What is the ideal size for a mini fridge? Can you store food and vegetables in them? When searching for a refrigerator for your dorm, garage, outdoor bar, or bedroom, a full-size model may not be suitable. This is where a mini fridge can offer a convenient solution.
A mini fridge is no more than a quarter the size of a standard refrigerator. You can find sizes ranging from 1.6 cu ft. to 5.5 cu ft. on the market.
Today, we're going to look at everything you need to know about mini fridges, how they compare to other compact refrigerators, and reveal our picks for the best mini fridge models on the market.
Who Is A Mini Fridge For?
A mini fridge can be used by just about anyone. They're versatile, small enough to place in just about any location, and can hold pretty much anything you need to keep cold. Mini fridges are quite popular with college students who need to keep food and drinks cold in their dorm rooms.
The small size of these fridges allows them to be used in smaller dorm rooms without taking up too much space. A mini fridge also makes a great addition to entertainment rooms, kids rooms, or offices where you may want to keep additional snacks and beverages. And if you need to store skincare products, a mini fridge can help provide cold storage in a compact size.
Who is A Mini Fridge Not For?
While a mini fridge is a great appliance to have, it's not always the best option for everyone. For example, some people may think that a mini fridge will be a good option as an undercounter wine storage unit. While this sounds like a good option, you may not like the fit and finish and should opt for a wine fridge instead.
Mini fridges do not offer all of the same features as full-size refrigerators. For example, if you want to store vegetables, you'll want a refrigerator with humidity and airflow monitoring to keep your vegetables fresh. Most mini fridges do not offer ice makers either. While you can use ice trays in mini fridges that have freezers, there will not be adequate space for an automatic ice maker.
What Is Considered A Mini Fridge?
While the term “mini fridge” can be used to describe any fridge that is smaller in size, it actually refers to a specific type of refrigerator. Mini fridges range in size from 1.6 to 5.5 cu ft. To put this into perspective, 1.6 cu ft is equal to about 60 cans of soda, while 5.5 cu ft translates to roughly 150 cans of soda.
Mini fridges come in a few different varieties, including cube-shaped, mid-sized, and undercounter. Let’s take a closer look at each to give you a better idea of what differentiates each type.
Cube-Shaped Mini Fridges
A cube-shaped mini fridge is one of the most common types for students. These fridges are compact at approximately 1.6 cu ft or smaller, and are typically found in dorm rooms. These small fridges are perfect for storing a small amount of food, beverages, and even cosmetics or skincare products.
Their small size makes them quite universal and can be used in a variety of different settings. Although small, you can still store up to 60 cans of soda. Some cube-shaped mini fridges also have a small freezer to store small ice trays or freezables.
Mid-Sized Mini Fridges
If you want more storage room and separate freezers, a mid-sized mini fridge may be your best option. Mid-sized mini fridges range between 3.1-4.5 cu ft and are best used for storing beverages or lunches. These fridges should not be used to store food long-term, as they do not have the same humidity and airflow monitoring as full-size refrigerators.
Mid-sized units are perfect for entertainment rooms, offices, and larger dorm rooms. You can easily accommodate enough food and drinks for one to two people. Some models even have separate freezer compartments for storing frozen foods and ice.
Undercounter Mini Fridges
Last but not least is the under-counter mini fridge. These fridges are usually used for built-in applications in a kitchen, bar, or outdoor kitchen. This is the most popular type of mini fridge and comes in at around 5.5 cu ft, making it the largest mini fridge available.
Since these refrigerators are used as built-in appliances, they are available in more stylish and functional options. They are usually made to have one or two doors, with the two-door options featuring a top freezer compartment. However, if you're considering one of these fridges for beverage storage, we suggest going with an under-counter wine fridge or beverage cooler.
Factors To Consider When Shopping for a Mini Fridge
When shopping for a mini fridge, there are a few factors you’ll want to keep in mind. Let’s break down the most common factors to give you a better idea of what to look for in your next mini fridge.
Freezer vs No Freezer
A freezer compartment can be a make or break feature in a mini fridge. Mini fridges that include a freezer are offered in one or two-door configurations. Single-door mini fridges with freezers have the freezer section incorporated into the fridge. Dual-door mini fridges with freezers have a separate compartment for the freezer.
One downside to single-door applications is that these freezers are less effective when compared to their two-door counterparts. This is because the door is opened so frequently for access to the fridge.
Items You Want To Store
Knowing what you want to store in your mini fridge is another large factor, as you'll want a fridge that can adequately store everything you need. The number of cans, food containers, and other items you plan on putting in your fridge will directly reflect the size and type of the fridge you need to purchase.
Some Items That Are Good To Store In A Mini Fridge:
- Skin Care Products
Some Items That Are Not Good To Store In A Mini Fridge:
- Long-Term Food Storage
It's important to take noise level into consideration when shopping for a mini fridge. This is measured in decibels (dB) and should be a deciding factor for those looking for a fridge that will be kept indoors. If you just need a fridge to keep in your garage or an outside kitchen, this may not be as big of a concern.
The ptice of a mini fridge depends heavily on the factors above and will ultimately be the make-or-break factor if you're on a budget. The price range for a mini fridge increases with the size and amount of features that it offers. The best mini fridges are priced accordingly:
Small mini fridges - $50-$250
Medium mini fridges - $250-$599
Undercounter mini fridges - $599 and higher
Mini Fridge vs Standard Refrigerator
When it comes to comparing a mini fridge to a standard refrigerator, it's easy to determine which one will be best for your specific needs. To start, a mini fridge offers less storage space than a standard refrigerator. While this is pretty obvious, it's worth noting, as a mini fridge is best for one to two people. A standard fridge, however, is more suitable for up to 4-5 people.
Mini fridges are also best for short-term food storage. If you want to store food long-term, you'll want to go with a standard refrigerator, as it has more features to keep food fresher, longer.
Due to their small size and the way that they operate, mini fridges use more energy than a standard refrigerator. Lastly, mini fridges do not have the same efficiency as a standard fridge does. This means you won't see the same low temperatures as you do with a standard fridge.
Mini Fridge vs Undercounter Refrigerator
Whether you're building an outdoor kitchen or just adding a refrigerator under your counter, a mini fridge is a good appliance to consider. However, when it comes to having a built-in appliance, you want it to be stylish and match your other appliances.
Since most mini fridges are designed with flexibility in mind, you won't get a customized design in a standard mini fridge. For a more streamlined kitchen design, we recommend going with an under-counter refrigerator. Unlike mini fridges, under-counter models are designed to fit perfectly in under-counter spaces and come in a number of finishes to match your other appliances.
Mini Fridge Vs Beverage Cooler
Most mini fridges are purchased in order to keep beverages cold. This is why many people turn to mini fridges for beverage cooler solutions. However, going with an actual beverage cooler will allow you better performance, as your drinks will be colder when compared to a mini fridge.
Also known as beverage centers, these coolers have a temperature range of 0°F to 38°F to keep beer and sodas cold. Mini fridges typically have a temperature range of 35°F to 42°F. Beverage coolers will usually feature more aesthetically pleasing design elements like glass doors, glass shelves, and even lights to give the fridge a more modern look. These are great for indoor bars or outdoor kitchen arrangements.
7 Best Mini Fridges
Now that you know what to look for when buying a mini fridge, let’s take a look at our top picks. We’ve hand-selected each of the 7 picks below based on a combination of product testing and research. Although we weren’t able to personally test every model, we conducted thorough research to make sure we recommended only the very best options on the market.
In fact, we’ll never recommend a product to you that we wouldn’t recommend to our family members,as we want you to be thrilled with your selections.
P.S. - Our articles are crafted by our team of both appliance experts and expert fact-checkers. We’re not a news outlet, but we take great pride in providing our users with the most accurate and in-depth guides on the internet.
Without further ado, let's dive into our picks for the 7 best mini fridges available.
1) Best Value Compact: Midea WHD-113FSS1
Midea is an industry leader when it comes to refrigeration. This particular mini fridge offers a 3.1 cu ft capacity and stores all types of items you want to keep refrigerated or frozen. With a dual door design, you'll get a separate freezer section, which is about half the size of the refrigerator compartment.
One of the best features of this Midea mini fridge is the dual-compartment design, which allows for separate refrigerator and freezer use. This particular mini fridge has a stainless steel finish to match modern appliances, but is also offered in black or white to fit your specific needs.
Midea has designed this mini fridge to have reversible hinges, which allows you to change the direction your mini fridge opens. This is a great feature, as it allows you flexibility in where you'd like to place the refrigerator within your home. The removable shelves and soda can holders are also great for easy cleaning and organization.
Why You Should Buy
If you want a mini fridge that is built with quality products and backed by a reputable company, look no further than Midea. Midea’s commitment to quality and backing their products goes unmatched. This mini fridge checks all the boxes if you want a mid-sized mini fridge and all of the convenience features you could ask for.
2) Most Practical: Midea WHS-65LB1
Next up, we have another Midea mini fridge, only this time, in a much smaller package. The Midea WHS-65LB1 is just as popular as the fridge above, but is geared towards those looking for a small, cube-shaped fridge. This 1.6 cu ft mini fridge offers enough storage space for one person and features a small freezer.
The best feature of this mini fridge is the small, compact design. The black finish will work with just about any decor, but can also be purchased in stainless steel or white.
This small fridge is actually quite roomy and can fit a full 2-liter bottle on its door with room to spare. It features one wire rack, which can easily be removed for cleaning, and a flap-style door on the freezer to keep the interior as cold as possible when the door is opened.
Why You Should Buy
This mini fridge will appeal most to college students who need a small dorm fridge or a professional who's looking to keep a fridge under their office desk. The small size allows it to be used virtually anywhere without taking up too much space. Made by Midea, you'll get world-class service, a 1-year warranty, and a high-quality refrigerator that is trusted by many.
3) Most Fun: Coca Cola Red Polar Bear, Portable
Switching gears from the normal mini fridge you're used to seeing, Coca Cola offers a portable mini fridge that is both unique and functional. This mini fridge is best for portable use and is limited to a six can capacity. However, it's an easy way to keep a six pack cold anywhere you go. Weighing in at only 3.96lbs, even with the weight of six soda cans, you can easily pick this up and take it anywhere.
The most attractive feature of this cooler is the design. Shaped and designed to mimic an old-school Coke cooler, Coca-Cola has incorporated its signature bright red color and white polar bear on the fridge door. The fact that this cooler is portable makes it super usable, as you can easily take it from room to room, on your boat, or for use on a road trip. The Thermoelectric design allows you to use this mini fridge to both cool food and beverages and keep food warm. With a temperature range from 32°F (18°C) up to 135°F (57°C), the possibilities are truly endless.
Why You Should Buy
This cooler is a great solution for those who want a versatile and portable appliance that both cools beverages and keeps food warm. Its quirky yet attractive design makes it a great option for those looking for a mini fridge with character. However, it's only recommended if you don't require much storage space.
4) Best Large Compact: Danby Designer DAR044A4BDD-6
This Danby Designer DAR044A4BDD-6 fridge is a large, 4.4 cu.ft. mini fridge. Danby is another well-known brand in the mini fridge industry and is known for its long-lasting mini fridges. This particular fridge has a single door design with a roomy interior. One downfall is that this model does not come with a freezer. However, if you want ample interior space, this is the fridge for you.
While not having a freezer is disappointing, one of the best features of this fridge is its massive interior. By not having a freezer, you get a full 4.4 cu ft of refrigeration space. This fridge also has a CanStor beverage dispensing system, which allows you to easily store your soda cans efficiently. You also get three removable racks, allowing you flexibility in terms of storage.
Why You Should Buy
This fridge is best if you want the most refrigerator space available without a freezer. This is perfect for dorms, entertainment rooms, and just about anywhere else you want to keep refrigerated items without having to worry about a freezer.
5) Best Undercounter: Marvel ML24BCG0RS
If you want a mini fridge that's appealing to the eye and cools a large number of beverages efficiently, investing in the Marvel ML24BCG0RS is well worth it. While this mini fridge comes in at a higher price point than other models on our list, it’s worth every penny. Designed for use in both residential and commercial settings, this beverage refrigerator is ready to take on whatever you have to throw at it.
Right off the bat, the best feature is pretty obvious - the clear glass door. This gives this fridge a stylish look and allows you to easily see what's inside the fridge without even opening it. You'll also get adjustable, full-length cantilever glass shelves to make accessing your beverages much easier. Dynamic cooling technology is built into this mini fridge to allow for fast cooling, a feature not available on most mini fridges. Close-door assist is also added to make sure your fridge door is never left open.
Why You Should Buy
Although this mini fridge isn't the most budget-friendly, it’s one of the best on the market. If you're building an indoor or outdoor bar setup, this is a great addition, both aesthetically and functionally. You won't find this level of quality or performance in any other standard mini fridge.
6) Best Color: Frigidaire EFR176-BLUE
As seen with the Coca-Cola fridge, not all mini fridges have to look the same. The Frigidaire EFR176-BLUE is a great example of how you can have a mini fridge that looks more aesthetically pleasing than most. This small, 1.6 cu ft fridge features a beautiful retro-inspired design with an old-school blue finish. The Frigidaire logo is printed in a classic font and the chrome accents on the fridge tie the whole look together.
The best features on this mini fridge are all of its great, nostalgic touches. It’s the type of appliance that you’ll want to keep in plain sight for guests to admire. The addition of a bottle cap opener on the side is a great touch that plays into the old-school theme. While small, it still features a freezer section and in-door storage.
Why You Should Buy
This mini fridge is a great choice if you're looking for a stylish fridge. Whether it's going under your desk at work or in your dorm room, this little fridge will look great anywhere. It's capable of holding a small amount of food and beverages, and also features additional space in the freezer.
7) Best Mid-Size: Haier HC32TW10SV
Last but certainly not least is the spacious Haier HC32TW10SV mini fridge. At first glance, this mini fridge looks exactly like a shrunken down version of a standard fridge. It features a stainless steel finish, integrated black handles, and a two-door system with a separate freezer compartment. Coming in at 3.2 cu ft, you'll have plenty of space to store food, beverages, cosmetics, medical items, and much more.
The best feature of this Haier mini fridge is the fact that it's a condensed version of a standard fridge. The sleek look of the black and stainless steel make it a modern-looking appliance that goes great in just about any setting. It also has a lot of door storage as well as a built-in beverage dispenser. At the bottom of this fridge, you'll find a clear, slide-out compartment to store fruit and other items.
Why You Should Buy
This mini fridge is the perfect size for storing a mix of food, beverages, and frozen goods. Its design makes it a great fit just about anywhere, and the fact that it's made by Haier adds to its quality.
Now that we've looked at what a mini fridge is, the types of mini fridges available on the market, and our picks for the 7 best mini fridges, you should have no problem finding one that fits your specific needs. We hope this guide has helped you learn more about mini fridges so that you can make an informed purchase.