Even though it’s a hefty investment, having an Orlando outdoor kitchen is definitely worthwhile. Not only will it increase your home value but it’ll also allow homeowners to enjoy cooking outdoors. It’s the perfect place to entertain relatives and friends. Thus, it’s crucial to have the right appliances and pieces of furniture to make the outdoors a perfect gathering spot. One way to elevate your outdoor kitchen is to invest in an outdoor fridge.
Unfortunately, choosing an outdoor fridge is easier said than done. Simply picking the first one you come across will only result in buyer’s remorse. Hence, shopping for outdoor refrigerators needs careful planning, especially since there are plenty of models available on the market. You should also make sure that the refrigerator fits your needs, which means choosing the right size and type.
Before delving into the reasons why homeowners should invest in an outdoor fridge with a stainless steel door and the considerations to make when buying one, it’s important to know why indoor and outdoor refrigerators have different purposes.
Indoor vs Outdoor Refrigerators
Essentially, the difference between the two types of refrigerators is in the name itself. An indoor refrigerator is to be used inside, while outdoors for the Orlando outdoor kitchen. Your glass doors basically separate the two types of refrigerators.
To delve deeper, the reasons why indoor refrigerators shouldn’t be used outside lies in the lack of ambient temperature and weatherproofing, which is present in outdoor refrigerators.
Refrigerators must keep all of their content fresh and cold, regardless of the temperature outside. Unfortunately, not all appliances are built to withstand the constant change of temperature. That’s why outdoor appliances, especially refrigerators, must function despite the unstable environment they’re exposed to.
Thankfully, most, if not all, outdoor refrigerators have a digital thermostat, ensuring that owners can monitor their status and everything inside them.
Indoor appliances don’t need to weatherproof their electrical components. Take note that water and electricity are a dangerous combination. Hence, indoor refrigerators aren’t suited for outdoor use as they can be hazardous, especially if it’s raining or placed around the pool area.
Reasons To Have an Outdoor Refrigerator
If you’re still undecided about getting an outdoor refrigerator, consider these reasons from the get-go.
Cool Beverages Anytime
Those who constantly entertain their guests outside may have noticed that they frequently go back inside for a drink. But, an outdoor beverage cooler in the form of a fridge will eliminate this need, allowing owners to focus on having fun.
Additionally, outdoor refrigerators are perfect as beer dispensers since they function as well as indoor refrigerators. If beer isn’t your poison, an outdoor refrigerator will also act as a wine cooler. In essence, having a refrigerator in your Orlando outdoor kitchen will quench your thirst.
Cooking Made Simpler
Just because they’re not located inside doesn’t mean that outdoor kitchens shouldn’t be highly functional and simple. One way to achieve this is to have everything, such as cooking ingredients and proteins, accessible. Thankfully, outdoor freezers and fridges serve as storage for these cooking essentials.
Using indoor fridges while cooking outside isn’t only a hassle but it can also be costly. When cooking, both the stove and oven will generate heat, forcing one’s AC to work harder, increasing energy costs.
By investing in outdoor refrigerators, homeowners will no longer rely on their AC to have a cool and welcoming environment. Also, its internal fan will ensure that it won’t generate heat to the point that it’ll warm up the outdoors.
As mentioned above, one of the best things about having an Orlando outdoor kitchen is for everyone to enjoy the outdoor setting. With an outdoor refrigerator with stainless steel construction or other materials, homeowners can still entertain and have fun with their guests as they’re cooking their meals.
To elevate one’s outdoor living experience, make sure the outdoor refrigerator has good interior lighting. You wouldn’t want to ruin the mood with a broken light.
What To Look for in an Outdoor Refrigerator
Now that you’re convinced about purchasing an outdoor refrigerator, the next step is to know what to look for. Take note that buying one goes beyond knowing the energy star rating or whether it has a reversible door or adjustable shelves.
To help you out, here are some points to consider when buying an outdoor cooler, whether it’s a compact refrigerator or a larger type.
Here are some specifications to keep in mind:
- UL (Underwriter’s Laboratories): A refrigerator, whether indoor or outdoor, with a UL rating means that it has undergone the necessary safety testing and certification. Hence, a UL rating is a guarantee of food safety, which is important when storing perishable goods.
- NSF (National Sanitation Foundation): The NSF label assures that the refrigerator is food-safe. One way for a refrigerator to receive this label is for it to have the right temperature controls –– the unit must maintain at least 40°F or 4.4°C. The NSF label is also a guarantee that all materials used in creating the refrigerator are FDA-approved, making it perfect for those who are environmentally conscious.
- Energy Star: A high Energy Star rating is given to products that display top-quality performance yet use less electricity. In addition to being energy-efficient, an Energy Star rating also means that the unit will emit fewer greenhouse gasses.
In addition to the technical details, it’s also crucial to double-check if the refrigerator is fit for outdoor spaces. In order to have a wonderful outdoor ice maker or beverage center, make sure that the unit has good insulation and a built-in compressor.
Moreover, typical outdoor models will have ventilation from the front. This way, air circulation won’t be obstructed by any object on the side or behind the refrigerator. Those with rear venting are also great options as long as there’s enough space around the sides, back, and on top of the appliance.
Choose Between Air or Cold Plate Outdoor Refrigeration
Regardless of if you’re opting for smaller units or big ones, you have to decide between air or cold plate air systems. The former utilizes a fan to push air into the refrigerator’s cabinet. This way, it’ll help homeowners like you to reach their ideal temperature.
On the other hand, a cold plate, sometimes referred to as static cooling refrigeration, has its cooling element at the back so it can pull heat out, cooling the contents. Take note that it may take two days for the entire refrigerator to cool with this system.
Decide Between Freestanding or Built-In
Although it may sound like it refers to the refrigerator’s safety lock, freestanding or built-in is actually related to the unit’s ventilation.
The specific details of a built-in refrigerator mean that the ventilation is “built-in” to the outdoor cabinets without having any spacing requirements. Owners who want to have a seamless look in their Orlando outdoor kitchen usually opt for built-in refrigerators, especially those that can be placed under the counter.
A freestanding outdoor refrigerator has its ventilation on the top, sides, and back, which means it requires some space for it to work properly. However, freestanding use is more flexible since it can be placed in any part of the outdoor kitchen.
If the manufacturer has excellent customer service, you can ask for advice on where to install a freestanding refrigerator, boosting the appeal of the outdoor kitchen. Still, since it’s highly flexible, homeowners have the freedom to install this type of outdoor refrigeration themselves.
Although adjustable glass shelves are a good feature for an outdoor refrigerator, there are plenty of design elements to consider to make sure it’s going to be a worthy investment. Here are some of them:
- Material: Ideally, an outdoor fridge should have an inch wide or more rust-resistant material, like stainless steel. But, take note of the type of stainless steel: 304 stainless is more resistant to corrosion than 430. Also, keep in mind that luxury models are more durable than their standard or mid-range counterparts.
- Storage capacity: Outdoor refrigerators are compact. At most, the total capacity of their interiors is five to six cubic feet, depending on the model. Fortunately, the drawers and shelves, like adjustable wire shelves, can be modified to add some cubic feet of storage space.
- Lighting: Whether for residential or commercial use, refrigerators must have adequate lighting. Ideally, the lighting should be LED since this type of lighting is long-lasting, won’t warm up the interiors, and allows users to use the outdoor fridge even when it’s dark.
- Features: Although it has a simple design compared to other models, outdoor refrigerators are made up of robust components. Also, owners have the option to add specific features, like automatic defrost, glass doors, locking doors, refrigerator drawers, and more!
Take note that an outdoor refrigerator should suit your needs and wants. To cut costs, make sure to include features that are necessary for you.
Best Outdoor Refrigerators
Here are some outdoor refrigerators that’ll be a great addition to your Orlando outdoor kitchen. As a reminder, make sure to look for specific features, like a door lock, that suits your needs and preferences when choosing an outdoor refrigerator. If applicable, you can even find models that are ADA compliant.
This unit from Summit Appliance is a 24-inch outdoor undercounter refrigerator. It also has adjustable glass shelves, a door lock, LED lighting, internal fan, and 4.6 cubic feet of storage. More importantly, it’s commercially approved and has an Energy Star rating, making it environmentally friendly.
Another good outdoor refrigerator from Summit Appliance, the ADRD24 is a 2-drawer undercounter refrigerator with 4.8 cubic feet of storage capacity. When it comes to its features, it’s panel ready, has fan-forced cooling, a digital display, Sabbath mode, a digital thermostat, and is ADA compliant. Like the SPR627OS, the ADRD24 also has an Energy Star certification.
Blaze 4.5 Cu. Ft. Outdoor Refrigerator
With its 4.5 cubic feet of space, adjustable shelving, and user-friendly controls, you can rest assured that this Blaze outdoor refrigerator is perfect for a pool party or any other outdoor activity. For a few hundred dollars, this unit has important features, like full-extension pullout shelves. However, even if the unit is made for outdoor use, it’s not as durable, especially if it’s constantly exposed to direct sunlight, as its more expensive counterparts. This means that you should pay attention to the manufacturer’s care tips.
Thor Kitchen TRF2401U
With its adjustable legs, stainless cabinet, and digital control panel, the Thor TRF2401U is the perfect way to boost your outdoor kitchen design. In addition to being a good outdoor dispenser, this model is also listed for use in a commercial setup. Lastly, it has good temperature swings, allowing consistent temperature.
The C1BIR24R is a 24-inch outdoor compact refrigerator. With 5.5 cubic feet of storage capacity, it’s the most spacious outdoor refrigerator on this list. It’s also constructed with stainless steel, has wire shelves, an automatic defrost feature, and suitable interior lighting.
This model is a 24-inch built-in outdoor refrigerator with 5.3 cubic feet of storage capacity. With its blue interior lighting, dynamic cooling technology, and adjustable stainless steel shelves, the LN24REFR will be a great addition to one’s outdoor kitchen. Lastly, it’s UL listed and has an Energy Star rating.
How To Maintain Your Outdoor Refrigerator
Since outdoor refrigerators come in an expensive price range, especially if they have a door alarm feature, it’s important to observe proper maintenance to extend their lifespan. This means cleaning the coils, interiors, and the compressor fan. Also, make sure to consider how you’re going to use the refrigerator.
For instance, if you’re planning to have a beer just so you can have a cold beer during warm months, turn it off during the cold seasons. Additionally, if you’re leaving on vacation, make sure to turn it off a day in advance. Lastly, make sure to store baking soda. Doing so will remove any unwanted odors.
To further lengthen the lifespan of an outdoor refrigerator, consider doing these maintenance routines:
- Shield the refrigerator from the wind, sun, and rain
- Allow adequate airflow around the unit
- Regularly inspect and clean the appliance
Now that you know about outdoor refrigerators –– from the benefits of having one to the considerations to make when purchasing them –– the next step to take is to choose the right product.
If you want faster home delivery, consider buying from Summit Appliance. Not only can their outdoor refrigerators cool any type of beverage but since they’re a reputable manufacturer you can rest assured that their refrigerators will ensure the life of your product. From stainless steel finishes to adjustable shelves, it’s a guarantee that Summit Appliance will have a refrigerator that’ll complete the rest of your kitchen.