National RV Trade Show: Norcold Polar Max 18 Refrigerator

Editor's note: Here's the second of several posts from my visit to the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. earlier this month.

Norcold Polar Max 18 Refrigerator
One of the recent trends in RVs has been residential appliances in big Class A motorhomes and fifth-wheels. The same appliance you'd find in your home is now being put into RVs, and chief among these has been refrigerators. 

Which is fine, unless you're not connected to shore power. If you're not connected to the campground's electricity, then you're out of luck because the residential frig won't run on propane. And the residential frig isn't built to withstand the rigors of travel. It's meant to be parked in your kitchen at home, not running down the highway to go camping.

Norcold introduced the largest refrigerator designed for an RV on the market, the Polar Max 18, at the National RV Trade Show. At the same time, Norcold launched a marketing campaign, called “Freedom Unplugged,” to remind the industry why RV-dedicated refrigerators are important. 

“It gives you all the size and interior space of a household unit, but without the pitfalls of a household unit,” Andy Bialorucki, marketing director at Norcold, told me. “The gas absorption cooling unit allows you the freedom to go anywhere you want. You have all the benefits of a large household size refrigerator without the need for extra batteries, or a need for an inverter or any other extra power source.”

Having been in the RV refrigerator business for 50 years, Norcold understands the unique demands of RV applications. The Polar Max 18 has French doors so as not to require too much clearance for opening the refrigerator’s doors, for example. Primarily, though, its ability to run on either AC or propane that sets the Polar Max 18 and other Norcold refrigerators apart from residential units. And that is the primary reason for the “Freedom Unplugged” campaign, Bialorucki said, to remind people of the virtues of a dedicated made-for-RVing refrigerator versus consumer home appliances that have found their way into some motorhomes and towables.