Tiny Homes On Wheels: The Mini-Fridge Review.

Why get a mini-fridge?  Well if you are living in a tiny home on wheels the obvious answers would be to save space or work within a lack of space.  As we all by now know not all tiny houses are the same size.  Some may actually have the space for a regular size fridge and just need a mini fridge to keep wine and other alcoholic beverages in an area of the house where they hang around with guests.

fridge that is blue

There may even be a mini fridge for the purpose of storing soft drinks.  Some tiny houses are so small that mini-fridges that store food like regular size one in smaller amounts are necessary.  Fridges exist for many lifestyles and for many different reasons.  Even in a very small tiny house, more than one mini fridge can be used for more than one reason.

The Various Types Of Mini Fridges Available.

Not all mini fridges are similar. Some are made to store all types of food while other serve one purpose only such as keeping alcoholic drinks or soda pop cold.

The USB Mini Fridge cooler

This mini Fridge is one you connect to your computer with a USB plug.  It has both heating and cooling functions.  It also has a built-in green and red LED indicator and magnetic door catch.  You can keep your beverage cool /warm to drink at your computer side.  It can hold a single can, it is easy to install, with no driver needed.  It requires no batteries.

fridge in for of British cube

The mini fridge in the shape of a cube.

It is a very common type of mini fridge.  It has a square shape and fits without trouble beneath low counters and in tight spaces.  Since it is not tall the cubic mini fridge may not work well with taller items like gallon jugs.

The beverage fridge

It is a simple beverage mini fridge and is quite small. It is made to hold from 12 to 30 cans of pop or beer. The temperature control is not consistent enough to store food.

The travelling mini fridge.

It is a mini fridge made for traveling in a vehicle.  It is able to run from a vehicle’s AC adaptor, which means it gets its power from the car battery.  Some of these mini fridge units take up much power to function, so don’t run them when the car is turned off.  There are three different types.

Thermoelectric: is plugged into your car and puts a strain on the battery.  They should be used for short distances and they are not silent.

Compressor: it works the same way that a regular mini fridge works.  It is also plugged into the car battery but uses less power.  This type of mini fridge is only good for drinks or snacks as it has trouble keeping an even temperature over long trips.

Absorption: it is silent and has no motor since it uses liquid ammonia that evaporates into gas to cool the food.  It still needs a power source though and must be kept at level at all times to avoid an ammonia leak.  It is the preferred choice for remote areas where there isn’t electricity because it can be powered by a gas or battery-powered generator.

The undercounter fridge

This type of mini fridge, at times called a mid-size mini fridge, fits beneath a countertop.  It serves well as a bar fridge or a second refrigerator in the kitchen.  Compared to other models it is energy efficiency and is usually better.  Nevertheless, it is the most expensive mini fridge you can buy.

fridge for wine

The mini wine fridge

The normal mini wine fridge displays a pleasant design, as it is meant to be shown off.  Glass doors may display the bottles inside.  To protect the wine’s temperature, a double pane of glass in the door is a good idea.  Having a fridge with a tinted glass door in order to keep UV rays from hitting the wine is also a good idea.

The 2 door mini fridge

 It has a separate freezer compartment.  They can have an auto-defrost and a few removable shelves, along with temperature controls to avoid any unwanted freezer burn caused by uneven cooling.  The freezer compartment is for the most part bigger than the freezers contained within the 1-door models and act almost just as well as a freezer in a standard-sized fridge.

It is important to pick a mini fridge that fits your space.  It must also, however, have the capacity to hold the items you want to chill.  The market offers mini fridges of various capacities.  

Facts To Remember Before Purchasing A Mini Fridge.

Up to 1 and 1/2 cubic feet 

You can expect to fit roughly 30 to 45 12 ounce cans in a cube-shaped fridge with a capacity of 1.5 cubic feet.  Don’t expect a mini fridge with a capacity smaller than this to hold anything more than several cans of beer or soda pop in the door, though.  Furthermore, this type of fridge won’t easily accommodate tall items; unless you are willing to remove shelves, which further reduces the unit’s capacity.  You will rarely find freezer space in a unit of this size.  If the fridge does have a freezer, it is likely to hold an ice cube tray and not much else.

One other drawback from the smallest of the cubic fridges is that they are not always efficient because of poor insulation and they cannot keep cold much more than some drinks and snacks.

1.5 to 3 cubic feet

The market offers several models with more than 3 cubic feet of storage sizes and fits items of multiple sizes.  Gallon jugs may fit.  Units of this capacity can often hold larger items, inside the door, like a half gallon of milk.  You should be able to fit roughly 55-75 12 ounce cans in this fridge.

The mid-size fridge 2.7-4.7 cubic feet

It is more expensive than the cube; however, it has more storage capacity.  They have more shelving, a large freezer compartment and at times adjustable temperature controls.  They are more energy sufficient and they can hold full-sized grocery items.

The counter height mini fridge more than 5 cubic feet

They have more freezer and shelf space.  They have more even temperatures and you can depend on them to keep fresh meats at the right temperatures, to avoid bacterial growth.  You can choose models that feature interior lights, separate freezers or simply a fridge without a freezer option.

There are some other features to consider when shopping for a mini fridge.

The depth of the door.

If you can have a door that can hold half-gallon jugs, it will serve you well.  Unfortunately, some mini fridge doors are not deep and can only hold 12 ounce cans.  Consider the depth of the door when picking a mini fridge.

Limitations

Depending on where you are planning to install your mini fridge, there may be limitations on which models you can use.  If you are living in the smallest of the tiny houses you may not want to purchase a very big model because your space is limited.  

Many capacities

Some manufacturers make mini fridge models in many capacities.  If you like a particular model you could find it in the right size for your needs.  Well, known model such as Danby and Midea make some of their models in several sizes.

Reversible doors

A reversible door is useful if you must squeeze your mini fridge into a certain spot.  You can then adjust the door to open in the direction that is most convenient for you.  

weight

Mini fridges way anywhere from 30-100 pounds.  If you plan on moving your fridge often this information is important to be aware of.  If you are living in the tiniest of tiny homes, you may not move your mini fridge around much, except for cleaning.  For that purpose, you might still want to move it easily.

Price 

Mini fridges cost anywhere from $50 to $300.  Mini fridges with a bigger interior have the tendency to cost more.  Special fridges for wine, and large freezers are more expensive.

Cost A simple beverage mini fridge is quite small. It is made to hold from 12 to 30 cans of pop or beer. The temperature control is not consistent enough to store food.

Operation

The cost of operating a mini fridge can be astonishing.  They are not always as energy efficient as regular size fridges.  In a year you can expect to pay between $25 and $60 on electricity.  Make sure your solar panels are working well.

Some of the Best Selling Mini Fridges In The U.S.

There are a couple of lists out on the internet indicating what the top best selling mini fridges are.  I took note at which ones got mention most often and created a list of ten top fridges in the U.S.  I then looked up reviews on each mini fridge individually to find out if there were anything negative mentioned on these fridges.  Some of these mini fridges are also available in Canada.

Igloo Eraser Board Refrigerator, 3.2 cubic feet Black at no 10

This compact eraser board refrigerator has a distinct attribute; it permits you to write and erase messages on its front dry erase surface. You wash the surface off with a basic cloth.  It has two adjustable shelves, with a vast storing space and a built-in freezer compartment with ice cube tray.  It also has a litter door basket, a can dispenser and an adjustable thermostat. The door is reversible.  It is convenient, can fit into many small spaces and runs silently.  This compact refrigerator is CFC free and safe for the environment.  It has a one year warranty.

negatives: The freezer needs to be used lightly and should not be over packed.  It has to be defrosted manually once every month or two.  You can’t use regular dry erase markers on a dark coloured surface.  You need the neon coloured kind.  They will work on the white surface as well.  Some people think they are noisy while others don’t.

Haier HCR17W 1.7 Cubic Feet Refrigerator/Freezer at no 9

Attributes: It has a small freezer in the top compartment.  It is white, silent and can fit under a desk. The shape is a compact cube. It has a one year warranty.  This fridge only requires a 15 amp outlet and proper grounding. It only requires a 15 amp outlet and proper grounding.  It has 1.7 cubic feet of storage.  The compresser cooling is quiet and can quickly bring food to as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit.  Its dimensions are 18.87 x17.87x 19.37 inches.  The weight is 34.2 pounds.  It has an Energy Star rating and uses 315 kwh per year.

negatives: It requires some space in the back for ventilation.  The bottom shelf is only half the depth of the top shelf to accommodate the compressor.  The freezer compartment juts into the top compartment.  It does not have an interior light.

Danby DBC120BLS beverage center-stainless steel at no 8

Attributes: It offers 3.3 cubic feet (93.5 liters) of storage space and it can hold up to a120 cans of your favorite drinks.  It has a tempered glass door with stainless steel trim which keeps your drinks cool by blocking out ultraviolet rays.  It has 3.5 black wire interior shelves and a mechanical thermostat that can be set from anywhere 6C and 4C ( 43F and 57F).  It has an integrated lock and key feature and the bright interior is door activated.  It has a reversible door hinge.   

Negatives: Some people think it is a little noisy and that it runs a lot.  It seems to work better with cans than bottles.  One buyer said the automatic light did not work.  He either had to keep the light on or off.  He also said that for the price he paid he was not going to complain and send it back.

Personal 6-can mini fridge by thermoelectric at no 7

Attributes: this mini fridge has a cooling and heating mode you can plug into your vehicle and it uses an American outlet.  You can put six cans of pop in it.  The dimensions are 11 x 7 x 4 inches.  It posses a high-quality cooling system to keep drinks cold and fresh.  The shelves are removable and the door can be locked.  It can contain 6 12 oz cans or 4500 ml bottles. 

negatives: one person reported having difficulties in opening the door.

Keystone KSTRC312 compact two door refrigerator-freezer at no 6

Attributes:  It has a separate top-mount freezer with storage on the freezer door.  It also has 2 glass shelves plus fruit and veggie crisper drawer in the refrigerator.  There is canned beverage storage, 2-liter bottle space, and small-item rack all on the refrigerator door.  The door is reversible with recessed handle and adjustable legs.

Negatives: none were found

Kolatroon KWC-4 mini fridge at no 5

Attributes: This mini-fridge has a 4-liter capacity and holds up 6 12 oz cans.  It is compact and ready for your countertop while still giving you ample room for refrigeration. It has solid state thermoelectric cooling; silent, vibration free cooling keeps your food and drinks cold without a noisy compressor.  External heat dissipation by fans keeps your food and drinks fresher longer. It cools items to 36 Fahrenheit below ambient temperature.  This small fridge has thermoelectric cooling, is lightweight, compact and portable.  It features a self-locking recessed door handle, holds up to 6 cans and is a personal mini-fridge. You can plug it int the lighter of your car.    

negatives: It keeps drinks and food cold but not super cold. It also keeps drinks and food warm but not super hot.

Danby DAR017A2BDD compact all refrigerater at no 4

Attributes: This mini-fridge offers 1.7 cubic feet of refrigerator space in a compact cube frame.  It is energy star rated for its efficient power usage.  The mechanical thermostat enables precise temperature regulation. It automatically defrosts for ease of maintenance and is equipped with CanStor beverage dispensing system inside door to holster 12 oz cans.  This mini-fridge includes 1 half-size and 1 full-size adjustable-height wire shelf for maximum storage versatility.  It has a reversible door.  It is fashioned with tall bottle storage to fit larger containers and has an integrated door handle.  It has a scratch-resistant worktop and offers extra space to store accessories. It is available at Amazon.ca

Negatives: none were found

Blaze 5.5 Cu. ft. outdoor stainless steel compact refrigerator at no 3.

Attributes: It has plenty of space for refreshments and foods.  It has automatic or manual temperature control.  It has an interior light and a reversible door.  The dimensions are 33.5 x 23.5 x 24 inches.

Negatives: none were found

Media WHS-87LB1 Mini  Fridge at no 2

Attributes: The mechanical temperature adjustment ranges from -2 to 2 Celsius (32 to 35.6 Fahrenheit).  It has a large storage area, excellent at chilling beverages and healthy snacks.  It has adjustable legs and a reversible door.  It is energy star rated and has a one year warranty.  The internal walls of the main compartment are slightly tapered toward the back.

Negatives: It cannot be used for storing frozen foods or making ice cubes.

Igloo 3.2 cubic foot platinum fridge at no 1

Attributes: It has an adjustable thermostat that lets you choose the right temperature for your food.  Three full-width adjustable wire shelves offer easy access.  A depense-a-can storage on the door makes it easy to access soda pop and juice cans.  One full-width door shelf and one half sized shelf keep frequently used items within reach.  3.2 cubic feet of fresh food capacity provides ample interior space.  Freezer compartment offers a compact space for frozen items.  It has a smooth back for multiple placement options.  It accommodates 2-liter and tall bottles for convenience.  There are adjustable leveling legs that help keep the fridge stable on uneven floors. It has reversible doors.

Negatives: none were found

There you have it.  The 10 popular mini fridges in the United States for 2018 with some of them available in Canada.  I got to say that to me the Igloo brand makes interesting mini-freezers.  The one with the eraser board is an eye catcher to me although the freezer is to small for my taste.  The mini-freezer in the one number one spot is an Igloo brand that comes with a bigger freezer.

There Are Many Choices Of Mini-Fridges A Tiny Home Dweller Can Choose From.

There are many types of mini-fridges a tiny home on wheels dweller can choose from.  Some have themes on them while others don’t. Some are only meant for cans and bottles, while others take in a more diverse assortment of groceries.  If you need a mini refridgerater you should be able to find one that suits your taste and fits into a desired spot.

Mini fridges are not just meant for tiny house dwellers, they can be for businesses, student dorms, teenagers rooms etc.

Pictures were taken from Yahoo Images.  Information is based on mini refrigerator reviews found through Google and Yahoo search engines and Youtube documentary videos.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the topic above, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Marina Tidbury

Marina one

marina@tinyhomesonwheelsfornorthamericans.com 

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4 thoughts on “Tiny Homes On Wheels: The Mini-Fridge Review.”

  1. I am so interested in this topic, because we have a refrigerator crisis in my house, lol.  Well, it’s more my crisis because everyone wants to eat my food, and so I’m thinking I’m just going to solve the problem and get my own tiny fridge.  Hey, when I’m ready for my own tiny home, I can just take it with me.  

    I didn’t even realize they actually made the two door models with the separate freezer compartment.  That would actually be so perfect for me.  Very excited about that.  I am very much enjoying your site, Marina!  Nice job!

  2. Marina, your post about the mini-fridges was intriguing to me, as is the whole concept of living small.  I don’t have a tiny house (on wheels or not) but the whole lifestyle does interest me.  

    I wonder whether having only a little refrigerator would make one more likely to shop for fresh foods and make fresh beverages rather than the whole stockpiling of stuff in the fridge until they get inedible.  It might, perhaps, encourage less stockpiling of stuff.

  3. I honestly didn’t consider how much goes into buying a mini fridge. I didn’t know they sold a mini fridge that holds one can of soda! How different that is! I’ve personally have never owned a mini fridge but I certainly could probably use one. Just to hold beverages as you mentioned in your article. Good information.

  4. Hi, Marina.  I liked your article on mini fridges.  While I don’t have a tiny home, I’ve watched a TV series about them, and my youngest son is in construction and he builds them, so I’m not ignorant on the subject.  Storage is always an issue.  I don’t know how anyone can live without a fridge, at least a small one, unless you just eat out all the time, which can get really expensive.  

    I followed your review closely, and besides your #1 recommendation, I liked your #8.  I don’t see much benefit from the really small fridges.  You could almost get by with a cooler and a bag if ice instead if you just want to keep your soda cans cold.  Food is a different matter.  If you have perishables, you need something reliable to keep them in.  A house without a fridge is missing an important appliance.  Even tiny homes need them!

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