In the present paper, an attempt has been made to review the performance of new refrigerant mixtures employed in vapour compression-based refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump units. The studies reported with refrigerant mixtures are categorized into six groups as follows: (i) hydrocarbon (HC), (ii) hydroflurocarbons (HFC), (iii) HFC/HC, (iv) hydrochloroflurocarbons (HCFC), (v) carbon dioxide (R744) and (vi) ammonia (R717). This paper explores the studies reported with new refrigerant mixtures in domestic refrigerators, commercial refrigeration systems, air conditioners, heat pumps, chillers and in automobile air conditioners. In addition, the technical difficulties faced with new refrigerant mixtures, further research needs in this field and future refrigerant options for new upcoming systems have been discussed in detail. This paper concludes that HC based refrigerant mixtures are identified as a long-term alternative to phase out the existing halogenated refrigerants in the vapour compression-based systems. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.