Some consumers steer clear from camping fridge freezers made by established manufacturers. With several low-cost alternatives in the market, they can easily find products that suit a tight budget. However, at times, choosing the inexpensive path also means sacrificing quality.
Well-known brand Dometic solves this dilemma with its CoolFreeze (CF) range. Aside from being affordable, its 37L Dometic Waeco CF40 Portable Fridge Freezer has all the essential features you need for your long-weekend trips with your mates or family.
Dometic is a well-known brand built from the discovery of the first-ever refrigerator during the 1920s. Since the turn of the new century, it has continued to produce refrigerators and introduce solutions that support mobile living. The Dometic Waeco CF40, for example, is a single-zone fridge freezer that you can use for camping, outdoor barbecues and 4wding.
Awarded as the Best Compact Fridge by the Australian 4WD Magazine, this camping fridge can also keep its contents cold (up to -18C) while you’re on the go without filling the box with ice. The best part is, you get all its other excellent features at a more affordable price point.
Best Features of the Dometic Waeco CF40 Portable Fridge Freezer
With a 37L capacity (about 47 cans), the Dometic Waeco CF40 can store enough food and drinks for up to three people or more, depending on your planned adventure. This unit with two carry handles includes 12/24V DC and 100-240V AC cables for connecting to your power source. Plugging it into a standard outlet makes it a versatile unit for other applications like staff kitchens, farmhouses, bed and breakfast, hotels, catering businesses and more. Here are the rest of its features.
The Dometic Waeco CF40 not only keeps your food and drinks cold but also makes your camping experience extra convenient. Here are its features that make your camping food easier to store and access:
- Dual carry handles. The handles come unassembled in the package, but they’re easy to put together with the bars, holders and screws provided. It’s good that the handles are removable; that way, you can flush it against the wall of your vehicle to save space. When attached, these handles can also double as tie-down points to keep the unit secure while you’re driving.
- Detachable lid. This feature allows you to position the top in the opposite direction if you want to. It also lets you fill the fridge more quickly, remove multiple food items at a time and clean-up the lids with ease.
- Interior LED light. Sudden midnight cravings? Lifting the lid of this camping fridge freezer activates the light inside the box, making it easy to sneak out a quick snack even in the dark.
- Wire basket. Inside the camping fridge freezer is a powder-coated steel basket with removable divider where you can store food and even keep 1.5L drink bottles upright. The basket prevents frozen food from sticking to the walls of the unit while the divider keeps your camping supplies organised.
- Memory function. The Set button on the control panel has a handy memory function, so you can save your original settings when you turn your unit back on.
- Multiple power sources. This feature makes this portable fridge freezer easy to operate using your car battery or in campsites with electricity.
Insulation properties are crucial in camping fridge freezers as these will protect your food from bacteria and spoilage. The Dometic Waeco CF40 comes with several attributes so it can work efficiently even on hot weather up to 43C ambient temperature:
- CF40 uses polyurethane foam for its inner walls. It is best for cooling appliances as it’s lightweight yet robust. It is also more affordable compared with other insulators, making it an excellent choice for keeping the costs of fridges and freezers low.
- Compared to metal, Waeco’s sturdy polypropylene construction is a better insulator in hot weather conditions. It also makes the unit very portable and more affordable.
- Inside the Dometic Waeco CF40 is the Danfoss BD-35 compressor that works for its thermal control and protection. Danfoss is one of the trusted compressor brands for portable fridges and freezers. On top of its reliable performance, this compressor also has a built-in electronic control unit to ensure battery safety.
- There’s no need to purchase a separate insulated cover for your fridge as the Dometic Waeco CF40 comes with one. This accessory comes in handy when you’re travelling in warmer regions or during summer. Even with the cover on, the controls and cable ports are accessible, and the mesh on the vent side allows air to circulate. The aluminium-coated polyester top reduces your unit’s energy consumption and enhances its cooling capacity by 2C. The rest of its rubber-coated nylon body protects your portable fridge from moisture, dust, dirt and scratches. Also, it has side pockets for keeping small tools and four fixing rings to tie down your fridge.
Safety and temperature controls
As you’ll be using this camping fridge freezer mainly for road trips and camping, ease of use and safety are essential. Waeco makes this possible with its user-friendly control panel and readable temperature display.
One of its excellent features is the VMSO system (variable motor speed optimisation) where the machine starts gradually, automatically goes on turbo mode to reach the desired temperature then maintains it with minimal damage to its components. It even has a secure locking mechanism to ensure your settings stay in place even during a bumpy ride.
This unit also has three-level battery protection that prevents excessive discharging if you’re using an onboard DC battery for power. If the fridge unit is working with the vehicle ignition switched off, the camping fridge automatically stops working when the supply voltage falls below its set level. It then switches back on as soon as the battery recharges to the restart voltage level. This way, you stay protected against a dead battery even without constant monitoring.
One of the benefits of choosing an established brand is having access to useful accessories, and Dometic has the essential add-ons you need to upgrade your CF40 unit:
- Dometic Waeco Raps 36 Battery Pack. This deep-cycle battery features 36Ah battery cells that are stronger than conventional car batteries. It also lets you operate your portable fridge for long periods without damaging the battery.
- Dometic Waeco PerfectCharge DC08. This accessory works with 12V machines by supplying a stable and clean output voltage. It also recharges the battery while driving.
- Dometic Waeco Fridge Slide SLD-060. This one makes compatible portable fridge freezers slide out of your vehicle with ease. The durable zinc-plated steel can take up to 100kg of load and has tie-down straps for securing your camping fridge.
- Dometic Waeco CoolFreeze Fridge Stand. You won’t have to bend down to get to those food items at the bottom with this accessory. Its aluminium frame can support up to 80kg of weight. It comes with two adjustable height positions and makes it easier for you to drain your portable fridge.
- Dometic Waeco CoolFreeze Universal Fixing Kit. The two frame sections, adjustable strap with snap lock and screws included in this kit can keep your portable in place while you’re driving.
This unit is also TÜV/GS certified. This world-recognised testing company integrates directives and regulations to ensure that that the product’s instruction for use is complete and accurate. It’s a reliable indicator of product safety and quality performance.
Dometic manufactures several portable fridges. Some ranges, such as the Waeco CFX, feature advanced features but also high-end price points. The Waeco CF40 may not have the bells and whistles of the CFX. However, it has the essentials from the same reliable brand without the high cost. Compared with inexpensive options from less popular brands, some discerning users will find the Waeco CF40 a better investment.
Things to Note
The excellent features of the Dometic Waeco CF40 make this camping fridge a great choice. However, like any camping gear, it also has issues that you need to know before deciding if this portable unit is for you.
Although the removable lid adds convenience, it also means the hinges aren’t very secure. It’s likely to wobble when you’re driving, and sudden bumps can pose a problem. It’s a minor issue but make sure that the lid is secure before going and take precaution when lifting or closing it.
Technical failure, particularly on its digital temperature display, is commonly reported among users. For instance, it may show a temperature reading that’s different from your original setting. The power supply location is also at the same end as the control panel. Some users say that this design makes it tricky to adjust the temperature and keep the unit plugged in.
Pros and Cons
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- With two removable handles to save space
- Comes with a detachable lid
- Interior LED light for easy access in the dark
- Wire basket has a removable divider to keep supplies organised
- Equipped with memory function
- Includes cables to connect to multiple power sources (car port and standard outlet)
- Robust polyurethane walls and polypropylene body
- With high-quality Danfoss BD-35 compressor for lasting performance
- Includes a thermal cover with fixing rings for added insulation
- Can be upgraded with several optional accessories from the Dometic CF range
- With user-friendly control panel and three-level battery protection
- Produced by a trusted manufacturer and offered at an affordable price
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- Removable lid tends to wobble
- Temperature display can be erratic
- Needs to be positioned properly
Dometic earned its reputation over years of producing reliable refrigerating units and accessories. And for users looking for a balanced quality-to-cost ratio, the Dometic Waeco CF40 will surely meet their standards. It may have its share of flaws, but overall, it’s a durable and functional camping fridge freezer fit for any adventure or adventure seeker.
With its convenient features paired with high-quality construction, excellent insulation and optional upgrades, the Waeco CF40 guarantees many years’ worth of fun road trips, delightful cookouts and stress-free snacking while on the road!