are two things to consider when buying a compact refrigerator. First, with the
possible exception of two-door models, freezer performance among compact
refrigerators is poor. In most models, the tiny freezer compartment shares
airspace with the refrigerator and cannot keep food solidly frozen without
causing ice to form on refrigerated food. The freezer is usually cold enough to
make ice, albeit slowly.
mini fridges use a lot of energy compared with larger refrigerators. The
smaller size reduces the amount of insulation that can fit in the
refrigerator's walls, so they don't hold cold air as well as standard models.
Even Energy Star-rated compact units are inefficient compared to full-size
features on most compact refrigerators are limited. Analog-dial temperature
controls are almost universal, but extras such as automatic freezer defrost or
a humidity-controlled crisper can add significantly to the price. Considering
the number of owner complaints about breakdowns, the one extra that may be
worth paying for is an extended warranty.
are some additional shopping tips:
- 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 consumption.
- 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
- Glass shelves are
better than wire racks. Solid 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-liters, 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 stay frozen.
- Avoid thermoelectric
coolers for anything but beverages. This type of compact refrigerator often
costs less and is very lightweight, but it may not keep perishable foods at a
safe temperature, especially if it is located in a warm room.