Asking any caravanning and camping enthusiast “what is the best camping fridge?” is likely to start a lengthy campfire debate. The conversation can be as passionate as Baby Q vs Ziggy BBQ’s and Holden vs Ford.
Most likely camping fridges – an Engel fridge and a Waeco fridge (now Dometic) will go head to head. Many experienced caravanners, campers, 4wders and boaties will have owned camping fridges previously and will probably tell you how their fridge “has never missed a beat, and they have had it for years” plus other comments that fiercely promote their favourite brand.
Upgrades to a camping fridge freezer are generally sort-after by experienced caravanners and campers. Mainly for upgrades to the technology that camping fridges brands offer now. This can include an app to control the camping fridge freezers temperature and USB slots to charge your phone and other camping accessories.
Buying the best camping fridge or the best camping fridge freezer will be one of the best camping gear investments you will make as they last for years.
If you are new to caravanning, camping or 4wding or seasoned camper you are in the right place to research the best camper fridge to suit your lifestyle. To help save you confusion and time we have done the hours of research for you. We have compiled the best camping fridge comparisons so you can choose your new fridge easily.
We’ve had a few camping fridges over the years including a 3-way gas camping fridge and currently have what is considered the best car fridge for my work in the back of my car. Keep reading to find out if it is or not!
To save even more confusion and time click here for our TOP PICK for the best camping fridge.**Warning our top pick could be controversial!
See our Second TOP PICK here! (You’ll see why it’s different to our TOP PICK!)
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Comparing The Best Camping Fridge Australia 2022
The best brand of fridge for camping is highly contested mainly due to marketing hype and user opinions. Before you are pulled into the market hype and opinions in Facebook groups or friends consider how and where you will use the best 12v fridge.
Meaning, will the fridge or camping fridge freezers be a permanent fixture in your rig or do want to remove your camping fridge from time to time? Will the fridge need additional accessories such as a camping fridge slide (adding to the weight) and fridge cover or transit bag?
Rather than weigh in on the discussion, we have compiled a comparison chart so you can make your own decision on the best camper fridge for you based on your needs, rig and lifestyle.
Further throughout this post, we will also review the features of a camping fridge/freezer or two. All the fridges are a 12v camping fridge and can also be used for a 4×4 fridge comparison.
Best Camping Fridge Comparison Chart
|Brand||Image||Weight||Capacity (Litres)||Dimensions||Check Price||Features||Rating|
|Bushman Fridge - DC130X 12/24v||26kgs||130L||W525 x H750 x D550mm||Click Here||6L Freezer|
Internal LED light
|Engel Fridge - MT-V60FC 57 Combi Fridge Freezer||34kgs||57L||L490 x W790 x H491mm||Click Here||Separate fridge/freezer|
Large lockable door latch
|Engel Fridge - Waeco Fridge | Dometic Fridge - CFX3 55IM||21.3kgs||55L||L720 x W455 x H480mm||Click Here||Heavy-duty lightweight Frame|
3-stage battery protection system
Temp control via App
|Evakool Fridge - TMX65 Travelmate Fridge/Freezer||21.5kgs||65L||L710 x W455 x H558mm||Click Here||USB port|
Removable lid & access from either side
Temp control via App
|Waeco Dometic Upright Fridge - CoolMatic CRX140||31kgs||135L||W525 x H815 x D620mm||Click Here||3-way fridge/freezer|
Completely silent operation
Replaceable door panels to suit
|Bushman Portable Fridge||22.5kgs||Up to 52L||L690 x W385 x H390mm||Click Here||Expandable & adjustable to 35/42/45/52L|
3 cooling zones
|Evakool TMDZ Travelmate 96 Litre Dual Zone Fridge / Freezer||31kgs||96L||900 x 532 x 467mm||Click Here||USB port |
Will not rust, corrode or dent
Internal LED Light
|Engel Upright - ST90F 80 litre 2-Way Compressor Fridge/Freezer||28kgs||80L||W531 x H786 x D579mm||Click Here||Energy Efficient Sawafuji Swing Motor|
Compact & Lightweight
|myCOOLMAN 60 Litre AC/DC Fridge Freezer||25.6kgs||60L||L732 x W456 x H488mm||Click Here||Two way opening lid|
USB port and charger
|Dometic CFX3 35 Portable Fridge/Freezer 36 Litre||16.9kgs||36L||L694 x W398 x H407mm||Click Here||Battery protection system|
High-Res Colour Display
Heavy-duty yet lightweight
Top 10 Best Camping Fridges Australia 2022
- Bushman Upright Fridge DC130X 12/24v
- Engel Fridge MT-V60FC 57 Combi Fridge Freezer
- Waeco Fridge Dometic Fridge CFX3 55IM
- Evakool Fridge TMX65 Travelmate Fridge/Freezer
- Waeco Dometic Upright Fridge CoolMatic CRX140
- Bushman Portable Expandable Fridge 35L-52L
- Evakool TMDZ Travelmate 96 Litre Dual Zone Fridge / Freezer
- Engel Upright ST90F 80 litre 2-Way Compressor Fridge/Freezer
- myCOOLMAN 60 Litre AC/DC Fridge Freezer
- Dometic CFX3 35 Portable Fridge/Freezer 36 Litre
Choosing The Best Camping Fridge Review 2022
As previously mentioned it’s best to approach portable fridge or camping fridge shopping from your own wants and needs and not hype or opinions about the best fridge for camping and caravanning. Here are a few suggestions for your consideration when choosing your camping 12v fridge.
- Other considerations
There are a few different types of portable fridges you can use for camping and depending on where they are going to “live” will no doubt influence your purchase.
Will your portable camping fridge live in the back of your 4wd, in a trailer, in a canopy or transported in your caravan?
Upright Camping Fridge
If you clicked on the link for our TOP PICK then you’ll know that this is our choice for the best camping fridges Australia. The added bonus is it’s an Australian made camping fridge. Whether to invest in an upright camping fridge is amongst the most popular campfire debates.
Upright camp fridges can be significantly cheaper, lighter and they work perfectly in canopies and 4wds. It’s just like having a bar fridge camping!
Some of the cons are that people worry that the cold air “falls out” once the door is opened, however, there are a few ways to counteract this.
If you are storing drinks only in the fridge it won’t be a problem. Even if you are also chilling food it still isn’t a problem when you use containers. The content inside the container remains cold even when the door is opened.
The best upright camp fridge will come back to the set temperature in minutes due to its efficiency. We will discuss this further below.
Chest Camping Fridge
This type of camping fridge is the most popular and many consider it to be the best camp fridge. They can be a dedicated fridge, a 3-way camping fridge (not readily available now) a dual-zone camping fridge (fridge and freezer) or one that can convert to either a fridge or freezer depending on the settings chosen.
They do keep items chilled at the right temperature, although I have experienced them icing up at times. Especially lettuce.
Sometimes what you need is at the bottom of the fridge so unpacking the items on top and then re-packing the fridge can be annoying.
Depending on the size of this type of portable fridge they can be heavy and an awkward shape to move.
RV fridges Australia will also need a fridge slide, adding more weight to your rig.
Draw Fridges for Camping
Lesser-known but becoming more popular these camp fridges are great in small spaces or when space is a premium. They are excellent in the back of a 4×4 and can be stacked on top of each other or side by side. They can also be used as a fridge or a freezer. With up to 40L’s of freezer space this can be a bonus when camping off-grid or touring remote places with little access to regular butchers and supermarkets.
Even tho they have a smaller capacity they can still be the same price as a camping fridge twice their size.
If you are travelling Australia in a caravan, weight will be one of your top considerations. Your rig’s GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) determines how much weight you can legally carry.
To combat weight problems most serious 4wders and campers have a GVM upgrade on their rig to overcome any weight issues. The GVM of your rig includes passengers, onboard fuel, fridges, bullbars, roof racks and any other additions to your vehicle.
Work out what weight you are willing to allow in your rig for the best car fridge Australia to suit your needs.
All camping fridges Australia and portable fridges are measured in litres. What size does the best 12v fridge need to be to meet your needs?
Are you looking for a small camping fridge just to get away for a day trip? Then the best mini car fridge might suit your needs. Or do you need all the bells and whistles of a dual-zone camping fridge?
Do you need to store tall bottles in your portable fridge or will a small camping fridge do for cans and a bit of food?
If you make a list of all your “must-haves” this will narrow things down for you.
The capacity of a camping fridge determines the dimensions of the fridge.
Start by measuring the inside of your rig to find out the available space for the best car fridge for your lifestyle. Along with weight, this will be a major consideration of what size fridge you can buy. When you are measuring also allow for handles and fridge covers as the dimensions given by manufacturers relate only to the outside of the actual fridge or camping fridge freezers outer case.
How many people are travelling or likely to travel in the future?
If you are a couple you may think that the best camping fridge/freezers are for large families. However, for example, we intend to camp away from our van in a swag in a few spots around Australia so a small camping fridge like a 40L camping fridge wouldn’t suit our needs.
Also if you are camping off-grid for a week or so will you need to store more fresh food? Will you need extra freezer space? Does the fridge need to be the best energy rating fridge?
These are some of the questions only you can answer that suit your needs. That is why we don’t weigh into great campfire debates and just present the facts and ask various questions for you to consider that help you decide the best camping fridge freezer Australia for your needs.
There are many features of a camping fridge you could consider. Apart from the brand name you could consider and check if the following features are important to you and your setup.
Is it likely that you’ll be using your camp fridge at night or in a poorly lit area? If so you may want an internal light in your fridge. Most upright fridges will have an internal light. Some camping portable chest fridge freezers do and some don’t. So it’s worth checking before you buy your camp fridge.
External LED displays are prominent in camping chest fridges/freezers. They are easy to read, light up at night or in low-light areas, showing you at a glance the various functions of the fridge.
WIFI Connection and Bluetooth Capabilities
If controlling and maintaining the fridge temperature via an app is important to you then this feature may narrow the field down for you. Most portable fridge/freezer do have Bluetooth and WIFI capabilities, however, it does pay to read the specs once you decide on your fridge.
If your fridge will live permanently in the back of your 4×4 rig then you’ll either need to tie it down or install a fridge slide.
Fridge sides can add upward of 45kgs to your total weight and are known to rattle.
Fridge Baskets for Storage
There are pros and cons to using storage baskets in portable chest fridges. There are great for keeping everything in check. However, if you want to remove one that is full it can be quite heavy. Plus, they need to be removed straight up and down. You can’t remove them on an angle. If the basket is towards the back of the chest fridge, I’ve found it hard to remove in one piece without having to remove the goods that are contained within the basket!
Portable Camping Fridge Lids
There are some brands of fridges that have removable fridge lids. Also, there are lids that are interchangeable, making the capacity of the fridge larger. Some lids are adjustable too and some have a built-in bottle opener. Handy for those cold stubbies!
Best Camping Fridge Australia Reviews 2022
Bushman Upright Fridge Review – DC130X 12/24v
This 12v upright fridge is our TOP PICK and best camping fridge Australia for a number of reasons.
Bushman has been established for 38 years with an excellent track record. Plus, should you need after-sales customer service it’s a simple call to Bushman and an Aussie will pick up the phone to answer your question or concern!
Bushman has a simple philosophy – they keep it simple. Their products are
• Reliable – strong construction and the worlds best components
• Efficient – larger cooling units and lower amp draw
• Service – no call centres, just great old fashioned service
This upright Bushman camping fridge is made from steel (like all the best camp fridges) and is built specifically with the extreme temperatures in mind we experience in Australia.
Other features include
- Custom settings for the Danfoss compressor
- Efficient – Less power usage due to low run times
- Room for large bottles
- Local Aussie quality control and customer service
- 3-year warranty
We couldn’t find any!
Engel Fridge MT-V60FC 57 Combi Fridge Freezer Review
At the heart of the portable Engel fridge range are the trusty Japanese made Sawafuji swing motor.
The motors can operate at 30-degree angles and are built to handle tough corrugated roads with ease. The motors have a low startup draw as they don’t have to do a full stroke on startup.
Engle camping fridge range is about as Aussie as a meat pie and have been around since the 1960s. With over 3 million portable fridges sold since 1962 Engel know a thing or two about keeping your meat chilled and beer and wine cold.
The MTV60FC Engel 60 litre camping fridge is the newest addition to the Engel line-up and can operate as one of the best camping fridge freezer.
Depending on your needs you can dial down the temperature so the fridge operates solely as a freezer. Great for storing chicken and meat on long road trips and for that huge haul when the fish are biting! 😉
Features of this Engel camping fridge include;
- Built-in 240V AC/12V/24V DC
- 12-volt draw of 4.2 AMPS/hr
- Tough handles and corner protectors
- 2 strong reinforced baskets
- Can operate as a fridge OR freezer
- Ideal for long trips
- 5-year warranty
This fridge is considered heavy and expensive.
Waeco Fridge Dometic Fridge CFX3 55IM Review
The Waeco or Dometic company commenced in 1919 by two Swedish engineers looking to solve the problem of keeping food cold. They are accredited with creating the world’s first refrigerator. Einstein thought their creation was a stroke of genius. How right he was!
Artic first manufactured the product, was bought out by Electrolux who then, at the end of the 1960s created a division called Dometic (then Waeco) for their leisure appliances. Dometic is now a public company.
Since the early 50s developing the Waeco fridge, the company embraces innovation for their Dometic camping fridge with this model being no exception.
Features of the CFX3 55IM include
- Waterproof, digital interface
- An app to monitor performance and temps
- AC/DC and Solar power
- Removable ice trays
- Fits 83 cans
- Heavy-duty, lightweight frame
- 5-year warranty
It is reported that ice maker is overrated and is thirsty on power.
Evakool Fridge TMX65 Travelmate Fridge/Freezer Review
Evakool is another Aussie manufacturer and supplier of portable camping fridges with their products being great value for money.
Offering full flexibility, their removable lids are this brands stand out feature.
EvaKool Review – Features include;
- Polypropelene cabinet
- Won’t rust, dent or corrode
- Removable baskets
- Lid opens from both sides/removable
- Danfoss compressor
- Multi-voltage DC 12v/24v AC 240v
- Internal LED light
- USB port
- 5-year warranty
Instructions for use are a bit sketchy.
Waeco Dometic Upright Fridge CoolMatic CRX140 Review
As we’ve already covered some of the benefits of an upright fridge above we’ll head straight into the features of this brand of camping fridge.
The Waeco camping fridge, or as some know the now branded Dometic upright fridge, have better energy efficiency and greater temperature control than previous models.
Designed specifically for recreation vehicles features include;
- 2-way fridge/freezer
- 12v/24v DC & 100-240v AC
- Custom Waeco Dometic compressor
- Drainage plug for ease of cleaning
- Digital interface
- internal lighting
- 3-year warranty
No instructions and can be power hungry.
Bushman Portable Expandable Fridge 35L-52L Review
This camping fridge and if you clicked on the link above you would see it is our 2nd TOP PICK. It makes it our 1st TOP PICK in the chest or best portable camping fridge freezer category.
This Bushman chest fridge expands from a 35L to a 52L camping fridge with the simple change of lids. It is strong, versatile and efficient.
What customers like about this fridge apart from being versatile for storage it also has 3 baskets for the 3 cooling zones. The zone temperatures are
- Top basket for veg & fruit – 6 degrees
- Middle basket for dairy & meat – 2 degrees
- Lower basket for pre-frozen food – -2 degrees
Plus there is still space to stand up drink bottles.
Other features are;
- Durable steel construction
- Danfoss SECOP compressor
- Versatile 35/42/45/52L capacity to suit your trip
- External 2-way 12v and 240v – doesn’t eat into fridge space
- 5-year warranty
Evakool TMDZ Travelmate 96 Litre Dual Zone Fridge / Freezer Review
We’ve thrown this model Evakool fridge into the mix as one of the best dual zone camping fridge as it offers a great bang for your bucks.
If your caravan fridge is only classed as a small camping fridge then this fridge/freezer combo would definitely compliment it for extra storage for longer trips off-grid.
One of the largest camping chest fridge in this ultimate review we’d class it as a designated dual-zone camping fridge due to its two separate fridges. One fridge and one freezer side by side in one unit.
Other features include;
- Lightweight & sturdy
- Self-diagnoses faults
- Danfoss SECOP compressor
- Will not corrode, scratch or dent
- Polyurethane Insulation
- Polypropylene shell
- 2-way 12v/24v DC & 240v AC
- USB port and app
- Simple to use
Heavy – although it is a large fridge.
Engel Upright ST90F 80L Fridge Freezer 2-Way Compressor Fridge/Freezer Review
One of the smaller upright fridges the Engel upright still incorporates Engel’s signature swing Sawifuji motor.
This fridge will still store all your cold food and drinks ready for that road trip or day trip when you hit the track to explore. It is reliable with the added bonus of also having a small freezer compartment.
The easily customisable and reversible door panel allows for RV interior coordination.
Other features include;
- Auto-switching between 2/24v DC and 240v AC
- Thermostat controlled generator
- Solar panel compatible
- Lightweight and compact
- Low DC current draw at 12V3.3 Amps
- 3-year warranty
The top bolt on the door can shake lose as it is too short.
MyCOOLMAN 60 Litre AC/DC Fridge Freezer Review
This 60L camping fridge is can be used either as a single zone fridge or single-zone freezer.
Jam-packed with features including the light and compact Mycoolman compressor with improved efficiency due to the low power draw from the variable speed.
It has removable heavy-duty baskets and has an interior LED light.
Other features include;
- 12v ports located at both ends
- 2 bottle openers at both ends
- Bluetooth connectivity to the app
- USB port and charger
- Multi-voltage 12v/24v DC and 240v AC
- Recessed spring-loaded handles
- Removable lid
Short power cable and high price.
Dometic CFX3 35 Portable Fridge/Freezer 36 Litre Review
This is the Dometic camping fridge that sits in the back of my car for work. I’m glad I have used and tried this fridge and having done so I wouldn’t select it again purely for useability.
By useability I mean I find it difficult to use due to its front lifting lid. I acknowledge my current car is small and therefore so the lid doesn’t stay fully open as it hits the ceiling of the car.
The compressor/motor of the fridge also sits at the front so the bulk of the cold section is at the back of the fridge and I find it difficult to reach some of the lower items in the fridge. In the shallow section on top of the compressor/motor area, the temperature is noticeably warmer than the main section.
I imagine I’d have zero luck trying to reach the back section of this fridge if it were mounted in the back of a 4wd without a fridge slide.
It is certainly worth checking inside your chosen camping fridge to ensure maximum capacity is in the cooling compartment which is why the Bushman chest fridge was a clear TOP PICK for this guide.
Features for this fridge include;
- Heavy duty but lightweight frame
- Can deep freeze to -21 degrees
- Multipower options 12v/24v DC, 240v AC and Solar
- 2 Year Compressor & 3 Year Manufacturer Warranty
- Connect to Bluetooth or Wifi
Small inside for the price and doesn’t hold much.
FAQ’s for Portable Camping Fridges
1. What is the Best Portable Camping Fridge?
There is no definitive answer to this question as different portable camping fridges will work better for different people.
There are a few different factors you’ll want to consider when looking for the best portable camping fridge. The first is size – you’ll want to find one that is compact enough to be easily transported, but also large enough to store all of your food and drinks. The second factor is the power source – most portable camping fridges run on either 12V or 240V, so you’ll need to make sure your vehicle or campsite has compatible power outlets. And finally, price is always an important consideration.
That said, based on these criteria, my top pick for the best portable camping fridge would be either of the Bushman fridges reviewed above.
2. Is Dometic or Engel Better?
Again, there isn’t a definitive answer as both brands have their pros and cons. However, generally speaking, Engel is seen as being more reliable and durable, while Dometic is considered more affordable. So it really depends on your specific needs and budget.
It depends on a variety of factors including your budget and the type of camping you plan to do. Dometic and Engel are both reputable brands, so you can’t really go wrong with either option.
That said, Engel is generally a bit more expensive than Dometic, but Dometic offers a wider range of products with more features. Engel is known for its durability and low power consumption, making it a good choice for people who want a fridge that can handle extreme weather conditions.
3. What is the most efficient 12v fridge?
There are a few different 12-volt fridges on the market that are considered to be the most efficient. One of these is the Engel MT60F. This fridge runs on a thermostatically controlled DC compressor, so it’s very efficient and uses minimal power. It has a holding capacity of 60 litres and can operate in temperatures from -22 degrees Fahrenheit to +85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another highly efficient 12-volt fridge is the Dometic CFX-35. This fridge also operates on a thermostatically controlled DC compressor and has a holding capacity of 35 litres. It can function in temperatures from +10 degrees Celsius to -18 degrees Celsius, making it perfect for use in both hot and cold climates.
4. Is Dometic the same as Waeco?
As mentioned above in the reviews. Yes, Waeco and Dometic are the same company. They were both founded in Germany in the late 1970s and early 1980s, respectively, and both manufacture a wide range of high-quality RV, boat and truck refrigerators, freezers, and portable AC units.
The best car fridge freezer fridge that is the TOP PICK is the Bushman Upright DC130. This is due to
- An Aussie owned and run company
- Fantastic after-sales service for Aussies, by Aussies
- Solid construction
- Excellent quality materials used inside and out
- Energy efficiency
- Excellent value for money
Our 2nd TOP PICK was also a Bushman camping fridge. The Bushman Original Portable Fridge 35L with Expansion Kit. The best portable fridge for camping is only 2nd in our lineup as it is a chest camping fridge with all the qualities listed above. Bushman’s are the best fridges for camping.
We hope our Ultimate Guide to the Best Camping Fridge Australia 2022 has helped you with your decision of buying a camping fridge.