Refrigerators

These Are The 5 Best Dorm Refrigerators for College Kids

Suppose you are heading out to college for the first time; congrats! We wish you all the best. It is an exciting time; picking your classes, making new friends, meeting your roommate, and moving away from home. You’ll be surrounded by many people of your age, learning to deal with the unexpected. Typical college life is all about coping with project and assignment deadlines, cramming for midterms the night before, living on a tight budget, and enjoying every moment to the max.

Shopping for dorm life is even more exciting. You’ll be away from the comfort of your home. Although it is a thrilling move, it can be nerve-wracking as well. A good packing list is one thing that will help calm you down a bit. Knowing that you have everything to get you started at a new place will definitely ease your mind. You would probably start your shopping with usual paraphernalia; bedding, eating utensils, laundry items, and of course, all things study-related. You may even put some non-essential items on the list, such as a microwave oven and even a dorm-room refrigerator. 

While a dorm-room refrigerator isn’t an absolute necessity, it is great to have one, provided you have space and your college allows you to bring one.

Features of Dorm Fridge

  • They are compact and lightweight.
  • A small-sized fridge is ideal for 1-2 persons.
  • They are affordable. You can find a great dorm room refrigerator for $300.
  • They are stylish. You can buy one according to your likes.
  • Dorm fridges come in various colors.
  • They have dedicated can storage compartments.
  • Dorm-room refrigerators have freezer sections to keep your items frozen.
  • Some models come with locks to keep your food safe.
  • Some small refrigerators have glass doors. Though we don’t recommend them for dorm rooms, you can use them in offices, garages, attics, and small spaces in your home.  

Benefits of Having a Dorm Refrigerator

It’s a great way to store leftovers, snacks, soda cans, frozen goodies (if it has a freezer section) and water bottles.  Moreover, dorm refrigerators are small and compact. So you can easily fit one in your dorm room, even if your room is very small.

They are lightweight, and you can conveniently take them from your home to your college. It will be easier for you to move with them if you decide to change your room. They are energy-efficient and don’t have a high running cost. Small refrigerators are well-built and sturdy. They are made to withstand the ordeals you and your buddies will put them through.   

Is it Worth Buying a Dorm Refrigerator?

Yes. It is an excellent investment for your college years. It will make your life easy in many ways. For example, you can enjoy fresh or leftover meals when the mess hall is closed, and you live on a tight budget. If you calculate the savings on food alone, the initial cost of buying a dorm refrigerator will be one-third of what you’ll be saving in your college years. Moreover, a dorm fridge will bring convenience and comfort to your life. And don’t you worry about durability; the machines we have chosen are the best ones and made to last.

Dorm Refrigerators: Editors Picks

Dorm Refrigerator Buying Guide

We know you want the best of the best for your dorm room, and we won’t let you down. We did some research and found the best dorm refrigerators for college kids. We sifted through the massive selection of refrigerators, checked user reviews, interviewed students who bought these fridges, and gathered experience-based information for you. We also included a buying guide on how to choose the best ones and an FAQ section to clear any remaining doubts you may have about dorm room refrigerators.

You can find an excellent dorm refrigerator for under $300. To get the best return on your investment, you need to make sure that you buy a machine with all the features you’ll need in your dorm room. The average life of a dorm refrigerator is 6-8 years, and you’ll probably want your kids to use one fridge for the next four years.

How to Choose the Right One For You

To help you select the best dorm refrigerator according to your needs, we have listed all the critical features you need to consider before selecting a dorm refrigerator.

Features to Consider Before Buying a Dorm Refrigerator

Design

Dorm refrigerators don’t have many variants. They come in simple conventional designs with one door or two doors. If you prefer a separate freezer compartment, then go for a two-door design. Some one-door refrigerators have a freezer, but it is smaller and doesn’t have a separate temperature control system. Secondly, one door fridges are small in capacity and size. They are best for rooms where you don’t have much space for installation.  

Moreover, make sure that your fridge has a reversible door design as it will come in handy in spaces like a dorm room, garage, and offices.

Capacity

The maximum capacity you will find in a dorm refrigerator is 3.2 cubic feet. This is enough for three students. You can also find smaller fridges that are more budget-friendly.  

Available Space

You can gather information about your college’s dorm room size from online college groups, seniors, or graduates. This information will help you select the correct dorm refrigerator suited to the space you have in the dorm. 

Shelves

Most college kids will usually store ice cream, soda cans, or leftovers in the fridge. However, if you are more organized and prefer to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, select a refrigerator with a crisper drawer and 1-2 shelves.     

Other Features

Look for temperature controls, handle locks, LED lights, lightweight design, and easily cleanable shelves.  

Warranty and Certifications

Dorm kids will use the machine roughly. Therefore it is better to get them one with a warranty. Moreover, having a certified machine means that there are fewer chances of operational hazards.  

Price

You’ll be doing a lot of shopping for your dorm life. Hence, it is better to keep in mind your budget before hitting the “add to cart” button.  

Safety Tips and Operational Guide

  • Go through the user manual, installation guide other brochures that come along with your machine.
  • Let your refrigerator stand for at least 12 hours after you receive it.
  • Always leave 1-2 inches on all sides for heat exchange.
  • Please don’t run your machine outdoors if it is not rated for outdoor use.
  • Avoid overloading or under-powering your appliance.
  • Don’t use your refrigerator for any other purpose.

Review of the 5 Top-Rated Dorm Refrigerators

1. Midea 3.1 Cu. Ft. Compact Refrigerator, WHD-113FSS1

This double-door refrigerator offers separate freezer and fridge compartments. The Energy Star certified machine is light on electricity, keeping those bills down to a minimum. It is a compact model with a reversible door design to accommodate your room design. For example, dorm rooms are cramped, so a reversible door design will make it easy for you to place the fridge according to the available space.

The unit measures 18.5 x 19.37 x 32.95 inches and has a capacity of 3.1 cubic feet. The fresh food capacity is 2.2 cubic feet, and the freezer capacity is 0.9 cubic feet. A dual thermostat feature separately controls the two compartments. The refrigerator compartment has an operating temperature of 32-50 F, and that of the freezer is 11.2-5 F. The temperature ranges are versatile and will keep your fridge going in a variety of external temperatures.                

Inside the freezer compartment, you will find one main freezer box and one shelf in the freezer door. The door in the fridge compartment is much more detailed and comes with a dedicated can storage rack, one big rack for large bottles, and a small rack at the top for keeping chocolates, etc. The main fridge section consists of a big spacious crisper drawer to keep your food fresh and two racks for storing other tasty goodies.

The unit is covered with a 1-year warranty for parts and labor, has a five-year warranty for the compressor, and is Energy Star certified. It will cost you only $26 annually.  The shelf material is glass, and the handles are recessed to make it more accessible in tight places. The LED light makes it easy for you to satisfy your nighttime cravings without waking up your roommate. Please note that it is a manually defrosting machine.       

Out of the 4400 reviews on Amazon, 90% are 4-5 stars. Only 4% of buyers rate the fridge with 1 star. It proves that buyers are satisfied with the machine overall, but you still need to learn a couple of things from user feedback to get the most out of it. Most buyers recommend letting the appliance stand for at least 24 hours after delivery, so the oil and gas settle down in the compressor. Otherwise, the coolant can seep into the coolant lines. People like the spacious freezer and the option to remove the middle rack as it provides more space for storing various things. On the downside, some people mention shipping issues. The refrigerator came with dents and scratched upon delivery.

SUMMARY

Midea 3.1 Cu. Ft. WHD-113FSS1

Pros

  • Powerful and spacious freezer
  • Quiet machine
  • Ice tray and ice scraper included

Cons

  • Need frequent cleaning
  • Shipping problems
  • Can box is not user-friendly
CHECK PRICE

Downloads:

2. Frigidaire Retro Bar Fridge Refrigerator

This dorm-style refrigerator is a great machine for people who love to navigate the course of history and like retro-styled appliances. The Frigidaire refrigerator offers the maximum value for money as it is cheaper than other refrigerators of the same size. In addition, the single-door retro-styled 3.2 cu. ft. refrigerators with a bottle opener are perfect for those who enjoy a cold beverage. 

The door comes with many holding options for different types of bottles. You can easily place your soda cans, water bottles, beer bottles, juices, or any other beverage in the spacious one-gallon door. In addition, the door comes with five compartments in total to give you convenience and versatility.

The lidded freezer section has a capacity of 0.2 cubic feet, in which you can place a couple of ice trays and some small ice cream tubs. The refrigerator is 3.0 cubic feet and comes with three shelves for maximum usability. Please note that there is no crisper drawer in this refrigerator. 

The door has a chrome handle that resembles a car handle from the retro age. Moreover, the door is reversible, giving you plenty of options to adjust the fridge in tight places. You will also find an attached bottle opener which makes this fridge an excellent choice for the garage or bar area. 

The removable glass shelves provide you with options to customize the fridge according to your needs. The thermostat is manually controlled. The refrigerator comes in many different colors. It has a 1-year warranty on parts and labor. Moreover, it is Energy Star certified, UL listed, and CFC free. You also get a 90-days returnable window on this fridge.

Out of the 2800 ratings on Amazon, 85% rate the machine with 4-5 stars. Overall, people are satisfied with the fridge and praise its excellent performance. People also rave about the fair pricing from the manufacturer as it fulfills its intended purpose and works flawlessly. In addition, its compact size makes it easy for users to access their favorite foods and beverages. Many reviews also mention that it is a well-built and sturdy machine.

The main pain points with many buyers are delivery problems, scratches on a new machine, and poor customer service.   

SUMMARY

Frigidaire Retro Bar Fridge Refrigerator

Pros

  • Quiet machine
  • Stylish and attractive exterior
  • Plenty of colors to choose from
  • Plenty of room for beverages
  • Gets very cold

Cons

  • Customer service and shipping problems
CHECK PRICE

Downloads:

3. RCA 3.2 Cubic Foot 2 Door Fridge and Freezer

The 2-door refrigerator is another ideal option for dorm rooms and small rooms. This refrigerator can also be conveniently used as a secondary refrigerator in your home because it comes with separate freezer and fridge compartments.

The 3.2 cubic feet unit has a refrigerator capacity of 2.3 cubic feet and a 0.9 cubic feet freezer. The freezer section is a box-style compartment with one door shelf. The fridge section contains one crisper drawer and one glass shelf. The fridge door has three glass can racks and two bin-style racks. All the racks and bins are removable and easily cleaned in soap and water.

The door features recessed handles, and you can adjust the thermostat manually. The interior light allows you to locate your favorite items without turning on any external light. The appliance is covered by a 2-year warranty, is Energy Star certified, and UL listed.

Out of the 3300 online reviews, 87% of buyers are delighted with the machine’s performance and rate it with 4-5 stars. People like this appliance as it is versatile. There are many reviews from homeowners, garage owners, retailers, and offices that praise this machine. It has everything you could need in a small refrigerator.

Some reviews also mention that it is costly compared to other models but offers maximum value for money. A lot of buyers mention poor post-purchase customer service and shipping problems.

SUMMARY

RCA 3.2 Cubc Foot 2 Door Fridge and Freezer

Pros

  • Runs quietly
  • Technically sound machine
  • Offers good value for money

Cons

  • Costly to run compared to Midea
  • Gets hot outside
CHECK PRICE

Downloads:

4. BLACK+DECKER BCRK17W Refrigerator

Black+Decker is one of the most trusted manufacturers across the globe. It has an extensive product line and supplies quality machines for various porpoises.

Black+Decker’s dorm-style refrigerator is often referred to in the industry as “the cube” due to its square shape and physical appearance. The refrigerator is best for dorm rooms, offices, bedrooms, and workshops. It has a smaller footprint than other refrigerators, making it perfect for placing on a counter, table, or floor. The machine runs quietly and doesn’t produce much heat, making it ideal for small rooms.

The unit features a small refrigerator (0.15 cubic feet), which is ideal for ice trays. The fridge section has a capacity of 1.55 cubic feet and two shelves for easy adjustment of your stuff. The door features an innovative design, and you can easily adjust your big bottles and soda cans. In addition, it has two storage bins.

The door is reversible with a recessed handle, making it ideal for tight spots. It comes with adjustable leveling legs for ease of use. One of the best things about this unit is its low operational cost. It will cost only 24 bucks per year. It is energy star certified, UL listed, and comes with a 1-year warranty on parts and labor and two years on compressor parts.

Out of the 4300 reviews, 90% of buyers rate the machine with 4-5 stars. People like this machine because of its small size. Some keep it under their tables as well. You can place it anywhere but make sure that it has at least 1-2 inches clearance on all sides. It offers maximum value for money, provided you know how to use it.

One particular problem buyers face when storing soda cans in these fridges is although it has a dedicated space for bottle storage, it is not ideal for soda cans. They keep shifting when the door is opened. Some people have also mentioned dents on newly received fridges due to poor shipping.

SUMMARY

BLACK+DECKER BCRK17W Refrigerator

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • May get noisy after 3-6 months use
CHECK PRICE

Downloads:

5. Cooluli 10L Mini Fridge for Bedroom

Cooluli is an ideal machine for budget shoppers and college kids. The 10-liter thermoelectric cooler/warmer is best for keeping cold things cold and hot things hot. In addition, you can store up to 10 twelve-ounce soda cans, making it an ideal machine for the office, college students, and outdoor adventures.

The unit comes in 10-liter and 15-liter variants. One excellent feature is that it can run on 12 volts. So you can connect it to your car charger or wall outlet. A sturdy carrying handle and lightweight design make it ideal for portability. You can run this machine on AC and DC voltage.  

You will find two adjustable storage racks and one storage bin on the door. Please note that the door bin is very thin and will hold slim items only. It is also an ideal machine to keep your temperature-sensitive makeup cool. 

It can cool down to 35-40 F below ambient temperature and warm up to 149 F. The machine weighs only 7.9 pounds and is made from aluminum, plastic, and tempered glass. It is Energy Star certified and comes with a 1-year limited warranty.    

The overall rating for this refrigerator is 4.5/5. More than 85% of the buyers are satisfied with the machine’s working and rate it above 4 stars. People like the refrigerator due to its lightweight and compact design. Reviewers like the adjustable design because it allows you to adjust the storage for taller bottles.

The common pain points are longer cooling times and fluctuating temperatures. Therefore, foods/medicines/drinks that need constant temperature are not recommended to be stored in this unit.

SUMMARY

Cooluli 10L Mini Fridge

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Portable
  • Dual-function (cool and hot)

Cons

  • Water buildup/condensation
  • No adjustable temperature control
CHECK PRICE

Downloads:

FAQs

What is energy star certification for refrigerators?

Energy Star certified refrigerators use high-efficiency compressors that use less electricity and produce less heat but offer greater performance. They also keep your electricity bills under control.

What size is a dorm fridge?

A dorm fridge ranges in size from 1 cubic foot up to 4 cubic feet.

What is the best dorm refrigerator to buy?

Midea and Frigidaire have rated the best dorm refrigerators.

How much power does a dorm fridge use?

A standard-size dorm refrigerator uses 200-300 kWh electricity and costs $20-30 to run annually.

How much is a dorm refrigerator?

You can purchase a dorm refrigerator between $70 to $300.

How do you defrost a dorm fridge?

Almost all the dorm refrigerators come with manual defrosting.

Final Word

Dorm life is an exciting phase. A refrigerator can certainly make things more exciting and fun. You’ll always have something to satisfy your late-night cravings right in your room.

All the best for college!