7 Best Mini Dorm Fridges

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best dorm fridges


When it comes to keeping cold brew and late-night snacks chilled, a great mini fridge in your dorm room is a total college must-have. But with so many different configurations and sizes, it can be tricky to decide which is the best mini fridge for you — especially since you could be using it for the next four years and more!

According to our Good Housekeeping Institute kitchen experts, dorm fridges are best suited for chilling beverages or storing lunches for a couple days, max. That’s because they can rarely be counted on to keep perishable foods cold for long periods of time. In order for food to be safe, meats, dairy, and cut fruits or veggies must be kept below 40°F (and above 32°F, if you don’t want them to freeze). Our Lab tests on compact fridges found that most temperatures hovered at the high end of this range, so you don’t want to risk it.

What is a good size fridge for a dorm room?

Dorm rooms are small (and often shared with one or more person), so it really depends on how much space you have. Mini refrigerators, also known as compact refrigerators, vary in size from 1.7 cubic feet up to 4.5 cubic feet. The smallest cube-shaped mini fridge measures 17 inches wide, 18 7/8 inches deep and 20 1/2 inches tall. A larger 4.5 cubic foot model with a separate freezer measures around 19 inches wide, 20 inches deep and 43 inches tall. If you’re unsure about what size to get, wait until after move-in day so you can measure the space you have available.

Do I need a mini fridge with a freezer?

Probably not. Freezer space in dorm fridges can take up a good amount of real estate, and often isn’t used at all. Plus, many of the less expensive models require manual defrosting which could be annoying and time-consuming for already-busy college kids. Think about what you’re going to use it for most. If it’s just drinks and a few snacks, you might be better off with a beverage fridge with a cool tempered glass front.

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Best Overall Mini Fridge

GE Compact Refrigerator

Our Kitchen Appliances Lab’s top mini fridge pick, this is a fridge and with a top freezer. You’ll get all the perks of the separate spaces, along with door bins, a full crisper drawer, and a can dispenser on the door. Reviewers even say it can fit a 12-inch pizza box!


Most Stylish Mini Fridge

Daewoo Retro Compact Refrigerator

Make a statement with this fun retro Daewoo fridge. You can pick from five different colors and even get a matching microwave! Consumers also love that there isn’t a can-only storage compartment, so it’s more flexible for the items you actually want to keep cool. Keep in mind, it is slightly taller than most other picks at 36″ high, but you can get it in a 2.8 cubic-foot size.


Best for Small Dorms

Midea Compact Refrigerator

This super-compact Midea is a no-frills buy. With just one shelf, it gets the job done keeping food and drinks cool (and consumers say it can hold 24 bottles of water!) and it even has a very small freezer. We like that the legs are adjustable so you can fine-tune it to fit your space. 


Best No-Freezer Mini Fridge

Danby Contemporary Classic Compact All Refrigerator

While this Danby mini fridge doesn’t come with a freezer, our pros like that there’s space for a tall bottle or milk jug on the door (something many others don’t offer). Not to mention, the door is reversible so you can change which side it opens on — great for making it work in small spaces. Keep in mind, the can holders on the door won’t work for anything else, so if you don’t drink sparkling water or fizzy drinks, this may not be the best pick for you.


Best Mini Fridge & Freezer Combo

COSTWAY Compact Refrigerator

The ultimate dorm addition, this COSTWAY option is just like your regular fridge, only smaller. It has a freezer, removable glass shelves for easy cleaning, an ice tray, crisper drawer, an internal thermometer so you can easily adjust the temperature, and you can even adjust the shelves for taller things. 


Best Mini Fridge for Beverages

Insignia 14-Bottle Wine Cooler

If you’re just looking to keep beverages cool, this Insignia pick is a stylish solution. Sure, it’s technically a wine cooler, but it’ll keep any other drink from cold brew to kombucha perfectly chilled. Plus, the clear door lets you see what’s inside without ever opening it.


Best Portable Mini Fridge

Cooluli Mini Fridge Electric Cooler and Warmer

This one takes the idea of mini to a whole new level (it weighs four pounds!) While it only fits six cans, it’s perfect for keeping on your desk for mid-study hydration. You can even take it with you on road trips since it can be powered through a USB port. There’s also a warming function, but this fridge is really just for cooling — not chilling or keeping perishables at a safe temp.

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