The 10 Best Mini Fridges of 2021

Your snack stash has found a new home

Image shows an office scene with two people at their desks. There are three mini fridges pictured: black and decker, chefman, and midea

The Balance / Jo Zixuan Zhou

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In an ideal world, we’d all be able to pop out of the office to grab lunch at a set time every day. There’d be no interference, no phone calls, high-priority e-mails, and no unexpected emergencies to keep us planted at our desks while our stomachs growl. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in most offices.

You'll need a mini fridge to stash your meal-time goodies, beverages, and a few hold-you-over snacks. But mini fridges come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and not all are particularly “mini.” Others sacrifice efficiency and features for their diminutive size.

What to do? Try one of our best mini fridges.

Best Overall: Danby Designer DCR044A2BDD Compact Refrigerator

The Danby Designer DCR044A2BDD might be a little too large for really small office spaces, but it’s still compact, and it offers a lot, including superior adjustable shelving, eight can holders, tall bottle storage as well as a freezer. The freezer area runs the full width of the fridge. There’s even an egg tray built into the door and a slide-out tray under the freezer area. The Danby Designer has all the perks of a “real” fridge in a more compact size.

It’s suitable if you have a lot of employees and everyone is trying to tuck their sandwiches and drinks into the same place. This small refrigerator offers a capacity of 4.4 cubic feet, but it’s only about 32 inches high, just shy of 3 feet. It should fit nicely under larger tables if you want to keep it out of sight.

Best All-in-One: Black + Decker BCRK25B Compact Refrigerator

This mini fridge has the same must-have features that many others offer, but it has them all in one place. You don’t have to pick and choose between freezer space or adjustable temperature control—the Black + Decker Compact Refrigerator has both. It also has two, full-width glass shelves, as well as door shelves, an ice cube tray, and a reversible door, so it will situate just about anywhere. The back is flat so you can push it right up to a wall, and the fridge has little legs to help stabilize it.

All this is packed into just 2.5 cubic feet, and it’s only a little over 2 feet tall, so it’s easily tucked beneath a desk. This Black + Decker mini fridge is also Energy Star certified.

Best for Versatility: Cooluli Mini Fridge Electric Cooler and Warmer

Cooluli’s Electric Cooler and Warmer helps keep your food warm if you don’t want to use it as a fridge. The next time you come back from a lunch run with a hot burger only to get immediately sidetracked before you can enjoy it, just pop it in the “fridge”—after turning the control to warm, of course.

We like this mini fridge because it’s so adaptable—you can power it with either a USB adapter with a 2A power bank or with an AC/DC adapter. A USB cord is also included. And it’s particularly compact, at about 10 inches high.

Best Desktop Fridge: Chefman Portable Personal Fridge

Chefman’s Personal Fridge is extremely popular for its portability. This mini fridge isn’t limited to being tucked into a corner of the office, and it doesn’t require floor space. Yes, it’s that small—it’s pretty much a desktop model—but it can still hold up to 12 cans of soda (or beer for Friday happy hours), and the shelves are removable if you want to store something bigger, too.

This compact fridge wins when it comes to versatility. It can either warm (leftovers from lunch) or cool whatever you place inside. All you have to do is flip a switch to tell it what you want it to do. It doesn’t use Freon, which appeals to some buyers.

Best for Simplicity: Magic Chef MCAR320B2 Refrigerator

Magic Chef offers a simpler, compact refrigerator, although it’s not necessarily much smaller at about 33 inches high and 3.2 cubic feet. It can be a good fit for an office that just wants the basics: a fridge to keep things cool with no freezer to take up interior space.

That’s not to say that the Magic Chef mini fridge isn’t without its bells and whistles. This one also has a reversible door, and it can sit flush against the wall—nothing protrudes from the back to make it infringe on your floor space any more than is necessary.

Related: The Best Mug Warmers

Best for Odd Spaces: Midea WHD-113FB1 Double Door Mini Fridge

Midea is another well-known name in mini fridges, and at 2.2 cubic feet, this one is small enough to fit just about anywhere. Adjustable legs help to accommodate tight squeezes, and its reversible double doors are a nice touch that sets this fridge apart. And even if you have the perfect spot for it but the door won’t open there, you can just take it off and put it back on the other way.

Despite its compact size, this Midea model also has a freezer space and a vegetable drawer. The temperatures of both the fridge and the freezer are adjustable, and it has an Energy Star rating, so it won’t kill the office electric bill.

Best Value: Insignia 2.6 Cubic Foot Mini Fridge

Insignia 2.6 Cubic Foot Mini Fridge

Amazon

Get a good bang for your buck with this Insignia mini fridge. At just 2.6 cubic feet, the compact fridge is perfect for storing beverages, fruit, and other snacks. The three glass shelves offer enough space for you and your co-workers, while a can rack helps keep drinks organized and easy to reach. Its adjustable thermostat allows you to toggle the temperature between 32 and 39.2 degrees. The fridge is already small, but its back fits flush with the wall to optimize office space. Keep in mind that its size isn't meant to hold larger lunches or meals, but for almost half the price of other mini fridges, it's worth sacrificing a bit of fridge space.

Best for Style: Daewoo FR-044RCNM Retro Compact Refrigerator

While style may not be the most important factor when looking for a mini fridge, it's hard to resist the retro look of the Daewoo Compact Refridgerator. Perfect for adding some color in an office, the mini fridge is available in Mint, Red, City Blue, White, and Cream Beige. Beyond looks, it delivers great functionality, too—the 22.8 x 19.2 x 36.1-inch fridge features LED lighting, a wire bin, a fresh food drawer, a two-liter bottle rack, and a top table design, allowing you to place drinking glasses and dishes on the fridge. You can even get a matching microwave for more classic touches. The compact refrigerator is energy star-certified.

Related: The Best Office Coffee Makers

Best for Dorm Room: Frigidaire Mini Refrigerator with Eraser Board in Black

Frigidaire Mini Refrigerator with Eraser Board

Courtesy of Walmart

Leave a note for your roommate not to touch your leftover pizza or to remind yourself to call mom on the door of this cool Frigidaire mini fridge. It’s got 3.2 cubic feet of space, ample room for your favorite snacks, and can and bottle holders on the door.

Best for Freezer Space: Costway 3.2 cu. Ft. Mini Fridge

Costway 3.2 cu. Ft. Mini Fridge

Courtesy of Home Depot

Most mini fridges don’t have a lot of freezer space, but this one is perfect for storing a couple of your favorite ice creams or freezer meals. The refrigerator part has a crisper drawer, another rarity for mini units, and the door features a can dispenser and space for bottles.

Related: The Best Office Supplies

Final Verdict

If you’ve got the space, just not enough for a traditional refrigerator, the Danby Designer (view at Amazon) is a great compact fridge. It has all of the key features people use most, but it will fit into a smaller space. If you have even less room, go for the Black + Decker (view at Amazon), another energy-efficient and well-designed model. Of course, if your fridge will only be for beverages or just a couple of items on top of your desk at work, then look for a style that’s suited to your specific needs.

What to Look for in a Mini Fridge

Size

Mini refrigerators can be small enough to sit on top of your desk or large enough to store a good amount of perishable groceries. Plus models are shaped differently. Think about the space you have and measure it out before you shop.

Intended Use

Do you want your mini fridge to store a bunch of soda cans in the gaming area of your basement or your garage? Are you looking for a mini fridge to go under your office desk or on top of it? Perhaps you need something compact to store a combination of food and drink items for a dorm room or shared apartment. Look inside to get a sense of how the mini fridge is constructed (such as side door compartments, shelves, drawers) so you can be sure it will hold the items you most want to keep cool. 

Freezer or No Freezer

Though freezer space may be small in a mini fridge, sometimes you might want to make ice in ice trays or keep a leftover or two. If you have no use for a freezer, then you’re better off maximizing the space with a model that is fridge only. 

Energy Star

Mini refrigerators can be energy hogs despite their small size. If that’s a concern for you, look for the Energy Star label, which indicates that an appliance is more energy efficient.

FAQs

How much electricity does a mini fridge use?

Because the amount of electricity used varies by model, your best bet is to check the EnergyGuide label that is located on the appliance when shopping. For example, the top pick in this list, the Danby Designer model, has a 226 kWh estimated yearly electric use.

How do you defrost a mini fridge?

Mini refrigerators should be defrosted if they aren’t going to be used for a period of time, and some models recommend doing it once a year. Defrosting is simple. First, take everything out. Unplug the unit. Place a towel underneath and around the refrigerator to catch any melting water. Then, open up the doors and let it defrost. It may take a full day or more if you’ve got a freezer and there’s a thick layer of ice. Once it’s all done, give it a good cleaning so it’s ready to go.

How much does a mini fridge cost to run?

The estimated cost is another feature on the EnergyGuide Label that is on all appliances. According to one appliance energy use chart, an ENERGY STAR Refrigerator that’s 14 cubic feet costs about $4.49 per month to run. Mini refrigerators are even smaller than that, so in theory, it should cost even less. If you wanted to crunch the numbers, Energy.gov has a good explainer and calculator to help you get a more accurate number for your particular mini refrigerator. What’s important, though, is that adding a mini fridge to your household shouldn’t break the bank, but a more energy-efficient one can save you a couple of bucks in the long run.

Meet the Expert

This roundup was written by Dawn Papandrea, a personal finance reporter who also covers consumer topics. She is a full-time freelancer with two decades of writing experience