For many, the dream home is getting smaller. Whether is because of retirement or maybe it is just time to downsize, not everyone needs a big full-size refrigerator, making compact and mini models the perfect fit. In addition, they will easily fit into your RV, office, dorm room, garage, or multi-media room. They are great for an extra bit of space to keep things cool right where you need them.
- Best Compact Refrigerator in 2018
- 1. Igloo FR326M-D-BLACK Erase Board Refrigerator With Neon Markers
- 2. Editor’s Choice: Danby DARO17A2BDD Compact Refrigerator Without Freezer
- 3. Igloo 1.6-1.7 Cubic Foot – Best Small Compact Fridge
- 4. Amazon’s Best Seller: Midea WHS-65LB1
- 5. Midea WHD-113FSS1 Double Reversible Door Refrigerator and Freezer
- 6. Midea WHS-160RB1
- 7. Amazon’s Choice: Whynter BR-091WS Beverage Refrigerator with Lock
- 8. Best Rated Compact Fridge: EdgeStar CRF150SS-1 1.1 Cu Ft Convertible Refrigerator or Freezer
- Buyer’s Guide
- Additional Features to Look For
- General Considerations
- Final Word
Best Compact Refrigerator in 2018
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1. Igloo FR326M-D-BLACK Erase Board Refrigerator With Neon Markers
As far as the refrigerator goes, it is one of the smaller ones on the market. Refrigerator only has a 3.2 cu ft capacity with an internal freezer. You can store 2-2 L bottles on the side door and the freezer is just large enough for two TV dinners. If you want to store an entire gallon of milk, you will have to remove one of the shelves.
These were some drawbacks that we found with this refrigerator. However, it is narrow and easily fits on top of the desk. This is the perfect refrigerator for students who need a place to store their leftovers and work out their math problems too. It does have an adjustable thermostat and kept temperature accurately. However, it would be wise not to place items that you do not want to freeze next to the freezer unit. Lettuce placed there froze and was unusable. Overall, we felt this was a great refrigerator and an excellent idea.
2. Editor’s Choice: Danby DARO17A2BDD Compact Refrigerator Without FreezerThis unit was the one we picked as our editor’s choice because it has only one job and it does it well. This refrigerator does not have a freezer, which we feel is an advantage because it does not have uneven cold spots created by the freezer.
3. Igloo 1.6-1.7 Cubic Foot – Best Small Compact Fridge
This mini refrigerator comes in bright, vibrant colors and is perfect for any decor. We liked it because it has a space that is designed to be versatile. You can easily fit into milk in the side of the door and have plenty of room for things like cheeses, small frozen pizzas, and other small grocery items. Like many small refrigerators with a freezer, anything placed too close to the freezer compartment will freeze. This is one of the few reasons why it did not make one of our editor’s best picks.
It also is not Energy Star rated.
However, in terms of space design, this refrigerator was a winner. It has a reversible door and an adjustable thermostat. The door does have a basket that can hold 2-2 L bottles, but you must be careful, because they can roll out the door.
4. Amazon’s Best Seller: Midea WHS-65LB1
This small refrigerator is a bestseller mostly because it is lightweight and easily fits under a desk. This choice is preferred by those who work in an office.
However, it is perfect for keeping lunches and a few snacks under your desk.
5. Midea WHD-113FSS1 Double Reversible Door Refrigerator and Freezer
For those who are looking for something a little more substantial, this model is a great choice. It has 3.1 cu ft of internal capacity and a separate freezer with its own door.
We also like that the freezer and refrigerator have their own adjustable temperature ranges.
In our tests, we found that the temperature was fairly consistent throughout the entire refrigerator portion of the unit. This one was a little taller than most compacts, but it was still narrow enough to fit into small spaces.
6. Midea WHS-160RB1
We like this model because it has a little bit bigger storage capacity than the average compact fridge.
It has an eternal freezer compartment and stuff that is placed next to the freezer does tend to freeze, even if you do not want it to. It has a very tiny freezer, but it will fit two ice cube trays comfortably.
The refrigerator is Energy Star rated, and we felt that it ran quieter than other models that we examined. It is a little bit wider than other compacts and may not fit in every space. Overall, we felt this was a sturdy unit and gets the job done.
7. Amazon’s Choice: Whynter BR-091WS Beverage Refrigerator with Lock
This refrigerator falls under the category of being designed for a specific purpose. This refrigerator can hold 90 standard soda cans and has shelving specifically designed for that purpose. Also, it has a temperature control with a minimum range that is perfect for keeping pop and other drinks at the right temperature.
Whynter BR-091WS has an interior light to help you see what you are grabbing at night. As far as refrigerators designed specifically to hold pop, we felt that this was the best one on the market it was also Amazon’s choice. It had consistent cooling throughout, even with loaded to full capacity.
This would make a great unit for those who sell cold drinks at events. Another thing that we liked about this refrigerator is that it comes with a cylinder lock that has two keys. We think the glass door makes a nice display.
8. Best Rated Compact Fridge: EdgeStar CRF150SS-1 1.1 Cu Ft Convertible Refrigerator or Freezer
This model had to make the list for one reason. It is extremely compact and will fit literally anywhere. This one was designed to have an adjustable temperature that allows it to use it as either a refrigerator or a freezer.
We tried this one both as a freezer and as a refrigerator. We found it to work as designed in both capacities. As a freezer, it tended to build up frost a little bit or frost quickly than other compact models. However, it works well in both refrigerator and freezer modes.
In our opinion, it would be a great idea to get two of these and stacked one on top of the other. It ran quietly and did not seem to produce much heat. Because you do not have the space taken up by an internal freezer, this gives you a lot more space on the inside.
Compact refrigerators come in five basic types, allowing you to choose one that best suits your needs. The following summarizes the five major types refrigerators and their most suitable use.
This type of compact fridge is perfect for small spaces. They can easily fit on a countertop, or under a desk. They are generally between 1.5 to 2.1 cu ft on the inside and weigh between 25 and 30 pounds. However, many of them have poor insulation and cannot be expected to do more than cool a few drinks and snacks. Some are not efficient enough to keep meat to the proper temperature and they will not replace a standard refrigerator.
These units can store a little more than the cube, but they are also a bit more expensive. They range in size from 2.7-4.7 cu ft. They have more shelving and sometimes a freezer compartment. The cooling efficiencies of these refrigerators differ significantly from model to model.
You will sometimes see these in stores sitting on top of countertops. They are typically over 5 cu ft in size, have more freezer and shelf space, and some contained crispers. These are popular for people in condos and work as well as standard refrigerators at keeping food at the correct temperature, including meat.
2-Door Compact Fridge
These are simply a smaller version of standard refrigerators. They have a separate freezer can department, have auto-defrost, removable shelves, and precise temperature controls. These can hold considerably more items than smaller compacts.
Travel refrigerators are small refrigerators that use an alternative power source such as batteries, or the ability to be plugged into a car cigarette lighter. These are only meant for short distances and will place a strain on your vehicle’s engine.
Additional Features to Look For
These are the main types of small fridges, but you need to look around because some of them have additional features that may make them more suitable for your needs.
- Separate Freezer. CompartmentThe two main types of freezers in mini fridges are those that are within the interior space of the refrigerator and those that have a separate freezer like a full-sized refrigerator. Those that are within the interior of the refrigerator can cause unevenness in temperature, with colder areas next to the freezer compartment. They are often okay for making ice but may not keep food frozen adequately. Those with a separate freezer work just like a standard refrigerator and often keep food colder, as well as promote even cooling throughout the rest of the refrigerator compartment.
- Compressed Power. Today’s refrigerators work by circulating pressurized coolant around the compartment, rather than by drawing air across coils. The coolant is pressurized and sent through tubes in the walls, absorbing heat as it moves through them. Those that have a compressor may not be as energy-efficient as other types of cooling systems.
- Reversible Door. Some of them have hinges that allow the door to be opened from either the left or right. This can be an excellent option for small spaces, or if the refrigerator is in a situation where it will be moved frequently, such as in a dorm room or office.
- Locking Door. Some people use this type of fridges to store medication, sensitive, or dangerous materials. Therefore, some of these models come with a locking door to keep these items out of the wrong hands.
When choosing a compact refrigerator, there are few general considerations that you need to think about before making your purchase.
The first is what size you need. Obviously, you need to get one that fits within the space where you intend to use it. Secondly, you need to consider if it has the cooling capacity to store the types of food that you wish to store in it. Some fridges have very little insulation and do not do a good job of keeping temperature sensitive items, such as meat or dairy products, at a healthy serving temperature. Most are okay for a few snacks, but you need to do your research if you want to store something that must be kept at a certain temperature reliably.
Next, you need to consider the energy efficiency. Some of them are energy hogs. You need to look for one that is Energy Star certified to ensure that it will not run up your energy bills significantly. Also, you may want to get one that will run quietly, this is particularly important if you will be using it in a media room or office where meetings will take place.
Make sure that the refrigerator does not produce significant heat. Some of them will be hot to the touch in the back when they are running. These could also run up your cooling bill as well.
After these considerations, you need to take a look at the arrangement of the shelves, whether the shells are removable or able to be re-arranged, and whether the freezer is internal or external to the main refrigerator compartment. You also may want to look at the color and finish of the refrigerator and purchase one that hides fingerprints and marks easily and one that is easy to clean.
There you have it, a compact or mini refrigerator can be a great addition to your home, office, dormitory room, or RV. Even though most of them have similar features and appear to be similar, we found that there were vast differences in their performance and ability to do what they are designed to do.
Even though it would seem that having an internal freezer would make it more convenient, we found that in most cases an internal freezer created cold spots and reduced the space significantly. For this reason, we thought that the Danby DARO17A2BDD was the best one on our list. This just feels like a good, sturdy refrigerator and keeps the evenest temperature of those that we examined. We liked that it is well-designed and makes great use of the internal space.
The models in this review all make an excellent choice. You just need to decide which one suits your needs the best.