Planning on getting a portable fridge and have your eye on the CFF45 but wondering whether it’s worth the price tag?
Well, in this Dometic/Waeco CFF45 review, I will be showing you the pros and cons, main features and the key points of difference to its competitors. Finally, I’ll let you know whether I think that it’s a good buy or not!
A combination of the old Dometic/Waeco CF50 and CF40, this unit aims to give you the best of both worlds. But does it live up to its bold claims? Let’s find out!
Let's begin by comparing this fridge against our database of the most popular portable car fridges out there:
Pros + Cons
Let’s now review the CFF 45 in more detail.
Appearance & Functionality
The CFF45 is a sleek black and white unit with two steel carry handles on either side.
The temperature controls, current temperature readout and battery protection settings are all located on one end of the fridge.
The interior is just a single compartment, as this unit can only be operated as a fridge or freezer, not both at the same time.
There's an organiser basket with two separate sections along with a removal divider to help you partition your food and drink. There’s also a nice, bright LED interior light to help you find your food and drink late at night.
There is unfortunately no drain plug for purging water that has accumulated in the bottom of the fridge - you will need to empty it and place it upside down.
The lid is easily reversible - it opens from either side without the need to adjust any internal chains. The 45mm thick insulation in the walls means that there will be minimal unwanted heat reaching your chilled goods.
Speaking of insulation, the CFF45 now comes with an included insulating cover by default, rather than it being an optional extra. The cover protects the unit from damage, dust and dirt as well as further insulating it to keep the contents cool, reduce power consumption and prolong the life of both the fridge and your batteries.
The cover includes openings for hot air exhaust from the unit, plus external organiser pockets to store any other loose gear you may have.
Keep in mind that Dometic recommends that you keep 50mm of clearance around the sides of the unit while it is in use, to prevent overheating.
Overall, the fridge and cover combo look very smart and the simple black and white colour scheme will match any car or caravan setup.
Unfortunately, it does lack some of the features that newer fridges have, such as USB ports for charging your mobile devices, and Bluetooth control via a smartphone app.
How Cold Does It Go?
The Dometic CFF45 can be set at temperatures ranging from -18°C to +10°C. It can be set as low as 50°C below ambient air temperature, which is very impressive.
Users of this fridge/freezer have said that the unit doesn’t have any problem hitting the set temperatures, often reaching them within 5-10 minutes of turning it on.
The refrigeration cycle is powered by a Secop (formerly Danfoss) compressor, which is generally regarded as being high quality.
Energy & Power
As you would expect, the CFF45 can be powered by 100-240V AC or 12/24V DC power.
Unlike other cheaper 12V fridges, this unit can be powered directly off 240V AC without an adapter transforming the power down to 12V.
It comes with 2 cables, one for AC power and another for DC power, which also includes the necessary connector for plugging into the cigarette lighter socket in your car.
These cables are about 1.9m long each, which is shorter than the leads provided by other brands. For most people this will be long enough, but just keep this in mind if your setup involves the fridge being further than 2 metres from the power source.
At 12V and 24V, expect it to draw 5.2A and 2.6A respectively, while in operation. Current draw falls down to just 0.4A when the unit is run at 240V.
Dometic claims that this unit chews through about 1.07 Ah/h while in operation, assuming a set temperature of 4°C and an ambient temperature of 32°C. This is pretty similar to competing models, so nothing too surprising here.
Just be aware that you will likely use more than this quoted figure in real life, as you will be opening your fridge to take food and drink out, plus return warm goods. Of course, if you decide to use the unit as a freezer, this will increase energy consumption.
In saying that, the insulating cover will help keep this number low, and the ambient temperature won’t be at 32°C all day, so your mileage will vary.
The CFF 45 also comes with in-built low voltage battery protection. You can select from 1 of 3 modes for your battery protection.
This ensures that the fridge switches off before the battery is entirely drained. You can see the corresponding voltages for each of the 3 stages in the table below. (Source: CFF45 manual)
Seeing as this unit now comes with insulating cover as a standard inclusion, there aren’t too many extras that you can purchase, other than a fridge slide and the solar panels.
Fridge Slide For Your Car
A slide will allow you to mount the fridge in the back of your vehicle and slide it out when you need to access it. This saves you from reaching deep into the boot while trying to find something right at the bottom of the unit.
The Dometic CFX-SLD35/40 fridge slide works best with this product.
12V Battery To Keep Your Fridge Juiced
Don’t already have a suitable 12V battery to run your fridge? Dometic’s CoolPower RAPS battery has a 44Ah capacity and is rugged enough to handle the rough and tumble of an Australian camping trip.
It’s also nice and portable. You can use them with a wide variety of 12V appliances, not just your Dometic fridge.
Solar Panels For Charging On The Go
If you want to use your refrigerator for extended periods without access to mains power, consider investing in some solar panels. This will allow you to run your fridge and charge your battery during the day, which will then run the fridge overnight.
Dometic sells both 120W and 180W solar panel varieties.
Manufacturing Quality & Guarantee
Dometic (formerly Waeco) are widely regarded as one of the best fridge freezer manufacturers in Australia. They pride themselves on producing high quality goods that stand the test of time.
The CFF45 fridge freezers are no different. They are very solidly built units that perform well in Australian conditions. Even on scorching hot days, your CFF45 will reliably keep your food and drink cool.
Cheaper brands often have trouble maintaining their set temperature but this does not seem to be a problem for the Dometic range.
I have gone through tons of reviews by real users and haven’t found any recurring issues. The feedback is almost invariably positive for these units.
By default, these units come with a 3 year warranty. This is pretty standard for portable fridges, although lower than Engel, their main competitor, who offer a 5 year warranty.
Because these fridges are so reliable, I haven’t actually spoken to anyone who has had to go through their warranty claim process. I can’t really comment on how well Dometic handles returns and warranty issues, but it’s a good sign that not many people have had to return their units.
How Much Does It Cost?
Pricewise, these units are solidly in the middle ground. They are more expensive than the likes of Kings and Brass Monkey, but still considerably cheaper than Engel.
Expect a CFF45 to set you back around $850, although you may be able to get it cheaper during a sale. Use the buttons below to check the latest prices.
Summary - Dometic CFF45 Fridge Freezer Review
The Dometic CFF45 fridge/freezer is a very solid option when it comes to 12V refrigeration and cooling. It is a high quality, well built unit that you can expect to get many, many years of service from.
True, dedicated 240V operation, excellent build quality, an included insulating cover and a 3 year warranty all combine to make this an outstanding choice.
To my mind, the quality isn’t too different to the famous Engels, although the price is far, far lower.
The major downside of this unit is of course, that it is a single zone fridge/freezer. It cannot be run as both a fridge and freezer simultaneously. There’s also no drain plug in the bottom, nor any USB ports or Bluetooth app control.
If these features are important to you, consider upgrading to the CFX3 range. You can find out more info in my CFX3 review.
If the CFF45 is a little out of your price range, I highly recommend that you take a look at the Brass Monkey range. They are surprisingly high quality units, considering how much cheaper they are than Dometic.
I also have an article on the best caravan fridge freezers in Australia!
In any case, I hope you have enjoyed this Dometic/Waeco CFF45 fridge freezer review! Did you end up buying one of these? Or did you buy something else instead? Let me know in the comments below!
Review Date: 2021-04-20
Reviewed Item: Dometic CFF45 Fridge Freezer
Author Rating: 4.5/5
Product Name: Dometic CFF45 Fridge Freezer
Price: AUD $848
Product Availability: Available in Stock
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