Mini fridges are great space savers and convenient to place in the comfort of your room or office. There are somethings you need to consider before you go out and purchase one for yourself.
There are a huge variety of sizes for mini fridges spanning from 1.0 cu.ft to greater than 4.0 cu.ft. However, the size I am mentioning here is not the cubic volume, but the external dimensions. Whether the shape of the unit is square, tall, etc. you need to make sure you measure your area correctly before buying one. If you are planning to put it in a tight space, make sure you leave at least 2 to 3 inches of space around the sides and the top of the fridge. This ensures that the fridge will have proper ventilation (unless it is a built-in unit).
After the dimensions are measured correctly, you can choose the capacity. I would recommend selecting one that has the highest storage capacity for the space available, but if you don’t need that much space or there is a cute really cute one you absolutely have to have, you can choose something smaller.
2. Freezer or No Freezer?
This may seem pretty obvious. Why wouldn’t you want one with a freezer? Well… there are some caveats for having a freezer.
- Freezers are too small. Mini fridges are well… “mini.” They don’t offer a lot of space. If you have a freezer, that means less fridge space. Usually freezers in mini fridges can only store a couple of ice trays or small frozen foods.
- Higher power consumption. Freezing foods consume a lot of power so if you are looking to leave a smaller carbon foot print, get rid of the freezer.
- Just need space for fruits, vegetables and drinks. Some people don’t need frozen foods. This allows more fridge space for those extra items.
However, if you are looking to store some decent sized frozen foods or ice cream, look for ones with a full width freezer. Just looking for some ice with your drinks? Then half width freezers should do just fine. All two door mini fridges have full width freezers so be on a look out for those.
This is really just a matter of preference, but there are some advantages to two door verses one door mini fridges. First, they usually have a large freezer space. This will help immensely if you are looking to store some frozen foods or tubs of ice cream. Second, they consume less power because of better insulation. In a one door fridge, the temperature of both the freezer and the fridge change whenever the door is opened. This forces the compressor to turn on more frequently to lower the temperature inside the mini fridge. This does not happen as frequently in a two door fridge since the freezer or the fridge door is shut when one of them is open. Personally, I like the one door fridges because of the aesthetics, but there are some good-lookin’ two door mini fridges as well.
Shelves are actually pretty simple. Glass shelves are better than wired ones. They are easier to clean and they have a even, flat surface which prevents accidental spills. It is also to better to get shelves that slide out to different positions. This allows you to customize the interior space to accommodate shorter or taller food items to really maximize your fridge space. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get one with wired shelves. They are usually more affordable and hold your foods just as well if positioned properly. I just find glass shelves a little easier to work with.
5. Energy Consumption
Look for Energy Star-rated units because mini fridges consume more power than you think. Mini fridges can actually consume equal or even more energy than regular sized refrigerators. Yes, it is quite surprising. The main reason is because regular refrigerators have a condenser and a fan to dissipate the heat, but mini fridges just use their exterior surface for heat dissipation. This means they don’t insulate heat as well, making the unit work harder to keep the inside cool. So the hotter the area around the mini fridge, the harder the unit will work to keep things cool. However, they are still a great product for small spaces and for convenience and aesthetics. There is something about having a nice cold drink right next to you at arms reach that makes me really happy.
Now that you have considered these 5 things, go out and buy one. Oh wait! There are a couple other things to consider as well. For students, check to make sure if mini fridges are allowed in your dorms. You don’t want to purchase one and later find out that you can’t bring it with you. I would also look for reversible hinges on doors so you won’t have problems opening the fridge door. This is especially important if you are placing the unit flush to the corner. Now you can go buy one.