If you are about to embark on a road trip in your RV, make sure your fridge is properly functioning first, but how long does it take for it to get cold?

Given that you are going to be living out of your RV, having a fridge for your food storage system is going to be absolutely essential. However, before you begin storing your goods inside of your fridge, you want to get it cold first.

How long it takes for an RV fridge to get cold is going to vary depending on the size and type of fridge that you have. Most common RV fridges which are small to medium in size will take about 4 to 6 hours. However, large fridges and older models can take upwards of 24 hours (in some cases).

When most people test out the fridge in their RV, they are often shocked by how long it takes for it to get cold. You will find that your residential fridge generally gets cold within just an hour or so when you turn it on, which is considerably faster than an RV fridge. The reason for this is that most common RVs do not utilize residential fridges as they are not always compatible with recreational vehicles. This can be particularly frustrating due to the fact that getting your RV fridge cold before a trip is so easy to overlook. The last position you want to find yourself in is to be road trip ready - with bags packed, food prepped, and a fridge that takes 24 hours to get cold. To help prevent this from happening, we are going to take a closer look at how long it takes an RV fridge to get cold in more detail - and how you can speed up the process.

After extensively researching RV fridges, I have been able to gather enough information to determine how long it takes for them to get cold. My research has taught me that the process of getting your RV fridge cold can be greatly sped up if you plan ahead and utilize certain strategies.



Getting Your RV Fridge Cold

There are a handful of different RV fridge types out there but you will find that the majority of them will take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours to get cold once you plug them in. However, if you are utilizing an older RV fridge on your trips, don’t be surprised to find that it can take as much as 24 hours to get cold.

If you are finding that you have a new fridge that is taking an excessive amount of time to get cold, you may want to consider getting it checked out, as this may be a malfunctioning product. On the other hand, if you have got an older fridge that is taking longer than 24 hours to get (or barely gets cold at all), this may be a good sign that your fridge is probably out of commission and may need to be refurbished or replaced altogether.

The amount of time that it takes for an RV fridge to get cold can be quite tedious for a lot of people. To ensure that you are ready to go on your trip and are not wasting too much time on your fridge, we recommend that you use the following strategies to speed up the process.

Turn It On Early

If you have got an RV trip coming up, it is always best to include getting your fridge cold within your to-do list.

This can greatly help you save on time and stress when it is time to hit the road. One of the best ways to get your fridge cold before you head out is to simply turn it on early. How early you do this is going to be dependent on the type of fridge that you have.

If you have tested your fridge before and have determined that it takes 6 hours to get cold, then this is how much time you should give yourself to turn it on early. However, if you are unsure of the amount of time that it will take (especially for older RV models), we would recommend giving it 24 hours to be on the safe side.

It is also important that you take everything out of your fridge before you begin doing this, as additional items are only going to slow down the cooling process.

Fridge Fan

A very common strategy for getting your RV fridge to get cold faster is to utilize a fridge fan. This is one of the most straightforward and convenient ways of speeding up the cooling process, which is why you will find that they are quite the standard among RV travelers.

This is something you can travel with and utilize on every trip even when your fridge is already cold, as the fan will help circulate the cold air around the space and give your food items a balanced temperature.

However, this is a particularly important thing to turn on when you want the cooling process to start. Simply switch it on and let the fan do the rest! You will find that a fridge fan can be a very important resource to utilize for getting your fridge to get cold fast.

Cold Food Items

If you are planning on heading out on a trip and want to have your fridge optimally cold when you depart, you should of course turn it on early and use a fan, but you should also chuck in food items that are already cold.

If you put room temperature or even warm food items inside of your fridge, you had better believe that it is going to affect the inside temperature and it will stagnate the cooling process.

To avoid this, you should always try to add food items into your RV’s fridge which are already at an ideal cold temperature.


For many RV travelers, ice is a go-to strategy when it comes to cooling their fridges.

This is a great tactic to utilize if you want to have a super cold fridge when you leave but it is also particularly useful if you are in a pinch or have simply forgotten to cool down your fridge before you left.

Whether it is ice packs, ice gels, or even just raw ice - this is going to be a great tactic for getting your fridge cold and keeping your food items safe. Raw ice is certainly useful (especially if you are going to use it for drinks), but it can get a little messy due to melting.

The best ice method is to utilize ice packs and ice gels for your food, as these are going to be much better organized and you can also reuse them later on to repeat the process when needed.


Some factors are simply out of your control when it comes to getting your fridge cold fast - and climate is one of them!

If the outside weather is particularly warm or even scorching hot, then you can expect this to impact how quickly your fridge will get cold. This is particularly problematic due to the fact that most people tend to do their RV traveling in the summertime.

You can expect hot weather to affect your fridge’s cool down, which is why you are going to want to take some preemptive action to mitigate this. Adding one (or a combination) of the above-mentioned methods is going to be highly encouraged.

With that being said, if you are in a colder region or happen to be traveling in the off-season, then you can utilize the chilly weather to your advantage.


Anthony Day

Anthony Day

Hi, my name is Anthony, and RVs are what I'm passionate about. I bought my first RV when I was 21, and I've been hooked ever since. I'll guide you on how they work, how they can be used in different environments, and how they fit into our everyday lives.

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