Best Refrigerators for Truckers: Is There One on the Market? [Updated July, 2023]

It is no secret that Big Rigs, 18 Wheelers and Long Haul drivers spend countless hours on the road, so the need for healthy, nutritious meals is no small matter to them. That is especially true for over the road truckers who spend weeks on the road, without coming back home.

It is true that the USA has plenty of road-side restaurants, serving all kinds of snacks and dishes. However, you cannot be sure whether the food is fresh or well-prepared. Improper nutrition might result in acute stomach problems, chronic diseases and other conditions that can have a major impact on one’s health, productivity and income in the long run.

With this in mind, many drivers choose to bring homemade food along for the trip. This calls for proper selection of food and storage appliances, as the trucker’s job means spending long periods of time on the road, and it is critical to keep the food fresh and healthy.

In this article, we aim to present all the pros and cons of purchasing various types of truck refrigerators in a market brimming with brands and models.


  1. How to Choose a Semi-truck Refrigerator?
  2. Important Points to Consider When Choosing a Semi-truck Refrigerator
  3. What Types of Devices Can Truly Be Called Refrigerators for Truckers?
  4. Best Mini Fridge for Truckers
  5. Best Large Fridges for Truckers
  6. Best Portable Fridges for Truckers
  7. Best Built-in Fridges for Truckers
  8. Best 12V Truck Fridges
  9. Best Electric Cooler for Truckers
  10. Conclusion

[custom_video code="fZwD389ypQ4"]/uploads/NewFolder/refrigerators-placeholder.png[/custom_video]

How to Choose a Semi-Truck Refrigerator?

Here are some tips on how to choose quality refrigerators for truckers.

  1. Available space in the cab is the main point to consider: the more space you have the bigger fridge you can fit.
  2. Choose your favorite format: a portable trucker freezer or fridge you can carry with you any time, a built-in model for maximum comfort, or even a small standalone fridge you can jerry-rig inside your cab.
  3. Think of the way you will open your fridge: it may be a hinged door (right and left options are available), a chest, or a drawer type.
  4. Next, do you want a freezer? Some models are the combined refrigerator/freezer type, others are single purpose (refrigerator, cooler or freezer).
  5. Volume and power are interdependent and they ultimately mean self-sufficiency. The greater they are the longer you can drive without stopping. Keep in mind that excessively high power consumption can drain your battery fast!
  6. Power type is important, too. There are two general options here: 12V models ready to be plugged into your cigarette lighter socket, or high voltage models that require a 110/220V source — this must be available on board or requires an inverter device. The 12V models are the best and consume less power. Or, if you want real self-sufficiency, look at models that run on propane.
  7. The devil is in the details. Small features, such as lighting, can make your life easier or harder, so keep your eyes open and think ahead.
  8. The refrigerator should maintain a certain temperature throughout the trip, regardless of whether it is hot or cold outside, night or day, and that might mean choosing a more expensive model. Buy nice or buy twice!

Choosing a Semi-truck Refrigerator

Important Points to Consider When Choosing a Semi-truck Refrigerator

The purpose of a fridge you take on a trip is more than just providing space to store stuff you eat. This is food, which has to stay fresh and keep you healthy for the duration of the trip. Below are just a few of the things to consider.


The price of a fridge depends on the type, size, features, brand and many other properties. For example, small coolers are cheaper than thermoelectric refrigerators, whereas compressor refrigerators are the most expensive ones.

On the other hand, compressor-type refrigerators are the coldest (and the coolest!) option, and they can keep your food cold or even frozen. By choosing a quality device, you save on maintenance.

Ultimately, the question is: how much are you willing to spend to get what you want? It is true that the price of a regular truck fridge can start at $500 and higher, but they are the best in terms of usability.

  • Thermoelectric coolers/warmers start at $130 and go up to $300.
  • Portable refrigerators and freezers go for $500–$700, with both DC and AC versions available.
  • Built-in refrigerators can cost $700–$1200 and offer a range of options.
  • Freestanding refrigerators are $250–$500 depending on volume.

Best Refrigerators for Truckers: The volume of the refrigerator


Take the time to understand and properly consider your needs. The volume of the refrigerator is a very important property that is directly related to its dimensions.

The most compact devices have a capacity up to 21–39 quarts. They are large enough to store a moderate amount of snacks and drinks.

For longer trips, choose a fridge with a capacity of 31–52 quarts, as it allows storing much more food than compact models.

The largest models have a capacity of 73–84 quarts. Remember, though, that not every truck is capable of accommodating a huge 84 quart refrigerator. In our opinion, the ideal truck fridge should have a capacity of 73 quarts or smaller.


The best truck fridges connect to the vehicle power circuit via a 12V lighter socket. This is the perfect plug-and-play solution, where you simply connect the cable to the socket on the front panel and you are good to go.

Best Refrigerators for Truckers: 12v lighter socket

Mini-fridges, originally intended for home use, can be wired via a 120V inverter, which is connected to the battery and looks like a box with 1–3 standard sockets to connect your fridge. Note that the voltage itself does not affect power consumption much, but devices which are not intended to run off of a car battery might just be too powerful. You may want to consider putting a larger battery into your truck to compensate for that.

A mostly European phenomenon, 24V refrigerators are not very common in the US, but if you do come across one, you can use a voltage inverter to adapt the power supply.

What Types of Devices Can Truly Be Called Refrigerators for Truckers?

Factory Fridges

Many trucks leave the factory with a built-in truck cab fridge already installed. This option normally suits truckers best in terms of power supply specs, noise level, etc., in addition to being a perfect match for the truck cabin size, designed by the truck manufacturer’s experienced engineers.

However, there is a catch. If the stock fridge breaks — and unless covered by the warranty — you might be shocked at the price of the original unit. It is not uncommon to see replacement fridges costing upward of $1600.

This is the reason why many truckers choose to replace stock units with cheaper, but still adequate, alternatives. Remember that you still can use the original installation space for the new fridge after some adjustment.

Best Fridge for Truckers: Thermoelectric fridges

Thermoelectric Models

Thermoelectric fridges operate based on the Peltier effect. To put it differently, the operating principle is based on the temperature difference under the current flow. The effect creates a temperature difference by transferring heat between two electrical junctions. A voltage is applied across joined conductors to create an electric current. When the current flows through the junctions of the two conductors, heat is removed at one junction and cooling occurs. Heat is deposited at the other junction.

The pros of buying a thermoelectric fridge:

  1. Compact and occupy little space;
  2. Completely silent;
  3. Rugged.

Standalone Mini Fridges for Truckers

The main advantage of freestanding models is that you can put them anywhere, even inside a trailer. You can even find models with temperature adjustment controls, and choose from a wide range of volume, power input, opening type and cooling type options. However, securing and wiring a freestanding fridge inside the cab can be a real pain. Luckily, there are installation kits available — God bless whoever invented those!

Large Fridges for Truckers and a Trucker Freezer

If the capacity of your vehicle is high enough, a large fridge can be a good option, as it allows you to store more and refill rarely. Naturally, you want a large fridge if you work on an interstate or intercontinental route where Walmarts are few and far between.

Best Fridge for Truckers: Trucker Freezer

Portable Fridge for Truckers

Every long-distance traveler knows that a portable fridge is a must-have. These things are fairly small and light, and they fit inside a relatively small space. They are the best choice for those truckers who work local routes, and they can save them time, money and energy on a busy day.

Built-In Fridges for Truckers

You can often upgrade your stock fridge, and built-in models should be your number-one choice when doing so. They take up minimal space and often can even go into the slot designed by vehicle manufacturers. Alternatively, you can put one into your cabinet or replace it altogether. When choosing a built-in fridge, make sure it is compatible with your truck — see the fridge specs for the list of supported truck models. Built-in refrigerators are roomy and are often combined with freezers. Besides, they have a minimum footprint area, helping you to save the space inside the cab.

Best Fridge for Truckers: Built-in fridges for truckers

Electric Coolers With a Top Lid

A 12V truck cooler with a top lid is the ideal choice for a long trip, as this is a convenient option that easily fits inside the limited space of a truck cabin. The fridges use little energy, yet they perform well.

Best Mini Fridge for Truckers

If you are in the market for a semi truck refrigerator, you are probably focusing on the following qualities:

  • Low noise;
  • Low price;
  • Up to 30 quarts of capacity;
  • Low power consumption;
  • Compact size.

In our opinion, the option below can be officially declared as the best mini fridge for truckers.

Midea WHD-113FB1 Double Door Mini

We have chosen this fridge as the best small refrigerator for truckers because it is:

  • compact;
  • stylish
  • energy efficient;
  • easy to install


  • Precise and intuitive temperature control
  • Reversible door that can open from the left or right
  • Always fresh fruit and vegetables in a separate drawer
  • Low power consumption: 270 kWh/yr


  • Freezer compartment at top
  • Manual defrost system

Best Mini Fridge for Truckers: Midea WHD-113FB1 Double Door Mini

Best Large Fridges for Truckers

What you have to keep in mind when choosing a device like this is the potential need for custom installation. High capacity goes hand in hand with a large size, so be sure to measure the space inside your truck cabin before you buy. The option below seems to have the best ratio of footprint to price and overall efficiency.


This space-saving compact fridge is definitely a good choice for truck drivers, with dimensions of 17.5" x 18.5" x 26.6" and a capacity of 73 quarts.


  • Large capacity. The appliance has extra door shelves to store taller bottles;
  • Low noise;
  • Leveling legs for easy height adjustment.


  • Requires an inverter to power.

Best Large Fridges for Truckers: BLACK+DECKER BCRK25V

Best Portable Fridges for Truckers

We suggest you consider the device linked below, as it is very reliable, easy to carry and capable of fitting into practically any space.

Whynter 62 Quart Dual Zone Portable Fridge

This powerful and compact stainless steel refrigerator has a capacity of approximately 63 quarts and operates at 12V. It holds the temperature well and also can be used as a freezer. The specifics of the device are:


  • Adjustable temperature ranges with a “fast freeze mode”;
  • A dual zone, so you can rearrange the space inside the fridge to your liking;
  • Operates under both AC and DC power;
  • Insulated lid and walls;
  • Quiet.


  • Price: this fridge is a little expensive.

Best Portable Fridges for Truckers: Whynter 62 Quart Dual Zone Portable Fridge

Best Built-In Fridges for Truckers

At the end of the day, the ideal choice for limited spaces, such as trucks, cars and trailers, are built-in bridges.

It should be noted, though, that these units are on average 30% more expensive than other types of fridges. They are also difficult to clean and maintain, as the access to some of their parts might be obstructed.

The following model is worth considering.

ARB 10801352 Portable Fridge Freezer

This unit can be easily built into the case under the cabin bed. The model has the following specs: capacity of 37 quarts, dimensions of 30.31"D x 18.9"W x 16.93"H. This compact appliance is the best choice for trucks with limited space in the cab.


  • Bluetooth transmitter that allows full control and monitoring via Android and Apple devices.


  • An additional battery may be required for the unit to run it when the engine is off;
  • Many users say the internal temperature of the fridge is always several degrees off compared to what the front panel says.

Best Built-In Fridges for Truckers: ARB 10801352 Portable Fridge Freezer

Best 12V Truck Fridges

Smad Mini Fridge for Truckers - 12 V Truck Fridge

The Smad Mini fridge is a compact refrigerator with a lock. It has a capacity of 31 quarts. This is enough for storing one person’s food and drinks. However, it normally requires a deep-cycle battery.


  • Quiet;
  • Easy to clean;
  • Reversible doors;
  • Safety locks;
  • Automatic defrosting system;
  • Adjustable thermostat.


  • Does not cool well — just keeps food from heating up.

Best 12V Truck Fridges: Smad Mini Fridge for Truckers - 12 V Truck Fridge

Best Electric Cooler for Truckers

AA Products Car Fridge

This is a portable 12 V truck fridge having a capacity of 25 liters, enough to cover the daily needs of one person.


  • Battery protection;
  • Two modes: fast cooling and energy saving;
  • Two power supply options.


  • Small capacity.

Best Electric Cooler for Truckers: AA Products Car Fridge

Read about other best coolers for truck drivers in our article.


Any device that is used for work rather than leisure has to be chosen very carefully, as it might directly affect how much money you are making.

After reviewing available products, we have selected the most popular and reliable options for a fridge for truckers and presented these in the article above. We hope that this overview will help you to make the right choice and enjoy the device you purchase.

One more option for getting a truck with a high-quality fridge inside is joining HMD, as each truck in our fleet is equipped with a fridge by default. That is not the only benefit of working with us, so please visit our website for more, and join our team.

We also recommend that you read our article on cooking equipment for truck drivers.

Rate the article
Back to blog


By pushing the button, you agree to our Data Use Policy & Consent to Contact and our Terms and Conditions.

Most Popular in the HMD Trucking Blog

Speed Limit for Trucks: Navigating Safety, Efficiency, and Road Regulations

Speed limit for trucks: Delving into the reasons for semi-truck speed limits, with a focus on safety and road efficiency.
See more

Truck Driver Mental Health: Strategies for Support and Well-being on the Road

Truck driver mental health: addressing its significance and why truck driving is so stressful, with strategies for improving well-being.
See more

Best State for Truck Drivers: Top Picks for Pay, Routes, and Lifestyle

Best State and Best City for Truck Drivers: Navigating Ideal Locations for Work & Life
See more

Emergency Kit for Truck Drivers: Essential Gear for Safety on the Road

Truck driver survival kit essentials: Prepare for the road with must-have safety gear & tools. Stay safe & ready for any situation.
See more

What is a DOT Inspection: A Comprehensive Guide for Truck Drivers

DOT inspection checklist and insights into what is a DOT inspection: the quick guide to understanding and preparing for inspections in trucking.
See more

Best Truck Driving Jobs: Top Opportunities and Rewarding Careers in 2024

Best truck driving jobs for CDL holders explored, from local to OTR. Discover the various types of trucking jobs and how to secure the highest paying positions.
See more

How to Wash a Truck: Tips on How to Clean a Big Rig Effectively

Learn how to wash a truck and explore semi-truck washing methods, interior cleaning tips, and costs in this concise guide.
See more

Discover the Best Dash Cam for Truckers: Top Picks for Safety and Quality

Explore our guide on the best dash cam for truckers, featuring top-rated cameras for truck drivers for safety and reliability.
See more

Discover the Best Cell Phone Service for Truck Drivers in 2024

Explore top picks for best cell phone service and plans for truck drivers, ensuring reliable connectivity on the road.
See more

Best Coffee Makers for Truckers

Explore the best 12-volt coffee maker for truckers: Compact, efficient brewing for the perfect trucker's cup.
See more

Best Truck Seat: Understanding the Need and Selecting the Right One

Why is there a need for a quality semi truck driver seat, and how do you choose the best truck seat? Let's delve into it.
See more

Trucker Lingo Decoded: The Ultimate CB Radio Codes List Explained

Explore the unique world of trucker lingo and dive into the comprehensive CB radio codes list. Decode the road's secret language!
See more

Tips for New Truck Drivers: Advice to Navigate the Road Like a Pro

Discover tips for new truck drivers and delve into insights on how to become a better truck driver, ensuring safety and efficiency on the road.
See more

Winter Driving Tips for Truck Drivers: Surviving the Severe Road Conditions

Trucking in snow is a reality on 70% of US roads during winter. Let's explore winter driving tips for truck drivers to avoid mishaps.
See more

How to Make More Money as a Truck Driver?

Discover what truck drivers make the most money and get essential practical tips on how to make more money as a truck driver.
See more

Truck Stop Etiquette: Unwritten Rules for Professional Drivers

Truck stop etiquette: key truck stop rules that define professional and courteous truckers from rookies.
See more

Long Haul Truck Driver Salary ─ What Does It Depend On? [Updated January, 2024]

Want to know how much long haul truckers make? Read this article now to find out what a long haul truck driver salary is normally determined by.
See more

What Is Team Truck Driving and How Does It Work? [Updated January, 2024]

What is a team truck driver in the modern trucking industry? Read this article to find out how team truckers earn their buck.
See more

What Is an OTR Truck Driver? Advantages of Long Haul Driving [Updated January, 2024]

Read the article to get the answer to what is an OTR truck driver, what are the advantages of being one and how you can get an OTR job with HMD.
See more

Best Truck Stops in America and Safe Rest on American Highways [Updated October, 2023]

Get to know more about the worst and best truck stops of America, some rules to ensure your safety, and read interesting statistics on the topic.
See more