If you’re looking for tips on how to buy a mini fridge because maybe you’ve thought about stocking up your favorite drinks and midnight snacks inside your bedroom.
Doing so would help you avoid the eyes of your judging roommate for munching on those sugar delights in the middle of the night, for one thing.
Or maybe you just need a private place to stock up your drinks and snacks to keep them out of reach of the little hands. Whatever your reason is, if it sounds something similar to these needs, then you are definitely in need of a mini fridge for sure.
A mini fridge can have a capacity of up to 5.5-5.9 cubic feet. Mini fridges are not exactly popular for their freezing capability or their internal volume – consider it to be more as a chilling space instead.
A major plus point of a mini fridge is that you can place it by your bedside and within your hand’s reach, without it turning into an eyesore. Nobody wants to have a huge fridge in the middle of their bedroom after all!
A mini fridge can even add up to the overall aesthetic of the décor, especially if you have placed it in a mini bar area or someplace similar.
But how do you buy the perfect mini fridge for your room? Read on to find out the most important factors and characteristics you need to look for in your mini-fridge before making the purchase.
Know Your Needs
First off, you need to ask yourself exactly why you are getting that mini fridge. If it is only for keeping your drinks and sugar treats, then you can go for a single door one.
But if you want to store some perishable food as well, consider getting a two doors model. The single door one will definitely give you more space to spare in your room but it is not practical when it comes to keeping the perishables.
The freezer compartment of a single door mini fridge shares the temperature control with the rest of the fridge. This results in putting the temperature in such a way that the entire compartment has the same temperature.
For example, if you want to have ice and banana in the same single door mini fridge, it just won’t work out. So instead, opt for a double door one where one side can be used for storing the frozen food and another side for other everyday needs.
In short, a two-door mini fridge will give you the option to keep two sides with different temperatures.
Get the Largest One
If you have the budget, try to go for the largest one you can get within that target. One basic reason behind this is, you will get bigger storage space to keep your stuff inside. But the more important reason is that mini fridges actually consume more energy than the regular ones.
This usually happens because smaller fridges don’t have enough capacity inside them to install proper amount of installation, meaning that a mini fridge needs to use more energy to keep itself cool.
So if you want to save up on your electricity bill and avoid spending more money in exchange for some midnight snack, go for the biggest one you can afford.
But of course, if you are living in a dorm, then you might not be able to spare the extra space. In that case, buy a bigger mini fridge, but not a cubic one since those are the ones that take up most space.
Moreover, a bigger mini fridge will have more consistency in providing temperature due to more insulation.
Always Go for Adjustable Shelves
Mini fridges already have little space to spare. If you go and buy one with fixed shelves, it means you are compromising yourself even more in terms of storage space.
On a whim, you might want to try that bottle of juice which comes with a huge tumbler. What then? You might fail to keep the bottle in your fridge altogether. If you end up with stuff all over your room because of fixed shelves, it defeats the whole purpose of owning a mini fridge.
So make sure you always go for adjustable ones. You will see that you can afford one within your budget as almost every category has one. Adjustable shelves will give you the maximum advantage when it comes to customizing the inside space according to your need.
Therefore, buy a mini fridge with adjustable shelves and you will be able to use it in the most practical way. This way, you are using it to the maximum storage capacity.
Choose Glass Shelves Over Wire Racks
Gone are the days of stacking your items on those traditional wire racks. I mean, yes, it worked out fine for your mom, but it doesn’t mean you should settle for it as well.
A mini fridge that has glass shelves has a more solid base when it comes to storage space. It is also way easier to clean compared to the good old wire racks.
Even if you do need to clean up some drunken mistake, you’ll only have to clean up a small portion of the shelves, rather than the entire thing. Remember, a small leak can spread to the rest of the areas if you are dealing with the traditional wire racks.
In addition to that, you are also less likely to make the mistake of spillage when you have a more solid base to rely on. Glass shelves, in general, provide a far steadier base which prevents from the entire inside area to topple over in case you go a little overboard at your next grocery shopping.
And not to mention that it gives a better look as well. Glass shelves look far better and chic than the wire racks.
Know the Difference
Once again, if you know exactly why you are getting a mini fridge, it will be far easier for you to narrow down your choices. If you are looking for a mini fridge to keep both your perishable and nonperishable items, then beware of the labels ‘Thermoelectric’ and ‘Superconductor’.
These are great when it comes to keeping your drinks and snacks in a cool enough temperature, but they don’t provide consistent enough temperature to keep the perishable good safe.
A Thermoelectric or Superconductor mini fridge will essentially produce the right temperature to keep only your nonperishable items such as beverages and snacks in a right and cooling environment, these fridges are best suited for storing wine bottles.
However, you can definitely go for this type if it meets your need because other than this one shortcoming, thermoelectric mini fridges can come pretty handy to store your stuff.
They come in many cool designs to go with the flow of the décor of your room. They generally don’t take up a lot of space either. At the end of the day, the choice is up to you since only YOU know your needs better.
Consider the Noise Level
As a kid, didn’t we all wake up in the middle of the night at least once because our thirty-year-old refrigerator was burping up like an old man? If you are on the lookout for a mini fridge, chances are, you are planning to keep it in your bedroom or guest room.
When it is going to stay beside you through the night, you need to consider the noise level as well. Good old regular fridges are generally kept in the kitchen or dining room, so they can get away with making loud noises but your mini fridge needs to be one hundred percent silent at all times as it will otherwise turn into a nightmare for you quite soon (literally).
When making the purchase, don’t just fall for the sales person’s sweet talks. Make sure you take a test run of the mini fridge so that you get to know what the noise level is really like. Usually absorption refrigerators are more silent than compressor ones, I will discuss this point in detail in the next section.
Don’t take this point lightly as it might feel like nothing while making a purchase since you finally got the perfect fridge with the perfect temperature and storage space, but it can quickly turn into a roaring beast once it starts grumbling in a couple of weeks.
Absorption OR Compressor Refrigeration?
There are generally two types of cooling when it comes to how your mini fridge functions. The first one is the Absorption.
This particular type uses a heat source to provide power to the fridge, meaning this type of units needs a ventilation space to cool down. So if you are going to purchase a mini fridge with absorption, make sure that the area you plan to keep the fridge it is aerated.
The other type is the Compressor. These types use a HCFC or HFC gas to cool the fridge and thus it doesn’t need aeration.
Keep in mind that these types are a better choice between the two as it is more energy efficient. So if you choose a compressor mini fridge, you save on your electricity bills. This article provides a detailed comparison between the two types.
In my opinion, I’d suggest you go for the absorption one since it is more energy efficient and also more silent. Of course, there are other types of mini fridges available in the market that doesn’t have such specifications at all.
In general, many mini fridges claim to be energy efficient, but in reality, mini fridges are not very energy efficient, to begin with, due to the lack of space for insulation as I have already mentioned before. One more thing to mention is that mini fridges are generally safe but here are some safety advice you might want to look at.
Less is More
When you go to buy a mini fridge online, you will certainly come across mini fridges with many superior sounding extra features. If you go to the market, the salespersons will also try to feed you how fancy some mini fridges are since they have such nice sounding features.
In reality, these are merely marketing gimmicks to earn more money from you while they provide nothing special or extra.
Many mini fridges come with options such as vegetable crisper drawers that can be beneficial if you want to keep fruits and veggies fresh. There are also other options like automatic defrosting systems .
Simple is better when it comes to mini fridges. The ones with no extra features do their job well as they have only one function to provide you with, which is to keep the snacks and drinks at the right temperature.
The return and repair policy should be clear to you before making the purchase. Take note of the warranty information so that you know how to utilize them to your benefit.
Some manufacturers provide repair policy for a certain period of time so make sure you get that for some free servicing.
At the end of the day, a mini fridge can stand in as a useful device for your storing needs if you are short on either money or space, but it can’t substitute your regular refrigerator. Still to get the best out of your buck, make sure you follow the simple rules mentioned above.
Few of the options such as the type of powered unit and number of doors will help you narrow down your search. We know it is easy to get swayed by thousands of options when you go to the market.
You can try and do a bigger market research by visiting a couple of stores rather than making a hasty purchase. This will help you to get a clear idea about your options within your budget.
Don’t feel intimidated by the number of added and extra features as you don’t really need them anyway. If you are aware of your needs and follow the simple steps accordingly, you are good to go. And don’t forget about getting the warranty information either to get the best deal.
Hopefully, this short and simple buying guide will help you in finding a mini fridge that will serve you for many good years ahead.