Three years ago we took delivery of a shiny new ARB 47 liter Fridge Freezer. In the years since, it has dutifully kept our libations chilled, our food fresh, and as year three comes to a close, we feel it’s time to fill out the long term report card. We had high expectations of this product, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
First released in 2009 as an updated version of ARB’s already excellent line of refrigerators, this new fridge arrived with a fresh new design, improved user interface and other key features making it a highly anticipated release. Those updates put this unit ahead of most of the competition and three years later it is still cutting edge. Designed specifically to meet the unique needs of the offroad vehicle market, this new format has been wildly successful and not by accident. ARB spent a few years designing this new fridge and it was clearly time well spent.
The most useful of the updated features has to be the heavy duty handles. Designed to increase tie-down options for maximum security, the oversized handles have allowed us to easily move this fridge from one vehicle to another without much difficulty. The hinge design of the ARB fridge is equally brilliant. With a simple twist of the lid, it pops free of the hinge allowing for easier loading and unloading. This has been a much appreciated feature in the tight confines of our Jeep Patriot test vehicle.
The control panel is simple to understand and quickly facilitates minor adjustments to the temperature settings. A simple LED light indicates when the fridge is drawing power and when it is sitting idle. This helps manage power consumption for maximum efficiency. ARB not only thought to include an internal LED light, they had the forethought to position that light so it faces away from the front of the fridge. This keeps the light from blinding you every time you go searching for your favorite midnight snack. It’s those little details that set this fridge apart.
While we have been more than pleased with the ARB fridge, there are a couple areas that could perhaps be improved. Most noteworthy is the accuracy of the temperature readout. Having tested the accuracy of that readout on a number of occasions, it’s clear it reads at least 8 degrees high. This has created some challenges when trying to adjust the temperature settings near the edge of freezing.
Since day one, we used the transit bag on every outing, and just assumed it was bolstering the performance of the fridge. On a lark we removed the transit cover, and over the span of a year haven’t really noticed any degradation in performance. We have since reinstalled the cover as it does a superb job of protecting the fridge and it looks nice as well.
Overall, the ARB 47L Fridge Freezer has performed exceptionally well. Power efficiency has more than lived up to expectations. On many occasions the fridge has only been powered by a small Goal Zero Extreme 350 battery pack with surprising results. The construction has proven solid with nary a problem in three years. In a market with a growing number of options, we have no reservations recommending the ARB 47L Fridge Freezer to any overlander.