Our skoolie fridge is one of our most important appliances. Here are the top 7 skoolie fridges for a school bus conversion based on our years worth of research and living full-time in our skoolie for almost a year!
Best Skoolie Fridges
When looking for a skoolie fridge, there are several things to consider. Sarah and I probably spent 3 months deciding what fridge to go with. We didn’t really have a guide to walk us through what other people were using, and the benefits or negatives to each option.
So, we decided to create it.
Before we dive right into the top 7 skoolie fridges, we wanted to walk you through a few things you probably should consider before buying a fridge for your school bus conversion.
If you are like Sarah, it was all about the looks at first, then how much space for food. Us skoolie owners love Instagram and Pinterest – I get it…
But, for me – it was all about the power type, usage, space, location in the layout, and weight.
With building a skoolie comes sacrifices and decision making. And extensive negotiating with your partner.
(If you are doing your build alone, good decision.)
Here are the few things to consider when you are looking for a skoolie fridge.
Tips to Buying the Best Skoolie Fridge
The size of your skoolie, your layout, and your space available all weigh into the size of the skoolie fridge you can buy.
If you’ll be on the road, off grid, or even at a parking spot for an extended period of time, having a larger fridge is beneficial to store more food, store leftovers, etc. You will want to go as big as physically possible with your skoolie fridge for what your school bus conversion will allow. If you are limited on space, your selection will be limited.
This is also true for power. If your power is limited, then your choices will be limited.
Skoolie Fridge Power Types
Power type for a skoolie fridge comes down to mostly 3 types: 110v AC, 12v DC, and propane.
110v: You will have the most options if you decide to go with 110v AC fridge. Depending on the size of the fridge, this will be the most cost effective route for big skoolie fridges.
12v: Using 12v will mostly be an option for small skoolie fridges, which look similar to coolers, but operate like fridges. A few mini fridges out there do run on 12v DC, but the more popular options are the cooler style fridge freezers.
Propane: This is an alternative option, which is found often in commercial RVs. The benefit of these is you can save money on your skoolie electric set up. The downside is you will need to make sure you keep a good supply of propane onboard the skoolie.
What is the best skoolie fridge power type?
If you have the space in your floor plan and the budget for a larger electrical set up, then buying a larger, apartment sized 110v AC skoolie fridge will be your best bet. If you are limited on space, yet have a good electrical supply – the mid-sized skoolie fridge using 110v AC might be the way to go. Now, if you are limited on space and power supply – go with small skoolie fridge that has the option to be powered with 12v DC.
Propane may be a good option if you live in the south where temperatures stay warmer. You will most likely need propane no matter what if you are installing a skoolie range, since propane is the best option for these. If you live most of the time in the north, like us, you will want to prioritize propane for cooking and heating the skoolie with an RV furnace. You won’t want to be using even more with a propane skoolie fridge, since 20lbs of propane can burn up in about 3 days during cold winter days with just cooking and heating.
Saving Electric Power
In a skoolie build, power is a big topic – especially if you plan on being on the road. A skoolie fridge is one of the largest constant power draws if you are using an electric fridge.
If you are going with an electric skoolie fridge, you can save some energy by using a 12v DC fridge.
A 12v fridge will put less load on your power inverters and your batteries when you are not hooked up to shore power. Most inverters that are inverting 12v DC to 110v AC will see a 80-90% efficiency. This means you will lose 10-20% of your power by consuming 12v DC power through an inverter to power regular 110v AC household items.
Using straight DC power right from the battery storage to as many items as possible will save you some power. However, when it comes to a skoolie fridge, they don’t have too many good options for large skoolie fridges that run off 12v DC. If you want to buy as 12v DC fridge, then you might end up sacrificing overall fridge storage space.
What are the best skoolie fridges?
Based on all the information above, we came up with a list of 7 skoolie fridge options that are pretty much fair game for any skoolie build.
Obviously, depending on the size of your skoolie, you may or may not be able to use all of the fridge options on the list.
The Top 7 Best Skoolie Fridge Options
Alpicool C15 Portable Refrigerator
- Best Space Saver Fridge/Freezer
- 16 quart capacity
- 12v/24v DC power
- Fridge or Freezer modes
The Alpicool C15 is the smallest unit on the list. It is a 16 quart / 15L portable fridge that can be used as a fridge or a freezer with a temperature range of -6°F to 50°F.
This skoolie fridge cooler cannot be used as both a fridge and a freezer at the same time. It must be used as either a fridge or a freezer at one time.
Yet, we put it on the list mostly for one reason – it is a great unit for additional fridge/freezer space.
This is a great unit to keep in mind when reviewing the remaining best skoolie fridges we have on the list, as it is decently priced enough to be purchased and used for additional fridge or freezer storage.
If you have a smaller skoolie, you could use this unit as your skoolie fridge, but you might want to try to open up some more space for one of the larger chest fridge/freezers on the list if it will be for your main skoolie fridge.
- Length: 22.4 in
- Width: 12.6 in
- Height: 10.2 in
- Small Design for a Small Skoolie
- Quiet Operation
- Durable exterior
- Battery Protection to Not Drain Battery Dead
- Very small capacity
- Cannot freeze and fridge at the same time
- No 110v/240v AC option
Whynter FM-45G Portable Skoolie Fridge
- Best Mid-Sized Fridge/Freezer Chest
- 45 quart capacity
- 110v AC & 12v/24v DC power
- Fridge or Freezer modes
If you are worried about your skoolie fridge taking up too much space, the Whynter portable fridge and freezer is an good option.
This unit cools food and drinks to between -8 degrees F and 50 F, allowing it to function as either a fridge or a freezer. The fridge cooler also has a Fast Freeze feature. The Fast Freeze will rapidly bring the contents inside the cooler down to the low -8 degrees. This is great if you have some food you want to really get frozen before making a longer drive.
Stainless steel side handles make moving it out of the way to get to something else under the cabinet or sliding the fridge in and out from under the bed much easier.
The interior features two removable wire baskets for easy organization, insulated lid and walls, and a drain plug for simple cleaning. The exterior is tough powder coated steel and comes in both camo and gray, allowing it to fit in equally well in the man cave or at the campsite. It’s ideal for a morning tailgate, a long hunting expedition, and everything in between.
With a 45 quart capacity, you might end up having to run to the grocery store often. Also, the is only one compartment to this unit, meaning it functions as a skoolie fridge or a freezer, not both at one time. However, with it being small and 45 lbs empty, it would be a good choice for the short bus conversions with very limited space in their skoolie floor plan.
A really nice thing is that the cooler is dual voltage, with an 8 foot AC power cord and 10 foot DC power cord. This makes it easy to plug in to the outlet if you are running on shore power, or to run it off DC to bypass the inverter and save 10-20% power, as mentioned earlier.
- Length: 23.5 in
- Width: 16.5 in
- Height: 20.5 in
- AC and DC power with automatic switching
- Fast Freeze option
- Quiet operation
- Durable exterior
- Functions when tilted up to 30 degrees
- 1 year limited warranty
- Smaller capacity
- Cannot Freeze and Fridge at the same time
- Best Skoolie Fridge & Freezer Combo Cooler
- 68 quart capacity
- 110v AC / 12v DC power
- Separate Fridge & Freezer Compartments
One of the most popular skoolie fridges that are in the cooler design is the ICECO VL65 dual zone fridge cooler. The reason being it is a larger overall cooler style fridge and it has a dual compartment design. One side is a fridge and the other is the freezer.
Each zone has lid latch to keep it completely closed, which is perfect for a skoolie when you are cruising down the road. Since each side needs to be at different temperatures, they can be programed to a different desired temperature and each zone can even be turned off independently to save energy if you happen to be out of food.
The temperature ranges from 0°F to 50°F degrees. If you happen to have a side turned off, but swing by a grocery store, you can flip it on and it will be cooled down 30°F in just 30 minutes!
There is a 12/24V DC and 110V to 240V AC power cables to power it, so you can run it off of any power set up you might be creating in your skoolie.
The fridge is extremely durable – perfect for being on the road. It was built with a shockproof and rainproof features to keep maintain durability and last a long time.
This is probably the most versatile and compact solution for any small skoolie build. For its size, you are able to keep food cold and frozen, in a small space – very efficiently.
If we were building a small skoolie (like 4-7 windows), this would be the skoolie fridge we would buy.
- Length: 25.9 in
- Width: 14.7 in
- Height: 18.8 in
- 110v/240v AC and 12v/24v DC power options
- Fridge & Freezer Combo
- Not much bigger than the Whynter FM-45G
- Extremely durable
- Quick Cool & Energy Efficiency modes
- 5 year compressor warranty
- Weight is 65.7 lbs, so it would be heavy to move around often.
- Best Retro Mini Fridge & Freezer
- Retro Design
- Separate Fridge & Freezer Compartments
- Affordable Price
Alright, this one is mostly for the ladies out there who (like Sarah) love these little retro mini fridges.
I have seen a few people using these as their skoolie fridge. Yes, they are cool. Probably one of the coolest (or cutest) looking skoolie fridges.
If your design is a retro theme, of course this would be a good addition!
Yet, you will sacrifice space. These things are pretty popular, but they are mini fridges. It will hold limited amount of food in the 3.2 Cu Ft capacity, so this is not ideal if you plan on being off-grid for more than a few days. You might want to also get one of the skoolie fridge coolers mentioned above for a main fridge stored under the bed or couch, then have this guy out for show in the kitchen area – of course, if you have the space.
This actually would be a perfect fridge for a small skoolie. However, it does only run off 110v AC, so you will need to power it through your AC power/power inverter when you are not hooked up to shore power.
- Length: 19.3 in
- Width: 17.5 in
- Height: 31.5 in
- Most stylish skoolie fridge
- Separate fridge & freezer
- Full temperature control
- 4 different colors
- Reversible door
- Includes: Ice tray & ice scraper
- 1 Year worry free service
- 120v AC only
- Smallest capacity of the strictly 120v AC options
Avanti Side by Side Mini Fridge / Freezer
- Best Side by Side Mini Fridge / Freezer
- Large 2.2 Cu Ft MiniFreezer
- Full 3.2 Cu Ft Mini Fridge
- Same height as a mini fridge, almost double the space
We have a 30′ skoolie (9 window) and this is the fridge I keep coming back to thinking maybe we should have gone with this one. We built our own cabinets and this one would have fit perfectly between the stove and the sink.
Honestly, it’s the perfect skoolie fridge in my opinion. Alright, maybe if it had a 12v/24v option for power, it would be even better, but the 5.5 cu ft is pretty much all you need for 1-2 people. If your family is 3+, you might want to move onto the next fridge down.
The Avanti side by side mini fridge is truly a space saver being able to fit under a standard countertop, while giving you the fridge space of the average mini fridge, while giving you about 2/3 the space of a mini fridge for a freezer, too. The only real difference between this side by side mini fridge and a regular mini fridge is the width of the unit.
Although Sarah and I ended up going with the 10.1 Cu Ft Magic Chef we are talking about next, this side by side mini fridge still crosses my mind. It would have opened up a good amount of space for a larger “pantry” (aka more space electronics and gadgets) and used a bit less energy. Although, we would have had about 1/2 the space for cold/frozen food than we do with the Magic Chef coming up next.
- Length: 31 in
- Width: 23 in
- Height: 33.5 in
- Large Freezer & Fridge Storage
- Compact size
- Fits under the counter
- Dual zone, side by side mini fridge freezer
- Simple, but attractive exterior
- Optimal space utilization potential
- Some people have had issues with icing on the fridge side when turning the temp lower than 40°F
Magic Chef Apartment Size Skoolie Fridge
- Best Apartment Sized Fridge & Freezer
- Editors Choice! (No, really, we have this one!)
- Large 10.1 Cu Ft Fridge
- No Need to Change Shopping Habits!
This is our skoolie fridge! We have had it installed for the past 6 months and it has been working perfectly!
We had it in our bus for almost 3 months, sitting in the box waiting to be framed in with the cabinets. After we unboxed it and build our cabinets, we plugged it in and have been running it ever since without any issues.
We like having the extra 10.1 Cu Ft of space as we can stock up on drinks and food, which allows us to go about 2 weeks without having to stop at a grocery store. This allows us to go off grid for longer periods of time, too.
It does run off 120v, so we have its own power inverter for when we are not hooked up to shore power installed right next to the outlet it is plugged into. All of our wiring is actually behind the fridge and accessed by a small door next to our fold down coffee bar, so it makes it easy to switch when we are hitting the road.
I also went with a fairly robust 1200W Renogy solar system and 2x 400 amph gel batteries, so we are pretty good with maintaining power for all of our electronics. We also plan to upgrade to lithium batteries down the road. Having the larger power system allowed us to go a little bit bigger on our fridge.
We have not had to change our shopping habits for food one bit when we transitioned from living in an apartment with a kitchen the size of our skoolie, which allowed us to focus on other areas of downsizing and going tiny.
The extra space is really nice to have and the price is affordable when looking at the size compared to most of the other skoolie fridges. I would highly recommend this Magic Chef fridge if you have the space in your floor plan and your electrical system can handle it!
- Length: 31 in
- Width: 23 in
- Height: 59.5 in
- Near Full Size Fridge
- Quiet – never hear ours run
- No issues in 6 months
- Sturdy design
- Cools well without frosting up
- Optimal space utilization potential
- Takes up a lot of space
SMETA Skoolie Propane Fridge
- Best Propane Fridge
- Small & Convenient
- 3.5 Cu Ft Fridge with Freezer Spot
- 3 Way Powered: propane, 110V, 12V
If you are looking for a light and small propane fridge, this just may be it!
This propane / 12V refrigerator weighs only 76 lbs which is great for keeping your weight limit low.
Whenever we get ready to drive our skoolie, we always turn off the propane. If you are like us, you can still turn off your propane and keep your fridge running! Just switch it over to 110V or 12V and nothing in your refrigerator will spoil!
This refrigerator option would be good for someone with a smaller bus to save on room. This could be mounted under your kitchen cabinets. One thing to be aware of is your vehicle must be level at all times or else it will not cool
If you are looking for something small and light and to have an option between propane, 110v and 12v, then this skoolie fridge could be for you!
- Length: 23.2 in
- Width: 20.6 in
- Height: 32.2 in
- Easy to install
- Can switch between propane, 110v, & 12v
- Good space for 2 people
- Small and lightweight
- Piezo ignition
- You have to make sure this refrigerator is level at all times or else it will stop cooling and could cause your food to spoil
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