With the summer approaching, most homeowners start dreaming of long, hot summer days spent in the backyard, hanging around the barbeque with the family. If you want a remodeling job for the summer, why not build yourself a covered outdoor patio with kitchen facilities?
Setting up an outdoor kitchen is exciting, and it’s great for entertaining guests in the summer. Your outdoor kitchen can be as simple as a worktop counter that lets you spread out the BBQ food for everyone to enjoy.
Some homeowners go as far as kitting their outdoor kitchen with the works. However, the most critical part of your outdoor kitchen is the refrigerator. Even if you don’t have any other appliances in your outdoor kitchen – a fridge is a must.
The fridge keeps your drinks cold and your salads fresh while you wait for the food to finish on the grill. If you want another drink, take a short walk over to the patio. An outdoor fridge saves you a trip inside to the kitchen.
We’re going to review the best outdoor refrigerator models for you and make suggestions on our top models. Read through our buyer’s guide and FAQ sections, and choose the outdoor refrigerator that suits your needs.
Our Top Picks
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 2 The Best Outdoor Refrigerator Reviews
- 2.1 The Best Overall Outdoor Refrigerator – Summit SPR627OS Frost-Free Outdoor Compact Refrigerator
- 2.2 The Best Premium Outdoor Refrigerator – Bull 24-inch Compact Outdoor Refrigerator
- 2.3 Runner-Up Pick: Avallon AFR151SSODRH Outdoor Built-In Refrigerator
- 2.4 EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD Outdoor Beverage Cooler
- 2.5 Blaze Blz-Ssrf-50D Outdoor Refrigerator
- 3 Other Best Selling Options
- 4 Outdoor Refrigerator Buyer’s Guide
- 4.1 Selecting the Best Outdoor Refrigerator
- 4.2 Indoor Vs. Outdoor Refrigerators
- 4.3 Additional Insulation
- 4.4 Weather-Proofing
- 4.5 Sealing and Filters
- 4.6 Freestanding or Built-in Fridge?
- 4.7 Capacity and Size
- 4.8 Pricing Your Outdoor Fridge
- 4.9 Design Materials
- 4.10 Fridge Features
- 4.11 Maintaining Your Outdoor Refrigerator
- 5 Outdoor Refrigerator FAQ
- 5.1 Why is my outdoor refrigerator making a buzzing noise?
- 5.2 There’s a funny odor coming from my fridge, what is it?
- 5.3 I find droplets of water on the inside rear wall of the outdoor fridge.
- 5.4 Why is there water on the shelves and floor of the fridge?
- 5.5 What is the most crucial part of choosing an outdoor refrigerator?
- 6 The Verdict for the Best Outdoor Refrigerator
We reviewed dozens of models when searching for the best outdoor refrigerator. Here are our top three picks. We have a fridge for one of each of the categories. Any of these fridges will make an excellent addition to your outdoor kitchen. Choose the model that meets your needs.
Best Pick: Summit SPR627OS Frost-Free Outdoor Compact Refrigerator
With 4.9-cubic feet of capacity, a security lock, and Stainless-steel finish, the Summit is our top choice for the best overall outdoor refrigerator in this review. This model fits perfectly underneath the countertop, and the digital thermostat allows you to control the unit with a touch of a button.
Premium Pick: Bull 24-inch Compact Outdoor Refrigerator
- 304 Stainless Steel construction throughout to ensure durability and longevity
- Full range temperature control from 32 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit with digital readout
- Outdoor rated for all seasons with ETL, doe, and CE (energy saver) certifications
- Front venting internal and external fans for both freestanding or built-in use
- Cutout dimension: 24 1/4"W x 33"h x 23 5/8"D
If you’re looking for the best premium model outdoor refrigerator, the Bull 24-inch model is a great choice. This outdoor fridge has everything you need, with three shelves and 3.7-cubic feet of storage space, this fridge provides your drinks with stable temperatures between 23 to 68F.
Budget Pick: Avallon AFR151SSODRH Outdoor Built-In Refrigerator
- Built-in or freestanding application; Temperature range of 34F to 50F; Single zone cooling unit
- Stainless steel handle; Flush, stainless steel front vent; Internal LED lights with the option to alternate between blue and white
- Carbon filter included; Compressor powered cooling; Stainless steel exterior cabinet and door; Two lights on right side, two on left
- Optional casters for mobility; Three sanded glass shelves; Touch control panel; Auto defrost; Dimensions (without handle) 34-1/8" H x 14-15/16" W x 24-1/16" D
- Please note: This unit is right-hinged. For the left-hinge version please search SKU AFR151SSODLH
The Avallon is our runner-up model in this review. The stainless-steel finish and features a 3.3-cubic foot interior, as well as a slimline profile that fits underneath the counter. This model also works as a standalone fridge. The digital control panel gives you complete control over the cooling process.
The Best Outdoor Refrigerator Reviews
Now that you have an idea of the best outdoor refrigerators, it’s time to check out the other models we reviewed. Let’s take a deep dive into unpacking all the outdoor fridges we assessed for this review.
The Best Overall Outdoor Refrigerator – Summit SPR627OS Frost-Free Outdoor Compact Refrigerator
As the winner of the best overall outdoor refrigerator in this review, the Summit SPR627OS provides homeowners with the ideal combination of stylish good looks and modern cooling technology.
The high-quality brushed stainless steel door and reliable internal components make the Summit our top choice. Measuring at 34″ tall and 24″ wide, this model slides neatly under your outdoor kitchen counter.
The Summit features CEE Tier II certification, using up to 25% less energy than other outdoor refrigerators with similar capacities. The insulated door and weatherproof seal ensure that you get a long service life from this appliance. We love that the door comes with a lock to keep the kids out of places they shouldn’t be looking in.
Inside the fridge, you have an interior LED producing a warm glow, and the dedicated control panel that controls the digital thermostat on this model.
There are three adjustable shelves inside the fridge, with each of the shelves measuring 16″ deep by 18″ wide for plenty of storage space.
The 4.9 cubic feet capacity of this outdoor fridge makes it ideal for large families and people that like to entertain. The internal fan increases circulation and cooling speed after closing the door, helping to bring the fridge back to its running temperature fast.
This fridge comes with a sealed body case, meaning that no dirt, dust, debris, or water can enter the motor and compressor housing. Therefore, this fridge has excellent weather resistance and can operate in hot or cold environments.
- 4.9-cubic feet capacity
- Dimensions: H 34″ x W 23.63″ x D 23.5″
- Door Lock
- Adjustable Shelving
- Interior Fan
- Electronic Controls
- Reversible Door
- Interior Light
- Large capacity for families that like to entertain
- Fast cooling action with an internal fan
- Sealed body for weather resistance
- Best overall value in this review
- Not suitable for people looking for a freestanding option
The Best Premium Outdoor Refrigerator – Bull 24-inch Compact Outdoor Refrigerator
If you have the budget to spend on the best outdoor fridge you can find, then we highly recommend the Bull 13700 premium outdoor rated stainless steel refrigerator. This model offers homeowners superior cooling performance, featuring high-quality build components that give the appliance a long service life.
This fridge might have a high price tag, but the value you get with the deal is excellent. The refrigerator features a stainless steel design on both the exterior and interior. We like the addition of the towel bar hanger, which also serves as a convenient door handle.
Inside the fridge, you get a digital display and control panel. The temperature probe allows you to dial in your preferred cooling settings. The 23 to 68F temperature range is impressive, and the low setting is borderline freezer mode. That additional cooling functionality helps if you live in a region of the United States with hot summer days.
The auto-defrost functionality in this model ensures that your fridge doesn’t ice up, and you never have to flood your floor when defrosting this model. We also like the adjustable shelving, with 20-height selections to let you fit any size bottle you like in the fridge.
You get three wire shelves included, as well as a glass shelf for additional visual appeal. This model also features a built-in temperature sensor with a door alarm. If you leave the door open, the fridge starts screaming at you to close the door.
This outdoor fridge comes with CE, ETL, and DOE certification as an energy-saving device. Over time, the Bull 13700 will save you plenty of money on energy costs that you can offset against the purchase price. The fridge comes with front venting external and internal fans for enhanced cooling performance.
The door on this model is reversible, allowing you to set it up to open from the left or right.
- 5.6-cubic feet capacity
- Dimensions: H 32.5″ x W 23-5/8″ x D 27-1/8″
- Door Lock
- Adjustable Shelving
- Interior Fan
- Electronic Control
- Leveling Legs
- Extra Glass Shelf
- Self-Closing Door
- Durable stainless steel design
- Best premium option in this review
- Large capacity
- Ideal for entertaining guests
- Fast cooling action
- Pricier Option
Runner-Up Pick: Avallon AFR151SSODRH Outdoor Built-In RefrigeratorThe Avallon AFR151SSODRH outdoor refrigerator features 3.3-cubic feet capacity, as well as a high-performance motor with plenty of great features and functionality. This fridge isn’t the biggest in this review. However, it’s a great budget model for someone looking for a smaller outdoor fridge that still offers adequate levels of functionality and value for money.
The slimline profile on the design of this fridge makes it the ideal choice for either a freestanding or built-in option. Smaller kitchen units like this are far cheaper than full-sized units, saving you a bundle on your purchase.
This model manages to fit some impressive features into its design while still maintaining an affordable price tag. You get a powerful state-of-the-art compressor with this fridge, providing rapid cooling on the hottest of summer days.
The digital touch-control panel lets you select internal temperatures of between 34 to 50F. Most other affordable outdoor fridges have issues with maintaining temperatures in the 30s. The internal fan helps to improve cooling times and reduce condensation inside the refrigerator.
You get three frosted glass shelves with your purchase, with six different height positions. This model also comes with carbon filters included, removing any nasty odors from your fridge. The exterior of the fridge looks sleek and modern, with the stainless steel finish adding an elegant touch to your outdoor kitchen.
The insulated door also features drink shelving, allowing you to pack cans or bottles into the doors for additional cooling space. The fridge also features a security lock on the door. Overall, the Avallon AFR151SSOD offers the homeowner value for money when choosing the best outdoor refrigerator.
- 3.3-cubic feet capacity
- Dimensions: H 34.5″ x W 15″ x D 24″
- Door Lock
- Adjustable Shelving
- Interior Fan
- Electronic Controls
- Interior Light
- Carbon Filter
- Door Shelving
- Affordable model
- Slimline design
- Works as a built-in or freestanding unit
- Plenty of storage space with door shelves
- Good value for money
- Homeowners that entertain may need a bigger model
EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD Outdoor Beverage Cooler
Homeowners looking for a larger outdoor fridge can check out the EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD. This model offers you plenty of storage room, with a 5.49-cubic feet capacity. You can fit 142-cans in the refrigerator, making it an excellent choice for watching the game with your friends in your outside entertainment area.
This model may have a high price tag, but it offers you excellent performance, and it’s suitable for use in all weather conditions. The attractive, brushed stainless steel finish on the door is eye-pleasing and elegant, and the sealed body ensures that no dust or dirt enters the motor or the compressor.
If you have a stainless steel theme going on in your outdoor kitchen, then this model can add some harmony to the look and feel of the appliances and the theme of your outdoor kitchen. The stainless steel door is also fully reversible, letting you set it up to open from the left or right.
At the bottom of the door, you’ll find a security lock to prevent people from helping themselves to your supplies when you’re not around. Under the front lip of the door, you’ll notice an air intake for the cooling system for the motor and compressor. The air intake also features a filter to prevent debris and dust from entering the body.
The digital control panel provides you electronic control of the temperature range between 38 to 50F. The EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD all comes with three glass shelves giving your fridge a high-end look. The shelves also light up with soft-blue LEDs giving it a wow factor for your guests.
The internal fan in the fridge comes connected to a carbon filter, removing any impurities or odors from the air inside your fridge. This fridge also features UL certification, allowing you to set it up in any outdoor venue.
We also like the auto-defrost function on the fridge. This functionality is ideal for humid environments and can save you hours of trouble defrosting your fridge in the future. The EdgeStar offers you mid-tier performance, with professional aesthetics, and an affordable price tag.
- 5.49-cubic feet capacity
- Dimensions: H 33.5″ x W 23.5″ x D 24.75″
- Glass Shelves
- Door Lock
- Carbon Filter
- UL Rated
- Reversible Door
- Digital Controls
- LED Lighting
- Auto Defrost
- Affordable and functional
- Soft-blue LEDs have an attractive aesthetic
- Large 5.46-cubic feet capacity
- UL certified
- Glass shelves might not be suitable for all
Blaze Blz-Ssrf-50D Outdoor Refrigerator
We wrap up our review of the best outdoor refrigerator with the Blaze Blz-Ssrf-50D outdoor refrigerator. This brand has a cult following in the outdoor appliance market, and it makes some of the best outdoor fridges available. We like this model for its premium performance and stylish design.
The stainless steel cladding on the exterior of the fridge is attractive, providing a pleasing aesthetic for your outdoor kitchen. The design and construction of this appliance feature premium components that give it a luxurious look and feel.
The Blaze comes with all the temperature controls you need, as well as LEDs, and it also features the coveted UL certification. This model doesn’t have the most spacious interior in this review, but at 5.5-cubic feet capacity, it’s got room for more than 10-dozen cans.
We like that Blaze includes the wire shelves instead of the glass ones that are so popular in many other models. The chromed wire shelves feel sturdy, and you don’t have to worry about shattering the glass. The chrome looks elegant and matches the stainless steel exterior.
The Blaze Blz-Ssrf-50D features interior soft-glow blue LEDs, providing the fridge with a sleek and modern feel when opening the door. You also get an internal fan that circulates air in the refrigerator. There’s a carbon filter attached to the fan that pulls any odors out of the air inside the fridge.
On top of the fridge, you’ll find the digital control panel. You can adjust the temperature settings to your preference, and you won’t have to open the door. Many of the other models in this review make you adjust the thermostat from inside. We never understood why more manufacturers don’t have this feature on the outside of the chassis.
This model also comes with auto-defrost function. You won’t have to bother with manually defrosting the fridge, as the auto-defrost function ensures ice never builds up on the back wall.
The design of this fridge is excellent. You get sealed doors and stainless steel hinges with stainless fasteners. The sealed electronics ensure that you never experience any water damage to the appliance, and the leak-proof design provides extended service life to this fridge.
This model is pricey, but you get what you pay for with this fridge. If you have the budget available, then you can’t beat the performance and looks of this fridge for your outside kitchen.
- 5.2-cubic feet capacity
- Dimensions: H 33.5″ x W 23-5/8″ x D 23-11/16″
- Door Lock
- Internal Fan
- Digital Control Panel
- Adjustable Chrome Storage Shelves
- Auto Defrost Function
- Internal LED’s
- Reversible Door
- UL Approved
- Chromed wire shelves
- Soft-blue shelving LEDs
- Internal circulating fan
- Large capacity
- Carbon filter for odor removal
- Front-vented cooling for motor and compressor
- Pricier Option
Other Best Selling Options
- Stainless steel exterior door panel
- Space saving flush back design
- Reversible door - left or right swing
- Full range temperature control
- 4. 4 cu. ft. of space to keep beverages and food ice cold
- 4 castors with stainless steel ball bearings for rust resistance
- Tested for cooling capacity in a tropical environment
- Rate IPX4 water ingress protection for safety
- Waterproof electrical housing and UV protected plastics
- Interior LED Light.Tested for cooling capacity in a tropical environment (109°F / 43°C)
- MODERN ELECTRIC BEVERAGE COOLER - This 3.2 cubic feet, free standing beverage refrigerator features an elegant see through, left hinge glass front door with a stainless steel frame for you to view your wine, beer or soda at a glance. Its white LED interior light illuminates for easy, nighttime selection of your favorite chilled drink
- LARGE CAPACITY BEER & WINE CHILLER - Under counter beverage cooler with large, internal storage design is equipped with 3 adjustable and removable chrome shelves. Drinks organizer conveniently holds up to 120 standard sized soda or beer cans, or several bottles of wine
- ADVANCED TEMPERATURE CONTROLS - Single zone beverage mini refrigerator has an easy touch temperature control that cools down to 34°F, and large digital display for quick monitoring and setting of any temperature. Its memory function automatically restores the preset temperature of the cooler in case it becomes unplugged, or in the event of a power outage
- POWERFUL COOLING SYSTEM - Our 120V 240W heavy duty, vertical chiller features energy efficient advanced technology, and a whisper quiet compressor that works with a small convection fan to cool quickly, and keep consistent air circulation for a uniform temperature supply inside. Perfect for an office, dorm, apartment, RV, restaurant, home kitchen and more
- AUTO DEFROSTING FUNCTION - Beverage cooler is also designed with an additional temperature sensor for auto defrost mode. External size: 18.9” W (front across) x 33.3” H (top to bottom) x 17.30” D (front to back). Internal size: 16” W x 29” H x 12” D. NOTE: Images show EXTERNAL Dimensions rounded UP to nearest decimal. Warning: Do not use this cooler to store fresh foods, such as meats, vegetables, fruits, etc. This product can only be used to chill beverages.
- Your purchase includes One NewAir 126 Can Freestanding Beverage Fridge with R600A refrigerant type (Limited Edition Design)
- Fridge dimensions: 18.40" D x 18.90" W x 32.40" H (33.00" w/hinge) | Internal Volume: 3.4 ftᶾ | Beverage Capacity: 126 | Fridge weight: 62.85 lbs | Voltage: 110 | Watts: 85 | Noise level: 35 dB | Temperature range: 37°F - 64°F
- Choose from 7 custom thermostat settings to keep beer and soda at the perfect temperature for serving
- Perfect fridge for indoor or outdoor activities. 5 easily removable chrome racks help you fit cans or bottles of various sizes and shapes. Door does not lock
- A double-paned glass door provides outstanding insulation to keep all that cold air inside. The durable stainless-steel door is on-trend and comes with a reversible recessed handle so you can open it in either direction
- ❄【24 INCH OUTDOOR STAINLESS STEEL BUILT-IN REFRIGERATOR】Storage your beverages in this 5.3 cu. ft. capacity fridge, which allows you to get freezing drinks whenever you want. Reversible door hinge allows you to freely decide its opening direction (left or right). Integrated door lock provides extra security from unauthorized usage.
- ❄【DIGITAL TEMP. CONTROL】Precise and concise control area with simple buttons of switch, illumination and temperature adjustment buttons with easy to read digital display of 34~50℉ (1~10℃) to ensure optimal beverage experience. 304 SUS body insulates heat efficiently and keeps cool inside even under severe condition with 104 ℉ (40℃) environment temperature and 65% humidity.
- ❄【ETL ADVANCED QUALITY】ETL approved. Sleek and fashionable solid stainless steel construction, rust-proof and easy to clean. Thickened handle for easier opening. Gasket securely guards inner environment and prevents leakage or corrosion, can be removed without effort for cleaning or replacement.
- ❄【CONVENIENT USAGE】Fan circulated air, more evenly and efficient than cold plate cooling. World famous Embraco compressor, together with 100W cooling power, works stably and efficiently while saving energy. Chrome plated 4-layer shelf design, position can be adjusted according to your own need without effort, thus allowing improved flexibility. Auto-defrost function included.
- ❄【WIDE APPLICATION】Beverage refrigerator, either built-in or free-standing application, with adequate space for freezing your beverages including sodas, juice, alcohol beverages, snacks, etc, keeps your drinks cool and refreshing for friends and guests. Brilliant for both indoor and outdoor application. Great for restaurants, bars, convenient shops, bakeries, cafes as well as domestic usage.
Outdoor Refrigerator Buyer’s Guide
By now, your mind is probably swimming in possibilities for your new outdoor refrigerator. We get it; there are so many good models; how do you select the right one for your outdoor kitchen? Your home, your outdoor entertainment area, and the number of guests you entertain all play a role in choosing your outdoor fridge.
In this section, we’ll give you the information you need to make an informed purchase decision.
Selecting the Best Outdoor Refrigerator
A fridge is an easy appliance to understand. The compressor produces chilled air inside of the refrigerator, allowing you to keep food and drinks cool. However, when it comes to selecting your ideal outdoor fridge, there are a few factors you need to understand before you settle on your perfect fridge for your patio.
Fridges come in various sizes, finishes, and capacities. Some manufactures are better than others, and some models feature dimensions that give the unit a compact design that’s easy to fit in the smallest outdoor kitchens. To find the right fridge for you, read through the rest of this buyer’s guide.
Indoor Vs. Outdoor Refrigerators
While both appliances serve the core function of keeping food and drinks cold, there is a significant difference between indoor and outdoor refrigerators. The interior of your home is a temperature-controlled environment.
Even if you aren’t running a thermostat in your home, the inside of your house is less prone to temperature fluctuations. It maintains a stable environment, thanks to the insulation in the walls and roof. There’s also less dust in your home, and you don’t have to worry about external environmental conditions, such as wind and rain.
Therefore, your outdoor fridge requires bolstering to ensure that it stays operating all-year-round. When selecting your ideal outdoor fridge, start by looking for the following features.
Outdoor refrigerators have more exposure to temperature fluctuations outdoors. As a result, the compressor may need to work harder to keep the fridge at your recommended temperature setting. To reduce the stress on the compressor, and extend the service life of the appliance, most manufacturers include additional insulation materials in the design of outdoor fridge’s.
As a result, your outdoor fridge will have thicker walls and feel heavier than interior models with the same dimensions. The insulation acts as a barrier, ensuring that the contents of your fridge stay cold, and the thermostat doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the refrigerator cool in variable weather conditions.
If you try to put a bar fridge meant for inside your home in your outdoor kitchen, you’ll battle to keep internal temperatures below 55F. Even if you do manage to get a refrigerator working outdoors, the temperature swings during the day can lead to the development of mold and bacterial growth in the appliance.
If you need an outdoor fridge, make sure you stick to a model designed for exterior use around the home.
Since an outdoor fridge sits in an outdoor environment, it needs some level of weatherproofing. Extreme weather conditions can damage your outdoor fridge. If there’s a heavy rainstorm, and your patio floods, the water damage might ruin your fridge, unless it has weatherproofing. Most outdoor fridges come with additional insulation and weatherproof controls.
Your outdoor fridge should also feature design and construction with corrosion-resistant materials, preventing the onset of rust on the metal fittings around the door, feet, and the back of the fridge. When your outdoor fridge starts to rust, it will deteriorate quickly, resulting in the need for more maintenance and a costly replacement in the future.
If you live in a dry region of the US, such as Arizona or Nevada, then you might not require a waterproof and weatherproof fridge. However, if weatherproofing is a concern for you, then we recommend you look for a model that features a UL Approval stamp.
The stamp from the Underwriters Laboratories association only appears on those outdoor fridges that pass performance and safety trials, making them suitable for use in outdoor conditions. Always go with a UL-certified model. Other fridges that don’t have this stamp of approval won’t last more than a few months outdoors.
Sealing and Filters
The next time you find yourself outside enjoying your patio, look at the debris, dirt, and grime that collects in corners. That stuff is a death certificate in the making for a regular fridge motor and compressor.
Outdoor fridges come with sealed bearings and filters, ensuring that no debris or dirt gets into the motor, causing a failure. Even the hinges require sealing, and you’ll also need a weatherproof seal on the door to prevent weathering of the rubber.
Finding a fridge with robust design components might come with a higher price tag, but they are purpose-built to last in outdoor environments. Interior fridges for the kitchen inside your home don’t have waterproofing, and they won’t stand up to environmental elements like humidity, moisture, rain, dirt, debris, and temperature fluctuations.
Freestanding or Built-in Fridge?
Buying a built-in fridge is a space-saver. When selecting your ideal outdoor fridge, choose the model that suits your outdoor kitchen or bar. You have the option of larger free-standing fridges or smaller units that fit under countertops.
Under-counter units are more common, as they fit away out of sight, allowing for a cleaner look for your tabletop or counter. Free-standing fridges are what you might find at venues where they serve drinks outdoors. They’re the size of interior fridges, and many of the commercial models come with glass doors.
However, these units aren’t very popular for outdoor fridges, as most people don’t cater to large crowds at home.
Undercounter fridges don’t require you to leave any air gaps for the motor to breathe. The front-venting allows for airflow from the front, as opposed to the sides or rear in interior models.
Freestanding outdoor fridges require more space, and you’ll need to ensure you have at least an inch between the side of the refrigerator and the nearest surface. Leaving a gap like this can reduce the aesthetic of a clean look in your outdoor kitchen.
Electricity requirements are also a concern when selecting your outdoor fridge. A standard outdoor fridge requires a dedicated 110-Volt GFCI power outlet to run. Depending on the placement of your fridge, you might not have the room to install an outlet, or you might require the use of an extension cord to power the appliance.
If you’re purchasing an outdoor fridge, then look for a custom outlet in your outdoor kitchen to ensure you get a clean fit. Freestanding units are more flexible in terms of placement, and you can set them up anywhere with an extension cord. However, most people will have limitations on space, causing them to favor built-in or under-counter models.
Capacity and Size
Most of the standard outdoor fridges we reviewed come with a 5 to 6-cubic foot capacity. The capacity and size of your outdoor fridge are vital factors, with two sizes available. Outdoor fridges are available in compact and normal-sized models.
Normal-sized units are typically 34″ in height x 24″ deep, and 24″ wide. Most outdoor kitchens feature normal-sized units, as these fridges have enough capacity to hold drinks and ingredients for the BBQ. Compact units are smaller, and you can expect around 3 to 3.5-cubic feet of capacity for these models.
Compact units are more often slimmer than shorter. They have the same height and depth dimensions as standard models, but they’re 30% to 50% slimmer on the width. Compact units are for storing a few drinks and food items for the evening’s entertainment, and you’ll probably need to refill the fridge at some point, especially if you have guests.
Still, compact units are a good choice for people that have small balconies or verandahs, with some shelving that allows for the fitment of a fridge for a small sky-bar.
Pricing Your Outdoor Fridge
When assessing the best outdoor refrigerator for your entertainment area, your budget is going to be a significant contributor to your purchase decision. Prices between models can vary. You can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $2,000, depending on the size and brand of the appliance.
As with any home appliance, the mid-range selection is affordable and the best value for money. Fridges under the $300 price range tend to wear out quickly and start malfunctioning after the first year. However, you don’t need to spend a fortune on your new outdoor fridge, either.
Expensive models are nice for bragging rights, but they don’t offer much more utility than a mid-range model from a reputable brand.
When selecting your fridge, the critical things to remember are to look out for the UL rating we talked about earlier and to ensure that your fridge has the correct weatherproofing to survive the environmental conditions around your home.
Look for models that satisfy these criteria, and then review your options. Mid-range models are available from $500 to $800, and you’re sure to find something suitable in this price range.
The design materials in your fridge are another vital decision to consider. The look of a brushed stainless steel finish on your fridge door is fantastic. Stainless steel offers the best corrosion resistance and ensures that your fridge provides a service life of up to 5-years or more.
Plastic materials are cheaper, but they lack the durability of stainless steel. When selecting a stainless steel model, ensure that it features construction with 304-grade stainless steel. 304 provides good corrosion resistance while remaining affordable.
The high chromium content in stainless steel makes it resistant to rusting, which is a critical factor if you live in a humid environment, such as on the coastline. The air around the coastal regions has salt in it, and it rusts any bare steel in a few weeks. A stainless steel fridge ensures that the humidity doesn’t destroy your fridge after a few years.
If you do live in a humid environment, it might be a better choice to go with a plastic body on your outdoor refrigerator. However, you’ll need to ensure that all the hinges and fasteners on the machine have a stainless steel finish.
Another critical consideration for your outdoor fridge is the door seal. Interior fridges feature a lightweight silicone seal that keeps the air inside the refrigerator. Moving your interior fridge outdoors will result in the weathering of the door seal, ruining the efficiency of your fridge.
If the door seal on your fridge goes, then you need a new seal, or you may as well throw the unit away. Therefore, when selecting your ideal outdoor fridge, make sure you choose a model with a weatherproof door seal.
Depending on your entertainment needs, and your budget, you can find some models with some impressive features. The standard outdoor fridges come with leveling legs or feet, adjustable shelves, and interior lighting.
However, high-line models come with additional features you might find useful. Some of the additional extras include the following.
- Adjustable temperature thermostat controls
- Automatic defrost function
- Door lock
- Glass front door
- Additional beverage shelving
- Interior circulatory fans
While all these options might alter the performance of your fridge a bit, most of them aren’t required if you want a fridge to keep stuff cold. Although, we think the door lock is handy, and the adjustable thermostat is a nice touch. However, you don’t need these functions to have a functional and effective outdoor fridge.
Maintaining Your Outdoor Refrigerator
One of the best things about owning an outdoor fridge is the durability of the appliance and its long service life. Outdoor fridges feature design and construction with premium materials. As a result, they won’t breakdown easily, and you’ll have to get a re-gas every 7 to 10-years. Other than that, they’re a reasonably low-maintenance appliance.
Auto-defrosting models are also handy if you have a built-in fridge. Defrosting a standard fridge all over your kitchen counter might ruin wood and other finishes. If you live in an area with cold winters, and you have an outdoor entertainment area, it’s best to turn your fridge off during the wintertime to save on electricity and service life of the appliance.
If you’re overwintering your fridge, leave the door open slightly to prevent mold growth in the refrigerator. If the fridge is in a semi-open environment, then keep the door closed over the winter, but make sure you clean the interior of the refrigerator properly before stocking it in the spring.
Remember, if you move your fridge around, such as taking it outside to set it up, don’t turn it on straight away. You’ll need to give the gas in the compressor time to settle before you plug it back into the socket.
Outdoor Refrigerator FAQ
By now, you should have a good idea of what you want and expect from your outdoor fridge. In case you have some unanswered questions, check out this FAQ to give you further clarity on selecting the refrigerator that’s right for your entertainment area.
Why is my outdoor refrigerator making a buzzing noise?
The chances are that this noise is happening due to the fridge not being on a level surface. Your fridge should feature adjustable feet that allow you to raise the refrigerator in each corner. Push lightly on each side of the fridge. When the buzzing noise stops, adjust the height of the foot on that corner.
There’s a funny odor coming from my fridge, what is it?
You might have had a piece of food find its way to the compressor via the evaporation tray and defrost water drain. As a result, the food is rotting and producing the smell. There may also be a residue of other beverages or food on the shelves that’s causing the issue. The condensation and debris on the rear panel of the fridge may attract bacteria that start to cause the odor.
I find droplets of water on the inside rear wall of the outdoor fridge.
Your fridge door is not sealing correctly. Check the setup position and the integrity of the seal.
Why is there water on the shelves and floor of the fridge?
You might be dealing with a blockage on the drainage hole in the center of the drain channel. Clear the drainage hole using a cotton earbud, and the issue should stop.
What is the most crucial part of choosing an outdoor refrigerator?
When selecting your fridge, decide on which model you need – freestanding, under-counter, or built-in. Set your budget, and then start shopping. Don’t stray from your original criteria when selecting your fridge.
The Verdict for the Best Outdoor Refrigerator
Do you know which refrigerator you want in your outdoor kitchen? If you’re still sitting on the fence with your decision, then why not rely on our top picks?
We think that our selection of the Summit SPR627OS for the best overall outdoor fridge is an excellent choice for any entertainment area. This fridge has enough capacity to serve your family and a few guests, and its excellent value for money.
If you want the best outdoor fridge available, then set your entertainment area up with an Avallon AFR151SSODRH. This fridge is spacious, with stylish finishing, and plenty of optional features and functionality.
If you’re looking for the best budget-friendly outdoor fridge, then we recommend the Bull 24-inch Compact Outdoor Refrigerator. This model has everything you need to keep food and beverages cold in your outdoor entertainment area. Sometimes you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a top-quality appliance in your home.
Choose the fridge that suits your environment, entertainment area, and your lifestyle.