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Can a mini fridge be connected to an extension cord?

A mini-fridge is a perfect solution for anyone who wants to keep some food and drinks cold without investing in a full-sized appliance. But unfortunately, mini-fridges often come with short power cords that limit your placement options. So, can you connect a mini-fridge to an extension cord?

can a mini fridge be connected to an extension cord

In this guide, you’ll discover why using standard extension cords for your mini-fridge is a terrible idea. But don’t worry, you’ll also learn how to choose the correct heavy-duty extension to use with your appliance safely.

Let’s get started!

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Can A Mini-Fridge Be Connected To An Extension Cord?

Yes, you can connect a mini-fridge to an extension cord. However, it’s crucial that you only use a heavy-duty extension cord, as standard ones are too dangerous. Plugging your mini-fridge into the wrong extension cord will pose a severe safety and fire risk to you and your home.

Remember: your mini-fridge is still a heavy-duty appliance despite being ‘mini’ in size. That’s because its cooling system and other components draw a lot of electrical power to work correctly.

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So, here are a few crucial reasons why standard extension cords are unsafe to use with your mini-fridge:

  • Thin wires: Standard extension cords offer convenience and affordability. Plus, manufacturers design them with small appliances in mind. That’s why they tend to have thinner wires (or higher ‘gauge’ wires).
    Unfortunately, those thinner wires can’t carry enough electrical power to operate a mini-fridge safely and efficiently.
  • Low rating: Next, consider the ampere rating, which represents how much electrical current can flow through the cord at one time. As the mini-fridge pulls more amps through the wire than it’s rated for, the extension cord will overheat.
  • Excessive length: Believe it or not, having a standard extension cord that’s too long just adds to the problem. That’s because the further the electricity has to travel, the more resistance it experiences. As a result, the cord will overheat even more.
  • No grounding protection: Lastly, standard extension cords tend to come without grounding protection. That’s a big problem with heavy-duty appliances because any excess electricity won’t have anywhere to flow safely. In worst-case scenarios, that could lead to property damage and electrocution.

As you can see, it can be pretty risky to plug a mini-fridge into an extension cord unless you take safety precautions. So, unless it’s essential, you’re better off connecting the appliance directly to a wall socket whenever possible.

It’s worth repeating for safety reasons: 

it’s possible to plug your mini-fridge into an extension cord. Just make sure you only do it safely with a heavy-duty extension cord that’s appropriate for appliances like your mini-fridge. 

To choose the correct extension cord, check that it has smaller-gauge wiring, a high ampere rating, grounding protection, and that it’s of a reasonable length.

Extension Cord For Mini-Fridges: The Low Down

Let’s suppose you’re in a situation where an extension cord is an absolute must for your mini-fridge. In that case, you’ll have to be much more mindful about the cord you choose for the job.

Here are the 4 qualities you must look for when you go shopping for an extension cord to use with your mini-fridge:

#1 Gauge

Sometimes, the packaging on extension cords will say that it’s a heavy-duty item even when it’s not. Thankfully, there’s one way you can be absolutely sure: by reading the fine print.

Start by checking the extension cord’s gauge. Remember: the smaller the gauge, the thicker the wire inside. So any extension cord with a gauge of 14 or lower will do fine for your mini-fridge.

Of course, you can always go above and beyond for your mini-fridge by choosing the smallest gauge available. That’ll be the safest option available, though it will likely cost you more.

#2 Rating

Next, check the amperage rating of the extension cord. Whatever that number is, it must be higher than the amperage of the mini-fridge.

Amperes can differ between mini-fridge brands and models. So, to be sure, refer to the appliance’s user manual or technical sheets before you go shopping for extension cords.

#3 Length

When it comes to length, there must be a balance. On the one hand, you don’t want a cord that’s longer than necessary. But, on the other hand, that will increase the electrical resistance and cause it to warm up more.

However, you must also buy an extension cord that’s long enough to suit your needs. After all, that’s why you’re using an extension in the first place, isn’t it?

So, choose a length that’s long enough to get your mini-fridge up and running, but not one that’s too long.

#4 Grounding

Lastly, you’ll want an extension cord that offers grounding protection. Again, read the fine print on the extension cord’s packaging to ensure that it is indeed grounded.

That way, you and your mini-fridge will stay safe if an electrical fault occurs.

Use a multi-way bar extension lead rather than a block adapter, as this will put less strain on the wall socket. Some block adapters do not have a fuse, which increases the risk of overloading and fire.
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Does It Cost More To Run A Mini-Fridge On An Extension Cord?

Yes, running a mini-fridge on an extension cord will cost more.

Remember: unlike with a wall socket, the electrical power has to flow longer through the extension cord to reach your mini-fridge.

A longer distance means that electricity will experience higher resistance. As a result, more of that power will convert to heat, which means some of the electricity gets wasted before it reaches the appliance.

Here’s the good news: the amount of wasted electricity we’re talking about here is negligible. So, it’s unlikely to add too much cost to your monthly power bill.

Still, if you’re the kind of person who values efficiency, you’re probably not keen on wasting any electricity this way.

Can I Plug A Mini-Fridge Into A Power Strip?

No, you cannot plug a mini-fridge into a power strip. For starters, most power strips share many of the same qualities as standard extension cords, like:

  • Thinner wiring.
  • Low amperage ratings.
  • No or not enough grounding protection.

These qualities also make it incredibly risky to plug a mini-fridge into a power strip (more here). However, power strips also pose one more problem: they allow you to plug multiple appliances in simultaneously.

Doing so can be catastrophic, which is why you should never do it. Instead, always plug your mini-fridge into a wall socket. If that’s not an option, then you should only rely on heavy-duty extension cords.

Bottom line: Can a Mini Fridge Be Connected To An Extension Cord?

So, to sum everything up in one sentence: yes, you can use an extension cord with a mini-fridge, as long as the cable is of heavy-duty quality. A standard extension cord will overheat and melt its insulation or start a fire.

More Reading: Can I Travel With a Mini Fridge?

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