Dometic Cooler Review
Dometic is one of the more interesting cooler brands that we have reviewed. They actually specialize in powered and electric coolers. However, they have more recently also started dipping into non-powered coolers.
Obviously, there are many differences between powered coolers and non-powered coolers. Powered coolers can keep items cold for much longer than a traditional ice-powered cooler. However, you will need to have access to whatever sort of power source they require. Powered coolers will also typically cost more than a non-powered cooler.
In this huge Dometic Cooler Review, we will discuss some of the more popular Dometic Electric Cooler models out right now. In addition, we will test out their non-powered coolers and put them through the same testing that we do for other ice-powered cooler models.
From this, you will have an idea if a Dometic Cooler is right for you. In addition, you might be convinced (or dissuaded) from trying out one of their powered coolers.
If you are in a hurry, the table below outlines some of our top choices for the best Dometic Coolers out right now. We decided to mix in both powered and non-powered models.
- 1 Dometic Cooler Review
- 1.1 Dometic Cooler Lineup
- 1.2 Dometic Cooler Features
- 1.3 Dometic Cooler Ice Life
- 1.4 Dometic Cooler Aesthetics
- 1.5 Dometic Cooler Price
- 1.6 Dometic Cooler vs. Yeti
- 1.7 Dometic Cooler Review
Dometic Cooler Lineup
Since Dometic makes powered coolers and non-powered coolers, we decided to break the lineups up based on these criteria. Within Dometic’s powered cooler selection, there are actually quite a few sub-categories. We will discuss each of them below.
Dometic Powered Coolers
There are essentially two different refrigeration technologies used on Dometic Coolers. A vast majority of their coolers utilize compressor refrigeration. However, they also offer a few coolers that run off of thermoelectric refrigeration as well.
We will be focusing primarily on Dometic’s compressor-powered coolers in this review. While we will briefly introduce their thermoelectric models, we recommend that you head over to our article on The Best Thermoelectric Coolers to find our top choices for this category.
This section will be focused on introducing the models available. If you wish to read up about more of the specific features that a particular series or product from Dometic offers, scroll on to the features, durability, or ice retention sections.
Dometic CFX Cooler Series
The Dometic CFX Series is designed to be used in compact environments such as vehicles. These compression-powered coolers are great for road trips, camp trips, or any other excursion what will involve being in the great outdoors. They can be powered via either an AC outlet or a DC outlet in your car.
The CFX Series has the largest selection of cooler sizes of any of Dometic’s Powered Cooler Series. At the time of this writing, you can choose between 10 models: CFX 28, CFX 35W, CFX 40W, CFX 50W, CFX 65W, CFX 65DZ, CFX 75DZW, CFX 75DZWSE, CFX 95DZW, and CFX 100W.
You are probably overwhelmed with all of the numbers and letters that each model goes by. But the naming system is actually quite simple.
The “CFX” relates back to the specific model type (this is pretty obvious).
Right after that, there is a number. This number roughly translates to how many quarts of storage volume that particular model has. It is important to remember that these are powered coolers so they won’t need to be loaded up with ice like a traditional cooler needs to. Because of this, you can fit a lot more food/drinks into them. For instance, Dometic states that you can fit a whopping 43 cans into their CFX 28 model, 60 cans in the CFX 40W model, and this scales all the way up to an impressive 146 cans in their CFX 100W model.
Following the number, there will be a single letter or a series of letters. If you see a “W”, this means that you can control and monitor the temperature via a WiFi app. If you see a “DZ”, it means that the cooler has dual storage zones. And “SE” means a special edition color. There can be none all the way up to all of these letter designations on a model.
Dometic CFF Cooler Series
The CFF Series takes what the CFX Series started in bumps up the cooling performance and interior storage efficiency. This allows the Dometic CFF Coolers to be better-suited for long-term applications and in areas where getting items colder quicker is important. However, this does come at the sacrifice of not being as energy-efficient and only coming with power cables instead of power cords.
There are two models to choose from the CFF Series lineup: the Dometic CFF 35 and the CFF 45. The exact storage volume of these models come in at 34.3 and 43.5, respectively.
Dometic CF Cooler Series
The CF Coolers take a very similar stance as the CFX Coolers. The primary differences between the CFX and the CF Cooler are that the CFX has a more efficient compressor and motor speed controller which ultimately results in a more efficient operation. There are also some other features (discussed below) that were trimmed from the CFX lineup to make the CF lineup more affordable.
Also, most of the CF sizes run a bit smaller overall than the CFX Cooler sizes.
However, the core operation and functions of the CF Coolers are very similar to those of the CFX Coolers.
There are currently 7 models to choose from: The CF 18, CF 25, CF 35, CF 40, CF 50, CF 80, and CF 110. Depending on which size you go with, that translates to anywhere from 23 to 144 cans that you can store.
Dometic CDF Cooler Series
The Dometic CDF Cooler has the smallest sizes of powered coolers that Dometic offers. And similar to the cooler size is the selection of CDF Coolers: there is a single model (the CDF 11).
This cooler maximizes mobility and convenience and the cost of storage volume and cooling performance It is intended to be powered via a DC outlet (such as a cigarette lighter in your car). It has enough storage volume for around 13 cans.
Dometic Tropicool Cooler Series
The Dometic Tropicool Coolers are the only models made by Dometic that take advantage of thermoelectric cooling rather than compression cooling. As we mentioned earlier, we won’t be focusing on thermoelectric coolers in this review. For further discussion of thermoelectric coolers that we have tested, please read our helpful article about the Best Thermoelectric Coolers.
Dometic CC Cooler Series
The final powered cooler series made by Dometic is their CC Series. The CC Series Coolers are Dometic’s “low cost” solution. These coolers operate and function very similar to other models we have discussed but they run less efficiently and with weaker cooling performance. That isn’t to say that they don’t still work quite well!
There are currently two models to choose from: the CC 32 and CC 40. The CC 32 is capable of storing around 39 cans in its 31L compartment and the CC 40 bumps that up to approximately 55 cans thanks to its increased 38L compartment.
Dometic Traditional Coolers
If you prefer a standard cooler, then Dometic also has a few options for you. Since non-powered ice chests are our main focus on the site, these are the products that we will actually put through our testing.
Dometic Patrol Series Coolers
Dometic’s selection of hard-sided coolers has been named the Patrol Series. According to the company, the name was chosen as a way to represent that these ice chests are “built for freedom-lovers”.
All of the popular sizes that we are used to seeing are here. They span from portable-sized ice chests all the way up to monster-sized coolers. Specifically, you can choose from the Patrol 20, Patrol 35, Patrol 55, Patrol 75, and Patrol 105. The numbers in these sizes translate roughly to the number of liters of storage volume.
All sizes of the Patrol Coolers come with similar features (with the exception of the overhead carrying handle on the Patrol 20). We will get more into the specific features in the next section.
Dometic Cooler Features
As you might expect, the features that you will enjoy will depend greatly on if you go with a powered cooler are a non-powered cooler. We will break down the most notable features of each type in their own sections.
Dometic Powered Cooler Features
There are quite a few handy features on Dometic Powered Coolers. Some of exclusive to certain lineups while other features you will find in nearly every model.
One of our favorite features is that updated and improved compressor electronics that you will find in the CFX models. This new system allows for extremely efficient cooling. Specifically, you enjoy as low as 0.74 Ah/h of power consumption. At these levels, you will be able to keep your items cool while not having to tap into a lot of battery power to do so.
Depending on the model, you will have various options for connecting power to it. Many of the Dometic units will allow you to run both AC and DC power connections. This means that no matter if you plan on powering it off a cigarette lighter, hooking it up directly to your car battery, or connecting it directly to a home power line or generator, you will have the power you need to keep your items chilled.
Dometic has also optimized the design of their coolers to allow for maximum storage capacity. In fact, they state that due to their improved design, you will enjoy up to 60% more storage capacity with the same outside dimensions. This will allow you to put more drinks, food, or whatever else you need to keep cold or frozen for your next road trip.
In the premiere CFX line, there is also a feature called 3-stage dynamic battery protection. This system will automatically shut off the cooler to help prevent a dead car starter battery. Not only that, but it will constantly adapt its settings to improve overall car battery performance. The last thing that you want is a dead car battery because of your ice chest sucking out all the power!
In the “W” models, you will have the ability to control and monitor cooler temperatures be either a digital display or a WiFi app for your phone.
The digital display is very easy to read and control. And the phone app is intuitive and easy to adjust as well. We love the versatility and convenience that this feature adds to the operation of the ice chest.
To help you find the items you need at night or while in the dark, there is an efficient LED light on the inside of certain models. This will help you from fumbling around in the dark trying to grab your desired drink or food item. There is also a selection of dividers and baskets inside to help store and compartmentalize your different types of items.
And speaking of compartments, Dometic Coolers that have the “DZ” designation in their name will have a dual-zone feature. This makes it possible to split up the zones to operate at different temperatures. Want to keep certain items such as meats frozen while having a refrigerator side for simply keeping items such as drinks and cheeses cold? Then the dual zone models are the answer for you.
The one negative about powered coolers (particularly large ones) can be the weight. Sure, you aren’t having to weigh down your cooler with ice. However, since you aren’t using ice, it gives you room to store more actual food and drink items (which somewhat negates the weight savings you would see from not having ice). Combine this with the heavier overall cooler due to its internal components, and it can make for a tough carrying job when full!
Thankfully, Dometic has incorporated some comfortable carrying handles that can also be adjusted. This makes it possible to carry the cooler solo or with a partner. We also recommend trying to use the buddy system if your cooler is heavier than 45 pounds.
You might be concerned that all of the electronics and internal working systems would result in an extremely fragile cooler. We were actually quite surprised as to how resilient these coolers are. They are constructed of durable polymer walls which are somewhat impact and scratch-resistant. While a Dometic Powered Cooler will not be quite as tough as a Grizzly Bear Certified rotomolded traditional cooler, they can still handle typical wear and tear that you will put them through while out on a road or camping trip.
Finally, for people who still need a more lightweight solution that doesn’t sacrifice much in the way of performance, Dometic’s CC and CDF models will be great for you. They have thinner walls and a more simplistic design which helps to shave a few pounds off of the overall weight.
Dometic Patrol Cooler Features
Dometic’s powered coolers aren’t the only one with a notable list of features. Their traditional Patrol lineup of coolers also have many of the features and accessories that you like to see in a modern premium cooler.
Let’s start with the construction. These coolers are comprised of the same rotomolded PE construction that you are used to seeing in the toughest coolers on the market. This one-piece design results in an extremely tough outer shell that is resilient to bumps and scratches. Not only that, but it also helps with ice retention (more on that in the next section).
Wall thicknesses are about average for a high-end cooler. Depending on the specific model and which wall you are looking at, the walls tend to be around 2” thick. This is a good medium between performance while not adding too much additional weight.
To further help with performance, all of the metal components appear to be made of quality stainless steel. Stainless steel is much more resilient to rust and corrosion than some of the other metals that you will find on lower-end coolers.
The result of all of this is one tough competitor. While Dometic hasn’t had their ice chests Grizzly Bear Certified, we have no doubt that they would pass the test. In addition, they stand behind their product. They offer up a 7-year limited warranty. This is among the longer warranties out there right now.
For keeping the lid closed, there are rubber latches on the front face of the ice chest. The Dometic Patrol 20, 35, 55, and 75 all utilize 2 latches. And the largest model, the Dometic Patrol 105, increases that up to 3 latches.
These latches function similarly to other rubber latches that many other brands use. However, they are different in that they aren’t in the typical “T” shape. They are also designed in a way to be able to be removed and attached with a single hand. This can come in handy on those times that you are trying to open the cooler lid but only have one hand available.
In between the lid and the body is the same standard freezer-grade gasket that we have seen in many other models. This flat-faced gasket functions by being squeezed along a channel on the top of the cooler lid. The result, thanks to the good closing force of that latches, is a nice seal that helps to keep cold air in and hot air out.
Now let’s move to transportation and handling. The smallest cooler, the Dometic Patrol 20, will have an overhead carrying handle. This is pretty normal for an ice chest of this size since most of the time it will be carried by a single person.
The larger sizes will change to side carrying rope handles. They come with rubber grips and are pretty typical of what we see in premium coolers. With rope handles, you can either carry it solo or find a buddy to help share the load. We always recommend trying to find another person to help you carry the cooler when it becomes quite heavy.
For draining water, there is a high-flow drain port located on the side of the ice chest. Other notable features include non-skid feet and embedded front sections for giving you a better grip of opening and closing the lid as well as an included internal basket.
Most of these features are pretty standard across most premium cooler brands. However, these days we are seeing some more clever features that other brands are throwing out there. This includes built-in fish rulers, internal dividers, LED lights, cup holders, and more.
Dometic doesn’t currently offer any of these more special features, unfortunately. They do have a handful of accessories that you can buy such as tie-down kits and even a built-in dock. In the future, we hope that they decide to include these helpful accessories as a “total package” when purchasing one of their coolers.
Dometic Cooler Ice Life
For our ice life testing, we will be focusing on Dometic’s non-powered series, the Dometic Patrol Coolers. Their powered coolers are really meant to be used with the assistance of the built-in compressor or thermoelectric unit.
While there is a bit of insulation on the electric coolers, they will likely only keep your chilled items at the necessary temperature for 6 to 8 hours before you will need to load it up with ice or hook them back up to a power source.
If you plan on using one of Dometic’s electric coolers, we recommend making sure that you have an adequate power source nearby to be used for the duration of your trip or outing.
If you are looking for a cooler that can be used without a power source around, then a traditional cooler (such as the Dometic Patrol Cooler) is a much better option.
But just how good are the Patrol Coolers at keeping ice?
To find out, we put them through an in-house ice test. This consist of filling them up with a recommended amount of ice, leaving them in a typical outside environment, and occasionally opening them.
You can see our results in the chart below:
Overall, these ice numbers are pretty solid. They fall about in line with what we have seen with other high-end cooler brands on the market. There are a few brands that exceed these numbers but for most people, it can be overkill.
The successful ice retention numbers can be attributed to the thick rotomolded walls, strong latching system, and large gasket that does a good job of sealing off the air.
Depending on which model you go with and what conditions you put it in, you can expect anywhere from 2ish days with the Patrol 20 Cooler all the way up to a week or more with the Patrol 105 Cooler. With these ice numbers, the Dometic Patrol Cooler is a great solution for anything from a weekend excursion all the way to a weeklong outdoor expedition.
Dometic Cooler Aesthetics
The styling of a cooler may not be a big deal to some people. But to others, having an ice chest that really “pops” is a great way to stand out at the lake or campsite.
No matter if you go with a Dometic Powered Cooler or one of their traditional coolers, you are sure to get a reliable product. But when it comes to looks, Dometic seems to play it very safe.
They don’t offer much in the way of color choices. In fact, there is only one real color scheme to pick from. If you go with one of their powered coolers, you will have to stick with an off-white/gray top section and a black bottom section. This design approach applies across all products lines and powered cooler sizes.
If you want to try out a Dometic Patrol Cooler, you are equally limited in color choices. At the time of this article, you can only pick a white color scheme.
The only exception to this is the Dometic CFX 75DZW. This is a special edition powered cooler that comes in an all-black layout.
We are a bit disappointed with the sheer lack of color choices. Most brands these days will at least offer a couple of different color layouts.
In addition, there is nothing in the way of custom decals or logos that you can put on these ice chests.
That isn’t to say that these are bad looking coolers. On the contrary, actually. The shape is quite professional and looks to mean business. We also like the latching system, which is different than most other brands that we have tested. These subtle differences don’t go unnoticed by us. But to the casual observer? It will likely just look like another cooler.
Dometic Cooler Price
The powered coolers, due to the array of internal components and features, will cost significantly more than most of your traditional coolers. Because of this, it isn’t really fair to compare them to most of the typical coolers that we test on the site.
Instead, we will be focusing on the pricing for the Dometic Patrol Coolers.
Asking prices for these hard-sided coolers are definitely in the premium price tier. However, compared to other ice chests with similar performance, they seem to hold their own.
They aren’t quite as cheap as some of the ultra-budget premium models such as RTIC. However, they will be noticeably cheaper than other high-ticket brands like Yeti and Orca
We feel that at their current price point, they are a good value considering the ice retention and toughness that you get. However, they are a bit Spartan when it comes to feature options. And for someone who wants all the bells and whistles, the higher asking price of other better-equipped models may be justifiable.
Dometic Cooler vs. Yeti
The age-old debate. Is “x” cooler better than Yeti?
Dometic Coolers offer up very similar performance to Yeti. Ice retention numbers are neck to neck. And when it comes to build quality, both should be able to handle just about any outdoor conditions that you can throw at them.
In terms of features, both brands take a similar simplistic approach. Yeti does have a clear edge when it comes to accessories that can be purchased.
Yeti also is the clear victor when it comes to size and color choices. If you want a model outside of the 5 sizes that Dometic currently offers or if having a color other than white is an absolute must-have, then Yeti may be the better choice.
Where Dometic does have a clear edge is in pricing. Dometic Coolers are significantly more affordable than a Yeti. And considering the nearly identical performance, Dometic is clearly the better bargain.
So which is better?
From a cost standpoint, we have to go with Dometic. But in terms of customization options, features, and ways to stand out, Yeti seems to have more to offer.
But no matter which brand you decide to go with, you will have a quality cooler to enjoy.
Dometic Cooler Review
Pros: Good ice performance, Built extremely tough, Impressive warranty
Cons: Limited features, Only one color option, Relatively unknown rotomolded cooler brand
Features: Rotomolded construction, Oversized drain plug, Freezer-grade gasket, Easy access latches, Optional side dock, Non-skid feet, Internal storage basket, Carrying handles
While Dometic is better-known for their powered coolers, they have also recently rolled out some non-powered coolers. This lineup of ice chests has been dubbed the Dometic Patrol Series. They offer many of the same features and construction aspects of other premium cooler brands that you are familiar with. They are available in 20, 35, 55, 75, and 105-liter models.
Features and Durability –
The essential features that you like to see on any high-end ice chest are here. This includes thick rotomolded walls, a large rubber gasket, carrying handles, and a clever easy access latch system for keeping it all closed. There is also an internal wire basket for helping with storage, a high-flow drain plug, and non-skid feet. There are a couple of additional accessories that can be purchased but overall the lineup of features is somewhat lacking compared to what else we are seeing on the market these days. But for many, a lot of those flashy features aren’t really necessary.
Where Dometic does shine is in their quality. These coolers are extremely well made. The walls are quite durable and all of the components are made of either stainless steel or thick, durable rubber. And Dometic stands behind their ice chests with an impressive 7-year limited warranty.
Ice Retention –
Due to the thick walls and good gasket sealing system, the ice retention rates are competitive with some of the best brands out there. Depending on which model you go with, you should anticipate ice life that starts at around 2 days on the extreme low end and can be extended all the way up to over a week in the larger models.
Visual Appeal –
While we find the shape and curves of these coolers to be nice, they are severely lacking when it comes to color choices. At the time of this writing, the only available color is white. In addition, there isn’t anything in the way of custom logos or brand decals that can be printed or stamped on. This is something that we hope Dometic will address in the future.
While these coolers certainly aren’t cheap, they are still a pretty good value when you consider how well they are made and how long ice lasts. There are some more affordable models out there with comparable ice life but Dometic isn’t far off from them. We feel that part of their ability to achieve this price point is because the lineup of features is a bit smaller than on some of the other coolers we have tested.
Overall Rating –
While Dometic has led the way in powered coolers for many years, we were excited to see what they had up their sleeves for non-powered coolers. Overall, we came away content with our first experience with them. They seemed to have made build quality and ice retention a priority. And in those regards, they are certainly successful. Where they could use a bit of work is in adding some more features and also some additional color options. If they were able to tweak those things a bit while still keeping it around the current competitive price point, then Dometic Patrol Coolers would be a home run purchase in our opinion.