The 10 Best Mini Fridges
This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in May of 2015. Whether you don't need much food storage or the refrigerator in your kitchen doesn’t have enough space for all the beer, wine, soda, and snacks you need to keep cold, these mini fridges are a nice add-on solution that can tuck away in a corner or under a counter. Compact and more affordable than their full-sized counterparts, they're also ideal for studios, dorm rooms, offices, and games rooms. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best mini fridge on Amazon.
December 12, 2019:
Mini fridges aren't just a common solution to dorm room food storage; a mini fridge in the bedroom can solve the age-old problem of roommates stealing your beer. Specifically to that end, the Homelabs Cooler and NewAir NBC060 are both capable glass-front can fridges that let you or your coworkers see what's inside at a glance. Their main drawback is that they don't have any room for making ice or holding frozen food.
The RCA RFR835 and Euhomy RF-S are both relatively standard and feature separate cooler and freezer doors which can increase efficiency and keep frozen things frozen without introducing much frost. The Danby DCR045 and Igloo FR326M both have only one door, so they're slightly more compact at the cost having a separate freezer compartment. The 4.5-cubic-foot Danby is also notable for its above-average capacity. The Homelabs 030210 is similar, but has a slightly smaller footprint in case the others don't quite fit in the space you have reserved for them. If you don't need a ton of room, the Galanz Refrigerator is worth a look in large part because it's so incredibly affordable. For something considerably different, check out the AstroAI Portable, which is somewhat limited in its cooling ability but is compact and light enough to offer an entirely different kind of convenience.
And while those listed above are pretty close to the common 3.2-cubic-foot standard, we want to bring to your attention to the Danby DPF073, which is somewhere between a simple drink cooler and a full-size refrigerator. If you're storing food for a small family and don't want to take the plunge on an expensive, heavy, and bulky Frigidaire, this 7.3-cubic-foot appliance provides considerably more cold storage than almost all of the rest.
The Mighty Mini Fridge
Many of these units have space that can serve as a freezer.
At a certain point in the lives of many students and young people, there will be cause for them to own a mini fridge. For some, the fridge will serve as a supplement to the meal plan at their college. For others, it will add a degree of independence to basement digs that serve as a transitional living space while they enter the workforce out of high school.
Wherever your mini fridge ends up living, and whomever it’s meant to serve, you’ll surely appreciate the additional food storage it provides. In fact, if we take a good look at the case for owning a full-size fridge in the first place, it starts to appear pretty thin. You may find, as you shop for you’re the college freshman or avid RV’er in the family, that you could use one of these handy tools yourself, and that you might even consider replacing your full-size fridge entirely.
In many countries around the world, apartments don’t always come with full-size fridges, or with the space for them. In part, this is because the food economies in other countries aren’t as dependent on large quantities of meat and dairy, nor does their grocery culture have as many processed foods built into it. The result — at least in the United States — is a tendency to shop less often, and to store more perishable foods in a larger refrigerator, along with huge quantities of less perishable, more heavily processed foods in pantries and on storage racks. Elsewhere, people shop more often for fewer groceries per trip, allowing them to get by rather well with little more than a mini fridge.
Given the epidemics of diabetes and obesity in the US, there might be a case for more trips to the grocer’s and a smaller refrigerator. Even if the food quality issue isn’t at the heart of it, necessitating more trips to the store can at least keep you more active, especially since smaller grocery hauls will allow you to bike down to the store, instead of driving there. That can reduce your waistline as it reduces your carbon footprint. On that note, the refrigerator is one of the strongest [consumers of electricity] in the home, responsible for some 14 percent of the average home’s energy consumption. A mini fridge can drastically cut down on that environmental impact while also saving you money on electrical bills.
Keep in mind, as well, that a mini fridge isn’t only a refrigerator. Many of these units have space that can serve as a freezer. Some even have dedicated freezer compartments with their own separate doors. Whatever your needs, whether you’re looking to outfit a mini bar or dramatically go green, a mini fridge can meet them.
How To Choose The Right Mini Fridge For You
Knowing where you want to put your new mini fridge and what you want to store in it will go a long way towards informing your decision from among the models on our list. As far as performance is concerned, none of the units we’ve included are going to have a hard time keeping things cold, so your choice mostly comes down to a few key variables.
You may have limited space in your bar area, though, with specific cutouts between counter segments, so make sure the measurements match.
Perhaps you want a mini fridge to augment a bar setup in your home. Features like adjustable shelves — especially those that can create tall enough spaces inside the unit to comfortably house 750ml bottles — are vital here. Some mini fridges will even have built-in can compartments where you can store sodas and other mixers. You may have limited space in your bar area, though, with specific cutouts between counter segments, so make sure the measurements match.
Size is an even bigger factor in a mini fridge intended for an RV. Once you know which models will fit, however, you can evaluate them based on the other amenities you know exist in the vehicle. If you don’t have a full kitchen in the RV, you might rely more heavily on processed foods while on the road, which would allow you to get away with a smaller unit.
If your mini fridge is destined for a dorm room, it’s worth knowing whether the student in question will have any access to a kitchen. College meal plans tend to gouge students for the amount and quality of food provided, so if undergrads have the opportunity to cook for themselves, they could save money and stay healthy. Getting as large a min fridge as possible for a college student is ideal.
A Brief History Of Refrigeration
Before electrical refrigeration, we had a number of ways to preserve food, from salting it to burying it underground. A small industry existed around ice harvesting in the 19th century, in which boats hauled enormous blocks of ice that were broken up and sold off to restaurants and consumers alike.
As one line of fridges got bigger and bigger, the other shrunk to accommodate the needs of smaller dwellings.
Then came the icebox, which was essentially just the skeleton of a refrigerator, without any of the mechanical components, kind of like a large, hard-sided cooler that stood upright and had a sealable door. These insulated containers became common in many American homes before refrigeration as we know it finally came along.
Developments in vapor compression fueled experiments with mechanical refrigeration throughout the late 1800s, but it wasn’t until the synthesis of Freon in 1930 that the fridge as we know it was born. These units were cheaper and more reliable than their pricey ancestors, and within a few decades it was hard to find a home without one. Since these early refrigerators more closely resembled the iceboxes that preceded them, they were closer in size to large contemporary mini fridges that the mammoth refrigerators in many of today's kitchens. As one line of fridges got bigger and bigger, the other shrunk to accommodate the needs of smaller dwellings.
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