Mini Fridge Buying Guide

Mini Fridge Buying Guide

Buying Mini Fridges

Welcome to our mini fridge buying guide. Obviously, the idea of a mini fridge is to keep drinks and food cool, without using up too much valuable space. There are lots of different types of mini fridge available. Some are designed to store drinks and snacks, while others are cold enough to keep groceries and meats for extended periods.

Specific types of mini fridges include travel fridges, beer fridges and wine coolers. Travel fridges are usually powered using the 12V cigarette lighters which are found in most cars.

When choosing a mini-fridge, it’s imperative you consider which items you’ll be keeping in it and how much space you need. Certain models can also keep foodstuffs warm as well as cold; a feature that’s particularly attractive to winter explorers.

In this guide, we aim to explain the various types of mini fridge available, their functions and size, and how to find the right fridge for the right price.

Mini Fridges Defined

A mini fridge, compact fridge, or portable fridge, is a refrigerator less than 5.5 cubic feet in size. A mini fridge won’t be able to store a ‘big shop’, but it will be able to keep a few select and important items nice and cols.

Many mini fridges also have a small freezer compartment, as well as other features found in full-sized refrigerators such as temperature control and adjustable shelving.

The connection between sport and mini fridges is undeniable, with one of the primary uses of compact fridges being to store beverages for consumption during football and rugby matches or other sports.

Some mini fridges are just scaled down full-sized refrigerators while others are designed specifically to store snacks and drinks and aren’t suitable for storing meats and other fresh food for any length of time.

Types of Mini Fridges

There are all sorts of mini fridges out there, with a wide variety of sizes, styles and functions available. When choosing a mini fridge, one should consider when and where one needs to use the fridge and what it will be used to store. Use our mini fridge buying guide to help you find the best fridge for you.

Cube Refrigerators

The cube refrigerator is the most commonly purchased type of mini fridge and usually has a capacity between 2.1 and 11.5 cubic feet. Typically, a cube fridge will weigh between 25 and 30 pounds and measure around 18 to 20 inches in height.

Cube fridges tend to be affordable, which makes them ideal for those of us on a tight budget. However, until recently, they suffered from a lack of energy efficiency and were relatively expensive to run. Happily, these days, more and more energy efficient cube refrigerators are available.

Some cube fridges also feature freezer compartments, and many are also lockable which is particularly useful in shared environments. Reversible doors are also a fantastic feature.

Mid-sized mini fridges

Larger than a cube fridge, the mid-sized fridge usually has a bigger freezer department and more shelves. The average height for a mid-sized refrigerator is around 26”, and internal capacity will be approximately 2.6 cubic feet.

Naturally, mid-sized fridges cost a little more than cube fridges, but they also tend to be more energy efficient, and they often feature adjustable thermostats and auto-defrost functionality. Their extra volume also allows for in-door storage.

Counter-High Compact Fridges

Counter-high fridges are, as you would expect, are the same height as standard kitchen counters. Usually, their capacity is between 3.5 and 4.5 cubic feet, and they can have double or single doors. Counter-high fridges tend to be very energy-efficient and a little more costly than other mini fridges.

Often counter-high fridges are used as backups for when the main fridge gets full, and they often feature functions common to full-sized fridges, such as separate freezer compartments, drinks dispensers, vegetable crispers and interior lights.

Drinks mini fridges

Designed to store snacks and drinks, these ultra-compact mini fridges are not suitable for keeping groceries and meats. Usually, they’ll hold around 12 bottles or cans and are commonly used during parties and sporting events.

Travel Mini Fridges

Keep drinks and food cold while on the road. There are three types of travel fridges available: thermoelectric, compressor and absorption.

· Thermoelectric fridges – designed to cool (or warm) food and drink for a short period. They’re powered from the cigarette lighter in a car and tend to be pretty affordable.

· Compressor fridges – designed to cool food during long journeys, compressor fridges can be powered either by AC power or 12V battery power.

· Absorption fridges – instead of a motor, absorption fridges use liquid ammonia to cool drinks and food. These super-quiet fridges need to be kept level and can be powered by gas, car battery or AC power.

Type of Travel Fridge



Thermoelectric Fridge Inexpensive; useful on short trips Noisy; drain car batteries quickly
Compressor Fridge Quiet to run; drains battery slowly; can use a car battery or AC outlet Difficult to maintain the exact temperature
Absorption Fridge Quiet to run; used with different power sources; can be used in remote locations Fridge must be kept level

Wine Mini Fridges

Not just a mini fridge but a refrigerator designed to store wine at the appropriate temperature. Most are made to cool white wine. However, there are also models available that will store red wine at room temperature.

Generally, wine fridges can store 6 to 12 bottles, and glass doors are commonplace.

Buying a Mini Fridge

As with most things, the best deals are found online, particularly from Amazon and eBay. Before purchasing, consider the purpose of the fridge. Do you need to cool just drinks or will you need to store food as well?

When it comes to size, cube fridges are great for small rooms and offices but may lack some of the features common to full-sized refrigerators.

Counter-high fridges are obviously more sizeable, but they tend to have more features and be more energy efficient.

The power source is also important, do you need to run the fridge from a 12V source, battery or AC power?

Thank you for reading our mini fridge buying guide.

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