The Danby Compact Refrigerator combines a large interior storage area with a compact exterior size. Standing just under 33 inches tall, the Danby has 4.4 cubic feet of refrigeration capacity and is Energy Star-rated for efficiency. Interior features include a convenient beverage dispenser, a mechanical thermostat, and a push-button defrosting system. There’s a full-width freezer, adjustable shelves, and space for tall bottles.
The Best Mini Fridges for Convenient Food Storage
To enjoy cold food and beverages from a compact, convenient mini fridge, choose the model that suits your style, space, and budget.
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- Best OverallDanby Designer 4.4 Cubic Feet Compact RefrigeratorCheck Latest Price
- Runner-UpMagic Chef 3.5-Cu. Ft. RefrigeratorCheck Latest Price
- Best CountertopMidea WHS-65LB1 Compact Reversible Door RefrigeratorCheck Latest Price
A space-smart appliance for offices, dorm rooms, cabins, and many other settings, a mini fridge keeps food and keeps beverages cold while taking up only a fraction of the real estate of a traditional refrigerator. Many people rely on these compact machines for supplementary storage, whether for beverages in a finished basement or for perishable pet food in the garage. Others buy a mini fridge as a budget-friendly alternative to a full-size unit in a single-person household (a mini fridge costs less up front and also consumes less energy to save money in the long run). Use this guide for info on how to select one of these small wonders and to see why the following models are considered among the best mini fridges on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Danby Designer 4.4 Cubic Feet Compact Refrigerator
- RUNNER-UP: Magic Chef 3.5-Cu. Ft. Refrigerator
- BEST COUNTERTOP: Midea WHS-65LB1 Compact Reversible Door Refrigerator
- BEST WITH FREEZER: KUPPET Retro Mini Refrigerator 2-Door Compact
- BEST FOR DORMS: RCA 3.2 cu. ft Black Erase Board Refrigerator
- BEST FOR BEER: AstroAI Mini Fridge 6 Can Thermoelectric Cooler
- BEST FOR OFFICE: Antarctic Star Wine Cooler Beverage Refrigerator
- BEST COMPACT: BLACK+DECKER BCRK17W Compact Single Door Mini Fridge
- BEST CUBE: Midea WHS-65LW1 Compact Refrigerator, 1.6 Cubic Feet
- BEST MIDSIZE: RCA RFR832WHITE Refrigerator/Freezer
Types of Mini Fridges
While all mini fridges will keep perishable food from spoiling, their various sizes and designs let you choose a model best suited to your needs and lifestyle.
Under-the-Counter Mini Fridges
Though most mini fridges are freestanding on a floor, table, or countertop, under-the-counter models are usually installed in a finished kitchen. They typically top out at around 32 to 34 inches in height to fit beneath a countertop. They’re often compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design, because the fridge is at a level where those with mobility issues can easily use them. Widths range from a narrow 6 inches up to about 36 inches, depending on available space.
This type of mini fridge comes with a full range of temperature-control features and is comparable in quality to standard refrigerators. They’re not budget appliances (they often cost more than a standard refrigerator), are not considered portable, and may require professional installation to blend into the cabinetry.
Cube Mini Fridges
These diminutive boxes typically contain only a cooling compartment, but some exceptions include a tiny freezer. They’re portable and designed to hold just enough drinks and food for one or two people. Cube mini fridges come in various styles, some designed with a retro look to resemble a vintage refrigerator. If you want a mini fridge for a work cubicle or bedroom, consider the portability and convenience offered by one of these units. A cube fridge usually has a single cooling temperature and either an on/off switch or no switch at all, starting to cool as soon as it’s plugged in.
Midsize Mini Fridges
With more space than a cube fridge but not enough room to qualify as a standard model, midsize mini fridges are often the choice for break rooms and dorm rooms. Some include small freezer compartments, and most have adjustable temperature dials. Though they may be short enough to fit beneath a counter, they’re not designed for permanent installation like an under-the-counter fridge, and accessing the contents on their shelves may be easiest if they sit on a table or counter.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Mini Fridge
Weigh a number of different factors as you shop for the best mini fridge: interior and exterior size, storage capacity, portability, organization, number of doors, energy consumption, and accessories.
Size and Capacity
Mini fridges come in two basic configurations: cube and tall.
- As the smaller design option, cube-shaped mini fridges top out at 22 to 24 inches in height to fit well beneath a desk or counter. Most units weigh between 35 and 55 pounds—light enough for portability, but they don’t come with wheels. These models typically have about 2 cubic feet of interior space, enough to hold about one case of soda, plus a few snacks or leftovers containers. Unfortunately, mini fridges tend to work less efficiently than larger units because their cooling mechanisms aren’t as powerful. Temperature settings can unreliably fluctuate, and freezer burn isn’t uncommon because mini fridges lack high-end temperature controls.
- Tall mini fridges are considered a better value—and therefore more popular—thanks to their extra interior space and better shelving options. These appliances have anywhere from 3 to 6 cubic feet of interior space, and they often come with a separate freezer compartment (although the freezer usually isn’t as reliable as that on a standard fridge). With an average height between 32 and 36 inches, most tall units won’t fit under a standard desk, but they can hold two cases of soda or a few days’ worth of food. Given their larger size, tall fridges are heavier than cube fridges, weighing an average of 50 to 65 pounds.
Bells and Whistles
In general, most mini fridges have a similar design, although cube-shaped appliances have fewer shelves and door bins than tall models. Some models have adjustable or removable shelves and door bins, which can come in handy when storing items inside. A few mini fridges include door bins that hold soft drink cans, while the doors on some units have bins large enough to hold 1-gallon milk jugs. In addition, some mini fridges come with locking doors, which might be beneficial in a high-traffic, multi-use environment like an office or dorm. Keep in mind that most mini fridges don’t include an ice dispenser or crisper drawer for produce.
Just like other appliances, mini fridges are available in a wide variety of colors and finishes, including black, white, stainless steel, wood grain, and novelty looks.
If you need a fully functional freezer, it’s best to stick with a standard refrigerator or purchase a stand-alone option. One-door mini fridges may have a small freezer box in the main compartment, but most can’t maintain accurate freezing temperatures (especially when powered by thermoelectric systems; see below) because they lack thermostats. Plus, most freezers in one-door fridges are too small to be of much practical use. Two-door mini fridges, which have a separate freezer, generally keep frozen food colder and, therefore, safer to eat. These two-door models typically have a thermostat mounted in the interior, so they maintain better temperature control than single-door models.
Mini fridges typically rely on two basic cooling systems: compressor-powered or thermoelectric. Fridges with compressor-powered cooling systems (the same system used by regular-size fridges) maintain accurate temperatures better than thermoelectric units.
In general, mini fridges consume less energy than their full-size counterparts. An Energy Star-certified unit will consume the least amount of electricity possible. Most mini fridges run on standard 120-volt A/C electric power. Some, designed for use in cars, vans, or RVs, typically come with a D/C adapter, allowing the unit to run off of the vehicle’s battery power.
Our Top Picks
To qualify as a top pick, a mini fridge must keep food at a safe temperature, offer sufficient storage capacity for specific users’ needs, and be compact enough to fit the space available in a kitchen, dorm, or bedroom. The following mini fridges vary in size and options—and one is likely to be well-suited to your needs.
Besides an Energy Star rating, this Magic Chef Refrigerator also boasts 3.5 cubic feet of interior space, three easy-to-clean glass shelves, and a convenient can dispenser built into its door. It is simple to set up and has a satisfyingly modest footprint. Though it measures only 32.5 inches high, the Magic Chef manages to fit in a full-width freezer.
Folks who tend to work through lunch or dinner might appreciate having fresh food and cold drinks at hand. At 19.41 inches tall and 18.5 inches wide, and weighing less than 40 pounds, this Midea unit can sit easily on a desk, table, or countertop. Despite its small size, the Energy Star-certified fridge has 1.6 cubic feet of storage, and its adjustable temperature control lets you set the chill level between 33.8 and 50 degrees. The door is reversible to open on whichever side you find most convenient, the handle is recessed for a sleek look, and there’s a slide-out wire shelf inside. Another asset: The Midea runs quietly, so it won’t disturb your concentration.
The freezers on two-door mini fridges hold more and work better than the tiny ones you’ll find in some single-door models. If you’re looking for a mini fridge/freezer combo, this KUPPET could fill the bill. At 19.1 inches wide by 21.9 inches deep by 33.5 inches high, this mini fridge can fit nicely in a garage workshop, basement rec room, or student’s dorm room. It features 3.2 cubic feet of total storage space, 0.93 cubic feet in the freezer compartment, and 2.24 cubic feet in the refrigerator. The freezer maintains a 32-degree temp, while the fridge chamber remains around a steady 50 degrees. It’s available in bright colors and has shiny chrome handles.
College students often have a lot going on, and this fridge helps ensure they won’t forget to eat—or go to class! The RCA Black Erase Board Refrigerator features 3.2 cubic feet of cold storage, including door baskets large enough to hold 2-liter bottles, and it has an adjustable thermostat so drinks stay nice and cold. The RCA fridge measures 20 inches wide by 18.25 inches deep and tops out at 33.25 inches high, just right for tucking on the floor beside a bed or positioning on a desktop or dresser.
For cooling power that won’t take up a lot of desktop or trunk space, check out this AstroAI model that holds up to six 12-ounce beverage cans. The tiny single-door fridge has a removable shelf if you’d rather stock it with yogurt or other items instead of cans. It plugs into an electrical outlet or the 12-volt cigarette lighter in your car. In cooling mode (a heating mode keeps foods warm), the mini fridge will keep drinks refreshingly cold, but be aware that if it’s plugged into a cigarette lighter, you must keep the vehicle running so the fridge won’t drain the car battery.
If you’re looking for a countertop mini fridge for the office, consider the Antarctic 26-Bottle Beverage Refrigerator. It boasts 3.2 cubic feet of cold storage, a clear glass front so all can see the contents without opening the door, and a soft blue LED light on the inside so you can choose a drink even if the lights in the room are off. The temperature is adjustable from around 40 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit, ideal for keeping sodas refreshing or wine slightly chilled. The Antarctic fridge runs quietly so as not to disturb workers’ concentration.
At 19.5 inches high by 17.5 inches wide by 18.5 inches deep, the BLACK+DECKER Compact Single-Door Mini Fridge may be the right choice for tight quarters. The door handle even recesses into the top of the door so as not to take up additional space. In addition to 1.7 cubic feet of storage, this BLACK+DECKER model features a small freezer tray at the top, enough for a few small items such as ice cream bars, and the fridge temp can be adjusted to as low as 33.8 degrees.
The cube-type Midea Compact Refrigerator is small enough to fit on a table or countertop. At 17.7 inches wide by 18.6 inches deep by just 19.4 inches high, the Midea fridge is tiny yet still offers 1.6 cubic feet of storage space. It keeps perishable foods safe with an adjustable thermostat that ranges from 32 degrees to 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit. It also features three adjustable shelves, and the door can be installed to open from the left or the right.
If you need more food storage than a cube-type mini fridge can provide but haven’t got enough space for a full-size fridge, the RCA Refrigerator/Freezer might be the right choice. It comes with a total of 3.2 cubic feet of storage space between the fridge and freezer compartments, and with separate doors for each compartment, you won’t lose coolness when opening one or the other. The unit measures 22.75 inches wide by 25.75 inches deep by 35.25 inches high. The RCA mini fridge uses a compressor cooling system and features adjustable temperature control and a built-in can holder in the door.
FAQs About Mini Fridges
Mini fridges keep foods cold just like their full-size cousins, but a few differences exist. If you want a bit more info about these small appliances, consider these answers to common questions.
Q. How do you defrost a mini fridge?
Mini fridges that include freezer compartments tend to develop frost over time, which can affect the taste of the food. Some models come with a self-defrost button, but if yours doesn’t, defrost it by removing contents, unplugging the unit, and placing a thick towel on the bottom of the fridge compartment; then leave the door(s) open for at least eight hours. When the frost has completely melted, wipe down the fridge’s interior and plug it back in to cool.
Q. How many watts does a mini fridge use?
Newer mini fridges that are Energy Star-rated (look for the Energy Star logo) may use as little as 100 to 200 watts of electricity. Less-efficient mini fridges may use double that amount.
Q. How much does a mini fridge cost to run?
The exact cost will depend on the fridge’s quality, how efficient it is, and the going rate for electricity in your area, but, in general, expect to pay between $27 and $47 per year to run the fridge.
Q. How do you fix a mini fridge that won’t get cold?
First, check to ensure the unit is plugged in and that the circuit breaker hasn’t flipped. Then, check the temperature adjustment dial to ensure it’s at the right temp. Frost buildup can make a unit run poorly, so defrost it if necessary. If these steps don’t help, consult your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer.
Q. How do you clean a mini fridge?
Wipe down the interior of the fridge with a rag dampened with plain warm water. Avoid spraying cleaners into the fridge, which can leave a chemical smell that affects the food’s taste.