Thinking about picking up one of the legendary Engel MT-V fridges but having second thoughts about shelling out over $1,000 for a camping fridge?
Well, in this Engel fridge review I will run you through what I do and don’t like about it, as well as the key features that set it apart from the other brands out there.
I’ll also run you through the general consensus on what other real users of these fridges think about them. Considering all of this, I’ll sum up by letting you know whether I think they are a good buy or not!
Sound good? Let’s go!
Pros & Cons
Let's now take a look at these portable fridges in more detail.
The Engel fridges have been fully redesigned with the release of the MT-V series. The powder coated steel body now comes with a beautiful gunmetal gray finish that strikes a nice balance between good looks and low radiative heat absorption (ie. it doesn’t get as hot as a black fridge would!).
The fridges in this range come in 4 sizes - MT-V35F, MT-V45F, MT-V60F and MT-V80F. By default, all of these fridges come as single zone units, meaning that they can only be operated as a fridge or freezer, not both at the same time.
However, all of the fridges except for the MT-V35F have a corresponding dual zone model, known as MT-V45FC, MT-V60FC and MT-V80FC. Engel calls these dual zone units ‘combi’ fridges.
The equivalent combi fridge has a slightly smaller capacity, as it keeps the same external dimensions, but some capacity is lost to the addition of a divider wall between the two compartments.
The exception to this is the MT-V45FC, which has an entirely removable divider, meaning that you can run it as a single zone or dual zone unit, depending on your preference.
You can see the relevant capacities for each unit in the table below.
F capacity (L)
FC capacity (L)
The sides of the fridges are fitted with removable carry handles that feel very solid. They will definitely be able to support the entire weight of the fridge, even if it’s full of food and drink.
The body consists of 40-50mm thick polyurethane insulation that runs the entire way around the fridge. This does a good job of keeping the contents cool.
The lid comes with 1-2 heavy duty latches to keep it shut even if you are in the 4WD and bouncing over a gravel track. These latches are also lockable with a padlock.
Down one end of the fridge, you will have a large ventilation grid. This is where the Sawafuji compressor lives. They are very reliable, quiet and efficient units - so much so that Engel refers to them as their ‘secret weapon’!
Towards the base of the unit are the 2 power inputs - both 12/24V DC and 220-240V AC. You will also notice that there are some thick corner protectors on each of the base corners. This is a simple way to protect your fridge from bumps and scrapes while you are loading/unloading it from your vehicle.
The interior of the fridge has an LED light plus removable basket(s) that you can use to organise your food and drink.
These fridges don’t come with some of the fancier features that newer fridges like the Dometic CFX3 range have, such as a USB port for charging or remote app control via Bluetooth.
It also doesn’t seem to have a bung for draining water from the unit, which is a shame. You will have to take everything out and tip the unit upside down to get rid of accumulated water. This is a bit of pain but hopefully not something that you have to do too often.
The temperature is set on these units by rotating a dial. Select the temperature you want, wait for the display to stop flashing, and it will lock in your new temperature. It will also give you an indication of the current temperature in your fridge.
The temperature can be set anywhere from +8°C to -18°C, which is pretty standard.
Note that the ‘combi’ fridges don’t have true, independent temperature control like most other dual zone fridge/freezers out there. The fridge side gets cooled by the overflow from the freezer side, so the temperatures are linked to each other.
The Engel manual outlines the equivalent fridge temperature for a particular set freezer temperature.
All fridge/freezers in this range can be powered using either 220-240V AC or 12/24DC power. The included AC and DC cables are both nice and long at 3m, so they should be suitable for just about any setup.
The cables also come with included fuses to prevent overcurrent and damage of the fridge. This is in addition to the 10 amp fuse that is included in the main body of the fridge.
The table below includes the electrical specs for some of the fridges in this range, largely pulled from the Engel manual. Unfortunately, I can’t find much data on the actual power consumption of these units, so it’s difficult to compare them to other brands.
Rated Current Draw @ 12V (A)
I will chase up Engel and see if I can get some real-world power consumption figures to add to this table. Anecdotally speaking, many users of these fridges report that they use very little power and are very efficient.
There’s also a low voltage battery protection system that you can make use of. This is especially useful if you are running the fridge off your car battery and don’t want to drain it to the point where you can no longer start your engine.
Set the battery protection system to HI if you will be using your car battery, otherwise LO is best for a dual battery setup. You can also run the fridge without battery protection (set it to OFF) although I don’t recommend this.
You can see the relevant on/off voltages for each setting in the table below.
Although the Engel MT-V fridges are fantastic straight out of the box, you can always grab a few extras to make using your fridge even easier.
Note that none of these are essential for running your fridge, they are all entirely optional. They are also reasonably expensive, so I only recommend them if you spend plenty of time on the road.
These fridges are pretty heavy straight out of the box and they only get heavier when you start loading them up with food and drink. Fully loaded, they can easily be 40-50kg or more.
If you plan on keeping your Engel fridge in the back of your 4WD or ute, a fridge slide might be a worthwhile investment for you. It will allow you to easily slide your fridge out from your vehicle so that you can access it, without having to haul it into and out of your boot each and every time.
There are a variety of Engel fridge slides to suit their different models.
While there’s no doubt that the Engel fridge/freezers are tough as nails, they certainly do cost a pretty penny. With that in mind, it makes sense to protect your fridge to maximise its life.
A transit bag will keep your fridge protected from the knocks, bumps and scrapes that inevitably occur when you load your fridge in and out of your vehicle. It also provides an insulating layer that reduces heat leakage into your fridge.
This keeps your fridge cooler, meaning that the compressor doesn’t have to run as often. This reduces your power consumption and helps extend the life of your fridge.
Check out the range of Engel transit bags for more information.
While many people choose to run their Engel fridge off the starter battery in their car, this does come with a few downsides.
If you only run the fridge while the car is switched on, you run the risk of your food heating up and spoiling before the end of your trip.
Alternatively, if you run the fridge while the car is turned off, you run the risk of draining the car battery to the point where you can no longer start the engine. The battery protection system can help prevent this, but then you will have to regularly check your car battery voltage with a multimeter.
If you plan on staying in one place, you will have to regularly run your car for about 30 minutes each day to keep the starter battery charged up. This is tedious and probably not what you imagined doing when you planned your trip!
That’s where a dual battery setup comes in. A dual battery allows you to keep your fridge running even when the car engine is off. You also don’t need to stress about having a flat car battery when it’s time to head off.
Engel don’t make batteries themselves, but Dometic (formerly Waeco) manufactures the very popular CoolPower RAPS battery, which holds 44Ah of charge and is designed to be rugged enough for an Aussie camping trip.
If you already have another battery, consider getting the Engel smart battery box to store it in and easily manage its charge.
The dual battery setup mentioned above works really well provided that you have regular access to mains power so that you can keep the second battery charged up.
But what about if you’ll be going bush for a couple of days at a time and won’t have access to mains power? Well, in that case, you can harness the power of the sun to keep your battery charged and your fridge cool.
Personally, I recommend the excellent Dometic portable solar panels that can easily be folded up when not in use. They come in 120W and 180W varieties.
Build Quality and Warranty
I know that it sounds cliche but Engel is genuinely one of those iconic brands in Australia that has become synonymous with reliability.
You can’t read a single forum or Facebook post about camping fridges without someone proudly telling you about the Engel fridge which they bought in 1993 and is still going strong.
Or perhaps it’s an Engel fridge that they bought cheap, got it repaired, used it for 10 years and are now giving it to one of their kids.
Even when someone asks what people think about other fridge brands, the response is often the same: ‘Just get an Engel!’.
They really have developed something of a cult following in Australia - and for good reason! I genuinely believe that they produce the most reliable portable fridges in Australia.
Every single part of their units is designed to give you plenty of years of life. The Sawafuji compressors that they use are also outstanding, known for their reliability and efficiency.
After talking to many users of these fridges, I have found very few problems that consistently keep cropping up.
A couple of people have commented that their unit can be noisy at times, especially if you are sleeping in the same room as it. Only a handful of people have commented on this, so it doesn’t seem to be a major issue.
All of the Engel MT-V fridges come with a base 3 year warranty which covers the power supply, temperature control, fans etc. The Sawafuji compressor comes with a 5 year warranty.
This is an excellent warranty and on par with the likes of Dometic.
I haven’t spoken to anyone who has had to go through the warranty claim process for their Engel fridge (this probably speaks to how high quality these units are!) so I can’t really comment on what it is like.
The fact that Engel gives such a generous warranty is a good sign that they have a lot of faith in their products.
Conclusion - Engel MT-V Fridge/Freezer Review
The Engel MT-V range is the latest iteration in a long line of hugely popular fridge/freezers. They are incredibly reliable, built like a brick you know what and designed to give you many, many years of service.
They don’t have some of the fancy features that newer fridges have, like bluetooth app control and usb ports for charging, but they make up for this with raw reliability and ruggedness.
The only real bad thing I have to say about them is that they are quite expensive. However, when you consider that you will be using this fridge for many years (if not decades) to come, it may end up working out better than buying and replacing a cheap fridge every 2 years or so.
The highly efficient Sawafuji compressor and 3/5 year warranty top this off to make these an awesome choice for a portable 12V camping fridge. I highly recommend them.
Do you love the Engel quality but wish there were a few more features included? In that case, check out my myCOOLMAN fridge review! These are high quality, German designed fridges that have tons of unique features that you won’t see anywhere else!
Otherwise, check out my full list of the best car fridge/freezers in Australia!
In any case, I hope that you have enjoyed this Engel MT-V fridge review! If you still have some questions, or want to share your own advice on anything Engel or camping fridge related, drop a comment below!
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Note that while every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, there may sometimes be errors. Check all specifications with the manufacturer before purchasing any product.