Just when you thought absolutely no more frozen pizza boxes could be stuffed into your kitchen freezer, you remembered that you own a garage fridge! See, whether you have a large family or you love to entertain, one fridge might not provide enough storage space.
“Garage refrigerators are a great option for adding additional food storage to your home—perfect for those with large families or those who like to buy in bulk,” says Rex Freiberger, CEO of Gadget Review. But you can’t stick just any appliance in a garage. A standard fridge works in a climate-controlled space where temperatures never dip below 50 degrees or rise into sweltering, triple digits.
Garages, as we all know, can easily reach extreme temperatures, especially as the seasons change. That's why it's smart to pick a model that is not as sensitive to outside temperature fluctuations. “Trying to use a standard refrigerator in your garage will often result in much higher energy bills and, eventually, temperature fluctuation-related repairs," Freiberger explains.
To help you find an appliance you can reliably use in the garage, we spoke to an appliance expert and scouted fridge manufacturers that are “garage-ready.” We took a deep dive into fridge features, such as slide-out shelves, door pockets, and hidden coils, to put together a list of the most reliable models.
Here is a definitive list of the best garage refrigerators you can buy.
Kenmore Top-Freezer Refrigerator
Curved design takes up extra space
Plastic inside tends to fog up
If you regularly stock up on beverages or love to buy boxes of frozen lasagna while they're on sale, the Kenmore Top-Freezer Refrigerator strikes the right balance of aesthetics, affordability, and function, which is why it’s our top pick. The appliance has both a roomy refrigerator and a top freezer, so you can both chill and freeze extra food, and yes, drinks in the garage. Unlike most basic garage models, this one has convenient features like slide-out glass storage shelves for easy access and easily adjustable door pockets to store condiments and drinks within reach. (Just note: The plastic crisper drawers tend to fog up.) If you’re reaching for something in the dark, you’ll have no problem seeing inside, either. The refrigerator has a nice, bright LED light that illuminates as soon as you open the door.
The exterior design is a step up from other garage-friendly models, too. While the curved front may take up a little bit of extra space, it’s a nice touch—especially in glossy white. The fridge also has hidden coils, so you can tuck the machine just about anywhere and not have to look at condensers. This is also important for the longevity of the appliance, because it helps prevent dust from accumulating, which can be a maintenance headache especially for a garage fridge.
Price at time of publish: $948
Total Capacity: 20.8 cubic feet | Dimensions: 32.87 x 33.8 x 66.1 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice Maker Type: None | Available Finishes: White
GE Garage Ready 21.9 cu. ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator
Available in five finishes
Adjustable glass shelves
No freezer light
No ice maker
When it comes to the garage, chances are that you don’t need anything too fancy—just something that functions in fluctuating temperatures to hold excess food and drink. You don’t have to pay a ton to get a fridge that’s functional enough. This one, available in five attractive finishes, will get the job done just as well as any other garage-friendly appliance—for a little bit less.
At a total of 21.9 cubic feet, the machine has more space than most. Inside, you’ll find adjustable glass shelves and door pockets for storing trays and taller, skinnier bottles. The shelf on the top freezer is adjustable, so you can accommodate bigger boxes of frozen items. Though a decent size, the freezer is relatively basic. It doesn’t have an ice maker or a light, so it may be hard to see contents while poking around at night. At the same time, having fewer bells and whistles means there will be fewer issues to fix later on down the line.
Price at time of publish: $1,199
Total Capacity: 21.9 cubic feet | Dimensions: 32.75 x 34.5 x 65.875 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice Maker Type: None | Available Finishes: Black slate, stainless steel, white, slate, black
Best Stainless Steel
Frigidaire 20.5 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator in Stainless Steel
Available in three finishes
Door shelves are not adjustable
No ice maker
If you want to look at something a little more elevated than your standard garage refrigerator, look for a stainless steel option like Frigidaire's Top Freezer Refrigerator. Though many basic fridges only come in white or black, Frigidaire’s model also comes in an attractive stainless steel design. The door can be changed to open from the left or the right, so you can stick this fridge in just about any corner and not have any trouble accessing it. (That is key in especially tight spaces like the garage.)
Inside, you’ll find a large refrigerator with 15.2 cubic feet for chilling and a freezer with 5.2 cubic feet for freezing and preserving. There’s plenty of dedicated space to keep things organized—the fridge has crispers, a deli drawer, and a dairy compartment, as well as gallon-friendly door bins. The freezer has plenty of space, too. You’ll find two full-width freezer door racks and a one half-width shelf inside. If there’s any downside to the space inside, it’s that the gallon door bins aren’t adjustable, so you’ll have to work with what’s already there.
Price at time of publish: $1,029
Total Capacity: 20.5 cubic feet | Dimensions: 30 x 34.5 x 68.25 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice Maker Type: None | Available Finishes: Stainless steel, white, black
Samsung 15.6 cu. ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator
Potential problems with the ice maker
The more appliances you run, the higher your energy bill will be. To help cut down on expenses, it’s a good idea to make sure that all of your appliances are energy-efficient like this model from Samsung. At 15.6 cubic feet, it’s a bit smaller than some of the other garage-ready refrigerators on this list, but you’ll be able to maximize space with conveniences like a reversible door and fully adjustable shelves in the interior and along the door.
Another nice perk: This fridge has an optional ice maker, so you can pop it in and out as needed. Put it in when you need ice, or take it out if you’d rather have the space. Samsung’s ice makers are known to be problematic, though, so don’t let this be the one and only selling point for you.
This fridge is much more attractive than most garage options, too. It has a slim profile and comes in a sleek stainless steel finish. When opened, the fridge has a bright LED light that lights the whole thing up, so you can see what’s inside during the day and at night.
Price at time of publish: $850
Total Capacity: 15.6 cubic feet | Dimensions: 27.62 x 29.12 x 66.87 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice Maker Type: Single | Available Finishes: Stainless steel
Best Large Capacity
Gladiator 17.8 cu. ft. Rolling Freezerless Refrigerator
No freezer space
Going by cubic feet alone, you may assume that this refrigerator is smaller than others, but remember: This model doesn’t have a freezer, so all 17.8 cubic feet is dedicated totally to chilling. The appliance also has big wire drawers, convenient shelves, and adjustable door pockets to maximize storage space. It’s a great option for large families and people who like to entertain.
As any garage appliance should be, this one is incredibly heavy-duty. It can operate in extreme temperatures and sits on durable casters, so even if it’s full, you can move it around as needed. The machine also has a tread pedal, so you can open it even with your hands full—perfect when you’re toting a lot of items in and out of the garage.
Price at time of publish: $1,800
Total Capacity: 17.8 cubic feet | Dimensions: 31 x 32 x 72 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice Maker Type: None | Available Finishes: Black
Best Mini Fridge
BLACK+DECKER BCRK43B 4.3 cu. ft. Freestanding Mini Fridge with Freezer
If you only need a little extra space—like room for cans of soda or extra juice boxes, a mini fridge can be a nice, budget-friendly and space-saving option. Still, it doesn’t necessarily have to lack amenities. This compact model has 4.3 cubic feet of space, plus conveniences like a reversible door and crisper drawer. It also has an internal freezer for frozen goods. All in all, it’s plenty of space for spillover.
The small refrigerator is also energy-efficient, using only about 226 kWh of electricity per year—significantly less compared to other models of its size on the market. Of course, there are some drawbacks, namely, that it manually defrosts and its shelving isn't adjustable. This may present an issue for bulkier items, but it is perfectly suitable for small containers of fruit or leftovers.
Price at time of publish: $248
Total Capacity: 4.3 cubic feet | Dimensions: 32.72 x 20.63 x 20.94 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice Maker Type: None | Available Finishes: Black, gray, white
For a garage-ready fridge that's both attractive and functional, opt for the Kenmore Top-Freezer Refrigerator. This pick is far from basic, offering convenience features like slide-out glass storage shelves and hidden coils. If you're sticking to a budget, the GE Garage Ready 21.9-cu ft Top-Freezer Refrigerator is also a great option. It comes in five finishes and has adjustable shelves, but you’ll sacrifice in the freezer department—there’s no light.
What to Look for in a Garage Fridge
Size and Capacity
Refrigerator capacity is measured in cubic feet. The more cubic feet, the more interior space for storage. Be sure to note how cubic feet are divided between refrigerator and freezer space in the model you’re considering.
When selecting the right size for you, first consider your space. How much room do you have to devote to the appliance? Fridges with roomier capacities typically have a larger overall footprint and are a bit bulkier. About 20 cubic feet is standard, but there are smaller and larger options, too. If you need lots of fridge space, but a freezer isn’t as important, you may even consider a model without a freezer to maximize cubic feet where you need it most.
Freezer Location and Organization Options
Temperatures in a garage often fluctuate greatly based on the weather. It’s imperative that you choose a garage-ready option, which means the appliance is meant to operate even under extreme temperatures. That's why we chose Kenmore Top-Freezer Refrigerator as our top pick. The fridge is certified by Energy Star and has energy efficient lighting that meets EPA standards and can be placed in a garage that get as cold as 39 degrees—with no additional adaptors. The fridge even has hidden coils, so you can tuck the machine just about anywhere and not have to look at condensers. That is important for the longevity of the appliance, because it helps prevent dust from accumulating.
The number of available refrigerators diminishes greatly when you need this key feature, so once you narrow down your options, then start looking for the most functional of the bunch. Are you planning to store all kinds of things—drinks, veggies, meat, and more? You’ll want to look for fully adjustable options. Many do have adjustable shelves, but some lack options, particularly on the door.
In a second fridge, an ice maker may or may not be an important feature to you. It’s worth noting: Most garage-ready refrigerators are relatively basic and don’t come with ice makers. Others have compatible ice makers that are sold separately. A very select few have them built in.
Reversible Door: A reversible door can make your fridge more flexible to install in your space. And if you have a small garage, it can make or break your ability to have a fridge there, since it makes the appliance much more accessible in a tight space—install it with the door open to the left or right, whatever works best. It’s an easy process. You just have to switch the hinges by attaching them with screws—the holes are typically pre-existing.
Interior Light: An interior light makes it easier to see what’s inside of the appliance. It's not a total necessity, but it’s definitely helpful, especially in a dimly-lit garage at night. Some have a single bulb, while others have a brighter LED strip. And don’t forget to check the freezer. Some models have a light in the fridge but not the freezer.
Energy-Star Certified: When you’re running multiple refrigerators, you may notice an uptick in your energy bill—especially if the machine is working harder to maintain itself in extreme weather. Look for a model that’s Energy Star-certified to ensure that you’re operating the most efficient appliances.
What is the difference between a garage-ready refrigerator and a regular refrigerator?
There isn’t much distinction between a garage-ready refrigerator and a regular refrigerator—other than the fact that a garage-ready appliance is labeled as such to indicate that it can adequately operate in more extreme temperatures of unconditioned spaces like the garage. “Garage-ready models are specifically designed to handle the extreme hot and cold temperature fluctuations that can occur throughout the year,” says Rex Freiberger, CEO of Gadget Review.
Does a refrigerator in the garage use more electricity?
Your garage fridge may use more electricity than a typical refrigerator—especially in the summer months when the temperature is hotter and the fridge has to work harder to cool. According to Energy Star, a fridge in a 90 degree environment uses 45 to 50 percent more energy than one in a 70-degree environment. To help keep energy usage down, look for an Energy Star-certified appliance.
Can you keep a refrigerator in an uninsulated garage or hot garage?
You can keep a refrigerator in an uninsulated or hot garage as long as it’s labeled garage-ready, as this indicates the appliance can handle extreme temperatures. Garage-ready appliances will also specify temperature ranges at which they can safely operate in the user’s manual. Typically, your garage will need to stay above 35 degrees Fahrenheit, for even a garage-ready refrigerator to operate. Optionally, modifications can be installed that can extend their temperature range somewhat.
Should you unplug your garage refrigerator in the winter?
You don’t have to unplug your garage fridge in the winter, but there’s one important caveat: If you have a garage-ready fridge, check the user’s manual to find out what temperature range it can operate at. If the temperature dips below the base threshold, your fridge may think it’s too cold and shut off, which could lead to food spoilage. To circumvent that, you could install a heating coil around the thermostat.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Brigitt Earley, a freelance writer with nearly 15 years of experience writing about consumer products like home appliances. To curate this list, Earley scoured the most popular retailers to find garage-ready refrigerators. Then, she researched each one, reading all of the specs and hundreds of reviews.
Earley also interviewed experts like Rex Freiberger, CEO of Gadget Review, to find out what is most important when shopping for a garage fridge. She further analyzed each product being considered to ensure the final list contained only the most reliable, quality options on the market today.