Having an outdoor kitchen is simply incredible when it comes to entertaining and hosting backyard events. However, constantly having to go inside for cold drinks, ingredients and condiments, is…not so incredible. An outdoor rated patio refrigerator is pretty much the perfect solution. They’re compact, quiet and have enough power to cool down drinks on even the hottest of summer days. Plus, they are very easy to install and come in a wide range of colors, styles and costs to fit any budget and preference.
Our favorite is the classic EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD. EdgeStar is an extremely well known brand and produces phenomenal products. This all stainless steel patio refrigerator can get down to a frosty 38°F and looks amazing in any outdoor kitchen. Plus, at 5.49 cu. Ft. it can hold a whopping 142 cans, has integrated glass shelves, solid safety locks and intuitive digital controls. Seriously y’all, this model is a perfect mix of affordability and power making it a great buy.
Best Patio Refrigerator – EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD 5.49 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Beverage Cooler
- Capacity: 142 standard 12 oz. cans; Freestanding or built-in application
- Powerful compressor-based cooling; Temperature range: 38-50 degrees F
The EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD is a simple, yet highly effective patio refrigerator. Constructed from high quality stainless steel panels, it’ll resist rust, water and anything mother nature can throw at it. Inside you’ll find multiple convenient glass shelves, integral carbon and air filters as well as digital control for ease of use.
Even more, the doors are fully reversible and are equipped with an added safety lock to keep soda happy children or guests or animals out. When you add in the 38-50°F cooling range as well as the option for either freestanding or built-in configurations, this is truly a wonderful addition to any outdoor kitchen, patio or garage.
Outdoor Patio Refrigerator Buyers Guide
Outdoor refrigerators are expensive, there is no way around that. If you’re looking at a $100 or $200 unit, it’s definitely NOT outdoor rated and will fail in a matter of months. This guide aims to help you select an appropriately rated patio refrigerator that’ll stand the test of time. We also want to help ensure you get the right features, materials and space to suit your needs and those of your guests. After all, if you’re looking at buying one of these bad boys, you’ll be in the backyard for many evenings to come.
Freestanding vs built-in outdoor kitchen refrigerators
Patio refrigerators come in two different styles, freestanding and built-in. The names are fairly straight forward. Built-in fridges can be placed inside outdoor kitchen countertops or other enclosed spaces as they are designed to vent air from the front on the bottom section. Freestanding fridges need breathing room on both sides and the back. As such they are not as well suited for outdoor applications, except for maybe in a garage where countertops are not present.
In general, we almost always recommend a built-in option as they can be used in both built-in and freestanding applications. Plus, they don’t cost all that much much more and typically offer greater performance. 4 of the top 5 patio refrigerators below are front venting built-in models for added flexibility.
What material is best for a patio refrigerator?
Stainless Steel is the best material for a patio refrigerator, bar none. It is resistant to rusting, cleans very easily, looks great with any other appliances and is amazing at providing some extra insulation. You’ll commonly see plastic on some super cheap patio fridges, but those are not true outdoor rated appliances. Over time the plastic will warp, discolor and eventually crack under the sun. Thus rendering your pricey outdoor appliance a piece of garbage.
Just do yourself a favor and grab a stainless steel backyard refrigerator from the get go. While they can be a bit pricey, having the reliability, weather resistance and durability are well worth the few extra bucks. If you’re worried about fingerprints and stains, opt for a frosted stainless steel look to hide those minor imperfections such as with our #1 choice.
Can I use this as an outdoor freezer?
There is a reason why you don’t see too many outdoor rated freezers, it’s simply too hot in the summer to make them a reliable solution. Even the most high end patio refrigerators are only able to get down to 34°F during the summer. If you wanted a custom freezer that could go down to 32°F or lower, it would cost a small fortune.
If you really need to store some food at freezing temperatures we’d recommend you go with something like the Perlick 5.3 Cu. Ft. Outdoor Freezer. It’s large enough to hold a good amount of food and will keep it super cold, but you’ll be paying about 3x the cost of a typical outdoor refrigerator. If money is no object, the Perlick is the best outdoor freezer on the market.
How does an outdoor refrigerator cool
A patio refrigerator cools the same way as a traditional fridge. They have a small compressor which sucks in air and as the pressure of the air changes drastically, from high to low, it provides a chilling effect. Overtime, as things get colder and colder in the main fridge compartment, it’ll maintain a set temperature.
However, because these draw outside air, if it’s 110°F outside, don’t expect them to reach their lowest temperature possible, the temperature differential is, while not linear, fairly consistent. 70°F to 90°F is the sweet spot for most units. Some outdoor kitchen refrigerators are offered with extra insulation to offset the summer heat, but in the end, the compressor is the limiting factor. Most outdoor patio units are fairly small and can only have a compact compressor that doesn’t make too much noise.
Do outdoor patio refrigerators work in hot weather
As we just mentioned above, they do work in hot weather, but they don’t work quite as well. A patio refrigerator might be able to get down to 34°F if it’s 70°F outside, but when it’s 90°F, it might only be able to reach 40°F. For this reason, we recommend you place your outdoor kitchen fridge under a covered patio and well hidden under a countertop if possible. This’ll prevent the beating sun from hitting it and will help ensure it can get as cold as possible year round.
What is the best cover to get for my patio refrigerator
Strictly speaking, a patio refrigerator doesn’t need a cover. However if you don’t plan to use it for an extended period of time, it’s not a bad idea to grab one. We’d recommend the Duratool 22-13858 for larger 4&5 Cu. Ft. fridges and the Kegco TX-KCVDP-37S for smaller 2&3 Cu. Ft options.
A quality cover will help keep dust, debris and grass off your fridge during the winter. Plus it’ll stop any birds from nesting in the open vent sections as well as ensure no spiders spin nasty webs around your outdoor appliance.
Can I use an indoor refrigerator on my patio?
No. Stop. Don’t pass go and collect $200. If you opt to use a lower cost indoor refrigerator outside for an extended (2 month+) period of time, IT WILL FAIL. The electronics, compressor, wiring and materials are not suited to the task. Outdoor patio refrigerators are specifically designed to be water and dust proof. Plus, they have extra insulation to compensate for the elevated heat levels outside.
If you attempt to use an indoor refrigerator outside on a hot day, you’ll find everything inside it much hotter than you anticipated. That being said, if it’s a full sized fridge, the effects will be less, but the corroding wires, rusting and general wear and tear will not. In the end, just get a patio fridge that is specifically designed for the task and don’t tempt fate.
Best Patio Refrigerator Detailed Reviews
Okay, so what did we learn? DON’T BUY AN INDOOR FRIDGE AND USE IT OUTSIDE. Good, that’s clear now. Yes, they are expensive and yes, they are worth it. Below we’ve selected the top 5 best patio refrigerators on the market. We’ve chosen some that are larger, some that are smaller and others still which are budget friendly. Overall, we wanted to give y’all the best possible choices so you can decide what fits your wallet and your outdoor space. No matter which you choose, you can be sure it’ll last for many, many seasons to come.
#1 EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD 5.49 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Beverage Cooler
- Capacity: 142 standard 12 oz. cans; Freestanding or built-in application
- Powerful compressor-based cooling; Temperature range: 38-50 degrees F
When it comes to value for your money, the EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD simply can’t be beat. This impressive compressor cooled patio refrigerator is incredibly durable and built to last. It’s covered in resilient 304 stainless steel for superior outdoor weather resistance. No rust, no corrosion and no hassles. We were pleased to see that this fridge uses a front venting (built-in) design. That allows much more flexible installation options and the fridge can easily be integrated into outdoor kitchen countertops.
You’ll also find it’s equipped with a digital temperature controller for precise temperature adjustments and has a circulation fan to keep fresh air constantly moving. The EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD can be set to operate anywhere between 38°F and 50°F. Plus, it’s got a handy auto defrost feature in case of any condensation or ice buildup in the main chamber. Even better, when you’re planning those late night get togethers, it includes full interior LED lighting. This makes it super easy to locate food and drinks after the sun goes down.
In addition to its fully reversible doors, the EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD features an added security lock. This is great to keep the fridge door from “accidentally” opening during a party. Plus, it keeps kids out after they’ve had enough soda. You’ll find the 5.49 cu. Ft. of space makes for a huge interior. From wine bottles to a gallon of milk, this patio fridge can hold it all. The included shelves are fully adjustable and can be moved to 6 different levels. This customization is perfect for when you want to store more than just cans. When the handles are installed it has an overall dimension of 33 1/2″ high x 23 1/2″ wide x 24 3/4″ deep.
Even better, this unit comes pre-installed with roller wheels. That means moving it out for cleaning or storage is a breeze. When it does come time to install it, you’ll only need a standard 110V household outlet. The EdgeStar outdoor patio fridge comes with a 3’ long cord so the outlet will need to be fairly close or you’ll need a small extension cord. One last thing to note is this does not have a power switch. Once it’s plugged in, it’s on.
Overall, this is an incredible patio refrigerator and is perfect for the backyard. It’s not terribly expensive, has all the features you can want and is extremely reliable. If you want the ultimate outdoor kitchen experience, this is a must.
#2 Thor Kitchen 24” Indoor and Outdoor Double Drawer Under-Counter Refrigerator in Stainless Steel 5.3cu.ft TRF2401U – Best High End Patio Refrigerator
- 【Space Saving Compact Refrigerator】- This electric mini fridge with 23.5”Wx23.4”Dx34.2”H(excl handle) measurement and 5.3 cubic feet (152L) capacity is perfectly sized to keep your favorite...
- 【°C /°F Switchable】- The temperature of our refrigerator can be adjusted when you touch the control panel on the refrigerator. The temperature range is 0℃-7℃/34℉-46℉, which can insure...
If you’ve got money to spare and want nothing but the best, the Thor Kitchen 24” Outdoor drawer refrigerator is the holy grail of patio refrigerators. It comes standard with a detailed digital display and integrated blue LED backlighting. This allows you to control the precise internal temperature while the included energy saving software reduces power consumption. You’ll also find this under-counter patio refrigerator uses a unique frost free ventilated cooling system for superior performance. No defrost cycles are required due to the enhanced design.
We were very pleased to note that this unit performs incredibly well, even in temperatures exceeding 95°F. As with most high end options, it’s fully encased in stainless steel. Even better, it is coated to be extremely resistant to fingerprints, rain and corrosion. When it comes time to give it a good cleaning, simply wipe it off with a damp rag. No polishing is necessary to get it to shine.
One of the few drawbacks to this unit, primarily due to its power, is how loud it is. If you plan to use this in an indoor environment, it’ll take some getting used to. However, if it’s placed outside, you’ll never have to worry. Plus, once you open the glorious full extension stainless steel slide out doors, you’ll forget about anything else. The drawers give you full access to everything in the fridge. This is in stark contrast to traditional patio refrigerators which can easily hide things in their dark recesses.
When it comes to installing the Thor Kitchen 24” Indoor and Outdoor Double Drawer Under-Counter Refrigerator, it measures in at 23 5”Wx23 4”Dx34 2”H and has 5.3 cu. Ft. of available space. Even more, the dual section design gives you a ton of flexibility. The ultra deep drawers are perfect for wine, cases of beer and more. Plus, each drawer has an independant temperature controller to ensure your food and drinks are at just the right temperature. We do want to note, this unit does not come with a lock, so keep that Kobe beef and expensive home brewed beer inside.
The Thor Kitchen TRF2401U comes with a standard 2 year warranty. This’ll ensure that no matter what happens to your fridge, you’ll be covered. No questions asked. Due to the front venting design, it’s also a perfect fit for both built-in and freestanding applications. You’ll find it has four adjustable leveling legs to reduce vibration and keep it super flat on any surface. Another great added feature was the interior LED lights for both of the main drawers. These let you easily see your food and drink, even under less than ideal conditions.
When finding the perfect place for this patio fridge, keep in mind it requires a standard 110V power outlet. The fridge has a 5’ power cord, so you do have a little flexibility, but not so much that you don’t need to plan. The unit itself weighs in at 119 pounds, so it’s a bit heavy, but won’t blow away in a storm. Just grab a friend or a dolly to push / carry it to the right position.
Overall, this is simply put, the best outdoor patio refrigerator on the market. It’s sleek, user friendly, powerful and extremely durable. While it is expensive, you’re definitely getting what you pay for. If spending a few extra hundred isn’t a big deal, we’d highly recommend you grab this over our #1 choice. Plus, who doesn’t want to have the coolest looking patio refrigerator in the neighborhood?
#3 Avallon AFR151SSODRH 3.3 Cu Ft 15″ Outdoor Built-In Refrigerator
If you’re in the market for a smaller patio refrigerator, the Avallon AFR151SSDRH makes for a great choice. It is stunning to look at with a full stainless steel front vent and panel construction. Even better, it’s fully outdoor certified and has additional insulation built in to counteract the outdoor heat. You’ll find that it uses powerful compressor cooling to provide superior performance. When using the touch control panel, you can adjust the interior temperature between 34°F and 50°F.
Unlike the most expensive option on our list, This outdoor patio refrigerator uses single zone cooling for added energy savings. Plus, it makes very little noise and is great for a relaxing evening sipping on chilled wine and eating some finger food. You’ll also find the elongated handle makes the door extremely easy to open and looks like a million bucks. Included optional casters also make it a breeze to roll around for cleaning and storage.
Although this unit is fairly small and only measures in at 3.3 cu. Ft. it is packed with features. Inside it has a dedicated carbon filter to remove particulates and eliminate odors. That means your food and drink will taste fresh no matter what. For installation purposes, the dimensions are 34-1/8″ H x 14-15/16″ W x 24-1/16″ D. This smaller form factor is great for tight spaces or where a larger fridge is simply not needed.
We were pleased to see that the Avallon AFR151SSODRH also comes with quad interior lighting. An LED light strip on the top and two lights on the bottom provide wonderful illumination and make items extremely easy to view. Even better, they can be changed from bright to soft white and even had a cool blue shade option for those after hours parties where ambiance is everything. When you include the three sturdy sanded glass shelves, it’s easy to see why this patio refrigerator made the list.
The True key lock helps to provide added nighttime security and ensure the fridge door will stay closed when not in use. This unit also features a powerful circulation fan that helps to keep air moving and eliminate any hot and cold spots in the fridge. Lastly, it includes some super large door storage for extra cans wine and more. Overall, this is an excellent mid-tier patio refrigerator and will most definitely get the job done. If you need a small patio refrigerator, this would make for an excellent choice.
#4 Danby DAR044A6BSLDBO 4.4 Cu.Ft Mini Stainless Fridge for Outdoor Rated Patio – Best Budget Patio Refrigerator
- 4 castors with stainless steel ball bearings for rust resistance
- Tested for cooling capacity in a tropical environment
The Danby DAR044A6BSLDBO is a wonderful 4.4 cu. Ft.patio refrigerator that is packed with features. You’ll also find it is fairly affordably priced and quite durable. It comes with four removable caster wheels for added convenience. They have stainless steel bearings for enhanced rust resistance and are very ruggedly built. The only downside to them is the 4th wheel mounts on the door which isn’t a very good area for it. It does work however.
We were pleased to note that this patio refrigerator is fully UL approved and has been tested for operational excellence in tropical environments. Even in temperatures up to 109°F it’ll perform amazingly.The stainless steel exterior is IPX4 rated and is fully weather and waterproof. Even better, the electronics are housed in UV protected boxes that are also waterproof for added protection.
You’ll also find the interior LED light provides excellent viewing of items inside the fridge. On the outside, the retro curved door is incredible to look at and slips in perfectly to existing patio designs. The rubber-grip ergonomic handle makes opening the fridge easier than most other options. Your fingers won’t slip and if they are wet with water, you’ll have no issues at all.
One of the key points we want to mention about this fridge is it is a freestanding design. That means if you want to mount it under a counter it needs 1” on all sides so it can vent appropriately. However. If you use it in the open, the stylized worktop provides some added visual appeal. You’ll also find the heavy duty rust proof base is great for rainy environments and keeps the fridge safe and solid for season after season.
Inside a see through vegetable crisper provides excellent usable space without compromising the design. It features a pull out drawer and has enough room for tons of vegetables, and snacks alike. The main door to this patio refrigerator is fully reversible and can be a left hand or right hand mount.
Even better however, is the mechanical thermostat. Unlike digital equivalents, a mechanical option is much less prone to failure and is far more reliable. When fully assembled, the Danby DAR044A6BSLDBO measures in at 35-1/16” tall and right around 20-12/16” wide. With 4.4 cu. Ft of space, it is ready to handle anything you can throw at it. Overall, this is a stunning choice that looks great, works incredibly well and can easily handle anything mother nature can throw at it.
#5 Summit SPR627OS 24 4.6 Cu. Ft. Capacity Frost-Free Outdoor Compact Refrigerator
Last up on our list is the very well reviewed Summit SPR627OS. This 4.6 cu. ft. outdoor patio and garage refrigerator has fully reversible doors and a beautiful stainless steel exterior. Its sturdy door is equipped with a security key lock on the bottom centermost section. This keeps the door closed during parties and ensures that it won’t accidently blow open during windstorms.
Inside you’ll find three sections of dedicated shelving. The shelving is fully removable and can be adjusted to six different positions. This enables you to hold wine, beer and other snacks that are oddly shaped with ease. When the fridge first arrives you’ll need to install these as well as the door handle. However, getting these up and running will only take a matter of moments and is super easy. One of the key features we want to point out is the sheer power of this specific model’s compressor based cooling. Even though it’s only advertised to get down to 38°F, folks have measured it at 36°F during even the height of summer. With power like this, it’s easy to see how it made the top 5.
Even more than the basic features, the Summit SPR627OS has zero problems with frost buildup. As such, it has no included defrost feature. This means less maintenance for you and more enjoyment of the fridge. An ultra quiet circulation fan also keeps the temperature very even within the unit and prevents hot and cold spots from appearing.
We also want to note that this unit is a front venting, built-in design. This flexibility is great for under counter installations and makes it perfect for outdoor kitchens. The added door storage also lets you use up every last inch of space available. After all, it’s like they say, waste not want not. Finally, this unit weighs in at 105 lbs and is extremely compact. That means easy transport and movement for storage.
Overall, this is a great mid-sized fridget that’ll get the job done. It’s not as expensive as some of the other patio fridges on this list but can still go toe to toe with them. If you want something that’ll work well for BBQ after BBQ, this might just be the best option on the market.
In the end, there are a ton of great options out there when it comes to the best patio refrigerator. Our top pick however, remains the EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD. With an incredible features set, affordable price point and amazing looks, it’s got all the bases covered. If you really want to go the distance and get the true king of patio refrigerators, the Thor Kitchen 24” 5.3 cu. Ft. Double Drawer Outdoor Refrigerator is what you need. Whichever model you end up purchasing, you can know that it will be fully water resistant and specifically designed for outdoor use.
Once you get your patio refrigerator in place, you might want to consider upgrading your entire outdoor kitchen with a new spit roaster or perhaps a handy bacon press for perfect Sunday breakfasts. If you want to take it a bit further a stunning concrete fire pit or a Kamado Joe table will really round out your remaining accessories.
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