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Dometic CFX-65DX | Long Term Review

Written by  Beau Johnston
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There are a lot of portable fridge/freezers on the market these days, with more seemingly being introduced each year. With such a saturated market, it can be tough to decided which is the best for your needs.

A newcomer to the US market, but a brand that has been forged in the Australian desert, is Dometic’s line of CFX fridges. Dometic, known by our friends down under as Waeco, has beena worldwide leader in automotive fridge/freezers, they only recently introduced their CFX line here in the US.

 

Dometic CFX-65DX

Technical Specification
Capacity: 61L
Height: 22.09in
Width: 26.03in
Depth: 17.92in
Weight: 51lbs (empty)
Voltage: 12 / 24 / 120
Rate Current: 5.5 / 2.6 / 0.63
Compressor type: Waeco VMSO 2
Thermostat type: Electronic
Display: Digital
MSRP: $880USD

The CFX line includes six models, ranging in size from 26L to 94.5L, all powered by the company’s second generation Variable Motor Speed Optimization WAECO compressor. The updated compressor design can rev to a higher RPM to reduce the time needed to reach the set temperature. Once the temperature has been reached the compressor speed reduces to an economy mode to reduce the overall power consumption. The compressor also features a soft-start to reduce overall wear and tear on the system, providing the fridge with a longer life.

Dometic’s CFX-65DZ fridge features two separate compartments, a 19-liter freezer and a 42-liter refrigerator. The two compartments are separate by a two-piece removable divider. The refrigerator compartment features a raised shelf for delicate perishables like salad greens and dairy products. Two baskets are supplied, one each for the freezer and refrigerator compartments, which makes organizing a breeze.

It has been nearly a year since Dometic sent us their CFX-65DZ fridge. Residing in the back of our 4Runner, since its arrival in June of 2015, seeing several thousand miles of corrugated dirt roads and countless camping and day trips. It has been subjected to extreme desert heat, copious amounts of dust blowing in through the rear windows, and gallons of dog slobber.

While originally hesitant, we have come to love and rely upon the fridges dual-zone compartment. Although it isn’t a true dual zone refrigerator/freezer, like the CFX-95DZ which has separate controls for each compartment, we found the design to work well. While working in the field last year I was able to freeze, and keep frozen, bottles of water in the freezer compartment while keeping the fixings for lunches and dinners in the refrigerator compartment. I even had a stash of ice cream bars in there to enjoy after a long day.

We also found user features like the built-in USB port and spring-loaded handles to be welcomed additions. We liked how the side-pivoting lid, which can be configured to hinge from either size, opened fully under the hatch of our 4Runner and stayed open by itself. The built-in battery monitor, which can be set to three monitor levels based on battery voltage, saved our bacon in the field. After a day of driving we discovered the bat error code on the fridge display and a low voltage alarm from the wireless temperature display. It turns out one of the battery connections had come loose and even though the truck had been running all day, the alternator had not been charging the battery.

There are a couple of items I think could be improved upon in the fridges’ design. First are the basket designs. Unlike other fridges we have used in the past, all sides of the sides of the CFX-65DZ fridge baskets go all of the way to the top. This really restricts the size of items that can be placed in the fridge. We wish the sides of the front side of the refrigerator basket were only as tall as the dairy shelf. This would allow long/flat items, like the pie we tried to take to Thanksgiving dinner, could fit with ease. The basket could easily be rotated 180 degrees if items in on the diary shelf needed to be separated from the main refrigerator compartment.

Our second thing we would like to see improved has nothing to do with the fridge itself, but instead with the accessory wireless display. Although it saved us from being stranded in a remote corner of Wyoming, it seems antiquated. We found the signal from the fridge to routinely cut out, even with it being mounted in the vehicle with the fridge, and result in a blank screen. We also wish the display offered a better form of mounting, other than a small suction cup on the back. We secured ours to the center console with hook and loop strips but wish it came with a mounting bracket instead.

In all, the Dometic CFX-65DZ fridge/freezer has impressed heck out of me. It kept ice cream frozen while keeping vegetables crisp and fresh. While only anecdotal, the fridge seemed to draw less current than our previous fridge, even with the added load associate with the freezer. Even though I believe the fridge’s baskets and wireless display could be improved upon, it has proven to be a rock-solid fridge for our travels.

Do you want to cut down on the amount of electricity your fridge/freezer uses? Dometic offers these helpful tips to ensure you don’t drain your battery while enjoying the back country:

  • Choose a well ventilated installation location which is protected against direct sunlight.
  • Allow warm food to cool down first before placing it in the device to keep cool.
  • Do not open the cooling device more often than necessary.
  • Do not leave the cooler unit open for longer than necessary.
  • Defrost the cooler once a layer of ice forms.
  • Avoid unnecessary low temperatures.

 

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