Mini Fridge vs Beverage Cooler: What Is the Difference?

Whether you like hosting parties or entertaining your loved ones once in a while, you need a separate space to store your drinks.

From flavored waters to sodas, wines, and beers, you need them cold for any entertaining event. That is why you need either a mini fridge or a beverage cooler.

And although the 2 options seem quite similar, they are designed to meet different criteria.

So, what is the difference between a mini fridge and a beverage cooler? If you are wondering what to get for your home, we’ve discussed the differences between the two units in detail to help you get the best option.

Mini Fridge vs Beverage Cooler: Key Points:

FeatureMini FridgeBeverage Cooler
PurposeStores food and drinksCools drinks like soda, wine, beer, and flavored water only.
DesignOpaque door, different storage areas. It can hold different shapes and sizes.Transparent glass doors, UV-resistant glass panels.
Storage capacitySmaller storage capacityLarger storage capacity
TemperatureTemperature is always kept below 40 degrees F.Wide temperature range.
LED lightAvailable in some models. It goes off after the door is closedOn all the time.
CostReasonably pricedExpensive

What is a Mini Fridge?

A mini fridge is used to store food and beverages at 40 degrees F. It comes with several compartments, glass shelves, and trays that you can use to store perishables like fruits, vegetables, and meat.

Mini fridges come in different styles and colors. There are many options, including French door refrigerators, side by side, among others.

These units feature LED interior lights that turn off once the door is shut.

What is a Beverage Cooler?

A beverage cooler, also referred to as a beverage center, stores all types of drinks. It comes with different compartments to hold wines, beers, and sodas, among others.

Unlike a mini fridge, the LED lights in a beverage center are always on to illuminate the beverages. These units also feature transparent doors that make the drinks visible from the outside.

Differences Between a Mini Fridge and a Beverage Cooler

  • Purpose

A mini fridge is a small refrigerator designed for smaller spaces. You can use it in your kitchen, guest room, or home bar as it can hold both food and beverages.

The interior of a mini fridge can hold different shapes and sizes.

A beverage cooler, on the other hand, is specifically designed to hold drinks hence ideal for your home bar.

  • Design

When it comes to design, mini fridges come with opaque doors and different storage areas. Beverage coolers, on the other hand, feature a more sophisticated design.

Most beverage centers have UV-resistant glass panels and transparent glass doors. They also come with shelving that maximizes the storage space for beer bottles, cans, and drink boxes.

It’s also important for you to note that you need enough space for a mini fridge since these units require an open area for ventilation. A beverage center allows you a variety of installation options.

  • Storage Capacity

The storage capacity of a mini fridge is different from that of a beverage cooler. At a glance, the size of a mini fridge is similar to that of a larger beverage center.

A beverage cooler can hold six packs and large quantities of wine and beer bottles.

  • Temperature

Temperature controls and features of the two units are different as well. Since min fridges are supposed to maintain cool temperatures for food and beverages, they are kept below 40 degrees F.

Mini fridges maintain one temperature throughout and thus feature different temperature-controlled zones.

Beverage centers, however, are designed to maintain perfect temperatures for all beverages, including wine.

  • Color and Style Options

Mini fridges are available in a wider variety of colors to choose from. From classic white to stainless steel, modern black and silver, you’ll get one that suits your taste.

They also come in a variety of door styles.

Beverage centers feature a unique look and feel. Most come in black or silver with a silver/grey-framed clear glass door.

  • Lighting

Interior lighting is available in mini fridges and beverage coolers. With refrigerators, the interior lighting goes off immediately after you close the unit’s door.

Most beverage centers feature touchpad controls with temperature settings for different wines. The intelligent controls include Sabbath mode, which alarms if you leave the door open for too long or in case of overheating.

  • Cost

When it comes to the cost, mini fridges are cheaper than their counterparts are. You can get one with ease and at reasonable prices from the market as they are commonly available.

Beverage coolers aren’t that easy to find. And when you get one, be ready to part with a handsome amount. You’ll also find it quite hard to get a second-hand beverage center.

Can You Store Food in a Beverage Center?

No. Beverage coolers are specifically designed to hold drinks only. These units can store drinks in temperatures of up to 72 degrees. While this might be a refreshing temperature to enjoy your favorite beverage, it can expose your meat or dairy products to bacteria.

Why are Beverage Centers So Expensive?

Because of the specialized temperature control technology, good beverage centers come with a higher price tag. The models also feature UV blocking glass, perfectly designed racks, and humidity control units.

Most are also custom-made to fit a cabinet space, which leads to the high price.

Which is Better; A Mini Fridge or a Beverage Cooler?

Both the mini fridge and the beverage cooler work great and will give you the results you are looking for. If you are looking for a model that will help you store food and beverages, get a mini fridge. Although compact, it’ll serve the purpose.

However, if all you need is a fridge to help you store all your drinks, including wines, beer bottles, cans, and soda, you can never go wrong with a beverage cooler.


The differences between a min fridge and a beverage center dictate the model you should get for your home. To get the right one, get your priorities right.

Do you want a unit that stores food and drinks, or will you simply want one that will keep your drinks cool? How much space do you have?

Get the answers to these questions, and you’ll have figured out the model you should purchase for your household.

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