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Power Consumption Of Dometic vs Alpicool 12V Fridges

How Many Amps Do The Dometic and Alpicool 12V Fridges Use A Day?

It’s a question that everyone is asking and an important thing to know. Especially if you are running your 12 volt fridge with solar power. Energy is limited when camping and efficiency is something most RVers, van dwellers, car campers, and travelers are looking for.

See Also: Best Portable 12V Refrigerator/Freezer For Camping & Travel

Dometic and Alpicool both have some very well made, popular 12 volt fridges. In this article, I’m going to compare each 12V fridge by they watt hours and amp hours they use on average over 24 hours.

After doing the research and finding the average power consumed each day by each brand and size of portable 12V fridge I was surprised by the results. I previously assumed the smaller fridges would be the most efficient and use the least amount of power. Turns out that’s not true.

Average Power Consumption Of Alpicool & Dometic 12V Fridge/Freezers

Alpicool Portable 12 Volt Fridges

Alpicool C15 Portable Refrigerator 16 Quart(15 Liter) Vehicle, Car, Truck, RV, Boat, Mini fridge freezer for Driving, Travel, Fishing, Outdoor -12/24V DC
Most Efficient
Alpicool C20 Portable Refrigerator 21 Quart(20 Liter) Vehicle, Car, Truck, RV, Boat, Mini fridge freezer for Driving, Travel, Fishing, Outdoor -12/24V DC
Alpicool CX40 Portable Refrigerator 42 Quart(40 Liter) with Trolley Vehicle, Car, Truck, RV, Boat, Mini Fridge Freezer for Driving, Travel, Fishing, Outdoor -12/24V DC
Second Most Efficient
Alpicool CX50 Portable Refrigerator 53 Quart(50 Liter) with Trolley Vehicle, Car, Truck, RV, Boat, Mini Fridge Freezer for Driving, Travel, Fishing, Outdoor -12/24V DC
Size
16 Quart / 15 Liter
21 Quart / 20 Liter
42 Quart / 40 Liter
53 Quart / 50 Liter
Inner Temperature
32°F/0°C
32°F/0°C
32°F
32°F/0°C
Outer Temperature
75°F/24°C
80ºF
80ºF
80°F
Amp Hours
1.08
0.66
1.04
0.69
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
26 Ah
15.84
25
16.56
Watt Hours
13
7.9
12.5
8.33
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
312
190
300
200
Running Watts
45
45
45
45

Alpicool C15 Portable Refrigerator 16 Quart(15 Liter) Vehicle, Car, Truck, RV, Boat, Mini fridge freezer for Driving, Travel, Fishing, Outdoor -12/24V DC
Product (Link)
Size
16 Quart / 15 Liter
Inner Temperature
32°F/0°C
Outer Temperature
75°F/24°C
Amp Hours
1.08
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
26 Ah
Watt Hours
13
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
312
Running Watts
45

Most Efficient

Alpicool C20 Portable Refrigerator 21 Quart(20 Liter) Vehicle, Car, Truck, RV, Boat, Mini fridge freezer for Driving, Travel, Fishing, Outdoor -12/24V DC
Product (Link)
Size
21 Quart / 20 Liter
Inner Temperature
32°F/0°C
Outer Temperature
80ºF
Amp Hours
0.66
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
15.84
Watt Hours
7.9
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
190
Running Watts
45
Alpicool CX40 Portable Refrigerator 42 Quart(40 Liter) with Trolley Vehicle, Car, Truck, RV, Boat, Mini Fridge Freezer for Driving, Travel, Fishing, Outdoor -12/24V DC
Product (Link)
Size
42 Quart / 40 Liter
Inner Temperature
32°F
Outer Temperature
80ºF
Amp Hours
1.04
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
25
Watt Hours
12.5
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
300
Running Watts
45

Second Most Efficient

Alpicool CX50 Portable Refrigerator 53 Quart(50 Liter) with Trolley Vehicle, Car, Truck, RV, Boat, Mini Fridge Freezer for Driving, Travel, Fishing, Outdoor -12/24V DC
Product (Link)
Size
53 Quart / 50 Liter
Inner Temperature
32°F/0°C
Outer Temperature
80°F
Amp Hours
0.69
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
16.56
Watt Hours
8.33
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
200
Running Watts
45

Note: Scroll left/right on small screens to view all products in the table.

These are values have been measured by different people and not by the company Alpicool. The values may not be exact but are close enough to demonstrate the efficiency of each portable 12V fridge and the average power consumption.

Dometic Portable 12 Volt Fridges

Second Most Efficient
Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Third Most Efficient
Dometic CFX 35W 12v Electric Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Most Efficient
Dometic CFX 40W 12v Electric Powered Portable Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Third Most Efficient
Dometic CFX 50W 12v Electric Powered Portable Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Dometic CFX 65W Black/Gray 12V Electric Powered Portable Cooler (Fridge Freezer),1 Pack
Dometic CFX 100W 12v Electric Powered Portable Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Size
27 Quarts / 26 Liters
34 Quarts / 32 Liters
40 Quart / 38 Liters
49 Quarts / 46 Liters
64 Quart / 61 Liters
93 Quart / 88 Liters
Inner Temperature
41°F/5°C
41°F/5°C
41°F/5°C
41°F/5°C
41°F/5°C
41°F/5°C
Outer Temperature
90°F/32°C
90°F/32°C
90°F/32°C
90°F/32°C
90°F/32°C
90°F/32°C
Amp Hours
0.75
0.77
0.74
0.77
0.85
1.5
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
18
18.48
17.76
18.48
20.4
36
Watt Hours
9
9.24
8.88
9.24
10.2
18
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
216
222
213
222
245
432
Running Watts
28
35
40
50
65
100

Second Most Efficient

Dometic CFX28 12v Electric Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Product (Link)
Size
27 Quarts / 26 Liters
Inner Temperature
41°F/5°C
Outer Temperature
90°F/32°C
Amp Hours
0.75
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
18
Watt Hours
9
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
216
Running Watts
28

Third Most Efficient

Dometic CFX 35W 12v Electric Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Product (Link)
Size
34 Quarts / 32 Liters
Inner Temperature
41°F/5°C
Outer Temperature
90°F/32°C
Amp Hours
0.77
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
18.48
Watt Hours
9.24
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
222
Running Watts
35

Most Efficient

Dometic CFX 40W 12v Electric Powered Portable Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Product (Link)
Size
40 Quart / 38 Liters
Inner Temperature
41°F/5°C
Outer Temperature
90°F/32°C
Amp Hours
0.74
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
17.76
Watt Hours
8.88
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
213
Running Watts
40

Third Most Efficient

Dometic CFX 50W 12v Electric Powered Portable Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Product (Link)
Size
49 Quarts / 46 Liters
Inner Temperature
41°F/5°C
Outer Temperature
90°F/32°C
Amp Hours
0.77
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
18.48
Watt Hours
9.24
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
222
Running Watts
50
Dometic CFX 65W Black/Gray 12V Electric Powered Portable Cooler (Fridge Freezer),1 Pack
Product (Link)
Size
64 Quart / 61 Liters
Inner Temperature
41°F/5°C
Outer Temperature
90°F/32°C
Amp Hours
0.85
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
20.4
Watt Hours
10.2
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
245
Running Watts
65
Dometic CFX 100W 12v Electric Powered Portable Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Product (Link)
Size
93 Quart / 88 Liters
Inner Temperature
41°F/5°C
Outer Temperature
90°F/32°C
Amp Hours
1.5
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
36
Watt Hours
18
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
432
Running Watts
100

Note: Scroll left/right on small screens to view all products in the table.

These are values measured and advertised by Dometic.

Dometic Portable 12 Volt Fridges With Separate Freezer Compartments

Dometic CFX75DZW 12v Electric Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Most Efficient
Dometic CFX 95DZW 12v Electric Powered Portable Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Size
74 Quarts / 70 Liters
90 Quart / 85 Liters
Inner Temperature
Fridge 37°F/3°C Freezer 5°F/-15°C
Fridge 37°F/3°C Freezer 5°F/-15°C
Outer Temperature
90°F/32°C
90°F/32°C
Amp Hours
1.3
1.3
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
31.2
31.2
Watt Hours
15.6
15.6
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
375
375
Running Watts
75
75

Dometic CFX75DZW 12v Electric Powered Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Size
74 Quarts / 70 Liters
Inner Temperature
Fridge 37°F/3°C Freezer 5°F/-15°C
Outer Temperature
90°F/32°C
Amp Hours
1.3
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
31.2
Watt Hours
15.6
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
375
Running Watts
75

Most Efficient

Dometic CFX 95DZW 12v Electric Powered Portable Cooler, Fridge Freezer
Size
90 Quart / 85 Liters
Inner Temperature
Fridge 37°F/3°C Freezer 5°F/-15°C
Outer Temperature
90°F/32°C
Amp Hours
1.3
Amps Used Over 24 Hours
31.2
Watt Hours
15.6
Watt Hours Used Over 24 Hours
375
Running Watts
75

Note: Scroll left/right on small screens to view all products in the table.

These are values measured and advertised by Dometic.

See Also: Best Portable Power Station/Solar Generator For Camping


Dometic vs. Alpicool Portable 12V Fridges Based On Power Consumption

Understanding The Numbers In The Tables

When comparing each brand and model according to the numbers I’ve found it’s not fair to do a 100% comparison using just the numbers given in the tables. Most of the Alpicool portable 12V fridges/freezers tests were done in 80°F ambient temperatures and the Dometic 12V fridges/freezers were tested in 90°F ambient temperatures.

That means that although some of the Dometic 12V fridge/freezers numbers are slightly higher they are still more efficient because they were running in warmer temperatures. There are also eco modes on the Alpicool 12V fridges that can make them run more efficiently.

When you first plug in your 12V fridge/freezer to get it down to the correct temperature it will use more power in the beginning then level off to the average values found in the tables above. If you are freezing food it will use more energy to get the food to freezing but become more efficient once the food inside has frozen solid.

Dometic Is More Efficient… But Not By Much

The Dometic portable 12V fridges that were closest in size to the Alpicool ones still beat Alpicool in average power consumption even at hotter temperatures. But the surprising thing was that they didn’t beat them by much.

As far as size compared to the power used the Dometic 40W 40 quart portable 12V fridge is by far the most efficient. It can hold twice as much as the Alpicool C20 and only used 23 more watt hours in 24 hours. And it was tested in hotter ambient temperatures.

Even though the Dometic numbers are better in warmer temperatures the Alpicool 12V fridges held their own and use very little power.

Small 12V Fridges Do Not Use The Least Amount Of Power

When I started looking into the power consumption of 12V fridges I assumed that the smallest fridges would use the least amount of power and I’m very surprised to learn it isn’t true. Even the large portable 12V fridges that are around 50 quarts use very little if not less power than the small fridges around 20 quarts. The energy consumption does go up quite a bit when you start getting to the really large 70 and 90-quart fridges but it’s still surprisingly low.

See Also: Best Portable Foldable Solar Panel Chargers For Camping

As an example, the Alpicool C15 used way more power over 24 hours than the Alpicool C20 and the C15 was tested in cooler temperatures.

Of course, setting the portable fridges/freezers to freezing temperatures means they will use more power but it shouldn’t be that much more used on average once the freezer has gotten to the correct temperature and everything inside has frozen solid.

So Which Brand Of Portable 12V Fridge Should I Buy?

There are more factors that come into play when deciding to buy a portable 12V fridge but if you base your decision solely on the brand that uses the least amount of power then Dometic is the best choice.

But…

Taking into account things like affordability, size options, and features Alpicool has some great small options that are still very energy efficient. The smallest size of portable 12V fridge/freezer Dometic has is 27 quarts, some people have very limited space in their camping set up and need a 12V fridge that is smaller than that.

Alpicool’s C15 and C20 are some of the smallest car fridges you can buy. They are basically the same size, the only difference is the lid is taller on the C20 to allow more space. The energy consumption difference is huge. The Alpicool C20 is way more efficient that the Alpicool C15. If you are choosing between the two, get the C20.

See Also: RV Life Hack: Equalize RV Batteries That Can’t Hold A Charge

I’m surprised by how well Alpicool competes with Dometic and I can see why they are becoming so popular with RVers, campers, travelers, and van dwellers. In the end, the decision is up to you. I hope these numbers on the energy consumption of each model has helped in your search for the perfect portable 12V fridge/freezer.


Ways To Make Portable 12V Fridge/Freezers More Efficient

Insulate The Lid

The number one insulation problem with all fridges and coolers are the doors and lids. You have to be able to get into your portable 12V fridge but the lid also needs to be able to seal and not let cold air out. Some people have found a neat way to insulate the lid by cutting out foam insulation that fits over the top of the unit.

Some portable fridges come with molded foam around them to protect them when shipping. You can save the top part and use it to better insulate your portable 12V fridge when it’s hot outside.

Make Sure The Fridge Has Plenty Of Room To Breathe

Fridges need lots of air to run the compressor and keep things cooling efficiently. Overheated parts only take away from the cooling abilities of fridges and cause them to use more power. Make sure there’s plenty of space near the fridge vents. If it’s really hot outside it’s a good idea to take a small fan and place it near the fridge vents to help circulate air.

Use A Fridge Thermometer 

The digital temperature displays on portable 12V fridges/freezers are not known for being super accurate. In fact, Alpicool has hidden settings you can access to change the temperature on the display to try and make it more accurate. You can use a small fridge thermometer like the Rubbermaid Refrigerator/ Freezer Thermometer to get an accurate reading.

If you know the exact inner temperature of your 12V fridge you can adjust the temperature settings on the fridge so you have the perfect temperature all the time. There’s no point in wasting energy to get the fridge or freezer colder than it needs to be.

Store The Portable 12V Fridge Outside On Hot Days

If you live in a vehicle like a van or a car you know they can be like ovens on hot sunny days. Storing your portable fridge outside in a shaded area is going to help it stay cool for longer. This will save energy because the motor won’t need to start up as often.


Alpicool 12V Portable Fridges/Freezers Hidden Settings

If you decide to go with an Alpicool 12V fridge/freezer there are some cool hidden settings you can use to make your user experience a little more customized.

How to access hidden settings:

Turn off the fridge while it’s still plugged into power.

Press and hold the set button until E1 shows on the LED display.

This is the first of the hidden settings, press set to scroll through different settings.

E1= Lowest Temperature Setting (-40°F/C, Factory Setting -4°F/-20°C)

E2= Highest Temperature Setting (104°F/40°C, Factory Setting 68°F/20°C)

E3= Temperature Return Setting (34–50°F/1-10°C, Factory Setting 37.4°F/3°C)

E4= Soft Start Setting (0-10 Minutes, Factory Setting 2 Minutes)

E5= Fahrenheit or Celcius Setting

E6= Temperature Display Compensation If Off Less Than 19.4°F/-7°C

E7= Temperature Display Compensation If Off Between 19.4°F/-7°C & 10.4°F/-12°C

E8= Temperature Display Compensation If Off More Than 8.6°F/-13°C

To change settings within a setting use the up and down arrows.

To return everything back to the factory settings hold set until it displays E1, then hold down both the up and down arrow buttons at the same time until 888 is displayed. This means you are back to the factory settings.

See Also: Best 12 Volt Car Coolers for Travel, Tailgates & Camp 2020

Have any questions about Alpicool or Dometic portable 12V fridge/freezers? Leave a comment below.

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