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Old 31-12-2013, 19:35   #1
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Which Portable Refrigerator

Larry and I are flying to US for Boatshows in Toronto and Chicago next week. Friend here in NZ has aske dus to pick up a portable refrigerator freezer. Question - is there any better brand? Want to make sure we bring back the best for Jill.
thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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Old 31-12-2013, 19:47   #2
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Re: Which portable refrigerator


Never heard of a complaint. Low power draw, reliable and can freeze ice cream solid. What else could you ask?

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Old 31-12-2013, 21:50   #3
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Re: Which portable refrigerator

Friend of mine bought a waeco portable to replace his 20 year old adler barbour that died. He was happy with it for the next two years I knew him.

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Old 31-12-2013, 23:27   #4
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Re: Which portable refrigerator

ive been using a waeco cf50 for 4 yrs steady now havent had a single complaint and power draw is pretty decent.
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Old 31-12-2013, 23:35   #5
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Re: Which portable refrigerator

We sure love our Engel. Low amp draw and quiet. Lots of accessories and can use as fridge or freezer. Has not problem in the Texas heat. Have not use any other brands for direct comparison.
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Old 01-01-2014, 04:02   #6
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Re: Which portable refrigerator


Some previous threads on the subject may be helpful...

portable freezer - Google Search
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Old 01-01-2014, 04:25   #7
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Re: Which portable refrigerator

Not sure why you would lug an Engel or Waeco all the way from the US when they are readily available in NZ.

Would need to be a big saving in cost to lay against what would effectively be no warranty.

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Old 01-01-2014, 04:36   #8
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Re: Which portable refrigerator

What size, in litres?

My experience has been that a very small freezer is all that's necessary, and even then not even all the time.

However keeping "food" cool is something we do all the time from meat and milk through to vegetables and some fruit. We use a Waeco CF 40 (38 litres).

Set at 0 degrees C it keeps most foods, save lettuce.

I'm not sure the temperature readout is totally accurate.
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Old 01-01-2014, 04:49   #9
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Re: Which portable refrigerator

I would get one with the Danfoss compressor. Waeco used to have these, but not sure anymore as there is a Chinese knockoff DC compressor.

the Engels are good, but basically throwaways. The danfoss units are more readily repairable.

No doubt the extra baggage fees will be far less than the cost difference at current exchange rates. In 2006 we carried on our ICOM SSB and tuner in the cardboard ICOM boxes when returning to NZ.

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Old 01-01-2014, 04:55   #10
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Re: Which portable refrigerator

Waeco. Just sold ours after 5 years. During that time it moved from boat to home and back dozens of times a year. Left on a damp powerboat for month and regularly dumped on a sandy beach. Still froze me sandwiches if it was turned up too much.

Some of the smaller models also have a silver quilted cover to add extra insulation, probably worth getting too.

They are not cheap, but then you only want to buy one.

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Old 01-01-2014, 07:09   #11
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Re: Which portable refrigerator

With 2 young children aboard a good refridgerator was a must for us. After much research and us being a frugal, we went with the Wynter 63qt sold on Amazon and also purchased a 3 yr warranty to go along with it. We keep ours at 34 degrees, yet have the ability to flash freeze to -8 if need be.
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Old 01-01-2014, 07:27   #12
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Re: Which portable refrigerator

I bought a Waco/Dometic CF-25 (25 litre) freezer/refrig about 12 months ago.
The tiny internal fan burnt out a few weeks ago and I put a large computer fan on the outside of the unit and removed the dead fan. Now it works much better.

I do have a problem in the tropics with the temperature in the box being so different in different parts... -3 C in the coldest part and +12C in the warmest part. So to make the whole thing cold the coldest part needs to be -6c or so.

My other problem is I want to use it exclusively as a freezer but my main fridge wont cycle on at night while the freezer is cycled on.
So even though they do not draw a lot, one still needs a good electrical system.

The draw at 32 C ambient temp to get it to -10C is the full draw aprox 4 to 6amps/hour full time. It wont get to -18 at 32 C ambient temp, as explained in the Owners Manual.

The ventilation requirements mean a location problem, too.

So my unit is OK, with qualifications.

I think the person who is buying it must select the one they want. If its your responsibility to decide which is best then that may be a responsibility too onerous!

Unfortunately its impossible to line up all the units side by side and test them.
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:20   #13
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Re: Which portable refrigerator

We have used an Engel to supplement our boat ref/freezer for the last six years without a problem, including 3 years of that fulltime cruising.

The only complaint I have is that the only place I could store the unit was in the master cabin... Like all ref/freezers, they put off heat and it is really noticeable in the tropics.
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Old 01-01-2014, 16:12   #14
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Re: Which portable refrigerator

I bought an engel after researching compressor amp draw. It keeps everything frozen solid in the tropical heat. Spendy but good value.
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Old 01-01-2014, 16:40   #15
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Re: Which portable refrigerator

We have had a 39/40 ltr Engel for more than 12 years and it has been in the back of 3 of our 4wds touring around OZ on some very rough tracks for about 100K Klm's used as an extra freezer every Xmas at home for about 3 Weeks and as a back up in two boats.Never been near a repairer or looked like needing one.
If that is what is considered a throw away compressor give me one of them every time please.
I reckon they are great value too as we paid about $1K Aud when new and they are still somewhere around that depending on how hard you shop so for us about $80 per year!

As for bringing one back to NZ from the states I can not see how bringing 25 Kg of gear back could be any cheaper overall but then again I Have not done price compare.

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