Danby is the brand that garners the most praise among mini-fridge owners, and this counter-size model is no exception. While larger models in general perform better and get better reviews than cube-size units, the DAR440 offers automatic defrost and is Energy Star-rated -- the most important features that make this model stand out.
The 4.4-cubic-foot, counter-height Danby DAR440 is an all refrigerator model, and therefore it has plenty of storage for beverages and perishables. While the freezers in counter-height models tend to perform better than those in smaller units, they are not nearly as effective as those in standard-size refrigerators -- plus, they take up valuable storage space for drinks and fresh foods. For these reasons, owners generally consider the lack of freezer a benefit.
In addition, the unit has three wire shelves (two full- and one half-size), and the door also has two adjustable bins, a can dispenser and room for 2-liter bottles. Other features include a reversible door, an interior light and automatic defrost. It comes in both black and white finishes. Owners widely report that this model performs well, although some encounter shipping problems resulting in product damages.
If you'd prefer a smaller, less expensive unit, two other Danby models garner good reviews: the DAR195BL (*Est. $120), with a capacity of 1.8 cubic feet, and the DAR259 (*Est. $150), with a capacity of 2.5 cubic feet.
We found no expert comparative reviews of the DAR440. However, a number of owners post reviews on Walmart.com, and the model is a pick for best dorm fridge in a list compiled by Bestcovery.com
Nearly 270 owners post ratings and reviews of the Danby DAR440BL on Walmart.com -- comments range in date from 2007 to 2012 -- and they are overwhelmingly positive. The average rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars, and virtually the only complaints are about damage during shipping. One user does point out, that glass or Plexiglas shelves would be more convenient, as bottles are more likely to tip over on the wire shelves. Most users say they are happy with the omission of a freezer and report that the unit is quiet and keeps food and drinks cold. Reviewers also praise the ample storage space.
Review: Danby 4.4 cu. ft. Energy Star Compact Refrigerator, Contributors to Walmart.com
The Danby DAR440BL is second on Bestcovery.com's list of the five best mini fridges for dorms. In this brief review, expert Jerry Arlen pronounces it "ideal for the dorm," although he does not indicate the criteria he used to make his choices. He does provide a nice comparison chart for the five mini fridges, making it easy to compare their features side-by-side.
Review: Danby DAR440BL Designer 4.4 Cu. Ft. Refrigerator, Jerry Arlen, July 25, 2011
The Danby DAR440BL earns an overall 4-star rating from more than 30 owners at Amazon.com. Most reviewers praise its roomy interior and say it performs well, although some report shipping damages due to poor packaging. One user notes that the temperature dial is recessed and inconvenient to adjust, and another complains that bottles tip over too easily on the wire shelving.
Review: Danby DAR440BL 4.4-Cu.Ft. Designer Compact Refrigerator, Contributors to Amazon.com