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Fridges Refrigerators

Shopping for a Boat Refrigerator – Must Haves

Just like boats themselves, boat refrigerators come in all different shapes and sizes. But how do you determine what’s right for you? There’s no golden rule, but there are a few things to consider.
Boat Fridge Weight
When it comes to designing and appointing a boat one of the biggest considerations for all materials finishes and components is weight. Compare the size of your boat with the weight of the refrigerator to make sure it’s addition will not be detrimental or compromise the boat’s main function – to float. This might seem silly and obvious, but even on giant yachts and cruise ships, every possible factor is calculated down to the pound.
Boat Refrigerator Installation Space
If you are adding or replacing a refrigerator to an existing boat you’ll only have a certain amount of room for it. In the case of replacing, simply measure the unit that is there and then use those constrains when selecting the new one. If you are adding, be sure walk ways are left clear, and the door has room to swing. If you are designing a boat from scratch and including a refrigerator, the allotted space is determined by you. Use the other parameters listed here to help determine a good space allowance for you boat’s refrigerator. An interesting space saving alternative might be drawer refrigerator. In any case, don’t forget the fridge will need to be near a power source and also allow for proper ventilation.
Required Marine Fridge Capacity
What are you trying to keep cool and how much of it is there? If it’s just a six pack for a few hours of fishing you might be able to get away with a cooler. If you are going to be at sea for days or weeks, you’ll need to consider something more substantial.
Marine Refrigerator Energy Use
Most boats have limited to no electricity. If this is the case for your boat, you may want to consider something like the Coleman PowerChill Thermoelectric Cooler, found here on amazon.com: Coleman PowerChill. The 12V power adaptor allows it to be conveniently plugged into a cigarette lighter. It has been recommended to stay conscientious of the energy your refrigeration unit is using, as they have occasionally been known to drain batteries. You don’t want to be left stranded for the sake of ice cubes.
Pricing for Different Boat Refrigerators Brands
What can you afford? There is a huge range of prices when it comes to boat refrigerators. Something dinky, verging on the border of a cooler, can be as little as $100 while a professionally designed and installed built in can run upward of $5,000.
Aesthetics of Boat Fridges
Looks should technically be the last of your worries. Of course you want your boat and all of it’s features to look good, but this should not be the first thing you think about. Boring or ugly units can always be spruced up or customized with a veneer façade.
Choosing a Brand and Model
Thankfully for shoppers there is no shortage of sources for boat fridges. Indel Webasto, Mermaid Marine Air, Frumento, Vitrifigo, Engel and Norcold  are just a few of the available manufacturers serving the marine refrigeration market.
Indel Webasto manufactures high quality galley fridges – featuring fan cooled Danfoss Compressors – such as the CR 36, CR 42 and CR 100. The MM Fridge from MMAIR is small and inexpensive marine beverage refrigerator offering.
Engels rugged lineup includes several quality fridge freezers suitable for use aboard a vessel – the MR040F-U1, MT17F-U1, MT45F-1 and MT80F-U1 to name just a few. Norcold built-in marine refrigerators include the DE-441, DE-451, DE-461, DE-490 and DC-440. The DC model is a compact fridge great for boats with tight living areas.
For more information than that which is covered here, I recommend checking out Refrigeration for Pleasureboats by Nigel Calder. Although slightly out of date, much of the included info and principals regarding refrigerators for boats are still valid.