Mini fridges are often a good company for your long trips to keep your drinks cool for you. But due to its convenience in use these are now being used in homes and workplaces too. The less space occupying version of fridges with the same efficiency is the reason behind its increased popularity among the hotels and offices.
During your stay in a hotel or a cruise they provide you with a mini fridge for your convenience. Usually, they provide a mini fridge with drinks and food and charge according to your use, but sometimes they provide it without any items just for your personal use, that is to store your accommodations. As a customary the hotels stack their mini fridges with alcohols, beverages, fruits, candies, sweets, etc. and charge you at the time of your check out on the basis of your usage.
Now the question might arise in your mind as to
“What is a mini fridge and what do it do?”
The main purpose of fridges is to keep food cold and help it keep fresh for a longer period of time. The basic idea behind the fridge is to slow the activity of bacteria to keep the food fresh. As mentioned above its sole purpose is less space occupying and lesser energy requiring replacement of refrigerators in workplaces, bedrooms, and camping vans.
It’s impossible to go on an adventurous road trip to a far away deserted place without food and drinks and it’s impossible to take a whole fridge fitting it inside a van. So instead, you can take a mini fridge which requires less space to fit in and the best part is it can run efficiently on the car’s or van’s battery or solar batteries. You can also shut off the mini fridge from time to time to prevent the battery drainage.
So now we have an idea as to what the mini fridge is. Another question arises as to “what a mini fridge consists of and how does it function?”
First of all, starting with the question as to what a mini fridge consists of. So basically, a mini fridge has five parts. That is
- A compressor
- Heat exchanging pipes (serpentine or coiled set of pipes outside the unit)
- Expansion valve
- Heat exchanging pipes (serpentine or coiled pipes inside the unit)
- A refrigerant (liquid that evaporates inside the refrigerator to create the cold temperatures)
For a better understanding here is a picture of the parts of the refrigerator.
Now moving on to answering the question as to how the fridge works, the fridge works in a continuous cycle to keep the internal environment cool to keep the foods fresh. For understanding the working of the fridge, we will assume that the refrigerant which is being used is pure ammonia which boils at -27 degrees F. The working of the fridge is as below.
- The compressor compresses the ammonia gas. The compressed gas heats up when it is pressurized (suggested in diagram by orange colour)
- The coils on the back of the refrigerator let the hot ammonia gas evaporate its heat. The ammonia gas condenses into ammonia liquid (suggested by dark blue colour) at high heat.
- The high-pressure ammonia liquid flows through the expansion valve. Considering the expansion valve as a small hole. On one side of the hole is high pressure ammonia liquid. On the other side of the hole is a low-pressure area (because the compressor is taking gas out of that side).
- The liquid ammonia immediately boils and evaporates (suggested by light blue colour), making its temperature dropping to -27-degree F. This makes the inside of the refrigerator cold.
- The cold gas is sucked up by the compressor completing the cycle. The processes get repeated to keep the fridge running.
CFC-12 (dichlorofluoromethane) a gas having similar boiling point as ammonia is used as a refrigerant. As it is not toxic to people like pure ammonia, so it is safe to use CFC-12 in the kitchen. In many industrial refrigerators pure ammonia is still being used which can be a threat to the human kind. In the 1970s it was discovered that the CFCs are causing damage in the ozone hole which is causing depletion in it. So as per the new rule in 1990 the CFCs being used as refrigerants are less harmful to the ozone layer.
Now after knowing about the parts and working of the mini fridge now it’s time to know the variants of the mini fridges that is, “what are the types of mini fridges available in the market and how are they different from each other?”
First of all, starting with the type of mini fridges available in the market based upon the technologies. So, there are three types of mini fridges available.
- Thermoelectric mini fridges
- Compressor mini fridges
- Absorption mini fridges
1.Thermoelectric mini fridges
As the name suggests the thermoelectric mini fridges rely on electricity for cooling. The thermoelectric mini fridges work on the basis of Peltier effect. The Peltier effect explains the incidents that happen when an electric current flows through two different types of conductors for example different types of metals like zinc, copper, bismuth telluride (a thermoelectric material).
The thermoelectric cooling(TEC) is also known as solid state cooling, because there is no liquid refrigerant running through the machine. Instead, solid metal is used to transfer thermal energy.
The thermoelectric mini fridge is a better option than the compressor mini fridge because the Peltier coolers work best in small places so it needs a smaller area than the compressor based mini fridge. It also gives the same efficiency using less electricity than compressor based mini fridges. Thermoelectric cooling allows for every fine temperature to control to within 0.1 degree under specific conditions.
The thermoelectric mini fridges are also a good option than the compressor mini fridges as these don’t use refrigerant like: chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) which are harmful from the environmental standpoint. The refrigerant may damage the ozone if there is a leakage in the faulty machine. The thermoelectric mini fridges work on electricity which is less harmful to the environment.
Lastly the thermoelectric cooling is less noisy than the compressor mini fridge. Because the compressor mini fridge vibrates and makes quite loud noises when running. The thermoelectric mini fridge on the other hand makes no noise or least noise depending upon the presence of a fan inside to improve air circulation.
2. Compressor Mini Fridge
As we have discussed in the working of mini fridge we have taken the example of compressor mini fridge. If you check that you can understand about the compressor mini fridge.
3. Absorption Mini Fridge
Absorption mini fridges rely on the gas flow exchange system rather than electric source. That’s why it can run for an extended period of time because they rely on gas flow exchange. Because of that there is no need for additional money on batteries and charging systems like solar panels to run. The heat exchange system of cooling means the absorption mini fridge runs completely silent.
Due to the gas flow exchange system, the absorption mini fridge should remain at the same level in order to function efficiently. The absorption mini fridge runs mostly on gas, so it requires a good ventilation and free space to run. Absorption mini fridges can drain power faster than the compressor mini fridge. As the absorption mini fridge tends to be more affected more heavily by ambient temperatures, the absorption mini fridges are usually only able to bring down the internal temperatures to certain degree below the ambient temperature rather than keeping the temperature specifically constant like compressor mini fridges.
Now based on the size there are four types of mini fridges available. which are: –
1. Portable mini fridge (12V refrigerators)
2. Cube sized mini fridge
3. Mid-sized mini fridge
4. Under the counter mini fridge
1. Portable Mini Fridge (12V refrigerator)
As the name of the mini fridge suggests the portable mini fridges are easy to move so the main feature of the mini fridge is easy portability. The portable mini fridges are very small in size and very limited in space. As the other name of the fridge suggests the portable mini fridge consume energy of about 12V which makes it a perfect option for travel needs. Due to its size it’s favourable for long trips, student dorm rooms and small offices.
Majority of the portable refrigerators use thermoelectric technology for working purposes which provide cooling and heating.
2. Cube Sized Mini Fridge
The cube sized mini fridge is small in size but relatively larger than the portable mini fridge. The cube sized mini fridges are not portable so moving it requires human force. The dimension of the mini fridges are like this (Width x Depth x Height) 17 x 18 x 19 inches. Due to its small difference in width and height it looks like a cube. The cube sized mini fridge has more space than the portable mini fridge, these also consume more energy than the portable mini fridge.
Though you can store drinks, water and food items in the cube sized mini fridge but you can’t store the frozen food in it as it does not come with a refrigerating facility. But with the development in technologies some companies are now providing built in refrigerators with it. These mini fridges have compressor and absorption technology. But there are a few models which come with absorption technology which makes less noise and consumes less energy. These are highly suitable for camping, truckers, hotel rooms, bedrooms, and offices.
3. Mid Sized Mini Fridge
These are larger than the cube sized mini fridges but have similar function to it. This consumes more energy than the cube sized mini fridge. The height in this style is more than the width. The mid sized mini fridge uses compressor technology for working. It comes with a number of shelves and a freezer compartment, So it can store frozen foods also. But the presence of the freezer in the mid sized mini fridges requires higher electricity to work than the cube sized mini fridge.
In this type of mini fridge there is an option available for a double door. The double door sized mini fridge comes with two sections, one section is used for freezing and the other section is used for chilling. The best option for the double door mid sized fridge is the one which comes with a stand alone compartment for freezing.
4. Under The Counter Mini Fridge
The under the counter mini fridge comes with a high storage capacity like a mid sized mini fridge. The under the counter mini fridge a choice for people who
have mini bars in their home or pubs. There are different types of under the counter mini fridge like there are mini beverage coolers and wine coolers. So before buying the under the counter mini fridge you must know what kind of beverage you want to store.
So now coming to the point for which we are here the list of 6 best mini fridges for you:-
#1. Canyel Mini fridges
- The canyel mini fridges cooler and warmer is a good option for storing cosmetics & skincare, breast milk, and medication.
- The canyel mini fridges have stylish design to be compatible well with your interior.
- Made from strong and durable food grade durable materials.
- It has a thermoelectric system which allows it to act as both cooler and warmer.
- It’s portable so can be easily carried around and ideal for camping and travelling purposes.
- It requires 12V electricity to run
- It is 100% freon free so eco friendly.
- Dimensions: 7.16″ L x 6.69″ W x 10.9 ” H
- Comes with 1 year of warranty period.
- It weighs 9.33 pounds.
- Requires additional manual timer to be installed.
Link to amazon:- https://www.amazon.com/CAYNEL-Mini-Fridge-White-10L/dp/B07ZNKMMDR
- It uses thermoelectric technology to work on.
- The dimension is: 5.5”L x 5.3” W x 8.07”H.
- It weighs 4.65 pounds.
- It has removable shelves for extra space
- It can store breast milk, skin care, medication, food and beverages.
- Good option for travel purposes.
- Freon free so eco friendly.
- Three years of warranty.
- It runs on a car battery, so requires the vehicle’s engine to be constantly on. So it drains out the battery.
- It works on thermoelectric technology.
- It can store cosmetics, medicines, insulin, breast milk, foods, drinks and breast milks.
- The dimension is:- is 5.32”L x 5.52”W x 7.88”H
- It weighs 4.84 pounds.
- Easy to transport so a great choice for travelling, dorm rooms, offices.
- 100% freon free so eco friendly.
- ETL certified.
- It runs on a car charger so it drains out the car battery.
- It works on thermoelectric technology.
- It has mirror and LED design specially designed for makeup.
- It can store cosmetics, skincares.
- It can run on the home outlets and car batteries.
- 100% freon free so eco friendly.
- It’s dimensions are 10.23”L x 7.87”W x 11.41”H
- It weighs 6.04 pounds.
- Specifically designed for storing make up.
- It has only one temperature favourable for storing make up so other things can’t be stored.
- It doesn’t have an air sealed door so the water can leak when coming in contact with the external atmosphere.
- It is a lightweight and compact machine.
- It works on thermoelectric technology.
- To maximize the storage capacity it has internal partitions and additional baskets.
- The dimensions are:- 9.6’’L×11.4’’W×13.4’’H.
- It weighs 9.68 pounds.
- It can store cosmetics, food and drinks.
- It is not advisable to store medicines here as it doesn’t go to an absolute temperature.
Link for amazon:- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JQLFW61
- It works on dual thermoelectric technology.
- It is portable.
- Protect and extend the shelf life of foods, cosmetics, beverages and medicines.
- Stylish and luxurious design
- Eco friendly.
- ETL Certified.
- The dimensions are:- 10.6”W x 8.3”L x12.2”H
- It weighs 5lbs.
- It drains energy of the car batteries when connected to it for running.