Dometic CFX-3 Review

We’ve had the Waeco CFX-65 Fridge for a while now, and it has proven to be a reliable fridge/freezer.  And now we’ve got our hands on one of the new CFX-3 versions, in a 45L variant for the Everest.  We thought it relevant to consider what’s different, and the implications…

First up  -the obvious

From the outside, the new range of fridges have been re-designed.  They have a tougher style exterior, with a higher definition display. Personally, I like the new look and feel that the consistency in colour is nice.  The other thing you notice straight away is that the handles, while similar in design, are now cast aluminium, which increases the durability.

The exterior design is very tidy, and the handles are now upgraded to cast aluminium from plastic
The old model had a similar design handle, but it was plastic.

Opening up the Fridge, you notice two things straight away:

  1. The seal on the fridge is much thicker than before which I assume will improve the insulation from outside temps.
  2. The internal cooling element now covers the full internal surface area of the fridge, where the previous model CFX didn’t cover the top area.  This will ensure more consistent temperatures and better cooling.
The seal on the previous model
You can see the thickness of the seal on the new models
the old model – where the cooling element only extended to the main compartment
You can see the cooling element now covers the entire internal space of the fridge

Dometic claim that the new VMS03 compressor is more powerful and efficient than before, with temps of -22 degrees now possible, where previously they were subject to certain atmospheric conditions.

Covers

The other noticeable difference in the covers is the design.  In the 65L CFX we have, the cover acts as an insulator and needs to be opened to allow access to the fridge.  In the new version, the cover appears to be more of a protective cover than an insulating one.  It fits much more snuggly to the fridge, and it also allows opening of the fridge without having to remove the cover first, which is a big tick in the convenience stakes.

The previous model cover requires you to open both flaps before you can access the lid.
The CFX-3 can be opened without having to fold out the cover, which is great. What’s more, it really fits the fridge much better.

Technology

The new CFX-3 range has a black and white display, capable of showing more information than the previous version. 

User-friendly interface
the high definition screen can now display temperate, plus additional information at the same time

You can still connect your phone to the fridge to monitor it wirelessly, but the new model also has Bluetooth connectivity, which draws less power and is more reliable than the previous version which uses Wi-fi only.

There is a new latch system too

The new 55IM model includes the ability to make Ice, with a special freezer compartment designed to take ice trays that will freeze ice in a few hours, at the cost of a few litres of internal space.

ice making ability – on the 55IM model only

The plug that come standard is a 12V cigarette plug, and I would like to have seen them come with a combo 12V cigarette socket/Merit plug terminal for flexibility, but I’m sure it will be available to buy for those that need it.

Sizes available

Sizes available have changed – the previous CFX models available included:

  • CFX-28
  • CFX-35
  • CFX-40
  • CFX-50
  • CFX-65
  • CFX-75
  • CFX-95

The new range rationalises this to:

  • CFX3-35
  • CFX3-45
  • CFX3-55
  • CFX3-55IM (ice-maker version of the 55)
  • CFX3-75DZ (Dual Zone)
  • CFX3-95DZ (Dual Zone)

Note: the CFX-28 will continue to be made in the old design.

This means the loss of the 40, 50, and 65L sizes, but the addition of a 45L and 55L.  The other interesting thing is that the dimensions of the 75L have changed to be slightly wider (height unchanged), and the weight has dropped from 31KG to 27.8.  In the 95L, again it is a touch wider, but has dropped from 32 to 29.8KG. Great for those of us who are weight conscious!

The smaller sizes are where we see more changes, with the 35 dropping about 600g, with a small increase in depth, but a drop in height.  The 45L though, has gone up in weight by .2kg for the addition of 5L of space.  The big difference here is the height increase, from 461mm to 476mm. While it may not seem much, this may prove to be an issue for those wanting to fit the fridge into a ute tub because if you add a slider, you might find you are borderline on whether it will fit under a tonneau or slide cover.

Efficiency

This is a hard one to measure, and one everyone wants to know about.  While we don’t have the time available to test real world draw at the moment, the good news is that Dometic are now publishing a current draw in Amps, based on set conditions, which give you an indication of the power required to sustain temperatures in each model, which we applaud them for.

I’ve included the claimed figures below:

Size                                          Claimed energy usage 12VDC

CFX3-35                                    (Internal @ 4 C, Ambient @ 32 C) 0.98 Ah/h

CFX3-45                                    (Internal @ 4 C, Ambient @ 32 C) 1.03 Ah/h

CFX3-55                                    (Internal @ 4 C, Ambient @ 32 C) 1.10 Ah/h

CFX3-55IM                               (Internal@4C/Icemaker on(maintenance), Ambient@32C) 1.20 Ah/h

CFX3-75DZ (Dual Zone)             (Internal@Large4C/Small-15C, Ambient@32C) 3.04 Ah/h

CFX3-95DZ (Dual Zone)             (Internal@Large4C/Small-15C, Ambient@32C) 3.57 Ah/h

Accessories

At the time of writing this, fridge slides were not available for these models, but I believe they are being worked on.  There is a fixing kit you can get though. And I’d say the cover is a must have.

The fixing kit available
The new cover – must have in my opinion

Overall?

We think that the product refinements are great overall.  Personally, I would have preferred the 40L to retain the previous height, but there are marked improvements to the aesthetics, functionality, and useability of an already great product. The fact that they also have dropped weight is great because as you know, every kg in your rig counts!

Now we’ve only got to wait a little longer before we can actually get out and use it properly. 

For more information on the Dometic CFX3 range of fridges, visit https://www.dometic.com/en-au/au

Fun Fact – Did you know?

From an insurance perspective, whether we class your fridge as an accessory or a portable valuable will depend on your setup.  If it is permanently fixed mounted into the vehicle (not removable without tools), it will count as a mod/accessory, but if it is simply strapped in, it is considered a portable valuable.  Either way Club 4X4 insurance can cover it, but you may need to have it listed on the policy!

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Comments 3

  1. What’s wrong with the boffins that design the units that they don’t realise that black is not the colour to give a fridge that sits behind glass in the rear of a vehicle? The exterior just gets SO hot. Very inefficient.

    1. Spot on, and how often is it that marketing and/or accountancy dictates what we can purchase rather than engineering and plain bloody common sense.

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