No more getting up when you want a drink when you’re in the middle of an amazing movie at home.
No more kitchen runs in the middle of your online multiplayer gaming. Basically, no more having to go out of your way—sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Well, that’s the benefit of having one of the best mini fridge units, and keeping it close by so that you can just reach in, and get your refreshment from the comfort of your own sofa.
We’ve taken the guesswork out of finding the best beverage cooler. Whether you’re bringing it to your dorm or it’s all you can really fit in your new studio apartment, there’s something here for everyone.
We’ve broken down everything from volume to power, and all the little tidbits of information about brands and their models along the way so you know what to look for in a good mini fridge.
Best Mini Fridge For Beverages in 2020
BEST OVERALL – Whirlpool Stainless Steel Mini Fridge
Whirlpool is practically a household royalty name when it comes to appliances, so it’s no surprise that they’re also to thank for one of the best beverage coolers out there.
You get a thick, clear glass door to see your current beverage stock before you ever open the thing, and a comfortable handle tucked into the left hand side of the door.
Aesthetics don’t win the best beverage refrigerator spot on our list—but energy efficiency and capacity definitely do. This is going to be on constantly, day after day, and you can’t run up your electric bill just to use it.
This runs for less than $60 per year in your annual utility bills, and stores roughly 90 standard 12 oz size cans.
Good power, and a ton of storage – but the deal isn’t sealed just yet. It’s lightweight (for a mini fridge) at just 63 lbs, and sits at a near-perfect temperature range in between cold and frozen at 37°F.
While it’s not recommended to store wine that low, you can fit about 25 different 750ml bottles of wine in this cooler if it comes down to it.
Now, this being said, you are going to run into some noise. It runs around 46db to 52db (depending on placement and conditions), which is almost as loud as a normal conversation between two people.
If this is in your kitchen, you won’t be able to detect it over the banging of pots and pans. If it’s in a man cave or garage, it will be noticeable, but nothing disruptive. After a day or two, you won’t even know that it’s there.
Sleek, slim, and overall aesthetic while being completely functional, Whirlpool hit the nail on the head without charging you an arm and a leg.
It’s easy to clean and maintain, you’re just going to have to put it somewhere that the noise won’t be an issue, and it won’t build up too much heat in an enclosed area, like the corner of the room. With the right logistics, this will fit comfortably in most spaces.
- Size: 33.5” x 18.9” x 18.7”
- Volume: 3.6 cubic feet
- Power: 475 kWh (annual consumption)
- Weight: 63 lbs
RUNNER UP – Sunbeam Mini Beverage Cooler
In our quest to come up with the best beverage refrigerator reviews, we started taking a hard look at a lot of brands. Imagine our surprise when Sunbeam comes out of the works. Generally, they’re an introductory-tier appliance brand, but they really did a great job with this fairly high-efficiency mini beverage cooler.
Speaking of energy efficiency, it only costs an average of $44 to run for an entire year. Now, this comes with a much lower capacity compared to Whirlpool—you’re getting half the total space, so you can store 45 standard 12 oz cans in here.
Still a good amount, but if you have a large family, you might find yourself needing even more space.
Because of the compact front-opening chest design that Sunbeam went with, the temperature reaches the desired number very quickly, and easily maintains it. If you open the cooler for too long and lower the ambient air temperature, it works quickly to correct it the moment the door is closed again.
The mechanical adjustable thermostat works well. When independently tested, we found that setting it to 38°F yielded a result of anywhere from 38°F to 40°F, so it might not hit right on par.
For this, we would recommend going with a lower temperature when you set it up to avoid entering that food danger range over 41°F.
Despite being a more compact unit, you’re going to feel a lot of heat coming off of this. While the size may make you think of all the wasted spaces you could fill with this 1.7 cubic foot cooler, you have to ensure there’s proper ventilation.
Otherwise, you could over stress the unit and mess with its ability to read the temperature. It has its flaws, but Sunbeam keeps the price low, and with proper utility, you can get years of use out of this.
- Size: 18.4” x 18.9” x 18.7”
- Volume: 1.7 cubic feet
- Power: 365 kWh (annual consumption)
- Weight: 40 lbs
ALTERNATIVE – COSTWAY Beverage Refrigerator and Cooler
Costway hit the nail on the head when it comes to versatility. This upright front-opening beverage cooler comes with a narrow frame, so you can see the full profile of every beverage you have inside.
With their 2.57 cubic foot model, you can fit up to 76 cans of 12 oz beverages in here with no problem. The best thing is that Costway has two other sizes available, one being a 1.6 cubic foot model, and a 3.2 cubic foot, if you’re in need of a more customized solution for beverage cooling.
Costway might just be the best mini fridge for drinks, especially if you like it when things are nice and quiet. Overall, there’s very little noise disturbance coming from this unit, but heat throw can be an issue.
The compressor runs hot, so keeping this in a space where it can be mildly ventilated will be a requirement. The coils on the back can get dusty as well, so it’s important to keep them cleaned to avoid a fire hazard.
Along the interior, there’s a clear LED light that shines on your beverages so you aren’t stumbling around in the dark.
This little fridge is good enough to keep your leftovers from the restaurant or bar if you aren’t heading into the kitchen after a late night, and holds the optimal temperature for beers, making it perfect to go right near the television on game day.
You don’t even have to take your eyes off the screen to reach in and grab another cold one.
As a word of warning, the shelves are in there pretty good, but based on the way that they lay flat, you might not want to overstuff this thing to capacity.
If it’s not positioned properly, the cans could try to roll forward when you open the door. Laying them flat with the tabs facing the door might be a better way to go to avoid this potential issue.
- Size: 17” x 17.5” x 29”
- Volume: 2.47 cubic feet
- Power: 95W (input)
- Weight: 47 lbs
ALTERNATIVE – Vremi Beverage Refrigerator and Cooler
Vremi has a lot of similarities to Costway in terms of design, but you get a much higher capacity with this impressive 3.6 cubic foot unit. Store up to 110 cans in your fridge, or up to 130 if you use some mini cans of soda or thin cans (like Red Bull).
The capacity is great, but the brushed stainless steel frame is what makes it even better. Between the subtle logo along the top of the frame, and the low-profile handle built into the side of the frame.
But what makes it the best beer fridge is the multiple layers of adjustable shelves. Feeling like keeping 40’s in here for the week? Take a shelf out. Going for malt beverages in taller cans?
Take the bottom shelf out and let them stand straight up so you can see the labels. It’s versatile, and maintains the perfect temperatures, all while shining an LED light down on your drinks so you know what you’re reaching for.
Despite the large size, the compressor is actually fairly quiet. Vremi says that their compressor operates at whisper-quiet levels, and considering that’s around 25db, they would be right.
It runs quiet so you aren’t hearing it buzzing in a room that would otherwise be silent. The temperatures can get as low as 32°F, or up to 61°F if you’re chilling something like wine, but there’s a catch.
This thing freezes. If you set it to 34°F, there’s still a chance that it’s going to freeze.
The temperature controller operates in about a one to three degree accuracy range, based on our tests, so you might run into some really frigid drinks when you’re just trying to chill it a bit. It’s better than the temperature rising when you don’t want it to, but it is a caveat to look out for.
- Size: 18.9” x 18.7” x 33.8”
- Volume: 3.6 cubic feet
- Power: 60W (input)
- Weight: 66 lbs
BEST FOR WINE – Whirlpool Stainless Steel Wine Fridge
We’re back at it again with Whirlpool, the obvious first and last choice in this roundup. This fridge ends up being the absolute best for wine, thanks to the accurate temperature control features, and 2.7 cubic feet of internal space.
The interior shelves are made of wood to accentuate the corks when you lay your wine bottles flat, and help provide some grip to the neck of your wine bottles as well.
As one of the top rated beverage coolers brands out there, Whirlpool had to pull out some stops to make this truly fantastic.
They keep it locked in at a good price, while also sticking with their tried-and-true black and stainless steel design, where the frame of the refrigerator panel in the front is made entirely of stainless steel. Feet on the bottom help keep this off the floor without making a huge crevice beneath this unit.
Earlier, I mentioned that there are accurate temperature control features. That’s true, but it is limited at the same time. There’s no digital controller gauge on here.
Instead, you have a dial with four different settings (depending on what you’re storing in here), and that’s it. That can be tricky if you’re trying to find an in-between temperature to store two different things in here, so just be privy to that before making a final decision.
There have been reported shipping issues where the gasket will be pulled off from the door slightly. Thankfully, this is an easy enough fix to take care of, but just be on the lookout for any other shipping errors (dents, things like that) to be safe.
You’ll have a decent warranty to cover you from manufacturer defects, and a relatively quiet compressor running on this so you aren’t going mad from the noise.
- Size: 24.7” x 18.9” x 18.7”
- Volume: 2.7 cubic feet
- Power: 60W (input)
- Weight: 48 lbs
Mini Fridge Buying Guide & FAQ
What is a Beverage Refrigerator?
Beverage refrigerators are designed to hold a specific number of standard 12 oz cans (the average beer and soda can size sold in mass quantities all around the United States), though they may also accommodate taller beverages, such as 40oz alcoholic bottles, wine bottles, 20oz plastic soda bottles, and more.
A beverage refrigerator has less power than a standard refrigerator, and generally has no more than four cubic feet of space, compared to an average of ten to thirty cubic feet of space for a full-sized refrigerator.
You’ll also notice that most beverage fridges have a glass door where you can see everything that’s inside, unlike a standard refrigerator.
This means you can look in the cooler, see that it doesn’t have what you want, and go to the store to pick it up without having to mess with the air temperature in your unit. Beverage coolers are smaller, and run far less energy than a standard, full-sized refrigerator.
What is the Optimal Temperature for Beverages?
You found a soda cooler for sale, but when you look at the temperature ranges it offers, it looks all out of proportion. What gives?
Well, the food safety zone temperature (which we’ll get more into later) differs from the ideal beverage temperature.
Most beverages, save for orange juice and milk (and things like it), are shelf stable and don’t actually require any refrigeration to be enjoyed safely. It’s just a matter of preference unless there’s something that can expire in a short amount of time.
In fact, for bubbly beverages, putting them in the fridge may actually speed up how fast you lose the carbonated bubbles.
A beverage fridge should be able to go down into the mid 30’s, but an ideal temperature range for most beverages is between 46°F, which is not food-safe, and 61°F, which is also not food-safe.
The final answer is that it depends on what you’re chilling. I would say that if you wanted to chill one can or bottle of soda to enjoy in the next hour or so, you can put the temperature down low (32°F) and set a timer, then retrieve it. It’ll be ice-cold without losing much carbonation at all.
Wines should be in the mid-40’s up to about 61°F to be optimally enjoyed.
Shelf stable drinks like juices, energy drinks, and flavored waters are generally enjoyed at around 46°F to give it a nice chill without the coldness being the only thing you can taste. You don’t want the temperature to overpower the flavor.
Can the Refrigerator be Plugged Into a Regular Outlet?
The best thing about getting the best drink cooler is that it can be used anywhere—anywhere that has a standard wall outlet plug, that is.
You could run a heavy duty extension cord to this so it’s outside, or bring it with you and plug it into the wall at your office. The versatility is there, and not just because it’s lightweight enough to move around as you see fit.
Most full-sized refrigerators have what’s called a dedicated circuit, meaning that one specific three-pronged type of plug connects to one single three-pronged outlet on the wall designed to take this plug, and has no other outlets.
The whole point of this is to have constant, ongoing electrical dependency with zero interruptions to the current, otherwise you could end up with a fridge that keeps flicking on and off (which could really mess with the compressor).
But at the end of the day, those plugs still use 110V, which is what your standard household plugs are rated for. Many coolers run either 60V up to 110V, so your normal outlets are more than capable of handling them.
Can You Keep Food in a Drinks Fridge?
It’s time to learn about the temperature danger zone, and why it’s possible—though not recommended—to put your food in a beverage fridge or cooler.
The danger zone for any food, where bacterial growth is accelerated and food rots/molds quicker, is between 42°F and 139°F. This is why a hot holding unit, commonly found in fast food restaurants, has to hold at least 140°F (previously 145°F) consistently to avoid bacterial growth.
Some personal-sized mini fridges may have a heat setting, and if you’ve come across these and seen them advertised with a 140°F rating, that’s because they need to be food-safe.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, 32°F to 41°F is the temperature range that most refrigerators sit at. It’s just under the food danger zone, and just above the freezing point (the freezing point is technically 32°F, but manufacturers don’t make fridges with a 32.1°F threshold).
So can you store food in these?
Yes, you absolutely can, but if you’re just trying to chill beverages instead of make them really cold, then you’re going to run into an issue with your food safety.
Beverage coolers have a bit of leeway when it comes to temperature control, because if you’re just chilling some sodas or wine, it can go above 41°F for a moment if it needs to slow down and stop the compressor from overheating, then it might do that.
That’s going to come down to your placement and the power of the unit, though.
The reason it’s not recommended to put food in here, or milk/orange juice for that matter, is that overnight the temperatures could slightly rise up too high.
It could rise up for a while, then cool back down before you get a chance to look at the temperature gauge, and then you’re consuming technically bad food that could lead to sickness.
Some of that might just be rooted in paranoia, but since these aren’t rated the same way that full-sized refrigerators are, it’s wise to take the side of caution.
These can be great to chill drinks in your gaming lounge, man cave, living room, or anywhere else that’s far from the fridge, I just wouldn’t put your leftovers from the restaurant in here if you can avoid it.
Storing Drinks the Right Way
Whether you’re jamming it in the corner of your garage for those hot summer days working on the car, or just in your media room so you can grab a cold one while queueing up for online matches, there’s a spot in your home for a mini beverage fridge right now.
Why wait? Keep one of these close by, grab a cold one of your choosing without having to even turn your head, and continue your enjoyment with one of these marvelous little units.