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Best mini fridges: Compact refrigerators to keep your food fresh

We spent more than 80 hours evaluating and researching mini fridges to find the 10 best models. Based on our research, our top pick is the Haier HC33SW20RB. It is reasonably priced; fits nearly anywhere; uses little electricity; and has enough room to chill plenty of meals, snacks and drinks.

Best Overall

Haier HC33SW20RB

Haier HC33SW20RB

Energy efficient
Spot for a 2-liter bottle
Good-size freezer
No auto defrost
No interior light
Only comes in black

The space-saving Haier HC33SW20RB mini fridge is relatively inexpensive and only costs an estimated $29 per year in electricity to operate.

You can take out its two sliding glass shelves and arrange them as you please or remove one so you can fit big or odd-size items inside. Also, its door doubles as a useful storage space with two full shelves, two half shelves and an area that fits a 2-liter bottle. The door’s top shelf includes a canned beverage dispenser with sections to hold each can. Its two lower half shelves can store condiments, while the bottom shelf fits more cans and a tall bottle.

The door is reversible – you can unscrew it and fasten it to the other side. Since it’s compact and can swing open either to the left or the right, this mini fridge fits in most homes, dorm rooms and offices.

This Haier mini fridge doesn’t have an interior light or an auto-defrost feature, and it only comes in black. Still, the HC33SW20RB makes up for these shortcomings with its all-around versatility and usefulness.

Best Value

Black & Decker BCRK25W

Black & Decker BCRK25W

Door holds a 2-liter bottle
Energy Star certified
Only 2.5 cubic feet
No auto defrost
Door's upper shelf is short

The reasonably priced Black & Decker BCRK25W mini fridge’s interior is only 2.5 cubic feet, but thanks to its design, it still fits a good amount of food and drinks.

The door can hold a two-liter bottle, other drink containers and soda cans as well as food. However, the door's top shelf is a bit short, so it’s best for things like condiments and small jars. You can also store food in the fridge’s full-width freezer, which fits frozen meals, snacks and an ice cube tray.

Measuring only 17.5 x 18.5 x 26.6 inches, you can put this compact fridge on a countertop or in a rec room or dorm room. It weighs just 46.3 pounds, so it's easy to move. The BCRK25W also runs quietly, so it shouldn’t disturb your sleep if you place it in a bedroom. In addition, you can reverse the door – since it can swing to the left or the right, the fridge fits in more places.

The Black & Decker BCRK25W doesn't have an auto-defrost feature. However, it is Energy Star certified and costs an estimated $25 a year in electricity to run.

Biggest Capacity

Magic Chef MCBR440S2

Magic Chef MCBR440S2

4.4-cubic-foot interior
Crisper drawer for produce
Interior light
Comparatively expensive
Not suitable for a garage

The Magic Chef MCBR440S2 mini fridge has a 4.4-cubic-foot interior, which is enough room to store plenty of food and drinks.

There’s even a crisper to keep produce fresh, and the drawer is transparent so you don’t have to open it to see what’s inside.

The fridge’s internal light makes it easy to see food on the two glass shelves, which you can arrange in five positions. The freezer extends across the entire top of the appliance, so there's plenty of space for frozen meals and the included ice cube tray. The door has compartments that can hold a gallon of milk, a 2-liter soft drink bottle and more.

Despite its roomy interior, this Magic Chef mini fridge is compact, measuring 9.5 x 33.1 x 22 inches. You can store it under a counter, in the corner of a den or office, or in a dorm room. Further, the door is reversible – it can swing open to the right or the left, depending on which side you attach it to the fridge. This makes it easier to find a place to set it up.

The Magic Chef MCBR440S2 is a bit on the expensive side compared to other models we reviewed. Still, it is worth the money if you need a mini fridge with lots of storage space.

Best for Canned Drinks

NewAir AB-1200

NewAir AB-1200

This mini fridge has room for 126 canned drinks.
It is a single-use fridge, designed to only hold drinks.

The NewAir AB-1200 is a stylish black mini fridge with stainless steel trim and a fun glass door. It does one thing very well: It can hold 126 canned drinks and keep them nicely chilled, with temperatures that can go as low as 34 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can store beverage cans on their side or standing upright, and you can re-arrange the five chrome racks to suit whatever it is you’re cooling.

If you choose, you can place wine bottles lying down inside this mini fridge to keep them cool and their corks moist. Dry corks are bad for wine since it they can let air inside the bottle, exposing the wine to oxygen and spoiling its flavor. You also can store bottled beer. You get a generous 3.4 cubic feet of interior space with this mini fridge and it operates at a quiet 35 decibels.

Best Novelty

Koolatron KWC4

Koolatron KWC4

You can power it with a wall outlet or the DC outlet in your car.
It can only be used to chill six cans of soda.

The Koolatron KWCA4 is a cute, but tiny bright red mini fridge that holds only six soft drink cans and features a Coca-Cola logo and bear holding a bottle of Coke on the front door.

You can plug this amusing, retro-style little refrigerator into a typical 110-volt AC electrical outlet or the 12-volt DC outlet in your car. Unlike regular mini fridges that use compressors for cooling, this one uses a thermoelectric system with a fan to draw heat out of the device and a set of grilles on the back that keep the interior cool. You can get your canned beverages chilled as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit below the ambient temperature. Even though it uses a fan, this is a quiet machine, and it is certainly a conversation piece.

Why Trust Us

As we researched mini fridges, we searched for models that make the most of their small size. For example, the best fridges have storage features like adjustable shelving, freezers, and doors with a can dispenser and a spot for a 2-liter bottle. We considered mini fridges in a fairly wide price range to accommodate the needs of students, professionals and families.

How We Researched

We spent 80 hours researching mini fridges. During that time, we talked to the manufacturers, pored over specifications, and read online blogs and consumer reviews to learn as much as we could. As we researched, we weeded out models that perform poorly, are exceptionally expensive and don’t use space as wisely as the 10 mini fridges we ultimately chose.

As we evaluated fridges, we relied on our own experiences as students, office workers and homeowners. We considered each model’s features, annual energy costs and specifications as well as the types and sizes of containers it accommodates.

How Much do Mini Fridges Cost?

Mini fridges vary substantially in price and can range from $70 to $300, and cost even more than that for deluxe models. The price is influenced primarily by the interior size you’re seeking, the quality and durability of the device, how flexible it is as far as reconfigurable shelving, and other factors.

Expert Advice

On her blog My Sweet Savannah, Melaine Thompson explains that buying a mini fridge made her life easier.

"When we made our kitchen island bigger, one thing we added was a mini fridge. I love it and am so glad we did it! Here is why we love it: It's perfect in the summer when the kids come in from swimming, they can quick grab a drink. It's great for parties as an extra place to store beverages. It also frees up space in the main fridge. It is the perfect size for juice boxes."

In her article “My Mini Fridge Taught Me How to Cook” on the site A Cup of Jo, Stella Blackmon describes how her culinary skills have improved since she got a mini fridge.

"The best part of a mini fridge? Nothing is wasted. There’s no casserole lurking in the depths of the freezer or bargain berries expiring under a pizza box. You can’t ‘accidentally’ forget about those bell peppers you’ve been ‘meaning’ to use. Seeing everything at once forces me to imagine the dinner possibilities (stir-fries, quesadillas, salads) I might have otherwise overlooked."

What to Look for When Buying a Mini Fridge

Look for a compact fridge with a reversible door – that way, you have more options for where to put it. It's also useful to get a fridge with adjustable, slide-in shelves, as they allow you to store large food items.

Energy Efficiency
Many top-notch mini fridges – including inexpensive models – are Energy Star certified and cost little to operate. Since most people leave fridges running all year round, the savings of an energy efficient model add up fast.

Good Freezer Space
Some mini fridges have no freezers. However, it's nice to have some ice on hand for soft drinks, and it could be beneficial to have a few frozen microwave meals in your office or dorm mini fridge. You often see small, box-type freezers in mini fridges, but the best option is a full-width freezer.