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Thread: The great fridge debate

  1. #1

    The great fridge debate

    Ok ..... It's been a while since we've spoken about 12 volt fridges ( typically a ford vs holden thing ... ie Waeco vs Engel)

    My situation is that I need to buy a 40-50lt fridge for my boat based camping . Unfortunately my Waeco CFX40 was stolen & I replaced it with a permanently mounted Evakool drawer fridge in the back of the Navara . I have a Engel 80lt which has served me well for 14 years but at around 40kgs empty its just to big / heavy .
    14 years for the Engel is a good run & except for the temp display - awesome . I only had the Waeco for about 4 years & it was faultless .... plus nice & light

    So my experiences with holden & ford have both been good

    Let me say - Evakool lasted 8 months before it died & was repaired ..... The bloke who did the fix specializes in refrigeration - specially 12 volt & it was here that we spoke about purchase options
    Even before I posed the question - I could see that Dometic (Waeco) had issues (over represented)..... there were a few there being repaired including newer ones. It was an Engel free zone & then a mix incl a couple of others incl Evakool .... Apparently Evakool are problematic

    Back to the question ..... what would you buy ?

    If on a budget - Brass Monkey ( RTM / Jaycar) ..... He said that these were well made & he has seen little in the way of issues but that may be limited by how long they have been on the market.
    I specifically asked about Waeco vs Engel ...... Engel hands down (look around) - Interestingly he then made a comment . " If you are cashed up & going to spend $1400-$1500 on a Engel - spend a little more - take a look at National Luna"


    I had heard about National luna & knew of their heritage ( built in South Africa for the transportation of medical supplies) but had never seen one or knew of anyone with one- On paper they look good (stainless steel) - 70 mm insulation ....... Anyhow i'm going to check them out.

    Finally I asked about "Trailblaza" ..... Ugly but quality - If the Australian army use them , they must be decent .

    You dont hear of issues or see them come in (National Luna / Trailblaza) ...... all the others Kings , Bushman , Evakool etc have their issues. With Engel when they do let go the cost of repair can warrant buying a new fridge - parts are expensive.

    Anyhoo - I thought this was an interesting discussion & am interested in what others have experienced.

    Cheers

    Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

  2. #2
    Ausfish Platinum Member Funchy's Avatar
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    Re: The great fridge debate

    If you are going to be running on solar for decent periods of time go an Engel every time

  3. #3

    Re: The great fridge debate

    Father in law has a Trailblaza that he has had for longer than I have been married to his daughter.........which is a loo.......ong time. Been faultless. Very robust but heavy.

  4. #4
    Ausfish Silver Member DATCOL's Avatar
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    Re: The great fridge debate

    Trailblaza is king I have found Evacool very good for after sales service I have returned to the factory a cupel of times over the past 8 to 10 years with small problems that have fixed at no charge also had a cable plug that was loose fitting & was told that there was a improved up date plug & they sent me one free of charge

    Col

  5. #5

    Re: The great fridge debate

    Quote Originally Posted by scottar View Post
    Father in law has a Trailblaza that he has had for longer than I have been married to his daughter.........which is a loo.......ong time. Been faultless. Very robust but heavy.
    Yep, I've got a 60 litre Trailblaza (still made at Moffat Beach), robust, heavy but it keeps things cold longer than any of the others and draws very little power. I don't use it any more so I better put it up for sale.

    The Evacool ones are generally imported from Malaysia etc not made in house anymore but the ones that were are still going (I still have an earlier one and it does work extremely well and does get to minus 20C).

    Engel- a mate owned them but he did have 3 fail on him over a 25 year period so not necessarily fail proof but then we did some pretty rough travelling in those days.

    Waeco - overpriced, used to be stable but recently more failing these days.

    Other brands I can't say as I have no knowledge of people using them.

  6. #6

    Re: The great fridge debate

    Chris - the daughters partner has just been through this exercise. He is very keen on the Snomaster. More modern features. Remote control. I think Bluetooth to phone. The 56L he is looking at is fridge and freezer and both can be swapped about ie more fridge or more freezer depending on the daily need. Only trouble is the wait time.

    http://www.snomaster.de/en/home

  7. #7

    Re: The great fridge debate

    Here's my 2.2 cents Inc GST

    I have an Explorer - like a Trailblaza. Heavy, tough dual thermostat. I have had it for 20ish years and it spent the first 10 or so living in the back of a ute. Only played up once when a conection failed and it was so simple I redid all the wiring while I had the cover off. Still runing 24/7 in the back of my wife's 100 series. The bummer is they aren't being made anymore

    I also now own what is refered to as "the lettuce box". My wife got sick of me running the fridge at beer temp and ruiining her lettuce so I bought a $400 ALDI special. It lives in the kitchen of the camper and my wife is in charge of it I just supply the power. It is a just a rebranded Waeco - I have put it side by side with my mates older Waecos and you could swap parts. I think in the most recent ALDI sale they sold them as Waecos. It hasn't caused us any fuss in the last 5 or so years.

    I also have a BIL who swears by Engel

    i think it really is like the Ford/Holden thing. Buy what fits that is at a price that suits. If it is going to have a tough life in a ute and I had the money I'd probably go a Trailblaza otherwise Engel or Waeco.

    Great clarity

    Matt

  8. #8
    Ausfish Addict disorderly's Avatar
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    Re: The great fridge debate

    As far as I knew Engel use a compressor made in Japan which has a good reputation, Evacool uses the German Danfoss/secop which waeco also used to use but now Waeco fridges and compressors are Chinese made which likely explains the quality issues..

    Evacool also has a top of the line fibreglass infinity range which is made locally..

    We recently bought an 80l Evacool travelmate with the Secop compressor and 5 yr warranty at an Evacool half price sale.

    Havent had it long enough to determine how good it is...

    Nagg what issues did your guy say that evacool were experiencing and what problem did you have with yours...?

  9. #9

    Re: The great fridge debate

    Quote Originally Posted by disorderly View Post
    As far as I knew Engel use a compressor made in Japan which has a good reputation, Evacool uses the German Danfoss/secop which waeco also used to use but now Waeco fridges and compressors are Chinese made which likely explains the quality issues..

    Evacool also has a top of the line fibreglass infinity range which is made locally..

    We recently bought an 80l Evacool travelmate with the Secop compressor and 5 yr warranty at an Evacool half price sale.

    Havent had it long enough to determine how good it is...

    Nagg what issues did your guy say that evacool were experiencing and what problem did you have with yours...?
    My 40lt drawer fridge - just stopped working .
    Old mate pulled pulled the back off & it played around with the connections - tested it & was on my way in 2 hours . His big concern was the readout failure because it would illuminate slightly ..... but nah - all good now.

    Old mate reckons he sees too many issues with Evakool ...... but he said their support is generally great .

    Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

  10. #10

    Re: The great fridge debate

    I just recently went through this exercise for myself and looked at all of them except the Luna.

    In the end It came down to the Dometic and the Engel. I went the Dometic for a few reasons. I didn't like in the Engel how the cooler plates sat off the inside of the insulation. If a can freezes and explodes its a pain in the ass to clean. The new CFX range of Dometic fridges no longer use the old Danfoss/Secop compressor made in China. They use what I think is the only variable speed compressor in any of the fridges. It is their own design.This in theory should use less power when you need to go long periods without shore power. Also I didn't like how the dual zone freeze/fridge works on the Engel with basically an insulation plate in the middle to stop half of it freezing.The Dometic has a proper dual zone. So far I am super impressed with the CFX and love how the app shows you recent power usage etc so you can track how the fridge uses power and when. So you can adjust your habits etc and or remember to keep it out of the sun etc. I've only used the freeze on one side and set it at -15degrees and was impressed with how fast it went from 3deg to -15.

    That said, you can only get a Dual Zone in the larger sizes so that rules out the Dometic for you if you want a DZ In that 40-50L size bracket. It's either freeze or fridge only. The other thing that would come into play if in your situation would be the Engel compressor has like one moving part. That would seriously come into my considerations on a boat that will get that extra pounding than in the back of the ute. Can the Engel work off 24v? If so, it would work great for you to be able to hook it straight to your 24v TM battery.

    I hope you take a deep dive into the Luna and report back on what you find.
    Democracy: Simply a system that allows the 51% to steal from the other 49%.

  11. #11

    Re: The great fridge debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Lovey80 View Post
    I just recently went through this exercise for myself and looked at all of them except the Luna.

    In the end It came down to the Dometic and the Engel. I went the Dometic for a few reasons. I didn't like in the Engel how the cooler plates sat off the inside of the insulation. If a can freezes and explodes its a pain in the ass to clean. The new CFX range of Dometic fridges no longer use the old Danfoss/Secop compressor made in China. They use what I think is the only variable speed compressor in any of the fridges. It is their own design.This in theory should use less power when you need to go long periods without shore power. Also I didn't like how the dual zone freeze/fridge works on the Engel with basically an insulation plate in the middle to stop half of it freezing.The Dometic has a proper dual zone. So far I am super impressed with the CFX and love how the app shows you recent power usage etc so you can track how the fridge uses power and when. So you can adjust your habits etc and or remember to keep it out of the sun etc. I've only used the freeze on one side and set it at -15degrees and was impressed with how fast it went from 3deg to -15.

    That said, you can only get a Dual Zone in the larger sizes so that rules out the Dometic for you if you want a DZ In that 40-50L size bracket. It's either freeze or fridge only. The other thing that would come into play if in your situation would be the Engel compressor has like one moving part. That would seriously come into my considerations on a boat that will get that extra pounding than in the back of the ute. Can the Engel work off 24v? If so, it would work great for you to be able to hook it straight to your 24v TM battery.

    I hope you take a deep dive into the Luna and report back on what you find.
    I couldn't fault my CFX40 . ..... The CFX range was a improvement over the older models . As mentioned in the original post - there were certainly a few Waeco / Dometics in for repair & old mate said as much ..........seeing them lined up like that reminded me of my accidental wander through an Evinrude service center & seeing all those ETECs with their power heads off - I went straight to Yamaha.

    I'm going to have a good look at the Luna's next week

    If I was going to buy a big fridge - i would seriously consider Trailblaza ...... it's just that they are huge for the capacity even in the compact model ..... & I'm sure they would weigh heaps

    ​Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

  12. #12

    Re: The great fridge debate

    Quote Originally Posted by gunna View Post
    Chris - the daughters partner has just been through this exercise. He is very keen on the Snomaster. More modern features. Remote control. I think Bluetooth to phone. The 56L he is looking at is fridge and freezer and both can be swapped about ie more fridge or more freezer depending on the daily need. Only trouble is the wait time.

    http://www.snomaster.de/en/home
    They are good too - another South African company .......

    Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

  13. #13

    Re: The great fridge debate

    From a personal standpoint - in smaller fridges how practical are dual zones ? . Yeh sure in 80lt plus - without a doubt - I certainly like my 80lt Engel combi & have used it to make ice over night while still keeping stuff refrigerated (just watch the lettuce ) with that kind of freezer space (35 liters ish) 80lt engel.jpg you can actually use it as I do ... that's a 10 Lt container of water plus some bottles

    A 60lt might be ok - but I think once you get to less than 40lts of fridge space .... what you can keep & the time away becomes limited (IMO)

    It's why I'll probably look at single zone between 40-55lts ..... I typically take an esky anyhow , so I can make enough block ice / freezer packs when I need too & keep the weight at a manageable level ..... I mean that Engel weighs around 42kg empty - a 40-55lt alternative is down to 22-26kgs which is easily managed on my own .

    Anyhoos what's everyones thoughts on dual zones - how do you use your fridge ?

    Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

  14. #14

    Re: The great fridge debate

    My contribution to this is simple.

    ENGEL, Iíve got three. A 40 and a 21 that have not missed a beat in 15 years.

    Iíve also a newer 40 that has not missed a beat in 8 years.

    Can only speak about mine and have no knowledge of the other brands mentioned. I have heard stories about several of the brands, but I will not elaborate as they are only hearsay.

    Good luck with your researching and final choice.


    Sent from my iPhone using Ausfish forums

  15. #15

    Re: The great fridge debate

    Quote Originally Posted by shakey55 View Post
    My contribution to this is simple.

    ENGEL, Iíve got three. A 40 and a 21 that have not missed a beat in 15 years.

    Iíve also a newer 40 that has not missed a beat in 8 years.

    Can only speak about mine and have no knowledge of the other brands mentioned. I have heard stories about several of the brands, but I will not elaborate as they are only hearsay.

    Good luck with your researching and final choice.


    Sent from my iPhone using Ausfish forums
    Appreciated - Ditto for me with Engel ......

    However when put alongside some of the competition - they fall short on things like power draw , weight , insulation etc ...... & I wont even go into stuff like bluetooth etc .

    Why I'm looking outside of Engel is going to a stainless cabinet / interior appeals & some of the other offerings are more efficient - that's a good thing when you are off grid .... 70/75mm insulation vs 50mm makes a difference




    Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

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