The best retro mini-fridges in 2022: Because nostalgia is cool

Have you ever heard the phrase “All old is new again?” For some reason, we tend to have a nostalgic streak for aesthetics that seem to transport us to another time period. Whether it’s clothing or interior design, style comes in waves every few decades or so, and retro kitchen appliances are no exception.

Why Are Retro Mini Fridges Popular?

Like most popular things these days, retro mini fridges are a recurring trend. some corners of TikTokmainly because it’s a great device for college kids living in dorm rooms and obviously the retro colors and design are super aesthetically pleasing and fun to show off.

The true popularity of retro mini fridges, however, is likely rooted in the long-standing appeal of SMEG. For the uninitiated, SMEG is an Italian home appliance manufacturer founded in 1948, and they have a nearly 80-year heritage that has brought us incredibly retro refrigerators, electric kettles, toaster ovens, and other kitchen appliances. They are also very expensive. (Seriously, a retro SMEG mini fridge will set you back well over $1,000(opens in a new tab)!) But don’t worry, there are plenty of retro mini fridges on the market that look just as gorgeous for a much less eye-catching price.

The key to finding a good SMEG dupe is to research the key characteristics established by the vintage brand. Think rounded edges, a smooth, shiny finish, and fun candy-colored hues.

Do retro mini fridges offer everything full size fridges do?

Retro mini fridges come in many different sizes and shapes, so their offerings mostly depend on the type you get. Some mini fridges offer many of the best features of a full-size fridge, such as a crisper drawer to keep produce fresh and a separate freezer compartment with enough room for several pints of ice cream and other frozen foods.

On the other hand, smaller retro mini fridges just aren’t big enough to provide these niceties. Instead, the majority of the best mini fridges offer one or two removable shelves to help you organize your food and drinks; a space at the back of the refrigerator door to safely store larger items, such as liter bottles; and at least enough space in an internal freezer compartment to store an ice cube tray or a few frozen meals. That said, you won’t find a retro mini fridge with a ice machine or something like that. But you can certainly make do with the storage space they provide, especially if your mini fridge is secondary to a larger fridge, a takeout habit, or a college dining hall.

Where do you store your retro fridge?

Speaking of college, mini fridges are the perfect appliance for a college dorm due to the fact that dorms typically lack storage space. Mess rooms don’t always have the most appealing food, study snacks always need to be ready, and midnight cravings can actually strike at any time and always need to be properly indulged. Seriously, though, the best mini fridge offers the ultimate convenience for storing fresh food and drinks in a cramped dorm room, and the shorter “cube fridge” style could even double as an impromptu nightstand in a small space. Plus, mini fridges are usually easy to transport, which will make moving-in day much less stressful.

The dorms are just the tip of the iceberg though. Depending on your use case, you can install a retro mini fridge in any (or all) room of the house. They’re perfect for storing easily accessible snacks in the living room, den, game room, or basement for family movie night or your latest binge-watching obsession. You can also add a retro mini fridge to your guest bedroom for a luxury hotel vibe when friends and family stay over, or to your home office to fuel you during long workdays.

Retro mini fridges aren’t just for food. Some people opt for a more compact mini-fridge in the bedroom or bathroom to store heat-sensitive skincare products (like moisturizers, serums, and sunscreen), or to cool face masks, a roller of jade or a gua sha for a true luxury spa experience at home. These tiny fridges are also super portable, so they’re perfect for storing snacks or medications that need refrigeration for car trips and long trips. Bonus: The more compact fridges also tend to have a warming function, which would be great for warming towels for facials or heating bottles for feeding sessions in the middle of the night or on the road. .

You could even put a retro mini fridge in the kitchen! Revolutionary thinking, I know. But if you’re working with a super small kitchen in a studio or small apartment, a retro mini fridge would add just the right amount of function and colorful style you need, while freeing up storage space for more. other handy devices. (like a air fryer), if you also lack space for a good oven).

Mini fridges are also a great addition to a functional toddler kitchen, which is a Montessori method of education (also popular on TikTok) to help little ones learn and gain autonomy. Retro mini fridges are especially kid-friendly as their rounded edges limit “ouchies” and, of course, there are also an abundance of fun color options.

How cold is a retro mini fridge?

Depending on where you store your retro mini fridge and what you plan to use it for, you will come across different sizes of appliances. There is an ultra-compact style of refrigerator that is quite small which is great in terms of portability. However, they don’t get very cold (and don’t even include a freezer compartment), so they wouldn’t be ideal for storing food for an extended period of time. These mini fridges are usually favored for temporary travel scenarios or for storing cosmetics and other skincare items.

Aside from the smallest of retro mini fridges, a standard mini fridge should be as cold as a standard fridge – typically down to 32°F for the fridge and 0°F in the freezer compartment – so you can safely store your food. The best retro mini fridges (again, aside from the ultra-compact styles) will also have a temperature control dial inside so you can adjust the fridge temperature to suit your needs.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best retro mini fridges for a variety of different needs.

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