The invention of the refrigerator revolutionized food storage and consumers' diet. Since that time, manufacturers have worked constantly to improve on their designs and meet consumers' needs. One of these innovations was the mini refrigerator. A much smaller version of ordinary refrigerators, the mini refrigerator is often found in dorm rooms, offices, motel rooms and recreational vehicles. Long haul truck drivers often keep these fridges in their trucks. Since food and drinks are readily available, they no longer have to stop as frequently, which enables them to reach their destination faster.

The small size of these refrigerators is both an advantage and a disadvantage. On one hand, the small size makes the mini refrigerator a good choice for small rooms where there would not be room for a regular sized refrigerator. On the other hand, the amount of space to store food is greatly reduced. The portability of some mini fridges is the appeal for some consumers.

Haier, GE, Summit, Kenmore and Magic Chef are well known mini fridge manufacturers. There are several models available to meet most needs. These include minibars, portable coolers, and tiny fridges just large enough for a few drinks and made to sit on top of a counter. Some mini fridge models even come with additional kitchen function such as cooking or warming.

Choosing a mini refrigerator is just like shopping for a traditional one. It's a good idea to measure the space you plan to put it in to ensure you don't inadvertently buy a larger fridge than you have space for. Decide what features you want in your refrigerator. Visit local appliance stores or look online to make a list of potential mini fridges. Check your list on Consumer Reports to see if your choices are as a good as they appear.

Prices vary depending on the size and features of the refrigerator. You can expect to pay anywhere from $29.99 for a 4 Liter portable mini fridge to $1339 for a compact refrigerator that fits under the counter. To get the best deal, shop around. Prices can be substantially different between stores. Look for stores with a price guarantee. Some stores offer a program in which consumers can bring in a competitors advertisement and the store will beat the competitor's price by a set percentage.

Ask about purchasing a floor model. These may have some nicks or scratches in the finish, but can often be purchased for a lot less than a pristine model still in the box. Consider buying direct from the manufacturer if the option is available. In order to make a profit, appliance stores mark up the manufacturer's price. By going direct to the manufacturer, you cut out the middleman and their markup, saving a substantial amount of money.

It's not that difficult to find mini refrigerators to purchase. Most discount stores such as Wal-Mart, Target and K-Mart sell basic models. Appliance and home improvement stores generally carry a larger selection with more features. Refrigerators can also be found online on manufacturers' websites and occasionally on auction sites such as eBay.