Does the sun beat down on your refrigerator or ice box? Stop it from heating up all that nice cold air on the inside by putting Reflectix on the outside.

More Refrigerator Insulation

I have long recommended getting auto windshield reflectors and using them to wrap your refrigerator, cooler and even hang over the side of the boat where the refrigerator is.

During the “Improve Refrigerator Efficiency” seminar that I led at LoretoFest, a cruiser told me about a better solution:  Reflectix.  A couple more chimed in with their stories too.

Reflectix is sold at home improvement stores (I’m told it’s available at the Home Depots throughout Mexico even) and is available on Amazon.  To greatly oversimplify, it’s bubble wrap that has a reflective foil surface on both sides.


Better yet, it’s not particularly expensive (as I’m writing this, a 2′ x 25′ roll costs just under $25).

The manufacturer describes it more fully:

Reflectix is a 5/16-inch thick, seven layer, reflective insulation which is available in rolls of various widths and lengths. It is used extensively in both specialty and standard construction projects. Two outer layers of aluminum foil reflect 97-percent of radiant heat.

The best application is on the outside of a refrigerator, ice box or cooler where sunlight might hit it.  It won’t do much to put it on the inside of a box since there really isn’t any radiant heat there.  Admittedly, it isn’t the prettiest thing but it does work well.

Cooler-in-ReflectixReflectix is really easy to work with — you can cut it with ordinary shears and the bubble wrap center makes it not tear easily.  It comes in rolls of 25 feet and more, and in widths ranging from 1 to 4 feet (the 1-foot width is called “duct wrap” but it’s the same thing).

For best results, tape seams with Reflectix Foil Tape although you can use duct tape or any other type of tape.

As the discussion progressed, one cruiser — Tim — said that he had an Engel Portable Refrigerator and loved it . . . particularly after he made a Reflectix “jacket” for it and cut the already low power usage nearly in half.  That’s his creation above!

See all Reflectix products available on Amazon.

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  • Kelley Gudahl on Facebook
    Posted at 08 June 2013 Reply

    This is great – On Sailing Chance we used rigid insulation you get from home depot and then insulation tape to secure it. Works great!

  • Julie Sandler Lambert on Facebook
    Posted at 08 June 2013 Reply

    I sewed that same product between the sunbrella and lining fabric on all of our hatch covers. It reflects the heat and makes the covers waterproof. And they float when the wind grabs one out of your hand. Great stuff!

  • Jaxon White
    Posted at 18 June 2013 Reply

    This is great stuff! I first saw this when I had install reflective insulation. I had that idea to use it on a few things and it turned out to work on all of my ideas. I thought I was the only one but I guess not. Thanks for sharing this article.

  • Allan Cobb
    Posted at 29 December 2013 Reply

    You can also take the scraps and make covers for your ports. This really cuts the heat inside the cabin especially when your boat is closed up.

  • Alice Connors
    Posted at 02 April 2014 Reply

    Been using this for years.

  • Sami Bolton
    Posted at 03 April 2014 Reply

    we used this stuff in our port windows. I spray glued pretty fabric to both sides and cut to fit////

  • Sami Bolton
    Posted at 03 April 2014 Reply

    I have pictures of the whole process somewhere and one of the boating mags did a story on it…maybe L&A years back.

  • Harold Delk
    Posted at 02 December 2015 Reply

    We’re not boaters, but use this in our Pleasure-Way RV (small Sprinter Class B) on the interior of windows and it keeps us cooler and/or toastier depending on the season. Easy to stow when not in use and easy to stick back up when camped. Side benefit is they also block light and prying eyes at night.

  • Elaine Gustafson-Howland
    Posted at 19 April 2016 Reply

    This is great stuff . After you start using it you will find a multitude of uses for it on the boat as well as in an RV and house.

  • Rachel Roy Smith
    Posted at 21 December 2017 Reply

    I sewed lace covers for our round reflectix port covers, looked great and kept the Caribbean sun out of our cabin! Now we use it in our RV!

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