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Not just for dorm rooms anymore, the convenience of a mini fridge in a wide variety of settings should by now be well-established. We like a mini fridge for additional storage when the primary appliance runs out of space, or tucked in a corner of the basement for convenient access to snacks. There are mini fridges designed exclusively for beverages and others even small enough to take to the office and keep by your desk.
The question now becomes which one to buy.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Mini Fridge
Efficiency and convenience are the first priorities, so you’ll want to take into account temperature control, energy efficiency, and size when picking out a good mini fridge. The best mini fridges also come in a fairly wide variety of designs and styles, so you’ll also want to consider aesthetics and how these fridges will work for your space. Here’s what to look for.
Temperature Control: The temperature control dial is the refrigerator’s thermostat, and it is the tool that keeps the machine at the correct coldness. In general, a mini fridge doesn’t have the same power as a full-sized appliance, so keeping the temperature correct can sometimes be an issue, especially if you plan to store perishables like meat or dairy. Some mini fridges also come with a freezer setting, or built-in freezer compartment, which we consider a bonus.
Energy Efficiency: Any large appliance is going to absorb a lot of energy, and that includes a mini fridge. We look for energy-efficient models both for the sake of your energy bills and the planet.
Size: If you’re only looking for a fridge to keep your LaCroix cool next to your desk, you probably don’t need a large model, and would be happier with a tiny, portable option. If you need something a little more robust or you plan to use the mini fridge as your primary appliance in a small space, there are plenty of larger models. The size you need will depend largely on your own space, so measure carefully.
Style: A mini fridge does not need to be ugly. It’s going in your home, after all, so it should match your own style. Or at least it shouldn’t look like an eyesore. We like sleek and simple in most cases, but design elements like a glass or colorful door can tie in nicely with an already decorated space.
1. Danby Compact Refrigerator
A good, all-purpose fridge, the Danby stands out as a winner, particularly as an Energy Star-rated and eco-friendly model, without sacrificing effectiveness. It also has several temperature settings and stays reliably cool throughout, though we recommend keeping it on the coldest setting for best results.
At just over two-feet high, it is also a perfect size for most uses, whether home bar or home office, and can be placed on the floor or even on the countertop. It does not have a freezer compartment, which is either a bonus or a drag depending on who you ask. You won’t be able to store ice cream in it, but it saves room for other necessities.
2. RCA Single Door Mini Fridge with Freezer
If a freezer compartment is high on your wishlist, we recommend this appliance. Slightly larger than the fridge above, it is still compact enough to fit easily into small or cramped spaces. It also maximizes its large storage capacity with adjustable shelving, racks, and a built-in door bracket.
We’re also fans of the stainless steel door, which is a slightly more modern design style (but still doesn’t scream for attention). Temperature control with this fridge is everything you could wish for, for a number of adjustable settings, but be warned the freezer section is quite small.
3. hOmeLabs Beverage Refrigerator and Cooler
This fridge is designed specifically for beverages, so we wouldn’t advise using it as your main refrigerator. What we like about it is the glass door, which displays your stored beverages for a cool, retro diner-style look that we dig.
It has great temperature control, an LED light, and truly impressive capacity — it can store 120 cans, so go ahead and stock up. It makes a great addition to your usual kitchen appliances, though it also works as a basement beer fridge or for whatever we’re defining as “man cave” these days.
4. Cooluli Mini Fridge Electric Cooler and Warmer
The Cooluli mini fridge wins hands down for mobility. It is by far the smallest of our picks, at 11 inches tall with the capacity for six cans, which makes it the ideal desk-top mini fridge.
It being so easily portable also makes it surprisingly versatile. In addition to storing drinks and snacks, it’s also a popular choice for keeping skincare products cool, or medications like insulin that you need on hand at all times.
Flip a switch on the back and this turns into a portable warmer, that can heat up to 144 degrees fahrenheit. This makes it great for keeping your meals warm for lunch, or to store warm snacks (I.e. baked goods or dips) until company arrives.