Portable fridges

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 07, 2008 at 22:59
ThreadID: 54349 Views:3278 Replies:10 FollowUps:2
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As a new member I am looking for advise on portable fridges.

I have been advised by many people of the type and brand name I should purchase.

I am now totally confused.

Three way? two way?

PS I have just had my vehicle wired up to handle 60Amps in the duel battery system.

Just need to clear advise
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Reply By: Member - John - Thursday, Feb 07, 2008 at 23:18

Thursday, Feb 07, 2008 at 23:18
Drew, depends on what you plan to do, stay in one place for a long time, 3 way, travel every day, 12 volt/240 volt. As to brand, that depends on what you want to pay? Answer the first question and the second one then becomes relevant. John
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Reply By: Member - Derek L (QLD) - Thursday, Feb 07, 2008 at 23:33

Thursday, Feb 07, 2008 at 23:33
Hi Drew I have used both at some stage. (3 way & 2way). They both have a great use when used in the right application. If you are going somewhere to camp for a week the 3way Chescold is great you can put it gas and have a fridge with a freezer as good as the one at home. But if you travelling on the road quite a bit and calling a different place home every night a Chescold is not the answer they draw alot of power on 12V very good chance your batteries will be flat by the morning or you can luge it in and out each day to put it on gas. This where is suggest a ARB/Engel is the ticket low amp draw. Maybe another suggestion is go to a campground and ask around. Stop and speak to a truckie those guys use a lot of fridges and they all talk amongst each other and they will give you the pros and cons of the old debate and I don't want to start one, which is best Engel or Waceo. My 60 ltr ARB works best for me. Its made by Engel it looks and smells like an Engel. Its a great colour blue and I think the travel bags are better, I dont have to unzip anything just unlatch and grab out an icy cold beer.
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Reply By: Member - Mark H (VIC) - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 00:02

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 00:02
As mentioned above if staying for a while in the one spot then a 3 way fridge (Chescold most common) is the go, or you could use a 2 way fridge and use solar and/or a small & quiet genny.

Some brief words on 2 way fridges, others will add more.

Engel: Been around for ages, can't go wrong. 40 Litre unit is high and I found myself continually pulling things out to get to the bottom (borrowed my old mans for 2 week trip). 32L & 60L units are lower.

Evakool: Australian made. Their ice boxes have been around for years and the fridges have a danfoss compressor bolted onto the side. This is also air cooled for better efficiency. Lighter to carry than other steel models. Dual zone models in many sizes. I have 2 of their 47L models, one for car, other for camper. Great units, priced lower than most. Also make 'Fridge Mate', cheaper version, yellow box, same compressor. Not as well finished but still work great.

Explorer & Trailblazer: Aussie made. Rugged construction, thick insulation (75 up to 125mm, other brands 40 to 50mm). Big and bulky, will last forever!

Waeco: Smaller units efficient, larger ones chew a lot more power(also have a bigger compressor). Mostly good, however there have been issues with their electronics. Luck of the draw in this regard, some swear by them, others sick of electrical issues.

Bushman: Not as common as other but appear to be good. Have adaptable lids for varying sizes.

Others such as National Luna, Liemack etc I don't know too much about. A search on this site will bring up heaps of info.


AnswerID: 286259

Reply By: scrawny - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 09:03

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 09:03
I have an evaKool, Australian made, very rugged design.
mine's a 90 litre capacity, has both freezer and fridge. It can be used on 240volt and the car battery, draws very little power and will take a lot of knocking around. Dust and bumps will also not affect it as it does not have the LCD readout.

As the bloke above says it has the reliable Danfoss motor. Make sure you have the correct battery fitted to your vehicle and the evaKool will take at least 24 hours to drain it.
It also has an economy switch to use less power, so the battery will last even longer.
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Reply By: Trevor R (QLD) - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 09:25

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 09:25
Hi Drew,

I concur with above replies but I am interested in your power source for this fridge. You say you have connected up to handle 60amps in your truck, does this mean you have a 60amp/hr second battery or do you mean you have 60 amps useable? They are two different things as batteries give better/longer service if not drained below 50%. Therefore if you have a 60amp/hr second battery you really only have 30amps useable (in an ideal world, most will use more than this and shorten the life of the battery).

This may change things a little for you and make decisions easier????

Good luck and welcome to the site.
AnswerID: 286296

Follow Up By: troopyman - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 11:00

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 11:00
You could get an AGM battery and discharge it more but then you need a three stage charger to top it right up again . Easy really .
FollowupID: 551399

Reply By: meandet - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 11:45

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 11:45
Hi Drew
An alternative to 3 way fridges (we had one once but it wasn't satisfactory) which as mentioned have their advantages and disadvantages is, depending on how much you want to spend, a compressor fridge and solar panels. We have a 40 litre Engel coupled through a dual battery system two 40 watt solar panels. We stay at Cape Leveque for a month each year and don't run out of power (used as a fridge not freezer)

As far as brand goes, we have noticed about 9 out of 10 travellers in outback Australia now have Engels, we are very happy with ours. It seems that some other brands are having troubles and are not as reliable.


AnswerID: 286322

Reply By: Robin Miller - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 11:58

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 11:58
As per most other posters, I think it more a lifestyle question Drew.

For us, we like to travel lightweight, go to remote places and
generally camp out the back of the car so we needed a no-hassle
unit which didn't take up much room in the car.

We went for a Waeco CF-25 12v only unit.
This is a small, tall fridge (23lt) whereas the biggest seller is the 40lt size.

Ours fitted between the front seats of the car and has automatic
low voltage cut out and is quite efficent, particularly as this
location in a car is generally cooler than if its stuck in the
back, hemmed in by other camping gear.
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AnswerID: 286325

Reply By: nigelp - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 12:56

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 12:56
lots of good advice here: decide how often you would stay, then it's 2 or 3 way. I've actually found that I can do a couple of nights without topping up an 80 A battery, with an eva kool. Had a 3 way, too much hassle for short to medium stays, for me.
The thing I weant to add is this: it's where in OZ you will be going, and how hot. A salesman who only had a sale to lose, generously advised that the Engels are great, but perhaps for tropical heat you need more insulation, which made Eva Kool an easy choice (luna's look great, but a big price diff.) having had eva kool eskies i knew their insulation to be great.
The only thing I don't get is why pay more for the fibreglass version, which is less robust than the polythelene.
V. happy with mine.
AnswerID: 286333

Follow Up By: obee - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 08:31

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 08:31
The fibreglass version can use less insulation because fibreglass has inherent insulative property. thinner walls and lighter. I am happy with the poly I bought cos it like a brick outhouse and can take the knocking around that I give it. Makes a good seat and I can stack other junk on top.

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Reply By: Member - Mike - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008 at 07:23

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008 at 07:23
Just listen to Tully at the Bowls Club!!

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Reply By: Member - Brian H (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008 at 09:14

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008 at 09:14
Well I have a Chestcold 3 way and I used it on my SA trip last year for a month. The unit draws about 12 amp and hour (older model). It worked well for me although I had on many occasions pull it out at night and put on gas, not a big issues more a pain in the $ss, when I could I slipped the power lead in when camped at parks. I agree great when at a location for a few days.

I now have a 60 L Trailblazer, why this brand simply I feel it is a great fridge, built tough, low amp draw, is a 2 way, I got it at a GREAT price :).

The 3 way has its place but for me and majority of travels I am mobile and not staying one location for long periods so the 2 way is the way to go.

As mentioned here on a post its more of a life choice you need to figure what you are planning to do mostly in your trips.

To help my decision there are heaps of information on this site in regards to fridges, worth a search in the archive area.


AnswerID: 287020

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