Reviewers say the best freezers are found in mini fridges with two doors, so the refrigerator and freezer compartments are separated and each is better insulated. The counter-height, 3.1-cubic-feet Emerson CR500 is inexpensive for such a model, but it gets good reviews from owners.
The refrigerator section has a capacity of 2.2 cubic feet, with an adjustable wire shelf, a vegetable drawer and room in the door for several cans and a couple of 2-liter bottles. The small freezer has a door rack too. The door is reversible, meaning that it can swing out to the left or right, and there's a lock and key, which can be useful if you have small children around.
The freezer has a handy door shelf and comes with an ice cube tray; however, it requires manual defrosting, which can be inconvenient. This model also does not receive an Energy Star rating. If you'd like to spend a little less and don't really care about a freezer, the cube-shaped, refrigerator-only Danby DAR195BL (*Est. $120) has a capacity of 1.8 cubic feet and is Energy Star-rated. On the other hand, if you want more storage space and are OK with a freezer-less design, the Danby DAR440 (*Est. $200) may be more suitable.
We relied mainly on owner reviews of the Emerson CR500 at Amazon.com and Buzzillions.com, as well as a longer review on the blog site Zimbio.com, written by an owner who has used an Emerson CR500 mini fridge for more than two years.
More than 70 owners post ratings and reviews here. The average rating is 3.5 out of 5 stars, and most comments are positive, especially about the freezer. Most people like having the freezer compartment accessed by a separate door, and they report that the freezer works well. A few report that the refrigerator section doesn't keep food as cold as they'd like it to, however.
Review: Emerson Two-Door Compact Refrigerator, Contributors to Target.com
Anonymous blogger "airconditionerprices" posts a review of the Emerson CR500 on this blog site, explaining that the reviewer has owned one since 2008 and that it's "still going strong." this reviewer says, as do some owners at Target.com, that the freezer works great, but the refrigerator doesn't keep drinks as cool as most people would want them. Still, the review is quite positive overall, and the reviewer would buy the Emerson CR500 again.
Review: Emerson 2-Door Compact Refrigerator Review, "airconditionerprices", July 2, 2010
This longer review of the Emerson CR500 is fairly comprehensive, but it's not clear what it's based on. It's actually more of a description than a review. The reviewer concludes, "Ultimately, this Emerson refrigerator model is the answer to your prayers if all you want is a compact and fuss-free refrigerator to use."
Review: Emerson Compact Refrigerator CR500, "admin", July 25, 2011