If you own a small, fun fridge, chances are you’re keen to know how long mini fridges last? We’ll be covering that and more in this extensive review as we dive into the key facts you need to know if you own or plan to buy a mini fridge and the things you can do to prolong its lifespan.

Whether you’re buying a mini fridge or already have one and are wondering if it’s on its last legs, this article is for you!


How long do mini fridges last?

How Long Does a Mini Fridge Last?

A standard mini fridge has an average lifespan of about 10 years. More specifically, mini fridges will last a minimum of 6 years and a maximum of 14 years. Of course, where yours ends up on this spectrum will differ based on the efficiency of the fridge compressor and the quality of the materials used.

It all depends on the brand, size, and type of mini fridge you purchase. In addition, it matters how you use and maintain it during its lifetime. The lifespan of your mini fridge will significantly differ depending on all these factors.

Related: How Many Watts Does a Mini Fridge Use (with Wattage Calculator)


What is a mini fridge?

What's a mini fridge?

A mini fridge is a small compact refrigerator typically used in one-man apartment units or as an additional fridge in a family household. These types of fridges are great for storing things like drinks and snacks. In addition, the compact nature of this refrigerator type makes it highly convenient to station anywhere in your home.

Mini fridges function the same way as regular-sized fridges but are far easier to move around. 

The other significant feature of mini fridges is that they cool drinks and foods much faster than full-size refrigerators due to their smaller, more intimate size. The mini fridge is a fantastic choice for hosting house parties and other gatherings.

As you’d expect, mini-fridges are also far more affordable than their full-size counterpart. This makes them an excellent investment for families on a budget, college kids’ dorm rooms, or one-person units.

Related: How long does it take a refrigerator to get cold?


Signs that your mini fridge is failing

sign your mini fridge is broken

As the lifespan of a mini fridge can vary greatly, it’s essential to be aware of the warning signs that indicate it’s on the verge of failure.

One major sign is excessive condensation on the inside of the fridge. This can be caused by a damaged gasket seal that prevents the fridge from cooling properly.

Another indication is an overheating motor, which can be felt as heat on the sides or back of the fridge. For example, a failed evaporator fan motor may cause it.

Conversely, if the interior of the fridge becomes too cold, it can result in the formation of small icebergs. This is often a sign that the thermostat is not functioning correctly. Additionally, water on the floor near the fridge may result from drain condensation and moisture failure, indicating a compressor malfunctioning correctly.

It’s important to note that these signs of failure often occur in conjunction with one another. For example, an overheating motor can lead to excessive condensation, resulting in a wet floor and spoiled food. If you notice any of these warning signs, other issues are likely present, and it’s time to consider purchasing a new mini fridge.


How to extend your mini fridge’s lifespan


Simple Maintenance Tips

How to fix a broken mini fridge

Fortunately, there are many ways you can extend the lifespan of your mini fridge. Many can be done on your own, while others can be done through a professional appliance technician. Proper maintenance of your mini fridge will do wonders for its longevity, and it can be as simple as adjusting the temperature settings in line with the current climate.

For instance, you should keep the cooling settings low during cold winter and put them on high during hot summer. Another simple fix you can apply is ensuring your fridge is level. That is, it’s not leaning on one side or the other.

This can be crucial in ensuring the door is closed correctly, and the motor is not working overtime. Otherwise, the mini fridge overheats. Therefore, keeping the motor cool is essential. You should also keep mini refrigerators out of direct contact with walls so they have plenty of space and air circulation to operate optimally (1).

On that note, it also helps always to have your fridge filled with items. Too much free space in the fridge will require the motor to work harder to keep the whole thing cool.

At the very least, in the mini bar fridge, you should keep a stash of drinks such as water bottles and sodas (or anything else with a long lifespan). This is so that the motor and condenser fan doesn’t need to work too hard.

Furthermore, cool items can keep each other cool through contact and their own cold aura, once again taking some pressure off the condenser fan motor.


Advanced Maintenance Tips

how to extend your mini fridge's lifespan

One more intricate way to extend your fridge’s lifespan is by cleaning the coils of all dust and debris that builds up over time. This should be done at least once a year, if not more. You should also clean the extension cable once in a while and ensure there are no clogged coils (2).

You may also want to consider eliminating the extension cord. That is, only using the primary cable of the mini fridge and not involving other weaker cables that can overheat and melt. Then, diving even deeper into your mini fridge’s mechanics, you can try cleaning the compressor and the condenser fan motor and coils.

This can help your mini fridge last longer while improving its overall performance and average cooling time. In some situations, you can opt for professional help. However, this could result in the mini-fridge repair cost equalling or surpassing new mini fridge costs based on the severity of the issue.


Why you may want to get a new mini fridge?

when to get a new mini fridge?

Regardless of the issues present with your mini fridge, there are many reasons you should consider purchasing a new mini fridge. Suppose your mini fridge is older than 10 years. In that case, there is a good chance that modern technology has evolved to make mini and compact fridges more energy efficient, allowing you to save on electricity bills.

There are also more varieties and styles of mini fridges on the market now, some of which are even more compact and come with an interior light and reversible door.

Nowadays, there are also many cheaper models of mini fridges on offer. In addition, most fridges come with a sealed system that ensures the door is closed and the fridge’s contents are in an airtight cool environment.

A good mini fridge lasts at least 10 years and performs exceptionally well for your cooling needs. So, don’t settle for poor cooling and keep your food cold by buying the best mini fridge you can find (within your budget of course).


Final thoughts on mini fridges

mini fridges how to use

On a final note, owning a mini fridge can be one of the most joyous household appliances to have in your home. The sheer convenience of compact refrigerators is simply unmatched. From household parties to minimalist lifestyles, uses are abundant for a mini fridge. Moreover, your fun-sized refrigerator can last well over a decade with regular maintenance.

As you will find, when compared to standard fridges, the cooling time varies drastically with mini-fridges. You can enjoy a more energy-efficient method of keeping those drinks and snacks cool.


How long do mini fridges last FAQ


How do you know your fridge is dying?

Some of the clear signs that your fridge is dying are related to its temperature. That is, your fridge may be overheating and producing excess moisture or the temperature settings are not working, and hence you may experience icebergs despite being on the lowest setting.

Other signs that your fridge is on its last legs include loud noises and a rattling or buzzing sound that indicates the motor is working much harder than it should to produce cool air.


Do mini fridges need maintenance?

Mini fridges need regular maintenance to enhance their performance and sustain their lifespan of roughly 10 years of operational use. Maintenance tasks can be as small as leveling the fridge properly to more complex fixes. Some complex issues include cleaning out the evaporator coils or eliminating the mediator extension cable from the equation.


Can a mini fridge run 24/7?

Yes, like a standard refrigerator, a mini fridge can run 24 hours a day 7 days a week without needing to be turned off, and this is why fridges generally do not last more than two decades. As such, it is essential to take care of your mini fridge so that it does not overheat and break down before its time.


How long does a portable fridge last?

A portable fridge differs from a mini fridge in that it is battery-operated and is designed for outdoor activities such as picnics, parties, and sporting events. These fridges can last up to about 50 hours before recharging the battery is necessary, making them a great tool for camping trips too.


Do mini fridges leak when unplugged?

Yes, when you unplug your mini fridge, the excess ice in the freezer section will begin to melt. The water will start to leak out through your fridge doors and onto the floor.

questions about mini fridge

(1) – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/improving-ventilation-home.html
(2) – https://www.cpsc.gov/Business–Manufacturing/Business-Education/Business-Guidance/Household-Electrical-Products/Extension-Cords

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