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For many people noise levels are an important factor when deciding whether to buy a small fridge. It goes without saying that the less noise a fridge makes, the happier we are.
There are such things as completely silent fridges (or at least as close to completely silent as it's possible to be), but it's worth remembering that other factors can also come into play when choosing the right small fridge for you. Price is of course an important consideration, and so is size and where you can place the fridge, as well as how often and for how long you intend to run it.
There are small differences in decibel levels which depend largely on the kind of technology behind the fridge. We've gone through a few of the different types of refrigeration technology featured in MiniFridge.co.uk's fridges and explained how quiet you can expect them to be.
Ideal for short term use, a thermoelectric fridge such as a 15 litre mini fridge, can typically lower the interior to 20 degrees lower than the ambient temperature. A pump transfers heat from one side of the fridges back to the other, which means that many thermoelectric fridges have warming as well as cooling functions. Because no liquid is used in the cooling process, with a thermoelectric fridge you don't get that bubbling sound that sometimes occurs with compressor fridges after they have been moved. The low-level noise you can hear when a thermoelectric fridge is in operation is the sound of the fan at the back of the fridge. If you want an easily portable fridge for relatively short term use, which can provide cooling power very quickly, these small fridges are the best choice for you. The smaller mini coolers will make a small amount noise due to the fan on the back, and is not recommended to be placed near a bedside if you are a light sleeper.
These are the kind of fridges most people have in their kitchen. Without getting too technical, compression uses a liquid, known as a refrigerant, which is vaporized and moved through coils or tubes while a fan blows air through the coils from the refrigerator compartment ("box air"). As you will know from your own kitchen, a low humming sound is faintly audible. That sound is the compressor motor which pumps the vapourised liquid through the coils, there may also be a slight sound from the motion of the fan.
An absorption fridge works differently from compressor fridges. It uses a source of heat, such as an electric heating element. Because there is no motor, they are a lot quieter than compressor fridges. These are often used in hotels, and if you need to run a fridge permanently in the same room as you sleep, an absorption fridge is strongly recommended. Many of the items in our range of mini bars are absorption fridges and feature "Total Silent Operation". Apart from bedrooms, they are also ideal for use in meeting rooms, and under desks.