RV refrigerators come in two styles, a compressor-driven refrigerator, such as a car refrigerator with a compressor, and an absorption refrigerator. A compressor-driven refrigerator, sometimes called a two-way refrigerator, uses a small compressor unit to cool the refrigerator. They usually have two ways of powering the compressor from either 12-volt battery power or 110-volt power, hence the name two-way refrigerators. Another option for a portable refrigerator is an absorption refrigerator. Absorption refrigerators, sometimes called tee refrigerators, rely on an airflow heat exchange system located at the rear of the refrigerator to extract heat from the refrigerator and cool the interior temperature. Absorption refrigerators have three power options; 12-volt battery power, 110-volt battery power, and LPG.
Thanks to the more powerful compressor motor, compressor refrigerators are able to cool to lower temperatures and cool more stably than absorption refrigerators regardless of the outside ambient temperature.
Most compressor refrigerators can double as a freezer thanks to the powerful compressor motor.
Compressor refrigerators also work well on uneven terrain, in fact, most compressor refrigerators will work just fine whether they are flat or sloped.
Compressor refrigerators are built with 12-volt power in mind, which means they run very efficiently on battery power compared to absorption refrigerators.
Although modern refrigerators are very quiet, there is still some audible noise when the compressor is running, similar to your standard household refrigerator.
Solar power may be needed to help power the batteries that will eventually power the refrigerator.
Absorption chillers can run for long periods of time because they rely on an airflow exchange system rather than a 12-volt system.
You don't need to spend extra money on batteries and charging systems (like solar) to run.
A cooled heat exchange system means the refrigerator operates completely silently.
Due to the airflow exchange system, absorption chillers should be kept level for efficient operation
Absorption refrigerators run primarily on gas, so users need to make sure they are well ventilated.
Absorption refrigerators tend to be inefficient when running on 12 volts and drain their batteries faster than compressor refrigerators.
Since absorption chillers tend to be more affected by ambient temperature, they can usually only reduce the internal temperature to a certain level below the ambient temperature, rather than reaching a specific set temperature as compressor chillers can.