The Xbox mini fridge is a fun novelty, and one that will catch the eye of your gamer guests. But given you need a regular fridge to do the heavy lifting cooling its contents first, the fact that it uses as much (or more) power than said regular fridge for barely any capacity, and the maximum two days' recommended running time, we feel you'll have an entirely better experience sticking with the big fridge in the kitchen for refreshments, and putting the money you'll save towards a new controller or the next sale on Steam instead. As far as we're concerned, we're calling game over.
The Xbox mini fridge is a thermoelectric cooler designed to look and feel like your favourite gaming console. Its 10-litre capacity claims to provide space to keep up to 12 cans of liquid refreshment and a few snacks (in convenient door bins) close to hand to keep you, a dedicated gamer, fuelled, hydrated and on-brand during an epic gaming session.
It has two buttons, mimicking an actual Xbox's disk eject and controller pairing buttons, which illuminate an Xbox logo and a green upper light for added wow factor, and it can be yours for a fraction under $200.
The Xbox mini fridge, with illuminated logo.
The power of the marketing tie-in is real, and we'll admit, the Xbox mini fridge does look cool, matching the current generation Xbox nicely.
A USB port on the front is handy for charging controllers or other devices, and the rear gives you the option of 240-volt mains or 12-volt DC electricity via an accessory socket adapter for your car (supplied). Keeping with the theme, there are also dummy Xbox ports and features moulded into the casing, but they're strictly for show.
Any initial excitement rapidly faded when we found the only thing it effectively cooled was our expectations
Inside, the Xbox mini fridge is a uniform bright green. It has two removable shelves in the main compartment, and two rather small door bins that could presumably store pop tarts or fruit roll-ups.
The fridge is made under licence by Ukonic, a company specialising in a diverse range of video-themed tie-in products such as Minecraft tents, Star Trek Enterprise pizza cutters, Mandalorian lamps or a Thor's hammer computer toolkit (the Norse god of thunder is building a solid reputation for his side hustle replacing cracked laptop monitors).
Ukonic's Xbox range also includes a desk organiser and controller-themed floor rug, but they have no pedigree when it comes to refrigeration, so you should temper your expectations accordingly.
Setting up the Xbox mini fridge was simple because for one thing it's very light and easy to manoeuvre. More importantly, there are no settings or controls for temperature or fridge operation – there are two buttons on the front of the fridge, corresponding with the disk eject and controller pairing buttons on an actual Xbox.
One of the buttons turns on a green light on the top of the fridge (which is off by default), and the other turns off the illuminated Xbox logo on the front (which is on by default). You'll probably want them on to show off to your friends on gaming night, then off overnight when you're trying to sleep. The manual and user reviews say you shouldn't leave this fridge on for long periods so you're probably better just turning it off.
The marketing materials claim the Xbox mini fridge will fit up to 12 cans of drink. However, what they're referring to are the smaller 12 ounce / 355mL US-style cans, not the 375mL Australian type, and we found you can fit a maximum of eight – three on the bottom two shelves and two on the top one, lying down. Larger, 440mL cans from popular energy drink brands are too tall without taking a shelf out (the most you'll be able to fit is three).
Capacity limitations aside, the Xbox mini fridge also comes with a few warnings.
Warning #1: Overloading
"Overloading the fridge to maximum capacity will reduce the ability of the fridge to effectively cool items."
This applies to regular fridges, too – overloading any fridge means it'll struggle to keep things cool the way it should, but with such a small capacity to begin with, you won't fit much in it at all before it's overloaded.
At this point we should mention the door bins. At 32mm wide, they're reasonable for a fridge this size, but they overlap with the internal shelves. That means if you want to store anything tall in them like, say, a sandwich, you won't be able to shut the door without removing the shelves first.
Room for (some of) the essentials.
Warning #2: Excessive moisture
"Excessive moisture is due purely to condensation created from cooling warm moist air that enters the cooler. This is a natural process of chilling the air within the cooler and can be wiped away."
Now this was annoying – we found puddles forming inside the fridge very soon after turning it on, which means that anything paper, cardboard or otherwise not waterproof is likely to get soggy straight away. This doesn't happen in regular fridges these days thanks to anti-condensation heaters and proper drainage for any remaining condensation.
You can't really expect anti-condensation heaters in as cheap and tiny a fridge as this one, and let's face it, you're most likely using the Xbox mini fridge just for drinks, but over time it can lead to mould growth, and a mess to clean up when you go to move it and water pours out.
Warning #3: Not intended for continuous use
"The fridge is not intended for long periods of continuous use, it is advised to turn it off intermittently when possible."
You read that correctly – this repository of high-calorie sometimes foods is only a sometimes fridge, and there's a good chance you'll start to experience problems if you leave yours running for more than a couple of days at a time.
As a rule, thermoelectric coolers aren't really designed to run all the time, and doing so will eventually burn them out. And while we didn't experience this ourselves, we've heard reports of the Xbox mini fridge's vents icing over (in part due to the condensation we mentioned earlier), markedly reducing its already meagre performance and increasing the fan noise dramatically. In one case, a user reported their fridge actually caught fire.
Given its appeal in the gaming sector, we're certainly not the first to review the Xbox mini fridge, but we were keen to delve beyond superficial impressions and bring the full weight of the CHOICE thermal lab to bear to see exactly how it performs – specifically, how fast and how effectively the fridge is able to cool eight cans of soft drink from room temperature on a 32°C summer's day and a 16°C winter one (the same temperatures we use for our regular fridge testing).
We brought the full weight of the CHOICE thermal lab to bear to see how fast and effectively the fridge is able to cool eight cans of soft drink
We placed the Xbox mini fridge in our 32°C test chamber along with the cans of drink and waited for the fridge to reach operating temperature and the cans to reach ambient or room temperature.
Once everything had stabilised, we placed a platinum resistance thermocouple (PRT), a sensitive device for measuring temperature, into the fridge, loaded in all eight cans of drink, closed the door and recorded what happened next.
We then repeated the process with the test chamber set to 16°C. And because rising energy prices are just as front of mind as environmental concerns, we also measured how much energy the fridge used during each test.
Given this is a thermoelectric fridge, our expectations weren't high going into our test – expectations further tempered by the manufacturer's own claim that the fridge will cool its contents by up to 20°C below ambient.
This sounds promising on a temperate 22°C-day, but at the height of summer with the mercury hitting 35°C or higher (when you need a cold drink the most), you're going to be left with tepid to warm beverages at best.
Unfortunately the Xbox mini fridge failed to meet even these meagre expectations. With our test chamber set to 32°C it took 24 hours to bring the eight cans down from 32°C to a disappointingly-far-from-cold 21°C. Even with refrigeration that's warmer than water straight out of the tap.
Repeating the test at 16°C was a little better – this time the Xbox mini fridge was able to chill our eight cans of room temperature soft drink down to a much more palatable 5°C in the same 24-hour period.
Ultimately, the Xbox mini fridge lacks the grunt needed to rapidly cool its contents. For best results, think of it as a powered cooler, not a fridge, and make sure your drinks and snacks are pre-chilled.
The top of the fridge lights up with a green alien glow.
While you might expect a tiny 10L-capacity fridge would cost very little to run, you'd be very wrong. Because we measured the Xbox mini fridge's energy consumption at the same operating temperatures as we test regular fridges – 32°C and 16°C as specified under the Australian Standard – we can compare its energy consumption to that of the regular fridge in your kitchen. The results were, shall we say, disturbing.
If it were subject to MEPS energy star regulations, it would be deemed too energy-hungry to be legally sold in Australia
While the specifications claim the Xbox mini fridge will draw 55 watts a year, we found it guzzles 376 kWh a year at 32°C, and an even higher 409 kWh a year at 16°C. That's the equivalent energy consumption of a 500-litre compressor fridge from our regular fridge testing.
If you ran the Xbox mini fridge 24/7, it'll cost you around $155 a year to run – nearly the purchase price again. Not that you would, because as the manual and user experience tells us, you can't leave this fridge on for more than a couple of days at a time.
While this fridge is exempt from requiring a star rating, if it were subject to MEPS energy star regulations, it would be deemed too energy-hungry to be legally sold in Australia. The admittedly tenuous silver lining is that because you can only use it for short periods, you won't feel the full effect of its astronomical running costs.
In a word? No. Any initial excitement at the prospect of a console-themed repository of power-ups and refuelling options for marathon gaming sessions rapidly faded when we found the only thing it effectively cooled was our expectations.
While it looks cool, we found it simply didn't have the power it needed to cool your drinks to a drinkable temperature. Less a fridge and more a powered cooler, if you're looking for a refreshing icy beverage or two from the Xbox mini fridge, then you'll need to get them cold in a regular fridge first, otherwise it'll take days. Except you can't wait days, because you can only run the Xbox mini fridge for short periods.
The AC adaptor plug does mean you can take it car camping, or for picnics, but given the space restrictions of a camping expedition and the lack of proximity to an actual Xbox under such conditions, the novelty would wear pretty thin and the mind would rapidly wander to more practical options. Like a regular cooler and a bag of ice.
Xbox Series X Replica Mini Fridge specs
- Manufacturer: Ukonic
- Weight: 3.5kg
- Product dimensions – exterior (H x W x D): 46.2cm x 23.2cm x 23.2cm
- Product dimensions – interior (H x W x D): 33.7cm x 17.4cm x 17.5cm
- Capacity (claimed): 10 litres
- Annual energy consumption (claimed): 55 watts
- Colour: Black/green
- Voltage: 12
- Door hinge: Right
- Shelves: 2 shelves, 2 door bins
- Country of origin: China
- Included components: Fridge, 240V power cord, 12V adapter cord, 2 internal shelves, 5V 2.1A USB port on front door for charging, user manual.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.