best mini fridge with separate freezer buying tips

20 things to know before buying a mini fridge with separate freezer [2018].

Updated on 11/30/18
9 minute read

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In this article, I will share with you 20 things to consider before you buy your mini fridge with freezer.

This list is built from experience, considering specifications in all aspects, starting from size, functionality, practicality and more!

Buying a mini fridge with a separate freezer is not a complicated thing to do but there are few things to consider in order to maximize your buying value and enjoy the fridge.

Keep reading to find out all that matters before you buy a mini-fridge with separate freezer.

white mini fridge with freezer, view from above

Remember:

Don't buy one and regret your choice and the money spent.

Here are the things that you need to know before buying one.   

 

Before you buy a mini-fridge, consider the:

 

Physical dimensions

how big in size should the mini fridge with separate freezer be? What is the desired width and height?

The dimensions of the fridge are critical to consider. Unless you have unlimited room and you can throw the fridge anywhere.

If this is not the case, you probably plan to place the fridge under a desk, in your home office, garage, workshop, dorm room etc. These places usually are planned to accommodate other equipment or personal belongings in an efficient way. 

Here are some steps to take before choosing the size of the mini fridge with separate freezer:

  1. Think of where are you going to place the fridge. May the place change in the next year or so? Is long-term use?
  2. Check if there is an electrical outlet in the vicinity of the desired fridge place. If not, you can maybe install an extension cord. When using an extension cord, use a heavy duty one or at least a cord that can withstand the current and Watt usage.
  3. measure the desired location.
  4. Check if fridge will fit in location. Make sure you leave an inch or so between the fridge
  5. Make sure the fridge will not be in the way for people that cross the room.

All these factors are mainly affected by the size of the fridge. If it is eventually to big to fit in the place you planned, it can be disappointing. 

 

Adjustable shelves

You may need to move the mini fridge's shelves around to maximize the room inside. 

Not all mini fridges come with adjustable shelves. This is a nice to have feature.

Since it is not easy to create a complicated shelving system in a compact mini fridge, some companies came out with removable shelves

Amazon has a model with removable shelves for around 200$.

 

Separate freezer and fridge controls

Some mini fridges have separate temperature and on/off switch for freezer and fridge.

Most of them come with one control for both functionalities. 

Usually, this is not a big deal for users but you should consider yourself. 

One reason to have separate control is to save electricity. If I am not using the freezer, I'd rather turn the freezer off.

Another reason is when the fridge is freezing food and I want to raise the temperature in the fridge without changing the freezer temperature.

 

Electricity consumption

A fridge is a type of appliance that is considered to consume a lot of electricity. Not necessarily because of its consumption per hour, but because it is plugged into the outlet 24/7, year round. The relatively small electricity consumption accumulates to big numbers over time. 

That is especially important for people that live off-grid or operate their house on solar energy most times and looking to buy a mini-fridge. They count every watt used.

Mini fridges with separate freezer are smaller, therefore, consume less, in comparing to standard family size fridge. Nonetheless, I recommend reviewing the energy sheet specifications before buying. 

The energy sheet is a sticker or a paper that provides information about how much electricity the appliance consumes over time. Each country has its rules about what should be disclosed in that paper or sticker. 

Don't buy a mini fridge with separate freezer without reviewing it before. 

Here is an example of a mini fridge with a separate freezer energy consumption sticker:

mini fridge with freezer energy consumption information

Every self-respecting manufacturer will publish is on their website and on the affiliates websites.

Consider the fact that electricity consumption depends also on usage. If you open and close the mini fridge often during the day, it will consume more energy. 

Energy efficient mini fridge can save you money in the long term.

Here is an example for energy efficient mini fridge on Amazon. With relatively low yearly consumption, you can save a few dollars.

Tip: If you look for a quality dorm room refrigerator, the electricity consumption may play a small role since not all dorms charge tenants for electricity consumption. Still, it is a good thing to save energy.

 

The power source and usage location

Mini fridges fit many places.

Some people buy mini fridges with separate freezer for their RV, semi truck and for outdoors general usage. 

Now, even if you plan to use a power source that provides the required voltage (e.g. 110V) using an inverter, make sure the power source can provide enough "juice". Meaning, it can provide the current (in AMPs) needed to run the mini fridge.

Even if the power source is able to provide, use a powerful power source since "weak" ones may overheat and burn.

Normal home power outlet will easily provide enough current and voltage. 

 

The best place to buy a mini fridge with freezer - Trusted shops

There are a lot of shops out there, you can buy your new mini fridge from. 

where to buy a mini fridge?

Buying from a trusted shop is important. A good online example is Amazon.

Usually, well established and trusted businesses can deliver good customer service, they take responsibility for the purchase and more importantly, they have a policy that keeps a fair trade procedure.

No matter what mini fridge you are buying at the end, buy it from a trusted shop. 

 

Fridge and freezer capacity

Mini fridges with separate freezer capacity can vary a lot from a model to another.

Trying to decide what capacity should you choose?

What will you most likely to put in the mini fridge or its freezer? Drinks? Your lunch? Ice cream? 

It is really tempting to buy a really compact and low capacity model due to its small space it will occupy. Sometimes too small is impractical. 

Typically, fridges capacity is measured in liters (e.g. 25 liters, 60 liters etc.) or cubic foot. It is easier to get a feel of the size of the mini fridge with separate freezer if you measure bottles volume and mini fridge volume in liters but sometimes, if you are used to measuring using liquid ounces, pints or gallons, a conversion is needed. 

Try and convert the estimation of gallons you need to cubic foot (just Google "convert gallons to cubic foot"). This will give you a sense of the size you need. 

 

Adjustable legs

One of the most simple things to consider but also the most ignored. 

Think of where you want to place the mini fridge. 

Placing a mini fridge with separate freezer in a garage or a workshop is a common scenario. The thing is that the floor in those places are not always leveled perfectly or might have an imperfect and rough finish. Think of a workshop with concrete floor.

This may cause the mini fridge to be unstable, or you will need to fix it your self with some wood boards and such. 

Personally, these temporary solutions are not my favorite.  

Before you make your choice, make sure the mini fridge has adjustable legs. 

Here is a good example of a mini fridge on amazon that answers most specs. 

mini fridge with adjustable legs

 

Interior light

This is a nice thing to have. For me, not a deal breaker but definitely improves the user experience. 

Mini fridges with separate freezer usually come with interior light only in the cooling compartment and no light in freezer. 

Are you going to grab a drink from the mini fridge in darker conditions? If YES, get a mini fridge with light. If NO, you will do fine without interior light.

mini fridge with interior light

 

Mini fridge replacement parts

Plastic parts sometimes break, other parts wear off in time.

A common example is a malfunctioning door gasket. Another case is when a door gets hit and you can replace only the door. In some models, it may be cheaper to buy a new mini-fridge. Depends on the part and what is the price. Anyway -  

Make sure you buy a model that spare or replacement parts are available in the market. 

If not that, at least, the model popularity of a model is also an indication for replacement parts available on market.  

 

Warranty

Warranty is important. I can't stress this enough.

New electronic devices and home appliances fail in their first few months of operating more than you might think. There is a 'but' though. Since we are talking about mini fridges, they usually don't come with extra typical functionalities like ice and water dispensers. So this basically reduces the chances of malfunctions in the first few months.  

Most mini fridges will come with one year warranty. I think it is fair. 

Coverage - It is very important to check what is covered as part of the warranty. Usually, plastic parts are not covered. The warranty policy aims to cover the crucial parts like the compressor and parts of the gas system. 

Extended warranty - Assuming some companies provide an extended warranty to mini fridges with separate freezer, I personally don't see any reason why you should buy an extended warranty for a mini fridge. It does not worth it cost wise. 

I do think that it depends on the price though. Basically, If for some reason the mini fridge is very expensive or its parts are expensive to repair, so it might be worth it. 

 

Reversible door hinges

That is a classic potential problem to avoid when you buy a mini-fridge. 

Some models of mini fridges come with a fixed door opening direction. This is fine if you know where you are going to place the mini fridge. 

What if you don't know yet? What if you need to change its location? This is a common scenario when it is placed in a dynamic location like a workshop or workplace. Things tend to move. 

Reversible mini fridge door hinges allow you to change the direction to which the doors open. 

I recommend going for models with reversible door hinges because you can never know. 

mini fridge with freezer with reversible door

 

Noise emissions

In case your mini fridge is planned to be placed under your desk in your office or next to your bed in your dorm room, the noisy mini fridge can be an issue

A great resource for information about a certain model noise emission levels is product reviews. 

Usually, I can't find too much information about the topic on manufacturers websites. Even if I do find some data, comparing Decibel levels doesn't necessarily reflect the noise level or its pattern.

Also, some models make more noise when some ice accumulates in the airways and more. 

To conclude, look for reviews on websites like Amazon, the manufacturer website or forum or just ask your friends and family. Experience is best. 

 

Frost free or "No-Frost" mini fridge and freezer

Modern fridges, big or small, ships with auto-defrost. No need to defrost the fridge for hours. 

When it comes to mini fridges with separate freezer, there is a double need for auto-defrost. One for the freezer and one for the cooling compartment. 

What if you buy a mini-fridge with separate freezer with no auto-defrost? 

It means that every now and then, probably every few months, ice will accumulate and clog the airways and compartments of the mini fridge. To fix that, the mini fridge needs to be disconnected from the outlet and the ice should be left to melt. This can take a few hours. This is a time consuming and potentially messy process. 

I recommend buying a mini fridge with an auto-defrost system, or a product that is considered "no-frost". Otherwise, it will need the occasional defrosting in order to clear the freezer from the accumulated ice. Which is not so complicated task but if you can avoid it, the better.

Here is an example of a mini fridge with a separate freezer with auto-defrost in the cooling section. check out more specs on Amazon.

Tip: don't break ice from the freezer or cooling compartment with tools of any kind (e.g. ice picks, screwdrivers, knives etc.) You can hurt yourself or inflict damage to the product. Let ice melt naturally and clean access water with a clean rag.

 

Slide out shelves and removable parts

You may need to clear more space in the mini fridge.

One obvious way is to remove all the shelves and drawer.

Not all mini fridges come with removable racks though most do I believe.

Here is an example, check out the images below. 

mini fridge with removable drawer

mini fridge with freezer with slide out shelves

mini fridge with freezer - slide out shelves

 

How much weight can be placed safely on top 

In this section, I won't be able to name a value. 

Usually, it is possible to place lightweight on top of the mini fridge. Is it build for that though? I can't tell.

I recommend contacting the manufacturer or the seller to make sure it is possible and will not break the conditions of the warranty. 

Tip: the fridge itself may be strong enough, but the legs or the platform the mini fridge is on top may break.

 

 

Mini refrigerator with lock

Door locks are not a must for me when buying a mini fridge but it a nice thing to have.

Mini refrigerator with lock is usually preferred in offices and common areas.

If you work in a place where you want to keep you refrigerated drinks and food to your self, it is a good solution. 

This could happen in your dorm room, workplace, even at home, preventing children from accessing alcoholic drinks and more.

 

Other specifications that do not fall under any category and a summary list.

  1. Is the mini fridge magnetic? Can you attach magnets to the door?
  2. Is the back of the mini-fridge flat? 
  3. Does the mini-fridge come with ice trays? 
  4. Is it energy efficient?

 

To conclude

Choosing the best mini fridge with a separate freezer is not a complicated task. Buy a mini fridge you will enjoy and use.

It doesn't matter if you plan to use it like a dorm room refrigerator or office mini-fridge. Always consider the above information.

Think about the small things like a mini refrigerator with a lock or without, placement and what type of bottles and foods you are likely to put in it. 

Since the costs can be substantial, I recommend performing a short survey, plan ahead and maximize the usage out of the new product.

Don't forget to consider buying energy efficient mini fridge. It will save you money in the long term.

Read reviews, ask friends, search the web. You will get new ideas and models specifications that can fit your needs better.