Dometic CFX vs. ARB: Battle of the 12v Refrigerators



When venturing into the great outdoors, whether it's for a weekend camping trip or a long-term expedition, having a reliable 12v refrigerator is crucial for keeping your food and drinks cold. Among the leading choices for outdoor enthusiasts are the Dometic CFX and ARB portable fridges. Both brands are renowned for their durability, cooling efficiency, and innovative features, but which one is the better choice for your needs? This article compares these two top contenders on several key aspects to help you decide.

Brand Overview

  • Dometic CFX: Known for its versatility and technological advancements, Dometic offers a range of sizes and models equipped with features like Bluetooth connectivity and advanced compressor technology.
  • ARB: Focused on rugged performance, ARB refrigerators are designed with off-roading and extreme conditions in mind, featuring durable construction and simple, efficient cooling systems.

Key Features Comparison

  1. Cooling Efficiency

    • Dometic CFX: Offers deep-freeze capabilities down to -22°C (-7.6°F), with energy-efficient compressor technology that adapts to ambient temperature and minimizes power consumption.
    • ARB: Typically cools down to about -18°C (0°F) and is known for its consistent performance under harsh conditions.
  2. Power Consumption

    • Dometic CFX: Features variable speed compressors that optimize power use based on the load and ambient conditions.
    • ARB: Uses a single-speed compressor, which is less adaptable but praised for its reliability and long-term durability.
  3. Usability and Features

    • Dometic CFX: Equipped with a user-friendly digital interface, WiFi/Bluetooth app for remote temperature control, and USB ports for charging small devices.
    • ARB: Offers a more traditional approach with manual controls and lacks digital connectivity, focusing instead on straightforward, durable functionality.

Design and Build Quality

Both brands offer robust designs, but they cater to slightly different user preferences:

  • Dometic CFX: Has a modern aesthetic with a heavy-duty reinforced design. It's lighter compared to ARB, making it easier to move and handle.
  • ARB: Features a classic, rugged exterior built to withstand the rigors of off-road travel. Generally, it’s heavier, which can be seen as a mark of durability.

Price and Value for Money

  • Dometic CFX: Generally priced slightly lower than ARB, offering a better value for those who need advanced features like app connectivity.
  • ARB: While typically more expensive, the cost is justified by its extreme durability and reliability in demanding conditions.

User Reviews and Feedback

  • Dometic CFX: Users often praise the fridge for its innovative features and versatility, particularly noting the convenience of controlling settings via a smartphone.
  • ARB: Customers appreciate the fridge for its simplicity and toughness, often highlighting its performance in extreme environments without failure.


The choice between the Dometic CFX and ARB portable refrigerators ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you prioritize advanced technological features, flexibility, and energy efficiency, the Dometic CFX is an excellent choice. However, if your adventures take you to more extreme conditions where reliability and rugged construction are paramount, the ARB could be the better fit.

Both refrigerators offer outstanding performance, but understanding the nuances of each will ensure you select the best one for your outdoor lifestyle. As with any significant investment, consider how you plan to use the fridge most frequently to guide your decision.

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