Whether you’re looking to get one for your dorm, office, or simply for their sheer style and convenience, mini fridges can be a great investment – as long as you know what you’re getting.
Admittedly, we don’t tend to think of refrigerators as “noisy appliances” the way we often do washers and dryers, for example. One thing all too often overlooked by buyers is just how noisy a mini fridge can be. Why is that, and what makes so many refrigerators so loud in the first place?
» NAVIGATION «
Mini Fridges and Noise 101
Before we get into how and why to keep it quiet, what else should you be looking for in a mini fridge?
First and foremost, mini fridges are all about convenience, especially in terms of space. A regular-size fridge may be able to take on most of your food cooling and preserving duties, after all, but it can’t easily fit beside your bedside or near your desk at work. As such, it is vital that your mini fridge remains, well, “mini,” while still having enough capacity to store what you wish to cool.
Regular-size fridges can also be inconveniently noisy. They have more fans, these fans are typically larger, and old models sometimes vibrate, adding to the unwelcome noise levels even further. Mini fridges often have smaller fans, fewer parts, and newer models tend not to vibrate as they grow older.
In addition, you’ll want to pay attention to the amount of decibels emitted by the unit. Companies and review sites sometimes give this information. It shouldn’t be taken as a perfect measurement of the overall noise level, but can nevertheless prove to be a useful guideline.
When it comes to reducing the noise emitted by a mini fridge, compressor coils and fans are two of the most important areas to consider. The compressors work to create and sustain the conditions necessary for the liquid refrigerant acting as a cooling agent to evaporate and cool the interior. Fans help cool the unit itself. Finding mini fridges where one or both of these elements are able to do their job in a quiet fashion is critical to finding a mini fridge that runs as smoothly and silently as you’d wish.
Best Quiet Mini Fridges
As alluded to above, there’s a lot that goes into a good mini fridge. These options don’t just operate quietly, but are solid all-around mini fridges as well. From units laden with the latest bells and whistles to more streamlined options and everything in between, let’s take a look at some of the best quiet mini fridges on the market.
1. hOmeLabs Mini Fridge 3.3 Cubic Feet Under Counter
Something like this offering from hOmeLabs is probably what comes to mind when you think of a mini fridge. It is highly compact at just 3.3 cubic feet, making it a good choice if space is a concern. What’s more, it has three glass shelves that can be removed in case you want a little extra space.
Aesthetically, this unit makes use of a nice streamlined design with a sleek silver finish.
While this unit doesn’t have the advanced temperature control of other models, it nevertheless features three temperature modes, Max, Med, and Min. The Med setting drops things down to around 33 to 35 Fahrenheit, so this mini fridge is more than capable of keeping its contents nice and cool.
What’s more, in keeping with the main focus of this article, this mini fridge from hOmeLabs is able to preserve its contents while remaining reasonably quiet. The cooling fans aren’t loud, and the unit as a whole operates, if not totally silently, at least quietly enough as to fade into the background and be unnoticeable most of the time.
On the whole, if you are looking for a solid all-around mini fridge that’s on the more compact side and runs reasonably quietly, this is a good budget choice.
2. Danby DAR026A1BDD-3 Compact Refrigerator
The first thing that stands out about this mini fridge is its size. At 2.6 cubic feet, it is easily one of the smallest options on our list. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially with compactness being one of the big selling points for mini fridges. That said, this is definitely a mini fridge that is best suited to a supplementary rather than primary role.
If you are looking for a mini fridge that can replace a full-size refrigerator and serve as a personal refrigerator in a dorm or studio apartment, this unit is functional, but on the small side. On the other hand, if you are looking for a compact office mini fridge, or a lack of space is a major concern, this is a great option to consider for your space-saving needs.
This mini fridge is quite quiet, with its fans barely audible, furthering its case as a great office mini fridge.
Inside, it features an eight-can door, as well as space for storing tall bottles, in case you’re looking to keep a bottle or two of white wine in there. In addition, it has three shelves that can be removed to create even more space. Its exterior features an elegant, smooth, scratch resistant black design.
3. General Electric GCE06GSHSB Spacemaker 5.6 Cu. Ft. Compact Refrigerator
This mini fridge from General Electric is on the larger side for a mini fridge, especially for a unit that runs as quietly as the Spacemaker does, at 5.6 cubic feet. This affords users with a great deal of storage space. What’s more, while 77 pounds isn’t exactly “lightweight,” it is nevertheless a lot lighter and more portable than a full-size refrigerator would be. If you’re looking for a mini fridge that could replace a larger, louder unit in your apartment, this unit might be the choice for you.
Furthering its status as a viable replacement for your large, loud full-size refrigerator, this unit boasts interior lighting, a can rack, and door shelves for storing even more food.
One reason this unit is so quiet has to do with its compressor. General Electric boasts about the durability of this compressor, and it also runs very quietly, bringing down the noise level for the unit on the whole.
Most of the time, a large fridge means larger fans and compressors, which in turn means more noise. The fact that this unit from General Electric bucks that trend is what makes it so impressive, and how it makes our list. It offers a great deal of storage space for a mini fridge without being too noisy, allowing you the best of both worlds.
4. Midea WHS-65LSS1, 1.6 Cubic Feet Mini Fridge
This unit from Midea is easily the smallest on our list, measuring a lithe 1.6 cubic feet. On the one hand, that’s obviously probably not enough space to store enough food or drinks for more than one person, and it cannot be used for keeping frozen food fresh.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a highly-portable office or bedroom mini fridge, you won’t be able to find much better than this highly-compact space-saving model. In addition, while it cannot be used to make ice cubes, it is nevertheless capable of dropping the temperature down to a respectably chilly 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
The interior walls of the unit are slightly tapered toward the back. This helps give the unit a bit more storage space than you might expect for such a small mini fridge.
The big reason this lands on our list, however, is the fact that it features an ultra-quiet compressor. As established, this is a huge factor in determining the overall noise level of a mini fridge, and sure enough this is one of the quietest units on our list.
Big things come in small packages, and if you are looking for a personal mini fridge that doesn’t take up much space, is highly portable, and is whisper-quiet, it would be hard to do better than this option.
5. BLACK and DECKER Compact Refrigerator 2.5 Cubic Feet
This is another good example of a compact mini fridge that’s a great space-saving option.
The interior of this option from BLACK and DECKER does a good job of offering users the kind of setup they would expect from a full-size refrigerator while scaling things down to fit within its compact design. For example, it comes with two glass shelves that are sturdy and surprisingly wide for a unit of this size. A lot of mini fridges offer simple racks or similar storage options.
The fact that this fridge offers actual glass shelves along with door shelves for bottle storage is a testament to bringing the quality of full-size refrigerators to the world of mini fridges.
It also features adjustable thermostat controls for superior temperature control.
What’s more, it is able to accomplish all of this while remaining quiet, hence its spot on our list. The fan for this model is reasonably quiet, and the unit has none of the vibration problems that can lead to extra noise from full-size fridges. As such, if you’re looking for some of the features commonly associated with larger fridges without the size or noise, this would be a good option to consider.
6. Cooluli Classic Mini Fridge
One of the best things about this fridge is its aesthetic brilliance. While most of the mini fridges on this list are sleek, streamlined, and aesthetically competent, this offering from Cooluli takes things to a new level.
Far from simply offering the same black, white, and silver options as most mini fridges, these units come in such eye-catching colors as red, pink, fuchsia, electric blue, and even a black and white cow-spotted look. If you’re looking for a mini fridge whose form matches its functionality, it’s hard to beat the mini fridges offered by Cooluli.
Of course, a mini fridge can be as eye-catching as you like, but if it can’t keep your food and drinks cold, at the end of the day it’s simply a glamorous dud. Thankfully, Cooluli’s mini fridges are anything but. While they aren’t as cool as other units, they are nevertheless cold enough – dropping the temperature down to around 40 degrees Fahrenheit at the coldest – to get the job done. What’s more, they boast some nice extra features, such as USB compatibility.
Cooluli markets this mini fridge as being ideal not just for storing food and drinks, but beauty products as well. If you work in the beauty industry or simply want to keep your cosmetics stored in a nice cool place that won’t freeze your makeup or let it spoil, these fashionable mini fridges could be a gamechanger.
Finally, in keeping with our primary focus, this unit is incredibly quiet, emitting only 28 decibels of noise, making it virtually silent.
7. Cooluli Coca-Cola Americana Retro Mini Fridge
This is another example of Cooluli showing off its creative side. Coca-Cola and Americana are inextricably linked, with the iconic beverage being one of America’s most recognizable brands and icons, from a Coke-drinking Santa to those Coke-loving Polar Bears. Cooluli picks right up on that with a nifty Coke-themed retro fridge. By far the most eye-catching option on our list, this mini fridge is a true design feature, and a must for anyone with a soft spot for Coca-Cola and 50s-era Americana.
Its impeccable form aside, the functionality of this unit doesn’t disappoint either. It is on the compact side, measuring 11.4″ x 9.4″ x 13.4″, and it weighs in at a mere 7.9 pounds. That makes it one of the best lightweight mini fridge options on this list. As with the Cooluli Classic Mini Fridge, its interior temperature is a bit higher than other fridges, but still cold enough to keep cosmetics, skin care products, food, insulin, yes, Coca-Cola and any other beverage of choice nice and cold.
This unit is also energy-efficient and incredibly quiet, for which Cooluli credits its semiconductor technology.
All in all, this mini fridge exudes Coca-Cola-inspired Americana while keeping your Coke nice and cool and doing so in a whisper-quiet eco-friendly fashion.
8. Magic Chef 3.6 Cu. Ft. Refrigerator
In contrast to the more elaborate options offered by Cooluli, this option from Magic Chef does a great job of offering affordable no-frills mini fridge performance. At 3.6 cubic feet, it’s still compact while being a bit larger and, thus, more spacious than some of the other options on this list.
In addition, this is another mini fridge that offers glass shelves, which helps bring it a bit closer to traditional full-size fridges without the noise. These shelves are adjustable, making it that much easier for you to store items as needed. In addition, the unit boasts a full-width freezer compartment for storing frozen foods and similar items, as well as an in-door rack for storing cans and similar items.
The unit also offers a nice push-button defrost feature, making defrosting things quickly that much easier. It also offers a mechanical thermostat, which can enable you to set the temperature inside with greater precision.
This offering from Magic Chef is able to accomplish all of this with a compressor and fan combo that operates nice and quietly.
On the whole, this is easily one of the most accessible mini fridges on our list. What you see is what you get – and what you hear is the sound of silence with a nice, quiet mini fridge.
Mini Fridge Buyer’s Guide
A mini fridge that takes up a huge chunk of your room can hardly be said to be “mini.” On the other hand, a miniscule mini fridge that’s too small to store what you need isn’t worth the investment. As such, you need to find that mini fridge size sweet spot.
Then there’s the matter of managing the noise. Anything lower than 50 decibels is considered incredibly quiet, and 60 is about normal operational noise levels. Many quiet mini fridges fall somewhere in the middle.
One of the most important things to check in terms of evaluating mini fridge quietness is the compressor. As described above, this is how the mini fridge creates the conditions necessary to cool things. You want to make sure to look for reviews that explicitly state that the mini fridge’s compressors are quiet, as this typically means an ultra-silent unit.
Type of Mini Fridge
While compressor fridges are among the most common, thermoelectric and absorption mini fridges also exist, and boast varying levels of quietness.
No matter the type of compressor or cooling system, you’ll also want to look for fans that are on the quiet side.
In addition to the size and noiselessness, there are other key features that you’ll want to look for in the latest mini fridge models, including USB connectivity. It is also worth paying attention to what items the mini fridges are designed to store. Some are strictly for food and drinks, some can’t store frozen goods, some can be used for storing cosmetics and skincare products – there is a lot of variation, so do your due diligence and research each unit’s temperature levels.
Now may be the time to find one that’s as silent as it is consistently cool. The right mini fridge could be a huge gamechanger and is well worth your time.