Table of Contents
- What is a Mini-Fridge?
- Who Needs a Mini-Fridge With a Freezer?
- Mini Fridge With Freezer Buying Guide
- Review of the 5 Best Mini Fridges With Freezers
- Final Word
A mini-fridge with a freezer is just what you need if you live in a small apartment, have a limited budget, and don’t have that much perishable food to store.
Perhaps your bedroom is on the upper floor? That flight of stairs down to the kitchen to satisfy your late-night food cravings is too much exercise even for the fittest among us. So what do you do? There are no wrong answers. But the best solution we can think of would be to get a mini refrigerator with a freezer so your cold drinks and snacks would be within easy reach when you need them.
You wouldn’t think a mini-fridge can have space for a freezer compartment, but it turns out there are many out there that are quite functional in that configuration.
This article discusses all things mini-fridges. We will pay particular attention to compact refrigerators with freezers. Read on to learn what they are, who needs them, what our picks are for the best mini-fridges with a freezer.
What is a Mini-Fridge?
A mini-fridge is a small or compact refrigerator. It does the same thing as a regular refrigerator – keep your food and drinks cold – on a smaller scale. The fridges aren’t as cold, have limited storage, and lack some of the more premium features of regular fridges.
While mini-fridges don’t offer much in the way of storage space and fancy features, they have one big advantage – their compact size. You can fit one where you could never fit a regular size refrigerator.
Some mini-fridges are designed to be portable, meaning you can even take them with you on your camping or fishing trips. A mini-fridge with a freezer will even mean you can take a few frozen meals with you.
Now, there are so many options in the mini-fridge space that you need to be clear about your needs before parting with your money. It’s essential to know the different types that are there so you can decide which one fits your needs.
You will find compact fridges, under-counter fridges, wine coolers and chillers, and beverage centers all lumped under mini-fridges. However, these are all different types of mini-fridges that serve specific needs.
For our purposes, we are looking at mini-fridges that can store drinks, perishable food like your milk, fruits, and vegetables, and all your frozen meats and other foods.
The mini-fridge we are shopping for is a miniature or compact version of your regular fridge. It is not a drinks cooler, refrigerator-cum-microwave, novelty fridge, or beverage center. We are specifically looking for a mini-fridge that has separate sections for the refrigerator and freezer.
With that out of the way, let’s consider all the potential use situations for a mini-fridge with a freezer.
Who Needs a Mini-Fridge With a Freezer?
Mini fridges are a familiar feature of college dorm rooms where their compact size means they don’t take up a lot of space. They are just about sufficient for a student’s minimal food and drinks storage needs.
However, compact fridges aren’t just for dorm rooms. They have the utility to meet a fairly wide range of needs, which we discuss below:
Standby fridge for home
If you live out in the suburbs, you likely have a regular fridge where you store all your food shopping. This is typically a large French door or side-by-side refrigerator with plenty of fridge and freezer storage.
For convenience sake, you may decide to have a second fridge. Your main fridge may break down at a bad time, or you may need to defrost it. A standby fridge will help keep your food from spoiling while you get your regular refrigerator back in service. A mini-fridge with a freezer is perfect for this purpose.
Fridge for home gym
Whether it’s a yoga studio or a fully outfitted home gym, a fridge is not a bad amenity to have. In a home gym, you are going to work up a sweat (and quite an appetite).
Having a fridge in the gym will mean you won’t have to interrupt your workout through quick dashes to the kitchen to grab a snack or energy drink. A mini-fridge with a freezer has just enough storage for your drinks and snacks and a compact enough size that it will blend in nicely with your fitness gear.
Fridge for your garage or home workshop
It is common to discard your old fridge to the garage when you upgrade with a new one. The fridge stays there usually because there is no suitable storage space anywhere else in the house. You keep it in case your regular fridge breaks down.
That supposes a garage does not ordinarily need a fridge. It often does, though, especially if you spend a lot of time there. Some crafters, carpenters, and artists, have home workshops or studios where a compact fridge is a necessary amenity. A mini-fridge with a freezer will make your garage or workshop a more functional, self-catering space.
Compact fridge for your bedroom
We all get these sometimes; late-night hunger pangs or cravings for a sweet beverage (albeit against the advice of healthy living gurus). A small refrigerator in your bedroom will ensure you have your water and favorite cold snacks close by.
For those who are particular about their skincare, keeping your skincare products cold can have beneficial effects on your skin. Cold skincare products constrict blood vessels, giving your skin a firmer and tighter appearance. So a mini-fridge in the bedroom will be useful for a lot more than keeping your snacks and drinks within arm’s reach.
If you can never find a suitable space or spot to fit a regular refrigerator in your dorm room, home gym, or garage, try finding one in your office. A large fridge in your office looks just awkward. Besides looking terribly out of space, it is just too much cold storage than you need.
Instead of a large fridge with lots of unused storage, you can get a more appropriately sized mini-fridge instead. The fridge will keep your packed lunches perfectly preserved. If you host a lot of clients, you will also have a place to keep all the drinks you have to serve them.
Compact fridge for a small apartment
Small city apartments have a space challenge. You have to cram so much into a small space that the only option is to buy smaller versions of your furniture and appliances.
The kitchens are tiny, with hardly enough space for basic appliances, let alone a large regular fridge. Thankfully, you don’t need a large fridge, especially if you live alone and don’t store a lot of food. A mini-fridge with a freezer will do just fine.
Fridges for people with disabilities
Wheelchair-bound and other disabled people with mobility challenges may find it difficult to use regular fridges. Regular fridges are often too tall and place some food items at levels too high for disabled people to reach.
Mini-fridges, on the other hand, are compact and sit at heights where the entire food storage area is accessible from a sitting position. This can be a huge convenience for a disabled person. Because their design is friendlier to people with disabilities, most mini-fridges are compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act Standards For Accessible Design.
Mini Fridge With Freezer Buying Guide
What To Look For In a Mini-Fridge With a Freezer
Whether it’s for your office, dorm room, studio, or bedroom, most of us could do with a fridge just small enough to hold our necessities. But with so many mini-fridges to choose from, it’s important to know exactly what that fridge should look like.
You must know what to look for in a mini-fridge and freezer before spending your money. That entails answering important questions on the capacity, design, and features to consider. Let’s look at that below:
Style or configuration
There are different styles of mini-fridges. Within those styles, you can also find sub-categories. Under the mini-fridge freezer combo style, there are models with two separate doors for the fridge and freezer compartments and others with the freezer shelf nicely tucked inside the fridge, with just the one door for access.
Your choice between the two configurations has implications on space, storage, and cooling power. The freezer shelf-style mini-fridge is typically smaller. The style also allocates more storage space to the refrigerator section than the freezer, which is normally only good for making ice cubes and storing a few frozen meals. Choose the style if you don’t store most of your food frozen.
Mini-fridges with separate doors for the refrigerator and freezer are larger, have more storage space in both compartments, and generally deliver more even cooling. This mini-fridge style will be perfect where your food storage needs do not support investing in a large regular fridge.
Regular size fridges will be impractical outside the kitchen or dining room, with mini-fridges being more space-smart. But even where you have specifically chosen a mini-fridge, it is still important to know exactly what size will fit your space. That’s because there is no set size for mini-fridges. You have to choose from a variety of size options.
Where space is particularly limited, it is possible you will want to get a mini-fridge that will fit in a specific nook in your kitchen. There are models that can fit in a built-in kitchen cupboard and others that can slide under a countertop.
To get a mini-fridge with the correct dimensions, you have to measure your space. As you review the different sizes on offer, remember that fridges also need ventilation. So allow for space around the fridge for air to freely circulate.
If you intend to use the mini-fridge in your RV or for camping purposes, the fridge’s weight becomes an issue. The larger mini-freezers can weigh as much as 65 pounds. That is still portable enough, but you will have to check the weight specs to be sure you are not buying a fridge that will be too heavy to lug around.
More than a mini-fridge that will fit your space, you will want to invest in one with enough storage capacity in both the refrigerator and the freezer. Decide how much storage you need in both compartments:
- Are you buying for one person or a couple of people?
- Do you need more space in the freezer than in the refrigerator?
- Do you prefer a specific shelf arrangement, for example, with integrated can holders?
Mini -fridges with a freezer are usually the tallest you can find in the compact category. So you are likely getting the most storage space you can get for a mini-fridge as it is. But sometimes a mini-fridge can have enough storage capacity without it being fully usable:
Adjustable shelving options
Storage space is already at a premium, so choose a model that makes the best use of every cubic foot.
Your best options will be mini-fridges with adjustable shelves. These shelves make it easy to organize the fridge and to store awkward-shaped items. It also helps if the shelves are removable as it will make it easy to clean the fridge.
Another essential storage feature is the door bins. Door bins allow storage for tall items like water and milk bottles. We have also seen mini-fridge door bins with special slots for holding cans.
Even though the technology behind mini-fridges has improved considerably, these fridges lack the cooling power of regular full-size fridges. For this reason, make sure the mini-fridge you choose cools well enough to keep your food well-preserved.
To keep your perishable food fresh and safe, the refrigerator compartment should not get warmer than 40 degrees F. To keep your frozen items from defrosting, the temperature in the freezer must not be higher than 0 degrees F.
Pay special attention to fridge insulation. If not well insulated a fridge takes too long to cool because the walls are too thin to repel outside heat. Regular fridges are usually well-insulated, but mini-fridges often lack in that department.
In comparison to regular size fridges, mini-fridges don’t consume a lot of energy. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be concerned with it because electricity consumption will be the biggest cost of running your fridge.
Check the yellow Energy Guide sticker on the fridge to see how much power the mini-fridge uses and compare it with other models. Choosing an energy-efficient model will cut your electricity bill and help save electricity and protect the environment.
Mini-fridges are often chosen with space limitations in mind. To make installation more flexible and accessible in tight spaces, choose a mini-fridge with a reversible door. This door design allows you to hinge the door on whatever side fits your space.
How to Get the Most Out Of Your Mini-Fridge and Freezer
Mini-fridges aren’t the high-performance machines that regular fridges have become. To get the best out of your mini-fridge, it is critical to realize that it has limitations. Even though they may not cost a lot of money, they are still a sizable investment, especially if you are a student.
When you first install it, make sure the fridge never lies horizontally as that may affect how its internal mechanisms work. Lay it on its back if you really have to, but always allow it to stand upright for at least 24 hours before plugging it in.
Don’t use the freezer for long-term storage
Pay particular care and attention to the freezer, remembering that it is not designed for long-term storage. If ever you do, good luck retrieving the items after the ice has built up all around it. Only use the freezer to make ice and store your frozen meats and ice cream for a few days.
It’s a good idea to keep a thermometer and periodically take temperature readings of the freezer compartment. At temperatures above 5 degrees F, the freezer cannot be relied on to preserve frozen foods beyond a few days.
Mini-fridge freezers have to be defrosted regularly as they tend to accumulate ice. Defrosting simply means switching the freezer off so the ice can melt off. This is important to do if your mini-fridge freezer is going to stay cold enough and maintain its storage capacity.
Keep your mini-fridge organized
Keeping your groceries properly arranged is important for the health of your mini-fridge. For a space so small, the organization is key. Randomly throwing stuff in there only creates a mess.
Worse than that messy jungle, not maintaining order in your mini-fridge affects how well it can maintain a cold, even temperature. All fridges need enough airflow inside for cold air to circulate and keep everything chilled.
Take time to study your mini-fridge so you can establish the best shelf arrangement for your groceries, bottles, and left-over food. The manual may have some useful tips on this, so take time to read it.
Sometimes items may be too tall for any kind of arrangement. With cool drink bottles, for example, arranging them lying down in a pyramid may help. Keeping your cans and beer bottles in their original shrink-wrap packaging can also help save space.
Review of the 5 Best Mini Fridges With Freezers
There is fierce competition for who claims the bragging rights for the largest full-sized French door refrigerator. Guest what? Stakes are similarly high for who gets the title for the smallest, most functional mini-fridge with a freezer.
If this is your first time shopping for a small refrigerator with a freezer, you are going to find a few unfamiliar brands. Only a handful of regular fridge brands make mini-fridges.
So, what is the best mini-fridge with a freezer? We have done the research and in our view, the following are among the best choices you can make:
Danby is one of the more recognizable mini-fridge brands. This compact unit from the company is a single-door 4.5 cu. Ft capacity compact refrigerator with a true freezer. The full-width freezer operates at -18 degrees C. That is cold enough to keep your ice cream and frozen meats perfectly preserved.
The use of a single door reduces the height of the fridge to just 34 inches, which is perfect for dorm rooms and small apartments. The doors on this Danby mini fridge with a freezer are also reversible, meaning the door can be hinged to open on whatever side is most accessible to you.
Staying with thoughtful design features, we also like the sleek stainless finish. On the inside, the easy-to-clean glass shelves are adjustable, which makes it easy to keep everything organized.
As well as the crisper drawer for vegetables and fruits, we also dig the integrated door storage that is ideal for tall items like soup, cool drinks, and milk bottles.
Bring some retro style to your office or dorm room with this attention-grabbing 3.1 cu. Ft. double door retro mini fridge with freezer from Galanz. With its rounded corners, striking black color, and old-style handles in a contrasting finish, this fridge works as well as it looks.
As an Amazon reviewer put it, ‘a perfect balance between not too big and not too small’, this mini-fridge freezer will be a stylish refresh to any office, small apartment, or dorm room.
It may have the look and feel of old but inside the fridge looks and functions as well as any modern mini-fridge with a freezer. It has the same height as a standard countertop, so it should fit right in no matter the size of your kitchen.
An adjustable thermostat allows you to set the temperature according to your cooling needs. Speaking of that, the freezer and refrigerator compartments are nicely separated with their own individual doors. Both doors have bins that provide convenient extra storage for items you can’t fit in the main compartments.
The refrigerator features two adjustable shelves and a large crisper drawer where you can stash your favorite fruits and staple vegetables. Open the door at night and the entire fridge lights up to display all your groceries, thanks to a bright LED interior light.
This double door, 3.2 cu. ft Igloo mini fridge with freezer is lightweight without sacrificing storage capacity. With the recessed door handle, the fridge is designed to fit wherever you need it, which could be in a dorm room, office, small apartment, or even a semi-truck.
The refrigerator has temperature control that allows you to set just the right storage conditions for your perishable food items. The freezer has a dedicated door, which helps to keep your meats and ice creams well frozen.
We found the refrigerator layout to be clean, with a large crisper drawer and glass shelves that make it easy to keep things organized. The two frameless glass shelves slide out completely for ease of cleaning and have guards for spill prevention. The bright LED light makes it easy to find your items at night.
The door bin features a 7-can dispenser and a pocket that can fit a 2-liter bottle as well as a few condiments. All around, this is a fabulously compact mini-fridge with a freezer that will keep your perishable groceries fresh.
It’s fair to say Whirlpool knows a thing or two about making fridges. It is one of the most recognizable traditional fridge makers. But is the expertise transferable to mini-fridges? Judging by this 3.1 cu ft. dual door mini-fridge with a true freezer, it is.
The sleek stainless look stands out and instantly suggests quality. But we are sure you are more interested in what happens inside. First, there is a mechanical temperature control that allows you to create the right conditions for your groceries.
The refrigerator compartment is divided up by two full glass shelves. The door bin expands storage with a can rack and space to fit a 2-liter bottle. The door for the true freezer compartment also has a bin that can store an ice cream tub.
We like the build quality of this Whirlpool mini fridge with freezer and feel reassured by the expertise the company brings. We are just not big fans of manual defrosting.
GE is a legacy American appliance brand that makes some of the most highly-desired regular-size refrigerators. It has brought its prowess to the mini-fridge world with this 3.1 cu. ft compact fridge and freezer.
The freestanding fridge looks exactly like the traditional top freezer fridge. The freezer has its own door, which isn’t opened as much and, therefore, can maintain an even temperature. We particularly like the clever use of space inside the freezer door, where a shelf provides convenient storage for your favorite ice cream.
In the fridge compartment, the designers even found space for a crisper drawer for fruits and veggies that require a more controlled temperature to keep fresh and tasty.
The door bins have convenient slots for your tall milk bottles and a cleverly designed rack where you can slide in your drink and beer cans. Inside, the glass shelves are easy to clean and help to keep the fridge organized.
An Amazon Choice, this mini-fridge freezer is also nice-looking in its elegant black color. The recessed handles give the fridge a clean, uncluttered look and make an easy job of opening and closing the mini-refrigerator.
This compact fridge is remarkably quiet and will be perfect for an RV or a large haulage truck. Imagine trying to sleep with a fridge humming noisily just a few inches from your head!
Mini-fridges can be incredibly convenient. Their small size means they are compact enough to fit in dorm rooms, small kitchens, and offices where a regular fridge will either be too big or simply too much storage than is needed. They also don’t cost a lot.
Mini fridges consume between 50 and 200 watts of electricity, which is fairly efficient. If you want the specific annual energy consumption, you can always refer to the user manual. Otherwise, choose a fridge with an Energy Star endorsement, which confirms the fridge was thoroughly tested for energy efficiency.
Depending on the style and the manufacturer’s brand power, mini-fridges can range from $180 to $300. If you are on a tight budget, try to time your purchase around the holidays when manufacturers usually offer discounts.
Durability depends on the build quality of individual fridges. Some manufacturers are known for prioritizing quality while others obsess over the tech and looks. Generally, though, mini-fridges can last 13 years on average.
You can buy a mini-fridge from any of the major online and offline retailers. For convenience, many people buy online at retail sites like Amazon and The Home Depot.
A fridge that can keep food safe and well-preserved is more than a modern convenience. It is a necessity. Having a fridge with just enough storage for your needs and available space is also important for cost and energy efficiency. A mini-fridge with a freezer is often the best solution.
The fridges we have reviewed have been thoroughly tested for their ability to maintain safe temperatures and have features that make them easy to organize. We hope you can find one that meets your needs.