- Paul Kahan
Publican Anker is having trouble deciding which refrigerator to buy? Read our ARB refrigerator review and find out all of the critical information you need to know before making your final decision. ARB is an American company located in Sun Valley, California.
The company has specialized in building high-quality 4WD vehicles and accessories for over 35 years. They design and manufacture everything from spare parts to complete vehicle conversions with their state-of-the-art equipment.
They cover a wide range of vehicles, and what sets them apart from the competition is the combination of reliability, performance, and quality.
The vehicles in their lineup are tailored for a specific purpose and performance level. The reviews of the products can be easily found online, so read our reviews section to learn more about ARB.
Off-Road Fridge History And Development
Although Overlanding has brought portable 12-volt refrigerators to public attention, they have been around for many decades. Although we don’t know how long this technology has been around, it was developed by a few Australian companies.
ARB was the first company to introduce these products to the United States. Sales have continued to rise ever since. There are now nearly a dozen companies that market 12-volt refrigerators. This means there is a wide variety of sizes and features.
Although we often refer to owning a portable refrigerator as life-changing for off-roaders, it is also a substantial financial investment. Choosing the right brand or model that gives you the most bang for your buck can be challenging.
ARB Elements Basic Features
At 12 V DC, the ARB Elements consume an average of 0.89 ah/hr.
This means that the fridge will use approximately 21.36 amp-hours or 256.32 W-hours of power, depending on the actual internal temperature outside.
This power consumption is comparable to other camping fridge manufacturers’ more efficient models and other ARB offerings.
This allows us to indefinitely power the fridge from our Energy Kodiak Solar generator or the truck’s 12v DC power. This is possible if we keep the truck running to recharge the car battery or have enough solar power!
However, it is worth noting that the ARB Fridge can also be used on shore-power (standard household 110v AC).
Two words: Stainless Steel The rugged exterior of the ARB Fridge is one of its greatest draws. This makes it more durable than most 12v portable camping fridges/freezers. The polycarbonate corner protectors and edge protectors keep it looking sharp.
3-Phase Battery Protection
This feature is standard on all ARB fridges/freezers, even the ARB Elements Fridge. This is especially important when the fridge is connected to your vehicle’s 12v power.
You can pre-set a shutoff voltage (at any of three voltage levels) to stop the fridge from depleting your vehicle’s starting battery. You will be left without a battery. You can also monitor the battery state by getting a live reading of the voltage from the fridge.
- Exterior Dimensions: 17.1″ Height, 19.3″ Width, and 32.3″ Long
- Interior Dimensions: Shelf 5.7″, H x 14.0″, W x 6.1″, L + Main 13.1″, H x 14.0″, W x 18.8″, L
The temperature range is between 0 and 50 degrees F. The ARB Fridge can operate as a refrigerator or as a freezer.
The ARB Fridge weighs in at 70 lbs. It is 16 lbs heavier than ARB’s 63QT Classic II model.
ARB Elements Fridge Special Features
The ARB Fridge is a 12V portable fridge model specifically designed to withstand prolonged exposure to the elements.
This feature is our favorite of the ARB Elements Refrigerators. It allows you to mount the fridge or store it on your vehicle’s exterior, making it ideal for camping and traveling. You can also leave the fridge in the truck’s open bed, making it an excellent Overlanding option.
Weatherproofing also makes cleaning easier. You can easily remove the drain plug from the ARB Fridge when you are done with your trip or clean up any spillages with a hose.
A water drain on the bottom is something we haven’t seen much of in portable refrigerators. As an extra bonus, the ARB has a water drain that can be opened to hose out the interior led light compartment in case of spills. Large interior space ARB uses every amount of available space on the inside.
Since the Beginning, ARB has been in the portable fridge/freezer game for a long time and as one of the original companies to offer portable refrigerators with the ability to go keep contents from just cool to completely frozen, continues to lead the industry with a wide range of different models.
Electronic and Manual Locking Lid
ARB Fridge comes with a programmable electronic lock and a padlockable lid. Although it may seem like a lot, this is a unique feature. It’s beneficial if you plan to mount the fridge to the outside of your vehicle or if you want to leave the fridge at camp while on a hike.
The digital lock is a keypad combination and a padlock to protect your fridge from unwanted camp-bandits or ravenous teens. Each fridge has a cooling capacity of 50ºF – 0ºF and runs of 12-24DC power as well as 110V AC power. If you are using it at home, in a hotel, in a boat, or in an RV, you can also plug it into a standard AC outlet. Both the DC and AC power cables are included.
The ARB brags about the short amount of time it takes to reach its minimum temperature but between said temp being a good 8°F higher than its competition and its insulation seemingly crafted from a thin layer of crumpled tin foil we’re wondering if they were just reaching for bullet points to put on the side of the box.
Its only redeeming ambient temperature control panel feature in our eyes is that it takes the least amount of time to reach the minimum temperature of any contenders in our review.
Infinite Adjustable Strut
This unique feature allows the lid to be held at any angle from 0 to 90deg. You can then grab whatever you need while you are using it. It allows you to use the ARB Fridge one-handed, which is very useful when cooking at camp.
How We’ve Used And Tested The ARB Elements Fidges
We considered many options before settling on the ARB Fridge. This is primarily because it was possible to mount the weatherproof ARB fridge review outside of our vehicle, maximizing the interior space in our truck camping setup.
We have traveled over 20,000 miles since purchasing the ARB fridge. The fridge has been exposed to all mother nature has to offer, including the red desert dust, searing summer heat of Moab (UT), the snow, sleet, and freezing high-altitude temperatures at Telluride, Colorado, as well as the thrashing on countless off-road trails and complete submersion during water crossings.
The ARB Fridge has not failed to keep up with all the abuse. It continues to keep our food cold and drinks cold until today.
Operating The ARB Fridge
We’ll now show you how these features work in the video below.
ARB Elements Fridge Capacity And Storage
The ARB Elements Fridge’s 63-quart capacity should be sufficient for the average family.
Below are photos of the refrigerated food that we packed for a camping weekend. They also show how everything fits in the fridge.
This is an example of the food served to a family with three people for two breakfasts, three lunches, and two dinners. We didn’t pack small because it was not necessary for this short trip. Bread products, fruits, and full-size condiment bottles were all packed in our fridge.
And there was still room to spare!
We use small containers for condiments when traveling and keep any extras refrigerated. This allows us to pack mindfully, and we can fill our fridge every five days. This will increase as we become more reliant on refrigerated foods.
You may be able to go longer between grocery runs depending on how many shelf-stable meals and drinks are available while camping.
PRO TIP: Do not turn on the fridge too long before you load it up. The fridge will not cool space. This can cause the compressors to run too long and could lead to the compressor overheating.
ARB Elements Fridge Caveats And Weaknesses
We love the ARB Elements Fridge freezer. However, there are some flaws. Although none of the weaknesses were particularly bothersome, they are worth mentioning.
ARB Elements Fridges have a permanently attached lid. This is in contrast to other ARB fridges/freezers, which can be removed. This is useful if the fridge is mounted in a vehicle with lower ceiling clearances. It allows you to slide off the lid to access your food and beverages.
ARB doesn’t offer a dual-zone Elements Fridge. The interior of the Elements Fridge can only be set at one temperature control (fridge or freezer), not a dual-zone fridge freezer like the 73QT zero*, which has two separate zones that can be independently set to different temperatures.
Remote monitoring requires additional purchases.
A majority of ARB’s latest models include remote monitoring. However, the ARB Elements Fridge freezer requires that you purchase their wireless remote refrigerator monitor to use this feature. Remote monitoring can be helpful for Overlanding travel (especially where the ARB refrigerator is mounted on the vehicle’s exterior), but it is not necessary for traditional camping.
Although the ARB Elements Fridge freezer may not be the most affordable 12v portable fridge/freezer on the market, it is certainly not the least expensive. This type of purchase falls under the “buy once and cry once” or “you only get what you pay” categories. We feel that it was worth every penny, considering its durability and reliability.
The ARB Elements Fridge freezer is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a 12v portable camping fridge that will last.
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Are ARB fridges any good?
When compared to the rest, the ARB isn’t an impressive cooler. It lacks temperature control, is heavy on energy, and is difficult to transport. It’s also the most expensive model that we tested. Although it’s not our favorite compressor model, the ARB still does its job.
Does Dometic make ARB fridges?
FYI: Dometic makes the ARB fridge freezers but to different specifications per ARB. However, the quality is identical, and they are priced at a lower point.
What compressor is in the ARB fridge?
The Secop compressor is the only thing that carries over from this ARB fridge freezer to a 60-liter ARB fridge review. All other parts are ground-up. The only difference is that the evaporator runs to the maximum height of the main compartment. This allows for a more uniform temperature inside.
How does the ARB fridge freezer work?
The fridge’s ARB 37-quart capacity draws five amps while it cools down to the desired temperature. After that, it averages at 0.85 amps an hour. The portable fridge turns on for approximately 10 minutes an hour to maintain the temperature. After that, it shuts off. You won’t have to look for ice ever again with a 12-volt ARB refrigerator.
Having a refrigerator will also increase the storage space in your home. So, you will have more room for storage of other necessities. If you want to have a good housekeeping environment, you should have an ARB refrigerator as well.
ARB refrigerator also helps you save money in buying your food, and it is straightforward for your family. It is known that buying food can be very expensive for your family. So the intelligent refrigerator will help you to save money in buying your food.
Before you buy one, make sure that it has enough room for the food that you will store in it.
Last update on 2022-07-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API