Mini Fridge Comparison
With the emergence of new technologies, the range of small cooling products has increased dramatically over the last few years, to such an extent that choosing between the different types is a little daunting to say the least.
Help is at hand however, with our unbiased comparison of the products we offer. We discuss each range in turn and give information on the applications they are suitable, or not suitable for, and the reasons why.
To view further product information on a range, just click on the appropriate image.
A Special Note about the Storage of Medication
We are frequently asked about the refrigerated storage of medication, and this is understandable, as mini fridges are very attractive for this purpose.
We do not, however, have any qualifications in this area, and are therefore unable to offer advice on this subject. If you are unclear about the storage requirements for your medication, you should speak to your Pharmacist.
We do not sell any of our products for medical purposes. If you decide to store medicine inside a mini fridge of any type, we recommend that you use a max-min thermometer to ensure that the refrigerated compartment has remained within the recommended temperature range of the medication.
With capacities from 5 to 15 litres, these are excellent Mini Fridges for general use and drinks storage. Using thermoelectric technology, the units all contain a fan which runs pretty much continuously and although reasonably quiet (a little quieter than a PC fan), they are best suited for use in a study, TV room, or in bed-sit type accommodation (e.g. student halls) rather than in the confines of a small bedroom (though this does depend on what you are able to sleep through). The unit can be powered from the mains, or a 12V cigarette lighter socket and is durable enough to be taken on the odd camping expedition.
Caldura Compact Mini Fridges
Available in 17, 30 and 40 litre versions, these are small, lightweight units suitable for permanent or semi-permanent use (i.e. they can be moved to another location when required). They are thermoelectric units, and therefore contain fans which run continuously. They do, however, have special electronic circuitry that reduces the speed of the fans once the unit reaches temperature and the noise emitted is therefore just a whisper in normal running conditions. These units are a great choice for installation in student accommodation, or small guest house rooms.
Caldura Silent Running Mini Fridges
Silent units from the Caldura professional range of Mini Fridges are available in capacities of 22 to 40 litres. These units operate using absorption technology, they have no moving parts, and are therefore completely silent in operation - making them ideal for use where any level of noise would be a distraction. They are mains operated, and not designed to be portable (though they are frequently used in static caravans and tents).
The Caldura Digital range has enhanced temperature regulation for reduced power consumption, and auto-defrost for low maintenance operation.
These units are primarily designed for use in hotel guest rooms as a minibar or guest mini fridge, they are the only fridges that we "recommend" for use within a bedroom, and the only type of Mini Fridge that is suitable for building into furniture (providing the correct guidelines are followed).
Tropicool Thermoelectric Cool boxes
These are quite simply the best thermoelectric cool boxes on the market that we know of. Manufactured by Waeco, a German subsidiary of Dometic ("vorsprung durch technic" and all that!) they are thermostatically controlled (just like a real fridge) and capable of cooling down to as much as 30°C below the ambient temperature enabling their use in climates of up to 35°C. All models can be operated from a 12V car cigarette lighter socket or the mains so you don't need to unload the unit when you get back to base.
We know they are expensive compared to budget boxes like the ones below, but there really is no comparison in terms of cooling performance. These operate just as well as real fridges, other budget coolboxes simply do not. You will not regret buying one of these boxes.
Ideal for camping, shopping, picnics etc. They are very durable being made from injection moulded parts (i.e. strong plastic).
Budget Thermoelectric Cool boxes
A budget range of thermoelectric cool boxes. This doesn't have to mean compromise however, as the units, like our Tropicool range above, are manufactured for Waeco to the highest standards. The main differences in specification from the Tropicool range is that the budget range has a maximum cool down temperature of 18-20°C below ambient (suitable for climates up to a maximum of 25°C), and they are not thermostatically controlled. This is fine for use in the UK, but not to the south of France for example, where the Tropicool range would be a much better choice.
Ideal for bringing home the shopping and for picnics, but not really for longer term storage where you really should have a thermostatically controlled box like the Tropicool units above.
CoolFreeze Compressor Cool Boxes
Like the Tropicool Thermoelectric products above, these units are also manufactured by Waeco. They use specially developed miniaturised compressor technology for weight reduction. The major advantage over Thermoelectric units is pure cooling power. Many of these units can DEEP FREEZE down to -22°C if required (CFX models). The temperature is continuously variable and can be set anywhere between +5°C (fridge) and -18/-22°C (deep freezer).
These units are ideal for long haul trips, although they don't have separate fridge/freezer compartments. However, if a mixture of chilled/frozen foods need to be transported, a selected temperature somewhere around 0°C will keep chilled food cool, whilst keeping deep frozen food well frozen for several hours.
Mains/12V Portable Compressor/Hybrid Fridge/Freezers
These are serious products aimed primarily at the camping market, but also useful as a patio fridge, or just for a bit of extra fridge space when required. Please note that they are not weatherproof, so should be kept under cover.
Available as a mains only version (C40) and a mains/12V hybrid version (B40), they both feature a mains driven compressor unit capable of cooling down to -15°C. In practice, this makes both units very capable fridges for camping, even in the hottest European climates. We wouldn't recommend that you rely on them as a freezer in hotter climates, as they would certainly struggle to reach -15°C in ambient temperatures above 30°C. The hybrid model features a 12V thermoelectric module which will keep your refrigerated foods nicely fresh during a move from one camp site to another, or on the way to and from your destination.
These units are very large and heavy, so make sure you have the space to transport one, but for price/performance, we believe that they are the best camping fridge on the market.
Mains/Gas/12V Portable Absorption Fridges
A 3 way version of the units above. As an absorption unit, it has nowhere near to cooling performance of the C40/B40, and can only therefore be used as a fridge, but it can run on gas, for when mains hookup is not available.
If you are sure that you don't need gas running, we would certainly recommend that you opt for the C40 or B40 above, as they use less power, and are much more powerful.
This unit is also silent running, whereas the C40/B40 compressor units are not.
If you are camping and taking a gas cylinder for cooking purposes, then these products are an ideal compliment as they can run off the same cylinder.
Please note that these units must not be used on gas power in confined spaces (i.e. not inside tents, or cars).