Years after my college dorm days I never thought I'd be considering a mini refrigerator. But when my former Santa Monica apartment kitchen called for creative measures to allow for a breakfast nook, a compact model was the answer. Much to my surprise, many of the options today offer ample storage as well as technology that rivals their bigger siblings. And you'll notice a lower number on your electric bill.
Here, 10 energy- and space-saving compact refrigerators for budgets and tight kitchens of all sorts.
Above: Big Chill of Boulder, Colorado, creates modern appliances with retro appeal. The Under Counter Mini Fridge comes in eight colors—and more than 200 custom shades. Energy Star-rated, it's available with or without a freezer starting at $1,695 from Big Chill.
Above: Designed for built-in or freestanding spaces, the KitchenAid Architect II Compact Refrigerator is a basic but high-quality cooler with a sleek design. Energy Star-rated for low energy draw; $1,699 at Lowe's.
Above: Maytag's Mini Refrigerator in Stainless Steal has removable shelving to manipulate the small space for a range of cooling needs. The door opens to the left or right, as needed; $990 at Home Depot.
Above: Basic form with a sleek design, the GE Undercounter Compact Refrigerator requires manual defrost—a task necessary with many mini refrigerators—but it makes up for the chore with its lower price tag; $150 at Amazon.
Above: Another low-priced, no frills option that gets the icebox deeds done: the Frigidaire 3.3 Compact Refrigerator; $140 at Best Buy.
Above: Standing at 34" tall, Perlick's Signature Series Dual-Zone Freezer/Refrigerator Drawers offers separate freezer and refrigeration compartment drawers. The inside space provides enough room to hold milk cartons; $4,199 at US Appliance.
Above: The CoolDrawer Multi-Temperature Refrigerator 3.1 by Fisher & Paykel is a chameleon for food storage, offering both cooling and freezing options. A compact drawer, the unit is designed to change from a refrigerator to a freezer to a wine cooler to an idle pantry at the touch of a button; $2,309 at US Appliance.
Above: A platinum option for smaller areas: Sub-Zero's stainless steel ID-30CI Combination Drawers are 30 inches wide and equipped with LED lighting and touchscreen technology. The separate refrigeration and freezer units work in most under counter areas; $4,230 and $4,350 from Sub-Zero.
Above: The Electrolux IQ Touch Series 24" Built-In Refrigerator Drawers come equipped with an air filter as well as an alarm system for maintaining temperature; $2,018 at AJ Madison.
Above: A moveable feat: The Avanti Built-In Outdoor Refrigerator is made for outdoor storage with an extra-long power cord and attached casters for portability; $689 at Best Buy.
Have a little more room to spare? If so, see: Five Favorites: Skinny Refrigerators.