Absolute total dissociation cross sections, σt,diss, by electron-impact are reported for CHF3 and C3F8 from 10 to 300 eV using the chemical gettering technique described by Winters and Inokuti (1982 Phys. Rev. A 25 1420). Data are concentrated in the near-threshold region (10-30 eV). The thresholds for dissociation of CHF3 and C3F8 are determined to be 10.4 eV and 11.9 eV, respectively. Ionization thresholds occur at 16 eV for CHF3 and 16.2 eV for C3F8. Neutral dissociation cross sections of both CHF3 and C3F8 are obtained by subtracting the ionization cross sections, σt,ion, from the total dissociation cross sections, σt,diss.