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Which mini fridge is best suited for living in a dorm?

Mini fridges are great for college dorm rooms because they keep food and drink chilled without taking up too much space. You can find them in a range of sizes — some hold just a few cans, while others can fit enough groceries for a few days.

Whether you're about to head to college or you have a child who's on their way, carefully choosing the right mini fridge for a dorm can avoid any drama with resident assistants.

How to choose a mini fridge for a dorm room

Adhere to dorm restrictions

All college dorms have restrictions on what students are and aren't allowed to bring. Some are more lenient than others. Check the rules before buying to avoid purchasing something that isn't allowed. Restrictions can be related either to size or power consumption. 

Think about size and capacity

Mini fridges come in a range of sizes from tiny beverage fridges that hold no more than a few soda cans to those with capacities of 3 to 3.5 cubic feet. The right size of fridge depends on the needs of the student and how small the dorm room is. 

  • Smallest mini fridges: Extremely compact mini fridges are the best choice if space is at a premium or the student in question is planning to eat every meal at a campus dining hall. These appliances let people have a few drinks or small snacks on hand but don't take up much space or use much power.
  • Largest mini fridges: In spacious dorms, fridges with capacities of around 3 cubic feet are ideal for keeping snacks, groceries to cook in shared kitchens and a decent quantity of drinks. 
  • Midsized mini fridges: These are great compromises between the smallest and largest versions. At around 1.5 to 2 cubic feet, they’re big enough to fit as many as 70 standard-sized cans, but they don't take up an excessive amount of floor or desk space. 

Consider how loud it is

Loud mini fridges can be annoying when living in a dorm room, particularly a small one. You should also think about roommates if it's a shared dorm. Those with compressor cooling systems are louder than those with thermoelectric cooling systems. 

Decide if you need a freezer compartment

Some mini fridges have freezer compartments. Most are small and can only fit one or two ice cube trays, but the largest can fit tubs of ice cream and other frozen foods. 

Best mini fridges under $100

Chefman Portable Mini Fridge

Capable of holding six 12-ounce cans, this is a perfect fridge for anyone who just wants to keep a few cool drinks or the occasional snack in their room. It's compact enough to sit on a desk or nightstand.

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Frigidaire Retro Mini Fridge

With exterior dimensions of roughly 7 inches by 12 inches by 10 inches, this mini fridge fits in practically any space and holds up to nine standard cans. It has a retro style and is available in red, black, pink and blue.

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Living Enrichment Mini Fridge

Taking up very little space and easily fitting on a desk or nightstand, this compact six-can fridge is perfect for dorms without much floor space. It can warm its contents, as well as cool it, but most find few uses for this function.

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Frigidaire 15-Can Mini Fridge

Affordable yet with a reasonably roomy 15-can capacity, this fridge offers excellent value. It runs quietly and looks sleek and stylish, both of which make it great for dorm rooms.

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Best mini fridges over $100

RCA Compact Mini Fridge

With a 1.6-cubic foot capacity, this fridge isn't excessively large but still has a decent capacity with a door compartment that fits 2-quart bottles. It cools effectively, even in hot weather, and has a small freezer compartment.

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Black and Decker Single Door Mini Fridge with Freezer

Compact with a space-saving design, recessed handle and reversible door, this is a practical midsized mini fridge that works in most dorms. It has plenty of room inside for drinks and snacks plus a small freezer compartment.

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Antarctic Star Mini Beverage Refrigerator

Perfect for students who mostly want a mini fridge for drinks, this one has a 1.7-cubic foot capacity and holds up to 70 cans. It runs quietly, has a reversible door and lets you easily adjust the temperature.

Sold by Amazon

Frigidaire Retro Bar Fridge

The 3.2-cubic foot capacity means this fridge is great for spacious dorm rooms but may be too big for some. It has three interior shelves, can storage in the door and a compact freezer compartment.

Sold by Amazon

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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