How to Choose a Mini Fridge
Most people associate mini fridges with college dorm rooms. They are actually also a great option for small apartment efficiencies, offices, man caves, she sheds, and even RVs. These compact refrigerators save space while doing what you need them to do the most: keep your groceries and beverages cold. They may not be as fancy as some standard size fridges (did you know that there are even smart refrigerators now?), but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t reliable! Before outfitting your dorm or office with a mini fridge, give yourself enough time to conduct some research to ensure you’re getting the best one for your needs. These are the factors you ought to consider prior to making your mini fridge purchase.
Cube Mini Fridge or Tall Mini Fridge?
A cube mini fridge is small enough that you may be able to fit it in a designated space under a counter or even under your desk. A tall mini fridge is rectangular in shape but still compact. They offer more storage and shelving options. If you live in a dorm and will mostly be using the campus meal plan and taking your meals in the cafeteria, you most likely can get away with a cube mini fridge. If you live in a small apartment, however, try to make enough room to get a tall mini fridge so you can stock several days’ worth of meals within.
What is the capacity of the mini fridge? Don’t just think about the amount of food, but shapes and sizes as well. For example, can a tall bottle (such as a bottle of wine) fit standing up? What about bulkier items, like a gallon of milk? How are the shelves set up? What is the storage on the inside door like? You should also look into the shelving material. Personally, we think that glass shelves are easier to keep clean and store items on than wire rack shelves.
Is there a freezer compartment at all? If so, how big is the freezer area and how much can be stored in it? For example, is it wide enough to store a frozen pizza? After some consideration, you may decide that you don’t even need a freezer compartment. Maybe you just want a mini fridge to store drinks, or you’re ok with going out for ice cream rather than keeping a tub in your freezer at home. Some may have a freezer compartment that is within the main refrigerator, whereas tall mini fridges may have a separate freezer door on top. Be aware, however, that these two door mini fridges have been shown not to hold temperatures well. Some mini fridge freezers struggle with preventing freezer burn. Get a mini fridge with a good quality freezer compartment (if you even decide you need a freezer) that won’t result in freezer burn to your food.
An absolute must with any mini fridge is for it to be able to keep the temperatures within consistently cold so that your food will be safe to eat. If the fridge is labeled as a thermoelectric or superconductor model, it will be enough to keep drinks cold but you don’t want to keep perishable foods within. Instead, choose a mini fridge with a compressor for cooling. Check also to see if food stored on the top shelf, near the freezer, accidentally ends up frozen due to proximity.
Most mini fridges won’t come with a vegetable crisper. That being said, how well does your mini fridge do with keeping fruits and vegetables crisp? Will you have to eat your entire head of lettuce in one day or else risk it going soggy? That wouldn’t be ideal.
Since people who are purchasing mini fridges are often doing so because space is an issue, some come with the ability to reverse the door. This allows you to choose whether you want the door to swing open to the left or to the right, thus giving you more options in tight spaces.