Can You Lay a Mini Fridge on Its Side: Manufacturer Advice

It is always advisable to lay your mini fridge in an upright position. Transporting a mini fridge on its side could lead to fridge problems later.

There are times when you have limited options such as when you are moving a dorm fridge, and then must lay the mini fridge on the side. Allow your mini fridge to rest upright for the same amount of time it was on its side.

Can you lay a mini fridge on its side? You cannot lay a mini on its side. The drain water will enter the fridge area if the mini fridge is left on its side. Transporting a mini fridge on the side interrupts its internal refrigeration system. It could also damage the internal parts of the mini fridge.

Most shelves of a mini fridge are made of glass or plastic that can break when shifted. The shelves slide, making it easy to crack when the mini fridge is moved on its side.

Before you haul your mini fridge, read the manufacturer’s instructions. Some manufacturers warn against moving the mini fridge on the side.

According to Liebherr, a multinational appliance manufacturer, always move a mini fridge upright. Moving the mini fridge on its side places lateral strain on the compressor.

According to GE, a global electronics website, all mini fridges must sit upright. Other types of refrigerators that should stay in an upright position include.


  • All French door refrigerators – you may just tilt a french door to side if you are trying to move it through a doorway that is tight.
  • Built-in refrigerators – when you are moving this type of fridge, it must be upright when in the moving vehicle.
  • Bottom Freezers – you can tilt to the side slightly when transporting this type.

A compressor is like the engine of a refrigerator. Any negative impact on it affects the normal functioning of the mini fridge. This applies even to a brand-new mini fridge.

Let us look at how a small fridge operates. It will help us get a clear picture of why it is risky to transport it on its side.

How A Mini Fridge Works

  • Evaporation and condensation of refrigerant gas produce a cooling effect in a mini fridge. A compressor makes the process possible by pumping gas into the coils of the mini fridge.
  • The compressor should run smoothly since the evaporation and condensation process is continuous. 
  • Specially formulated oils help to lubricate and cool the compressor for effective functioning.

Look below for a more illustrative video breakdown on the method refrigerators utilize in order to cool down your food.

What Happens When You Transport a Mini Fridge on Its Side?

  1. Laying a mini fridge on its side interrupts the flow of oils into the compressor. Instead, the oils flow to the cooling coils.
  2. The oil is thick, which may cause the mini fridge’s coils to clog. The clogging prevents the refrigerant gas from passing through the coils.
  3. Without the lubricating oils, the compressor will not operate as required. Your mini fridge will overheat instead of staying cool as expected
  4. The brackets that are the compressor absorb shock from vibrations only when the fridge is upright. If the mini fridge remains on its side for an extended period, the brackets will not be able to deal with the constant vibration when the fridge is transported by truck.
  5. The glass shelves will move around easily which heightens the chance of breakage.
  6. The door might not stay closed during transport if the hinge side is on the bottom.

What To Do After Transporting a Mini Fridge on Its Side

  • Allow your mini fridge to sit upright for 24 hours before turning it on if it was on its side for more than a day. The oils will then have enough time to settle in the compressor.
  • The compressor will be well lubricated and able to cool your mini fridge as required.
  • You are not limited to the 24-hour waiting period to plug in your mini-fridge. 24 hours are best used if you are unsure how long the mini fridge was lying on its side.
  • Let your mini fridge stand upright for the same amount of time it was on its side. If it was on its side for 6 hours during shipping, let it stand upright for 6 hours before turning it on.
  • Make sure to wait for the fridge to cool back down before you start to load it up with food.

My Refrigerator Was Transported on the Side. Can I Turn It On?

The level of precaution you apply after moving your fridge on it determines how long it will serve you.

As mentioned above, do not turn your refrigerator on immediately after moving it on the side. Let it sit upright for the same amount of time it was lying on its side.

The internal parts of a refrigerator are very delicate and sensitive to damage. They get damaged when you move a mini fridge in an incorrect position.

There is no guarantee that your fridge will function after laying it on its side. If you turn it on too soon, the refrigerator may no longer cool as expected.

Allowing the refrigerator to sit upright ensures the oil flows to the compressor. According to the company Domex, making sure that the oil has not leaked or been compromised will ensure that the refrigerator will cool as expected.

Before turning your refrigerator on, ensure that the coils are clean. Coils clogged with dust prevent the effective release of heat from the compressor.

The compressor must work harder than needed leading to high energy consumption. Overheating may occur, which leads to damage to your refrigerator.

How Long Can a Refrigerator Lie on Its Back?

It is very safe to move your refrigerator or mini fridge upright. You can move it on its side, but it’s not advisable. It would be best if you did not move your mini fridge on its back.

The weight of the refrigerator’s body falls on its internal working component. The internal parts face the risk of getting damaged if they are not exposed.

For whatever reason, never leave your mini fridge laid down for more than 24 hours. Chances of damage increase.

Delicately transporting your mini fridge is necessary, as such you need to have the ability to not only move it safely but keep it upright. Which means you need something that can help you shoulder the burden.

Presenting the TonsLift professional moving straps, rated with the ability to withstand 5,148 pounds. Take a look at its listing here.

Secrets You Need to Know Before Laying Your Mini Fridge on Its Back

  • Manufacturers use spring mounts to suspend the compressor in the compressor motor. The mounts should support the up and down movement of your mini fridge.
  • Moving your mini fridge on its back for long exposes the springs to a side-by-side movement. This increases the chances of breaking the spring mounts.
  • Again, rarely will spring mounts break. But laying your mini fridge on its back for long increases the chances.
  • The weight of the mini fridge’s body increases the chances of damaging the spring mounts. This may also cause the mounts to break.

Can You Transport a Freezer on Its Side?

Avoid laying a freezer on its side on its back when moving. Follow the same moving precautions applied when moving your refrigerator.

The only difference between a fridge and a freezer is the temperature. Everything else has a similar setup.

According to GE, transporting a freezer in an upright position has zero risks. You can plug it into the power source immediately on arrival.

If at all you move the freezer on its side, secure it to prevent it from opening. Let it sit upright for the same amount of time it was lying on its side before plugging it into the socket.

Avoid the worry of moving with mini-fridges by investing in one of the easiest to transport types of mini-fridges that can be found on Amazon, by BLACK+DECKER. This company is known for creating very reliable appliances and this selection is not an exception. Click here to learn more!

How Do You Fix A Refrigerator That Was Laying Down?

After laying it down, the problem you may experience with your mini fridge is that it will not cool. You face a blocked refrigeration system issue that needs immediate fixing.

There are two ways to fix a refrigerator or mini fridge that was lying down.

  • Allowing the mini fridge to sit upright for the same period it was lying down.
  • Calling a competent HVAC technician to fix the problem.

We have discussed the first option in detail. Refer to the content above on what to do after moving a mini fridge on its side.

Before calling an expert, check out where the problem is. You may not quite need any expert repair services.

List Of Things to Check Before Calling in an Expert When Your Mini Fridge Is Not Cooling.

  • Ensure the cord is plugged in tight to let in power to the mini fridge.
  • Check the fuse box for power into the outlet.
  • Use an alternative appliance. Plug it into the outlet to test whether it works. If the appliance works, call an expert. If it does not work, you have an electrical issue, not a mini-fridge problem.
  • Look for loose or worn-out power cords. Loose cords have low power transmission capacity. Fix the issue.
  • Ensure that the thermostat is on. You might have accidentally turned the thermostat off. If your mini fridge still does not cool, call an expert.
  • Check for dirt in the compressor coils. If any, clean the coils. Dirt clogs the coils preventing the compressor from cooling.
  • Call an expert if your mini fridge does not cool even after addressing the above checkpoints. If the mini fridge does not cool even after leaving it for 24 hours, call an expert.

Below Is Data on Some of the Most Highly Recommended Ways of Moving a Mini-Fridge:

How To Move a Mini fridgePercentage of total results
Preparation is important, so make sure to determine how large of a vehicle is required to transport the mini fridge.22.22%
A highly recommended tip is to lay the fridge on the side opposite of its hinges (so that the door stays closed) as you’re moving.27.78%
Making sure to secure loose items such as shelves and trays is important when moving your mini fridge. Also, if it wasn’t already implied, make sure to clear out your fridge’s contents.16.67%
Securing the mini fridge with straps or similar mechanisms is suggested to avoid movement and damage.11.11%
To avoid possible injuries, make sure to use some sort of dolly or other forms of leverage. Although it may seem a bit overkill, rest assured it’s better to be safe than sorry.22.22%
Data derived from multiple online renovation forums

7 Tips of Moving a Mini Fridge

Whether you bought a new mini-fridge or moving houses, there are precautions you need to observe. Below are safety tips for moving a mini fridge.

  1. Empty All the Contents of the Mini Fridge

Get rid of all the food and drinks in your mini-fridge, preferably 24 hours before moving. If you have anything on the mini fridge, such as magnets, take them off too. Remove all of the food items and place them in another fridge. Frozen items should be placed in a freezer.

  1. Remove Any Moving Parts in the Mini-Fridge 

Get rid of any movable items in the mini fridge, which are glass shelves and trays. The movable items may crack during transportation.

Wrap the shelves and trays with bubble wraps or towels. Place them in boxes where they fit without leaving extra space. It helps to prevent collisions that could damage them.

Another alternative is to tape the shelves and trays in the mini fridge. This method could work, but it is not the safest.

  1. Turn Off the Mini Fridge For 24 Hours Before Moving

For an old mini fridge, turn it off and unplug it overnight before moving. Turning it off allows the evaporator of the mini fridge to defrost. This reduces the risk of damage when moving.

Turning the mini fridge off also allows the oils and fluids in the compressor to settle. Defrosting also helps to avoid leaks. Leakage may damage other appliances or furniture in the moving truck.

Coil the power cord and use tape to secure it in a tight bundle. This will allow the cord to stay in place when moving.

  1. Clean The Mini Fridge Before Moving

Clean the interior of your mini fridge with a disinfectant and wipe them dry. It helps to get rid of any remaining spills.

  1. Secure The Door of the Mini Fridge with Tape Before Moving

Close the door of your mini fridge and secure it with tape before moving. You may also use a rope or a bungee cord in addition to the tape.

Securing the door prevents it from swinging open when moving. This reduces damage to the mini fridge.

  1. Get Help When Moving the Mini Fridge

While a mini fridge is small compared to other refrigerators, you still need help moving.

Get someone to help you. Carry the mini-fridge side by side in an upright position.

Get a moving dolly with straps if you can. Ensure the mini fridge fits well on the base of the dolly. Avoid tilting the mini fridge when placing it on the dolly.

Also, check your exit route to the moving truck to ensure that the dolly will not collide with obstacles.

  1. Load The Mini Fridge into the Moving Truck in an Upright Position

You do not need a truck to move a mini fridge. You can carry it in the trunk of your car. All you need to do is ensure that the trunk is spacious enough and has a flat base.

Lift the fridge into the vehicle with a lot of care. Place it in an upright position and strap it with a rope to restrict movement.

At all costs, avoid laying your mini fridge on its side or its back. It will help avoid the damages mentioned in this article.

Final Thoughts

In summary, when moving houses or getting a new mini fridge home, safety comes first. Always move it in an upright position. Be sure to let your mini fridge sit upright for the same amount of time it was on its side before plugging it in.

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Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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