A mini fridge is a great addition to a dorm room, game room, garage or anywhere that needs a little extra cold storage. Unlike with full-size refrigerators, most major appliance manufacturers don’t make mini fridges. Magic Chef and Galanz specialize in affordable home appliances and have good lineups of compact refrigerators.
Both companies make quality mini fridges, and there’s nothing big that's wrong with either. Galanz offers a wider selection of mini fridges at generally better prices than Magic Chef. On the other hand, Magic Chef has a slightly better reputation and some of its fridges have category-leading temperature consistency.
Based in the Guangdong Province in China, Galanz has made a variety of affordable kitchen appliances for decades. It’s tough to track down any definitive information on the company’s history, but it says it has brought to market some of China’s most accessible and dependable microwaves, among other appliances.
In terms of capacity for the money, this one’s just about on top if you’re looking for separate refrigerator and freezer compartments.
If you’re not concerned about frozen food, this is a great way to save space and money while also adding a touch of style to your space.
It delivers a surprising amount of storage space if you don’t need a freezer, but it’s not nearly as attractive as the retro models.
Sold by Amazon
It’s as small, efficient and affordable as a Galanz mini fridge gets, but its capacity is quite limited.
Sold by Amazon
Magic Chef’s roots go all the way back to the 19th century and the American Stove Company. It’s gone by the name Magic Chef for nearly 100 years. Multiple large corporations including Maytag have owned the brand at one point or another. It’s difficult to determine where each Magic Chef fridge is made, but it’s likely most are made in China — just like those from Galanz.
In real-world testing, this fridge came out on top of the competition. There are few other options as efficient or powerful.
This model is surprisingly well priced for its capacity and performance.
Sold by Home Depot
It’s perfect for offices, game rooms and other public spaces or hangouts, because you can easily see what’s inside. However, it’s not ideal for keeping fresh food and doesn’t have a freezer.
Sold by Home Depot
If you plan on using it frequently (that is, filling it with fresh veggies and meat every few days, or opening the door a lot during the day), it’s worth considering a Magic Chef because of their more powerful cooling. This is even more true if you opt for the largest of the mini fridges. If you want to save money up front or have a specific size in mind, Galanz has the one you need.
In terms of pure performance and consistency, though, Magic Chef is the winner.
A. Mini fridges use considerably less energy than overall full-size refrigerators. If you consider the capacity of each type, however, mini fridges are much less efficient. In fact, running two mini fridges will generally cost more than running a single refrigerator four times the size.
A. Compact models with separate refrigerator and freezer spaces are relatively effective. They’re fine for keeping prepared frozen food in for a few days. They’re not on the level of a full-size fridge, though, and you shouldn’t use them for long-term storage because they don’t get cold enough.
Compact fridges that don’t have separate compartments usually have a small area on top that serves as a tiny freezer. That area is usually too small to hold anything but a few ice trays or a couple of packages of pre-made meals.
A. For starters, don’t overload it. Make sure there’s room for air to circulate. From time to time, you’ll have to manually defrost a mini-fridge freezer. It’s also worth keeping a thermometer on hand to periodically check that the unit is maintaining consistent temperatures. Finally, keep your mini fridge indoors, as they aren’t designed to operate in low temperatures.
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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.