If you love to keep your food and drinks refrigerated but you don’t have so much space to give up for a large fridge, shopping mini fridges is a good way to make your dream come true.
Mini fridges are designed to cater to the needs of students, workers, and homeowners who have space constraints. From our research, a good number of those who purchase these fridges are students.
Students who live in dormitories or shared apartments don’t always have so much space to play with but they like to have a chilled can of soda close by.
However, there are many reasons people go for mini fridges. Travel fridges, for instance, become necessities on long trips and can be charged with the car’s battery using a car charger. In essence, if you are planning a road trip any time soon you should factor in a mini fridge into your plans.
Your RV or garage could also be a great place to have a good mini fridge installed. That way, you know you won’t run out of a bottle of cold drink. This will be especially useful if you spend some time in your garage, for instance.
If you work as a technician or factory worker, chances are that you will need to take a few breaks to get some relief. If you have a mini fridge to your name at the factory, you can rest assured there’ll be something refreshingly chilled for a parched throat during the break.
So, what exactly are we saying?
Whether it is for temperature sensitive substances like medications or just some reliable source of refrigeration for your needs as a student, worker, or hotelier, you’ll need a good mini fridge to keep your favorite things chilled.
We are aware that there are so many fridges to choose from and the task may be quite daunting. That is why we decided to do all the research just for you.
This buying guide will make your shopping experience worthwhile and will help you make informed decisions.
First of all….
What’s A Mini Fridge?
You probably have an idea of what a mini fridge is by now. But to dispel any doubts about what it is, let’s add a little more to what you already know.
First of all, a mini fridge is so called because it has a capacity of about 6 cubic feet or even less. So, you can tell this kind of fridge won’t be able to store food and drinks for 4 people. Your family, for instance. It is only sufficient enough to cool a few items. Meaning, you can’t think of large Tupperware containers or a platter of turkey when it comes to what to store in a mini-fridge.
Now, that it is ‘mini’ doesn’t mean you have to let go of all the features in a regular refrigerator. In fact, you can find an ice maker or a little freezer in some models including individual can holders.
Some models are also able to store vegetables, meat, and a few groceries while some others are only designed for food and drinks.
Long story short, the ‘mini’ in them says a lot about how perfect they are where concerns about space are substantial.
Get it now?
Now let’s talk about the types of mini fridges.
What Type of Mini Fridges Are There?
Even though it goes without saying that mini fridges are generally smaller when compared to the regular fridges, they actually come in different styles and sizes. Mini fridges also vary according to the intended purpose. Like we said earlier, some are designed for a few drinks and some snacks while some others can take fresh meat and vegetables.
We are about to give you the 411 of the different types of mini fridges that there are. This information will help you narrow down your search so that you are well-armed to make the right decision.
Cube refrigerators form the largest fraction of mini fridges that are currently being used. Typically, their interior space measures between 1.5 and 2.1 in cubic feet. Most cube refrigerators have a weight that falls within the range of 25 and 30 pounds. This makes them quite portable and handy.
In terms of how much space they occupy, the height of a cubic refrigerator is about 20 inches. This particular feature makes it easy to store these appliances in small spaces and corners. In fact, because of the size, you can even choose to place a cube refrigerator on another appliance or on a table and it won’t look out of place.
These refrigerators are easily the most used because they cost less when compared to other mini fridges. So, if you have a really tight budget and you’ll love to own a mini fridge, then think no further than a good cube refrigerator.
On the flip side, cube refrigerators are not so economical to run as we would have loved. One major reason that they are not economical is because they usually have poor insulation.
Nonetheless, these issues have been noted by manufacturers of mini fridges. So, there are increasingly more energy-efficient models these days than before.
Among the few features that cube refrigerators boast of is the locking mechanism. This feature promotes safety and security of stored items. If you live in a shared apartment or you share your kitchen, this is a feature you shouldn’t pass up on.
Even though they come quite small, you are also likely to find a freezer compartment in a cube refrigerator.
Mid-Sized Mini Fridges
A mid-sized refrigerator is relatively bigger than a cube refrigerator. You also get to enjoy the benefits of a larger freezer, more shelves, and more storage capacity for food and drinks.
The height of most mid-size refrigerators usually averages 26 inches. They also provide a storage capacity of roughly 2.5 cubic feet.
These refrigerators are more economical and energy-efficient compared to the cube refrigerators. And this features, for the most part, justify why they are more expensive.
In fact, the bells and whistles may also include a reliable and adjustable thermostat for temperature control, an automatic defrost feature that makes cleaning quick and hassle-free, and more storage on the refrigerator’s door.
Counter High Fridges
Counter high fridges are so called because they are usually as tall as most kitchen counters. They are also very compact and boast of a capacity range of 3.5 to 4.5 in cubic feet.
Counter high refrigerators may have single doors or double doors depending on the model.
When compared to the cube refrigerators and mid-size fridges, they are way more energy efficient. In fact, they consume the least amount of energy. So, we don’t need more information on why they are the most expensive of the three. We observed that the more energy-efficient, the more expensive.
Because of their sizable capacity, these refrigerators may also function as backup refrigerators in cases where the regular household refrigerator is filled up.
Some brands also include freezer compartments in their models, while some are all-refrigerators.
Other features that can be found in counter high fridges include vegetable crisper, drink dispenser, and interior light.
Travel Mini Fridges
With travel mini fridges, you no longer have to make frequent stops to refuel your tummy while you are on a trip. If you have a travel mini fridge with you in your vehicle, you can have your favorite food, snacks, and drinks within your reach.
That said, travel minis come in 3 different types: the thermoelectric refrigerators, the absorption refrigerators, and the compressor refrigerators.
The Thermoelectric Refrigerators are specially designed to cool food for a little time. Among other reasons why they are used only for a short period is that they are usually connected to the car battery using a cigarette lighter. If they are connected for too long they may drain the car battery.
Of course, the last thing you want is to be stranded on the road without a battery replacement. This means you have to disconnect a thermoelectric fridge whenever it is not in use.
Even though thermoelectric fridges are quite pocket-friendly, they can get really noisy.
So, if you are in the market for a mini fridge that will serve you on a short trip, then you should go for a thermoelectric fridge.
Compressor Refrigerators, on the other hand, are specially designed for long travels. They work with AC power supply or 12-volt batteries. If you choose an AC power, then you’ll need an adapter as well.
Unlike the thermoelectric fridges, the compressor models run more quietly and they do not consume a lot of the car battery.
Sadly, the fluctuations in the temperature outside the fridge may cause temperature instability in the fridge. Even though compressor fridges feature settings that help to control the temperature in the fridge, foods, and drinks stored may get warm or frozen if the settings are not changed immediately.
The Absorption Refrigerators don’t have motors like the compressor or thermoelectric types. They run on ammonia which evaporates into L.P. Gas in order to keep drinks and food cool.
With this type of mini fridge, you must ensure that it is set on a stable base because of the moving liquid. This is necessary for an effective power supply.
Usually, the power source could be AC power, car battery, or a gas.
The absence of a motor in this refrigerator is the reason it runs noiselessly and is suitable in areas that lack electricity.
Wine Mini Fridges
Not everyone knows that wines should be stored and chilled differently from how foods and drinks are stored. Wine must be stored properly to preserve it. And this is only possible with wine fridges. These fridges are designed to cool the wine and store it at a precise temperature.
Red wine, for instance, requires a cooling temperature within the range of 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. White wines, on the other hand, need to be stored between temperatures of 41 and 50.
Generally, wine fridges feature glass doors and can hold 6 to 12 bottles that are placed horizontally.
Are you looking for a wine mini fridge? Yes? Then you should choose a fridge with double-paned glass. Single-paned glass will allow warm air into the fridge because it is not as insulated as the double-paned glass.
You may also want to look out for a wine fridge with a door that is well tinted to prevent harmful UV rays that may damage the wine.
What are The Factors to Consider While Shopping for a Mini Fridge?
Once you are able to know what to look out for in a mini fridge before you buy one, your shopping task might as well be over already.
What does that mean? Nothing complex. It simply means you can rest assured you’ll make a good purchase eventually if you are in the know of the factors you need to consider.
Here are a few of the factors that we think you’ll find very useful:
- Size and Capacity: Already, you don’t need a seer to tell you that a mini-sized is relatively smaller when compared to regular fridges. However, the sizes still vary.
For the best outcome in your shopping task, you’ll need to decide how much fridge space will be perfect for you.
Models available in the market are usually about 1.5 to 5.5 cubic feet. And as you keep shopping for the perfect one, you may also come across the features inside the fridge. For instance, some manufacturers may list holders for cans, ice trays, glass shelves and trays among other features.
You should look out for these features; especially if you are particular about the spaces your food, drinks, and vegetables will be calling home.
That said, the range of choices is usually between the small cube refrigerators to the counter height refrigerators.
The most effective way to ensure you get the right size is to match the measurement of the space you are willing to spare with the dimensions of the fridge you want. Of course, the last thing you want is a refrigerator that doesn’t fit.
- Freezer Compartment: Freezers in mini fridges come in 2 different styles. They either come as a compartment inside the refrigerator or as a separate compartment (usually above the fridge) like a standard refrigerator.
If you are very particular about freezers and are looking to have ice cubes every now and then, then you are better off with models that have separate freezers.
Interior freezers, on the other hand, tend to be smaller in size.
- Compressor Power: Some mini fridges come with compressors that require more power for them to run effectively. Yet, some others come with energy-efficient ones.
The compressor power of a mini fridge is important because it affects the bills. So, if you go for a fridge that is not energy-efficient, you may lose some bucks on a regular basis.
You are always better off with an energy-efficient model.
To be sure, you have an efficient one, ensure you prioritize Energy Star certified models.
- Noise Level: Noise can be quite disturbing. And some fridges make a lot of noise without mercy. This is something you want to be sure your preferred fridge doesn’t do.
More so, because mini fridges are commonly used in shared apartments, kitchens and workspaces like offices and factories, we are sure you’ll rather be in everyone’s good books. You don’t want your fridge to be the reason someone doesn’t sleep well at home or focus properly at work.
So, check the noise level.
- Locking Door: The safety and security of your food and drinks are likely not going to be an issue till you have to share an apartment, kitchen or any space at all.
A locking door will also be very relevant if the purpose is to store medications that shouldn’t get into just anybody’s hands.
You may even find a model that comes with an effective lock that could go unnoticed. They are necessary in cases where forgetting the key at the lock may be dangerous.
Now that you know what to look out for in a mini fridge, your shopping should be a walk in the park.
But before you go…
A Few Tips To Keep At Your Fingertips While Shopping For A Mini Fridge
- If you are in the market for something that cools perishable items, you should avoid superconductor or thermoelectric models.
- Glass shelves are easier to clean and contains spills when compared to wire racks.
- Ask your school or hostel before you buy the mini fridge you want. Some schools may have energy consumption restrictions.
- Go for a mini fridge that is as large as the space that can hold it in your dorm or hostel.
- Ensure that the interior has features that are perfect for your storage needs.