College life is all about being on the go, which means Digiorno pizzas, Hot Pockets, cups of fruit and, of course, copious amounts coffee are your best friend. This automatically makes a refrigerator one of the most important appliances any incoming freshman can have (in addition to a microwave and coffee maker, perhaps). Even if you have a communal fridge, you may want a separate place to stash your stuff, in case that one is too crammed to fit your latest grocery haul…or you can’t trust your roommates not to eat your lunch. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best dorm room refrigerators that can fit into even the smallest spaces, as well as some guidelines of things to consider before you haul one to school.
The 14 Best Dorm Room Refrigerators at a Glance
Best overall: Frigidaire Mini Fridge with Top Freezer
Most energy sufficient: Insignia Mini Fridge with Top Freezer
Best for beverages only: Antarctic Star Beverage Refrigerator Cooler
Best single door mini fridge: Arctic King Single Door Mini Fridge
Best for keeping fruits and veggies fresh: Costway Compact Refrigerator
Most space efficient: Galanz Retro Compact Mini Fridge with Freezer
Best bang for your buck: Whirlpool Mini Refrigerator
Most budget-friendly: Frigidaire Mini Retro Beverage Fridge
Most convenient fridge: EdgeStar Dorm Sized Energy Star Compact Fridge/Freezer
Best for adding a modern feel: GE Mini Refrigerator
Best freestanding fridge: Hisense Freestanding Mini Fridge Freezer
Best fridge with warming feature: Cooluli Classic Freestanding Mini Fridge
Best for a small apartment: Bottom Freezer Energy Star Refrigerator
Best for bringing a retro aesthetic: Kenmore Retro Freestanding Mini Fridge with Freezer
Pros: freestanding, quick and easy cooling options, retro vibes
Cons: mostly suitable for cans, small headspace
Great for placing in cramped spaces or uneven surfaces (thanks to its adjustable feet), this sleek refrigerator livens up even in the most uninspired of dorms. The silver pull-handle and ornamental details give it a retro vibe, plus, it has a built-in side bottle opener, so you don’t need to rummage for utensils to crack one open.
Most energy efficient
Pros: can rack, adjustable shelves, freezer compartment
Cons: Stainless steel shows fingerprint smudges easily
Snag a whopping three cubic feet of storage space without using a lot of energy with this Energy Star-certified mini fridge. It’s specifically made for tight spaces, with a top freezer that’s perfect for storing meat and your favorite pints of Serendipity.
Best for beverages only
Pros: quiet, double pane tempered glass door
Cons: doesn't have freezer component
If you know you’re going to be leaning on the dining hall for all your meals but need your water, cold brew and energy drinks handy, go for this refrigerator cooler that holds up to 60 cans.
Best single-door mini fridge
Pros: reversible door hinge, two-liter bottle storage
Cons: no freezer compartment
While this mini fridge doesn’t have a freezer per se, it does have a chiller compartment to store anything you want to keep extra cold. Aside from its compact, cube-like shape, its best feature is the two-liter bottle rack. It frees up major shelf space, and there’s no rummaging around or playing Tetris with your groceries any time you need a refill.
Best for keeping fruits and veggies fresh
Pros: crisper drawer, cools quickly, adjustable glass shelf
Cons: can get noisy
For hardcore fruit and vegetable lovers, this one’s for you. This compact pick by Costway comes with a crisper drawer, so you can enjoy your Trader Joe’s goods (or farmers market haul, if your campus has one) for as long as possible. It also comes with a separate freezer compartment and includes an ice tray so you can keep drinks cool on the go or while chillin’ in your room.
Most space efficient
Pros: low-energy compressor, stores a wide range of things, retro look
Cons: temperature control can be problematic
At less than 20 inches wide and 36 inches tall, the beauty of this mini fridge is that not only does it take up very little space, but it can hold a deceptive amount of food. It comes with a removable, slide-out glass shelf, which allows you to organize the fridge according to your needs. It also features additional storage by the doors and has a freezer compartment that can be used for storing frozen foods or making ice cubes.
Best bang for your buck
Pros: quiet, separate freezer, slide-out glass shelves
Cons: temperature can be finicky
When you want a fridge that does it all—and does it well—but don’t care about having a Smeg-like aesthetic or fancy bells and whistles, the Whirlpool Mini Fridge is your best bet. It includes a separate true freezer compartment, two full, slide-out glass shelves, a mechanical adjustable thermostat, two-liter bottle storage and a crisper. Talk about checking all the boxes.
Pros: retro aesthetic, affordable
Cons: water accumulates inside
Ideal for chilling your vitamin C serum or your orange juice, this mini fridge can be propped right on a shelf, desk or table and still get the job done. It’s also quiet, so you don’t have to worry about being distracted by an annoying hum while you study.
Most convenient fridge
Pros: reversible doors, automatic defrost, gets super cold
This refrigerator has a lot going for it—a freezer, multiple shelves and a stainless steel finish—but its best feature is the reversible doors, which allow you to switch orientation to a side more convenient for you. So if the best spot is an awkward corner that won’t let you open the door on the right side, you’re just seconds away from a switch—rather than having to redo your entire floor plan.
Best for adding a modern feel
Pros: sleek design, can and bottle storage, easy to clean
Cons: shelves are not adjustable
This freezer includes a mini ice tray and a chiller feature, along with a defrost pan. The rounded doors with recessed handles give this appliance a clean, modern look, adding some personality to your space without becoming the focal point.
Best freestanding fridge
Pros: gets super cold, separate freezer, reversible doors
Cons: may need frequent defrosting
Buying this model from Hisense is basically like having the same fridge that you have at home, only smaller. The freezer is spacious enough for pints of ice cream and frozen meals, while the storage shelves on the refrigerator door can fit two-liter bottles as well as provide space for single-serve yogurt or canned beverages. Oh, and the removable glass shelves let you adjust the fridge to fit your needs and it has a sliding crisper drawer for storing fresh fruits and vegetables.
Best fridge with warming feature
Pros: portable, space efficient, lightweight
Cons: super small
While this mini fridge is also popular for storing skincare products, its warming feature is what makes it a true standout. You can store coffee, tea or hot cocoa in-between classes, study groups and especially during finals week.
Best for a small apartment
Pros: aesthetically pleasing, adjustable shelves, door ajar alarm
Cons: can be noisy, pricey
For the folks with a little bit more square footage—maybe you’re living in a small apartment off campus—this fridge is a lot roomier, but it won’t take up half the apartment. It’s got bright LED illumination, three safety glass shelves and a bottom freezer. It also uses frost-free, multi-flow tech to keep the air inside circulating, so you don’t wind up with partially frozen milk or almost-room-temp cheese. This fridge also comes in wine red, black, cream and white colorways.
Best for bringing a retro aesthetic
Pros: sleek design, adjustable shelves, crisper
Cons: non-reversible doors
This Kenmore refrigerator includes three premium glass shelves that can easily be adjusted to accommodate tall items. The chic design is perfect for ushering in some retro vibes into your space. It’s equipped with a crisper drawer, fixed door shelves for organizing drinks and a separate top cooling compartment.
What to look for in a dorm room refrigerator
1. Size. What sizes does your campus allow? Take a look at your school’s housing policy to find out what dimensions are acceptable (many schools require ones that are 5 cubic feet or smaller, though some max out at 3.5 feet). You’ll also want to factor in where you might place it, once you consider the major furniture that’s provided—and that you’ll be bringing with you.
2. Type. There are four types of fridges you should be aware of: portable mini fridges, which are tiny and easy to pick up; freestanding fridges, which are typically larger and fall between 3 cubic feet and 4.5 cubic feet; under-the-counter fridges, which range in size but can be squeezed under tables and desks; and countertop fridges, which are more suitable to be propped somewhere higher.
3. Freezing capacity. When looking for a dorm room refrigerator, it’s important to remember that those freezers are not meant for long-term storage. Unless you’re purchasing something like the SMEG or iio refrigerator on our list, odds are your mini fridge is best for short-term storage.
4. Style. In the age of TikTok, aesthetics are king, and while this may seem frivolous to some, a mini fridge can also be used to elevate a small space. The Frigidaire, Kenmore and GE options from this list can add a pop of personality to your room.
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