There are a few very important factors that you should not forget to check before buying a mini-fridge for your home. These factors will help you understand the appliance better and will be useful in the long run. Some of the factors are as follows:
1. Storage Capacity:
Checking the storage capacity is one of the most important things. By checking the capacity, you can get an idea of the size and the number of items that you can store in the fridge. Freezer space and shelves take up some of the space inside the mini-fridge though.
The capacity of the mini-fridges ranges between 45 liters to 120 liters. You can select one according to the storage space that you wish to use.
The size of a mini-fridge is obviously smaller than that of a regular fridge that is used in the kitchen. You should select the size depending on the allocated space where you are planning to keep the fridge.
Based on the size, there are three different types of mini-fridges available in the market. They are:
Cube mini-refrigerators are the highest selling mini-refrigerators. One of the main reasons behind it is these types of refrigerators are highly portable because of their shape and size.
The interior space of a cube mini-fridge is around 28 to 59 liters. It weighs about 12 to 15 kg. This tiny fridge comes at an affordable price too.
The cube mini-fridge is great to be used in small offices, dorms, or playrooms. You can simply place it over a counter and use it. Some of them even come with reversible doors so that you can open the fridge from any side.
However, one of the disadvantages of this type of fridge is they are not insulated properly. Hence, they end up consuming more power.
The mid-size mini-refrigerators are larger in size than the cube mini-fridges. Thus, they are more spacious with ideal size. The interior of this type of fridges ranges around 80 liters to 96 liters with an average height of 66 centimeters.
Apart from this, there are more number of shelves and the freezer section is a bit large too. With these dimensions, the mid-size mini-fridges are the perfect choice to be placed in offices, bedrooms, and hotel rooms.
There are a lot of variants available in these types of fridges. Some of the common variants include reversible doors, freezer compartment, and lock feature. Some models even have a thermostat control for regulating the temperature as there is a freezer section too.
Apart from size, the major difference between both types of fridges is mid-size mini-refrigerators are more energy efficient when compared to the cube mini-fridges. They are not that expensive too. The mid-size fridges are compact and easy to move around.
The height of a counter-high mini-fridge is similar to that of a kitchen counter. Thus, it is sometimes also referred to as an under-counter mini-fridge. You can place this fridge under a counter.
Its capacity ranges between 99 liters and 127 liters. The average countertop size of a counter-high mini-fridge is about 90 centimeters.
Some of the reasons behind the popularity of counter-high mini-fridges are double door design, thermostat control, and energy efficiency. Due to the size and weight, these fridges are not very portable and are the most expensive amongst all.
How fast does the food and drinks cool down inside the fridge depend majorly on the technology used. It also gives you an idea of how much energy does the fridge uses. Some commonly used technologies in mini-fridges are as follows:
Compressor mini-fridges use mostly the same technology as used by a regular full-sized refrigerator. It has compressor liquid that vaporizes and passes through all the pipes that are connected to the interior of the fridge. The gas that is present in the vent start absorbing the heat on the inside, make the interior colder.
You can use a compressor mini-fridge in the kitchen, dining hall, office, or bedroom. It consumes low energy and produces lesser noise.
However, they are a bit heavy. Also, the temperature in this type of fridge fluctuates frequently whenever there is a change in the external temperature. Thus, the thermostat should be changed frequently to deal with this temperature fluctuation.
Thermoelectric refrigerators make use of a pump to suck the heat out from inside the fridge and then dispense it out of the fridge. This helps in maintaining a cold temperature inside the fridge. You can even configure the pump to work in the opposite way. This way, you can also keep the food items warm inside the fridge as the pump will transfer the heat from outside to inside.
Thermoelectric mini refrigerators are available at a cheaper price. They are much lighter and portable. They don’t even produce any disturbing noise. The only sound that you will get to hear is that from the fan. However, as the size of the fridge decreases, the amount of noise generated also increases.
One of the disadvantages of thermoelectric mini-fridges is they consume a lot of energy and are not a great choice for long term usage.
4. Variable Door Options:
Mini-fridges are available in variable door options such as single door, double door, and reversible doors.
In a single door mini-fridge, there is only one door from where you can keep all the items, including frozen food items like ice cream in one place only.
In a double door fridge, there are two separate doors where the upper door is for the freezer section and the bottom part is for the fridge section.
In a reversible door mini-fridge, the door can be opened in either direction: from left to right or from right to left. If there is a lack of space, buying a reversible door mini-fridge can be the best option as you can open the door from any side.
5. Adjustable Shelves:
A mini-fridge already has limited space and if it has fixed shelves, it can be even difficult to manage space inside the fridge. Some models of mini-fridges come with adjustable shelves. These shelves offer you the flexibility to adjust the height of a compartment so that you can accommodate all the items properly.
Some models of mini-fridges also feature door-mounted dispensers where you can keep milk bottles or taller soda bottles.
6. Freezer Option:
Some models of mini-fridges have a separate freezer section. Thus, if you plan to store ice cream or other frozen food items in the fridge, you should buy a mini-fridge with a freezer option..
Single door mini refrigerators usually have a smaller freezer compartment inside the main compartment. However, most of these fridges don’t maintain the accurate freezing temperature that is required (especially those powered by thermoelectric systems). Also, the freezer in single door mini refrigerators is generally so small that it is of no practical use.
Double door mini-fridges have a separate freezer section though. You can use it to store frozen items. These models of double door fridges have an in-built thermostat mounted in the interior of the fridge to provide better temperature control when compared to the single door mini-fridges.
7. Energy Efficiency:
Power or energy consumption is another important factor that you should check for before buying any electrical appliance for your home or office. It is always good to buy an energy rated fridge that offers a highly efficient cooling system.
One point that you should note is a smaller mini-fridge consumes more power than a larger mini-fridge.
Insulation is indeed a very important part of any mini-fridge. In case of improper insulation, heat will slowly get inside the fridge.
You should check the doors of the fridge properly. They should provide the best insulation so that the fridge will consume less power.
9. Safety Lock:
There should be a safety lock in any type of fridge so that keep the items inside the fridge safe from children. Sometimes, the kids open the door of the fridge too many times while playing. This can have an impact on the performance of the fridge.
Most of the mini-fridges make certain noise due to various reasons. A mini-fridge from a good brand does not generate much noise unless you are sitting very close to the fridge.
However, if you are using the fridge for a long time, the fridge can start maintaining noise due to uneven placement or lack of maintenance. Thus, while buying the fridge, make sure you check the noise levels in the product specification section.
As mini-fridges are available in a wide variety of sizes, you should buy that is easy to move from one place to the other. You can select lighter models so that you can keep it wherever you want to.
Mini refrigerators come in various colors and finishes such as black, white, stainless steel, and wood grain. Black is perhaps the most commonly bought color as it blends well with the other items at your place. Some users also prefer buying fridges with a metallic finish and stainless look.
You should always decide a budget in your mind before buying any electrical appliance, including the mini-fridge. You should also make a list of features that you are looking for. This will help you in deciding the amount that you are willing to spend.
You should also compare all the models that are available at the dedicated budget and buy the one that suits all your requirements.
Similar to regular refrigerators, mini-fridges from good brands also come with a warranty. There are a few newer brands that don’t offer a warranty period. Instead, they offer a return period. Even though such models come at a cheaper price, you must avoid buying them. You should buy a mini-fridge that comes with a warranty of at least one year.
Some good brands even offer two separate warranties: one on the entire unit and one on the compressor. You can give priority to such brands. The more the warranty period is, the better it is in the long run.
15. Additional Features:
- You can look for an alarm feature that will notify you if you forget to close the door of the fridge.
- A stabilizer-free operation so that the fridge can withstand voltage fluctuations, if any.
- Automatic Defrost Option that will defrost the fridge automatically.
- A good interior light so that it is easy to look for items stored inside the fridge.
- Germ protection gasket to keep the food fresh for a long time.
16. Other Points to Remember:
- Always prefer buying a larger mini-fridge.
- If you like eating frozen stuff quite often, you should buy a double door mini-fridge that has a separate freezer section.
- Check if the interior space is sufficient enough to store the food items.
- Give more preference to models that have glass shelves over the wire racks.
Other Types of Mini-fridges
Some other types of mini-fridges are:
1. Beverage Mini-fridge:
The beverage mini-fridges are used to keep the beverages at the correct temperature so that you serve it chilled. Usually, these types of fridges have a glass panel on the front. They also comprise of multiple racks and shelves so that you can store as many drinks as possible. With the help of a beverage mini-fridge, you can drink a chilled beverage whenever you wish to.
However, unlike a regular mini-fridge, this type of fridge does not have a separate freezer section. Also, the temperature inside the beverage mini-fridge is not suitable for storing food. However, you can look for a model that cools down the beverage and allow you to store the food items for a short period of time. It is better to buy a fridge with solid panels rather than the wire meshes as they are easier to clean, in case of spillage.
2. Wine Mini-fridges:
Similar to beverage mini-fridges, there are separate wine mini-fridges available that come with multiple shelves. These types of fridges are ideal for holding wine bottles. They also have different sections for storing red wine and white wine bottles. You can set a different temperature for different sections in these fridges. This helps in preserving the taste of the wine for a long time.
The wine mini-fridge comes with a tinted front panel to avoid sunlight from passing through the glass to the wine and harm the taste of the wine. Reliable models of wine fridges even offer automatic temperature control feature. It works according to the surrounding temperature and preserves the taste of the wine.
3. Travel Mini-fridges:
Travel mini-fridges offer enough space to keep the food items while you are out on a trip. They are more or less like a picnic basket, but with special cooling abilities. They are convenient and can be carried easily wherever you wish to take it to. With a portable design, these types of fridges come at an affordable price.
However, they consume a lot of power comparatively and are not great for use in the long run. They can be a bit noisy too.
What Are The Benefits Of A Mini Refrigerator?
There are distinct advantages of having a mini-refrigerator at your possession, and they are as follows
- Quick Cooling:-Most of the mini-refrigerators cool quicker than a conventional refrigerator. Therefore, it will stop ice cream from melting even when you have not turned on the fridge beforehand.
- Compact:-Since the refrigerator has a certain limited size, you can put it anywhere in the room. It can fit it at any corner of your house and therefore, it will not take unnecessary space and look awkward if you have small to medium-sized rooms.
- Portable:-Due to compact size and less weight, the mini-refrigerators are highly convenient to move from one place to another. Not just from one room to another, you can take them in the back of your car for select models and take them to your travel destination.
- Less Maintenance:-It is very usual that a mini-refrigerator needs less maintenance than a conventional refrigerator. You can clean it easily in a very short time and therefore, you can expect a mini-refrigerator to last longer than a conventional refrigerator as you are likely to clean it more regularly.
- Specific Purpose:-You can buy a mini-refrigerator specifically to fulfil your requirement. There are some who wants to keep only beverages like cold drink and beer and wine bottles, and for them, there are beverage mini-refrigerators available. Some may want to keep frozen food like ice cream and want to make ice cubes; there are dedicated mini-refrigerators for that purpose only.
Similarly, if you have limited space or budget and you want something similar to a convention refrigerator, there are mini-refrigerators available with freezer and even double door.
Mini Fridge Maintenance Tips
The following tips can help you keep the mini-fridge in good shape so that you can use it for years without any issues:
- Always place the mini-fridge in an upright position. You should never keep it horizontally as it can lead to issues in the interior part of the fridge. However, if there is no other option but to keep it in a horizontal position, make sure that you lay the fridge on its back or tilted for a small time period.
- When you are planning to keep the fridge in an upright position make sure that you wait for at least 24 hours before turning on the plug. This will help the fridge mechanism to re-correct its position to provide proper cooling.
- Keep the fridge away from a direct source of heat or sunlight.
- Make sure that you have kept the fridge on an even surface. Avoid keeping it on an uneven surface or in a titled position.
- When you turn the switch on, keep it medium setting. You can adjust the settings as per the requirements.
- Don’t overload the fridge as it will lead to improper functioning.
- Remove expired or spoilt food items regularly.
- Stack the things inside the fridge in an organized manner so that there is a proper airflow along with even cooling.
- Defrost the fridge regularly.
Tips For Cleaning A Mini Fridge
Here is a detailed cleaning guide of a mini-fridge. First, Always unplug the mini-fridge before cleaning.
- Clean the outer surface with soapy water and then wipe it off with a soft cloth and give it time to dry.
- To clean the inside, you have to remove the trays and wash those trays individually by keeping them dipped inside a soapy water bucket.
- After dipping them for some time, you need to take soft cloth or sponge and wash them thoroughly to remove any stain.
- Then wash them with clean water and soak the water droplets with a dry cloth. Allow them to dry off naturally.
- As for the inside of the fridge, you can wash with vinegar solution or warm water and baking soda solution. You can wash with a soft cloth to remove any stain. Avoid electrical parts completely.
- After washing, absorb the excess water with a dry cloth and let the interior dry overnight with door open.
Frequently Asked Questions
The dimensions of the smallest cube mini-fridge are: 18 ½ inches deep, 20 ½ inches tall, and 17 inches wide.
Like any regular fridge, mini-fridges also perform condensation. But, if you are not careful, the condensation can get leaked. The rate at which frost starts building in a mini-fridge is very quick, making it more likely to leak.
The energy consumption of a mini-fridge varies from model to model. Most models of mini-fridges are energy efficient. Mini-fridges that have star ratings are highly energy efficient.
On an average, a 3-star mini-fridge can consume around 80 watts to 100 watts in a day.
Yes, it is completely safe to keep a mini-fridge over a carpet. If there is a lack of space, you can keep the mini-fridge over the carpet area. However, make sure you clean and maintain it properly.
While some models of mini-fridges have a separate freezer compartment, some don’t have it. It depends on the model that you are buying.
Most models of the mini-fridges are too small to have a separate freezer compartment. The interior system is so simple that makes it a bit difficult to incorporate a separate segment for the freezer.
Yes. When compared to regular refrigerators, mini-fridges consume more electricity. However, in most of the houses, there is no need for buying two regular refrigerators as they are not even portable.
Even though mini-fridges are very convenient, they are not energy efficient.
Unlike most of the other electronic devices, you don’t have to turn off the fridge regularly. Fridges are designed in a way so that they can be used constantly. If you are planning to go somewhere for a month or so, you should turn off the fridge. But, if you are going out for a few days, you can keep the fridge on. This applies to both regular refrigerators and mini refrigerators.
The most popular mini-refrigerator brands are LG, Samsung, Whirlpool, Godrej, Haier, and Bosch.
There could be various reasons for which your mini-fridge may not be cooling as expected. The most common reason is the clogged coil. If you can clean it, you should do it regularly. If not, opt for a maintenance service.
Yes, even if you do the monthly maintenance yourself, your mini-fridge requires a professional annual maintenance service! This is to extend its lifespan as well as to ensure peak performance.
On average, a mini-refrigerator can last 14-17 years. However, it totally depends on your usage and maintenance. Depending on those, it can last 10 years or even 20 years.
Ideally speaking, you should not keep a fridge in your bedroom. It does make some noise, and it has the capability to heat up the bedroom air for a couple of degrees.
With a budget of around 10000 INR, you will be able to buy a conventional mini refrigerator from the popular brands in India.
With a double door mini refrigerator, you will have separate compartments where you can keep items to get frozen. You can keep the usual items to keep them cool at a certain temperature. Therefore, it is more versatile in application than a usual single door mini-refrigerator.