portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

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portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby sienna » Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:01 pm

Hi All,
So I've been doing lots of reading and my eyes are going square!
Can someone please enlighten me as to the advantages/disadvantages of a bar fridge vs portable fridge/freezer?!
From what I can see so far, the portable fridge/freezer is more expensive and seems to be shaped more like an esky. If shape doesn't matter, will a bar fridge do?
Basically, I want to keep stuff cold and keep frozen meat frozen etc. It would be used on a powered site for long periods (eg 3wks over christmas).
For me, budget is an issue as it wouldn't get used all that often. But it would prob be one of those things that once you have it, you start to use it (drinks fridge etc).

All feedback greatly appreciated!
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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby Ozzycamperboy » Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:07 pm

If you got the space and you've got the power, nothing wrong with a bar fridge.

Except, like larger household fridges, I think they don't like getting tipped on their side during transport and then turned on straight away
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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby sienna » Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:20 pm

If you had to lean a bar fridge over is there a better way eg forwards, backwards or sideways? I'd have to put it on the back seat, I reckon. And after a little tippage, how long should you wait before you turn it on? I'm guessing the info booklet won't tell me cos they don't want you to do it.
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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby Ozzycamperboy » Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:15 pm

I don't think it would matter much which side. The problem is the oil or gass or something inside it flows into where it shouldn't, and you need to give it time to drain back down.

Some say wait one hour, some say 24hrs :lol: I think the general consensus is a couple of hours is fine... should give you just enough time to set up the tent/caravan whatever and get dinner going.
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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby CampGrrlz » Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:49 pm

The moving people reckoned one hour for full-size domestic fridges so go with that until you know different.

Major objection to a bar fridge is that a lot of them do not freeze. Found them in motels and many just don't freeze our blocks.

Another issue might be size. Depends if you're tall and strong then you can heave a bar fridge around!

Get a new one, they are probably cheap enough to fit your budget that way you're not buying any one else's problems as well you've got a 12 month warranty. And if you deal with someone in an appliance store who you know, then ask them straight out if it will freeze. Most are honest especially if you are a regular customer.

The fridge won't run when you drive, but then neither will my fancy freezer since I don't have deep cycle batteries (used to, too much hassle) but if everything is really cold and you can cover the fridge with a blanket it should do OK for 3 or 4 hours.

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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby subaruby » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:56 pm

I was trying to think of a solution myself as I cannot afford a "proper" camping fridge. So I decide to use an old bar fridge in the back of the trailer, as I will only be using powered camp sites. After using it on two camp trips I am happy with the set up. It is turned on at least 4 hours before I plan to leave home and is plugged in when I arrive at the camp site. I didn't think the freezer part worked but after putting a litre of milk in the freezer part, it froze solid.

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So for me it is working well.
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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby sienna » Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:38 pm

Subaruby,
Out of curiosity, how big is your bar fridge? It looks like a smaller one but hard to tell.

I think I will just have to go ask some sales people. I just can't afford the expensive camping fridges and even the dometic bar fridge for a caravan, which I know freezes meat, is totally out of bugdet.
A bar fridge is all I can justify spending money on but not going to if it doesn't do the job. I have til Dec to come up with something so at least I have time to do more research.

Thanks for all input so far.
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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby Titch » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:57 am

I have a bar fridge under my pergola at home.Has a door on the little freezer and freezes well.
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Pick up a fridge, the size you can stand up when transporting. Sometimes leaving them rest can take days
Get one that has an exterior cooling coil.
Keep in the shade and do not open every minute.We cover the top of our trailer mounted Esky with 2 glued to size windscreen shade,s
Sometimes leaving them rest can take days.
You see standard fridges in powered spots everywhere.
Check the camp site will not charge you extra.
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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby GypsyLady » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:10 am

sienna wrote:
I think I will just have to go ask some sales people.



That's the last thing I would be doing sienna......they are going to tell you what you want to hear for the sake of a sale.

If this is the way you feel you need to go then I suggest you purchase one from a chain store, KMart; BigW etc as soon as you can manage it financially.

Then run it at home and see if it performs as you want it to do.....if not then you can return it for a refund....usually no questions asked. And on top of this you will most likely get one for a far better price at a chain store than any place else.

Personally I can't say that I have seen too many bar fridges with a freezer compartment, except maybe the bigger ones. Having a freezer section will increase to cost of the unit as well so be prepared for that.

Another idea.....are you camping at a CP or campground that has a camp kitchen, if so you could take advantage of the fridge/freezer that is often provided for campers use.

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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby sienna » Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:32 am

It's not so much that I can't afford the more expensive units - it's more that I can't justify spending $500 and upwards for something that will most likely get used for 3 wks a year and then sit unused. I don't know anyone I can borrow one from and I havne't looked at the cost of hiring yet. That is one of my next things to look at.

Gypsylady,
The idea of getting one from kmart etc seems sensible. At least they won't ask too many questions if it doesn't freeze.
I think that as long as it has a separate freezer compartment with a sealed door and separate temp knob, then I'm in with a better chance of it freezing.
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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby Ozzycamperboy » Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:32 am

I've stayed in heaps of hotels that just have a little bar fridge, their freezer compartments have always been... well, freezing temp.

Just go get one. I can't see them being much more than $200, think I almost bought one on sale for a bit less than that a few years ago at Big W.

The expensive portable one's are worth their weight in gold if you are camping away from power for extended periods. But thats not what you want it for so a cheap bar fridge sounds perfect. Check ebay and trading post for a second hand one if you really want to save some coin, and help the environment a bit too.
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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby GypsyLady » Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:09 pm

sienna wrote:
The idea of getting one from kmart etc seems sensible. At least they won't ask too many questions if it doesn't freeze.



You only need to tell them that it does not perform as you expected it too....or you could always tell a whopper and say that a friend/relative gave you an old one they no longer needed and you don't need 2.....

I have to agree with Ozzy....the dedicated camp fridges are definitely worth gold and you don't need to spend $500+ but it is your personal choice and I am not about to try and change your mind.

Cheers.....
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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby subaruby » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:01 pm

Not sure of the size in litres, it is an old one and not labled. I would probably guess at 50L it certainly fits in more than I expected. In physical size it is about 60cm high.
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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby amanda » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:58 am

I purchased a Mistral bar fridge from K Mart last Christmas for $129 and I take it whenever we are going to be using a powered site for any lengthy stay. I have never had a problem leaning it on its back for transporting, I just make sure I let it sit for an hour before switching it on. It slides easily into the back of the station wagon, and I don't have too much trouble lifting it in and out on my own. The little freezer works a treat - there's always ice cubes for my drinks, and enough space for the few things I like to keep frozen. I have also found that by putting 2 pieces of timber under it to keep it slightly off the ground helps protects the floor of the CT and also seems to level it nicely. It certainly has proven to be the answer for me, with the added bonus that I also have it home to use as a bar fridge when I'm not away.
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Re: portable fridge/freezer vs bar fridge

Postby sienna » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:15 am

Thanks for that Amanda.
It's nice to know that other people have done this and it works. I reckon I"m going to hit the shops this arvo. You can't go wrong with spending $129!
Thanks to everyone for all your input.
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