When you think of an entertainers dream outdoor cooking space, proper refrigeration typically fails to make the list of “must haves.” This oversight is a huge misstep that homeowners make, but one that should not be ignored. Not only is it a great convenience for chilled drinks and food prepped for the grill, but it also allows for enjoying outdoor living spaces to the fullest, without the need to trek back inside the home.
But, not all outdoor refrigerators are created equally. Here are the most important considerations for outside refrigeration:
Materials to Withstand the Great Outdoors
Outdoor refrigerators are designed specifically for use outside. Weatherproofing keeps the electrical parts safe from normal water wear like rain. Most fridges are made from stainless steel, as it is the best material to resist rust in wet environments. To ensure the life of your unit, you’ll want to purchase a unit with commercial-quality, high grade stainless steel. Liebherr’s RO-510 fits the bill. Its 304-grade stainless steel finish protects against corrosion from the elements, while maintaining its sleek, sophisticated look.
Freestanding vs. Built-In
Take your pick; freestanding fridges are just that, stand-alone units that can complement any space. But, if you’re thinking of building your refrigerator into an outdoor kitchen island or cabinetry, you’ll want to be sure that the unit is designed for such placement, installing it with space to allow for good ventilation. With U-Line, you can have a unit that does both. Its 1224RSOD 24” outdoor refrigerator is designed for built-in and freestanding applications. It features three full-depth 4 millimeter Tempered Glass Shelves with Bullnose Edges to contain spills and to provide maximum storage potential. Add Touch Controlled Digital Technology and Single-Zone Passive Cooling System, this unit provides a stable and consistent environment for optimum food and beverage storage and keeps the temperature in the fridge between 34 and 45 degrees.
Fridge, Freezer or Both
Be in complete control, with a unit that can serve as a refrigerator or a freezer. U-Line’s 1224FZRSOD 24” Outdoor Convertible Freezer has a convection cooling system that rapidly and efficiently takes items to their set temperature. Operating at 34°F – 45°F, in refrigeration mode, with one touch of a button, it can drop to freezer temps, ranging from -5°F – 5°F.
ENERGY STAR-rated outdoor fridges typically have an estimated yearly operating cost of around $35, but can vary, dramatically, based on outdoor temperatures, exposure to direct sunlight, and even proximity to the barbecue. To keep energy costs low, it is suggested that you maintain proper ventilation and position the unit in the shade and away from heat-emitting appliances, such as grills, pizza ovens and fire pits.
You’ll want to be sure, when purchasing any outdoor refrigerator, that there is a warranty, covering the unit and parts. Units approved for outdoor use typically come with a warranty that covers parts and labor for one-year and the compressor for five. U-Line and Liebherr lead the industry with the best comprehensive warranty. U-Line backs each of its indoor and outdoor models with a one year warranty, 5 year parts. A free second year warranty is also available for registered units. Liebherr has a two year warranty, covering parts and labor to repair or replace the unit. Additionally, there is 5-year coverage on defective components and 12-year on for parts.