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12 Volt Refrigerator

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So I picked up a small enclosed trailer (6x12), and I want to equip it as a mini toy hauler. Mostly day trips, maybe the occasional overnighter. Trying to keep things as inexpensive as possible, because I still plan to buy a full toy hauler in the future.

I'd like to run everything on DC power if possible, it simplifies things for the time being. Batteries, lights, and charging I have a handle on, but I'd really like to figure out how to have a fridge without breaking the bank. Since my 2 year old comes with me most of the time it helps if I can keep drinks and lunch cool. Coolers work, but aren't my favorite solution. All the propane fridges I've seen have been spendy, I'd like to stay under $250.

I see lots of cooler/warmers, but previous experience with this style has been less than stellar. The ones I tried were pretty cheap though, so if there is a version that works better I'm open to suggestions.

So any ideas? Look forward to the forum's wisdom, thanks in advance!

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The purchase price on a full blown compressor style refrigerator is going to be over your $250 price limit.


I currently have a 12V compressor fridge in the semi, and it will freeze my water, pop, meat, cheese, etc that I keep in there if I crank it up too far.

I have used the thermoelectric coolers with OK luck, they won't freeze anything, but the big trick to getting them to work efficiently is pre-cool them down before you intend to use them (get a DC converter and let the cooler run overnight before you use it, or throw it in the chest freezer if you have one).

Their weakest part is, they don't 'pull' down to a set temp like a fridge does, they cool down a certain number of degrees below the ambient air temp, usually about 40F...which is OK if it's 75F, but when temps break the 100F mark, they're about useless.

You may be able to get a working fridge from a damaged/wrecked RV for cheap....

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