Whether you want to be more energy-efficient or spend less on your electricity bill, you should be looking at energy-efficient mini-fridges. Mini fridges can lower your energy use, especially if you are constantly opening and closing your refrigerator to reach for a snack or a cold drink. Mini fridges also lose less cold air when opened due to their size. Overall, mini-fridges tend to cost half as much to run as a regular size fridge (1). Aside from these benefits, mini-fridges are also great options when space is limited, like in a college dorm or a smaller apartment.
|Name||Picture||Price||Best Feature||Our Rating||Best Price|
|Galanz Retro Refrigerator, 3.1 Cu Ft||$$||Retro Looks, $38 a year for energy, Separate Freezer||9.8/10||See Current Price|
|EdgeStar 3.1 Cu. Ft. Fridge/Freezer||$$||Separate freezer, $32 per year||9.6/10||See Current Price|
|TACKLIFE 3.2 Cu Ft Mini Fridge with Freezer||$$||$25 a year for energy, small freezer||9.5/10||See Current Price|
|Daewoo Retro Compact Refrigerator 4.4 Cu. Ft||$$$||energy of 28$, quiet, largest fridge, retro looks||9.7/10||See Current Price|
|BLACK+DECKER Mini-Fridge with Freezer||$$||energy of 26$, least expensive||9.4/10||See Current Price|
What is an Energy-Efficient Mini Fridge?
A mini-fridge is a compact refrigerator, typically varying in size from 1.7 cubic feet to 4.5 cubic feet (2). Mini fridges sometimes come with a freezer area, which is usually quite small and can’t hold many items. Commonly the freezer compartment is accessed by the same door as the rest of the mini-fridge, so air is let out from the freezer any time you access the fridge. Mini fridges are most commonly used in dorm rooms, offices, apartments, or in areas where certain foods should be separated due to allergens.
What is an Energy Star Label?
The ENERGY STAR label is a trusted, government-backed symbol for energy-efficient products (3). The label was created to give consumers an easy way to identify energy-efficient products in the marketplace. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an independent agency of the federal government that establishes specifications for the ENERGY STAR label. In order to receive the ENERGY STAR label, the product must meet the following qualifications (4):
- Products must contribute significant energy savings nationwide.
- Certified products must deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers, in addition to increased energy efficiency.
- If the certified product costs more than a conventional, less-efficient counterpart, purchases will recover their investment in increased energy efficiency through utility bill savings, within a reasonable period of time.
- Energy efficiency can be achieved through broadly available, non-proprietary technologies offered by more than one manufacturer.
- Product energy consumption and performance can be measured and verified with testing.
- Labeling would effectively differentiate products and be visible for purchasers.
What to Look for in an Energy-Efficient Mini Fridge?
When looking to purchase an energy-efficient mini-fridge, there are multiple things to keep in mind:
What size energy-efficient mini fridge will best suit your needs? How many things are you looking to use this fridge for? A fridge just for beverages can be much smaller than a fridge to store food. Also, keep in mind there are different footprints for mini-fridges, you can choose from tall fridges, two-door fridges (with freezer compartment), or cube style.
Do you want a freezer included in your mini-fridge? Do you want an ice maker and dispenser? Keep in mind, they do usually increase energy use by 14-20 percent, so you may want to opt-out of this feature to reduce energy use (5).
Review the interior layout of the mini-fridge. Verify that the shelves and drawers will meet your needs based on what you plan to keep in your mini-fridge.
Lastly, double-check the energy efficiency of the unit. The amount of energy used can vary between units. Energy efficient mini-fridges can save you money and helps the environment with less electricity use and safer materials.
The Best Mini-Fridge to Save on Costs and Energy Usage
Galanz Retro Mini Refrigerator,
Summary: The Galanz 3.1 Cubic Foot Retro Refrigerator is a two-door style refrigerator featuring an adjustable thermostat, separate freezer compartment, clear fruit and vegetable crisper, and removable shelves. The energy cost per year of this unit is around $38.
Pros: Great quality and very stylish with the retro look of the mini-fridge. The freezer is decently sized, and the fridge is not extremely heavy, making it easy to move around as needed.
Cons: The product doesn’t ship well, and the door can be a bit squeaky at times when opening and closing the mini-fridge.
EdgeStar 3.1 Cu. Ft. Fridge/Freezer
Summary: The EdgeStar 3.1 Cubic Foot Dorm Sized Compact Fridge/Freezer is a two-door style mini-fridge. It features a true zero degrees freezer, reversible doors, and door bins for both the fridge and freezer section. The average energy cost per year for this mini fridge is $32.
Pros: The unit is very quiet, and is very energy efficient. The mini-fridge also has surprisingly large and well-organized storage compartments making it seem bigger than it actually is.
Cons: If you don’t use the soda can racking, it can feel like you are losing a good bit of storage space.
TACKLIFE Compact Refrigerator, 3.2 Cu Ft Mini Fridge with Freezer
Summary: The TACKLIFE 3.2 Cubic Foot Mini Fridge with Freezer features a small freezer, one removable glass shelf, and five adjustable thermostat settings. This mini-fridge features a one-door design, which is reversible. The energy cost per year on this unit is about $25.
Pros: The mini fridge features adjustable legs so that even if you are not on an even floor, the fridge can remain sturdy.
Cons: This mini-fridge is actually quite noisy so it may not be ideal for a dorm or apartment scenario.
Daewoo Retro Compact Refrigerator 4.4 Cu. Ft
Summary: The Daewoo 4.4 Cubic Foot Retro Compact Refrigerator includes a “Cooling Keeper”, LED Lighting, and a fresh food sliding drawer. This unit is a one-door unit, with energy cost averaging $28 per year.
Pros: The mini fridge is very quiet, and stylish with the retro design. There is also much more space inside than some mini-fridges have due to the slightly larger footprint.
Cons: The “Cooling Keeper” area is not actually a freezer, so use this area cautiously.
BLACK+DECKER Mini Fridge with Freezer
Summary: The BLACK+DECKER 3.2 Cubic Foot Energy Star Mini Fridge features adjustable glass shelves, leveling legs, and a full-width freezer compartment with an ice cube tray. The one-door unit has an average energy cost of $26 per year.
Pros: Good sized storage in the door for larger beverages, including 2-liter bottles.
Cons: There is no light inside the unit, and it doesn’t always get as cold as you might like.
Energy-efficient mini-fridges are a great value for a variety of circumstances. Whether you want cold beverages and snacks with only a confined space to work with, or you want to lower your energy consumption and bills – an energy-efficient mini fridge will help you get to where you want to be!
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