A portable mini-fridge is the 21st-century alternative to picnic coolers and Thermos bottles. A small, five-pound box with the shape of a normal-sized refrigerator, a portable mini-fridge has both advantages and disadvantages.
A mini-portable fridge is a smaller, sleeker version of the traditional picnic cooler. The portable mini-fridge allows for less mess, as no ice packs are needed, and the fridge can be plugged into a car’s 12-volt power outlet. With dimensions as small as 7-by-9-by-9 inches, a mini-fridge is usually less than five pounds in weight and comes with an easy-to-transport handle. Many models have a refrigerator-like handle as well.
There are three main disadvantages to a portable mini-fridge. The first is space. A portable mini-fridge has enough space for six wide-neck baby bottles, but cannot hold a 2-liter bottle of soda.
Unlike stationary mini-fridges that usually have small freezer sections, portable mini-fridges do not have the capacity to keep items frozen. Any frozen food or liquid will eventually thaw if kept in a portable mini-fridge for more than one hour. Frozen items require a temperature of -17.8 degrees C or less. Portable mini-fridges do not get colder than 5.56 degrees Celsius.
While most portable mini-fridges claim to have a temperature of 5.56 to 7.22 degrees Celsius, this temperature is still five to six degrees higher than a regular fridge, making them not as cold as they should be. Depending on the brand, a portable mini-fridge is designed to stay cold for six to eight hours. During that time the fridge will begin to warm up. The temperature change could lead to spoiled food and beverages. Mini-fridges are not good for long-term storage.
A portable mini-fridge can be expensive. Ranging in price from £26 to £58, according to Amazon.com, some brands are over £65. The Bebe Sound Bebe-MF104 Portable Mini-Fridge, one of the more popular brands, is currently listed at £31.10. Considering that a mini-fridge is something that you may only use occasionally, spending close to £32 or more may not be worth the investment.