I really like seeing new, innovative ideas hit the 4WD market, and there’s been a huge number of them over the years. One that’s been around for a little while now though, is something I just can’t justify, and that’s a drop down fridge slide.
What is a drop down fridge slide?
Put simply, these are a metal fabrication with a scissor that allows a 12V chest fridge or freezer to be pulled out, and then dropped down to a more suitable level. They are the perfect solution for a vehicle that is quite tall, and someone who cannot see into their fridge.
On our very own Isuzu Dmax, our chest fridge was mounted as low as I could get it in the canopy, and it was still pretty high in the air on a normal fridge slide. I could see into it being 6”6, but my wife could barely get her eyes above the chest part, which made getting things out of the fridge almost impossible.
We didn’t get a drop down fridge slide though, for a number of reasons:
They are too heavy
I have learnt over the years that its critical you think very carefully about what 4WD accessories and modifications you install, or you’ll be overweight. Even if you aren’t overweight, adding any additional weight that isn’t absolutely necessary isn’t good for anything. It puts more stress on everything, and makes you use more fuel.
Drop down fridge slides start off at about 30kg, and work their way up to 60kg, which is an obscenely large amount of weight.
Sure, its justified in terms of the job they are doing, but when you are adding as much weight as another fridge (and sometimes even more), is it really a good idea? Unless you’ve got a truck, there’s simply not enough payload available to run these sensibly.
They are really expensive
The next thing that we put a lot of importance on is value for money. I hate buying rubbish quality products only to replace them in a short period, and I hate paying a premium for a product that is no better than something mid range.
On the same note, I refuse to fit products that aren’t good value for money, and when you look at the price of drop down fridge slides, I have to wonder how you can justify them as being good value.
Again, the cost to produce them might be very well justifiable, and I’m not here to argue that; they need to be made well, and the R and D that goes into them is no doubt significant, so we’ll leave that there.
You are looking at anywhere from $600 – $1500 for a drop down fridge slide (did you know they do electric ones now?!), and that sort of money will buy you one, or even two more fridges. Seriously, you are literally spending twice as much on your fridge to make it drop down.
They can be dangerous
Anything with scissors has the potential to do a fair bit of damage, and when you’ve got drop down fridge slides that will take huge fridges, the amount of energy involved is fairly significant.
I’m not going to name any particular brands, but I have heard of a number of people either hurting themselves, or nearly injuring themselves using drop down fridge slides.
DIY drop down fridge slides
If you are handy on the tools, there are a few DIY drop down fridge slide designs going around (or you can copy the proper ones on the market for yourself).
Again, please be aware of the fact that these are not toys, and there’s a lot of energy involved, and if something does go wrong it can end badly, but its certainly an option if you don’t want to spend the money!.
What’s the alternative?
Use a step
Honestly, the most simple solution here is to use a step. Instead of bringing the fridge down to you, use a step to bring yourself up. Get something decent quality, that packs away easily and can be used quickly, and its much less of a hassle.
Yes, its not as nice as a drop down fridge, but when you consider the weight and money saved, it might be very easily justifiable.
Fit an upright fridge
After owning a number of chest fridges and going to a 12V upright fridge, I would never go back. They are so much nicer in so many ways, and in terms of access, they completely remove the need to drop the fridge down as you can see what is in it, and you don’t have to look over the chest part to see in.
Whilst I’m not entirely happy with our 85L Bushman Upright Fridge, I’d fit one any day of the week over an Engel and a drop down fridge slide. They’re about the same price as a drop down fridge slide, keep the weight down dramatically, are easy to use and see, and are surprisingly efficient.
Build a tilting fridge slide
I’ve seen a number of people build tilting fridge slides, which allow the fridge to tilt down instead of drop all the way down. These can be much lighter, are easier to DIY and are a reasonable compromise for those wanting to access their 12V chest fridges easier.
Now, if this post has upset you, I apologise. Maybe I’ve overlooked something, but for us, a drop down fridge slide is not something that I would fit, and my thoughts don’t have to be the same as yours.
Maybe a drop down fridge slide suits your needs, and that’s just fine. I’d certainly be keen in knowing your thoughts below; leave us a comment and we’ll have a civil discussion.