Mini Fridge Buying Guide

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Mini Fridge Buying Guide

A mini fridge is an ideal way of keeping food and drinks cool, without taking up a large amount of space. There are a range of different mini fridges available. Some are only suitable for storing snacks and drinks, while others are cool enough to store meats and groceries. Other types of fridges available include wine fridges and travel fridges. Travel fridges are powered using the cigarette lighter of a car, and keep food and drinks cold on long journeys. When purchasing a mini fridge, it is important to consider what items will occupy the fridge, as well as the size required. Some mini fridges can keep food warm as well as cool. This guide explores the different types of mini fridges available, the sizes available, and their functions. This guide also looks at how to buy high a quality mini fridge at an affordable price.

What is a Mini Fridge?

A mini fridge is defined as a fridge with a capacity of less than 5.5 cubic feet. Although the mini fridge cannot store the weekly food for a family of four, it is enough room to keep a small selection of items cool. A mini fridge can be used to store food and drinks that may not fit in the main refrigerator in the home. Many features found on a regular fridge can also be found in a mini fridge. These include a small freezer compartment and ice maker. Mini fridges are also popular for storing snacks and drinks, which can then be conveniently placed nearby during a sports game or movie marathon.

Although most mini fridges are capable of storing groceries and fresh meats, there are some designed for drinks and snacks only. These mini fridges do not meet the required temperatures to prevent bacteria growth, which causes food poisoning.

Types of Mini Fridges

There are a range of mini fridges available, differing in size, style, and intended use. Buyers should consider their needs and look carefully at what can be stored in the fridge, as well as the power consumption and the device's effect on energy costs.

Cube Refrigerator

The most commonly used mini fridge is the cube refrigerator. It has an interior space that ranges from 11.5 to 2.1 cubic feet, and weighs around 25-30 pounds, which makes it reasonably portable. The height of the cube fridge is between 18 to 20 inches, making it easy to stuff into small spaces or stack on top of other appliances.

They are one of the less expensive mini fridges available, and so are a good choice for people on a tight budget. Cube fridges are not the most economical to run, however, due to their poor insulation. But newer models are gradually becoming more energy efficient. Some models feature a freezer compartment, but it is only large enough to store a tray of ice-cubes. Many models also have a locking mechanism to keep items safe in the fridge. This may be advantageous if sharing a kitchen area. Cube refrigerators are fitted with a reversible door, so they can be universally fitted depending on space available.

Mid-Size Mini Fridge

A mid-size mini fridge is larger than a cube refrigerator. It often has a larger freezer compartment and more shelves, allowing users to store more food and beverages. The average height of a mid-size mini fridge is 26 inches, with an average interior capacity of 2.6 cubic feet. Although they are more energy efficient than cube fridges, they cost a bit more. Many mid-size models feature an adjustable thermostat, allowing users to control the temperature of the fridge. They can also defrost automatically, making cleaning the freezer compartment quicker and easier. Some models have extra storage inside the door.

Counter High Compact Fridge

As the name suggests, a counter high compact fridge is the same height as a counter. They have a capacity of between 3.5 and 4.5 cubic feet, and have either single or double doors. Counter high compact fridges are very energy efficient, but they are the most expensive mini fridges. They can be used as a backup refrigerator when the full-size refrigerator is full. Some brands of counter high compact fridges have a separate freezer compartment, while others feature only the fridge. Some come equipped with an interior light, vegetable crisper, and drinks dispenser.

Drinks Mini Fridge

A drinks mini fridge is meant for drinks and snacks only. They do not reach an appropriate temperature for storing groceries, but are low enough that drinks stored in them remain cool. These fridges have a storage capacity of about 12 bottles or drink cans. A drinks mini fridge can be used at parties, in a dorm room, or kept in easy reach during a television marathon.

Travel Mini Fridge

A travel fridge is an ideal way to keep drinks and food cool while travelling. There are three main types of travel refrigerators available: 1) Thermoelectric, 2) Compressor, and 3) Absorption styles. Each type is described below.

Thermoelectric Model Fridge

Thermoelectric model fridges are designed for cooling (or warming) food, for a short period of time only. They connect to the car cigarette lighter, but this is a considerable drain on the battery of the car, and must therefore be disconnected when the engine is not running. Although they are inexpensive to purchase, they make a lot of noise. A thermoelectric fridge is generally only used for short road trips.

Compressor Model Fridge

Using a compressor mini fridge is the best way to keep food and drinks cool for long trips. They work using either a 12 volt battery or AC power, the latter of which requires an adapter. A compressor fridge does not drain the battery as quickly as a thermoelectric model, and is much quieter. The main problem with this type of fridge is that external temperature fluctuations can make it difficult to maintain the temperature of the fridge. Although it has a control setting for the temperature, food can still become frozen or warm if it not changed quickly enough.

Absorption Model Fridge

An absorption fridge does not have a motor. Rather, it relies on liquid ammonia cooling and evaporating into a gas to keep the food and drinks cool. The fridge must be kept level, and requires a power source to be effective. This can be gas, a car battery, or AC power. As there is no motor, the fridge is very quiet, and it can be used in remote places where there is no electricity.

The table below summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of each type of travel fridge.

Type of Travel Fridge



Thermoelectric Fridge

Inexpensive; useful on short trips

Noisy; drains car battery quickly

Compressor Fridge

Quiet to run; drains battery slowly; can use car battery or AC outlet

Difficult to maintain exact temperature

Absorption Fridge

Quiet to run; used with different power sources; can be used in remote locations

Fridge must be kept level

Using the table above, buyers should be able to choose the correct model of travel fridge for their needs. Each type of fridge has their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and these should be carefully considered before finalizing a purchase.

Wine Mini Fridge

Wine fridges are specifically designed to store wine at the correct temperature. Although most wine mini fridges are designed for white wine, there are also models available with a separate section for red wine. Red wines require a temperature of 50-64 degrees Fahrenheit, while white wines should be served at a temperature of 41-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Mini wine fridges generally hold either 6 or 12 bottles horizontally. Many wine fridges have glass doors. Ensure that the glass is double paned. Single paned glass is less insulated, and allows warm air to enter the fridge. Another useful feature is a tinted door, which prevents UV rays from entering the fridge and damaging the wine.

Purchasing a Mini Fridge

Mini fridges can be purchased from department stores and specialty electronics retailers. They can also be purchased from online retailers and Internet auction sites like eBay. Buyers can search for a mini fridge from the eBay home page, choosing the correct category.

When purchasing a mini fridge on eBay, it is important to look at the condition of the fridge and read the description carefully. The photograph should provide a good indication of the condition of the mini fridge. If you have questions, feel free to ask the seller.

Choosing a Reputable eBay Seller

Choosing a reputable seller on eBay can ensure that the transaction is straightforward. Feedback is left by previous buyers, stating whether the transaction was positive, negative, or neutral. Sellers who have a high percentage of positive feedback, or those who have a top rated seller seal, are more likely to offer a better service than sellers who have a high percentage of negative feedback.


Buyers have a wide range of mini fridges to choose from. Important factors to consider are the purpose, size, and practicality of the mini fridge. With regard to purpose, some fridges are designed for drinks only, and fridges designed for this purpose will not keep groceries (particularly uncooked meats) at the correct temperature. With regard to size, cube fridges are small, and only have a small freezer section, but they are ideal for countertops and small rooms. Larger models, like the counter high compact fridge, often have many of the features that a standard fridge has. They are the largest of the mini fridges, and fit comfortably under the countertop. Buyers should look at how the mini fridge is powered, as well. Fridges that run off an AC outlet are impractical for camping or long car trips, while fridges powered off the battery of a car can cause the battery to go flat quickly, especially if the engine is off. Choosing the correct mini fridge ensures that food and drinks stay at the correct temperature and are available on demand.

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