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Dometic Waeco CA-35

Dometic Waeco CA-35

2.8 from 20 reviews

See the Best Portable Fridges / Freezers in 2019 as rated by Australians on ProductReview.com.au.


Review distribution

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Is a great unit and works well


I have had my unit for nearly 15 years now. It gets used every now and then and then gets put away for a few years and then back out again when camping. Got it out again after 4 years, tipped it upside down for 1/2 and hour to remix the liquids and then light it on gas, still works a treat. My beers are cold and the campfire hot, it's a great unit.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance
See all answers



What a shocker!


I hate to admit it but this was a terrible purchase. The safety cut out thermostat failed the first time out. It then has had every other failing mentioned by everyone here and now it's packed up again an just doesn't cool (kinda important when you are in the bush, days from anywhere).

I now realise it was probably because I didn't turn it upside, while standing on one leg, touching my nose with my elbow and trying to get the sun to align with Jupiter!!!!

Date PurchasedDec 2012

Gas is a fail

Date PurchasedJan 2010

GarrySouth East Queensland, QLD

  • 2 reviews

Its a cooler, not a fridge or freezer!

Date PurchasedNov 2008

Waste of time and money.


Returned to shop. Gas stopped working. Tried New hoses, regulator, etc. Only used once! I would not recommend this as it's unreliable...

Date PurchasedJul 2016



Waeco fridge, no more ice.

Date PurchasedAug 2016


MadMickCentral Queensland, QLD



I bought this unit, and as per all the other comments, bloody useless. Had to cut a hole to see if flame is lit. Third time using it, it has refused to start on gas, so much that I in disgust tore the gas tap out. DO NOT BUY. Get a companion instead. I have several 12v fridges and this was the only gas unit. I hate it.


MarkParkwood, Qld 4214

Perfect Top load fridge for Softdrink/ Wine and Stubbies


We needed a top mount fridge at home in our entertaining area so a few years back now when I came across the CA-35. I built the unit it in (Merbu Frame enclosure) across from our Weber at waste height so we/guests could easily drop in a bottle of wine or softdrink. Absolutely love it and has never missed a beat on 240V. Cheers Waeco

waste of money


This unit is not reliable on Gas. Last time I will buy this product.The 1st unit same type went for seven years being used twice a year.
The cool fun ca35 only went 3 trips at 1 week at a time and then stopped cooling the box on the fourth trip.



  • 2 reviews

CA35 Waeco Not what I expected


Not happy with this unit at all
Bought it to run on gas
Well that didn't work
I have had it on gas at home
With pilot light lit
And no temperature change at all
It stayed warm, very disappointed
I do not recommend this fridge for free camping at all
Only use on powered sites

Tony T.

Tony T.hobart

waeco CA35 6 years use


Using for 4 months each of 6 years: worked excellently on gas, 240v worked well for 4 years, 12v melted the plug after 3 years and only cools a bit.
Add a level bubble, better handles, a thermometer, heavier cable and switch for 12 v and hole for barbecue starter and it is a good unit.

Field test of absorption cooler


Works well


Good fridge. kept frozen food frozen for 5 days. only hassle is the flame issue. Highly recommend this fridge to any body.

Works well ind most conditions


All 3 ways need to be level to work best. Aside from the flame visibility isue so well documented this has been a great camping fridge when we are on a non powered site



Luv it.....


Yes it is tricky at times to fire up as long as it's level .... but otherwise when lit runs like a trooper and it's always been good , works great on gas , works good on 240v and works good enuf to keep things cold while on the road to where ya going ....

Flame is hard to see when your not used to it ....with a lot of use , you soon learn


I did notice after reading some other reviews...mine still gets cool/cold on 12v/240v even when its not level 'cause that part's (heater element ) electrical.


....used it again this weekend after it sitting in the shed a cuppla years....perfect....still happy with it.....

Not the best



BruceJChristchurch NZ

Not a good buy


I have attempted to use this cooler numerous times whilst camping as I didn't want to admit how bad a decision I had made buying the product. Out of the 8 to 10 days I have attempted to use the cooler only once did it actually remain cool for a day. Others comments about the pilot light not being visible are correct. On 12V and 240V the ice bag I added thawed quicker than it did in normal cheap esky.
Sorry WAECO but for all the good products you have produced this one is a total FAiL

Does not cool or retain temperature

No better than an Esky


It so rarely works as advertised that I normally purchase ice and use it as an esky. A few degrees off horizontal and it does not work at all. I have purchased spirit levels and it does not help. I feel ripped off by my purchase and I cannot recommend this product.
Rarely works either with LPG or 240 volt electric. I purchase ice and use it as an esky.

Christian Ball

Christian BallPerth, Western Australia

Can not see pilot light


You cannot see the pilot light when using gas. When I did find it. It didn't stay a light so I had fiddle for half the day to get it to stay alight . Also your place to light with a match can plastic can and did catch alight trying to light the pilot light. Once alight it works really well but I think a re think on seeing pilot light is something that can be worked on. I had to take back off to get mine working lucky this was at home as if I was camping this happened I would be rope able.
It got cold quick and very good use I have not used it by other means yet as I need it in a area with no power. Thanks.
Pilot light needs a rethink

Great 3 way


good 3 way fridge works great on lpg , easy to light gas with piezo ignition , works a treat in my landcruiser while on the move keeps every thing cold even in 40 + degrees, the lid hinges are good quality the lid also seals quite well and has magnets to keep it closed.
Reliable and quiet, runs for nearly a month on a 9kg lpg cylinder, robust construction
Not supplied with a gas hose and regulator

Questions & Answers

Arusha blues A.

Arusha blues A.asked

Mine has been doing great for the last year on gas ... now i can feel the heat from vent (so it is alight) but its not cooling at all .... is on level ground. New gas bottle just hooked up - any suggestions please? Thanx - ALL SORTED! Turned upside down for 30min & now working!! Yeeha! :)

2 answers

Hi Arusha,
What your experiencing appears to be a very common and frustrating problem with these fridges to the point i ditched gas and went the full 12 volt system, much more reliable, the problem you have is more than likely an air pocket in the gas supply pipe work within your fridge itself or a faulty thermostat, with the fridge disconnected from all operating sources tip it completely upside down for at least 30min to move any air pockets (you will hear the liquid gas moving) then turn it upright and reconnect the gas supply, turn on and run, if this fails then i would have the thermostat checked out, these fridges must also be on dead level ground to operate efficiently or at all so use a spirit level.

Arusha blues A.
Arusha blues A.

Thanx Garry! Yay! That has worked ;) I live off grid & understand even a small fridge draws heaps of battery power so gas is preferable as my solar system is only 100w panels & 120ah deep cycle battery with a meagre 3hrs of direct sun in winter. :/ cheers

Ally G.

Ally G.asked

where is the pilot light

No answers

Graham I.

Graham I.asked

I have a Waeco CA-35 3 way absorption cooler. I just bought it off a mate who has had it from brand new, never used, and still in the box.( had it for about 4 years) I decided to plug it in to 240 v and give it a try. It just doesn't work. I checked the power source in the wall socket (all good).
There doesn't seem to be a light , or anything to tell you it going. You can't even hear a hum with your ear glued to the unit. I found "how to check the fuse" in you tube, but that must be a later model, because I can't find any sign of a fuse anywhere. Haven't been able to check the 12 volt or Gas system yet, so that might be another problem.

4 answers

The only way you can tell if it’s working is if the little exhaust outlet gets a little warm after some time. This system is completely silent.

Give it time.

If it heats up, but doesn’t cool down inside then look at other questions about that problem whereby you need to turn the thing upside down for a while.

If it doesn’t get warm, then you have an electrical problem.


Gidday Graham,
My experience with the Waeco CA-35 3 way coolers i found them to be very temperamental and unreliable when you need them most, i would first try tipping the fridge upside down for at least 30 minutes (unplugged), if there is still refrigerant in the pipes you will hear the air bubbles moving, tip it back upright and plug into mains power on full thermostat, it will take an hour or two to chill if its working, hold your hand over the vent to feel for any heat, if this fails check for insect webs in and around the pilot light area, again if this fails it could only really be a faulty thermostat, i hope this helps your enquiry.

Graham I.
Graham I.

Thank you Shane and Garry. I was very surprised to get a response at all. Thanks for taking the time. I had read about the turning it upside down for a while, in this forum, so I've yet to try that. Interestingly, Shane, the top vent area did feel a little warm, but as there was no cooling taking place, I thought I might be imagining it, and thanks also for the info that it is a very silent unit.
Maybe I was expecting too much from it too soon. I will go into the garage and upend it now for an hour or so and then power it up before I go to bed. Hopefully it will be cold in the morning.
Thanks fellers for your help. I will report back to let you know how I got on.
P.S. In the event that it IS a thermostat or gas problem, where would the best place be to take it to get fixed. I live in Brisbane.

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CategoryPortable Fridges / Freezers
Price (RRP) $379

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