Best small fridges for 2020
By Patrick Gallagher
Our pick of the best small fridges from all our reviews.
The best small fridges keep your food consistently chilled to a safe temperature so it stays fresher for longer. The worst models will leave you with lukewarm milk and spoiled vegetables.
We’ve tested hundreds of fridges, so we know those that will make a great addition to your kitchen and the ones that won’t.
When you're short on space, you want your small fridge to give you the maximum usable volume so you can get the most out of the space inside it. Manufacturers quote a fridge volume, but we test this and often find the numbers we discover vary (sometimes quite dramatically) from those on the label. We quote all the real usable volumes in our fridge reviews.
You can find our pick of the best small fridges in the table below.
Top five small fridges
This is the best integrated under-counter fridge we've reviewed, by no small margin. It had a near flawless run through our tough tests, showcasing exceptional chilling speed and impressive temperature stability. It's not the most energy efficient fridge around, and there are cheaper alternatives that scored well in our tests, but if your budget extends this far then this one is hard to beat.
This fridge passed our tough tests with flying colours. Not only is it easy to set up, but it cools quickly and evenly, and keeps the temperature right day after day. You won’t hear any strange noises coming from it, either. Find out more about this impressive fridge in our full review
This is an integrated fridge with an ice box that chills quickly and keeps its contents cool even when the room temperatures begin to fluctuate, thanks to its extremely accurate thermostat. It's not cheap, but if it's within your budget, you won't be disappointed.
This cheap integrated fridge did excellently in almost every one of our tough tests. It's easy to set up, chills very quickly and maintains a steady temperature all year round. Although we've seen more energy efficient fridges, we still think this is a great option.
You’ll struggle to find a more energy-efficient fridge than this one. Even though it will be working to chill your food all day every day, you’ll hardly notice the effect on your electricity bills. It has no major faults, although its cooling speed is only average and not outstanding. But it's still a worthy Best Buy and if you’re looking for an economical small fridge, you should definitely consider this one.
Fire-risk fridges and safety
At Which? we aim to recommend the best products for you to buy. With this in mind, we continually monitor and vary the assessments that underpin our reviews, to take account of changing standards and areas of concern.
Our tests have revealed that plastic backing can be highly flammable. We are therefore not recommending any refrigeration appliances that have flammable plastic backing.
Watch our video to see what happens in a fire.
Why Which? small-fridge reviews are better
Our rigorous, independent testing means we can confidently separate the good from the bad.
We check how well the fridge chills, using gel packs to simulate food and recording the time it takes for each fridge to cool the packs down. Doing so, we can find the fridges that sufficiently start chilling your food the moment you close the door.
Our experts also assess the thermostat. Our top-scoring fridges will exactly reach the desired temperature and then stay at that temperature. But we find some thermostats controls are way off the mark, meaning your food could go off before its use-by date.
Noise levels, ease of use and how simple it is to clean are also taken into consideration when we give our overall score.
Buying the best small fridge for you
Here are four things to consider when choosing a small fridge:
First decide whether you want a freestanding or an integrated model. This might depend on the space you have or your kitchen's layout.
Freestanding fridges are typically cheaper and there are a wider range of options. However, integrated fridges are hidden and tend to run more quietly. If you don’t have a freezer, then a fridge with an ice box compartment can be useful.
Manufacturers measure a fridge's volume with all the shelves, drawers and door racks taken out. When we test fridges, we leave everything in place and measure the space you can actually use for storing food.
Make sure you check the capacity sizes in our reviews, so you can be sure they will be enough room for your weekly shop.
Check the fridge you want has the correct climate class for your needs. For instance, fridges that you plan to store in a colder location, such as a larder or conservatory, will need to be able to work properly in temperatures below 16 degrees.
The class will be shown in letters. We’ve listed the letters against the temperatures they are built for:
- 10-32°C: SN
- 16-32°C: N
- 16-38°C: ST
- 16-43°C: T
Quick-chill functions, ice dispensers and bottle racks are all extras that are available with certain models – and not always at a cost. Some may also have humidity controls, which can help lock in moisture to keep some vegetables fresher for longer.
Others have adjustable shelves and door racks that are helpful if you need to fit larger items in the fridge.
Your fridge is turned on all day, working hard to keep your food fresh. But how much is it costing you? Use our handy calculator to find out the real cost of your fridge over the years and find out the most energy efficient fridges.