a typical dorm refirgerator A good fridge in the dorm room can change your life

a typical dorm refirgerator
A good fridge in the dorm room can change your life

College dorms usually have one universal feature, which is their small size and having room for a bed, a small study area and very little leg room. This requires one to come up with clever and innovative ways of storing their things and incorporating appliances into the room.

A dorm refrigerator is often necessary especially if one is planning on living within the limits of a student budget. Eating at a restaurant or fast food place each day is not only unhealthy but also expensive; a small fridge in your dorm room will provide you with an opportunity to buy cheap food and snacks in bulk to help make your everyday meals.

Pros and Cons of Different Dorm Refrigerator Types

Not all mini fridges are made equal; they vary in size, capability and style. Buying a fridge needs some research to ascertain the most suitable one for your needs. Listed are some of the most popular small-form fridges available in the market today:

Cube fridge

This refrigerator usually has an interior capacity of 11.5 to 2.1 cubic feet and has a fairly portable weight of 25 to 30 pounds making it one of the most popular ones in the market. It makes a great dorm room fridge because of its convenient size of 18 to 20 inches which occupies very little space.


It is small and has a reversible door which eliminates any storage limitations. Its pricing is considerably cheaper than the other types with some models offering a locking mechanism on the door.


It is not energy efficient and can be a problem especially if you have energy restriction in your dorm. While some models offer a freezer it is usually just an ice tray area preventing the storage of perishable items on a long term basis.

Price range

The prices of one of these usually range from about $120 to $ 200 depending on the model and special features like a stainless steel exterior.

Counter high compact refrigerator

This type, as explained in detail on this page, is very energy efficient and offers more features than other mini fridges. It usually has an interior space that ranges from 3.5 to 4.5 cubic feet and a height of about 36 inches.


Some models are equipped with additional features such as drinks dispensers which we all have to admit can be pretty handy. They also come with a freezer that is spacious compared to the rest, which can either be as a compartment or as the two door variety. They also feature larger storage spaces and can often accommodate more items. A humidity controlled crisper for vegetable is offered in some models to help keep your vegetables from wilting.


It costs a pretty penny and can be out of the price range of a student and can also occupies a larger chunk of your precious space. It is also not the most portable variety.

Price range

One of these usually retails from around $250 to$ 2000 depending on model and features offered.

Mid-sized mini fridge

Who said dorm refrigerators are for food?

Who said dorm refrigerators are for food?

ProsThis type is larger than the cube mini fridge but smaller than the counter high fridge featuring an average interior space 2.6 cubic feet and a height of about 26 inches.

It has fairly good energy efficiency and contains larger freezer space than the cube. Some models feature the self-defrost function making it a breeze to clean and a controllable thermostat to help keep you fridge at your preferred temperature. They offer more shelves and storage space on the door.


It is more expensive than the cube and occupies more space in the room.

Price range

The market price of one of these fridges usually ranges from about $190 to &1,200 and is dependent on extra features offered, brand and model.

Choosing the Right Dorm Fridge

  • Establish the needs you want your refrigerator to meet, whether you want a snacks and drinks only type of fridge or you want to also store perishables. This will help narrow down your choices in terms of freezer capacity and temperature control. The amount of food you are planning on storing in the fridge should also be identified especially if you decide to partner up with a roommate to make this purchase.
  • Know your parameters when deciding on the size of your fridge as it might be too large that becomes an inconvenience in the room. Identify and measure the area that you want to place the fridge beforehand.
  • Shop around and compare types and models available to you, this not only helps you get the best price but also the best model for that price. You should also establish the type of deals offered by different retailers as some offer a combination deal with a microwave which is usually cheaper than buying them separately. This also offers you an opportunity to establish your preferences when it comes to design and features of your preferred choice of fridge like a lockable door option or a particular color.
  • Establish an average price range that your budget can support and make a purchase of your preferred type and design according to it.

Other Useful Tips

  • Identify the energy consumption rate of the model you plan on buying to make sure it complies with your dorm’s policy or if you are paying your own power bill to avoid huge bills.
  • Some fridges are pretty noisy so before buying one ask them if you can test or ask them about noise levels.
  • Avoid a fridge with a thermoelectric cooler if you want to store perishable food inside it, as it offers lower temperatures than needed for delicate aliments. However the technology is pretty awesome, if you want to impress your physics teacher…
  • A fridge with glass shelves contains spills much better, making it easy to clean up than having plastic rack shelves. These also tend to become yellowish with time, giving them an unhealthy look.

Point of Purchase

There are various place you can go to make the actual purchase like supermarkets, appliance shops or online. Buying at a store or supermarket can be cheaper when you exclude the shipping cost plus you can buy one at a dealer at a bargain price. Online stores offer the advantage of delivering the product to your door step and also providing hustle free research on the various products offered, from the comfort of your home.

Wherever you chose to buy your mini fridge from make sure you have the warranty license and proper information on the repair centers.