Outdoor Living: Tips for Buying an Outdoor Fridge

By Maria Rogerson

October 21, 2021House & Garden

Outdoor refrigerators are the perfect addition to any outdoor kitchen. These appliances will allow you to store the drinks and food you need, and keep them fresh and in good condition for a longer period of time. Besides, they’re pretty convenient as well, especially If you enjoy spending time with your family and friends in your backyard area on hot summer days and nights. Having an outdoor fridge can save you time without needing to make all those back and forth trips inside your home any time you need a cool beverage or cheese for your freshly made pasta.


However, they can be pretty expensive investments, though according to many people they are definitely worth the money. Still, choosing the right one requires paying careful consideration to some important factors. For instance, first of all, you need to be aware that they will stay outside at all times, so you need to make sure that you are buying appliances specifically designed to withstand the elements. 

For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of all the important factors you need to pay attention to when shopping for a fridge that will perfectly suit your individual taste and outdoor living area. 

What Should I Look for In an Outdoor Refrigerator?

Selecting the right design almost always means thinking in terms of choosing the right material, storage space capacity, durability, outdoor climate, and size. So let’s have a look separately at all these features we mentioned so far. After all, you will be choosing a design that is made for the long haul instead of investing in a unit that needs to be replaced after a few years.

Select the Right Material

Almost all outdoor fridges are made from stainless steel, as this type of material has a high level of rust resistance and durability suitable for wet environments. However, as not all stainless-steel fridges are made with the same level of rust resistance, it’s recommended to choose an outdoor stainless fridge that features a higher grade of this material. 

outdoor stainless fridge

This also means that you will need to pay a bit more, as a higher-gradeoutdoor stainless fridge tends to be more expensivethan those made from lower-grade stainless steel which is far more susceptible to rust.

Choose a Design Built to Withstand the Outdoor Climate

When it comes to choosing an outdoor fridge you will need a unit that is built to last and will be specially designed to fit the climate area of where you live and keep your food and drinks in a well-preserved condition without making a significant strain on your energy bill. 

Since these appliances have to work much harder than inside fridges, because of the fluctuations in the temperature outside, they also need to be additionally insulated for the outdoor conditions and waterproofed as well, so any risk of electrocution will be avoided. For instance, in the heat of the summer, an outdoor fridge would require additional insulation and more powerful compressors and components to keep everything cold.

The refrigerator you choose for your outdoor living space should be designed and Ul rated which means that it has passed all the safety testing and certification for outdoor usage. This is an important factor, as the Ul rating ensures the fridge is cool enough to safely store all those perishable items and weatherproofed which as we said is a necessary safety feature.

Size and Storage Space

Most outdoor fridges have a width of 45cm or 60cm besides featuring many additional shelving options to fit all types of food and drinks you need. How big or small a refrigerator you decide to choose is mostly a matter of personal preference and what you’ll be storing. For instance, if you’re just storing drinks and snacks to keep them in handy whenever you have guests in your house you probably won’t need to choose a big design. 

As a matter of fact, there are outdoor fridges that are specially designed to keep only beverages inside, like bootle of wine, beer cans and different types of soda. Also, pay attention to the depth of the fridge as some models have 20% more depth than others, which means you can store extra food when entertaining large crowds.

Consider the Type (Free Standing vs. Built-In)

The main difference between these two options is how the refrigerator is ventilated. The built-in units are front ventilated and they can be built-in to your cabinet or placed under your counter to fit perfectly with your outdoor kitchen layout. On the other hand, freestanding outdoor fridges need more space for ventilation in the back and sides. Therefore, if you decide to build them into a cabinet you may inhibit their ability to function properly and keep everything cool. Moreover, these types of fridges have a shorter lifespan than the built-in designs.


Ease of Maintenance

Maintenance and care for outdoor furniture are essential when it comes to keeping it in proper condition for much longer, and fridges are no exception to this either. As with all types of appliances, in order to keep their sleekness and maximum efficiency for much longer, you need to keep the coils and compressor cleaned regularly as a fridge with clean coils won’t have to work hard to maintain its level of excellence.