Refrigerators are necessary for a household that having one may not suffice especially if a family has an own outdoor kitchen. It is only fitting to get an outdoor kitchen refrigerator even if you are using it only once or twice a week. This is because an outdoor refrigerator makes life easier for the cook. Just imagine if you always have to take frequent trips indoors to get ingredients.
Outdoor kitchen refrigerators is very beneficial for backyard barbecue gatherings. You don’t really have to spend so much on your refrigerator; a small sized one made from stainless steel is more than enough because you only need to store ingredients or meat inside for a day of outdoor cooking.
There are many types of outdoor kitchen refrigerators in the market. The wide array is dizzying. To help you decide on which outdoor refrigerator to pick, we have listed the factors that you should consider before going out on a spree.
What are the factors to consider when buying an outdoor kitchen refrigerator?
Know how big you plan to build your outdoor kitchen. If it is big, then you may have room for a larger outdoor refrigerator. However, this may not be necessary because as mentioned above, an outdoor refrigerator’s use may last only for a day, depending on how long or how often you have outdoor gatherings.
Most of the time, you only have to take out ingredients for a day of storage and take it back indoors after the party is over. Therefore, a compact stainless steel refrigerator such as the:
SPT Compact Refrigerator Stainless Door with Black Sides
- 2.5 cu.ft. net capacity with adjustable thermostat and HCFC free
- Reversible door with slide out wire shelf for storage versatility
- Estimated yearly operating cost: $28 based on 10.65 cent per kwh 2007
If you are going to have your refrigerator in-built, meaning it will be under the hoods of your counter, you should measure the dimensions of your counter and when you are sure of the floor plan, bring the dimensions with you when you go refrigerator shopping. Keep in mind that the standard height for all kitchen counters is 36 inches. This varies depending on how high you built your outdoor kitchen island.
Just like the size, check out the refrigerators that fit your dimensions and imagine the amount of meat, other food, and drinks that you will store and if you think it will fit inside. You don’t want to spend too much time rearranging to make food fit. Make sure it has the right capacity; a big one that will have lots of empty spaces will eat up too much electricity.
Also consider the freezer portion of the unit; since most of the outdoor fridge’s content is meat, double check if the refrigerator has enough freezer space. If you want a dedicated freezer for your outdoor kitchen, you may try:
Sunpentown Energy Star 2.8 Cubic-Foot Upright Freezer Stainless Steel
- Reversible stainless steel door with black cabinet; Flush back design for space saving
- Slide-out wire shelf for storage versatility
- Tall bottle rack
There are two types, freestanding outdoor refrigerator or built-in outdoor refrigerator. Freestanding ones are best used if you like to move around your appliances. However, it should be placed far from hot appliances like ovens and barbecue grills. Built-In refrigerators are best used if you want it to seamlessly integrate with your kitchen counter.
However, you might need the help of a professional when installing it. Once installed, it may be difficult to change its location.
If you think that there is only one standard style for refrigerators, you are wrong. The most common style, the one that is mostly owned, is the top freezer where frozen foods are kept at eye level. Then there is the bottom freezer, which is becoming a popular style because it tends to be more energy efficient.
Side by side refrigerator is good for people who like to see their frozen goods and refrigerated foods both at eye level. It also comes with a water and ice dispenser. Usually this type of fridge is big and has double doors. Rarely can you find a compact one for outdoors. The con for this type of fridge is that you won’t have wide space for pizza boxes and large items. But who stores big boxes in an outdoor refrigerator, right?
The last type is the drawer style refrigerator. This is recommended if you want your goodies separated per type. For example, meat in one drawer, refrigerated items in the next tier, and drinks at the bottom drawer.
The only downside for this fridge is it can be pricey. It’s efficiency for energy may cover up for that though! For this type of fridge, check out the:
Aficionado Built-In Drawer Refrigerator
- Ships direct from the U-Line Corporation in Milwaukee, WI
- Volume of 4.5 cu ft holds up to 90 bottles (12 oz) or 142 cans (12 oz)
- Temperature range: 34°F - 70°F. Convection cooling system rapidly and efficiently takes items to the set temperature
Remember, your refrigerator will be stored outdoors for long periods under the harsh changing weather conditions. It should be ready to face moisture, rain, snow, heat, and cold. Get a refrigerator made with durable materials and one that will not corrode easily. A stainless steel type is the most recommended material because it can withstand weather.
You should also know how to take care of your appliances; even if you have the best stainless steel fridge, it is bound to fall apart without proper maintenance. Like any other appliance, ensure that the ones you will buy come with a warranty. Invest in a good quality one like the:
Blaze Outdoor Stainless Steel Compact Refrigerator
- Automatic defrost reduces maintenance and freezer burn
- Internal fan and digital thermostat for precise temperature management
- Interior light makes things easy to find
Other accessories for your outdoor kitchen
If you have a wide outdoor kitchen, you may add some sort of a drink or wine station that will really entertain guests. It will be an additional expense, but if you are up with really making your outdoor kitchen extraordinary, then these additions may be worth it. Check out the:
Whynter 18-bottle Built-In Wine Refrigerator
- Measures: 23" Long x 12" Wide x 34.5" High
- Capacity: 19 standard 750ml wine bottles
- Tempered double pane gray-smoked glass for enhanced UV protection with security lock and key
A heavy-duty compact refrigerator is a necessity for outdoor kitchens. Make sure that you search long and hard and not buy on impulse, lest you might regret your purchase. There are many outdoor kitchen refrigerators that vary in sizes, type, material, and price. Ensure that what you will get will last you a good long while. After all, a refrigerator is a long-term investment.