If you're looking for a convenient way to keep drinks and snacks cold and close at hand, a mini fridge is a perfect solution. These miniature refrigerators make life easier and work great in a dormitory or office setting.
Before you set out to buy a brand-new mini fridge, read on to learn more about what to look for before you make a purchasing decision.
What Type of Cooling Should Your Mini Fridge Use?
Even though they're small in size, mini fridges still use some pretty powerful resources to keep your items cold.
- If you're looking for something short-term, such as a dorm mini fridge, try one that uses thermoelectric power. Thermoelectric fridges use a pump that transfers heat from one side to the other along with a fan that works to keep the contents cold. There is no liquid used in these small appliances to keep everything cool, which makes these types of tiny fridges a lot more quiet than some other models. That also means they are a good choice for small spaces where noise is a concern.
- A compressor fridge is used for both regular and miniature-sized appliances. These fridges use a liquid that gets vaporized as it moves through coils and tubes until the fan blows cold air throughout the inside. Most compression fridges produce a humming sound due to the compressor and fan but they do a great job of keeping temps regulated.
- An absorption fridge is one of the quietest choices since it doesn't use a motor to keep your items cool. You'll find these mini fridges in hotels, making them a great option if you plan to use one in your bedroom at home. They work by using a source of heat but are much quieter than the thermoelectric mini fridges available today.
If you're concerned about energy consumption, most mini fridges don't leave a large carbon footprint. In terms of overall operation or energy costs, the absorption fridge is the best option since it doesn't require a motor to keep things cold. Compression and thermoelectric refrigerators require more energy since they use pumps, motors, and fans which require more energy to operate.
Which Shape or Size Mini Fridge Should You Choose?
- A cube-shaped mini fridge was once the only option, but it's still a popular choice for many people today due to its neat and compact size. These fridges feature a square shape with a deep interior to hold approximately one six-pack of sodas or beer as well as a few extra bottles if it has a door. Cube fridges are designed to be compact and lightweight, so they're not as insulative as some other models.
- A mid-size mini fridge is much taller than a cube refrigerator, which means they have a lot more interior room. These small fridges are a bit more powerful, so they're also an excellent option if you need something that will be used for the long term. A standard mid-size mini fridge should be able to keep a 12-pack of cans or bottles cold.
- Under-counter mini fridges are approximately the same height as an average kitchen countertop and have a much larger interior storage space. These small fridges are perfect as a backup in case the power goes out, and they're also extremely convenient for grabbing quick snacks or drinks. Use one in a garage or man cave when you want a snack, beer, or soda as these fridges can handle around 24 cans, bottles, as well as small food items.
- For beverage connoisseurs, a beer or wine mini fridge is a great option. They're made to reach temperatures designated specifically for beverages and typically have a glass front door and plenty of racks for storage. Capacities vary depending on the size of your beer or wine mini fridge and its total cubic footage.
How to Select the Right Style for Your Mini Fridge?
Some mini fridges include a tiny freezer on the top, which is a good choice if this small appliance is all you have to keep food cold. Other features include interior doors so you have a bit of extra storage space for tall drinks or sandwiches.
The boxy design of old mini fridges is being updated today with some fun colors and modern designs. A small fridge with a curved top adds a fun touch to this miniature appliance and makes it more attractive. Retro-inspired designs are also a fantastic way to add a little extra uniqueness.
The majority of mini fridges are standalone models that can be placed on top of furniture or under a cabinet. Built-in units are typically larger, more expensive, and are installed under counters to blend in as part of your kitchen. For casual spaces or industrial-inspired rooms, a standalone fridge should work well. If you prefer a traditional decor style, the built-in option is best.
What Features to Look For in a Mini Fridge?
Examine the interior layout of the mini fridge you're interested in.
- Some models may use durable glass shelves, while less expensive options tend to use wire shelving. The former handle spills better and are generally better in terms of keeping the fridge neat and clean. However, if you don’t use tempered glass, it might be prone to chipping and cracking.
- Removable shelves will make it easier to adjust the size if you need to keep taller items cold, so take that into consideration if you plan to store larger food and beverage items.
- You may want to consider a mini fridge with a locking door, especially if you have children in the home. It's also a great way to prevent your roommate from sneaking into the fridge and stealing your favorite drinks!
In terms of features, even the most modern mini fridge is still basic when it comes to functionality. You likely won't find things like ice or water dispensers, digital control panels, and fancy lighting in most mini fridges on the market today.
A mini fridge can be an extremely convenient appliance that can fit into your lifestyle. Before you make a purchase, remember these quick tips to guide you in your quest to find the perfect fridge for you:
- Look closely at how the mini fridge keeps items cool since certain models will be louder than others.
- Mini fridges in new styles that include colorful finishes and fun shapes can add a nice touch to the way the fridge looks in a kitchen, home office, or hangout room.
- Determine how much interior storage you will need before you purchase a mini fridge. If it's just for quick drinks, a cube style may work well while an under-counter mini fridge holds a lot more inside.
- Read reviews to find out which brands and models are popular and what makes them better than some less expensive versions.
- Come up with creative ways you can use your mini fridge like keeping drinks cold for parties or having a convenient way to store snacks in a home office space.