(Published on 9 May, 2017)
Selecting a quality mini fridge isn’t as easy as deciding to purchase one.
Continue reading if you are pursuing a small-sized refrigerator that will both fit your budget and conserve space. I have assessed and put up a list of 12 of the best small refrigerators.
I have compiled the best options for- apartment size refrigerators, dorm/home/bedroom fridges and beverage chillers. But before we start with the mini fridge reviews-
INFOGRAPHICS EMBED CODE-
<img class="wp-image-858 size-full" src="https://theunbiasedreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Mini-fridge-infographics-page-001.jpg" alt="Mini fridge, dorm refrigerator infograhic showing useful info and facts" width="2188" height="1458" /> Infographics showing different university rules for dorm refrigerator
Here is a quick list (with TOP picks highlighted) for those who are short on time.
Dimensions (WxHxD inches)
Danby DAR033A1BBUD2 Budweiser with black cabinet
Low consumption Led lights
3.3 Cubic feet
17.7 x 33.1 x 20.1
Midea Whs 65 L- best selling Mini Fridge
Reversible door, Adjustable legs
1.6 Cubic Feet
19.4 x 18.6 x 17.7
Igloo FR326M-D-BLACK Erase Board Home Refrigerator
Erase board refrigerator with neon marker
3.2 Cubic feet
18.25 x 33.25 x 20
Nostalgia Coca-Cola Series RRF300SDBCOKE Refrigerator
Beverage shops and apartments
3.2 cubic feet
18 x 31 x 19
Danby designer DAR026A1BDD-3- Perfect dorm fridge
Perfect size compact fridge
2.6 cu. ft.
20.1 x 17.7 x 27
Daewoo FR044RCNM Best Retro Refrigerator
Retro design and effective cooling
4.4 Cubic Feet
19.2 x 36.1 x 22.8
Keystone KSTRC312CB Compact 2-Door Refrigerator/Freezer
kitchen , dorm
3.1 Cubic Feet
18.5 x 33.25 x 20
Doctor Who Tardis Mini Fridge
Who tardis design
> 2 Cubic Feet
8 x 13 x 11
Nostalgia Electrics RRF300DNCBLK Retro series
3.0 Cubic feet
17.7 x 33.3 x 18.7
Cooluli Mini Fridge Electric Cooler and Warmer- Best budget mini fridge
desktop table, travel
Multipurpose (Travel and desktop-fridge)
0.14 Cubic feet
7.7 x 10.5 x 10.2
Marshall MF 4.4-NA- high capacity bar fridge
Authentic Marshall logo and powerful cooling
4.4 Cubic Feet
20.25 x 32 x 22.25
Haier HCR17W mini Refrigerator
Simple dorm refrigerator
1.7 Cubic Feet
18.88 x 17.88 x 19.38
How much does a mini fridge costs?
The purchase cost of a mini fridge ranges from as low as $45 to more than $1000 depending on different factors. The cooling mechanism, size and quality of construction are some of the factors that affect the price of a mini fridge. The operating costs of mini fridges are very different.
According to consumer tests carried out by Consumer Reports, some mini fridges use as much electricity as standard refrigerators while others use more energy. The lack of external condenser and fan to dissipate in desktop fridges means that they are more sensitive to temperature. As such, they tend to use more energy if placed in warm rooms. Consumer Reports estimates that mini fridges use up to $50 worth of electricity every year.
Quick things to Know When Buying a Mini Fridge-
Look for your mini fridge dimensions- Generally, buy the biggest mini fridge that can fit in the available space. This is because the amount of insulation that can be placed in smaller models is limited. As such, those models require increased electricity for sufficient cooling. Make sure that you take measurements of the available space and purchase a model that’s proportional to the space. This will help save on energy costs.
Extra features aren’t always good- From automatic defrost functions to vegetable crispers, there are all kinds of extra features that come with fridges. And while they may seem like cool additions, it is important to note that these features increase the risk of breakdowns. Simplicity is key when purchasing a mini fridge. It not only guarantees longevity, but offers increased efficiency since the only goal is to preserve the food and keep the drinks cold.
There is nothing wrong with shopping around- Shopping around allows you to compare different models and their costs. Be sure to ask different retailers about the prices, warranty coverage and after sale services. Once you identify the model with the best deal, you can go ahead and make a payment. Keep in mind that the best deal isn’t always in terms of price. It can include an extended warranty, free delivery, installation and customer support.
For Dorm refrigerators- If you are planning to purchase a mini fridge for your dorm room, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the school rules in regard to the issue. Most universities and colleges have a limitation of 5 cubic feet refrigerator capacity. There are some that don’t have restrictions and others that completely ban refrigerators from dorm rooms. Some campuses also offer a free compact refrigerator/microwave unit in every dorm room. Also, there is a limit for the power consumption of your refrigerators. So, consider all of these factors when buying.
Different type of mini fridges
Mini fridges are categorized into three main types i.e. thermoelectric mini fridge, Compressor fridge and absorption fridge.
- Thermoelectric Mini Fridge
Thermoelectric mini fridges cool the contents using the Peltier Effect. It was named after Jean Charles Athanese Peltier, the physicist who discovered it. He found that when an electrical current is passed between two dissimilar conductors, heating or cooling may occur at the junction. A thermoelectric mini fridge comes with a Peltier plate attached to a heat pump. The plate pulls warm air from the fridge and disperses it to the surrounding air using aluminum fins.
The main advantage of thermoelectric fridges is that it is energy efficient. This is because for Peltier effect to work, very little electricity is required. Additionally, it doesn’t require moving parts to generate the Peltier effect. This means that they are vibration-free and operate quietly. Thermoelectric fridges are also lightweight and easy to carry.
The downside to purchasing a thermoelectric mini fridge is that the Peltier effect has limited cooling abilities as compared to other cooling mechanisms. The cooling system can get overwhelmed if the fridge is placed in an exceptionally warm room.
- Compressor Mini Fridge
The cooling mechanism of a compressor mini fridge is more or less the same as that of a standard refrigerator. The main difference is that a compressor undercounter refrigerator is designed to run on mains electricity and 12-volt battery. Compressor mini fridges use a compressor, evaporator, condenser and a refrigerant.
The compressor motor pressurizes the refrigerant and transforms it into a liquid while raising its temperature. The refrigerant moves through the condenser coils and disperses excess heat to surrounding air before reaching the expansion valve and eventually the compressor.
Compressor mini fridges have a very powerful cooling system and do a better job of lowering the temperatures than thermoelectric models. In addition, small refrigerators that incorporate a compressor are not susceptible to environmental stress. They also offer more storage options – they can be installed freestanding or as undercounter refrigerators.
There are two main disadvantages of compressor refrigerators. They have very high operating costs and generate vibrations, hence noisy.
- Absorption Mini Fridge
Otherwise known as a three-way fridge, this type of mini fridge runs on LPG and 12 or 240 volts. It uses gas flow heat exchanges and is a popular choice for campers due to their versatility and ability to provide stable temperatures at a cheap cost.
Absorption mini fridges are a good choice for someone who spends a lot of time in remote locations. One LPG cylinder will keep your small fridge frosty for several weeks, which is longer than any battery can last.
The downside to using an absorption mini fridge is that it has to be level for it to operate efficiently. In addition, it drains batteries quickly and requires ample ventilation. All things considered, it doesn’t perform as well as a compressor mini fridge.
Unbiased reviews for 12 best mini fridges and small refrigerators-
Danby Budweiser has an interior refrigerator with the capacity of 3.3 cubic feet. This model is also available in for as low as- 1.4 cubic feet and as high as- 4.4 cubic feet.
A simple mini fridge will generously cost you from $200-400. However, Budweiser is available for $170. This budget is perfect; especially when compared to the additional features it has to offer.
Worktop has an additional safety layer for making it scratch proof. LED is embedded in the centermost part instead of the sidewall of refrigerator ceiling. This arrangement of LED helps maintain the brightness with lesser energy consumption.
Interior shelves are made of stainless steel and not of glass, meaning you can put bulky weighing items. You can re-adjust the compartment space as the shelves are adjustable.
- Freezerless refrigerator cooling system for faster chilling
- Well-equipped fridge door for carrying 14 cans and 2 bottles in one go.
- Scratch proof layer is supported with multicolored design
- Light source is absent in 3.2 cubic feet model of this brand
Midea WHS-65LB1 is a space-saving refrigerator with a single reversible door. This model is around 20'' wide, which makes it the most space-saving appliance. You can put it on your office table or the kitchen slab.
It's a stainless steel finish with efficient refrigerator compartment. This mini fridge is best for those who are looking for an inexpensive mini fridge with active cooling. However, freezer-part is a bit low. It might not be a good option if you are thinking to make ice cubes.
I recommend this freestanding refrigerator for those who want to chill beer or store food items. You can alter the temperature to as low as -2 degree Celsius. You can use the warranty option if the cooling reduces (slows a bit after 9 to 11 months regular usage).
- Budget friendly fridge with a stainless steel design.
- dual side door opening makes it easier to put the refrigerator anywhere.
- Refrigerator compartment is well-organised for storing food items.
- Freezer output is limited, i.e. not good for making ice cubes
Texas-based Igloo is known for creating different refrigerators with fancy features. FR326M has a writable front door. You can write messages and draw anything. You can write-erase a list of essential items to bring from the supermarket.
This Igloo refrigerator is UL certified and has a cord of around 5 ft. The adjustable thermostat is present. For those who don’t know, this feature is to maintain an optimum mini fridge temperature. It can efficiently create ice cubes, and the refrigerator's back area does not generate noise.
If you are tired of forgetting to bring kitchen products or have those fun-loving kids that want to draw on your walls and doors; then this product is for you and your aspiring Picassos!
With a reversible door, put this exquisite mini fridge on either side of the table and it will open without colliding with your furniture.
- Dry erase front door could be used for drawing or reminders.
- Adjustable thermostat is there for ensuring the effective cooling
- can store microwaved food
- Glass shelves could not bear too much weight
If you love house parties or looking to open a small shop, then Nostalgia Coca-cola fridge is unarguable, the best choice for you.
RRF300SDBCOKE has an excellent power efficiency and can quickly cool drinks in less time.
The freezer compartment is faster as compared to other small fridges. You can grab this high-performance refrigerator for $200. Carrying capacity is 3.2 cubic feet, which is good for this price.
Freezer compartment is faster as compared to other small fridges. You can grab this high-performance fridge for $200. Carrying capacity is 3.2 cubic feet, which is good for this price.
There is a good room for storing bottles and cans in the dispenser. Exterior of Nostalgia is stabbed with a metal-made bottle opener.
- Fast cooling Freezer with appropriate storage space
- Refrigerator compartment chills quickly for better performance
- Metal opener on the door helps in opening the cold drink cans easily
- Not the best choice to be used as bedroom refrigerator
I have already mentioned the 4.4 cu ft version of this model. That said, designer is more a dorm refrigerator.
This freezerless fridge is a budget friendly product with good quality. One thing I always saw in this brand is reliability.
Danby designer is available in multiple sizes, but 2.6 cu ft is the optimum dorm refrigerator. Danby designer DAR026A1BDD has 8-can holders integrated in the door (Unlike 1.6 cu ft version which offers only 6 cans space). With around 253kwh yearly energy consumption, it would be good for those looking for compact fridges with low electricity bills.
DAR026A1BDD-3 is a compressor refrigerator, which ensures powerful cooling and low power consumption. It is energy star rated, which by the way, is essential for refrigerators. There is a holder with 2-cans-capacity above the bottle storage in the door. So, you can in total store 10 cans in this dorm refrigerator.
Worktop is scratch resistant and shelves are adjustable. There is a good amount of extra space below the lowest shelf.
- Spacious refrigerator interior with adjustable shelves
- Door can hold up to 10 cans and one tall bottle
- Energy star rated
- Refrigerator exterior is not fancy
Daewoo retro mini fridge is one of a kind, the robust features, and elegant aesthetic just wins the game. Mint green color Daewoo refrigerator is a vintage-inspired aesthetic design with a spacious interior. It’s a duo of retro-styled look with standardized and practical features that will provide an all-around kitchen solution.
Unlike other mini fridges, temperature control is more swift and precise, which is why it offers quick cooling.
There are separate upper and lower side space boxes embedded in the door, which really has enormous room. The CFC-free design gives you access to every part of the mini fridge interior. The exterior is made with state of the art high-quality metal. About the lifeline of daewoo fridge, I found absolutely no complaint saying the fridge stopped working or it is not cooling.
You can just go for this mini fridge if your budget is generous. If you would love to spend a one-time buck for an elegant looking table top refrigerator with robust features, then Daewoo FR044RCNM is for you.
- Elegantly designed LED
- Spacious and practically crafted interior
- Retro style doors gives it a great look
- Smaller size of this model is less available
Keystone KSTRC312CB has worked more on the interior components than the exterior look. They have added additional strings and fittings in the side door compartment. You could put multiple cans in the front door space and still have space to place the bottles in it. Keystone refrigerator can store drinks and beer-cans quickly, which makes it ideal for the dorm, rooms or office cabinets.
There is an extra storage space in front of the freezer part (more specifically, in the front door). Other than can holders, there is a 2-liter-bottle-room. Front door is reversible and the thermostat is adjustable.
This top-mount refrigerator is integrated with light; nevertheless, it still has low power consumption.
- Well-equipped refrigerator interior with fast cooling
- Spacious front door
- Low power consumption
- Fewer color options
Who Tardis is a personal refrigerator that you could put anywhere from home to small office.
Officially licensed Doctor Who Tardis refrigerator can hold 12 ounces cans inside, which means you can have instant access to chilled beverages throughout day at your workstation. You can also change the interior to the heating mode for heating small snacks.
It shows cool flashing lights and sound effects every time your open/close the door. This Tardis shaped mini fridge is compatible with both the AC as well as DC. Interior part of the tardis refrigerator contains removable shelf making the Doctor Who fridge customizable and cool.
- Smallest portable refrigerator
- can chill 6+ cans
- Both AC and DC compatible
- cannot provide excessive cooling
Nostalgia RRF300DNCBLK is a retro design refrigerator with integrated chrome dispenser. The tank has a carrying capacity of 1 liter. Height is 33.3”, meaning you cannot put it on office table. It is ideal for hotels and kitchens.
You don’t need to add multiple beverage cans, you can just empty it into the dispensed tank, and your mini fridge will serve it chilled. I didn’t found any problem in the inside fittings, cooling is compelling, and the refrigerator is silent. Magnet sticks, cooling is rapid, and LED is present.
- Ultra-fast cooling
- Integrated dispenser tank for cooling 1 litre of drinks
- Easy to adjust thermostat dial control
- Cannot fit under the office table.
Cooluli mini refrigerator is undoubtedly an excellent product for the travel enthusiasts and camping lovers. It provides both the heating and the cooling feature allowing you to heat the food in the jungle or drink chill beverages. It rapidly changes from cooling to heating; good for crisping chips
Compatible USB cable can drive quick AC and DC to this compact fridge. Light-weight fridge-frame of around 4 pounds improves the portability. This cooluli refrigerator is a thermoelectric cooler which works without Freon meaning it’s E-friendly and doesn’t through the heat.
Cooluli is made for keeping the beverages and other groceries cold when traveling, or chilling the cans (up to 6) when in office.
- Portable and lightweight
- Freon-free, environment friendly cooling system
- Need a short turn-off-break every few weeks
Marshall amp fridge had always been favorite for the design and performance. Marshal MF4.4 is embedded with authentic logo and knobs. It has adjustable tempered glass shelf for ensuring longer shelf-lifeline. Low decibel compressor reduces the fridge noise.
Amazingly spacious marshal compact fridge can cool up to 124-liter beverages without any cooling problem- it’s cooling system is reliable and optimum. You can put the beer bottles, and it will chill within few minutes. Interestingly, the freezer is much more potent than regular mini fridges and boasts efficient freezing.
Both the part of marshall mini fridge- refrigerator and freezer are temperature adjustable. If you are a guitarist, then you will definitely love this fridge.
- Authentic marshal design
- 120V high-power refrigerator with low decibel compressor for noiseless cooling
- Easy-to-adjust temperature and highly chilling refrigerator
- Water dispenser is missing
Haier HCR17W is always successful in creating a useful refrigerator range, carrying the same flow; it brought us the dorm refrigerator. HCR17W has a load-bearing wire-shelf, meaning you can put heavy things inside without worrying about the glass-shelf-problem.
Cooling is controlled and efficient; however, if you want you can precisely change the temperature via the adjustable thermostat. The front door is provided with adequate space.
The entire structure is designed such that you will have more space than other mini fridges of the same capacity. For instance, the back is flat, and freezer is made just
Optimum for storing ice cream bars. Haier HCR17W is available in variable sizes- 1.7 to 4.5 cubic feet so that you can select your budget compatible mini fridge.
- Multiple sizes are available with optimum prices
- Spacious interior helps with easy storage
- High-performance compressor components are present in bigger models.
- Models above 3.0 cubic feet could become bit noisy at times
When is a mini fridge the right fit?
A mini fridge can prove a worthy investment for someone who has limited space or is always on the move. For instance, university students and campers could benefit a great deal from a mini fridge. This is also something that could come handy in an office.
A larger mini fridge consumes less electricity as compared to a smaller mini fridge. This is due to the absence of external fans in smaller mini fridges, which forces the units to use more electricity to ensure sufficient cooling. A larger mini fridge is more energy efficient and doesn’t consume a lot of electricity. That said, many modern undercounter fridges incorporate advanced technologies that help minimize electricity consumption. You can look at the efficiency information, which tells you how many kWh a model uses in 24 hours.
Be sure to look for a mini fridge that comes with a freezer compartment. This compartment should span the entire width of the fridge, thus giving you more space for frozen food. It is important to note that having a freezer compartment doesn’t mean that the fridge has to have two doors. A single-door model with a freezer will do a better job of holding consistent temperatures compared to one with two doors.
You don’t want to make a purchase only to realize that your mini fridge cannot fit in the available space. Make sure you take measurements of the available space before embarking on your search. If you wish to place your fridge on a desk, be sure to buy a model specially designed for just that.
A mini fridge with adjustable shelves makes it easy for you to take maximum advantage of the available space. The same cannot be said for permanent shelves.
One of the main advantages of mini fridges is that they are small and lightweight, making them easy to transport. While that’s the case, it is important to ensure that the light weight of your mini fridge doesn’t compromise its quality.
Temperature range and regulation
A mini fridge must have a thermostat for regulating the temperature. If the idea is to store drinks exclusively, a mini fridge that can drop the temperatures to 5 degrees will suffice. However, the temperature needs to be lower if you want to store meats and groceries.
Reversible doors are the way to go
While two-door models are good for your frozen food needs, we always advise purchasing a mini fridge with a reversible door. This feature allows you to change the way the door swings open. It makes it easy for you to customize the appliance so that it fits the room. For instance, you can reverse the fridge door so that it doesn’t bang against a cabinet or make it more comfortable to use if you’re left-handed.
Glass shelves are easier to clean
Traditional wire racks can prove difficult to clean. They will force you to clean the whole fridge if there is a leak. On the other hand, glass shelves are sturdier and do a better job of preventing a mess by keeping stored items from toppling over. They are not permeable and as such, can contain leaks and make cleaning easy.
The capacity of a mini fridge is usually listed in cubic feet and sometimes as the number of 12-cans that a unit can hold. This gives you an idea of how many items can be placed inside. Keep in mind that the freezer and shelves take up some space.
How to decide the best mini-fridge to buy?
If you reasearched enough you must know the consideration to take into account when buying a small refrigerator. You need to look for portability, dimensions, cooling and carrying capacity. Here are some of the generous tips to help you buy it online.
Select a budget
Find out the purpose of buying your refrigerator and your budget. For instance, if you are buying a fridge for just cooling drinks $500 wouldn’t be worth spending.
If you directly enter the refrigerator marketplace without deciding your budget, you will certainly end up perplexed about your buying decision, in that case, you will just keep increasing some bucks for superior features, but there ain’t any ending to this. Instead of this, calculate your savings and budget standard and adhere to it.
Check your Space
Know the dimensions of your refrigerator including the width, length and depth. If you are looking for a table-top fridge, dimensions won’t be necessary. Nevertheless, it’s important to take the measurements when you already have a cabinet to put it in.
Always choose a brand
Most of the problems including a unorganized interior, noisy compressor or slower cooling are already managed when you go for a bigger brand. Selecting a reputable brand refrigerator is a smart move that will save you from a lot of hassle.
Also, high-quality brands have increased resale value which means you can get the most bangs for your buck! Here are some of the most reputable brands for buying a small-size fridge.
How to Buy an undamaged mini refrigerator online?
A very common problem with most of the fridge-stores is- dents and scratches. No matter how well the product is packed, it sometimes gets dented. While it happens rarely, some quick precautions would save you from this.
Choosing the right seller
An essential element of making a perfect buy with Amazon is to choose a seller that has both - good reputation and high sales. These things help know about the customer service provided by the seller. This means you need to examine the reviews and ratings before making a decision. Look at the feedback and know how satisfied their customers are.
Knowing your way out
Many of the Amazon products including mini fridges provide a warranty or a cash-back guarantee. Make sure that the compact fridges you are buying provide a verifiable money-back guarantee within a prescribed deadline.
However, if your mini-fridge does not include all this, take a look at the feedback and see if anyone has provided a return/change refrigerator feedback.
And that’s it!
Now that you know about the things to look for you are ready to go buy your own mini refrigerator. There are some good fits listed above to meet your requirements. If you want an elegant piece with a retro design, you can go for Daewoo mini fridge; however, if you always forget the things to bring, you just need an Igloo Erase board mini refrigerator..
You might also like-