I’ve been looking for a reliable powered cooler for a while. So when I got my hands on the Dometic CFX3 95 Dual Zone I was realy happy. To test it out, I took it camping with some of by friends.
What I found was that if you want to go for efficiency, most units aren’t durable. And if you go for durability, then size and weight become an issue. Luckily, the Dometic CFX3 95DZ seems to combine performance, ergonomics, and overall toughness.
Continue reading to learn more about what this portable fridge/freezer has in store for campers and outdoor enthusiasts.
- At a Glance
- Look and Feel of the Product
- Ease of Use
- Power Consumption
- The Cost Factor
- Other Picks from the Dometic CFX3 Coolers
*Disclosure: I only recommend products that I would use myself. This post may contain affiliate links that may earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read the full advertising policy here.*
Dometic CFX3 95DZ At a Glance
The specs, cooling power, and storage capacity of this product are second to none. It is a dual-zone refrigerator/freezer with a 94-liter capacity and can hold 133 cans at a time. The body measures 3.3 cubic feet, and the cooler is AC/DC powered.
Keeping in line with the performance and quality that have come to define the CFX3 series, this model can deep-freeze contents down to -220C without requiring ice!
The hinges are made from stainless steel, and the corners are reinforced for long-lasting performance in the extreme outdoors.
It features two independent compartments for simultaneous freezing and cooling, and both sections have independent controls. It also includes:
- Interior LED light
- Removable powder-coated wire storage basket (with divider)
- USB port
- Drain valve for easy cleaning
Let’s delve into the features of this cooler!
- Volume: 94-liter
- Weight: 65.71 lbs
- Dimensions: 37.87″ x 18.58″ x 20.87″
Being a portable fridge and freezer, the CFX3 95DZ comes with separate lids for each compartment. When used with the freezer compartment, the cooler measures 1.8 cubic feet.
But size is besides the point here, as electrical coolers are generally more space-efficient than ice coolers.
The latter usually have a 2:1 ratio of ice to contents, which means a 90-liter ice cooler will only have a capacity of 30 liters for cans, bottles, and food; the rest of the cooler will be filled with ice. On the other hand, a 30-liter electric cooler will provide the same cooling capacity without requiring ice.
That’s why you can easily carry around an electric cooler like the CFX3 95DZ in small to medium size vehicles as well. Plus, the entirety of the 94 liter capacity of this product is dedicated to food and drinks. This factor makes it ideal for outdoor trips with large groups or when you need to pack extra food and drinks for longer journeys.
Look and Feel of the Product
Moving on, Dometic CFX3 95DZ is designed for rough use. And yet its aesthetics betray this perception. The look and feel of the product are impeccable, thanks to the ExoFrame and a robust lining that protects the cooler against wear and tear.
The sleek black and white unit goes well with any vehicle setup. Plus, the unit is easy to handle with a quick-open lid and removable dividers to neatly separate food and drinks. You will also find a drain plug at the bottom to remove the water before loading the cooler back on your car.
- Volume: 94-liter
- Weight: 65.71 lbs
- Dimensions: 37.87″ x 18.58″ x 20.87″
What particularly struck me as soon as I turned on the unit was the compressor in the top-loading fridge. According to the manufacturer, this is the VMS03 variable-speed, sealed compressor. Despite its efficiency and high quality, the compressor remains super quiet. Thanks to its sealing, there is no noise when you turn on the cooler.
What’s more, the VMS03 compressor is energy-efficient as well, especially when compared to regular refrigerator compressors. Not to mention, it is also long-lasting, which reduces the hassle and cost of maintenance over time.
Moreover, the compressor gives consistent performance whether you are on rocky terrain or in a location with lots of sand and dust. Even when the sun is at its zenith, the internal temperature remains constant.
The durability of this electric cooler is also achieved by the two-prong 12V plug that Dometic installed in it. Not to mention, the user interface is IP65-rated and completely weatherproof. The interface is also soft to the touch, allowing easy handling.
Eco-conscious customers will be happy to know that this model is UL certified as well.
Ease of Use
The unit is easy to handle, owing to the single-motion latching action that enables you to open and close the compartments even if the surface is dusty or your palms are sweaty.
Apart from carrying a portable freezer around, one of the biggest hassles with electric coolers is adjusting their settings and monitoring their performance outdoors. But all this becomes easier with the Dometic CFX3 95DZ, as it offers remote access through a dedicated app available in both iOS and Android versions.
The only catch is that you have to connect your phone to the cooler through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Once you manage to do that, you can:
- Control and monitor the temperature
- Turn off the cooler or an individual compartment
- Check power source (AC or DC), voltage level, and the battery protection level
- Remotely check if any of the lids are open
The temperature is displayed in both 0C and 0F. In addition to this, you can also set a temperature alarm (+/-3°C or +/-5°C). The app also sends alerts if temperatures exceed or decrease from set levels.
For added convenience, the manufacturer has added a high-res color display so you can comfortably view the temperature and power levels in sunlight. Not to mention, there’s also a USB port to charge phones and other small devices.
One of the best features of Dometic CFX3 95DZ is that it can be powered with two power sources. Its current draw and cooling efficiency will come in handy for off-grid adventures where plugging the cooler in a power source isn’t possible.
I have already mentioned the superior VMSO3 compressor, but let’s not forget the Active Gasket Technology that makes it one of the most energy-efficient electric coolers on the market.
Coming back to power sources, you can easily plug the CFX3 units into your car battery. This is easy on road trips since the car is up and running with the battery fully charged. However, if you plan to spend an extended time outdoors, such as on a base camp, you will require power sources. Check out the review on the best portable power stations and the article about Jackery Explorer 1500 vs Goal Yeti 1500X, to see if that might be the right addition to your camping gear.
In this regard, the best power source is one manufactured by the company itself, namely the PLB40 portable battery. It is a 40 amp-hour Lithium battery, and while this increases your overall bill, the battery keeps the cooler running for a couple of days in a mild climate.
In addition to this, you can also power the 95DZ cooler with gas generators and solar panels.
The Cost Factor
The hefty price tag of this product seems off-putting. Also, the 95DZ model is too much cooler for most enthusiasts. The CFX3 series have smaller models as well that offer high quality and consistent performance as well.
This product costs over $1,400, but it also comes with a 5-year limited warranty to protect your investment. And an investment is how you should approach this purchase. The 95DZ will stay put in the back of your car for years to come.
Moreover, considering its storage capacity and power duration, you can pack food items for long road trips and save money on roadside dining for days on end!
How much does a Dometic cooler cost?
Dometic offers a range of coolers at different price points. The CFX3 is considerably expensive considering the design, capacity, and features. Be prepared to pay over $1400 for the 95DZ unit.
How many watts does a Dometic cooler use?
According to the manual, Dometic coolers use less energy than a 60-watt bulb! On average, an energy-efficient Dometic electric cooler runs on 50 watts at full capacity.
Can you sit on a Dometic cooler?
While Dometic coolers like the CFX3 95DZ are rugged and durable, they are not meant for sitting, especially for an extended time.
How long do Dometic coolers last?
Dometic is one of the best brands on the market when it comes to electric coolers. Their cooling units can last up to 15 years with constant use and without requiring a lot of maintenance. Plus, each cooler in the CFX3 comes with a 5-year limited warranty to cover defects or repairs.
Is an electric cooler worth it?
While electric coolers generally cost more than traditional ice coolers, they offer considerable benefits over the latter. Ice coolers are best suited for short outdoor trips where you have to keep a few beer cans cool. But they require storing ice in addition to food and drinks, which takes up considerable space.
Electric coolers, on the other hand, don’t require ice. With a good battery-powered electric cooler, you can keep snacks and beverages cold for several days without worrying about running out of ice.
Ultimately, the choice between ice and electric coolers will be determined by your needs and preference.
How long can you run an electric cooler?
This varies from model to model, but a 12-volt electric cooler can run up to 8 hours. However, coolers consuming less than 60 watts can last for up to a day or two, depending on the size and energy consumed.
How Does Dometic CFX3 Pairs Up With Other Large Size Coolers
If large coolers are your thing, here are some other models you can consider:
Whynter FM-85G 85 Quart Portable Fridge
Built with hammered aluminum, this compressor-based cooler is one of the finest large units for campsites, boats, and RVs.
With a capacity to cool 120 cans at a time, the Whynter FM-85G fridge/freezer can be powered by a 12-volt power source, such as an automotive battery. This feature makes the unit ideal for both day trips and extended expeditions. It cools between -80F to 500F, which is impressive.
While using the same voltage, comparably, its storage and cooling capabilities are lower than the Dometic CFX3 95DZ. But not significantly lower. I personally think there isn’t much of a difference between storing 133 and 120 cans.
Moving on, inside the unit, you will find removable wire baskets for easy storage. The lids and walls are insulated, and there’s a floor drain to clear out any liquids once you are done using the cooler. There is also a low power indicator to help you monitor battery performance.
The Whynter FM-85G fridge/freezer comes with side handles for convenient handling. It measures 29” x 21” x 21” and weighs 71 lbs.
It comes at several price points, depending on the features you want to go for. Currently, you can get the Whynter FM 85G for less than $750, which is half you are paying for the CFX3 95DZ. This is great considering its capabilities, but I won’t rate it highly for durability.
SunDanzer 12v DC Electric Powered Portable Cooler
Another top pick on the market is the 90-liter capacity SunDanzer 12 volt fridge/freezer. Again, compared to the Dometic 95DZ, the capacity is lower, but not too much.
With a sleek, silver exterior, this cooler packs a punch while only utilizing 54 watts to deliver high efficiency.
The body is made from stainless steel to ensure durability, and the unit comes with a manufacturer’s limited warranty of two years. You also get three wire baskets, an AC/DC inverter, and a DC car cable with the package.
This dual-zone cooler comes with an integrated delay protection system that adds to its sturdiness. This product is best for vans, RVs, and off-grid camping.
You also get an LED-lit digital control panel to monitor temperature and power levels. In addition to this, the gaskets and drains are removable. Its DC compressor operates on both 12 and 24 VDC.
Overall, SunDanzer 12v is one of the most portable large-sized electric coolers you can get your hands on. However, at $1,477, you are better off getting the Dometic 95DZ for its added functions and storage.
Other Picks from the Dometic CFX3 Coolers
The CFX3 product has a range of models with different sizes and specs. They include:
Dometic CFX3 35
- Volume: 36-liter
- Weight: 37.26 lbs
- Dimensions: 27.32″ x 15.67″ x 16.02″
The smallest of the series, the CFX3 35 is a single zone cooler with a 36-liter capacity. You can store up to 50 cans at a time in this unit that measures 27.32″ x 15.67″ x 16.02″. The cooler weighs 37.26 lbs, making it portable and lightweight.
As far as the cooling capacity is concerned, it can reach a minimum temperature of -220C and a maximum of 100C. It is powered by 12 volts and consumes 0.98 Ah per hour. The CFX3 35 costs $900 and comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
Dometic CFX3 55
- Volume: 55-liter
- Weight: 58 lbs
- Dimensions: 31″ x 20″ x 21″
If you are looking for a cooler that also makes ice, the CFX3 55IM is what you need. The unit measures 31″ x 20″ x 21″ and weighs 58 pounds. It is a 24-volt single zone cooler with a 55 liter, or 80-can capacity.
The current draw is 8.7A and consumers 1.1 Ah per hour. Powered by AC/DC and solar, the CFX3 55 deep freezes down to -220C. It costs $1,100, and the highlight of the unit is its internal ice-making mechanism. You get a 5-year limited warranty on this product as well.
Dometic CFX3 75
- Volume: 75-liter
- Weight: 69.9 lbs
- Dimensions: 37″ x 21″ x 21″
As the sizes increase, we start getting to dual-zone designs. The CFX3 75DZ features the signature ExoFrame and the VMSO3 compressor I talked about earlier, and it deep freezes down to -70C.
The unit measures 37″ x 21″ x 21″ and weighs 69.9 lbs. It has a 75-liter capacity and can cool up to 113 cans at a time. At $1,300, it is a cheaper alternative to the 95DZ if you are looking for dual-zone coolers with amazing features that can store more than 100 cans on road trips.
Dometic CFX3 100
- Volume: 99-liter
- Weight: 80 lbs
- Dimensions: 38″ x 28″ x 19″
Let me also mention that Dometic has even a larger cooler on display to round up this review! The CFX3 100 offers the most storage space possible in this series (perhaps even among other brands). The only caveat is that the model goes back to a single compartment.
Still, it is a powerful cooler with a 99-liter capacity and comes at $1,300. It weighs 80 pounds and measures 38″ x 28″ x 19″. The unit has an average power consumption of 1.56Ah per hour and can cool more than 150 cans at a time.
To sum up, the CFX3 95DZ cooler by Dometic offers great value for the money. With a capacity of carrying more than 130 cans at a time, it is perhaps the best pick for camping and picnics with large groups. Just be sure not to store it with your gear and other equipment. Dometic suggests you keep a 50mm clearance area around the cooler to prevent overheating.
I hope you found this article helpful and if you have anything to add to this, leave a comment down below!
You can even check out some of my other articles related to camping and gear reviews:
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- MEC Camper 2: One Tent for Backpacking and Car Camping?
- Review: Goal Zero Yeti 150 vs Jackery Explorer 160
- Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station: Full Review
- The 9 Best Camping Wood Stoves for the Outdoors
- Jackery Explorer 240 Review: Everything You Need To Know