12V Refrigerators

The ARB 12V Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock — Detailed Review


The ARB 12V Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock is one of the many 4×4 accessories from the well-respected brand ARB which have been in business for quite some time.

This journey began in 1975 when the founder of this company Tony Brown, went on a 4WD trip. It was on his trip that he discovered that most of the 4WDers depended on homemade equipment. These equipment were sometimes ill-fitting and definitely not designed for use on extended outback expeditions. After his trip, by putting theory into practice, he got the inspiration and the opportunity needed to start ARB. ARB is a company that caters to and provides accessories that are specially designed for 4WD vehicles and off-road trips.The ARB Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock

Interestingly, the company’s name ARB is gotten from the founder’s initials ‘Anthony Ronald Brown’. Over the years, ARB has made its mark and is without contest Australia’s largest manufacturer and distributor of 4×4 accessories. It now boasts a wide range of high-quality accessories such as fuel tanks, solar systems, and tire accessories. It also includes rooftop tents, portable fridges and freezers and other general accessories all of which are durable and reliable.

ARB’s philosophy is practicality, quality and reliability and they have a two-year warranty on all their products. The company is not just limited to Australia and they have a vast international presence with a large export network of more than 100 countries.

We love companies like this that give priority to making quality products and providing quality service. That is why we recommend this ARB Weatherproof refrigerator to you.

Who needs the ARB 12V Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock?

If you have ever been on an outback ride and found yourself wishing for more equipment, durable definitely this product is for you. This powerful unit with its robust stainless steel build has an exterior that is completely weatherproof. The cooler is designed to ride out the worst weather conditions. It can also be mounted permanently in the back of an open truck.

While we agree that this cooler was designed for the outback and for 4wd trips, its use is not limited to these. It is an incredibly powerful fridge/ freezer and can keep your food and drink cold for months on end. Getting a product like this would definitely be a game changer for your subsequent trips.

Its programmable electronic lock protects your cooler from intruders and at the same time eliminates problems of forgotten or missing keys.  This also ensures your cooler and its contents are kept secure from wandering hands while you’re on your trips.

A really cool feature of this cooler is that it can be used in any kind of vehicle including Jeeps, SUV’s or even under a dual cab canopy. This unit can also be used safely on a boat so you can enjoy food and drink even when you go fishing. This cooling unit is a must-have for anyone who enjoys cold drinks while they are on the road as much we do.

The ARB Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock

Get the ARB 12V Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock now!

Features of the ARB 12V Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock

  1. Heavy Duty Design

This unit has a fully robust design, with every inch of its main body and lid made from stainless steel. Parts like the latches and corners are covered with strong plastic mouldings for extra protection. The cooler also has protective mouldings made from ASA plastic and are very durable. Even the coolers hinges are made from solid stainless steel hinges and so will not easily break or fall apart.

  1. Accessibility

This ARB has lit that can’t be removed and an infinite position gas spring. This allows you to open the lid easily and hold it open for as long as you want.  This feature would be especially useful when you are loading or offloading your cooler and also when you’re cleaning it. Speaking of cleaning, this unit comes with a drain plug which makes defrosting very easy.


There is a handle which is designed to make carrying the cooler as easy as possible. This cooler comes with both AC and DC cables which means you can use your cooler in your car or any other vehicle. It can also be used in your home, office, hotel room etc. We are thrilled that these cables can be stored at the back of the cooler. We know how frustrating missing and or tangled cables can be which is why we love this feature so much.




  1. State of the art security system

This durable cooling unit in addition to its great features has an excellent security system. Every part of the cooler was designed in such a way that your cooler is protected from every imaginable threat.It can be permanently mounted at the back of your truck using bolts which are all tamper-proof. This helps secure your cooler in one place and it would be nearly impossible for anyone to move your cooler once it has been mounted.


Now the security feature we love the most is this coolers electronic locking system. It uses a 4-digit pin code as extra protection for your cooler. The best thing about this feature is that it not only protects the contents of your cooler from being stolen. It also ensures that no one else has access to your temperature settings and controls. This would mean you are also protected from nasty pranks that could cause your cooler to defrost or make all your food go bad.


It is worthy of note that since this electronic lock is programmable, it eliminates problems such as looking for your keys or getting locked out of your cooler. All these are problems that would have been experienced with a manual locking system. There is however space for a padlock if you want even more security. You can sleep peacefully and enjoy your trip knowing your cooler and its contents are safe.

The ARB Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock

Get the ARB 12V Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock now!

  1. Smart Features

There is a lot to love about this ARB weatherproof cooler but we especially love all its smart features. It has a control panel which can be used to control some of its smart features such as its lighting, energy saving and even its wireless function. This control panel, however, just like every other part of this cooling unit is weatherproof. Therefore it is protected from rain, dust, sand and almost all weather conditions that your cooler could be exposed to on the road.


The interior lighting which also happens to be a backlit LED panel faces the back of the cooler. This interior light is very cool because it is a backlit LED it can dynamically be dimmed. Another interesting feature of this units interior light is that it automatically goes off when the cooler is closed and comes on when the cooler is opened.  This dimming function, as well as the automatic on/off, helps to save energy.


Speaking of energy saving, this unit has a 3- level battery protection feature, and you can pick any of the three levels. This helps you save energy as well as protect your cars batter. Leaving this unit on the lowest energy level will protect your battery and ensure it isn’t drained even if you run your cooler overnight.


There’s also the inbuilt wireless function or display. There is a remote transmitter at the back of the cooler which is placed in such a way that it is protected from rain and dust. We love this feature so much as you can monitor the temperature of your refrigerator even from your dashboard.

  1. Efficient Cooling

This ARB weatherproof fridge/freezer has a major difference in its interior. It has a full height evaporator which spreads across an entire section of the interior. The large surface area of this evaporator means that the whole cabinet area will have a homogenous temperature.

In a similar way, the fridges cabinet has thick insulation around it. This helps to keep the fridge cooler even when it is not being powered. Also, there are two compartments of the interior the primary and secondary compartments. The full height evaporator also covers these twin compartments and ensures fast and efficient cooling throughout the cooler.

The inside of the unit is cooled as a single open area and thus the ARB is intended to be used as a fridge or a freezer, not both at once. This units operation is rather quiet for a compressor model. This a good thing though, because no one wants a noisy refrigerator.



  1. Large Storage Capacity

The ARB weatherproof fridge/ freeze is a very functional and versatile cooling unit. This is due to its very large storage capacity. At 63 quarts (approximately 60 liters) the amount of space in this cooler is pretty impressive. It can store up to 150 twelve ounce bottles or cans as well as a wide range of food and drink.


This units cabinet basket is reversible and it also has a removable divider. This features, allow you the freedom to organize your cooler as you wish. As a plus removing the divider gives room in the cooler for more food and drink and for larger items.

Pros of the ARB 12V Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock

  1. Large storage capacity
  2. Fast and efficient uniform cooling
  3. Energy saving options
  4. Smart features
  5. A programmable electronic security system
  6. Strong and robust build
  7. Easy to use
  8. Weatherproof exterior

Cons of the ARB 12V Weatherproof  Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock

  1. It is rather heavy

The ARB Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock

Get the ARB 12V Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock now!

A more affordable option is the Wagan 46 Quart 12V Cooler/ Warmer with Wheels.

This Wagan cooler is a much cheaper alternative to the ARB cooler. It has a large capacity of 46 Quarts and can hold up to 60 cans. It also has wheels and a folding handle which makes it easy to move the cooler around.

In addition to being an exceptional cooling unit, this Wagan cooler doubles as a food warmer and can heat food up to a hundred and forty degrees Fahrenheit.

Wagan 46 Quart 12V Cooler/ Warmer with Wheels

If you would prefer a smaller cooler that is easier to move around, the Alpicool  40-Quart 12V Refrigerator/ Freezer with Wheels would be perfect for you.

A lot of users complained about the ARB cooler being rather heavy and difficult to move when full without the slider. We decided to suggest a smaller cooler which also functions as a fridge or freezer.

As a bonus, this cooler comes with wheels and strong handles which make moving the cooler around very easy. It also comes with AC and DC cables which give you the option of using the cooler in your vehicle or home.

This Alpicool cooler is pretty impressive and it also helps that it is far less expensive than the ARB portable cooler.


In the market for a similar cooler with smart features, the Costway 54-Quart Portable 12V Refridgerator with LCD temperature display would be the right choice.

The Costway portable cooler a lot of features that are at par with those of the ARB portable cooler at about a third of the price. Its capacity, however, is less than that of the ARB cooler.

This cooler boasts a large capacity and a sturdy build that could withstand bad road conditions. It also has a 3 stage battery protection as well as an LCD digital temperature display. It is amazing to us that even with all these impressive features, this cooler is still below 500 US dollars. That many smart features at such a low price is practically a steal and it would be criminal not to take this offer.

Costway 54 Quart 12V Refrigerator with LCD temperature display

Quick Comparison

 Featured ProductMore affordable Lesser Capacity Similar design
ProductARB 12V Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic LockWagan 46 Quart 12V Cooler/ Warmer with Wheels Alpicool  40-Quart 12V Refrigerator/ Freezer with Wheels.


Costway 54-Quart Portable 12 V  Refridgerator with LCD temperature display 
Cooling SystemCompressor ThermoelectricCompressorCompressor
Dimensions1inch x 1 inch x 1 inch17.2 inches  x 9.2 inches  x 13.5 inches23.1 inches x 14.9 inches  x 21.5 inches27 inches  x 13.5 inches x 21 inches
 Smart FeaturesElectronic lock and control panelNoneNoneLCD digital temperature display and regulator
FunctionFridge/ FreezerCooler/WarmerFridge/ FreezerFridge/Freezer
Available Sizes60l44L40L52L
Available ColorsBlackBlueGreyGrey and Black

 The ARB Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock

Get the ARB 12V Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock now!

What users are saying about the ARB 12V Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock.

The general consensus about this ARB cooler is that it is a perfect cooler that functions flawlessly. Indeed almost everyone that bought this cooler is very happy with their purchase. They all can agree that you get your money’s worth with this cooler. It is a strong and durable cooler which has plenty of room but at the same time would fit perfectly in the trunk or behind your car seat.

Our users have a lot to say about this cooler’s cool functions. They love its fast and efficient cooling but like with most cooling units, they agree that it works best if you precool your items before putting them in.

Another favourite among our users is the power saver feature. This is quite understandable as no one wants to wake up with a drained car battery or get a very high electricity bill. According to a user, you could leave it running for days without starting your car and it wouldn’t drain your battery. As incredible as this sounds we don’t expect you to run your cooler nonstop with your car engine off because it wasn’t designed to be used that way. We just wanted to drive home the units incredible power saving function.


There however were some features our users weren’t too thrilled about. One of them is that this cooler is very heavy and you might want to get the sliders along with your cooler. Alternatively, you could get someone to help you move the cooler when it’s full.


Still on the drawbacks of this cooler, our users noticed that the temperature reading was much lower than the set temperature. This is for two reasons the first is that the units’ in-built thermometer is located at the bottom and so it will read a much lower temperature because the bottom is much colder than the top.

The second reason is the at the refrigerator runs in cycles and so it cools lower than the set temperature and then stops. This is actually really cool as it is what helps the cooler conserve energy and not drain the battery of your car.


While there’s not much you can do as you wouldn’t want to affect the coolers power saving function, you can adjust the in-built thermometer with this amazing hack from one of our users. By holding down the +and – buttons for 5 seconds you can adjust the temperature reading. With a little experimenting, you would settle on a suitable reading.

Our Verdict

There is a lot of hype about this ARB portable cooler, best believe the hype because this cooler is every bit as impressive as it sounds. With its quiet cooling, its solid build, and its minimal power usage, this cooler is the perfect addition to your road trip or camping trip.


We love that this unit fits nicely in your trunk and also behind the driver seat of almost any vehicle. It has a lot of room and can even fit 2 liter bottles standing up and wine bottles as well. With its robust exterior, it looks like it was designed to withstand abuse, though you should treat your cooler nicely.


While this unit is rather pricy, it definitely gives you your money’s worth with its durability and functionality. Quiet compressor coolers are hard to come by and so we love that this cooler makes minimal noises.  We would, however, have preferred if the unit had a dual zone cooling and could be used as a fridge and freezer at the same time.


ARB is known for high quality, durable products and this weatherproof cooler doesn’t fall below this standard. We encourage you to purchase this cooler and you’ll most likely thank us after you do.

The ARB Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock

Get the ARB 12V Weatherproof Fridge/Freezer with Electronic Lock now!





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