A garage refrigerator. Surely that’s just a regular refrigerator, only in your garage instead of your kitchen, right?
Well, not exactly. If you’re looking to put a refrigerator into your garage, either instead of having it in the kitchen or as an extra refrigerating space, then you’ve hit the jackpot by landing on this article.
If you don’t have much time, then consider one of the fridges below. These are my top picks for the best fridge for your garage.
Here, I’m going to take you through why it’s crucial to get the right kind of fridge equipment for the space it’s meant for, as well as review what I think are the top 5 refrigerators for your garage. So, stick around!
Chillin’ in the Kitchen, or in the Garage?
There are plenty of reasons for putting a refrigerator in your garage. Even if you have a perfectly good fridge in the kitchen, it doesn’t help to have extra space to store chilled items, particularly if you’re thinking long-term.
We don’t like to mention the pandemic too much here because, let’s face it – we’re all sick and tired of hearing, reading, and talking about it, but one thing’s for sure: this crazy virus has made us re-evaluate a lot of things in our lives, and this includes the way we shop.
Whether you were one of those who fled to the store and bought all the toilet rolls you could get your hands on, or you only decided to stock up on a couple of extra gallons of milk and got in some extra canned goods, the thought of running out of vital items was scary.
It means that many of us have taken a step back, and we’ve thought about how we can prepare for the leaner times. Maybe if you see a bulk offer on an item, you’re more likely to snap up that bargain and store it in the garage.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about some extreme-couponing kind of hoard, where you stock up on stuff you don’t need simply because you cut out a hundred vouchers from a magazine. But having a little extra in the house for those crazy lockdown months? That’s just good sense.
This is where a garage refrigerator makes all the difference.
There are other factors that would absolutely justify an extra fridge in the garage:
- a big family
- a catering business
- a love of entertaining guests
- a place to store beer when you’re working on the car or working out
- a place to hide all the Halloween candy you confiscated
- … you’ll know your own reasons.
The most important thing to remember is that a regular kitchen refrigerator may not last long in your garage before it breaks down.
Why, may you ask? Well, it’s all about heat.
Get the Right Refrigerator For Your Garage
You might have found out that hard way that taking an old refrigerator from the kitchen into the garage, maybe when you’ve upgraded your kitchen appliances, hasn’t ended up being the success story you’d hoped for.
It’s not a coincidence that the refrigerator that worked fine for years in the kitchen suddenly stops working when it’s in the garage. It’s because your garage isn’t heated the same way your house is.
Your house has an ambient temperature. When it’s winter, you turn on the heating. In the summer, you put on the air conditioning. A kitchen refrigerator is built to work in these consistent year-round temperatures.
If your garage is always stiflingly hot, then the fridge will work overtime to keep the inside at the temperature you’ve set it at.
But on the other hand, a fridge should always be colder than the temperature around it, so if your garage is freezing cold, then your fridge won’t keep as cool inside as it should.
This is because a fridge is basically a machine that operates in conjunction with the temperature outside. If the garage is too cold, then the compressor will stop working, because as far as the mechanism is concerned, the temperature’s cold enough. That’s when your food will spoil.
It’s why you should always get a garage-safe refrigerator if that’s where you’re planning on keeping it, but even then, there’s a good chance that you’ll run into problems if you live in a place that sees very cold winters.
What Makes a Refrigerator Garage Safe?
It can be tempting to buy a fridge that boasts of being “garage-safe” on the label, but this comes with provisos.
Think About Where You Live
Just because a refrigerator is “garage-safe” in Florida doesn’t mean that it’ll be fine and dandy in New York. You should still be aware of the kind of temperatures your garage will see, especially when the weather gets cold.
You should always check the owner’s manual before you buy, even on a refrigerator that appears to be safe for your garage. This will tell you the lowest outside temperature your fridge can cope with before you’ll start to have problems.
So, even though your Aunt May down in Alabama says her fridge works fine out in the garage all year long, it doesn’t mean the same model will be good for you in Rhode Island.
What’s the Best Way to Chill Items in the Garage?
There are always different ways to approach a problem, and the method you choose will depend on all kinds of things, including:
- What you’re planning to store in your garage refrigerator
- How much you’re planning to store
- The size of your budget
Sure, an easy fix would be to buy an all-singing, all-dancing, ready-for-any-weather commercial refrigerator that has precision temperature controls and state of the art insulation systems.
It’d be the kind of machine that would be just as capable of chilling your sauvignon blanc in the Sahara Desert as it would stopping your beers from exploding in the Arctic.
But that kind of commercial machine is going to set you back thousands of dollars. If money’s no object, then you’ll surely find exactly what you need. But for the rest of us, we like to get the best solution for the most reasonable cost.
This might mean thinking outside the box. Or in this case, thinking outside the ice box.
Do You Want the Refrigerator to Freeze, Chill, or Both?
Kitchen refrigerators are often a mix of fridge and freezer in one machine. Maybe each compartment stands side by side, or maybe the freezer is above the refrigerator or vice versa. Some fridges have a tiny icebox at the very top.
The ambient temperature of your kitchen, as discussed earlier, is great for keeping your freezer compartment freezing, and your chiller compartment chilling. Putting these two compartments together in an unstable garage environment is asking for trouble.
So, think about getting rid of one of these compartments. Are you only looking to freeze things? Get a deep freeze. Are you only looking to keep your beers cold? Get a standalone fridge and forget about the freezer part.
Bet you can’t say that ten times fast.
Regular fridges put into a garage fail most often because the garage itself is so cold that the fridge doesn’t cool down inside, because it reads that the outside temperature is cold enough. So, food spoils.
You can try insulating your refrigerator, putting your own insulation material, or even building an insulated cabined to keep the outside of the fridge warmer, thus keeping the inside cooler.
It’s possible to buy a heating kit that will do this very job for less than $20, too. These heating kits wrap around the mechanism at the back of the fridge and keep things at a warmer temperature even if your garage is otherwise too cold.
Now, these kits work great for cooler garages but even they have limits and won’t help you out if your garage gets below 32 degrees. An even bigger project would involve insulating your whole garage but let’s face it… all that for a fridge is kind of overkill.
The best and most cost-effective, reliable method is to buy a refrigerator that’s built to work in a garage. Simple!
What Garage Refrigerator Should You Buy?
Finding out which is the best refrigerator for your garage is why you’re here, so we’ll get to that now, as we look at a sample of the 5 best (in this appliance geek’s humble opinion) refrigerators for your garage.
I’ve not ranked these in any kind of ‘least great to most awesome’ because they all have different features, as you’ll see if you read on. The important thing to remember is that the fridge that works for you will be the one that suits your needs the most.
Here we go.
- Height: 72 inches
- Width: 31 inches
- Capacity: 18 cubic feet
I had good feelings about this fridge before I’d even checked it out because the title itself made me feel like I’d hit the jackpot immediately. Gladiator? In my garage? Sign me up!
It didn’t disappoint in person, either. This refrigerator was made for a garage, and its incredibly sturdy frame makes it one of the best refrigerators that Whirlpool’s ever made.
Now, it’s a pretty heavy piece of kit but it has to be; it has extra-thick glass to hold all your cans of beer, and the cabinet’s made of granite. But it comes on casters, so it’s insanely easy to move around the garage.
You can open the door by stepping on the footplate if your hands are full, and if you’re not happy with the way the doors open then don’t worry, because they’re reversible, so you can move the hinges to the other side with very little difficulty.
It’s built to last in a garage or even a lockup, and one of the reasons is that there’s no built-in freezer. Instead, it’s all refrigerator, so bear that in mind with this model. It’s pretty tall, but for that kind of capacity (nearly 18 cubic feet), that’s to be expected. Great refrigerator.
- Height: 77 inches
- Width: 33 inches
- Capacity: 21 cubic feet
This fridge is another beast but once again, casters on the bottom make for easy movement. This refrigerator is taller and wider than the Whirlpool Gladiator but that’s because the storage capacity is larger.
It’s a little pricier BUT there’s the option to switch between a refrigerator and a freezer and that’s worth the extra couple of hundred bucks, easy. This fridge is like an insurance policy.
It’s not as sexy as the Gladiator; it’s a pretty standard white appliance but it does the job, and it does it well.
Not being able to change the doors around might put some of you off, but if it doesn’t, then seriously consider this machine. The customer reviews speak for themselves: it’s big, it holds a lot, it’s perfect for the garage. You can’t go wrong.
- Height: 67 inches
- Width: 30 inches
- Capacity: 19 cubic feet / 5.6 cubic feet
Moving into fridge/freezer territory now, the GE GTS19 is going to give you the best of both worlds at the same time, as it freezes and chills thanks to two separate apartments. What’s more, it’s garage ready AND it’s a whole chunk cheaper than the Forte.
GE appliances have been a household name for over a century and there’s a good reason for it: their appliances are built to last.
Considering that it’s 10 inches shorter than the Forte, this refrigerator still has an incredibly impressive capacity, with almost the same refrigerator capacity plus an extra 5.6 cubic feet of freezer space.
So, all in all you’re getting even more space for less cash, and this fridge freezer is versatile enough to stand in your kitchen or your garage, whichever you choose. I mean, it fits a whole pizza box quite comfortably. Just saying.
Reversible doors are a bonus, along with very sturdy glass shelves and a crisper drawer. Which, let’s face it, is just extra space for more beers to go with your large pizza.
- Height: 66 inches
- Width: 30 inches
- Capacity: 18 cubic feet / 4 cubic feet
We’re moving on to a slightly smaller fridge here, and by that I’m literally talking one inch shorter. Now, we all know how vital an inch is in some areas, but in this one, it makes practically no difference.
The Frigidaire is an insanely good piece of kit for the price, even less expensive than the GE in most places, and yet you’ll barely notice the size difference (insert joke about everything being smaller when it’s cold, here).
It’s a modest design again, but it gets the job done and that’s all we care about. It won’t look too flash in your kitchen but in the garage, it really doesn’t matter how it looks. What matters is that is has plenty of space, the doors are reversible, and it’s a seriously good price.
- Height: 67 inches
- Width: 30 inches
- Capacity: 17 cubic feet
Back to the free-standing All Refrigerator now, and to wrap up this list there was little choice but to add the Danby model.
Danby is one of those manufacturers who seem to fly under the radar. They’re not one of the big names like Samsung and Whirlpool, but this is because they don’t need to push so much into flaunting their brand. After all, their appliances speak for themselves.
Getting a Danby refrigerator isn’t like getting an average appliance. Instead, their machines hark back to another time, when they technology is just so well made with quality parts that they never seem to break down and they last forever.
This refrigerator model is one such example.
It seems to have everything a regular garage-ready fridge might have, such as the reversible doors, some LED lighting, adjustable shelves, etc., but the reason I’d consider this one over a lot of other models is because of how reliable Danby are as a company.
Their machines are superb, their prices are very reasonable, and they keep my beers chilled. I don’t really need anything more from them.
Which One Works for You?
Any of my recommendations tickling your fancy? Short of looking for a commercial fridge that will set you back thousands of dollars, you’re not going to find a huge amount of difference across the board in terms of performance.
It must be repeated, though, that if you’re living in a part of the country (or the world, for that matter) where your garage will get colder than 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), then none of these refrigerators will be without their problems.
If your garage is at risk of dipping below this temperature, then you can invalidate your warranty if it’s discovered that the refrigerator has been in the garage. The manufacturers know that there are limits to their appliances’ capabilities in extreme weather conditions.
Keeping Your Fridge Working in Colder Temperature
An option for colder garages is to purchase a fridge heater kit. This heats the air around your fridge so that it tricks your fridge into thinking the compressor needs to run. You can check out an example from Amazon here.
You may also want to consider having your garage insulated. This will ensure that your garage is warmer in the colder months and will protect your fridge from damage. Having an insulated garage is great for more reasons than just adding a fridge; insulated garages are great for working on your car or different projects during the winter months.
Other Ways to Chill in Your Garage
You don’t need to restrict yourself to a standard refrigerator. A great way to keep your drinks and food chilled is to buy an outdoor beverage fridge, which would work like a dream as a garage fridge.
The great thing is that these outdoor beverage fridges are much smaller and more compact than your average fridge so when friends come over for a barbecue, you can wheel this little beauty out, no problem.
Outdoor beverage fridges perform better than your average garage fridge in hot weather. They were made to keep drinks chilled on the go, including in camper vans and outdoor events. So even in baking hot summer sun, they can keep an inside temperature of almost 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
I can personally recommend both of the following:
The Newair 15” Built-in 90 Can Outdoor Beverage Fridge
It does exactly what it says in the title: the Newair Outdoor Beverage Fridge chills up to 90 cans.
More than that, it can withstand the height of summer and the depths of winter. Now, given that it stands at 33 inches high and only 15 inches wide, there’s an overall capacity of 3.2 cubic feet so maybe that’s too small for your needs, at least when compared with the other appliances reviewed.
However, for extra drinks storage, this is an incredibly versatile piece of kit. You can put your drinks in for those long hours working on your car or other projects. And when the family come over for a visit, you can bring it out into the garden.
It’ll be perfect for under the counter in your home bar, or on top of the counter for extra wine chilling space in the kitchen. When you go on holiday, you can take it with you in the campervan, if you have electricity. It’s like the best friend you didn’t know you needed.
Another great machine is:
The Summit SPR627OS
Once again perfect for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned, this compact refrigerator is both an outdoor beverage refrigerator and a great chiller for the garage. It’s a little bigger than the Newair, too, with 4.6 cubic feet of capacity.
I love Summit refrigerators because there’s so much you can customize with them. Whether it’s the front fascia, the hinge side, or even a matching freezer, you can get all the kit you need for however cool you need to keep your items.
It’s eco-friendly, too, which may come as a surprise when you learn that this is a certified commercial product. For the price tag, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better refrigerator that works to this standard.
Bar, garage, kitchen, garden… you name it, this fridge will stay consistently efficient.
Are You Sufficiently Chilled Out?
Hopefully, now you have everything you need to know if a refrigerator in the garage is going to be a good solution.
I get the feeling that once you’ve got those beers chilling away nicely, you’ll realize it was a great investment.