ARB’s ZERO 47-QT Fridge Performs as Good as It Looks

Photo By: Rick Stowe

Quick take: ARB’s ZERO 47QT is a feature-rich fridge with impressive accessories and all of the tech we’ve come to expect from modern 12-volt fridges. The high-quality design and construction are evident as soon as you see it and only reinforced after extended use. 

Let’s be honest. A lot of 12-volt fridges are rather utilitarian in their design. We want them to keep our drinks cold, our food unspoiled, and our adventures rolling unhindered by the need to stop for ice. When you take a step back, many models start to look the same. 

That’s not necessarily a huge issue, but for many, the overall design of a product plays a big part in how desirable it is. If it works well but looks mediocre, that’s fine. If it looks great but doesn’t function as expected, then you have a problem. However, the goldilocks ratio of great performance delivered by an attractive product is the ultimate goal. 

That’s exactly how I would describe the ARB Zero 47QT. It does a great job of keeping your food organized and cold. And, when you open the tailgate of your rig, you’ll take a moment to appreciate how cool this fridge looks, too.

The Design

Photo by Rick Stowe

When I opened the box of the ARB Zero 47QT, I was immediately impressed by what I saw. The steel outer casing is bordered by black corner moldings that protect the areas that are most likely to be dented. These moldings also feature subtle designs that match the font used in the logos on the fridge. 

After pulling the fridge from the well-padded packaging, I was impressed with the overall design. The handles are nearly flush to the sides but still provide plenty of purchase. The non-stick pad on the lid makes for a stable surface for drinks or dishes even if the fridge isn’t exactly level. Overall, it’s very streamlined without lacking features. 

READ MORE: Trips & Trails: Moody Hill Road – FSR #513

While it might seem trivial, the ARB ZERO 47QT has one of the best lids I’ve seen on a fridge. It’s perfectly flush with the surrounding trim, includes a quality seal, and most importantly, it easily and securely latches with a satisfying click. On a recent trip, a friend retrieved a drink and then paused to stare at the ZERO 47QT.

Perplexed by his exaggerated pause, I asked, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I just really love the latch on that fridge,” he replied.

The ZERO 47QT includes a DC outlet on each end of the fridge. This ensures that your power supply won’t dictate how it’s installed in your rig. It also features an USB 5V outlet on the front, so you always have an easy way to charge any devices in camp.

Performance

The ZERO 47QT isn’t all form. Every time I’ve used the fridge, I’ve been impressed with its performance. For starters, the compressor is noticeably quieter than the models I’ve previously used. Our last rig was outfitted with a wedge-style camper, and our old fridge would often wake me up as it kicked on throughout the night. The ZERO barely makes a noise even when there are little to no ambient sounds. 

Photo by Rick Stowe

The Boost Mode is a convenient feature that promises to quickly cool the contents of the fridge at the push of a button.

On a fishing excursion, I filled about half of the fridge with drinks and snacks before turning it on. I set the thermostat to 36F and pressed the Boost Mode button. As I rolled out of the driveway, the fridge indicated an internal temperature of 89F. Thirty-five minutes later, the fridge had reached 38F. Even more impressively, the Power Pack still indicated three-quarters power. 

One of my biggest complaints with many single-zone fridges is the lack of organization and their tendency to leave your food in a jostled pile unless they’re packed to the brim. I didn’t initially realize how useful the interior basket of the Zero 47QT was until I used it on a few trips. With the hinged portion locked in the vertical position, you can place taller items in the back and keep smaller things in the front. With the divider in the horizontal position, you can isolate delicate food from heavier items to ensure they aren’t crushed in transit. 

Photo by Rick Stowe

The Zero Fridge mobile app provides info on the voltage and fridge temperature. You can also use it to customize the battery protection level, select one of three pre-programmed temperature modes, and toggle the Boost Mode from your phone. The application initially took a few tries to connect, but after that, it was very responsive. The fridge sounds with a reassuring chime when settings are changed via your smartphone.

Photo by Rick Stowe

The Accessories

ARB supports the ZERO series of fridge/freezer with some excellent accessories. While none of them are required to utilize the fridges, they definitely enhance the end user experience.

Fridge Freezer Tie-Down System

Photo by Rick Stowe

With handles that are molded into the sides of the fridge, the usual method of wrapping a strap or two around the handle won’t work with the ZERO 47QT. To address that issue, ARB has engineered a clever system that utilizes stainless steel fridge mount brackets, quick-release buckles, heavy-duty polyester webbing straps, and fridge slide mount brackets. This system suits the overall design of the ZERO series of fridges and keeps them secure on the slide. 

Power Pack

Photo by Rick Stowe

Photo by Rick Stowe

The ARB Fridge Freezer Power Pack is probably the most exciting ZERO-compatible accessory. In terms of batteries, it’s rather small measuring 13 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches, but promises plenty of power for a day or short overnight trips. It features a 15Ah lithium battery for up to 18 hours runtime, and it’s as easy as plug and play. 

I was really curious to see how this Power Pack performed under a variety of conditions, and I was pleasantly surprised. After an eight-hour day of exploring some backcountry trails, the Power Pack only dropped by 25% despite the 90-degree temperature. What’s more impressive is that it continued to deliver similar performance even when the fridge wasn’t fully packed. 

The rare earth magnets used to mount the Power Pack to the sides of the fridge are covered in silicone material, so it stays where you put it, and it doesn’t scuff the ZERO 47QT.

Fridge/Freezer Slide

Photo by Rick Stowe

ARB’s slide matches the fridge in terms of quality and overall design. It’s incredibly low profile measuring 2 inches tall with only .75 inches from the bottom of the slide to the mounting surface. However, it’s such a low profile that I initially had issues with it clearing my tailgate. A few stacked washers remedied the problem, but it’s something buyers should be aware of.

Transit Bag

Photo by Rick Stowe

Normally I’m not one to remove my fridge from the truck in camp. However, the flexibility offered by the Power Pack makes it tempting to keep it handy when hanging out away from the rig. 

For times when the ZERO 47QT is out of the truck, the Transit bag protects it from dents and scratches. It’s slotted for use with the Power Pack, and the fridge vents are covered by mesh panels. Cutouts provide access to the controls and ports, and it also includes a handy pocket for a bottle opener. 

READ MORE: Trips & Trails: Owyhee Uplands Back Country Byway

Wrap Up

The ARB ZERO 47QT delivered the excellent performance I would expect from a brand known for providing quality overlanding equipment for nearly 50 years. The fridge’s performance and design matches up with the expectations of modern overland travelers. Great accessories and mobile application integration enhance the exceptional cooling power of the fridge. All of this is backed by a three year warranty.

What to know:

  • Volume: 47 quarts
  • Volume: 12 gallons
  • Can Count: (12oz): 65
  • Zones: Single
  • DIM IN (LxWxH): 26.6 x 16.7 x 19.5
  • DIM CM (LxWxH): 67.5 x 42.4 x 49.5
  • Weight: 53.1 pounds
  • Weight: 24 kilograms
  • Temp Range: -7.6F to +50F (-22C to 10C)
  • DC Power: Two 12/24-volt DC outlets
  • AC Power: One 120-volt AC inlet
  • Average Hourly Draw: 0.8 amps (Ambient at 89.6F, Internal at 41F)
  • Lid: 1-way
  • MSRP: $1,262.00

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