Whether you have a barbecue pit, patio, or poolside, a refrigerator is a perfect addition to any outdoor space. With the right chiller, you can keep hot snacks warm and cold ones cold, without having to trek back into the house every time you need more.
There is a race to find the perfect outdoor refrigerator that will meet all of your requirements without breaking your budget.
We present to you our shortlist of refrigerators for outdoor entertaining!
Top 4 Best Outdoor Refrigerator
- Bull Outdoor Products Compact Refrigerator
- Danby Contemporary Classic Outdoor Compact Refrigerator
- NewAir 15” Outdoor Fridge
- Black & Decker Energy Star Mini Fridge
1. Bull Outdoor Products Compact Refrigerator
Best Spacious Outdoor Refrigerator
We knew that Bull Outdoor Products makes some beautiful outdoor kitchens and barbecue pits, so this was the perfect place to find an outdoor fridge. Especially since they didn’t disappoint us!
In my opinion, this is a large refrigerator considering it will likely be used sporadically outside. With 4.4 cubic feet of space, you’ll be able to put everything you need for a great party or picnic together.
There are a lot of great features on this fridge for convenient storage. With it, you’ll find two wire shelves or wire racks, a glass shelf, and a plastic bottom drawer. All shelves can be adjusted, so you can position tall bottles neatly or lay down food containers in a tidiness that is pleasing to the eye.
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This door features a 7-can can holder as well as two small drink shelves to hold all kinds of things. The door swings either left or right.
The refrigerator body is made from stainless steel 304. The cloth is tough, durable, and is able to resist the elements. Whether this refrigerator can handle sleet and snow isn’t clear, but rain should be no problem.
It was still necessary to test all of these refrigerators out in the sun on a hot day late in summer. I was pleased with Bull’s neat little refrigerator half-full. Although loaded to its utmost capacity, it struggled to keep the drinks cold.
2. Danby Contemporary Classic Outdoor
Best Spacious Stand Alone Outdoor Refrigerator
A refrigerator like this Danby is perfect for comparison to a Bull fridge. Both are 4.4 cubic feet in capacity and weigh the same amount. They are made of stainless steel 304 that is high-quality and of UV-resistant plastic that is almost the same size. Doors on both of them are reversible, so you can install them to swing either way according to your needs.
As a “stand-alone” refrigerator, it’s meant to be used just that – alone – for ventilation reasons, we assume. A Bull, on the other hand, can be built into outdoor counters or to stand alone.
The Danby can also be ordered with optional stainless steel ball-bearing casters to make it easier to move. A refrigerator can be wheeled right alongside your countertop, which may be of the same height as the refrigerator.
The Danby fridge has three shelves made of glass and a plastic bucket drawer that acts like a vegetable crisper. Its door incorporates a clever eight-can holding system plus three shelves for drinks and sauces. The layout here appears more convenient and seems to hold more stuff within exactly the same space as the Bull.
As well as its high-temperature resistance, this fridge has a door lock. The manufacturer claims that it will cool down to 109°F. Even though we found this fridge to struggle a bit fully loaded in the full sun, it did much better than the Bull.
3. NewAir 15” Outdoor Fridge
Best Outdoor Refrigerator for Drinks
This next refrigerator from NewAir offers a lower capacity but is quite a bit more expensive.
Two factors determine refrigerator selection: the type of fridge and the features it offers.
Despite its height and narrowness, this outdoor fridge is full of shelves. Five wire rack shelves are included and they can hold standard 12″ beverage cans. The fridge is a drinks fridge without a doubt.
However, that does not mean food couldn’t be put inside. You can do that of course. However, the design and intent here clearly seem to be geared towards cans and bottles. Even more amazing, this fridge holds up to 90 12oz cans in its small 3.2 cubic foot space! We’re not sure about you, but that’s a pretty wicked backyard BBQ.
Which features are included in this seemingly luxurious fridge? Like the Bull, this stainless-fronted enclosure can be mounted on outdoor furniture and counters. Additionally, it also has quality casters, just like the Danby, which can make it a stand-alone unit or even be wheeled as needed around your property.
A cool LED light helps you locate what you’re looking for, while a simple display lets you adjust the temperature and light levels. Probably the most impressive feature is the auto-closing door that is also lockable. By doing so, you can keep your valuables dry without fear of them getting warm or worse – stolen!
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4. Black & Decker Energy Star Mini Fridge
Best Budget Outdoor Refrigerator
Here’s an outdoor fridge that offers a difference from what we’ve seen so far: a high-end mini-fridge from Black & Decker. The refrigerator is not for outdoor use. Yes, you can definitely use it outdoors, as long as it is kept out of the direct sun, rain, and extremely hot or cold temperatures.
The refrigerator proved its value in full sun, showing why it is less than half the price of the outdoor refrigerators we’ve seen so far. It was really hard for this fridge to keep our cans cold even at half capacity. Once our drinks were fully loaded, they were at best tepid. The manufacturer hasn’t told us what grade stainless steel it’s made of, so we have to assume that rain will cause some rusting after a while.
Meanwhile, this fridge is quite cheap and holds a lot for its size of 3.2 cubic feet. It works thanks to features such as two adjustable glass shelves, a 6-can rack on the door, and large storage space for a soda bottle.
This Black & Decker refrigerator includes a small freezer, unlike those we’ve seen before. Despite the adjustable temperature gauge, we found that you need to crank the dial all the way up to seven in order to keep frozen food frozen.
How To Choose The Best Outdoor Refrigerator?
Buying an outdoor refrigerator is a big financial commitment. Hence, you should choose the best fridge you can afford and that will meet your needs. The buyer’s guide below provides a thorough overview of the features you need to consider before you purchase.
It is a general rule of thumb that you can expect to pay about double what you would for a regular refrigerator of the same size if it is designed for outdoor use. The reason for this is the higher-quality materials used in these fridges, which make them more resistant to the elements. A niche market makes it possible for manufacturers to charge a bit more.
While a mid-sized outdoor fridge typically costs under $500, a large capacity or something with an extra special feature can cost upwards of $1000.
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Almost any refrigerator can be connected to an outside power source. This is a given! An outdoor refrigerator with outdoor ratings, however, must have some special qualities that most other refrigerators lack. First, any steel facing and the components of the refrigerator should be of high quality. The stainless steel used for this is 304, which is almost rust-proof.
All plastic and rubber parts in the fridge should be UV protected, even if they won’t be exposed to direct sunlight. This is obviously not the smartest way to treat an item that should stay cool!
High-grade insulation and cooling motor should be used in high-temperature applications. If it’s hot outside, you don’t want to find out that your thirst-quenching beverages are tepid and lukewarm.
Size is actually a huge factor for an outdoor fridge, and it has two aspects that need to be considered.
In the first place, there’s capacity, also called volume. In refrigerators, you’ll find that the interior space is measured in cubic feet. In spite of that, two refrigerators with the same capacity hold very different amounts of food and drink.
A fridge’s interior construction plays an important role in how much it can hold comfortably. In order to make sure you have lots of shelves for putting cans down, get drinks to the fridge primarily for storage. Those who need both spaces for food and drink should look for refrigerators with shelves and drawers to make life easier.
Size is also measured by its outside dimensions. The measurements should match whatever you already have if you’re going to construct the fridge into a cooking area outside or place it next to a counter. The majority of outdoor fridges have flat-backed designs and are smaller than 24″ in-depth, so they should blend into standard 24″ countertops without being too noticeable.
Additional features can also be extremely useful. A refrigerator might feature removable casters, LED door lights, electronic temperature displays, and so forth. Take a look at your needs and think of what may make your appliance stand out.
Why Outdoor Fridges are Cool?
A refrigerator for the outdoors would answer the question “Why would I want one?” which is probably a lot simpler than you might think.
To illustrate my point, let’s consider a couple of not uncommon situations. During a summer cookout, imagine the BBQ all lit up and the stereo pumping with your friends and neighbors enjoying the great summer vibe. Having to run inside to grab cooking ingredients or, even worse, a cold drink, is that really what you want?
How about sitting poolside with your best friends and catching up on the latest news? Every time you pop back to the house for a drink, you miss all the exciting parts of the story.
In the end, they are much cheaper than regular ones, and how often really do you need one?
Our response to that is that you already know why. Simple convenience makes an outdoor refrigerator more advantageous than a cooler. It’s just a matter of setting it up, plugging it in, and you’re ready to go. This eliminates the hassle of dealing with ice (which takes up half your cooler anyway), and no more paying attention to drinks and losing food as they slowly melt.
There may not be a place for an outdoor fridge in every home. These are special appliances designed for special types of people – those who live outdoors. People who love the outdoors, cooking, barbecuing, or even sitting around a backyard campfire do so for a variety of reasons.
There is no question that you need a fridge that will withstand the elements it will be exposed to. Good quality steel is used on panels and mechanical parts to resist rain and rust. UV-resistant plastics are non-corrosive and don’t yellow. You can sit back and enjoy the scenery while the excellent insulation keeps your food and beverage fresh and cool.
So, What’s The Best Outdoor Refrigerator?
A lot of refrigerators are available on the market, but very few are considered true outdoor fridges. And even fewer made our list.
In the event that we are forced to choose, we would say that the…
This is one of our favorite outdoor fridges. With excellent construction, energy efficiency, and a clever interior design, this unit makes an impression. Plus, the softer price and better performance helped it outperform the Bull fridge of a similar size. It is a large fridge with the durability to meet most outdoor needs.
I hope you enjoyed reading our review, and good luck with your fridge search!