The 11 Best Mini Fridges of 2023 for Any Drink or Room

The GE Double-Door Mini Fridge is our top pick

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Mini Fridge

The Spruce / Kevin Liang

Whether you're setting up a college dorm room or an outdoor kitchen, or hoping to store a few more drinks and snacks in your kitchen, bedroom, or garage, a mini fridge is a convenient option. You may even say, when you're short on square footage or need storage space, that it's a must-have—a tried and true solution. We researched dozens of mini fridges, from the traditional, one-door mini fridge to the retro, countertop model that took over TikTok, evaluating capacity, reliability, efficiency, and value. 

Our selections pair top-notch functionality with style because appliances don't necessarily need to be an eyesore in your space. "Replacing cookie-cutter hardware with decorative knobs or pulls is an easy and cost-effective way to update any kitchen," advises Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy trend expert, "and the same hack works just as well for appliances." Nowadays, you can purchase handle covers or a mini fridge with an aesthetic or bright door. "This simple yet impactful change makes a kitchen feel more sophisticated and cohesive and is also a fun way for shoppers to show off their personal style," Johnson adds, and this is applicable for any space.

Our best overall pick is the GE Double-Door Mini Fridge, which has a reversible door, separate freezer compartment, and extra features like a crisper drawer. We love that it comes in black, white, and stainless steel.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

GE GDE03GGKBB 3.1 cu. ft. Freestanding Double-Door Mini Fridge

4.5
ge-mini-fridge-freestanding-double-door-black

Courtesy of Lowe's

What We Like
  • Separate freezer

  • Crisper drawer

  • Reversible door

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't hold tall bottles well

  • Manually defrosts

When it comes to mini fridges, the GE GDE03GGKBB Double-Door Mini Fridge will check off the majority of your boxes. This 3.1-cubic-foot fridge is on the smaller side, but has a long list of useful features. To kick things off, the unit has a separate freezer compartment, which gives it the look and feel of a larger appliance. This type of freezer lets you store more frozen goods at one time, as well as bulkier items like pints of ice cream. You can put sticks of butter or bags of frozen fruit in the second door, before organizing your fresh food in the refrigerator compartment.

Inside, you'll find two glass shelves and a crisper drawer. Cans can be stored in the dispenser built into the door, while smaller pockets can hold tall and small items like containers of vegetable broth or yogurt. An interior light helps you find a snack with ease, while a reversible door makes the entire freestanding unit flexible when it comes time to set it up in a college dorm room, finished basement, or office. You can't install this model in a garage or outside, as it's not built to withstand very hot or cold temperatures.

Note that this appliance does manually defrost, meaning you'll need to chip away at ice buildup once it's become 1/4-inch thick, a good indicator that it's time to also clean the freezer. The instructions are all laid out in the user manual, and the process will take a few hours. While this can be annoying over time, you'll likely find that the fridge is suitable in a variety of settings and situations.

Price at time of publish: $409

Total Capacity: 3.1 cubic feet | Dimensions: 33.38 x 18.75 x 20.12 inches | Freezer Type: Top door | Installation Type: Freestanding | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: No

Best Budget

BLACK+DECKER BCRK43B 4.3 cu. ft. Freestanding Mini Fridge with Freezer

BLACK+DECKER BCRK43B Compact Refrigerator

Wayfair

What We Like
  • Thoughtful door storage

  • Reversible door

  • Garage-ready design

What We Don't Like
  • Shelves aren't adjustable

  • Manually defrosts

At a slightly cheaper price point, you can opt for the BLACK+DECKER BCRK43B Freestanding Mini Fridge. This pick is no stranger to amenities, like a reversible door and crisper drawer, and it offers 4.3 cubic feet of interior space. This is plenty for one person's weekly groceries—despite the full-width, internal freezer that takes over the top portion of the interior. In itself, the freezer is roomy enough for a bag of frozen vegetables and a couple popsicles, and it shouldn't be underestimated either. The compact fridge could function well in a basement kitchenette layout.

In addition to space, the interior has thoughtful storage options. There are three shelves made of glass for an elevated look and feel, and three pockets on the door. A dispenser is also present but doesn't take up the entire door, which is ideal for those who are using a mini fridge for more than storing drinks. Most notably, this pick is also energy-efficient. It uses an estimated 226 kWh of electricity per year, which is significantly less compared to other models on the market.

The drawbacks to this BLACK+DECKER fridge are that it manually defrosts and its shelving isn't adjustable. The space in between shelves isn't very tall, which may be an issue for storing bulkier items, such as salads, containers of berries, or leftovers. But, this mini fridge will save you money upfront and during its lifetime, which might help you overlook these few limitations. Not to mention, it has a freestanding and garage-ready design that makes it both flexible and easy to install.

Price at time of publish: $237

Total Capacity: 4.3 cubic feet | Dimensions: 32.72 x 20.63 x 20.94 inches | Freezer Type: In-fridge | Installation Type: Freestanding | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes

Best Splurge

Café CDE06RP4NW2 5.7 cu. ft. Built-in Undercounter Dual Drawer Refrigerator

cafe-double-drawer-refrigerator-undercounter-built-in

Courtesy of Lowe's

What We Like
  • Can hold upright bottles

  • Door alarm

  • Stainless steel interior

What We Don't Like
  • Can be noisy at times

  • Bottom drawer doesn't self-close all the way

You'll definitely spend some serious money on the Café CDE06RP4NW2 Undercounter Dual Drawer Refrigerator. But, if you're in the middle of or considering a kitchen remodeling project, and in the market for a mini fridge that expands your fresh food storage and looks stylish, then we think this pick is your best bet. It's outfitted with 5.7 cubic feet of space between its two soft-close drawers, which is about 1 cubic foot more than the average mini fridge. An adjustable divider makes it easy to organize your food and drinks, and both the drawers are tall enough to hold upright bottles, so it's an ideal pick for entertainers and wine lovers alike. Just know, there is no freezer compartment.

When you pull out one of the drawers, you'll notice the interior features LED lighting and a stainless steel finish. These features, along with the built-in design, make this pick more elevated. You can install the fridge under a countertop, and it'll look like it's always been a part of your home, thanks to multiple hardware and finish options. If you're worried about children reaching for drinks and leaving the drawer wide open, a door alarm will also ease your nerves and remind every resident to clean up after themselves. Other amenities you can make use of include a Sabbath mode and automatic defrosting, which saves you time and energy chipping away at any ice buildup, one of the advantages over manual defrosting models.

You can't install this drawer-style mini fridge in an outdoor kitchen or a garage. In addition, the bottom drawer also needs a little nudge to close at times, and the fridge can be noisy. According to the manual, any cracking, clicking, humming, and buzzing sounds are all normal and a result of the compressor or automatic defroster putting in work.

Price at time of publish: $3,499

Total Capacity: 5.7 cubic feet | Dimensions: 33.88 x 23.88 x 26 inches | Freezer Type: No freezer | Installation Type: Built-in | Defrost Type: Automatic | Garage Friendly: No

Best Retro

Frigidaire Mini Portable Compact Personal Fridge Cooler

Frigidaire Mini Portable Compact Personal Fridge Cooler

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Retro aesthetic

  • Convenient handle and door window

  • Portable

What We Don't Like
  • Lightweight construction

  • Limited to 32 degrees cooler than ambient temperature

Retro fridges have made a major comeback, and we think this mini personal fridge cooler from Frigidaire will be the most stylish and functional piece in any space. The fridge comes in five different colors (although not every retailer carries every option, so make sure to do your research), and can be purchased alongside a retro-inspired coffee maker or microwave oven to fit with any retro kitchen design, making it particularly great for a college student or apartment dweller who'd like to check a few appliances off their shopping list at once.

With a 4-liter, or 6-can capacity, it sits right alongside other countertop mini fridges in terms of volume, and slide-out shelf can be adjusted to make the interior work for you. Now, this wouldn't necessarily be a piece to replace your kitchen fridge, but an added convenience you can use in any room of your choosing (or even on-the-go!). It weighs just 3 pounds and boasts a handle at the top for easy transport. Plug it in at home, or bring a charger with you for tailgating, barbecues, or any other gatherings. It would also work for skincare storage, although be warned you may be so enamored by the vintage aesthetic that you'll get distracted during your routine (or maybe that's just us?). We're also fan of the small window at the center of the door, giving you a view of its contents without actually having to open it up.

Note, this fridge does not include a freezer, but with the flip of a switch it can be used as a warmer (so you know that dip you want to bring to the big game watch party? You're covered!). Relatedly, it does have limitations when it comes to cooling. You can count on 32 degrees cooler than the room (or outside) temperature, so plan accordingly if you live in a hot climate or anticipate lots of temperature fluctuations in your future.

Price at time of publish: $42

Total Capacity: 4 liters | Dimensions: 7.5 x 10.25 x 10.25 inches | Freezer Type: No freezer | Installation Type: Freestanding | Defrost Type: Not applicable | Garage Friendly: Not listed

Best Countertop

COOLULI I10L2W Infinity 0.35 cu. ft. Retro Mini Fridge

COOLULI I10L2W Infinity 0.35 cu. ft. Retro Mini Fridge

Amazon

What We Like
  • Has a warming mode

  • Can be used in a variety of settings

  • Adjustable shelving

What We Don't Like
  • Can be leaky at times

  • Takes two to three hours to chill room-temperature drinks

Despite its extremely compact build, the COOLULI I10L2W Infinity Retro Mini Fridge packs a big punch. This countertop fridge is meant to be placed in a tiny space that's maybe not equipped for a full-sized fridge, but could benefit from an appliance like it. It can be placed in either an indoor or outdoor setting, and be the spot for your little water bottles, yogurt cups, skincare products, or even breast milk. It's outfitted with adjustable shelving that really expands its 0.35-cubic-foot interior, as well as a warming mode that'll preserve hot food at the flip of a switch. While there are other products on the market that are very similar (and beloved by those on TikTok), we ultimately recommend this one for your compact refrigeration needs since it's super versatile and actually keeps items cool—something that other ones like it can't necessarily do past eight or nine months of use.

The manual recommends giving room-temperature drinks about two to three hours to completely chill after you've added them in. (To speed up this process, you can always pre-chill your items before popping them into the interior.) However, this detail shouldn't be worrisome. It's no indication that the fridge is not functional. In fact, the fridge keeps your items chilled without creating lots of noise or using a ton of energy. It has a frost-free design that also makes it ideal for installing in a basement bar, office, boat, nursery, or dorm room.

You might want to put a folded paper towel along the bottom of the interior to catch drips from the automatic defroster, and you'll need to store frozen goods elsewhere. When all is said and done, though, this retro fridge will get the job done and help ensure you have fresh items wherever you are. You can shop it in several unique colors—to show off your personal style.

Price at time of publish: $80

Total Capacity: 0.35 cubic feet | Dimensions: 13.4 x 9.4 x 11.4 inches | Freezer Type: No freezer | Installation Type: Freestanding | Defrost Type: Frost free | Garage Friendly: Yes

Best for Bedroom

Frigidaire 1.6 cu ft Blue Retro Fridge

Frigidaire 1.6 cu ft Blue Retro Fridge

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Vintage design

  • Quiet operation

  • Energy Star certification

What We Don't Like
  • Small freezer compartment

  • Manual defrost

An aesthetically pleasing, brightly colored, retro-inspired mini-fridge with a built-in bottle opener? Yes, please! This adorable Frigidaire offers all of that and more. The cute design and cheery color choices (including red, blue, moonbeam, and coral) make it easy to style in your bedroom, and the reversible door gives you added flexibility. This model is compact at 16 inches deep, 18 inches wide, and just under 19 inches tall, and it weighs just 31 pounds—lightweight by appliance standards, giving you more options for placement than more sizable models. You can even store it under a desk or lofted bed (just be warned that it's cute enough you'll want to keep it in view).

As far as the inside goes, it comes with an adjustable wire shelves along with wire door compartments, so whether you're storing food containers, beverages, or skincare, you'll have options. The freezer compartment is small, at just 0.25 cubic feet, so don't plan on using it for ice cream cakes or family-sized lasagnas. A perfectly sized ice cube tray is included, so making ice will be a cinch.

Buyers also rave about its quiet operation, and we're also glad to see that it's Energy Star certified, too. One potential downside is that you'll need to manually defrost it, but we see that as a (small!) price to pay. We could see this model in a bedroom, dorm room, game room, or even an office where it makes sense to have a mini fridge that serves as both form and function.

Price at time of publish: $107

Total Capacity: 1.6 cubic feet | Dimensions: ‎16 x 18 x 18.5 inches | Freezer Type: In-fridge | Installation Type: Freestanding | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Not listed

Best for Skincare

Cooluli Skincare Mini Fridge (White)

Cooluli Skincare Mini Fridge in White

Amazon

What We Like
  • Portable

  • Multiple color choices

  • Warming feature

What We Don't Like
  • Limited to 40 degrees cooler than ambient temperature

  • Some buyers report inconsistent performance with long-term usage

One look at TikTok and it's easy to see that fridges dedicated to skincare is all the rage. If you're ready to elevate your beauty routine, then this sleek and sophisticated skincare fridge from Cooluli is an excellent choice. Available in six colors, including two different shades of pink, plus a cow pattern (yes, you read that correctly), this mini cooler is gorgeous enough to keep front and center on your counter. It has a 4-liter/6-can capacity that makes it convenient for masks, moisturizers, and more. And if you're not sure you'll have enough skincare products to fill it, it's more than suitable for snacks and drinks, too. It also boasts a warming feature, so for any at-home spa treatments or for when you need to take the chill off of something, it has you covered.

It can be used with a standard electrical plug, plus it comes with a car adapter, and it's USB-compatible, making it a great choice for travel. Buyers also report that it's quiet enough to use at work, too, although some note issues with using it long-term, such as temperature fluctuations and water collecting inside. It's worth mentioning that this unit would be convenient to use in addition to your home fridge, but not necessarily in place of. The internal temperature can be up to 40 degrees below the ambient temperature of your room (or car, or outside). It won't keep your dairy fresh during a summer heatwave, but your eye patches and favorite serums will be left feeling refreshing and cool.

Price at time of publish: $50

Total Capacity: 4 liters | Dimensions: 7.25 x 10. 25 x 10.75 inches | Freezer Type: No freezer | Installation Type: Freestanding | Defrost Type: Not applicable | Garage Friendly: Not listed

Best for Travel

AstroAI Mini Fridge 2.0

AstroAI Mini Fridge 2.0

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • More spacious than previous model

  • 3 color choices

  • Car adapter included

What We Don't Like
  • No handle

  • Limited to 40 degrees cooler than ambient temperature

The previous model of the AstroAI Mini Fridge has developed a fan following online, so we were excited to see the development of their 2.0 version. It's more spacious than the previous iteration (and many of its competitors), with a 6-liter capacity, or 8 soda cans. It also brings has a sleek design that feels more updated and modern. The removable shelf gives you flexibility to organize the interior to your preferences, whether you need room for taller bottles or prefer smaller sections for snacks. It's more than suitable for skincare, too. Another subtle structural change is the switch to nonslip silicone pads on the base of the machine (instead of hard pads), which produce a smaller gap between your fridge cooler and the surface it sits on, which we like because that means less space for dust or debris to collect.

We see this as a great choice for travel since it comes with both AC and DC cords, giving you the option to plug it into a car cigarette lighter for cooling capabilities when you're on the go. Plus, the increase in size means you and your roadtrip buddy or commuting partner can share the space, too. We just wish the handle had been included with this model, but we are willing to forgo it for the other conveniences offered. Notably, as with similar cooling fridge models, the fridge's effectiveness can be affected by the external temperature around it, and you can expect it to reach 32-40 degrees cooler, so take extra caution on those hot days if you have perishables inside. But, for day-to-day use, we think it's got lots to offer.

Price at time of publish: $50

Total Capacity: 6 liters | Dimensions: 9.84 x 7.28 x 12.2 inches | Freezer Type: No freezer | Installation Type: Freestanding | Defrost Type: Not applicable | Garage Friendly: Not listed

Best for Beverages

Titan Signature 24 in. French Door Beverage and Wine Cooler

Titan Signature 24 in. French Door Beverage and Wine Cooler

Wayfair

What We Like
  • Two cooling zones

  • Adjustable and sliding shelves

  • Door alarm

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Not suitable for storing food

If you're purchasing a mini fridge to expand your drink storage, opt for one that's designed for beverages and full of helpful features: the Titan SS-FRBW6420DZ Signature French Door Beverage and Wine Cooler. It has adjustable, sliding shelves, as well as two cooling zones for storing wine, beer, and soda at its ideal temperature. A door alarm will notify you when one of the French doors has been left open, so the 20-bottle, 64-can interior remains stable.

This pick doesn't feature a freezer compartment. It's also not ideal for storing food. However, it does have a flexible design and can be installed in a freestanding or built-in setting, making it perfect for a basement or living room bar set-up. The Titan mini fridge is also frost-free, so you won't need to unload your bottles and cans regularly to maintain the appliance. There's an interior light for easily showing off your favorite sips, LED controls, and a Sabbath mode. Most notably, this fridge has a wide internal temperature range. While it can't be installed in a garage, you can set the internal temperature anywhere between 38 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

All in all, the Titan fridge won't leave your drinks hanging. It'll treat them to the very best environment, as opposed to a general fridge that's also suitable for food. Just be aware that the fridge is on the expensive side before adding it to your cart.

Price at time of publish: $1,939

Bottle Capacity: 20 | Can Capacity: 64 | Dimensions: 33.86 x 23.82 x 23.35 inches | Freezer Type: No freezer | Installation Type: Built-in and freestanding | Defrost Type: Frost free | Garage Friendly: No

Best Outdoor

Summit Appliance SPR489OSCSS 3.1 cu. ft. Outdoor Convertible Mini Fridge

summit-appliance-outdoor-convertible-mini-fridge

Courtesy of Wayfair

What We Like
  • Can be locked

  • Convertible installation

  • Adjustable shelves

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to switch door

  • No freezer compartment

Designing the outdoor kitchen of your dreams? Look no further than Summit Appliance's SPR489OSCSS Outdoor Convertible Mini Fridge. This mini fridge is approved for outdoor use (though, you can also install it indoors if you'd like) and can be set up as a freestanding model or built-in one. A see-through door lets you quickly see what's inside without opening it and letting the cold air out, and a safety lock keeps the contents secure. Unfortunately, there's no freezer compartment, but there is 3.1 cubic feet of fresh food and drink storage that you can make use of.

When you open the door, you'll get a better glimpse at the adjustable shelves. The three shelves are made of glass, meaning any spills will be contained and small items will stay put. An interior light also illuminates the inside, which is convenient if you're hosting a gathering at night. Plus, you don't need to roll up your sleeves and manually defrost the fridge whenever there's frost buildup because the unit automatically does this task.

Be aware of the reversible door, which can be hard to adjust. The unit also has mechanical controls that can be less precise than electronic ones. Otherwise, you can find this mini fridge by Summit Appliance in a stainless steel or black finish, and happily complete your home project.

Price at time of publish: $1,275

Total Capacity: 3.1 cubic feet | Dimensions: 33 x 19 x 18.57 inches | Freezer Type: No freezer | Installation Type: Built-in and freestanding | Defrost Type: Automatic | Garage Friendly: Yes

Expert Buying Tip

"To help cut costs, you can look for appliances with minor scratches or dents and negotiate a discounted rate. This is an easy way to still get the product you want but with some minor cosmetic imperfections on the outside."Brittney Castro, Mint CFP

Best with No Freezer

Danby DAR026A1WDD-6 Designer 2.6 cu. ft. Freestanding Mini Fridge

danby-designer-freestanding-mini-fridge

Courtesy of Wayfair

What We Like
  • Reversible door

  • Angled can dispenser

  • Energy Star rated

What We Don't Like
  • Wire shelving

  • Controls at back of the unit

If you only need fresh food storage, a mini fridge with no freezer feature is the best pick for you. There's no compartment internally or externally that takes up precious space, so you're able to store more refrigerated foods and drinks at one time. When it comes to freezerless mini fridges, the Danby DAR026A1WDD-6 Designer Freestanding Mini Fridge tops other picks because it's both reliable and thoughtful. The interior is 2.6 cubic feet large, which is smaller than average, but it features three adjustable shelves. You can set them up however you need and store a small bottle of orange juice in the door, too.

The fridge's door also features a can dispenser. However, the dispenser doesn't take over the entire door and is designed with angled slots for easily grabbing a soda or seltzer. The door is also reversible, meaning you can install the hinges to open the door to the left or right. If you're installing this mini fridge in a dorm room or tight space where you don't know the layout yet, this feature is very handy because you can easily change the orientation as needed. An integrated door handle also makes this piece of the fridge more space-conscious, while a freestanding design gives it added flexibility, too.

A downside of this Danby fridge is the controls are located on the back of the unit. It might take some maneuvering to set the internal temperature and adjust it once it's been installed. In addition, the fridge manually defrosts, and wire shelves make it easy for tiny items to slip through. You'll want to purchase storage bins for sauce packets and easily-bruised fruit. But, the fridge will likely save money during operation, thanks to an Energy Star rating.

Price at time of publish: $300

Total Capacity: 2.6 cubic feet | Dimensions: 27.37 x 17.68 x 20.06 inches | Freezer Type: No freezer | Installation Type: Freestanding | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: No

Final Verdict

For a mini fridge that's suitable in almost every situation and very functional, opt for the GE GDE03GGKBB Double-Door Mini Fridge. This pick features a crisper drawer and top-door freezer compartment and ultimately looks and feels like a larger appliance. If you're sticking to a budget, the BLACK+DECKER BCRK43B Freestanding Mini Fridge with Freezer doesn't have adjustable shelving, but does have a garage-ready design and reversible door that make it flexible and versatile.

What to Look for in a Mini Fridge

Installation Type

When it comes to mini fridges, there are a few installation types you can choose from. The right one for you depends on where you're planning to install the mini fridge, and whether that spot will be its permanent or temporary residence. There's a freestanding mini fridge, which can be installed in any spot in your home with the correct outlet and is the most traditional style of mini fridge. There's also a built-in mini fridge—otherwise known as an under-counter fridge—which should seamlessly blend in with your kitchen cabinets or integrated with your kitchen island layout.

Countertop models are more portable and suitable for those storing a couple of items in a bedroom, nursery, office, or dorm room. You can use them in a bathroom setting, too. They're very compact and ultimately the perfect size for a collection of skincare products, set of bottles, or stack of yogurt and other snacks. They're also the type of mini fridge that's gone viral on TikTok for their often retro-like design and adorable nature, though it's worth noting that many of this style offer cooling capabilities 32-40 degrees less than the ambient temperature outside the fridge, which might limit their usability in some situations. Lastly, there are units dedicated to a single purpose: beverage mini fridges. These are made for storing wine, beer, and your other sips, and often have special racks and temperature ranges.

Capacity and Organization Options

The capacity of a mini fridge is often measured in cubic feet. If the mini fridge is dedicated to storing beverages, then it may also be measured in the number of Bordeaux-style wine bottles and cans you can fit inside. The larger the capacity of your fridge, the more you can store at one time. The average hovers between 3 and 4.5 cubic feet. Some countertop models will have just 0.5 cubic feet of space, while high-capacity models can reach 6 cubic feet and store the weekly groceries of two people.

To ensure that you're getting the most storage for your money, look at the organization options that the mini fridge pairs its capacity with. Adjustable shelving can help you use every square inch of the interior, as can an angled can dispenser, a crisper drawer, and a separate freezer. To avoid leftover or unusable space, you can purchase clear, plastic bins to keep items tidy and very visible, one of our tips for refrigerator and freezer organization. You can also use TikTok's fridge organization videos to inspire your mini fridge's organization system.

Expert Buying Tip

Review Board Member Johnathan Brewer says, if you're selecting a mini fridge to fit inside a specific compartment (such as within a cabinet space), verify the actual true dimension of the fridge. This includes the open door and will help you make sure the appliance fits in the desired space before purchasing or installing.

Freezer Feature

There's much to consider when it comes to the freezer of a mini fridge. First, you must decide what type of freezer you want. There are mini fridges with no freezer, a top-door freezer (which has a very similar look and feel of a full-size, top-freezer refrigerator), and an internal freezer.

The most spacious of these options is the top-door freezer. Typically, this type of freezer can hold a pint of ice cream comfortably. You'll want to make your decision based on what you want to store in both the fridge and the freezer compartment, keeping in mind that you can always purchase a chest or upright freezer for your garage, basement, or outdoor kitchen, if you need more freezer storage.

In addition, it's key to look at how the mini fridge defrosts. Some mini fridges automatically defrost or are frost-free, so they don't require any maintenance on your part. Others manually defrost, which is less convenient and a chore you'll need to pencil into your schedule every time the ice buildup is 1/4-inch thick inside to ensure the appliance runs efficiently and lasts a long time. If you opt for this type of model, you'll need to unload your food, unplug the machine, and chip away at the frost. Let the ice melt away, plug your fridge back in and bring it to its proper internal temperature, and then load your food back in.

Standout Features

Reversible Door

A reversible door can make your mini fridge more accessible and flexible to install in your space. This feature means you can access your fridge by opening the door to the left or right. You'll usually need to switch the hinges by attaching them with screws, which already have designated holes added by the manufacturer. This feature is most suitable for those installing a fridge in a tight location, like the corner of a garage or a dorm room.

Interior Light

An interior light allows you to see what's in your mini fridge by illuminating the shelving and bins. It's not a total necessity, but is certainly handy if you're reaching for a snack or drink at night. An interior light can be positioned at the top of a unit near the temperature controls or at the back. It can also include an LED strip or a single bulb and is most effective when items are not blocking it.

Garage-Ready Design

If you're hoping to install your mini fridge in a garage instead of a basement, kitchen, or dorm room, opt for one with a garage-ready design. A garage-ready refrigerator can be installed in a setting with flexible external temperatures, like outdoor bars or kitchens, and will still operate properly despite the fluctuations. You won't have to worry about the compressor or cooling device giving out and your food spoiling. Not all fridges are garage-ready, so it's important to look for this specification when shopping.

FAQ
  • How long do mini fridges last?

    Your more robust mini fridges typically last around 10 years. This is about the same as a regular, full-size refrigerator and can be extended if you properly maintain and install your appliance. For example, you should not install an indoor mini fridge in an outdoor setting. This includes a garage, unless the fridge is garage-ready and made to withstand fluctuating temperatures. In addition, you should diagnose noises that sound unusual with the help of your user manual right away. While some cracking noises might be normal and a sign that the automatic defroster is working away, others may indicate that the compressor or cooling elements are failing and the appliance is going to leak soon. To maintain your appliance properly, you should plan to defrost it when interior ice buildup becomes 1/4-inch thick. (You don't need to do this if your model is a frost-free one or automatically defrosts.) This will ensure the parts are not working too hard and experiencing significant wear and tear earlier than they should.

    On the other hand, if you go with a countertop or portable style of mini fridge, you can expect a shorter lifespan (that often coincides with the smaller price tag). Reports usually put them at 1-2 years before users start noticing changes in functionality.

  • How long does it take for mini fridges to get cold?

    It can take your mini fridge anywhere from three to 24 hours to get completely cold. For that reason, it's necessary to plug in the machine well before you want to use it. After plugging it in, use your user manual to decide what temperature setting it should be at. The manual might inform you of how long your specific model will take to cool. However, you can put a fridge thermometer or small bottle of water inside to test the temperature before you start loading in your perishable food.

  • How much will a mini fridge add to my electric bill?

    The average cost to run a mini fridge is $20 to $50 per year. The most efficient models are Energy Star certified. Check the Energy Guide Label on the mini fridge you’re considering to get an estimate of the energy cost for a particular model. Many of the models on our list — including the Danby Designer Mini-fridge and the Frigidaire Retro Bar Refrigerator — are Energy Star certified.

  • How much is a good mini fridge?

    There is a wide range in the cost of mini fridges depending on the capacity and features you’re looking for. Portable models range between $80 and $500. Our best overall, the GE Freestanding mini fridge with freezer, is $500, while the Cooluli, a countertop size mini fridge, is just $80. Built-in, specialty, and outdoor models typically cost $1,000 or more. 

  • Can you plug a mini fridge into a regular outlet?

    Yes, the specifications for most mini fridges require a standard 110- to 120-volt outlet.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Marisa Casciano is the senior commerce editor for appliances, cleaning, and organization for The Spruce. She has researched the ins and outs of air purifiers, dishwashers, and more in the home space. She loved her GE mini fridge, which lasted for 10 years and was installed in multiple spaces throughout her college and post-graduate life. For this piece, she read through dozens of product listings, verified customer reviews, and user manuals, and considered each mini fridge's capacity, reliability, efficiency, and value. She also considered each unit's door design, shelving options, and outdoor compatibility.

For additional insight, she also spoke with Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy trend expert, on how to style your mini fridge within your space, and Brittney Castro, Mint CFP, on how to save money on a large appliance purchase.

Dena Ogden, commerce writer at The Spruce, updated this piece and contributed additional research. She's been writing professionally since 2016 and with The Spruce since August 2022, specializing in appliances, cleaning, and organizational topics.

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