Medical fridge vs. household fridge: What’s the difference?

Medical fridge vs. household fridge: What's the difference blog banner

When stocking medications and vaccines, precision is paramount which is why a designated medical fridge must be used for storage. 

However, for some, distinguishing between a medical fridge and a household fridge can be difficult, particularly where their sole use is for refrigeration and the cost of a medical fridge can be higher. 

In this blog post, we’ll look into the key differences between medical and domestic fridges, allowing you to understand why medical fridges are essential for safeguarding sensitive medications.

Understanding medical fridges

What is a medical fridge?

A medicine fridge is specifically designed to store pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and other temperature-sensitive medical supplies. These fridges adhere to stringent regulations to maintain precise temperature control and ensure the integrity of stored medications.

In comparison, a domestic fridge, commonly found in residential kitchens, serves the general purpose of preserving perishable food items and beverages. While offering convenience and versatility, household fridges may not meet the stringent requirements for storing medications and vaccines safely.

Key features of a medical fridge

Temperature stability

Fridges used in the healthcare industry are engineered using advanced compressors to uphold consistent temperature ranges, typically between 2°C to 8°C. When a medical fridge door is opened and closed, the compressor is built to quickly work to get the fridge back to its original setting. This cold-chain temperature is often crucial for preserving the efficacy of medications.

Household refrigerators, on the other hand, are not calibrated in the same way to maintain these strict temperatures and therefore can fluctuate more easily. If medications were stored in these conditions consistently, there is a risk that they would become spoiled and ineffective. 

Alarm systems

Advanced medical fridges are equipped with alarm systems to alert personnel in case of temperature deviations, power outages, or door openings, ensuring timely intervention to prevent spoilage.

Standard fridges are not usually equipped with this feature, meaning that if medicines were stored using a domestic fridge, staff may not be aware of any issues if they were to occur.

Hygienic design

Medication fridges feature interiors with smooth surfaces and removable shelves, minimising the risk of contamination and facilitating easy cleaning.

Some domestic refrigerators come with a fixed shelf design, meaning that medications would not be able to be stored with sufficient space between them to minimise cross-contamination. 

CoolMed medical refrigerators

For reliable medical-grade refrigeration solutions, our range of fridges is designed to meet the stringent requirements of healthcare facilities. Some of the features of our medical fridges include:

  • Built-in i-Cool temperature probe which monitors and stabilises product temperatures to ensure optimum cold-chain storage conditions. 
  • External digital controllers and temperature displays allow staff to monitor and adjust fridge temperatures when required. 
  • 24/7 automatic temperature data logging with min/max temperature recording and display.
  • Audible and visual alarms to alert staff to temperature deviations, power failures and if a door is left open.
  • LED energy-efficient lighting allows medications to be picked quickly. This means temperature changes from the door being opened is kept to a minimum.
  • A two-key locking system ensures that medications are secure.
  • Some of our medical fridge models come fitted with self-closing doors. This minimises the risk of doors being left open and exposing medications to temperatures out of their recommended range. 

Get in touch 

Contact us today to learn more about our medical refrigeration equipment and customised storage solutions. Call us on +44 161 772 5666 or email us at Our team will be happy to help!