Thinking of getting one of the Evakool fridge freezers but still on the fence? Wondering whether it’s really worth the $1,000+ price tag?
Well in this Evakool review, I will run you through everything you need to know about the Travelmate fridges and whether they are worth it for you!
I’ll take you through the main pros and cons, compare them to the other options out there, plus take you through important points like their power consumption, build quality and more.
By the end, you’ll have a clear picture of whether these are the right units for you. Let’s get started!
Pros & Cons
With these pros and cons in mind, let’s now take a look at the units themselves.
The Travelmate series fridges by Evakool fall into two categories - the single zone TMX units and the dual zone TMDZ units.
Both types consist of solid, polypropylene cases finished in gunmetal gray. The corners are reinforced with extra plastic to protect the unit from bumps and scrapes, which is a nice touch.
They feel sturdy and the carry handles are nice and strong.
The TMX units consist of a single main compartment with a removable basket, plus a spillover compartment which is located above the compressor.
I suppose the idea is that you can put some items that don’t need as much refrigeration in the spillover compartment, although I have heard from some people that this area doesn’t cool down much at all.
The TMDZ units have two main compartments, usually a large compartment and a small compartment. Both of these have removable baskets.
Bizarrely, the smaller TMDZ units (60 and 70) both have a single lid for both compartments. This means that if you want to get something out of the fridge, you have to open the freezer too, which lets out a lot of cold air and means the compressor will run more often and consume more power.
Thankfully the other sizes have separate lids for each compartment.
In saying that, I do actually like the Evakool lid design. The lids can be opened in either direction, or can be removed entirely, which is great if the fridge is wedged in a tight space and you don't have the overhead clearance to fully open the lid.
All units are controlled from a digital display on the side of the fridge. Next to the display is a USB port, which can charge your mobile devices, although don’t expect it to charge them quickly, as these ports only output 0.5A.
All fridges in the Travelmate series can be set anywhere from 10°C all the way down to an impressive -22°C.
As I mentioned earlier, a few people have mentioned that the temperature distribution across the fridge can be quite large, with the spillover compartments on the TMX units being much warmer than the rest of the fridge.
Both the Evakool TMX and TMDZ fridges can run off 12V, 24V or 240V power. The power socket is located towards the base of the unit.
Evakool state that if their units are set at 4°C with an ambient temperature of 32°C, you can expect them to use about 1.0 - 1.5 Ah/hour, when the compressor is running in NORMAL mode. Other portable fridges operating under similar conditions typically use less than 1.1 Ah/hour, so this suggests that the Evakool units are not particularly efficient.
However, you can reduce the power consumption by switching the compressor to ECONOMY mode instead. This reduces power consumption to 0.7 - 1.0 Ah/hour.
If you operate your unit as a freezer in NORMAL mode at -16°C, expect it to chew through about 1.5 - 2.0 Ah/hour (assuming an ambient temp of 32°C).
All of these fridges come with 3 stage low voltage battery protection systems. Here are the relevant cut-out points:
- High - 11.8V
- Medium - 11.4V
- Low - 10.1V
The high setting is recommended if you are running your fridge off your car battery, as this greatly reduces the risk of flattening it.
If you have a dual battery setup, use the low setting as this will allow you to get the most out of your battery and reduce the risk of the fridge turning off unexpectedly.
For more information on this system, check out the Evakool manual.
While not essential by any means, below are a few bits of kit that might improve your fridge setup.
The Evakool fridges are pretty tough to begin with, so they don’t really NEED any extra protection, but you might want to consider one of these protective covers anyway.
In addition to protecting your fridge, they also add an extra layer of insulation that helps keep your fridge cool, especially when it’s in direct sunlight. This means that your food stays cooler for longer, the compressor doesn’t run as much, and ultimately you use less power, meaning longer battery life between charges.
Pick up one of these protective covers at Snowys for $.
If you plan on keeping your fridge in your boot, a fridge slide may be a worthwhile investment. It will allow you to easily slide your fridge in and out of your car, making it easy to access your food and drink.
Evakool manufacture a fridge slide that suits pretty much all of their units, including their TMX and TMDZ units.
It is a very solid, well built slide, finished in powder coated steel (like the Bushman fridges). It is also self-locking, which is a nice touch.
It is available from Snowys for $279.
Many people run their Evakool fridges directly off their car battery, which works well when the car is running, or on short trips.
If you keep the fridge running off the car battery all night, you run the risk of either the car battery flattening (I hope you brought jumper leads!) or more likely the fridge cutting out at some point overnight (assuming you used the low voltage battery protection).
This leads to questionably refrigerated food in the morning (does this chicken smell funky to you?) and possibly a trip to the supermarket to replace anything that has spoiled.
With a dedicated second battery for running your 12V appliances, you don’t need to rely on your car battery alone. The second battery can keep your fridge running all night without any issues, giving you peace of mind that your food is safe to eat.
There’s a number of different 12V batteries out there, but the CoolPower RAPS is a great option designed specifically for this application. It’s available from TentWorld for $199.
If you’ll be away from mains power for days at a time, you may want to get some solar panels. These can keep your battery topped up, giving it plenty of charge to run your fridge overnight, long after the sun has gone down.
I quite like the folding type solar panels, as they are easy to pack up and don’t take up much space. You can have them set up in minutes, which is great.
I recommend the Dometic 120W or 180W solar panels, available for $499 and $579 at TentWorld.
Build Quality & Warranty
Whilst the Evakool Travelmate fridges seem fairly well built on the whole, they don’t seem to be quite as reliable as some others on the market, such as Engel or myCOOLMAN (check out my Engel fridge review and myCOOLMAN fridge review for more details).
The fridge case/body seems quite sturdy and strong, yet a number of people have reported issues that seem to relate to the way that the compressor integrates with the rest of the fridge.
The first problem is that a few people have commented that these fridges are fairly noisy, especially if you are trying to sleep in the same room as them at night.
You would expect some noise with any fridge, but Evakool markets their units as being ‘silent’ which certainly doesn’t seem to be the case.
Secondly, there seems to be an issue with some units turning off unexpectedly and then not turning on again for a few hours, by which point the contents of the fridge have warmed up close to room temperature.
It’s hard to tell if this problem is widespread or limited to just a few models, but at least a few people have mentioned this issue.
Evakool offers pretty much the same warranty as all other top-tier fridge manufacturers in Australia - a 3 year warranty on the fridge itself, and a 5 year warranty on the compressor.
The people with the issues mentioned above that have attempted a warranty return have said that their warranty claim experience has been quite poor. Apparently, staff are not particularly helpful and turnaround times on getting your unit inspected by technician are quite long.
In saying that, it seems that Evakool do honour their warranties, they just take a while to get around to actually processing the warranty claims, which can be frustrating.
More info available on the Evakool warranty page.
Conclusion - Evakool Fridge Review
The Evakool Travelmate fridges seem to be relatively high quality units that tick most of the boxes. For the most part, they will keep your food and drink cool, relatively hassle free.
However, when you consider the issues that some people have been having with their fridges, you wonder whether these units really justify a $1,000+ price tag.
In saying that, the Evakool fridges aren’t bad at all, I just wish that they were a little cheaper. Or if they are going to charge this much, I would expect better reliability.
Anyway, I hope that you have enjoyed this Evakool fridge review! If you are still wondering which fridge to get, check out my list of the best 12V portable fridges Australia for some ideas!
Thanks for reading and as always, leave any questions you have in the comments below!
Review Date: 2021-06-10
Reviewed Item: Evakool Fridges
Author Rating: 4/5
Product Name: Evakool Fridges
Price: AUD $989
Product Availability: Available in Stock
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