13 Best Narrow Refrigerators: Buying Guide and Review 2020

Mini refrigerators function as standard sized refrigerators do, except, these do not require large spaces or higher electricity bills to maintain. It is probably the best option for people staying in small apartments, studios, dorm rooms, and RVs - who need the provisions but can’t exactly fit a full-size refrigerator in their limited living quarters. By reading this up-to-date buying guide, you’ll be directed as to what to consider before purchasing a narrow refrigerator, and the best options currently available on Amazon, as per our suggestion. 

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Buying Guide

Refrigerators have become a staple household appliance in the 21st century. As a result, traditional size refrigerator brands are leveling up their game with fancy new features, energy-saving properties, ergonomic designs, and innovative technologies to compete with the market. Not so far behind, in terms of its advancements, is the new line of narrow or miniature refrigerators - that strive to deliver equally impressive refrigerating performance, for a lower price, with compact space.

To get the most bang for your buck, it is important to figure out first what it is you want for the refrigerator. Are there certain expectations you would like the narrow refrigerator to meet? To break it down for you, here are certain features worth looking into before you invest:

Location of installment

Where will you put it? Under the counter in your wet bar, the corner of your shared dorm room, or in the garage next to your workshop? Not many narrow refrigerators are capable of staying cool when exposed to hot temperatures  - if not designed for outside installation, placing your mini-fridge in your garage or porch, for example, can cause it to overwork itself and shorten its lifespan. Familiarize what sort of cooling system for this kind of installment, if it is what you want. 

Availability of freezer

Unlike traditional refrigerators, mini-fridges may often not include a freezer compartment, to begin with. Should it have a freezer, it is usually not separated from the rest of the refrigerator and is likely not cold enough to keep your frozen delights frozen-solid - such as ice cream, which defeats the purpose. To solve this, it is up to you whether you want to buy a stand-alone freezer appliance or a narrow refrigerator with a separate freezer compartment that is sure to keep your food frozen. 

Design 

Particularly, refer to the design of the door. Arguably, 2-door (fridge/freezer) mini-fridges are the way to go, as these can hold two temperatures better, and can fit all kinds of fridge essentials - again, depends on you. Also, a reversible door is a nice, versatile feature that allows you to access your stash from both sides, without having to worry about the layout of your space to accommodate it  

Intended usage 

Ask yourself, what do you plan on storing inside the mini-fridge? Perhaps you see your narrow refrigerator as an additional storage space at home to hold your craft beers and other fun refreshments. Or a place to keep your homemade lunch, coffee, and snacks in the office. Or even a helpful appliance to keep ready-made baby’s milk in your bedroom, for newborn parents to grab quickly during their first few weeks. Your situation is unique, just as your refrigerator needs are - think it through.

Easy clean-up features 

Now for the clean-up part, two notable features are convenient to have when cleaning up your fridge: removable shelves and a frost-free function. Removable shelves can be taken out to wipe the fridge’s interior with more ease, many products have this feature. On the other hand, most narrow refrigerators need to be defrosted manually, which is quite time-consuming. Check the product description or manuals to watch out for these features. 

Additional accessories

Lastly, depending on your preferences, you may be delighted as to what add-ons your narrow refrigerator will come with. Common add-ons include an ice cube tray, egg divider, crisper drawer, can dispenser, bottle openers, and an ice-scraper. Compared to the previous criteria, however, this feature is not as relevant.

Top Picks

  • Best Budget: RCA 3.2 Cu. Ft Compact Fridge 
  • Best Splurge: Danby 4.4 Cu. Ft Compact All Refrigerator
  • Most Stylish: Frigidaire Retro Bar Fridge 
  • Most Spacious: KUPPET 4.5 Cu. Ft Mini Refrigerator
  • Most Efficient: RCA 3.2 Cu. Ft Mini Refrigerator 
  • Best Narrow Refrigerators

    1. Costway Compact Refrigerator  - Spacious 2-door fridge w/ ice cube tray and egg divider

    Pros

    • Classic 2-Door design
    • Large freezer compartment
    • Comes with ice cube tray and egg divider
    • Adjustable shelves

    Cons

    • The back wall accumulates ice
    • Produces low whirring sound
    • Not available in California

    What customers are saying about the product:

    Tammi (left photo), an Amazon customer, says that it is quite a nice mini-fridge, as it has a separate freezer compartment that freezes ice quickly. Eon Ju Park (center and right photo) recommends it for its small, but workable size, adding that she was able to fit all her fruits and vegetables in it. 

    Why we think this is a great product: 

    Standing at 3.4 Cu. ft, this product is essentially a regular fridge, sized down by a couple of notches. With unique features and compartments such as a roomy freezer, ice tray, egg divider, and crisper draw – it fits more than just your go-to snacks. Plus, its removable shelves are convenient for cleaning. 

    Who should buy it: 

    The Costway Compact Refrigerator has got you covered for all fridge essentials, perfect for people living off a small space. It makes an excellent choice for college students to have in their dorms or cross-country travelers on the road.


    2. Best Budget: RCA 3.2 Cu. Ft Compact Fridge 

    Pros

    • Reversible door – opens even from the top
    • Inexpensive
    • Removable shelves
    • Lights up from the inside

    Cons

    • Small freezer compartment
    • May arrive with lots of dents – not well-packaged
    • Produces loud noises and vibrations
    • Dies easily

    What are customers saying about this product: 

    One unnamed Amazon customer (left photo) commented that it was a cute, little refrigerator, although he doesn’t expect it to last long. Another customer, Bailey (center photo), confesses that she’s 200% satisfied with the product, noting that it was large enough for her taste. Reba (left photo), unfortunately, reported that it arrived – but her daughter is obsessed with the color and won’t be returning it. 

    Why we think this is a great product:

    Feast your eyes with a pop of color, as this is one of the few fridges that are made in purple! Its reversible door ensures that you could position it anywhere without a hassle. It also houses a compressor cooling system and an adjustable thermostat, to set the ideal temperature to your desire.

    Who should buy it:

    Given its robust look, this inexpensive fridge would be rather out of place in the office. It is better off standing out at your home bar or entertainment room. 

    3. Danby 3.2 Cu. Ft Compact Refrigerator - Energy Star compliant, w/ eco-friendly refrigerant

    Pros

    • Sturdy shelves and slots
    • Scratch-resistant top surface
    • Runs quietly
    • Energy-efficient
    • Reversible door

    Cons

    • May fail to hold up the temperature
    • May not be covered by warranty
    • May arrive damaged

    What the customers are saying about this product: 

    A pleased customer under the account name “TwinMom” (left photo) shared that it was an amazing option for her one-person office. The door can hold multiple cans and bottles, and its scratch-resistant top surface is suitable for holding other items. JoshuaZ (right photo) reviews that this product is a dedicated fridge for storing all his craft beers – he has zero complaints. 

    Why we think this is a great product: 

    For one, this mini fridge is Energy Star compliant – meaning, it is highly energy-efficient, while at the same time – is great for the environment! Better yet, it runs on an environmental-friendly refrigerant for its cooling system. 

    Who should buy it: 

    Keeping in mind its environmentally-conscious design, this product is a perfect option for those wary of their carbon footprint. Moreover, this mini fridge would suit any kind of daily refreshment drinker, due to its several can/bottle slots. 

    4. KUPPET Retro Mini Refrigerator - 50s-inspired retro design w/ interior LED lighting

    Pros

    • Stylish
    • 2-Door design
    • Spacious 
    • Energy-efficient
    • Comes with icebox

      Cons

      • Requires slight assembly
      • Dies easily
      • Not securely packaged

      What are the customers saying about this product:

      Gabriel Flores (left photo) thinks it is such an aesthetic and received plenty of compliments from his friends about it. Similarly, Patricia Logos (right photo) says this little thing is amazing and fits well in her bedroom. As it is in her bedroom, she is a bit skeptical of the noise but while it does make a small sound, it is not enough to disturb her sleep. 

      Why we think this is a great product:

      Flashback to the 50s and just admire its exterior retro design – wow! Its pair of polished chrome handles seems to be the cherry on top of an already exquisite style. This beauty is installed with LED interior lighting – to illuminate your vintage fridge for guilt-free midnight snacking.

      Who should buy it:

      If you happen to have a whole retro theme going on in your house already, this is a must-buy to add to your décor. Or, if you simply love the aesthetic and want a cute, random pop of 50s-inspired of kitchen appliances – this one’s your groove. 

      5. Midea 3.3 Cu. Ft Refrigerator - Sleek, energy-saving beer fridge

      Pros

      • Quiet operation
      • Maintains uniform temperature
      • Smudge-free
      • Substantial
      • Energy-saving

      Cons

      • Freezer can’t store frozen foods or ice cubes
      • Not well-packaged
      • Dies easily

      What customers say about this product:

      Pleasantly surprised, Abigail (left photo) suggested that you don’t need to buy from expensive brands of mini-fridges, as this is a reliable, affordable option. It consists of tons of space and fits a 24-pack with ease, she reports. Similarly, Ashley (right photo) said installing it was a breeze, and that you basically can’t hear it running. She also said it was clean and glossy.

       

      Why we think this is a great product:

      This sleek black box rightfully deserves its title of Amazon’s Choice. Its mechanical temperature control helps to set your fridge to your desired coolness, while the reversible door hinge ensures it could be opened in any position wherever you intend on placing it. Of course, like many more products on this list – Energy Star compliant – because there’s not a more appropriate time to be mindful of your energy consumption.

      Who should buy it: 

      For those who are looking for something simple, stylish, and timeless – this is your best bet. Its sophisticated black color will never go out of style and is versatile in every environment, be it your bedroom, porch, or underneath a countertop. 

      6. BLACK+DECKER BCRK25B Compact Refrigerator - Energy Star certified and DOE standards compliant

      Pros

      • Energy-efficient
      • Cold
      • Comes with an ice cube tray
      • Lightweight
      • Sleek design

      Cons

      • May dented upon arrival
      • May die fast
      • Over-freezes refrigerated items

      What customers say about this product:

      A delighted customer with the account name “bearncesseties” (left photo) said that the product was perfect for their family’s needs – the door will hold up about 9 cans and even a 2-littler bottle snuggly. Also, MoniqueKandy (right photo) set this mini-fridge in her office and she loves how its freezer is big enough for her frozen meals. 

      Why we think this is a great product:

      Aside from it standing out as Amazon’s Choice, this fridge is Energy Star-certified and complies with DOE 2014 standards. Its reversible door, smooth top surface, and compact measurements make it a space-saving product that can conveniently fit the layout of any room. 

      Who should buy it:

      This sleek, minimal fridge can be best showcased in a contemporary bar, basement, or apartment - for drinkers to chill their craft beers in and pull out their snacks. Of course, its environmental-friendly features are some of the things everyone should be considering in this century. 

      7. hOmeLabs Mini Fridge - Metallic fridge w/ writable surface

      Pros

      • Spacious
      • Easy temperature controls
      • Runs quietly
      • Easy-to-clean removable shelves
      • Doesn’t ice up

      Cons

      • The door may not stay shut
      • Does not come with interior lighting
      • May arrive damaged

      What customers say about this product:

      After reminiscing on the mini-fridge he owned back in college, Christiaan (left photo) said that this product ultimately gives you the bang for your buck and is an excellent choice to have in dorm rooms or offices. Briar Gray (right photo) was thrilled at how spacious and easy to clean it was – he says it was incredibly handy to have around his office space during the quarantine. 

      Why we think this is a great product:

      At first glance, it may seem like your average miniature refrigerator with its chic stainless steel reversible door and glass shelves – but it isn’t. It’s got a removable drain tray to catch drips of water from the freezer when it is defrosting. But best of all, it has a secret feature – you can write on the door! Just be sure to use a dry-erasable marker and wipe with warm water. 

      Who should buy it: 

      Buy it for your RV, college dorm room, garage, or office, as it can house all your typical fridge essentials - from subway sandwiches to cartons of milk! Perhaps, you may also buy it for its door – to leave cute messages for your spouse or even reminders for the children.

        

      8. Best Splurge: Danby 4.4 Cu. Ft Compact All Refrigerator 

      Pros

      • Massive storage capacity
      • Bright interior
      • Quiet operation
      • Energy-efficient
      • Durable
      • Automatic defrost system

      Cons 

      • No freeze compartment
      • Designed for indoor installation only
      • The temperature may be problematic

      What customers say about this product:

      Expressing a lot of humor in his review, Justin (left photo) announced that if you are planning to buy this product because your spouse complained of the innumerable amount of beers in your main fridge – then look no further – it makes a chilly beer fridge. “It’s a keeper” – states one Amazon user under the account name “Stevenator.” The user adds that it keeps everything in the fridge ice cold while at half-setting and that it was well-packaged.

      Why we think this is a great product:

      Check this out – it’s the only fridge you’ve ever seen with a black interior! Despite the dark interior, you could still raid your fridge with no problem because of its bright LED light to illuminate your food. Not to mention, this sophisticated mini fridge comes with a door lock – to possibly guard your beer stash against the restless hands of children – and a scratch-resistant surface.

      Who should buy it: 

      As pointed out already, this product would make an awesome fridge to store your beers, either in the entertainment room or home bar. 

      9. Tavata 3.2 Cu. Ft Compact Refrigerator - Stylish 2-door fridge w/ ETL and HIPS energy-saving

      Pros

      • 2-door design
      • Runs quietly
      • Cold
      • Easy to set up
      • Color is vibrant

      Cons

      • May have a problematic thermostat
      • May not last long

      What customers say about this product:

      Heidi (left photo) believes the fridge is just what she wanted to compliment her kitchen/desk space. She disclosed that she received her order quite early (14 days before the estimated delivery date) and that she highly recommends buying from the company due to its reliability. Similarly, Elizabeth (right photo) loves how it can hold all her ice cube trays and drinks. 

      Why we think this is a great product:

      Great news: this product advertises that it can store meat and gallon of ice cream in the freezer! Topping off its charming appearance and retro-style chrome features, it has also been approved by the ETL and HIPS energy-saving properties. Lastly, this product is available in eye-popping green and red. 

      Who should buy it: 

      This would make an adorable appliance in your professional studio or in an apartment-for-one, to give it a little more of homey charm.

      10. Most Storage: KUPPET 4.5 Cu. Ft Mini Refrigerator

      Pros

      • Large storage capacity
      • Energy-efficient
      • Frost-free
      • Lightweight
      • Quiet operation

      Cons 

      • May be damaged or dented upon arrival
      • Disappointing warranty policy

      What customers say about this product:

      Although initially concerned it would arrive dented, Kenny (left and center photo) would highly recommend the product as it was as gorgeous as it is in the picture, in perfect condition, and was well-packaged with lots of foam. Also, David (right photo) thought it was a splendid fridge, which he situated with him in his workshop. 

      Why we think this is a great product:

      It’s contemporary, chic, energy-efficient, and comes with a can dispenser for you to access your canned beers with ease. It also consists of a reversible door and removable glass shelves suitable for easy clean-up; although, you wouldn’t need to worry about that often due to its frost-free feature - that alone makes it a winner!  

      Who should buy it:

      If you happen to purchase canned drinks by bulk shamelessly, this product’s can dispenser is made especially convenient for you! Several customers also pointed out that this will work well in kindergarten classrooms, professional workplaces, garages, or basements with its signature handsome design.   

       

      11. Most Efficient: RCA 3.2 Cu. Ft Mini Refrigerator 

      Pros

      • Comes with an ice cube tray
      • Substantial
      • Sufficient cooling system
      • No wasted space guaranteed
      • Inexpensive

      Cons

      • Compressor and copper tubing exposed at the back
      • Poor packaging
      • The freezer compartment may leak
      • May not last long

      What customers say about this product:

      Freddie, an avid Amazon shopper loves that this fridge has a delightful design with a very comfortable size and adapts to small spaces (left photo). Don (right photo) on the other hand, reported that it is the best refrigerator for its size and price – as it is bigger than the typical dormitory fridge he knew of.

      Why we think this is a great product:

      Among the small refrigerator’s category, this product was Amazon’s choice. Its adjustable thermostat and compressor cooling system are sure to keep your food cool during hot weather conditions. Finding an appropriate place for this product is made easier by its reversible door and adjustable lever feet.  

      Who should buy it:

      Interestingly, one customer pointed out that it’s a great buy for those currently in self-isolating this quarantine season – as it fits all provisions enough for a person to last weeks. Other than that, it’s an ideal item to get for your mini kitchen, office, or playroom! 

      12. Most Stylish: Frigidaire Retro Bar Fridge 

      Pros

      • Available in seven eye-catching colors
      • Lightweight
      • Comes with a built-in bottle opener
      • Attractive retro design
      • Slide-out shelves

      Cons

      • Not well-packaged
      • Won't last long 
      • May leak water

      What customers say about this product:

      B Shi (right photo) loves this cute little fridge with its very retro design, nice compartment, easy to set up, and sits about waist-high from the ground. She loves it so much that she’s planning to buy another one. Another Amazon customer, Raymond (right photo) said he loved it! Besides the rough start, whenever he pulls out a coke from the fridge now - it turns half to slush, as it did back in the days - which he adores.


      Why we think this is a great product:

      Is it Throwback Thursday yet? This little gem will have everyone longing for the 50s again because of its sweet retro style. It comes in seven vibrant colors that are sure to grab attention! Plus, its built-in bottle opener is a unique feature - for smacking lips and popping old-school cola slushies.

      Who should buy it:

      Heard of an outdoor fridge? Get one! This product would be a nice decorative touch next to a fun summer barbeque. Let it chill your soda pops and beers to refreshment haven.

      13. Midea 3.1 Cu. Ft Compact Refrigerator - UL and Energy Star Certified w/ ice cube tray and scraper

      Pros

      • Built-in crisper drawer
      • Double door design
      • Runs quietly
      • Comes with an ice cube tray and scraper
      • Spacious

      Cons

      • Inconsistent temperature regulation
      • The back wall may ice up
      • Shelves are not removable
      • Inaccurate product dimensions

      What customers say about this product:

      After purchasing this for her home office, an Amazon customer (right photo) reviews sent this collage of her ref’s photos to show how spacious it is for such a small fridge. Meanwhile, an Amazon user with the account name “ira12” (left photo) declares that she is a happy customer, as the product has a huge freezer compartment despite its small size. She added the mini-fridge isn’t noisy in their bedroom, and she plans on using this in her home bar soon.

      Why we think this is a great product:

      Similar to the aforementioned Midea mini-fridge on this list, this model is also Energy Star rated, and has earned its UL energy certification – which explains a great deal about the company’s campaign. Moreover, this industrial styled fridge comes with a crisper drawer, and ancillary accessories such as an ice cube tray, and even an ice scraper for your convenience – its door can be set left or right too.

      Who should buy it:

      Given its spacious, and “whisper quiet” properties, this bad boy would make a nice appliance for those living in small homes or apartments, shared dorm rooms, RVs, or any small space that is expected to be considerate of silence.

       

      FAQs

      Q1. Do narrow refrigerators take up a lot of electricity?

      While it is complicated to calculate the precise amount of energy consumed by your average narrow refrigerator - compared to the standard sized refrigerators, narrow refrigerators or mini-fridges take up a lot less electricity to operate. Thus, making it easier on the pocket. However, this will of course vary based on its energy-efficient properties (or your lack thereof), insulation, and your usage of the product - such as how frequently you open the refrigerator, and how warm the food is upon leaving it there.

      Q2. What is the best temperature to set my narrow refrigerator?

      Ideally, you would want to set your narrow refrigerator to a temperature of 35-40° Fahrenheit or 1-4° Celsius, as this would prevent your food from spoiling. Luckily, many of these refrigerators come with adjustable thermostats that are not set in Celsius or Fahrenheit, rather from 1-10 (1 being the warmest and 10 being the coldest) - all of which will not deteriorate the quality of your food.

      Q3. Does a narrow refrigerator need ventilation?

      Unless this is specifically designed as an under-the-counter type of refrigerator. A clearance of about 1 to 2 inches from the rear is advised to dissipate the heat smoothly. Proper ventilation is important as it is with any other kitchen appliance to prolong its lifespan and maximize its efficiency.

      Q4. How can I prevent frost build-up in my narrow refrigerator?

      Unless your refrigerator of choice has frost-free features that prevent this sort of build-up, you must defrost your fridge manually - that is, by unplugging it and waiting for the ice to melt for you to wipe away. Refrigerators are bound to accumulate moisture eventually; if not dealt with promptly, the appliance's cool temperature may cause it to frost. Depending on your model, follow the suggested maintenance tips in the product manual.

      Q5. How can I make use of the reversible door feature on my narrow refrigerator?

      If you take a close look at the door upon the product's arrival, you will notice pre-drilled holes on each side of the fridge. Whichever you prefer, you may install the hinge on the left or right side for your convenience. Be sure to read for additional instructions about this process on the manual beforehand.

      Conclusion

      Hopefully, this guide has set an excellent foundation for your refrigerator shopping experience to-come and inspired you to prepare a checklist of features you would appreciate in this staple appliance. As always, it is best to do your research on the side to get the most value for your money. 

      If you like this article, you may also like to check out our buying guide on special wine refrigerators here, as these great to have in your home bar as well.   

      Don’t forget to sign up for our free VIP club to avail of our exclusive rebate program. No credit cards are required. No need to purchase anything. We just want to thank you.


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