Refrigerators come in various shapes and sizes. Each type of refrigerator offers a different level of convenience and provides users with varying space and features, but the purpose of using a refrigerator is the same; keep your food fresh and serve you chilled beverages all the time.
One particular type of refrigerator, mini-fridge (mini-refrigerator), has gained immense popularity in the last decade. Its usage has increased over time because of its compact size and ability to serve as a secondary dishwasher for big homes and primary for small families. It is also a great machine for garages, bedrooms, dorms, offices, and shops. Many people use a mini-fridge as a bar-fridge to keep the beverages chilled. Mini-fridges are also available for outdoor use. These fridges run on car outlets and have the ability to keep food fresh and beverages chilled for hours without power.
Many people ask one common question before buying a mini-fridge: how much does a mini-fridge cost, and is it worth it? How much do you have to pay to buy a mini-fridge and what is its operational cost, and how does it compare with a standard-sized fridge?
If you are one of those people who are considering buying a mini-fridge and want to know about its initial cost and operational cost, you are at the right place.
Today we will discuss everything you need to know about mini-fridge costing.
How much does a Mini-Fridge Cost?
The initial cost for a mini-fridge varies from $200 to $1000. The size (capacity) of the fridge, materials, construction, door design and material, brand worth, usage, and overall look contributes to the increase/decrease in the price.
Go through the points below to understand how price varies from one model to another
- Mini-fridges with one metallic door and a 3-5 cubic feet capacity will set you up for $200-$300. Two-door fridges with separate fridges and freezer compartments are usually $30-$50 costly.
- Glass door fridges with the same capacity (3-5 cubic feet) cost around $500-$700, including single and double-door models.
- Retro mini-fridges, characterized by sharp colored metallic exteriors and flashy chrome handles, are around 50 bucks expensive than a fridge with a plain door.
- Wine coolers, also included in the mini-fridge category, can cost as much as $800. Some of these machines come at around $400-$500 with less capacity and mechanical thermostats.
- Mini-fridges with digital thermostats are usually costly than models with mechanical thermostats.
- Portable mini-refrigerators cost around $50-$500. The price varies based on capacity, material, and for how long the machine keeps the beverages and food chilled without power.
- Freezers are also available in small sizes. A mini-freezer may cost you around $100-$400, depending on its size and materials.
The best thing about a mini-freezer is its running costs. Most mini-refrigerators cost less than $50 to run. Moreover, if you get a good one with Energy Star certification, you look at a $20-$30 yearly operational cost. It is even less than 2 large beer packs. What else do you need from a mini-fridge?
Examples of Operational Cost for Various Mini-Fridges
Midea 3.1 Cu. Ft. Compact Refrigerator, WHD-113FSS1
Annual Energy Consumption: 270 kWh
Estimated Yearly Energy Cost: $32
Frigidaire Retro Bar Fridge Refrigerator
Annual Energy Consumption: 219 kWh
Estimated Yearly Energy Cost: $26
RCA 3.2 Cubic Foot 2 Door Fridge and Freezer
Annual Energy Consumption: 358 kWh
Estimated Yearly Energy Cost: $43
BLACK+DECKER BCRK17W Refrigerator
Annual Energy Consumption: 201 kWh
Estimated Yearly Energy Cost: $24
Galanz 3.1 Cu Ft Retro Dual Door Refrigerator
Annual Energy Consumption: 357 kWh
Estimated Yearly Energy Cost: $42
Frigidaire EFR376-MOONBM Retro Bar Fridge Refrigerator
Annual Energy Consumption: 219 kWh
Estimated Yearly Energy Cost: $26
Factors Affecting Running Cost
The cost of running a mini-fridge or any fridge depends on various factors such as size, energy-star rating, placement, and temperature settings. Let’s check out these factors and learn how to control them to keep the operational cost in check.
Energy Star Rating
You should never buy an appliance without an energy star rating. Whether you are buying a refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave oven, or any appliance that runs on electricity, look for energy star ratings. These appliances have the latest technologies that make them energy-friendly and help you reduce your electricity bills. Even a mini-refrigerator with an energy star rating will save you around 20-30 bucks annually.
The larger the appliance, the more it costs to run it. Mini fridges usually have a capacity of 3-5 cubic feet. You must consider the purpose for which you need a mini-fridge and then buy one accordingly. It won’t make much difference, but it is a good practice to make purpose-oriented purchase decisions.
The area of installation also affects the running cost. Manufacturers recommend not placing fridges and especially mini-fridges near a heat source such as stove or oven. Moreover, you must leave the recommended space (at least 6 inches) on all sides of your machine. Fridges placed in crowded spaces have to work rigorously to keep the items inside cold.
The temperature on which your machine operates will also make a difference in how much you will pay for it. FDA recommends running refrigerators at 40°F or below but not below 32°F because things start to freeze below this temperature. The temperature for the freezer must be set to 0°F.
However, you can tweak the settings according to weather and load to control running costs.
Read More: What Temperature Should a Refrigerator Be?
An overloaded or empty fridge is bad for your machine and doesn’t contribute much to saving you some money. Your fridge must run at 70-80% capacity to let the compressor work optimally.
How you use your machine also impacts how much you pay for it in your monthly bills. If you open the door frequently without need, the compressor will have to work more to keep the internal temperature constant.
Keep your machine neat and clean to get the best performance from it. You must immediately wipe off any spills, remove any rotting food and clean it at least monthly to ensure proper working. Go through your machine’s user manual to get authentic knowledge about your fridge’s maintenance needs.
Rubber seals around the door of your fridge stop the cooling inside from escaping. Any damages or tears can lead to cold air escaping and warm air entering the machine. As a consequence, the compressor will put in more effort to reach and maintain the pre-set temperature, resulting in higher operational costs.
Don’t place Hot Foods
We all know that placing hot foods and pans in your fridge is not a good idea. But how is it related to the running cost of your machine? When you put something boiling or very hot in the refrigerator, the internal temperature drops, and steam is formed. The sensors in the refrigerator judge a sharp temperature drop, and the compressor starts running at full power.
It then takes a few hours for the machine to cool down the hot food inside. During that period, the fridge consumes more power than it would normally do. A fast temperature drop also allows bacteria to grow rapidly, leading to stored food rotting earlier than expected.
Now that you know how much a mini-refrigerator costs (initial and running), it will be easier to decide to buy one. A mini-fridge is a great and pocket-friendly appliance and lasts for 6-8 years without creating any problems.