic fridges.

However, they do have excellent visual displays and are very user friendly. Every caravan fridge has its positives and negatives.

Look for other bonus features like double-locking systems and USB charging outlets. The technology continues to develop and manufacturers are always offering more.

Australian Standards

As you’ll notice, all of the appliances above are designed with Australian conditions in mind.

Even if you don’t go with one of the fridges listed above, be sure that the one you do choose is T-Rated so that it can run in hot conditions.

Also, they should be AGA-approved. This guarantees that they comply with Australian gas standards.

Summing Up

There are so many caravan fridges on the market today. Most people will go for a 3-way fridge freezer because they offer the most flexibility. But the likes of the Bushman offers an interesting alternative at a great price-point.

If you’re going off the grid for a long time, it might even be the best option. The Bushman’s large capacity and lower price make for a great combination. There isn’t a significant difference in energy consumption between it and the more expensive Dometic RUA.

Meanwhile, it is much larger than the Dometic 153L at a significantly cheaper cost. However, the best thing about Dometic is that they produce quality products and maintain a strong support network.

The Thetford 91L 3 way caravan fridge is great value for money and that will appeal to a lot of potential customers. Sure, RV owners that go on longer trips will probably want something bigger. But it’s perfect for a couple or for people who cook less or are able to top up supplies regularly.

If you’ve any questions about these caravan fridges, please leave a comment below.


This article may contain affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product or service after clicking on my link. This helps pay for the cost of running the website. You will not be disadvantaged in any way by using my links.

Note that while every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, there may sometimes be errors. Check all specifications with the manufacturer before purchasing any product.

Louis

After swearing off camping at a young age after a number of cold nights in cheap sleeping bags, Louis has ended up becoming a great lover of the natural beauty that Australia has to offer. This change of heart came after realising that, with the right equipment, camping can be as comfortable as it is fun. He is passionate about helping people reconnect with nature and explore Australia's great outdoors.

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