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.
Dometic and Alpicool both have some very well made, popular 12 volt fridges.
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 entirely true.
Average Power Consumption Of Alpicool & Dometic 12V Fridge/Freezers
Alpicool Portable 12 Volt Fridges
Second Most Efficient
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
Table could not be displayed.
These are values measured and advertised by Dometic.
Dometic Portable 12 Volt Fridges With Separate Freezer Compartments
These are values measured and advertised by Dometic.
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 Less 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.
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.
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 than the Alpicool C15. If you are choosing between the two, get the C20.
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 have 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 Anvin Refrigerator/ Freezer Thermometer (click to view on Amazon) 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.
Have any questions about Alpicool or Dometic portable 12V fridge/freezers? Leave a comment below.