How Long Does It Take For A Refrigerator To Get Cold?

If you just recently bought a refrigerator or if you are planning to buy a new one soon then you might be wondering how long does it take for a refrigerator to get cold. And it’s not a trivial question either, many of us had the same question in our minds when we first turn on our new refrigerators.

How long does it take for a refrigerator to get cold?
Source: Owl bake by Alexas_Fotos

This is why, in this article, we will look at different types of refrigerators and discuss how long each of these refrigerators take to cool down to come to an accurate answer. 

How Long does it Take for Refrigerators to Get Cold on Average? 

On average, it takes around 12 hours for refrigerators to cool down to FDA-recommended temperature standards of food safety. Do note that this number is an average and real-life numbers can vary drastically depending on many factors such as size, type, and brand. 

Now that we have an overall idea of how long we should wait for our refrigerators to cool down, let us dive deeper into this topic even further.  

How Long does it take for New Refrigerators to Get Cold? 

In general, new refrigerators will take anywhere from 2 hours to 24 hours to cool down. Samsung refrigerators are well known for their fast-cooling times, followed by LG. Both brands have mastered the art of making great refrigerators, which, on average cool down at 2 hours and 3 hours, respectively. 

On the other hand, brands like GE and Whirlpool have a hard time beating their Korean rivals with cooling times of up to 24 hours. We will attach a table listing out different types of refrigerators and their cooling times down below for the same.  

How Long does it Take for Mini-Refrigerators to Get Cold?  

Due to their smaller size and stature, mini-fridges usually tend to cool down much faster than conventional fridges. Across the line, mini-fridges beat their larger counterparts regardless of brand and make. The ballpark for mini-fridges is a solid 3 hours on average. So, it is recommended to wait for at least 3-4 hours for your mini-fridges to cool down to a stable temperature for optimal performance.  

How Long does it Take for an Old Refrigerator to Get Cold?  

Every appliance will slow down and become less efficient over time. Same is true for refrigerators. As time passes, they will get slow and inefficient due to dirt and dust clogging on the condenser coils or the compressor getting too old.  

So, it is going to take 24 hours, give or take an hour or two for older refrigerators to completely cool down (if plugged out for a long time).  

We usually do not have to worry about older refrigerators though, since they have already been plugged in for a long time.  

A lot of it also depends on how you have maintained your refrigerator so far. More on that later in this article.  

Cooling Times for Different Types Of Refrigerators

BrandTypeTime to Get Cold
SamsungBottom Freezer 2 hours
LGBottom Freezer 3 hours
WhirlpoolBottom Freezer 24 hours
GEBottom Freezer24 hours
Amana Bottom Freezer24 hours
French Door2 hours
LG French Door 3 hours
GE French Door 24 hours
Samsung Top Freezer 2 hours
Magic ChefTop Freezer4 hours
Frigidaire Top Freezer8 hours
Whirlpool Top Freezer24 hours
Magic Chef Mini Fridge 4 hours
Amana Mini Fridge 24 hours
Haier Mini Fridge 24 hours
Insignia Mini Fridge 24 hours
Frigidaire Mini Fridge 4 hours
Approximate Cooling Times for Different Brands of Refrigerators

How Refrigerator Cooling Works 

To understand how long does it take for a refrigerator to cool down, we must first understand how they work.  Traditionally, refrigerators go through a cycle called the refrigeration cycle.  

Refrigerator Cycle
Refrigerator Cycle

(This image has been created during “DensityDesign Integrated Course Final Synthesis Studio” at Polytechnic University of Milan, organized by DensityDesign Research Lab in 2015. Image is released under CC-BY-SA licence. Attribution goes to “Daniele De Pietri, DensityDesign Research Lab”., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

This cycle revolves around 4 different components namely 

  1. Compressor 
  2. Condenser  
  3. Expansion Valve 
  4. Evaporator 

The refrigerant is first compressed by the compressor and further pressurized. This refrigerant now travels to the condenser which will turn the refrigerant that was in its vapor form, into its corresponding liquid form. During this process, some of the heat is absorbed. After this, the resultant liquid will flow into the expansion valve which will ultimately lead the refrigerant to expand and lose even more heat. In the final phase, the refrigerant which is in its liquid form will go to the evaporator. Once it passes the evaporator, all of the heat would have been absorbed and this, in turn, cools the refrigerator. After this, the cycle repeats itself again and again.  

Factors affecting refrigerator cooling times: 

There are a lot of factors that affect how quickly our refrigerators can cool down, these can range from a variety of sources such as external temperature to more distinct factors such as how often you open the door of your fridge. Here’s to name a few:

Irregular Or No Maintenance 

The type of maintenance you put your refrigerator through is one of the most crucial factors when it comes to determining how long does it take for a refrigerator to get cold. Refrigerators tend to accumulate dirt and dust over time, especially on the condenser coils. Once these coils are dirty, it becomes hard for them to transfer heat which increases your overall cooling time.  

Size of Refrigerator 

This is one of the most important factors that determine how quickly your refrigerator will cool down. It is a given that (with few exceptions) a smaller refrigerator will take less time to completely cool down while a larger one will take considerably longer time to cool down.  

External Temperature 

The external temperature or room temperature also plays an incredibly significant role in how quickly your refrigerator will cool down. If the temperature is high, then the refrigerator will have to work harder and longer to cool down.  

This is why it’s especially important to place your fridge in a place that attracts less heat or is well ventilated. If the refrigerator is placed in an area that gets constant sunlight, then you may need to relocate your fridge or block the beams of sunlight from hitting your freezer.  

Age of the Refrigerator 

As we have already mentioned earlier, that as an appliance gets older, its functionality and efficiency decrease. Refrigerators, being one of the most widely and actively used appliances also face this same issue once they reach a certain age. Refrigerators usually last for 10-15 years before needing to get replaced. Halfway through this time, they will suffer from a lot of wear and tear and eventually end up taking exceptionally long hours to cool down completely. So if your refrigerator is older than 10 years or more then you should look for other alternatives. 

Brand of the Refrigerator 

This is also a determining factor when it comes to how long it takes for a refrigerator to get cold. We have already established from our ‘refrigerator cooling times’ table, that certain brands like Samsung and LG have a considerable advantage over other brands when it comes to cooling times. And while sheer cooling time should not be the only factor to be considered when buying a new refrigerator, 2 hours is still a great leap forward and is a remarkable feat regardless of cooling time.  

Frequency of Door Opening and Closing  

If you are the type of person who constantly has the need to open your refrigerator on a frequent basis, then I have some news for you. And while it is a given that opening your refrigerator lets out the cold air. What it also means, is that you are inevitably increasing your refrigerator’s overall cooling time and further stressing it out by adding extra workload.  

Faulty Compressor 

While it is not common for most people to have a faulty compressor, if you feel like your refrigerator is not cooling as quickly as it did before then maybe it is a faulty compressor. This can lead to drastic and deficient performance and overall slower cooling times.  

Related : How to quiet a noisy refrigerator compressor

Okay, so now we know how long it takes to cool down a refrigerator. We now also have a general overview of all the factors that we should keep in mind. But are there any ways to speed up the process or improve the cooling performance of your freezer? And then the answer is an absolute yes!  

How to Improve Your Refrigerator For Optimal Cooling Times.  

Now that you know how long does it take for a refrigerator to get cold, let’s also look at how we can optimize the time taken. There are many things that we can do to make things faster. Here are a few things you can do:

Clean Up Your Refrigerator 

It is the most important thing that many people ignore. Most people end up having slow cooling times on their refrigerators because they neglect to clean them from time to time. Trust me, if you feel like your fridge is not performing as it used to, then consider putting it under some maintenance by cleaning up the condenser coils at the back and you will be surprised to see the difference.  

Place your Refrigerator in a Cool Area.  

You do not want to overload your refrigerator with more work, put it away from sunlight and other external sources of heat and ensure that it remains properly ventilated and there’s enough airflow to your refrigerator. After all, electronics and heat are arch enemies. This will ensure optimal cooling times and a longer life for your refrigerator.  

Do not Overstock Your Fridge 

Fill up your refrigerator only with whatever is necessary. If you end up overstocking then of course you will need to wait longer for the refrigerator to cool down. So, it is always a clever idea to have a good balance when it comes to stocking up your refrigerator.  

Place a Bag of Ice Inside the Fridge 

If you have a pack of ice lying around then you can easily place it inside the refrigerator. Over time it will start melting but at the same time, it will accelerate the cooling process inside your fridge. It is a great and quick way to speed up the cooling time of your fridge. 

Summing Up 

Refrigerators come in many different shapes and sizes. But on average, refrigerators take 12 hours to completely cool down.  

We also concluded that some brands like Samsung and LG have a competitive edge when it comes to cooling times.  

And while most refrigerators are incredibly unique, their overall cooling process is quite similar. So do not worry too much about the cooling and give your refrigerator it is time and focus on increasing its overall life. 

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