On top of the flexibility and space-saving cold food storage that a mini fridge offers, it also has the benefit of safety — who wants to share a community fridge with a bunch of people in the dorm or office?
Are you looking for the perfect mini fridge that’s small enough for your basement hangout space? Or, maybe you want a slightly larger fridge for the office. Whether you’re shopping for your college dorm, home, or office, we found the best mini fridges for 2020.
At a glance
- The best: Danby Designer 3.3 Cubic Feet Refrigerator
- The best tiny mini fridge: Cooluli Mini Fridge
- The best dorm mini fridge: HomeLabs mini fridge
- The best office mini fridge: Black+Decker BCRK25B
- The best home bar mini fridge: NewAir 126-can Beverage Fridge
Why you should buy this: The Danby Designer Compact All Refrigerator makes the most of its size with a unique shelving system.
Who’s it for: People moving into dorm rooms and small apartments will appreciate this small appliance.
Why we picked the Danby Designer 3.3 Cubic Feet Refrigerator:
If you’ve been shopping for a compact fridge, you’ve probably seen the name Danby. This company offers a variety of high-quality mini fridges and beverage coolers, and the Danby Designer is one of the brand’s best offerings.
This compact fridge, which comes in a variety of colors, utilizes on-door storage and a unique Canstor shelving system to give you storage space for a wide range of beverage sizes, including large 2-liter bottles and 12-ounce cans. The beverage storage does cut into the main compartment a little, but the fridge’s three adjustable shelves are still wide enough for most products.
This fridge doesn’t have a freezer compartment, hence the name All Refrigerator. For many, this is a good thing. The freezer compartments on most compact fridges are too small to be worthwhile. Still, if you want the ability to make ice cubes, you can upgrade to one of Danby’s dual-compartment fridges.
Cooluli Mini Fridge
The best tiny mini fridge
Why you should buy this: It’s a sharp little mini fridge that’s tiny enough to carry with you and perfect for holding lunches or snacks.
Who’s it for: People looking for a versatile little fridge that’s all their own.
Why we picked the Cooluli Mini Fridge:
You won’t have to worry about this mini fridge fitting anywhere — it even has a built-in lip for you to carry around by hand if necessary, similar to the best coolers. The fridge can hold six cans or 4 liters of food, enough for a variety of combination snacks or a quick lunch you want to keep cold (as well as storing cosmetics or anything else that may be temperature-sensitive).
If you’re on the move all the time, then you’ll appreciate the USB cord option designed to work with power banks, in addition to the AC/DC power options. The fridge also has the capability to switch to a warming function if it’s winter and you need to keep your items warm.
While such a small fridge isn’t for everyone, it’s a perfect fit for those who want a tiny model to perch on their desk or keep in their car.
The best dorm mini fridge
Why should you buy this: It’s a very versatile fridge that’s perfect for dorms or anywhere else.
Who’s it for: People shopping for a dorm fridge or those looking for a great basement fridge.
Why we picked the HomeLabs mini fridge:
If you’re looking for an excellent dorm fridge, you’ll find everything you need in this 3.3-cubic-foot refrigerator, which offers surprisingly complete features for such a compact model. You can adjust temperature controls between maximum, medium, and minimum to keep your food and drink at the perfect temp, and you can turn the fridge on when you need it and off when you don’t. The interior of this fridge is what really impresses, though, as it has an attractive and functional design.
The main compartment is divided by three glass shelves to create individual storage sections for different foods, but if you have larger items, you can remove the shelves if necessary. The door has its own shelves for storing snacks and a can holder section that’s ideal for canned beverages. There’s a tiny freezer section up top, which is just about the right size for a small frozen pizza. In addition to all this, the fridge is surprisingly affordable, making it easier to fit into dorm budgets. You can even write on the stainless steel door with a marker for notes and other messages.
The best office mini fridge
Who should buy this: Workers who want to store food and beverages in their office.
Who’s it for: Employees who want a handy fridge that fits under their desk or anywhere else.
Why we picked the Black+Decker BCRK25B:
The Black+Decker BCRK25B is a great mini fridge to add to your office, especially if the lunchroom fridge is too full. In one compact frame, this Black + Decker mini fridge offers a full-width freezer compartment that includes an ice cube tray, two glass shelves for the refrigerator compartment, and two full-width door shelves with special spots that can fit a 2-liter bottle and a stack of cans. That’s a lot of space — all in a fridge that can fit under the average office desk.
You can control the fridge with an adjustable thermostat and even adjust the legs if it starts to wobble. The door is reversible, which makes it easier to find the right spot to place the fridge. It’s also Energy Star rated, which should be comforting for an office worried about how much power an employee refrigerator is using up. If you are looking for a whole-office fridge, then you may want to check out the affordable and classy 3.1-cubic-foot Bossin fridge.
The best home bar mini fridge
Why you should buy this: It’s the ideal solution for anyone who wants a home bar mini fridge that can handle all the beverages you want.
Who’s it for: People looking for an elegant solution to home bars.
Why we picked the NewAir 126-can Beverage Fridge:
This beautiful home bar beverage fridge really can hold up to 126 cans, but it’s also immensely customizable based on how you like to manage your bar. There are five chrome racks that can be adjusted or removed to fit in all kinds of bottles, and the glass door is well-insulated with a reversible handle.
The fridge offers seven different thermostat settings, so you can chill your beverages to the perfect temperature. If you’re serving later at night, you’ll also appreciate the LED lights inside that make it easy to see what’s available without opening the door.
For those worried about size, the fridge measures 189 inches wide by 32.4 inches high by 18.4 inches deep. It is not lockable, so keep it in a secure spot.
How we test
A good refrigerator has to do a lot more than just keep stuff cold. At Digital Trends, we try to look at our fridges from a variety of angles. How fast will they cool a beverage? How much energy do they use? Are they noisy? Do they have interesting or unique features? Are they affordable? Are they a good value for the price?
While we’re frequently blown away by some of the smart tech that gets integrated into home appliances, we try to conduct our reviews from the point of view of a consumer. We compare our picks to other top models on the market to make sure that not only are they good products, but they justify their price.
You can read more about how we test our refrigerators here.
Things to consider
If you’re in the market for a mini-fridge, you probably have an idea of how much space you have available. After all, ensuring that your unit will fit under the counter or in your corner of the dorm room is vital. If you don’t know how much space you need, measure where you plan to place your new appliance. Mini fridges come in a wide range of sizes, so keep the variations in mind. You can choose between sizes ranging from a tiny 18-inch cube to bigger fridges totaling more than four cubic feet. Width, height, and depth measurements all vary, too, regardless of the cubic footage available.
Once you figure out the type of capacity you’re looking for – and what will fit in your designated spot – you can start zeroing in on the features you need. For example, you’ll want to check whether the unit needs to be freestanding or if it can handle an under-counter installation. The time to find out those requirements is before you buy, rather than once you get the fridge home. Many appliances require a bit of breathing room – otherwise, the unit could overheat or fail to perform correctly.
The most important choice you’ll probably have to make, other than size, is whether or not you want a freezer. While it might seem nice to have a built-in freezer in your mini-fridge, keep in mind that any space you devote to a freezer is less space you have for refrigeration. Plus, mini-fridge freezers tend to be less effective at maintaining below-zero temperatures than units with separate refrigeration and freezing areas.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to review your eating habits before you buy a mini-fridge. If you buy a lot of two-liter bottled beverages or full gallons of milk, for example, look for a fridge with some added storage space in the door. Make sure the shelves have enough space (width, depth, and height) to fit your needs. If you plan on storing soda or beer, look for a fridge that has a section designed specifically for cans.
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