buy a compact refrigerator, keep in mind that they're not known for their
freezing performance or energy efficiency. If having a solid freezing
compartment is important to you, either purchase our best-reviewed Frigidaire FFPS4533QM (Est. $330), which has a separately insulated freezer compartment with its
own door, or consider purchasing a separate mini freezer, which will give you
more space than the minuscule freezing compartment in most mini fridges.
energy efficiency is very important to you, consider investing in a larger
refrigerator if you can put the extra space to work. Mini fridges use a lot of
energy compared to larger refrigerators because the smaller size reduces the
amount of insulation that can fit into the refrigerator's walls. Even Energy
Star rated compact units are inefficient when compared to full-size
Here are some
additional shopping tips:
- Watch out for mini fridges that
are labeled as "thermoelectric" or "superconductor" models. These are
acceptable options if all you want the fridge to do is keep beverages cool, but
they aren't capable of keeping perishable foods -- especially meat -- at
consistently safe temperatures.
- Check with your school before
buying a mini fridge for a dorm room. Most colleges and universities permit students to have
mini fridges in their rooms, but some have restrictions on size and energy
- Buy the largest mini fridge you
can afford that will fit. Not only do larger compact refrigerators hold more food, they almost
always perform better and are more energy efficient than the smaller
- Glass shelves are better than wire
shelves help contain spills, are easier to clean, and provide more stability
for small items.
- Choose a mini fridge with an
interior configuration that suits your storage needs. Large door shelves work well for
gallon jugs or 2-liter bottles, but they may be an inefficient use of space for
storing small items like yogurt or soda cans. Adjustable shelves are useful for
refrigerating big items.
- Consider a two-door model if you
plan to store frozen food. You'll sacrifice some space for the separate freezer, but at least
your frozen pizzas and ice cubes will have a better chance at staying frozen.
- Consider where you'll place the
compact refrigerator. Some models can be installed into a "built-in" under counter space,
but many offer standalone installation only. This means the fridge requires air
space behind it and to the sides in order to ensure safe, efficient operation.