Greg Clarke checks out the range of Waeco portable fridge-freezers
Back in May 2002 we had a look at the Engel portable fridge freezers and how they helped keep the camping tucker and drinks cold miles from anywhere.
This month we take a look at the opposition Waeco fridges and freezers. The Waeco people have a great product and, just to prove it, they have served it up to the opposition by setting standard prices throughout all their dealerships.
This may not sound all that great but when you realise they have set these prices in some instances almost $300 cheaper than comparable opposition product, you can see that there are substantial savings there for those looking for a portable fridge-freezer.
Some will say you must compare oranges with oranges. Well, the Waeco range has been around for some time and has a pretty fair pedigree when you consider that it I is apparently the world’s No.1 brand of DC refrigerator and 80% of all factory-installed car fridges are made by them. Waeco says it outsells all the other brands combined.
Even better, Waeco gives a five-year warranty on the compressor motor and three years on everything else, so they are confident you will get trouble-free operation.
And there is a ‘best mate’ plan where if your fridge-freezer does cark it for some reason, Waeco will fix it in one working day at any of their 100 same-day service centres Australia wide. If they can’t, then they will loan you a fridge to get you out of trouble while they fix yours.
You will probably never have to use this facility because they seldom break down under normal working conditions and even when put to the test in the most arduous conditions, they still come out shining.
So let’s take a look at a few of the fridges in the range. We’ll start with a couple of newcomers, the CF-35 and the CF-40. They are just right for the weekend away or if you are travelling and need to keep the essentials cold, holding more than enough goodies for a few days or more than 40 cans.
The beauty of all the Waeco models is that they can run off 12- and 24-volt DC batteries or 240-volt mains power with an adaptor, so you nearly always have a power supply available somewhere.
The CF-35 weighs only 15kg and has a capacity of 32.5 litres. It is 360mm wide by 385mm high and 580mm long. The 40-litre CF-40 weighs 16kg and is 360mm wide, 445mm high and 580mm long.
Both run off 12 or 24 volts and have a cooling capacity of 55° below ambient. They consume a lousy 35 watts of power on average and will use less than one amp hour on a 21° day at ‘fridge’ setting. So if you have a 60- amp-hour battery, you shouldn’t need to recharge the battery until you get home after the weekend.
Here is the best bit: The CF-35 retails for only $788 and the CF-40 is $887 – around $300 better than the competitors.
The next model we’ll look at is the No 1 best-seller in Australia, the CF-50. This fridge-freezer is popular because it holds a whopping 52 litres of tucker or 68 cans and has a turbo boost facility for realty fast freezing.
IThe Waeco CF-50 can chill down to an amazing 55° below ambient, which means you can still make ice when the outside temperature is 45°. And it will still operate when you are driving on the roughest of roads or heading into a filthy chop in the boat.
Some of the other features of the CF-50 are two separate compartments, one for freezing, the other for dairy foods and veggies. it also has a large removable basket and removable divider and extra-strong removable handles which can double as a tie-down point when the going gets tough.
The lid is reversible to allow you to be flexible in where you can place your fridge. It has an almost unbreakable polypropylene cabinet that really takes the knocks and an all-new 10mm-thick, rustproof, unbreakable, reinforced sub-chassis protects the German-made Danfoss compressor. This compressor will operate in the hottest of weather and even at angles of 30 degrees + tilt.
There is a built- in microcomputer programmed to adjust to the weather and battery conditions and waterproof touch-button controls with LED indicators and a digital self-diagnosis system for optimum efficiency.
The CF-50 even has an emergency bypass switch to keep the fridge running even if the electronics fail, say due to a large wave filling the boat or your drop the unit into the drink.
There are further back ups with three different battery-saver settings to suit every situation so you don’t damage the battery or become stranded due to running the battery too low.
This is one very clever fridge, weighing only 17.5kg and measuring 355mm wide, 630mm long by 475mm high. And the best bit is it retails for only $987 – fantastic value.
Steve at Getaway camping in Unanderra reckons they have been a hot item this Summer and he has had the unusual situation where buyers are just walking in picking up the fridge, paying and walking out. Obviously they have already done their homework and realise just what great value they are.
If the CF-50 is not large enough, there are larger models such as the CF-80 and CF-110. These hold enough tucker for a week and now feature separate dairy, fridge and freezer sections, all with separate fridge and freezer temperature controllers. Try getting that from your other portable fridge freezers.
These units have the larger Danfoss BD-50F compressor for optimum efficiency and. high-grade steel casings yet they still weigh only around 30kg.
Waeco have many other portable fridges and freezers, from the console drink fridge that fits between the seats in your car and holds up to 10 cans, right up to the 110-litre model. Many of these are reverse-cycle so they can be used to keep your food warm in the winter.
They will heat food to 65°, just the right eating temperature, so you can have a hot meal on a cold Winter day.
Then there are accessories such as 240-volt to 12-volt converters, fast-charger kits for batteries and versatile remote power plants that can be used to run the fridges or, with the aid of jumper clamps, can be used as a back-up to start cars, boats and even trucks. They can put out up to 1200 cold cranking amps and have electronic starting protection for those cars with computers and the likes that can be damaged in a jumper-start.
One other great piece of equipment is the handyman cooling system, which is a Danfoss refrigeration system that can be fitted to virtually any cooler box. You simply cut a hole of the right size and screw it to the cooler and plug it in, so you can build a fridge-freezer to your own specifications. This is great if you are building it into a boat or camper set-up.
There are heaps of other great Waeco products but space limits the listing of all of them so pop into your nearest Waeco supplier, such as Getaway Camping at 39 Princes Highway, Unanderra.
The Waeco range of portable fridge-freezers is extensive. Here are just a few of these units, which are ruggedly built, look good and are excellent value for money.
The Waeco fridges are deep, have removable baskets and are extremely easy to keep clean.