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THE En­gel fridge is the only fridge to use the Sawa­fuji Swing Mo­tor. It op­er­ates to­tally dif­fer­ently to the more com­monly used Dan­foss/secop unit, in that it has fewer mov­ing parts and there­fore less that could po­ten­tially go wrong. Given the longevity of the En­gel brand, as well as this 26-year-old test unit, who are we to ar­gue the point?

The in­ter­nal (sep­a­rate from the wall) evap­o­ra­tor is semi-pro­tected from the wire bas­ket, but should still be treated with care. Mine cer­tainly has plenty of rub marks but has never been dam­aged be­yond use. Be­ing a sep­a­rate plate aids in cold air cir­cu­la­tion, lead­ing to po­ten­tially lower power con­sump­tion.

The steel cas­ing pro­vides a rugged cabi­net and lid, plus the steel han­dles dou­ble as tie-down points – al­though sep­a­rate tie-downs can be at­tached.

With this older ex­am­ple the dial isn’t set to a tem­per­a­ture, rather just a num­ber from one to five. You are left to guessti­mate tem­per­a­tures via use and ad­just­ment. The lat­est ver­sions do have an electronic tem­per­a­ture set­ting sys­tem sim­i­lar to most oth­ers.

The newer En­gel lids have fixed hinges that pre­vent them from ac­ci­dently com­ing off, but I like be­ing able to slot mine off, even if I’ve had to straighten the prongs a few times with pli­ers.

Auto switch­ing is stan­dard be­tween 12-, 24- and 240-volt, which re­moves the need to switch power sources man­u­ally – pro­vided that both leads are plugged in.

The En­gel has the best ven­ti­la­tion around the com­pres­sor (top, rear and both sides). A semi-re­cessed seal is at­tached to the lid and a sin­gle over-cen­tre latch com­presses it well when closed.


TAK­ING into ac­count the up­dates of the lat­est-model En­gel, in­creased cabi­net and lid in­su­la­tion wouldn’t hurt. Given the higher cy­cling (com­pared to all oth­ers) of the com­pres­sor, I’d won­der if that bet­ter in­su­la­tion would re­duce the cy­cles and aid in the al­ready ex­cel­lent (low) over­all power con­sump­tion. Other than that it’s an ex­cel­lent and sim­ple fridge that should last … well, at least 26 years.

Turn­ing dial doesn’t in­di­cate ex­act temps. After 26 years, it’s still in pretty good nick. In­ter­nal evap­o­ra­tor semipro­tected from wire bas­ket. Suf­fi­cient ven­ti­la­tion around the com­pres­sor.

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