Do you need a refrigerator to take with you to college? Check out our list of the 8 best cheap dorm fridge options and what to look for before you buy.
College students are tasked with the challenge of finding the best cheap dorm fridge for a very small space. This job isn’t always easy and can get frustrating really fast.
Before giving up on ever enjoying a cool can of soda or keeping your leftovers from going bad, take a look at our informative article below.
We have a great list of refrigerators perfect for dorm rooms, making college living much more comfortable.
How Much Do Dorm Room Refrigerators Cost?
Depending on the type of refrigerator you buy, the features you want, and the size you need, your dorm refrigerator will range in price significantly. That said, you will find an array of mini-fridges starting at around $50 and going up to more than $300.
If you need something economical that will still hold enough food for one or two people, you should plan on spending between $150 and $200.
Things to Consider When Searching for The Best Dorm Fridge
So, what types of things should you consider when looking for a fridge for your new dorm? Aside from the price, consider size, flexibility, style, and other features that make dorm life a little easier.
Size Is Important
There are three main sizes to choose from when picking a new fridge: full, mini, and compact. The size is essential since you won’t have much extra space in your dorm room.
You should determine which size is best once you see what your door room looks like and how much space you have to add appliances.
- Full fridge: A full-sized fridge isn’t the most practical option for dorm life. However, if you have room for one, why not? Going skinny is the best way to get away with this in a dorm room.
- Mini-refrigerator: A mini-fridge is typically the number one choice when storing your favorite foods during your college years. You can get mini-refrigerators as small as 10” tall and 7” wide to as large as 50” tall and 20” wide.
- Compact refrigerators: Compact refrigerators are similar to mini-refrigerators but slightly bigger. Compact refrigerators also provide more freezer space than most mini-fridges.
Another essential thing to look for in the size of your fridge is the inside storage space. How big it is on the outside doesn’t always reflect the available space on the inside.
Make Sure it Has Your Favorite Features
Just because you aren’t looking for a regular-sized refrigerator doesn’t mean you can’t have the important features of one. Consider the options available with small refrigerators; getting a little extra out of your appliance doesn’t have to cost much.
- Crisper drawer: If you are a big fruit and veggie eater, a crisper drawer may be something to consider. This will keep your healthy foods fresher for longer.
- Removable shelves: Do you enjoy entertaining or baking for big events? If so, removable shelves offer extra space in small fridges. Removable shelves also make cleaning up spills much easier.
- Adjustable shelves: Adjustable shelves are a bonus because you can create enough space to fit various items from one shopping trip to the next.
- Separate freezer compartment: Some people prefer a fridge with a freezer on top, while others are okay with a small separate space inside the refrigerator, just big enough for an ice tray or two.
- Adjustable thermostat: An adjustable thermostat is a great feature, especially when trying to save on an electric bill when you’re done with dorm life. It can also adjust according to the needs of various foods.
- Reversible door hinge: A reversible door hinge makes it much easier to place and move a fridge to get the most out of your small space. Having the option to open your fridge from either side gives you more flexibility in placement.
These are just a few features to consider when picking a mini-fridge for your dorm room. You should also consider style, voltage, how much sound it makes, and what types of food it is made to hold.
What Fits Makes a Big Difference
Many college students don’t mind having a smaller fridge that can only fit a few pop cans or leftover pizza from the night before. However, others are more interested in storing things long-term, like a 2 liter bottle of soda or wine bottle. You can get a refrigerator explicitly designed for both of these products.
8 Dorm Fridges that Are Cheap Yet Effective
Now that you know what type of dorm fridge to look for, here is a list of our 7 favorite dorm fridges available today.
Each option is small-space friendly and offers unique features and designs perfect for various situations and room layouts. Not all refrigerators are ideal in every situation, and not every situation will fit the same fridge.
1. Frigidaire EFR341 Mini-Fridge and Freezer: The Best Cheap Dorm Fridge for College Students
This Frigidaire mini-fridge and freezer is our favorite pick for cheap dorm fridges. This little refrigerator is perfect for dorm life. It has a top freezer with 0.96 cubic feet of storage space, and the bottom fridge has 2.24 cubic feet, just enough room for essential foods and drinks.
The refrigerator has a bottom compartment, which is humidity-controlled with a food crisper that will keep your fruits and vegetables nice and fresh. The door can hold full-sized bottles and has spots for your favorite cans of juice or soda.
The reversible door makes it easy to access even if you must move it around often. Each glass shelf is removable, making clean-up simple and storing larger items possible.
This stainless steel, free-standing fridge is a light 32-pounds, very economically priced, and our top choice for affordable dorm refrigerators for college students.
- Brand name: Frigidaire
- Weight: 32 pounds
- Size: 21.26” x 17.83” x 33.5”
- Capacity: 3.1 cubic feet
- Color: Stainless steel
- Shelves: 3
Why We Like It:
- Adjustable shelves for easy removal
- Reversible door for flexibility
- Quiet so it won’t wake you up or keep you up
- Affordable and perfectly priced for college students on a budget
- Stainless steel offers an excellent look for any style and fits in with all types of decor
- Crisper for fresh, healthy foods
2. Costway Compact Refrigerator: Runner Up for Best Cheap Mini-Fridge for College Students
This Costway compact refrigerator is ideal for just about any dorm. It is 34 inches tall, 19 inches wide, and 19.5 inches deep. It is very lightweight, coming in at only 52 pounds, making it easy to move around and fit in almost any space.
This unit is a standard fridge with a cooler on the bottom and a freezer on top. The removable glass shelves make it easy to adjust when storing various items. The door on this mini-fridge is reversible, allowing you to place it anywhere you would like and still comfortably gain access to its contents.
The Costway compact fridge has a low noise level, a 7-level temperature adjustment feature, and rapid cooling. This makes it the perfect, affordable mini-fridge for college students living in small spaces. However, it isn’t our top pick.
- Brand Name: Costway
- Weight: 52 pounds
- Size: 19” x 19.5” x 34”
- Capacity: 3.2 cubic feet
- Color: Gray
- Shelves: 3
Why We Like It:
- Compact for easy installation
- Cooling compressor for the best temperature settings
- Design is practical and versatile
- Ample storage space in the unit and on the doors
- Removable shelves for easy clean up
3. WANAI Beverage Refrigerator: Best Compact Fridge for Beverages
If you plan on eating at the college cafeteria or ordering out a lot, you might only need a beverage refrigerator. This can hold up to 60 cans of soda, mini-beers, or juice.
4. EUHOMY Mini Fridge with Freezer: Best Mini Refrigerator For Light Sleepers
Many electronics can get loud, keeping you up at night. This is a pain for any typical day, but even worse when you have an exam the next morning. That is why it is essential to find a quality mini-fridge that does not make very much noise.
5. Galanz GLR25MBER10 Retro Compact Refrigerator: Best Fridge for Great Style
Sometimes you want an affordable fridge that keeps food cool while making the room look cool. College is all about finding and expressing yourself, and what better way to do that than by dressing up your space with an awesome fridge?
6. Havato 1.7 Cu.Ft Mini Fridge with Freezer: Best Dorm Fridge for Basic Needs
Sometimes you just need a basic small fridge that does what it needs to: keep your daily essentials cold. Many college students don’t require much space or special features for a good mini-fridge. They just need enough space for some drinks and food to last them a few days.
7. Upstreman Compact Refrigerator: Best for Tight Spaces
Sometimes it isn’t the height of the fridge that’s the problem; it’s the width. Getting a “skinny fridge” is an excellent way to get a lot of cold storage space without taking up so much of your living area.
Skinny compact refrigerators are great for fitting between other appliances, in small rooms, and in areas that will keep your food close but out of the way.
Making the Right Choice
There are many different mini-refrigerators available online that can work well on a budget and in very small spaces. However, we found that the Costway compact refrigerator and the Frigidaire mini-fridge are some of the best options out there.
These two small refrigerators are the perfect size for college living in small spaces and offer many essential features. The top two mini-fridges on our list offer plenty of food storage space.
The freezer is great for frozen dinners, ice cream, or simply ice trays. The fridge has plenty of space for beverages, condiments, meal-prepped dishes from home, and fresh, tasty fruits and veggies that will always stay fresh thanks to the built-in crispers.
Dorm Fridge Q&A
Are dorm room refrigerators expensive?
Although college is known for being a pretty expensive adventure, getting good appliances such as mini-fridges doesn’t have to be. Dorm room refrigerators can be pretty cheap as long as you do your research to find the best options.
What features should you look for in a dorm fridge?
The features to look for vary depending on personal preference. However, some features that are very helpful to college students are manageable size and weight, a separate freezer compartment, and offering enough space for everyday food essentials.
Are mini-fridges and compact fridges the same thing?
Most people will tell you the two are the same thing. However, they are not. Compact refrigerators are smaller than your regular-sized fridges yet bigger than most mini-fridge options.
If you are looking for the best cheap dorm fridge on the market today, we’ve provided a lot of great options. These affordable refrigerators make great appliances for small living spaces.
When selecting a dorm room refrigerator, you should always consider the size, capacity, features, and cost. A good refrigerator doesn’t have to cost a semester’s worth of tuition, and expensive refrigerators don’t always give you what you need for dorm room living.