We spent over 40 hours thoroughly researching the functionality of seven mini fridges, using the online product pages to compare features, capacity and design elements. We found mini fridges that would serve the needs of a variety of people including students, professionals and travelers. Based on the research we can recommend specific models that are best for different situations.
Best Overall: Midea
The Midea WHS-87LB1 is one of the best overall compact refrigerators. It has a nice capacity of 2.4 cubic feet and makes great use of its space. This mini fridge comes with a freezer for frozen treats and plenty of space for a variety of food and drinks in the door and main compartment. It has adjustable shelves that you can move around to customize the space the way you need it. It is an energy efficient fridge that is Energy Star compliant.
Best Value: Haier
The Haier HC17SF15RW is a lightweight, quiet and easily stored compact refrigerator. It is a good value and is more affordable than the average mini fridge. You can often buy it for less than $100 online. This relatively cheap mini fridge has 1.7 cubic feet of storage and a small profile. It’s super compact even by mini fridge standards, so it can fit in tight spaces like countertops, in dorm rooms, under desks and in RVs. At only 30 pounds, it is quite easy to move from place to place.
Best for Cooling Drinks
Best for Cooling Drinks: NewAir
The NewAir AB-1200 is a mini fridge designed specifically to chill canned beverages in a sizable interior compartment. This fridge’s interior space is customizable with multiple temperature controls and five adjustable racks. While the NewAir fridge is designed for the single purpose of keeping beverages cold and readily available, its solid construction surpasses most other devices in our buying guide in terms of capacity and longevity.
Best for Office, Dorm or RV
Best for Office, Dorm or RV: Danby
The Danby DAR017A2BDD is an energy-efficient mini fridge from the leading brand in the category. It is 20.1 inches tall and has a capacity of 1.7 cubic feet. This Danby compact refrigerator uses a compressor rather than a thermoelectric cooler as its cooling system. This is the same cooling unit found in regular-sized refrigerators, and it is more efficient at maintaining steady cooling temperatures.
Best for Storing a Variety of Food
Best for Storing a Variety of Food: Sunpentown
The Sunpentown RF-244SS offers the luxuries of refrigeration technology in a compact design. This mini fridge has a flush rear design so you can fit it easily in tight spaces, and customizable wired shelving in the interior makes space for all kinds of food. It includes a freezer, so it can store a wide variety of food. With its stainless steel exterior and durable design, this unit promises years of service in keeping your food cool and well preserved.
Other Considerations: What to Look for in a Mini Fridge
While mini fridges have compactness in common, they come in different sizes and have different storage priorities and varying features that that you’ll want to pay attention to. Here are the key features to look for when you’re choosing the right mini fridge for you:
While all mini fridges are smaller than regular refrigerators, their size and weight vary. When you're looking for a small fridge to use in a temporary living space, it is important to get one that is light enough to move from one location to another. This is especially important if you are a traveler who wants to install a portable refrigerator in your vehicle.
Portable fridges come in many sizes, and the available storage space varies from 6 cubic feet to less than 1 cubic foot. Choose one with the capacity for what you intend to put in it and no bigger. If you simply want to keep a few beverage cans cold, then a countertop fridge will do. If you want a variety of food and drinks on hand, you will need a relatively tall freestanding portable fridge to have the space you need.
Not all small refrigerators can attain freezing temperatures. To keep ice and frozen treats on hand, you need a portable fridge with a small freezer compartment or a separate mini freezer. Usually, the freezers found in mini fridges are too small for anything beyond a pint of ice cream, an ice tray and a couple popsicles. Often, they are not cold enough to freeze food and drinks that are not already frozen.
Most small refrigerators employ a compressor-powered cooling system. Some run on a thermoelectric system that is quieter than a compressor but less efficient. Generally, however, the cooling system in mini fridges is much quieter than that of a traditional refrigerator since it has less space to cool. Regardless of the type of cooling system, you will want to place the fridge at least an inch from the wall to allow for venting.
Small refrigerators consume less power than big ones. However, power consumption varies from one mini fridge to another. An energy-efficient portable fridge has features to let it save on power without sapping it of the power it needs to properly cool your food.
With their portable designs, compact refrigerators can be placed where regular refrigerators cannot, and they offer a convenient way to keep food and drinks cool and fresh in places like a dorm room, office or RV. Mini fridges come in different sizes and have different storage priorities. Some are designed to cool drinks exclusively while others cool all kinds of food and beverages. Whether you want to take one on a road trip or keep one in your bedroom, just make sure to get the right one for your needs.
We found good-quality small refrigerators that ranged in price from $70 to nearly $500, and all work quite well. The primary difference is size With the Coca Cola Retro Fridge able to hold 6 12-ounce cans while the Magic Chef can hold 140 cans. The amount you spend depends heavily on the quantities of things you want to chill, but even at budget prices, you can end up with a product that meets your needs.
Contributing Reviewer: Noel Case