12 Best mini fridges and small refrigerators 2018

(Last updated on 17 April, 2018)                                                                                                                  (Published on 9 May, 2017)

Desktop screen, a small refrigerator and a cabinet

​Selecting ​the best 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- Small refrigerators, dorm/home/bedroom fridges and beverage chillers. But before we start with the mini fridge reviews, here is a quick list with accurate specifications.

S.no.

Refrigerator

Best for

Feature

Capacity

​Estimated yearly energy cost

Dimensions (WxHxD inches)


​1.

Danby DAR033A1BBUD2 Budweiser with black cabinet

​Kitchen, bedroom

​Low consumption Led lights

3.3 Cubic feet

  $26

17.7 x 33.1 x 20.1

​2.

Midea Whs 65 L- best selling Mini Fridge

​dorm, office

​Reversible door, Adjustable legs

1.6 Cubic Feet

  $​25

19.4 x 18.6 x 17.7 

​3.

Igloo FR326M-D-BLACK Erase Board Home Refrigerator

​Kitchen

​Erase board refrigerator with neon marker

3.2 Cubic Feet

  $27

18.25 x 33.25 x 20          

​4.

Nostalgia Coca-Cola Series RRF300SDBCOKE Refrigerator

​Beverage shops and apartments

​Bottle opener

3.2 Cubic Feet

  $33

18 x 31 x 19 

​5.

Danby designer ​DAR026A1BDD-3- Perfect dorm fridge

​Dorm

​Perfect size compact fridge

2.6 Cubic Feet 

  $30

​20.1 x 17.7 x 27 

​6.

Daewoo FR044RCNM Best Retro Refrigerator

​Kitchen, camp

​Retro design and effective cooling

4.4 Cubic Feet

  $27

19.2 x 36.1 x 22.8  

​7.

Keystone KSTRC312CB Compact 2-Door Refrigerator

​kitchen ,​ dorm

​Space-friendly model

3.1 Cubic Feet

  $32 

18.5 x 33.25 x 20

​8.

​Chefman Portable Compact Personal Fridge

desktop-table

Removable shelf

> 2 Cubic Feet

​Not found

​7.3 X 9.6 X 10.6

​9.

Nostalgia Electrics RRF300DNCBLK Retro series

Kitchen

​Water dispenser

3.0 Cubic Feet

  $33

17.7 x 33.3 x 18.7

​10.

Cooluli Mini Fridge Electric Cooler and Warmer- Best budget​ mini fridge

desktop table, travel

Multipurpose (Travel and desktop-fridge)

0.14 Cubic Feet 

​Not found

7.7  x 10.5 x 10.2

​11.

Marshall MF 4.4-NA- high capacity ​bar fridge

​Anywhere

​Authentic Marshall logo and powerful cooling

4.4 Cubic Feet

  $30

20.25 x 32 x 22.25

​12.

Haier HCR17W mini Refrigerator

​dorm, bedroom

​Simple dorm refrigerator

1.7 Cubic Feet

  $24

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. To get a placeholder for small refrigerator pricing, take a look at this listing on Amazon store

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.

​       Top 3 Picks for Best Mini Fridges ​2018

blue and white color mini fridge

                Danby Dorm Fridge                                     Marshall Bar Fridge                              Cooluli Desktop Fridge


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.

Mini fridge, dorm refrigerator infograhic showing useful info and facts
INFOGRAPHICS showing different university rules for dorm refrigerator

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. 


​Now that you know a bit about small refrigerators, lets get started with the unbiased reviews for each of the mini fridge listed above.

Danby DAR033A1BBUD2 BUDWEISER- Well-designed freezerless refrigerator

Tricolor (blue, red and white) small refrigerator

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 good-quality mini fridge will generously cost you from $200-400. However, Budweiser is available for less than $150. 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. It can hold 52 beer cans and two beer bottles and has a reversible door, so you could decide which way your door swings.

Only thing that’s missing is the freezer box. It does chill beers, but don’t expect too much as cooling is limited. It would be a perfect choice if you love English beer. Nevertheless, it might not be the best for extreme chilling purpose.   

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.

                                        Pros:

  • 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

                          Cons:

  • Light source is absent in 3.2 cubic feet model of this brand

​Midea WhS-65LB1- Best budget mini refrigerator for dorm and bedroom  

black color mini fridge

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. WHS 65LB1 has adjustable legs and reversible door.

I recommend this freestanding refrigerator for those who want to chill beer or store food items. Mechanical temperature adjustment offers a good range. 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).

                                        Pros:

  • 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. 

                          Cons:

  • Freezer output is limited, i.e. not good for making ice cubes

​Igloo FR326M-D-BLACK Erase Board- Small Home Refrigerator 

Black color medium sized refrigerator

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. It allows you to 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. IGLOO FR326M is available in black and white color as well.

                                        Pros:

  • Dry erase front door could be used for drawing or reminders. 
  • Adjustable thermostat is there for ensuring the effective cooling
  • can store microwaved food 

                          Cons:

  • Glass shelves could not bear too much weight

Nostalgia Coca-Cola RRF300SDBCOKE- Best small refrigerator for chilling beverages

                Nostalgia Coca cola mini fridge - door closed      Nostalgia Coca cola mini fridge - door open

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 excellent power efficiency and can cool drinks quickly.

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. Adjustable dial control is precise and you would feel the temperature escalating. Sliding shelves makes it easy to clean the refrigerator.

There is a spacious storage room for putting bottles and cans in the dispenser. Exterior of Nostalgia is provided with a metal-made bottle opener. Overall design is sturdy and compressor works well. 

                                        Pros:

  • 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

                          Cons:

  • Not the best choice to be used as bedroom refrigerator

​Danby ​Designer DAR026A1BDD-3- Perfect compact refrigerator for dorm and bedroom​ (TOP PICK)

Black color mini fridge

I have already mentioned the 4.4 cu ft version of this model. That said, designer is more a dorm refrigerator. This dorm fridge is a budget friendly product with good quality design.

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.

                                        Pros:

  • Spacious refrigerator interior with adjustable shelves
  • Door can hold up to 10 cans and one tall bottle
  • Energy star rated  

                          Cons:

  • ​Refrigerator exterior is not fancy

Daewoo Retro FR044RCNM - Most elegant compact refrigerator

​​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.

                                        Pros:

  • ​Elegantly designed LED
  • Spacious and practically crafted interior
  • Retro style doors gives it a great look

                          Cons:

  • ​Smaller size of this model is less available 

Keystone KSTRC312CB- Table-top Refrigerator for storing beverages and Snacks

Black color small refrigerator

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, snacks and beer-cans easily, which makes it ideal for the dorm, kitchen or office cabinets. Fruits and veggie crisper drawer is a great addition to this small refrigerator.  

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, thanks to the energy star rating.

                                        Pros:

  • Well-equipped refrigerator interior with fast cooling
  • Spacious front door 
  • Low power consumption

                          Cons:

  • Fewer color options 

Chefman ​Thermoelectric ​Personal Fridge- Best Micro ​Fridge

                                         Best personal cooler

Chefman is a good personal fridge for keeping your cans cold. However, if you are looking for storing breast milk, you might be disappointed. I was confused between Uber Chill and Chefman, but latter won the battle in nick of time.

It is an ideal mini fridge with portability that allows you to use it anywhere from home to office.

Chefman could carry six 12 oz. Soda cans in one go, so you could get instant access to child drinks. It can be used for storing quick snacks, drinks and medicines.

This mini fridge is compatible with both the AC as well as DC, ​and could be connected to your car plug. Interior part of the Chefman refrigerator contains removable shelf making the fridge customizable and cool. While you can use it for both cooling and heating purpose, heating is more efficient in this refrigerator(as compared to other desktop fridges). Chefman is Freon-free cooler, which makes it safe to be used in outdoor area. Chefman ​also offers you with a one year warranty and club recipes.

                                        Pros:

  • Smallest portable refrigerator 
  • can chill 6+ cans 
  • Both AC and DC compatible 

                          Cons:

  • cannot provide excessive cooling 

Nostalgia Electrics 3.0 Retro Series - For Kitchen, Hotel or commercial-usage

black color nostalgia (company) small refrigerator

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 fine, and the refrigerator is silent.

                                        Pros:

  • Ultra-fast cooling 
  • Integrated dispenser tank for cooling 1 litre of drinks
  • Easy to adjust thermostat dial control

                          Cons:

  • Cannot fit under the office table. 

​Cooluli Mini Fridge Electric Cooler and warmer- Best ​Mini fridges for Desktop-table and travel usage


blue and white color mini fridge blue and white color mini fridge with open door

Cooluli mini refrigerator is undoubtedly ​the best mini fridge for desktop ​users, 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.

                                        Pros:

  • Portable and lightweight 
  • Freon-free, environment friendly cooling system

                          Cons:

  • Need a short turn-off-break every few weeks 

Marshall MF4.4- NA- Authentic bar fridge for musicians (Editor's Choice)

marshal mini fridge

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.

Marshall black mini fridges
 Image source- Amazon

Marhall mini fridge is available in ​3.3 cubic feet and 4.4 cubic feet model. While the high-capacity model can  get you more interior-space, the lower capacity is more popular. While the amplifiers aren't real, it offers an authentic look to the bars and its surely a treat for the music lovers.

                                        Pros:

  • Authentic marshal design
  • 120V high-power refrigerator with low decibel compressor for noiseless cooling
  • Easy-to-adjust temperature and highly chilling refrigerator

                          Cons:

  • Water dispenser is missing

Haier HCR17W- budget-friendly option for dorms and small offices

haier (company) white mini fridge

​​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.

                                        Pros:

  • Multiple sizes are available with optimum prices 
  • Spacious interior helps with easy storage 
  • High-performance compressor components are present in bigger models.

                          Cons:

  • Models above 3.0 cubic feet could become bit noisy at times

​Pros and Cons of different types of mini fridges-

Mini fridges are categorized into three main types i.e. thermoelectric mini fridge, Compressor fridge and absorption fridge.

Thermoelectric Mini Fridge

white color open door thermoelectric mini fridge


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

Small refrigerator under office table

​​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. However, a compressor mini fridge is a bit more noisy than thermoelectric mini fridges. 

Absorption Mini Fridge

​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.

​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.  

Electricity consumption

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.

Make sure the mini fridge you are buying is highly-efficient. Do you know fridges along are responsible for 18% of household energy usage.

Freezer

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.

Storage space

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.

Adjustable shelves

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.

Portability

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 ​

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 ​

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.

Capacity

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 ​have ​researched enough you must know the consideration to take into account when ​looking for the best 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 sized refrigerator.

  • Danby
  • Midea
  • Daewoo
  • Igloo  
  • Haier

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. 

​Not sure which mini fridge is the best fit for you, comment below and I will tell you the best options.

​You might also like-

My purpose for creating this site is to help users to- find and select the right refrigerator. I’m an appliance expert (had my own appliance store a while ago). I have so far reviewed best performing small refrigerators, counter fridges and wine coolers as well. I hope my content helped you make a decision. Feel free to get in touch via contact form if you are facing problem in finding the right fridge for you.

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