Best Outdoor Refrigerators

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Choosing a perfect outdoor mini-fridge may seem easy at first, but there are many things to consider. To avoid any mistakes and future regrets, let's find out what crucial characteristics a high-quality outdoor fridge should have.

Top-3 Outdoor Refrigerators

Bull Outdoor Products 11001
  • Dimensions - 20.8"(D) x 20.5"(H) x 33"(W)
  • Capacity - 4.4 cu. ft.
  • Temperature range - 34-50F
Avallon AFR241SSRH
  • Dimensions - 24.2"(D) x 34.5"(H) x 23.9"(W)
  • Capacity - 5.5 cu. ft.
  • Temperature range - 34-50F
EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD
  • Dimensions - 22.9"(D) x 33.8"(H) x 23.4"(W)
  • Capacity - 142 standard 12 oz cans
  • Temperature range - 38-50F

Outdoor Fridge Types

Although outdoor refrigerators take up less space, they often cost more than standard indoor models. This is mostly due to the fact that indoor fridges are not approved for outdoor because of their poor insulation, corrosion, and UV protection. Moreover, a lot of older models have exposed electrical elements, which can lead to short circuits and malfunctions. Thus, extreme temperatures and bad weather conditions can cause severe damage to indoor fridges outside.

Modern outdoor fridges are compact, consume little electricity, and some universal models even have an in-built freezer. In addition, they can have one, two, or several storage compartments.

Standard models are typically manufactured with a reversible door and a single low-temperature compartment. Inside the fridge, you will find a few wire/glass shelves and, sometimes, a spacious food-grade plastic container or a wire basket for fruits and veggies.

All containers and shelves are removable and easy to clean. You can also adjust them and make any preferable combinations you like. A regular outdoor fridge is not an ultimate all-purpose appliance, and, therefore, is suitable if there is no need to store a lot of food for a long time. 

The ideal fridge temperature is between 37°F and 40°F. Some outdoor fridges that come with a freezer often have certain markings on them which indicate their temperature ranges:

  • One star means a maximum low temperature of 21.2 F, in which case food is stored for up to two weeks; 
  • Two stars reduce the internal temperature to 10.4F and up to three months of food storage time;
  • Three stars mean -0.4F, and you can store your food as long as one year.

No marking on the fridge means no freezer inside, which, in turn, means that food can only be stored for several days.

Dual outdoor fridges are often represented as double-drawer built-in or freestanding designs. Such fridges are quite popular and capacious; they can also be installed in the lower deck of kitchen cabinets. These fridges are typically made of 304 stainless steel and consist of two separate drawers with metal dividers inside or it can be containers for convenient storage of beverages, vegetables, or fruits. Each of the drawers often has LED lights.

Usually, outdoor refrigerators have 2-3 tempered glass/wire fully adjustable shelves, soft interior LED lights, professional handles, leveling legs or casters for easy transportation, a digital/mechanical thermostat for equal and smooth cooling, front bottom ventilation (built-in models), a well-sealed and insulated back, and auto defrost functions for extra convenience. An average internal cooling temperature range usually varies from 34F to 53F.

Most high-quality models are eco-friendly and easy to clean. They are made of 304 stainless steel and have all the necessary characteristics for outdoor use. Some models also come with integrated locks and two keys for security measures, dispensers or door storage compartments for tall bottles, crispers/baskets for fruits/vegetables, etc. Typically, such mini-fridges don’t have freezers.

When choosing a fridge for outdoor use, everyone wants the best option without overpayments. No matter what fridge you choose, it should fully meet your needs, pleasing you with reliable operation season after season. 

The main criteria for this type of equipment are compact size, minimum power consumption, and reliability. And we all decide for ourselves what to fill it with. 

Based on these requirements, we have chosen the best solutions from leading manufacturers in today’s market. Enjoy!

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Review of the Best Outdoor Refrigerators

  • Specs

  • Brand - Bull Outdoor Products
  • Model - 11001
  • Dimensions - 20.8"(D) x 20.5"(H) x 33"(W)
  • Capacity - 4.4 cu. ft.
  • Design - built-in / freestanding
  • Temperature range - 34-50F
  • Weight - 62 lbs
  • Features

  • Durability and worldwide fame
  • Rigorously tested for exceptional performance
  • 2 adjustable wire shelves + 1 tempered glass shelf
  • Touch control panel
  • True-key lock
  • Interior LED lights
  • ETL certified
  • Compressor-powered cooling
  • Stainless steel reversible door
  • Door storage compartments
  • Beverage dispensing system

This world-famous manufacturer needs no introduction – Bull has a strong track record as one of the most popular and reliable brands. This model is more compact (20 1/2″ x 33″ x 20 3/4″) and lighter compared to the previous model on the list. The Standard (110001) fridge from Bull is for those of you who look for reliability and efficiency. This space-saving design will perfectly fit into any outdoor kitchen with no problems. This fridge from Bull can easily accommodate up to seven 12 oz cans of your favorite beverages inside itself. It comes with a durable and reversible 304 stainless steel door for proper temperature regulation and stylish look. 

The weight of the unit is only 62 lbs, which makes it really easy to move around an office, backyard, shed, den, or even a boathouse. It’s both a built-in and freestanding version that will run perfectly during any season and weather conditions. This model is built to exceed expectations. It’s a great outdoor assistant that will surely keep your water, soda, wine, and beers cool in hot summers.

  • Specs

  • Brand - Avallon
  • Model - AFR241SSRH
  • Dimensions - 24.2"(D) x 34.5"(H) x 23.9"(W)
  • Capacity - 5.5 cu. ft.
  • Design - built-in/freestanding
  • Temperature range - 34-50F
  • Single-zone cooling unit
  • Voltage - 115 V
  • Weight - 99 lbs
  • Features

  • Three tempered glass shelves
  • Touch control panel
  • 4 internal LED blue/white lights (2 left, 2 right)
  • Carbon filter
  • True-key lock
  • Compressor-powered cooling
  • Stainless steel right-hinged door, handle, front vent
  • White interior

The AFR241SSRH model from Avallon is a compact cooler with 5.5 cu. ft. of capacity that will suit anyone looking for a small (34.5″ x 23.9″ x 24.2″) built-in or freestanding unit for an outdoor kitchen.

It’s versatile and looks great anywhere, whether it’s your garage, man cave, basement, or home bar. It comes with a right-hinged stainless door and a durable handle made of the same material. You can use its convenient touch control panel to easily adjust and monitor the inside temperature (34-50F) and keep your beers, milk, soda, wine, juice, etc. equally cool at all times, without worrying about any hot spots or spoiled products. 

This stylish fridge can boast with powerful circulation fans for proper cool air distribution, convenient extra door storage compartments, and a built-in lock for security measures. You can also switch between soft white and blue LED interior illumination.

  • Specs

  • Brand - EdgeStar
  • Model - CBR1501SSOD
  • Dimensions - 22.9"(D) x 33.8"(H) x 23.4"(W)
  • Capacity - 142 standard 12 oz cans
  • Design - freestanding / built-in
  • Temperature range - 38-50F
  • Voltage - 115 V
  • Power - 120 W / 1.1 A
  • Frequency - 60 Hertz
  • Weight - 97 lbs
  • Features

  • Powerful compressor-based cooling
  • 3 removable glass shelves
  • Built-in lock with 2 keys
  • Auto-defrost function
  • Reversible door
  • Integrated carbon filter
  • Blue LED bulbs
  • ETL- and outdoor-approved
  • Solid stainless steel door
  • Digital temp controls

Looking for a perfect mini fridge for your outdoor kitchen? The CBR1501SSOD model from Edgestar can become your number one choice. It’s a sleek and compact cooler (22.9″ x 33.8″ x 23.4″) that comes with a powerful integrated fan and is encased in stainless steel to provide exceptional performance, keeping your favorite beverages ice-cold. When it comes to EdgeStar, you can always expect high quality. 

This fridge is all about smooth and equal cooling, so you can rest assured knowing that your beverages/food are in good hands. The temperature range of this model can be anywhere from 38 to 50 F. The cooler also comes with a reversible stainless door for proper interior temperature, integrated door lock with two keys, blue LED bulbs for soft illumination, an auto-defrost function, and three removable tempered-glass shelves to help you store up to 142 of 12 oz cans. You can also equip it with casters if needed. 

The fridge can proudly stand in your garage, outdoor bar, or patio (in-built or free-standing applications) with no problems because it is designed especially for outdoor use.

  • Specs

  • Brand - Danby
  • Model - DAR044A6BSLDBO
  • Capacity - 4.4 cu. ft. (124L)
  • Dimensions - 21 5/16" (D) x 20 12/16" (W) x 33 1/16" (H)
  • Weight - 68 lbs
  • Temperature range - 34-50F
  • Voltage - 120 V
  • Design - freestanding
  • Features

  • 4 durable casters
  • Stainless steel ball bearings
  • Rigorously tested in a tropical climate
  • Rated to IPX4 water ingress protection
  • Waterproof electrical housing
  • UV-protection
  • Eco-friendly design (R600a refrigerant)
  • Anti-spot steel door finish
  • Scratch-resistant worktop
  • Built-in door lock
  • Food grade waterproof ice bucket
  • Auto-defrost function
  • Vegetable crisper and cover
  • 2 full width and 1 half-width removable glass shelves
  • Door storage compartments
  • CanStor beverage dispensing system
  • Mechanical thermostat
  • Interior LED lights
  • Energy Star compliant

Do you feel like there’s something missing when you’re having an outdoor party? Is it not refreshing enough? Well, you can fix this with this compact free-standing model from Danby! It was designed to keep your beverages cool in any weather – this fridge was rigorously tested for durability in a tropical climate and hot summer conditions so you can be sure in its performance. The DAR044A6BSLDBO model has 124 liters of space to store all your favorite drinks or food nearby and keep everything equally cool. Moreover, you can relocate the fridge easily if needed since it weighs 68 pounds and comes with four durable casters with stainless steel ball bearings.  It’s highly efficient, eco-friendly, and EnergyStar compliant. 

The housing of this model from Danby is waterproof, and the worktop is scratch-resistant + UV-protected. It also has a spot-resistant stainless steel door finish, which compliments the design. If you have kids and don’t want them to open the fridge without your permission, a built-in door lock can be useful for security measures. There’s just too much cool stuff about this compact cooling assistant! 

The fridge can boast with a food-grade waterproof ice bucket, auto-defrost function, efficient CanStor® beverage dispenser, up-to-date mechanical thermostat, built-in door storage compartment for tall bottles, and soft LED lights for proper illumination. The sleek reversible door with ergonomic and convenient rubber-grip handle contributes to exclusive curved design. Inside the fridge, there are 3 durable shelves (2 full-width and 1 half-width) made of tempered glass for durability and convenience, as well as a crystal clear vegetable crisper for your favorite salads.

  • Specs

  • Brand - Blaze
  • Model - BLZ-SSRF-50DH
  • Capacity - 5.2 cu. ft.
  • Dimensions - 33 1/2" (H) x 23 5/8" (W) x 23 11/16" (D)
  • Design - freestanding / built-in
  • Temperature range - 36-64F
  • Weight - 93 lbs
  • Voltage - 115 V
  • Current rating - 1.8A
  • Features

  • 3 adjustable chrome shelves
  • Automatic defrost
  • Powerful built-in fan
  • Built-in lock
  • Digital thermostat
  • Soft internal LED illumination
  • Reversible door
  • UL-approved for outdoor use

This 24″ spacious refrigerator from Blaze is a great solution for those who want more capacity from their outdoor compact cooler. The BLZ-SSRF-50D model provides as much as 5.2 cu. ft. of internal space for your beverages and refreshments, as well as reliable support thanks to three durable and adjustable chrome shelves. 

The outdoor fridge brings comfort and convenience into your life. You have an automatic defrost function for reduced maintenance, a powerful internal fan for smooth and equal cooling, built-in lock for security measures, and a digital thermostat for easy and precise temperature regulation. Soft internal LED illumination makes it really convenient to find any product inside the fridge in no time. The unit also comes with a reversible door, which means you can choose between left or right swing for even better convenience. 

The cooler has been UL-approved to meet all high standards for outdoor use. All in all, it’s a stylish unit “dressed” in stainless steel finish to make your leisure time more refreshing.

  • Specs

  • Brand - Bull Outdoor Products
  • Model - 13700
  • Capacity - 4.9 cu. ft.
  • Dimensions - 23.5"(W) x 23.6"(D) x 32.5"(H)
  • Design - built-in/freestanding
  • Temperature range - 32-50F
  • Weight - 110 lbs
  • Voltage - 120 V
  • Features

  • 3 metal shelves (2 adjustable)
  • Automatic defrost
  • Digital LED control panel (internal)
  • Reversible door and full-length convenient handle
  • Self-closing function
  • Sealed locking door
  • ETL, DOE, and CE (energy saver) certificates
  • Built-in lock with 2 keys
  • Soft internal LED illumination
  • Approved for outdoor use
  • Front venting internal and external fans

There’s never too much when it comes to the best! If you feel like your outdoor kitchen misses the main centerpiece, get this reliable compact fridge from Bull. This model with 4.9″ cu. ft. of storage space can be built in your counter or stand proudly by itself and look splendid wherever you place it. It’s a state-of-the-art fridge that really looks professional due to its sleek design. The Bull Series II Premium Refrigerator is a construction made of 304 stainless steel representing a high-efficiency level. 

You can adjust the temperature from 32 to 50F and be sure that neither your beverages or food will be spoiled or not cool enough. This reliable unit is ETL-approved for outdoor use, let alone DOE and CE certifications. Just like the previous version on our list, this model comes with a built-in lock, automatic defrost, and 3 durable wire shelves (2 of them can be adjusted). There are also two front venting fans (external/internal) and a reversible stainless steel door which is self-closing and seals tight for proper insulation.

  • Specs

  • Brand - Summerset
  • Model - SSRFR-21S
  • Capacity - 4.5 cu. ft.
  • Dimensions - 22"(W) x 24"(D) x 34"(H)
  • Design - built-in/freestanding
  • Temperature range - 32-50F
  • Weight - 110 lbs
  • Voltage - 120 V
  • Features

  • 3 adjustable shelves (2 wire/1 glass)
  • Interior halogen lighting
  • Digital thermostat
  • Leveling legs
  • Automatic defrost
  • Digital LED control panel (internal)
  • Reversible door
  • Crystal clear crisper
  • 4 side door compartments for tall battles and soda cans
  • Built-in lock with 2 keys
  • Approved for outdoor use

If you don’t want to go inside every time you need a drink in your backyard, here’s a great solution. This fridge from Summerset was designed especially for outdoor use so you can install it in your summer kitchen, patio, or backyard and enjoy ice-cold drinks and food whenever you want. It’s compact and spacious enough, made of 304 stainless steel with a reversible door that can be locked. Inside the fridge, there are two adjustable wire shelves (+1 glass shelf that covers a vegetable/fruit crisper) that can hold many bottles or cans with no problems. 

It’s a reliable fridge that you can use outdoor to make your party or backyard picnic luxurious and refreshing. The fridge also comes with a sealed back for energy saving, rear venting, temperature control, and leveling legs for precise adjustments on uneven ground. Overall, it’s a great mix of elegance, versatility, and high quality.

  • Specs

  • Brand - Whynter
  • Model - BOR-326FS
  • Capacity - 3.2 cu. ft
  • Dimensions - 14.6"(W) x 24.5"(D) x 32.5"(H)
  • Design - built-in/freestanding
  • Temperature range - 35-50F
  • Weight - 69 lbs
  • Voltage - 120 V
  • Features

  • 3 adjustable shelves
  • Soft interior lighting
  • 3 temp settings (off, cold, coldest)
  • Automatic defrost
  • Reversible door
  • Approved for outdoor use
  • Stylish curved handlebar
  • ETL certified
  • Affordable price

For those of you looking for a slimmer design, this compact fridge from Whynter might be the right solution. It’s not that wide compared to other models on the list, thus, it takes less space. Inside this stainless steel cooler, you will find three adjustable wire shelves and soft LED lighting to easily see every product you need. The unit can be freestanding or built-in your outdoor/indoor kitchen counter due to its front venting design. 

No matter the ambient temperature, the BOR-326FS model from Whynter will do its job perfectly, so you can expect ultimate temperature control (35-50F). If you are worried about installation aspects, don’t be – the construction features reversible door hinges, so you can adjust the door the way you need for easy and convenient access. Moreover, you can also lock the fridge for security measures using an included key set. All in all, it’s a great appliance with a powerful compressor for outdoor use that will serve you many years.

  • Specs

  • Brand - COYOTE OUTDOOR LIVING
  • Model - CBIR21TK
  • Capacity - 4.1 cu. ft.
  • Dimensions - 22 3/4"(D) x 20 1/2"(W) x 33 3/4"(H)
  • Design - built-in/freestanding, right-hinged door
  • Temperature range - 35-50F
  • Weight - 90 lbs
  • Voltage - 120 V
  • Features

  • 3 adjustable wire shelves
  • 4 leveling legs
  • Soft interior lighting
  • 4 door storage compartments
  • Mechanical thermostat
  • White interior
  • Automatic defrost
  • 304 stainless steel
  • Front, bottom ventilation
  • Approved for outdoor use
  • Stylish handlebar
  • UL-, DOE-certified
  • Made in the USA

If you need remarkable performance from your outdoor fridge, we can offer this 21″ compact US-made fridge from Coyote. Not only is it stylish with 304 stainless steel exterior but also quite capacious (4.1 cu. ft.) with three adjustable wire shelves and door storage compartments for tall bottles and cans. 

This model from Coyote is right-hinged, but you can also choose a left-hinged option with the same easy-to-grab exclusive handle, depending on your needs. The unit features automatic defrost for easy cleaning, mechanical thermostat for convenient temperature adjustments, and four leveling legs for ideal placement even on uneven ground. It was tested for outdoor use (UL- and DOE-certified).

  • Specs

  • Brand - Summit
  • Model - SPR627OS
  • Capacity - 4.6 cu. ft.
  • Dimensions - 23.5"(D) x 23.6"(W) x 34"(H)
  • Design - built-in/freestanding
  • Temperature range - 35-50F
  • Weight - 95 lbs
  • Voltage - 120 V
  • Features

  • 3 adjustable glass shelves
  • Soft interior lighting
  • Sabbath mode
  • Reversible door
  • Digital thermostat
  • Black interior
  • Built-in lock
  • Automatic defrost
  • Optional door storage racks
  • Sealed back for outdoor use
  • 304 stainless steel finish
  • Eco-friendly design
  • Front, bottom ventilation
  • Outdoor approved
  • Stylish handlebar
  • EnergyStar compliant
  • ETL-certified
  • Meets UL-471
  • Easy to clean
  • Even fan-forced cooling
  • Full-length professional chrome handle

The 24″ cooler from Summit is designed and manufactured to provide impeccable service outdoors in any weather conditions. It’s EnergyStar compliant and ready to take its place in your outdoor kitchen, garage, basement, or backyard. Due to its flexible design, front venting, reversible door, and professional stainless steel finish, you can install it in your kitchen counter or leave it freestanding wherever you like. The SPR627OS model features a luxurious jet black 4.6 cu. ft. interior with soft but efficient LED lighting to highlight every product stored, providing a beautiful presentation. 

The fridge also comes with a factory-integrated lock for security measures, professional door handle, Sabbath mode, digital thermostat for easy temperature control, and two optional door racks (SHELFKIT627). It’s an eco-friendly and easy-to-clean appliance, which is ETL-S listed to NSF-7 standards for commercial use and meets DOE standards for home applications.

  • Specs

  • Brand - Thor Kitchen
  • Model - TRF2401U
  • Capacity - 5.3 cu. ft.
  • Dimensions - 23.6"(D) x 23.6"(W) x 34"(H)
  • Design - built-in/freestanding
  • Temperature range - 32-50F
  • Weight - 128 lbs
  • Voltage - 110 V
  • Noise level - 41db
  • Features

  • Durable construction
  • 304 stainless steel drawers
  • No frost design
  • Digital control panel
  • Blue LED display
  • Front ventilation
  • Dividers and white LED illumination
  • ETL, CETL, DOE, ROHS certificates

Now, here’s something special. This stylish built-in fridge right here looks more like a set of two under-counter drawers, which makes it really interesting and convenient. You can use it as a freestanding unit or built-in appliance in your outdoor kitchen, RV, garage, or office. It’s a spacious, durable, and compact cooler for beverages, vegetables, or fruits. With this model from Thor, you can expect no frost or cleaning issues – it’s really smooth, fingerprint resistant, and easy to maintain (no need to polish, just use a soft wet cloth if needed). 

The 24″ unit represents beautiful stainless steel design and will keep your drinks, foodstuff, or anything that you want to store inside of it in perfect ice-cold condition (32-50F temperature range). The capacity of the fridge is 5.3 cu.ft., thus, it’s able to store a lot of your needful food products all together maintaining the right temperature.

  • Specs

  • Brand - Orien
  • Model - FSR-24OD
  • Capacity - 4.8 cu. ft.
  • Dimensions - 23.5"(D) x 24"(W) x 33.5"(H)
  • Design - built-in/freestanding
  • Temperature range - 36-64F
  • Weight - 110 lbs
  • Voltage - 115 V
  • Features

  • Approved for outdoor use
  • Reversible door
  • Rain cover for winter storage
  • Built-in lock
  • 304 stainless steel construction
  • Wire food-grade basket/crisper
  • Mechanical thermostat
  • Ambient internal light
  • 4 casters for easy transportation
  • Automatic light switch
  • 3 glass shelves
  • Door storage compartment
  • Front ventilation

This mini-fridge comes with a special rain cover for outdoor use to stay clean and serve you longer than you expect. It has typical basic characteristics just like most other similar models in the range. Thus, you have a reliable 304 stainless steel construction with a reversible door, integrated lock for security measures, 3 adjustable glass shelves, 4 casters for easy transportation, mechanical thermostat, durable door handle, front ventilation for built-in application, and a few door storage compartments for extra cans and tall bottles. 

The temperature range of this cooler is 36-64F. What’s admirable is that this stylish mini fridge will keep your beverages and food products ice-cold in 109F ambient temperature, which higher compared to other similar mini-fridges.

  • Specs

  • Brand - AGA Marvel
  • Model - MO24RAS1RS
  • Capacity - 5.3 cu. ft.
  • Dimensions - 21.5"(D) x 23.9"(W) x 33.8"(H)
  • Design - built-in/freestanding
  • Temperature range - 34-42F
  • Weight - 117 lbs
  • Voltage - 115 V
  • Cord length - 6'
  • Features

  • Dynamic cooling technology
  • Close door assist system
  • Even temperature stability
  • Leveling legs
  • Marvel Prime controls for frost-free operation
  • Door ajar and high/low-temperature alarm
  • 2 adjustable FreshFlo stainless steel shelves
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Professional handle
  • 4" adjustable flat toe grill
  • Built-in door lock

This elite 24″ outdoor refrigerator from Marvel will take your understanding of comfort and high quality to another level. It’s a high-capacity CSA certified mini fridge with 5.3 cu. ft. of space, rigorously tested to withstand high heat (up to 115F), humidity, heavy rains, and corrosion, representing impeccable performance. 

The MO24RAS1RS model features Marvel Prime controls for proper temperature management, a Close Door Assist system, audible alarms for door ajar and high/low temperatures, an integrated door lock for safety, dynamic cooling technology to deliver rapid frost-free operation and keep your contents safe and cold at optimal temperatures (between 34-42F). 

The white cabinet of this stylish fridge is efficiently insulated for energy savings and illuminated with arctic white LEDs. Inside the fridge you will find two fully adjustable stainless steel shelves for reliable beverage and food support.

  • Specs

  • Brand - Twin Eagles
  • Model - TEOR24-F
  • Capacity - 5.1 cu. ft.
  • Dimensions - 24"(D) x 24"(W) x 34"(H)
  • Design - built-in/freestanding
  • Temperature range - 33-52F
  • Weight - 120 lbs
  • Voltage - 115 V
  • Features

  • Automatic interior LED light
  • Auto defrost
  • Mechanical thermostat for precise temperature control
  • Even temperature stability
  • 2 adjustable stainless steel perforated shelves
  • Built-in lock for extra security
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Professional handle
  • UL-listed (approved for outdoor use)
  • Made in the USA

Make your outdoor kitchen more convenient with the ultimate 24″ fridge from Twin Eagles! It’s a really spacious (5.1 cu. ft.) and reliable appliance and simply a must-have for those who appreciate comfort outside. You don’t have to worry about any weather conditions (UL certification included), leaks, or wasted time because this cooling assistant is made in the USA, which means you have guaranteed quality and support – this cooler is always nearby to make your day more refreshing. 

You can grill your favorite steaks, burgers, vegetables, or just chill with your family and friends outside in the shade, knowing that this stainless steel cooler keeps your food and beverages at the optimal temperature. This mini-fridge features automatic defrost, mechanical thermostat, built-in lock, two adjustable wire shelves, professional handle, and automatic interior LED lights to represent its contents in the best way.

Basic Selection Criteria

Before buying an outdoor fridge, make sure you consider all of the following points.

Purpose

Mini-fridges should be selected according to their intended use. There are only two basic goals:

  • The food will be stored for no more than a day and eaten during recreation time.
  • The food is to be stored for a longer period of time.

Pay attention to the temperature characteristics of your outdoor fridge before buying.

Climatic Conditions

Not every fridge is suitable for certain climatic conditions. Make sure that the chosen model is suitable for your climate zone. If your climate is quite humid, an electromechanical fridge is your number one choice.

Dimensions

The size of an outdoor fridge is one of the first things you should pay attention to when choosing. The most compact models are designed for a small number of products for 1-2 people. They can serve as a mini-bar (not necessarily for spirits, though, we suppose, everyone knows that such fridges are just right for beers). Still, it will never be superfluous to save milk or cool down the water in the heat.

Compact models can also be easily transported – you can take them with you in your car’s trunk. Even in a small summer house will be fine, since they are quite space-saving. And if you are a fan of “invisible” home appliances, hidden by furniture facades, do not hesitate to choose an outdoor built-in mini-fridge.

After that, you need to decide on the place. The most important thing is to match the size. This is a particularly critical point, as your intended space for the fridge may not be large enough or too tight. Compact mini-fridges can be stand-alone models or built into kitchen counters, and that’s exactly why you need to take accurate measurements. 

The most popular models are space-saving single-chamber refrigerators with a quite large capacity (5 cu. ft., on average), convenient features, and durable, well-insulated construction. An average outdoor mini-fridge is around 23″(D) x 23″(W) x 34″(H). If you are going to install your fridge under the counter, make sure to consider the height when choosing – the fridge has to perfectly match other furniture in your outdoor kitchen. 

Small fridges can be easily hidden in a narrow vertical cabinet – one part goes for the fridge, and another – for other appliances or kitchen utensils. Mini-fridges can also be installed under a bar counter if you have one, or, in extreme cases, can be placed right under a dining table.

Niche installation. You can create a niche artificially – literally cut it in the wall between the kitchen and another room. It can be a drywall construction that will separate kitchen areas. You can also transform your closet/pantry in a niche, too. However, in this case, it will already be outside the kitchen and refer more to the corridor. You can install a built-in mini-fridge under the countertop of your island kitchen. It can be a single fridge, fridge with a freezer, or two separate fridges for vegetable storage.

A too high or wide outdoor fridge will lead to inconvenience and condemn its users to suffer in attempts to “shove” itself into a dedicated niche. A too low fridge, in turn, will simply cause aesthetic discomfort. Thus, aim for the golden mean!

Each manufacturer determines the size of the equipment produced, but almost all of them are the same – the difference can only be a few inches. If you have a large family or plan to have frequent parties with a large and noisy company, a compact outdoor fridge may be too small – these fridges are basically designed for storing beverages in cans or bottles. 

For a small family, a compact outdoor fridge is just the thing. It will easily get under a kitchen counter or wide window sill. You can also put a miniature freezer next to it – and all the storage/freezing issues will be covered.

To avoid any mistakes, you need to measure the depth, width, and height of the chosen place, and then, based on the data obtained, look for your perfect cooling appliance.

Voltage Sensitivity

Pay attention to your electricity supply. The further away from metropolitan areas, the greater the risk of voltage spikes and power outages. To protect your fridge from breakdowns and yourself from unnecessary expenses, it is better to choose models that have special protection against voltage drops. To protect not only the fridge itself but also the entire network, using a special voltage regulator is also a wise idea.

There are outdoor refrigerators capable of keeping the proper temperature for a long time after power failure. Opt for such units in case you know your local repair crews are slow to eliminate the problem.

When choosing an outdoor fridge, consider operating conditions. If there are frequent power surges and you don’t have a stabilizer, less “capricious,” models with mechanical thermostats are the best. Voltage surges may lead to electronic module failure.

Defrosting and Freezing

Defrosting methods which directly affect the ease of use and price of the unit, are essential.

Contemporary outdoor refrigerators can have one of three types of freezing – thermoelectric, absorption, and compressor. The first variant is completely silent, and the last one is the noisiest.

Defrosting can also be one of three types – mechanical, drip, or automatic (“No Frost”). The first one is the most economical but also the most complex. For this purpose, the fridge should be unplugged, defrosted, and wiped dry with a cloth inside. The drip type means that moisture flows down the walls into a pallet located above the compressor.

Outdoor refrigerators equipped with the no-frost system are the best choice for outdoor kitchens. This system does not require human intervention, and the fridge can be left unattended for quite a long time.  

If your home is where electricity outages are common, pay attention to fridges with additional fuses. They cost more but last longer.

Shelf Quality

Pay attention to what material the shelves in the fridge are made of. Leading brands offer glass and metal modifications. Wire perforated shelves are considered the best because they provide proper air circulation, which retains food freshness.

Certifications

Make sure to check the availability of all necessary certificates (ETL, CETL, DOE, ROHS, etc.) and guarantees for your safety and reliable fridge operation outside, in different weather conditions. Find out if your fridge is eco-friendly, EnergyStar compliant, DOE- and UL-certified.

Most fridges manufactured today have additional protection to ensure long-term product safety. A special protective layer with inorganic silver is also often applied, which allows for protection against various odors and bugs reproduction that cause food spoilage.

Control Type

Modern technology is gradually moving from mechanical to the electronic type of control. However, as mentioned above, electromechanical control is still more reliable. In its turn, electronic control allows you to accurately set the mode and stick to it.

Compressor Quality

Refrigerators with one compressor are often smaller in size and less expensive. However, due to malfunction risks, two-compressor units still appear to be cheaper in the long run. Plus, if necessary, you can turn off one of the compressors and use only one part of the fridge.

Noise Level

Depending on the compressor, the noise level, as well as the refrigerator's lifespan, is determined.

The acceptable noise level for modern outdoor fridges usually ranges from 32 to 47 dB. Anything quieter than 40 dB is considered a quiet model. Proper insulation and built-in designs help with the noise, too. 

Analyzing which refrigerator is the quietest, experts have come to the conclusion that two-compressor models are optimal. Absorption and thermoelectric refrigerators are also quiet enough. Plus, due to the specifics of the system, only compact units are available in such configuration.

Price

High prices do not always mean great quality and total satisfaction. A properly chosen, high-quality, inexpensive fridge can often a better fit for any interior and meet all your needs.

Style and Finish

Modern fridges represent various stylistic directions, which allows you to choose the most suitable unit to perfectly fit your kitchen interior. Stainless steel, tempered glass, chrome, or matte finish can be used for that. To make the fridge look harmoniously in the kitchen, pay attention to its color and style.

Even if your fridge does not have a special fingerprint-resistant coating, do not worry – it’s still quite easy to clean with a regular wet and soft cloth.

Compact Fridge Advantages

So, why is it beneficial to have a small fridge?

Comfort

The first thing that comes to mind is that there is no need to go back to the house every time you need a cold beer, juice, fruits, or vegetables. With outdoor mini-fridge, your life becomes enjoyable and refreshing, because you always have cool beverages and fresh food right beside you. So you can grill your food, swim in your backyard pool, play with your pets, or spend quality time with your family and friends.

Space efficiency

The average width and depth/length of both large and small fridges are about the same. As for the height - you can save some good space here. Large refrigerators are about 6' high, and the height of a standard compact unit is 24". Moreover, a kitchen with built-in appliances, not "crushed" by different surfaces, seems more spacious and visually attractive compared to stationary units. It's a huge bonus.

Energy efficiency

An important indicator is the level of energy consumption. Compact fridges consume many times less energy than larger models. And those without a freezer are even more energy-efficient. A fridge operates almost 24 hours a day, and the higher the class, the more efficient it is. Class "A" fridges are considered optimal. A, A+ or A++ Class fridges save an additional and a quite significant amount of money in the long term. The energy efficiency index is always shown in the technical data sheet and on a sticker right on the door of the fridge.

Insulation

Built-in outdoor refrigerators usually have additional thermal insulation and lower noise levels compared to freestanding models. They are more silent because outside panels of the kitchen cabinet help achieve greater sound insulation.

Style

Most of us expect to see solid cooling archetypes in a kitchen interior. Therefore, a "baby" fridge will immediately attract attention. A retro-style fridge or the one with a transparent door will surely get a lot of compliments.

Mobility

If you need to relocate an outdoor fridge, a lightweight mini-sized option is your best friend.

Additional tips

  • Define your budget and priorities in advance to narrow down your search and avoid wasting time on looking at too expensive models with additional features that you don't actually need. The best time to choose an outdoor fridge is when you choose your set of outdoor kitchen furniture.
  • Look inside the fridge and check if the shelves can be adjusted. You will need that feature when you want to fit something bulky in the fridge.
  • Make sure the fridge has casters or height-adjustable leveling legs. This is a very convenient feature when you need to remove the fridge, adjust the height for even surface or to match with other furniture pieces.
  • Check if the door is reversible. When installing appliances in a small outdoor kitchen, you may need it to open from another side.
  • Most outdoor fridges are manufactured with this type of door, but it's still worth checking.
  • Do not install a built-in fridge yourself if you are not sure about your skills. It is better to let a specialist do his job.
  • An outdoor fridge does not like to be surrounded by hot surfaces, e.g. radiators, heaters, grills, ovens, or stoves. Thus, make sure there's at least 12" between them.
  • Some freestanding outdoor fridges with back ventilation also need 2-3" of wall clearance. This allows for proper air circulation and grill/surface cooling
  • It is more convenient to put the fridge next to the sink - this will save your time and effort, as you will not have to carry food products (that require washing) from the fridge to the sink.
  • Compact outdoor fridges can be used as mini-bars and installed inside a cabinet designed to store various beverages and glasses. Whether it will stand in the kitchen or separate the latter from your living room is up to you. But you may as well install it under the bar if you have it in your kitchen. Pay attention to the empty space underneath - slide the fridge in there and use it with pleasure.
  • Some manufacturers also produce ready-made kitchenette designs that include a mini-fridge, sink, and stove.
  • In addition to all of the above, do not forget about other additional features that an outdoor fridge may have.

FAQ

Can refrigerators be kept outside?

Yes. If they are UL-listed and approved for outdoor use. Outdoor fridges are mostly designed to store beverages and have more durable constructions, that's why the cost is often higher compared to indoor fridges. They can also function at a wider range of ambient temperatures.

Is there a difference between indoor and outdoor refrigerators?

Yes. Indoor fridges are not approved for outdoor use since they do not have proper insulation, corrosion and UV protection, plus a lot of the older models have exposed electrical elements, which can lead to short circuit and malfunction in wet weather. Thus, extreme temperatures and weather conditions can cause severe damage to indoor fridges outside.

What is the best outdoor refrigerator?

The following brands are among the most popular and trustworthy names are Bull Outdoor Products, EdgeStar, Avallon, and Summit. Danby also manufactures high-quality products.

Will it damage a refrigerator to get rained on?

It depends on the type of refrigerator and protection features/measures. Some outdoor fridges can stand in the rain for a few days, some of them can even float in a pool during a storm and still be ok afterward (after drying out, of course).

Does outside temperature affect a refrigerator?

It depends on the ambient temperature range since all outdoor fridges are designed for certain temperatures. You can check yours in the user manual.

Will a refrigerator work in cold weather?

It depends on how cold it is outside. A regular outdoor fridge will most definitely not function if the outside temperature is lower than that inside the fridge. Or when it's just freezing (because fridges can't heat themselves up). But who needs a fridge when it's below 32F anyway? So again - check your ambient temperature range and save its compressor from seizing up.

Can you leave a refrigerator outside in the summer?

Well if your climate is quite hot and you often have temperatures higher than 110F, than it's best to not leave it outside. High temperatures make outdoor fridges work harder, resulting in more strain on the hardware. Plus, the gaskets and seals will overheat as well, which will eventually lead to premature wear.

Can I put a refrigerator in the garage?

Yes. But make sure it's well insulated (but still ventilated) and heated enough. Fridges are not designed to heat their cabinets. A small wooden platform to put your fridge on it, and a shaded area or sun cover might also do the trick. Checking manufacturer recommendations in the owner's manual is always a good idea - look for ambient air temperature and proper operation.

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Aaron Black
Aaron Black
Hey there! My name's Aaron Black. I’m 34 and I've been repairing fridges for 15 years. As you know, some appliances may be too dangerous to fix on your own as you, and I’m here to save your time, money, and, maybe, even your life! Because I'm the man with Experience. If you have any questions, you may contact me via e-mail: [email protected]

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