How long does it take for a mini fridge to get cold?

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Mini fridges are the best option when it comes to space-saving. They pretty much fit in any space and are a great way to keep beer cold (or soda I guess…) nearby.

I have noticed lately that many people wonder how long it will take for its brand new mini fridge to cool down. I guess that online consumption, smartphones and fast delivery times made us to be used to plug things and have them working at full-speed right away.

The reality is that more often that not your mini fridge is working just fine and it’s just a matter of time for it to get cold.

How long does it take for a new refrigerator to get cold?

A new refrigerator will take about 24 hours to get cold.

The long answer actually is, it depends on your mini fridge model, its size, cooling technology and where you have placed it.

At least you will need to wait about 4 hours to start noticing if the fridge is starting to get cold. Smaller ones, such as portable mini fridges with a six-can capacity, will be cold in just about 2 hours.

Why a mini fridge won’t get cold

To start, make sure that the obvious is not happening and check if the mini fridge is plugged in.

Make sure as well that the outlet is working too. What I normally do is to plug my phone charger and see if my phone charges right away… At home some of my outlets go with a light switch, so make sure that you have it on.

Another reason why your mini fridge might not be getting as cold as expected is because you have placed it too close to a wall, not leaving enough room for air to flow. You are giving your mini fridge a hard time if heat is not dissipating.

Keep in mind that even when you change the temperature setting on your fridge, it can take several hours or even a day for it to take effect and therefore for you to notice the change.

On most cases it’s just a matter to have patience and let your mini fridge work. If after 24 hours there is no noticeable change, then it probably means that indeed something is wrong.

Many times people buy a mini fridge thinking that it can be built-in anywhere, when the truth is that only certain models have this feature. Most mini fridges are free-standing only, which means that you can’t place it in a confined space such as a cabinet.

What most people don’t know either, is that most mini fridges should always be upright. Even when they are being transported.

There is a very good reason for it. If the fridge is on it side, even just briefly, its oil will start to flow from its compressor to the cooling lines. This oil should be staying on its compressor instead and flow with the refrigerant instead. So you will have to wait till you turn it on again.

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How long should I wait before plugging in a new refrigerator?

You should wait about 2 hours before you plug in your new refrigerator.

The oil explanation above is widely explained online. It’s the correct one, to an extent.

As it can be read on this explanation from an Union HVAC/refrigeration service technician. The truth is that the oil that we are talking about lubricates the cylinders in the compressor. Which means that this oil travels through the entire refrigeration loop anyway.

The refrigerant that can be found within your fridge works a bit as a solvent to this oil. Making it very easy for the oil to travel with the refrigerant (which on most instances is Freon).

It’s almost impossible to make sure that all this oil travels with the refrigerant all the time. Even when you have had your fridge in perfect conditions for days.

The real problem when moving a refrigerator and not let it settle for a while is the lack of lubrication.

In fact after transporting a fridge (even a new one) most of this oil will back where it should be in a matter of minutes.

The only reason why it might take a little longer is because you are relying on gravity and there is no other way for you to add more pressure on the oil to get back to its place.

So why most sites they state for you to wait 24 hours? Well it’s just to make sure that someone doesn’t just plug it right away… Companies rather be safe than sorry when it comes to their customer experience. To be honest, it’s more likely for someone to wait a couple of hours if it states to wait 24 hours. If it stated “wait 2 hours” most customers wouldn’t even bother…

In fact, I do wonder how many people do read the owner’s manual before plugging their brand-new mini fridge for the first time.

How long to wait if mini fridge tips over

Assuming that none of its internal parts are broken, it safe for you to turn on a mini fridge after 2 hours.

As I have described above, similar to when you transport a mini fridge, it’s just a matter to let its internal oil to settle back where it should be, and this normally takes just a few minutes.

Some mini fridge tips

If you browsed some mini fridges that we review at Appliance Vibes, you have probably noticed that mini fridges vary on size. With their capacity ranging from around 1 cubic feet (28.32 liters) to 5.5 cubic feet (155.74 liters).

Regardless of its size, below you will find a few tips that are always helpful to keep in mind.

  • Try to avoid putting a mini fridge on a carpet. It might become a fire hazard. If avoiding the carpet is not an option, then I recommend you to buy a mini fridge stand.
  • Always make sure that your fridge is properly leveled. Compressor based mini fridges require the right balance to work properly. This will avoid unwanted noises. Its door might not be fully sealing if it’s really unbalanced either.
  • Keep your mini fridge clean and dust-free.
  • Ensure that you always leave enough space between your mini fridge and the back wall. It’s recommended to leave at least 5 inches (12.7 centimeters). This ensures that your mini fridge has the right air flow ensuring that it does not overheat.
  • If you place the mini fridge near a window make sure that it avoids direct sunlight. Its heat will not help your mini fridge at all to work properly.

In conclusion

A mini fridge will take about 4 hours to cool down after you have plugged in. If you decide to move your mini fridge around, just let it sit for a couple of hours before you turn it on again.

Keep in mind that on most instances it will take a maximum of 24 hours to have the mini fridge working at its full capacity.

In case of doubt it’s always good to refer back to the owner’s manual. If you don’t have it available, don’t worry. At Appliance Vibes we will do our best to help you out.

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