Summer is here and it’s a perfect time to have an extra little fridge around to hold your drinks and snacks. A mini fridge is actually handy to have year round at home: in your bedroom, home office, media room, in-law suite, man cave, she-shed, or any small space, or simply in the kitchen if you need to store more than can be accommodated in your regular sized fridge. At work, you can keep your lunches and take-out food in the mini fridge, to keep fresh until you need them. If you are a college student, a mini fridge is invaluable for space saving in your dorm, but first check with your college to make sure they will allow you to have the fridge. Wherever you use your mini fridge, it will be handy for keeping your food, drinks, and snacks safe until you need them.
Let’s check out some of the most popular and highest quality mini fridges available on the market today:
Best desktop fridge: Chefman Mini Portable Compact Personal Fridge
The Chefman Portable Personal Fridge is popular, in part because of its versatility. Its small, sleek design makes it perfect for all sorts of uses, such as camping, road tripping, boating, in the office, at the dorm, and in a small apartment.
Although the Chefman is officially referred to as a fridge, and thus it can cool what’s inside (to 32 degrees Fahrenheit), it can actually also be used to heat food up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Simply press a switch and you can warm your lunch leftovers!
This model is also highly portable. You don’t need to stash it on your floor or in the corner of your room; it is so small that it can actually be displayed on a desktop. It comes with plugs for both your typical home outlet as well as for your car charger.
Although the Chefman is small, it is big enough to hold six 12 oz. cans of beer or pop. It cools your soda cans in about a half hour. If you want storage for bigger items like milk, juice, or smoothies, you can remove the shelves. It is also a handy little fridge to store your cosmetics such as face masks, beauty serums, and skin care products.
It is made of durable and long lasting plastic, and is CETL-approved with advanced safety technology.
It’s also very pretty, and comes in cute colors like pink and baby blue.
Another nice feature is it does not use Freon, which is a tasteless, odorless gas that can interfere with your absorption of oxygen. It is an eco-friendly fridge made with your health in mind.
One drawback is it tends to give a mild humming noise. Also, there is no way to control the temperature, other than choosing hot or cold.
- Small and portable
- Plugs into standard outlet or car charger
- Cools and heats with touch of a button
- Durable and long lasting
- Mild humming noise
- Temperature control is limited
Best for beverages: EdgeStar BWC120SSLT Ultra Low Temp Beverage Cooler
At 3 feet high, the EdgeStar BWC120SSLT Ultra Low Temp Beverage Cooler is quite large. Its 3.6 cubic foot capacity can hold up to 103, 12-oz cans along with 5 wine bottles at the same time. Its four secure shelves are removable if you need to store something larger. It is a wonderful fridge for your kitchen, garage, game room, or anywhere in your house where you might need to store cold drinks or food.
It has an attractive, sleek stainless steel exterior with a glass door and soft white or blue LED interior lighting so you can see when your inventory of beverages is getting low. You can turn this light off if you prefer. The door is reversible so you can choose which side of the fridge the door opens from. It comes with a 64 inch power cord for added convenience.
This fridge is equipped with a high power compressor which can keep your food and drinks exceptionally cool at all times. Its temperature can be controlled manually, and ranges from around 38 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It has an easy to read digital thermostat.
It also has a manual defrost feature.
One added bonus is the fridge can be locked. This is handy to keep little toddler hands from getting into the fridge when they go about the house exploring, or to protect your items if you live in a dorm.
Despite all its features, this fridge is actually quite affordable.
One drawback is it is a bit noisy. Also, some users find that while this fridge cools drinks very well, the outside walls of the device can get hot.
- Large capacity with removable shelves for more storage
- Powerful compressor keeps drinks very cool
- Interior lighting
- Reversible, lockable door
- Manual defrost feature
- Can get noisy
- Exterior walls can get quite hot
Best budget: Midea WHS-65L Compact Fridge
The Midea WHS-65L Compact Fridge is a nice, basic, affordable option that can be stored under your desk, on your kitchen counter, or in your bedroom for those late night snacks. It is only 18 inches tall, so it can sit on a table easily. And it offers a lot of value for a little fridge.
The Midea’s 1.1 cubic foot capacity holds about 24 water bottles (16.9 oz. each), so it’s pretty spacious. It offers an adjustable temperature range from 32 to 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Use it to store medicine, fruits, dairy, or drinks. The Midea will chill your food and drinks quickly and evenly.
Unlike other models, this fridge only has one adjustable shelf. However, users don’t mind this, as they find this fridge offers top notch quality and performance, and it is very quiet. You can keep this fridge in a nursery, library, or other quiet space, and people will not be disturbed.
It comes in your choice of black, white, or stainless steel finish on the exterior. It has a reversible door so you can choose to set it up to open from the right or the left, and there are convenient storage racks on the door. The fridge also features adjustable legs so you can make the fridge slightly taller or shorter.
There is even a tiny freezer in this pint-sized fridge. The freezer is not big enough to hold more than a few ice cubes, but that might be enough. You should not use this freezer to store food and it cannot make ice cubes.
- High power cooling capacity
- Reversible door with storage racks
- Includes tiny freezer
- Only one adjustable shelf
Honorable mention: RCA RFR115-White 1.6 Cubic Foot Fridge
The affordable RCA RFR115-White 1.6 Cubic Foot Fridge is one of the most popular mini fridges on the market today. It is a great addition to your dorm room, bedroom, or office because of its compact design. Its small size makes it easy to conceal if you need to.
It features an adjustable thermostat and compressor cooling, which makes it a high performing little fridge. It is made of neoprene which adds to its top notch insulating abilities, to keep your drinks and food ultra-chilled. It performs well even if it is hot outside.
This model features a reversible door, which means you can install it to open from either the left or right side. The door includes a basket that can hold two large bottles of soda.
One drawback is it does not have an exact thermometer, so you can’t tell what temperature your food or drinks are being stored at. Instead, you can choose a cooling setting between 1 and 4. Still, it does a great job of chilling your items.
This fridge has a little freezer compartment with an ice cube tray. However, the freezer is not self-defrosting.
It is low on energy consumption and CFC-free, and thus environmentally friendly.
- High performing even in hot weather
- Neoprene construction adds to insulating abilities
- Reversible door with storage basket
- Includes tiny freezer compartment
- Low on energy consumption and CFC-free
- Does not show the exact temperature
What to look for in a mini fridge
Now that you have seen some of the top choices in mini fridges today, let’s take a closer look at features to consider when choosing your own.
Obviously the fridge should be small, since it is a mini. Decide where you would like to keep your fridge, and measure that space. This will help you determine the size of fridge you need to purchase. Try to buy the biggest mini fridge that fits your space. Usually, the bigger the mini fridge, the more expensive it will be, but it will often be more energy efficient than the smaller varieties.
Fridges that are cooled with a compressor tend to be better at keeping your food and drinks cold, compared to fridges that use a thermoelectric element. Make sure your mini fridge cools to below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, for safety purposes.
Models that have reversible doors are handy because you can choose which direction to have the door swing open (to the right or the left). In tight spaces, this can make a big difference. Also consider whether you need a mini fridge with a locking door, to stop coworkers or roommates from taking your items.
Some fridges have adjustable and/or removable shelves, which can provide you with more options for storage. For example, if you like to store larger bottles of pop, you may want the ability to remove shelves. You might also want to consider the type of shelving: glass shelves can be more stable than wire shelves.
Some mini fridges have a built in tiny freezer compartment. Even if it is only useful for storing ice cubes, it can still be a nice addition to your fridge. Also check if there is an ice cube tray, if that is important to you. On the other hand, you might not want a freezer if you want to maximize the amount of space inside the fridge.
There are many finishes to choose from in the mini fridge world, including faux stainless steel, black or white, and even pastel colors. Black and stainless steel are the most popular finishes as they work with most types of décor.
This is a nice feature that is not available in all mini fridges. An interior light helps you to easily find what you are looking for in your fridge.
How to take care of your mini fridge
Once you have your mini fridge, here are a few tips to help keep it working efficiently.
Store your mini fridge away from a heat source such as a range, furnace, or hot water heater. Also keep it out of direct sunlight. If it has a freezer, do not store it in a garage or other area where the outside temperature could dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit as the compressor might not run properly and it may not properly cool your items. Also, make sure to keep your fridge on an even surface so it does not lean one way or another.
Turning the mini fridge on for the first time
When you first plug in and turn on your mini fridge, turn the thermostat to a medium-cold setting if you can. This way your food will not immediately freeze or thaw. You can adjust the thermostat later as desired.
Storing food and drinks
Organize your food and drinks in your mini fridge so the items are not crowded. You need to let the cold air circulate freely in order to properly chill your items.
Also make sure to regularly clean out any items that have gone bad.
Wipe the outside of your mini fridge every week.
Try to clean the inside of your mini fridge on a monthly basis. You can do this by adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 quart of warm water and wiping down the surface of the fridge with this solution. Remember to clean all the shelves.
Every month, you should also try to clean the coils and vents with your vacuum (first unplug the fridge!). This will help make sure your fridge does not accumulate dust, pet hair, or dander, which can make your fridge less energy efficient.