While most miniature refrigerators are relatively inexpensive and destined for a dorm room or garage, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still have the best mini fridge.
Here at Reviewed, our experts have tested hundreds of full-size refrigerators over the years and found some are definitely better than others.
After testing some of the most popular mini fridges on the market, we can definitively say the same is true here.
Our favorite fridge is the Magic Chef HMCR320WE (available at Home Depot for $0.00) , which is a good fit for those looking for a high-performance mini fridge at a great price.
While it isn’t one of the bigger models out there, and its door takes some getting used to (if you don’t shut it hard enough it will bounce open again), we do love its retro look and consistent temperatures.
For those looking for a different style or features, there are quite a few winners on this list at a similar price point.
Due to supply chain challenges and soaring demand, there is widespread unavailability of home appliances and long wait times for delivery of backordered products. If you're a consumer in need of a refrigerator, here are the best places to buy in-stock appliances right now.
Here are the best mini fridges we've tested, ranked in order:
Magic Chef HMCR320WE
Arctic King ATMP032AES
Magic Chef HMCR320RE
Dimensions: 33.5” x 19.10” x 17.1” (H x W x D)
Capacity: 1.72 cubic feet
Finishes: Black, mint green, red, white
The Magic Chef HMCR320 might not be perfect, but it does a lot well. It has an interesting look, mixing elements of classic car design with a pastel green palette. It also has a good mix of storage options inside.
But, the best feature? The Magic Chef HMCR320's rock-solid temperatures in both its fridge and freezer compartments.
Its fridge and freezer temps are remarkably stable, hovering right around the ideal 37°F and -2°F respectively. The Magic Chef HMCR320 is the only mini fridge we tested that has a properly-calibrated freezer: The other models all run a few degrees warmer than they should on their default settings.
In terms of drawbacks, there is only one minor issue: Its door’s auto-close mechanism can actually bounce the door back open again if you don’t shut it hard enough.
If you don't need a freezer, the Insignia NS-CF26BK9 may be the way to go. It has a decent-sized refrigerator compartment that measures over 2 cubic feet: This is one of the larger mini fridges we tested.
The Insignia NS-CF26BK9's can holsters are a flexible storage solution: they're removable, they provide easy access, and you can also store non-can items in there. While we like these can holsters, they’re also not as space efficient as the storage other models provide.
In terms of temperature performance, the Insignia NS-CF26BK9 was steady and stable, though it did use more than twice as much electricity as almost every other mini fridge we tested: It used 6.08 kWh while most other models used less than 4 kWh. This difference equates to roughly $0.15 extra per hour, depending on your local electricity rates.
The Costway EP22672BK offers an average amount of storage space, just with a slightly smaller fridge and a slightly larger freezer, which might make it a better choice if you intend to stock more frozen foods.
While the Costway EP22672BK’s fridge compartment features steady, accurate temperatures, its freezer runs warm on default settings: It averages about 3°F as opposed to 0°F. This means some items may not freeze properly, so make sure to calibrate it to one notch below where Costway says you should for optimal results.
While the Costway EP22672BK is a decent mini fridge, we recommend waiting for it to go on sale before buying: Its middling performance doesn't merit paying almost twice as much as the other fridges we tested.
The Galanz GLR31TBEER features a 1950s, classic car aesthetic and comes in a variety of different colors. This mini fridge offers the most storage area out of all the models we tested, measuring a whopping 3 cubic feet—about 0.5 cubic feet larger than the rest of the pack. That's more than two bowling balls worth of space.
In terms of fridge performance, the Galanz GLR31TBEER shines. During testing, it hit the ideal 37°F and didn't waver.
Its freezer temperature was a problem, though. For starters, it runs warm, averaging 5°F instead of 0°F. It was also the least consistent freezer of the group, oscillating between 2°F and 8°F, which is a huge swing when freezers normally deal in wavering by fractions of a degree. This sort of variation means you’ll likely have trouble with freezer burn.
The Galanz GLR31TBEER also has the auto-close door issue, but worse: If you don't shut the door hard enough, it'll actually bounce open again.
Though it does have some performance and usability issues, the Galanz GLR31TBEER still looks great and offers a ton of usable storage area. If you're not planning on keeping anything particularly perishable in your freezer, it may still be a good pick-up.
During testing, the Midea WHD-113FSS1 performed slightly below average, mostly due to its temperature control. For starters, its fridge ran warm on default settings, hitting an average temperature less than 1°F below the safe zone of 40°F.
Its freezer performance wasn't much better either, hovering around 5°F instead of 0°F. While this isn't ideal, the one saving grace is that its freezer temps were stable: Just turn its temp down slightly and the freezer should be just fine.
Its controls and door were easy to use, and its shelves and bins were more or less identical to what we saw on the other mini fridges we tested. We did like the design of its can dispenser rack, as it lets you load cans in from the middle as well as the top.
Despite its name, the Arctic King ATMP032AES has some of the warmer default fridge temperatures we measured. On default settings, it was actually slightly warmer than the cut-off for food safety, 40°F. Fortunately, because its fridge temps are consistent, once you calibrate the compartment to be cooler the fridge will work just fine.
Its freezer temps were also a bit warm at 3°F, but were also relatively stable—no freezer burn here, just a quick calibration and you should be all set.
One of the Arctic King ATMP032AES's best features is its stainless steel facade, which looks nicer than some of the other, glossy-plastic-facade mini fridges we tested.
Stainless steel exterior
Fridge and freezer run too warm and must be calibrated
The Frigidaire FFPE3322UM is actually the warmest fridge of the bunch, with an average temperature of 41°F at its default settings. Given that anything above 40°F isn't safe for food storage, this is a disappointing test result. Fortunately, its temperatures are remarkably consistent, so once it's properly calibrated you shouldn’t have any problems with its performance.
While the Frigidaire FFPE3322UM does technically have a freezer, it only got down to 22°F: This is not nearly cold enough to function properly. The temperature in its freezer was also inconsistent, making this the worst freezer out of its testing group by a large margin.
While you can use its freezer as a second refrigeration compartment, don't expect your ice cream to come out cone-ready.
The Cooluli C20LDXW is advertised on some retailers as being both a mini fridge and a cooler for cosmetics. We'd be more inclined to recommend it for the latter than the former: It had the worst performance of the bunch.
While the Cooluli C20LDXW was the only fridge equipped with a digital readout, we found it wasn’t accurate, as temperatures were 7°F cooler than what we had programmed. We also noticed some frost building up along the back of the fridge within the first few days of operation..
The Cooluli C20LDXW is definitely the cutest and smallest mini fridge we tested, with a total capacity smaller than most of the other mini fridge's freezers.
Just be careful while stocking or grabbing items: Its flimsy plastic shelves don’t support much weight, and will bow and shake as you add or remove items.
Hello! We're Reviewed's appliance testing team. We've collectively spent decades testing major appliances in our lab.
Just like full-size fridges, we tested mini fridges in laboratory conditions and used them normally over the course of a week. This combination of approaches gives us a great sense for how these appliances behave, both in terms of raw performance and overall user friendliness. A product must have both of these qualities in order to earn our recommendation.
In our tests, we consider temperature consistency, storage capacity, and usability as the most important aspects of a good mini fridge.
To avoid extreme temperatures that negatively impact fridge performance, we test each refrigerator in a lab that conditions the air temperature to 72°F +/- 5°F (basically, room temperature), and relative humidity to 50% RH +/- 15% RH. This keeps each fridge performing at its best, and prevents some models from being penalized because of the weather on the day we tested them.
We spend a week testing each refrigerator with our standardized battery of tests. First we fill the fridge with water ballast (since fridges operate better when there’s less empty space), we then measure the temperature consistency in both the fridge and freezer compartments over the course of a week, the rate of humidity loss in its crispers, the total usable storage space on each shelf and bin, and the total energy draw.
What You Should Know Before Buying A Mini Fridge
How Long Do Mini Fridges Last?
While the lifespan of any appliance can vary wildly due to several factors, you should expect your fridge—either full-size or mini—to last for about 10 years.
The industry-standard warranty covers one year of parts and service, but some companies offer more robust programs that will cover specific parts for up to five years, 10 years, or even for the lifetime of the product.
Size and Capacity Numbers Can Be Deceiving
Most manufacturers measure the interior of a fridge by essentially flooding it with water and accounting for every empty inch inside the fridge. We don’t use these measurements for our testing, because they would suggest you could store items in the area between the shelves and the door bins, or floating up against the ceiling.
We measure each shelf, bin, or other storage location separately, then add those areas together. That way we’re only accounting for the usable storage inside the fridge, and different capacities are more cross-comparable.
It’s Important to Manually Calibrate the Temperature
The ideal temperature settings for the fridge and the freezer are 37°F and 0°F, respectively.
Fridge temperatures higher than 40°F, allow bacteria to proliferate quickly; fridge temperatures lower than 32°F can cause some food to freeze.
Food isn’t properly frozen at freezer temperatures above 0°F. Furthermore, the less consistent a freezer’s temperature is, the more trouble you’ll have with freezer burn.
How to Defrost a Mini Fridge
Defrosting a mini fridge is a relatively simple process. All you have to do is empty it out, turn it off, and let it melt—just make sure you have a plan for all the water. If it makes sense to do so, you can also chip away at the ice and remove it by hand.
Defrosting your mini fridge is important, because as the ventilation system becomes iced up the freezer loses some of its ability to circulate cold air throughout the compartment, resulting in insufficiently cold temperatures.
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Lab Manager at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.