A chest solar refrigerator or freezer might be a great way for you to save space (and energy) in your tiny house kitchen.
This type of fridge is great for tiny homes on wheels. (It’s already been proven on sailboats, hasn’t it?)
A small chest style fridge can save you space because it’s a it opens upward (see below).
This means you can design it so it can be installed right into your kitchen counter.
And you can also run them on a 12 volt battery system.
I almost forgot to mention that they’re VERY energy efficient and can even run on a solar panel!
I encourage you to enjoy the video tour then discuss using this type of refrigerator in tiny houses in the comments below:
Video Review: Sundanzer DC Powered 12V Solar Fridge for Off Grid Tiny Houses
The only downside is that they’re pricey. Normally well over $1000 + shipping. See below for size options, pricing, customer reviews and availability:
- SunDanzer Solar-Powered Chest Refrigerator – 1.8 Cubic Ft
- SunDanzer Solar-Powered Chest Refrigerator – 5.8 Cubic Ft
- SunDanzer Solar-Powered Chest Refrigerator – 8 Cubic Ft
- Sundanzer Solar-Powered Chest Freezer – 5.8 Cubic Ft.
- Great article on how all of this is hooked up and works
If you enjoyed this review that shows you how to build a DIY home solar power refrigerator system you’ll love our free daily tiny house newsletter with more!
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Sundanzer are nice but overpriced in my opinion. You can do the same exact thing with any small energy star chest freezer and a thermostat timer control available from Amazon. You need one deep cycle batt and a 100 watt panel for power and an inverter of at least 1200 watts to get the freezer started then they avaerage about 50-70 watts when running.
This post is a bit misleading because it does require a batt to run at night and an inverter and power controller that also adds to the expense but a chest freezer works better than an upright fridge mostly because they have better insulation and the cold stays in instead of dumping out every time you open the door.
I have and Edgestar fridge freezer that uses 70 watts and a chest freezer run off my 580 solar and wind power system.
Thanks for this insight, LaMar. 🙂
Yes, thank you LaMar 🙂
Back in the days I use to make these for boats, mostly converting an already there top loading icebox to one of the many systems built to do just that.
Instead for my own I build a top loading box with 3” on the sides and 4” on the bottom and 1” to none on the top of foam insulation. This is the standard for cruising boats that need long term low energy fridge.
Then find a Norcold 12vdc/120vac rusted out front or top loading RV fridge from a yard sale or flea market, take the guts out and put it in the box.
These cost me under $100 to do and needs very little power to stay cool, just power to cool new items down.
Lamar is right for most people on grid a top opening freezer, one used as fridge and one freezer is a very eff low cost easy to buy solution. Most have thermostats that work as a fridge.
Though my version uses much less power if that or space is a problem.
Inverters are a waste of power and aren’t necessary for a fridge anyway . Just use a DC compressor.
Obviously you haven’t priced DC compressors. You could afford the extra PV, batteries several times more than what you might save just doing a DC compressor.
But here is the rub, most DC compressors have built in inverters!!All motors are A/C or they wouldn’t turn. Regular DC motors with brushes use a rotary switch with the brushes to change DC to A/C. Now most are brushless with built in inverters instead.
So no matter what if running from DC you’ll be using an inverter.
And most inverters are 94+ percent eff so they can be small and cheap. If they were not eff they would have to be much larger to get rid of the heat losses.
I see your a diy person. I am interested in making my own fridge/ freezer. thinking about making everything for a van dwelling. I am good with my hands and have access to a techshop. Vet, so I get a year at no charge!. I’d like lithium solar set up, as well. Appereciate any ideas, suggestions, etc…
I’d really like to build my own fridge, 1 burner stove…
A Danfoss compressor is about $800, yes they are very expensive but nobody was talking price here and Danfoss (or whatever their new name is) are the de-facto standard for DC compressors.
I have pulled apart a Danfoss control unit and saw no sign of any inverting hardware, granted I wasn’t looking but an inverter to drive such a motor would be a fair size and quite noticeable on a 3×4″ PCB.
Maybe at the coil level all motors are AC, but at the level we normally talk about DC motors are DC, you just add a battery, yes things get swapped around at a rapid pace by the brushes etc, so technically they are AC. As to whether that is more or less efficient than an external inverter I don’t know.
All I can say is that “DC” compressors are the standard for all 4×4 and RV use in my experience and I can only assume that given their price that would not be the case if they were less efficient.
I am prepared to learn differently though.
I do admit that with the current price of PVs it’s getting less and less important to try to save every watt, if you have the roof space it’s easier and cheaper to just add more panels. And with lithium batteries it’s easy(ish) to have a large battery bank (but not cheap).
Funnily enough I don’t think I’ve ever seen a TH with a solar system, certainly it’s not common anyway. Why would that be I wonder?
Hate to be a loser and throw in a website, but I thought this whole tiny house thing is about DIY?!? With that I will post this link:
Seems like a no brainer for anyone that can build a house on a trailer….. just sayin. I am planning on this project this summer for my “summer house” aka deer camp;)
Hi Alex, what about Evakool 12 freezers?
That fire that burned a house down caused by a Sundanzer kinda put me off them.. I ended up going with a 9cf here: http://www.c4pinc.com/solar/solar-freezer/
You can get it for less tho, they are listed in quite a few places.