Portable Refrigerators
Reviews of Mini Portable Fridges for Office, RV, Truck & Camping

Portable refrigerators are the 21st century's alternatives for thermos bottles and picnic coolers. Extremely handy and light weight, they can be used to transport food items in cold storage.


Advantages of a Portable Mini Refrigerator
  • Portable fridges are a sleeker version of typical picnic coolers. They are much lighter and very convenient to carry. An average unit measures around 7 by 9 by 9 inches and weighs about five pounds.
  • They're very self-sufficient, being clutter-free with their rack-free designs and having built-in ice makers. They can run on a home plug or a car 12 Volt power outlet and are convenient to carry using their handles or shoulder straps.
  • A portable fridge of that size can hold six wide-necked baby bottles at a time. Users can carry baby food or even medicine and vaccines. The moderately cold temperature is very effective in preserving medications.
  • Since it's smaller and lighter, a portable refrigerator doesn't need any installation. It can be used immediately after purchase and can easily be placed in small corners of rooms thanks to its space-efficient build.
  • Useful in cabins and small offices alike, a portable fridge is economical with its low maintenance cost and electricity usage.
Disadvantages of a Portable Fridge
  • Due to its size a portable mini refrigerator cannot hold large items like 2-liter soda bottles. They can only store limited items of limited size. Their size also limits them to smaller cooling mechanisms, which means many portable mini fridges cannot go colder than 42 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is 5 to 6 degrees higher than that of a regular fridge.
  • Portable refrigerators are not fit for long-term storage. Many do not come with a freezer section, limiting you to refrigerated items only. They also only stay cold for about 6 to 8 hours, after which the temperature starts to rise.
  • Mini portable fridges are quite expensive. While an average machine starts from $40, the popular brands cost more than $100, which may not be a worthy investment if you don't plan on using it much. Make sure to also get at least a one-year warranty on the unit.

Buying Tips for Portable Mini Fridges

Whether you buy it for your car or bar, size plays an important role. Determine the space you need to accommodate your food items.

Engel Portable Fridge Freezers video demonstration

Also, keep in mind that a portable refrigerator is meant to be just that - portable. If you buy a big unit for larger storage it might not be portable enough. All the same, if you buy a small unit that's easy to carry it might not offer enough storage space.

The portable fridge designs determine the portability of the unit. Choose the style you feel comfortable to carry and use. If you are considering buying a compact wine refrigerator, check if the design will accommodate the odd shapes and sizes of wine bottles.

Decide the features you want in your fridge. While expensive units come with advanced features, you might not need all of them. Consider what you need first.

Consider the environment before you make your purchase. If the refrigerator is Energy Star rated then it means that it meets US government standards and is expected to deliver an economic performance than the rest. You should also make sure that the unit doesn't use environmentally harmful CFC gas, as they contribute to ozone layer depletion. Most units now use eco-friendly refrigerant gases.

Best Portable Refrigerators to Buy

Coleman-PowerChillThe PowerChill is a Coleman portable fridge that can carry 40 quarts of food items. Designed for dorm rooms, offices, trucks, RV, or cars, this unit runs on a vehicle's cigarette lighter or on a standard 120V power supply.

With a new motor design that provides a quiet and lasting performance, the internal temperature can drop to as low as 40F. Fitted with molded handles for convenient lifting and carrying, the machine features a reversible adjustable door for opening both way and it does not need ice to freeze items.

The product can be used both as a portable chest and an upright fridge. This models costs just under $200.

EdgeStar-FP430A popular EdgeStar portable fridge freezer is the 43-quart FP430. Capable of accommodating 60 12-ounce cans, this portable refrigerator's temperature ranges from 8 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. With an interior and exterior dimension of 14.96 x 11.42 x 18.50 and 20.8 x 24.7 x 17.7 inches, the product features a flash freeze function with a compressor cooling method that cools rapidly.

It's an economical unit that does not use much car battery energy and comes with a one-year warranty on parts and 90 days on labor. This fridge costs just under $700.

You can further try out a 3 fridge portable way for both domestic and outdoor use. They have both fridge and freezer compartments and can also make ice-cubes. While their pick and pull style is very convenient for carriage, these portable refrigerators are highly energy-efficient and run only on 12V and 110V power.

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Updated February 2011