Refrigerator Vs Mini-Fridge: Appliance Comparison Guide

by Sid Wilson | Published On

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Refrigerators are a common household appliance, but mini-fridges are now being used in an increasing number of homes and offices, and both can cool and preserve food and beverages.

Mini-fridges are all the rage these days and are found in offices and modern homes, but refrigerators have been a mainstay in traditional homes for many years.

They keep your beverages and food items fresh and cool, but the space they take up is what matters most. This article will provide you with a general idea to help you decide between a refrigerator and a mini fridge based on your needs.

Refrigerator vs mini-fridge

What Are The Main Differences Between A Refrigerator And A Mini Fridge?


  • Size

    Size is the main and most noticeable difference between a refrigerator and a mini fridge. Mini-fridges are designed to fit perfectly in small spaces and can be useful for dormitories, offices, hotels, and small kitchens. Ideally, the size of a mini fridge is about 31 to 36 inches in height, 19 to 24 inches in width, and 19 to 26 inches in depth.

    A refrigerator, on the other hand, is large and spacious. A standard refrigerator’s size ranges from around 62 to 72 inches in height, 24 to 40 inches in width, and 29 to 36 inches in depth. They are mostly used in commercial kitchens and restaurants for commercial purposes.

  • Functionality

    A refrigerator has both a freezer compartment and a fridge compartment; it has more space than a mini-fridge. Mini-fridges are higher, but they cannot keep frozen stuff in them and are used to cool beverages and smaller items.

What Is A Refrigerator?

A refrigerator is a big residential kitchen appliance that keeps food and beverages cold and frozen as well. In the fridge compartment, you can keep perishable foods, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and cooked leftovers.

The freezer compartment can keep frozen items such as ice cream, frozen meat, fruits, and vegetables. Refrigerators have huge storage and it is a powerful devices as they can get cold pretty fast.

What Is A Mini-Fridge?

A mini-fridge has small compartments and is ideal for storing small items like beverages. It is also known as a portable or compact fridge. It can fit in small places, unlike a refrigerator. Mini-fridges are built to store a limited amount of items such as snacks, beverages, water, some fruits, and vegetables.

They are a perfect purchase for people who have limited storage space. There are some mini-fridge models available on the market that have more storage space, but all of them do not come with freezer compartments.

What Are The Advantages Of A Refrigerator Over A Mini Fridge?

A refrigerator, when compared to a mini-fridge, is more versatile, offers large storage space, and has a robust and stable temperature. Other advantages include:

  • Versatile

    Most food items can be stored in a refrigerator; there is no issue with space. Compared to a mini-fridge, a refrigerator is more versatile in the aspect of storing different types of items. In a mini-fridge, you can only store a limited amount of items due to a lack of space.

    A refrigerator is a multi-purpose cooling appliance with 2 in 1 fridge and a freezer cooling compartment that serves different purposes for cooling and freezing items, respectively. The mini-fridge can only keep the items cool, and it does not have a freezer.

  • Powerful Appliance

    A standard refrigerator unlike a mini fridge which uses 50 to 8o watts, uses between 300 to 800 watts of power which makes them powerful enough to keep items preserved for a long time even if there is temperature fluctuation.

    Frozen meat, such as meat and poultry, can be stored for about 30 days in a refrigerator, whereas, in a mini fridge, it can only be stored for about 3 to 4 days. A mini fridge is not powerful enough to endure temperature fluctuations, unlike a refrigerator.

  • Longer lasting

    Compared to a mini-fridge and other kitchen appliances, a refrigerator has a longer life expectancy of about 10–13 years, while a mini-fridge is not expected to last for more than 5 years.

What Are The Advantages Of A Mini Fridge Over A Refrigerator?

A mini-fridge when compared to a refrigerator is that it saves more space, affordability, portability, saves more energy-

  • Saves More Space

    Mini-fridges are small in size so that they can be used anywhere and everywhere. They are mostly used in dormitory rooms, hotels, and offices and can hold some snacks and beverages; they can also be fitted under the counter in a small kitchen.

  • Affordable

    Most of the mini fridges cost less than $50 per year for maintenance. Compared to a standard refrigerator, a mini-fridge is way cheaper in price as well as in maintaining its condition.

  • Portability

    A mini-fridge is a great purchase for a small room or a dorm room. It will be pointless and expensive to buy a refrigerator; a mini-fridge will be more useful for storing limited items. You can take your mini-fridge on family trips and enjoy cool drinks along the way.

  • Saves Energy

    Compared to standard refrigerators, a mini-fridge uses less energy. It is because they are small and lose less cool air when opened.

Which One is More Usable In The Kitchen between A Refrigerator and A Mini Fridge?

Since refrigerators have freezer and fridge compartments, they can store a huge variety of items—more than a mini-fridge could.

A refrigerator is more commonly used in a kitchen than a mini-fridge, as it can preserve perishable and meat products for a longer period and have more shelves, racks, and compartments for better organization. A mini-fridge can store some snacks and drinks and is ideal for rooms with limited space.

What Foods Can You Store In A Refrigerator?

You can store leftovers but make sure to consume them within 2 to 3 days these items are listed below-

  • Poultry
  • Meat
  • Cake
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Dairy products

Avoid storing the following items in your refrigerator-

  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Bananas
  • Potatoes

What Foods Can You Store In A Mini Fridge?

Since mini-fridges are not as versatile so, here is a list of items you could store in them-

  • Red And White Wine
  • Almonds And Cashews
  • Bread
  • Water
  • Yogurt
  • Milk And Juice
  • Pasta And Noodles
  • Pizza Leftovers
  • Cheese And Butter
  • Fizzy Drinks
  • Eggs
  • Fruits
  • Dessert

Can A Refrigerator And A Mini Fridge Be Paired Together In A Kitchen?

A refrigerator and a mini fridge can be paired together in a kitchen, where you can store perishable and prepared food items in a refrigerator and canned drinks, and beverages in a mini-fridge.

What Type Of Fridge Should You Get?

There are many types available in the market, such as a top-freezer, side-by-side, and French door models.

A top freezer: It is the most common among all. It is the least expensive and they consist of a small freezer section above.

Bottom freezer: It is more spacious than a top freezer and offers more space in the freezer section. Side-by-side models are ideal for narrow kitchens as they have 2 small doors. This model provides equal space for both freezer and fridge compartments.

French door models: They are the most expensive one as it is a side-by-side and a bottom freezer combined. Always consider the size, portability, and technology of the fridge before buying.

What Fridge Size Will Fit Your Kitchen?

A refrigerator would be a fantastic choice for you if you have adequate space and use a range of cooking ingredients, but a mini fridge would be great if your kitchen is small and you have limited space.

How Much Should I Spend On A Fridge?

Keep in mind the budget you have set up for a refrigerator; if you don’t want to spend more, a mini-fridge is a decent alternative for you, but keep in mind that it has limited storage capacity and lacks a freezer section.

Frequently Asked Questions/FAQs

A good temperature to keep your food fresh for a longer period of time is between -1 to 4 ° C. If the internal temperature is higher than 4 °C it will risk the shelf life of the food and eventually lead to food spoilage.

Check the direction in which the door opens or they have to be specially ordered before buying a refrigerator. Some refrigerators have the option to change the side of the door easily.

Yes, most full-size standard refrigerators have automatic defrost functions. A mini or compact fridge does not come with an automatic defrost function. Automatic defrost refrigerators have interior coils which are heated at regular intervals to prevent frost buildup. Manual defrost models do not use much energy as they do not come with heating coils, and manual defrost models save more money compared to automatic ones.

Most mini fridges can reach temperatures as low as -1 °C.

Mini fridges are advised to be kept at 2 to 3 inches of free space on the side and the back of the compact fridge for it to work properly. Appliances that do not have enough ventilation can overheat and stop working.

Most mini-fridges can last for about 8 years. The life expectancy is mostly dependent on the brand, model, and whether it is properly ventilated.


While both refrigerators and mini-fridges have advantages of their own, there are a few things to keep in mind before making a purchase.

The most crucial factor to check is how much you’re willing to spend on this kitchen equipment. A tiny fridge can be the best option for you if you’re looking for something more reasonably priced.

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Sid Wilson

Being a father, a golf lover, and an engineer by profession are the things that define Sid Wilson. He spends most of his time in his garage building and experimenting with stuff. Unscrewing things and then screwing them up is his favorite hobby. Doing these things in his garage has made him what, he is today.

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