The Best Garage Refrigerators of 2021

Bring extra food and drink storage to the garage or workshop with garage-ready refrigerators that protect their contents even in extreme temperatures.

By Tony Carrick | Updated Oct 26, 2021 12:25 PM

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The Best Garage Refrigerator Options

Photo: wayfair.com

Whether you have a large family or just love to entertain, sometimes one fridge simply doesn’t provide enough space. Since most homes don’t have room for another refrigerator inside, the garage becomes a logical place for a second one.

When you purchase a refrigerator for the garage, you’ll need to consider different factors than what you looked at when purchasing your kitchen fridge.

A standard refrigerator works in a climate-controlled space where temperatures never dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or rise into triple digits. But garages can reach extreme temperatures on both ends of that spectrum. Garage-ready refrigerators function in near-freezing conditions and in scorching hot temps over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. These specialized fridges range in size from small 4-cubic-foot mini fridges to full-size 21-cubic-foot refrigerators. Ahead, we’ll discuss the features you should consider when shopping for a garage-ready fridge and review some of the top models on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: GE 19.1 Cu. Ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Winia Garage Ready 18-cu ft Top-Freezer Refrigerator
  3. BEST LARGE-CAPACITY: GE 21.9 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator
  4. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Gladiator GarageWorks Refrigerator 17.8 Cu. Ft.
  5. BEST MINI FRIDGE: Black + Decker BCRK Series Mini Fridge
  6. BEST FRIDGE ONLY: Danby 11.0 Cu. Ft. All Refrigerator
  7. ALSO CONSIDER: Danby Classic Retro 4.4 Cubic Feet Mini Fridge
The Best Garage Refrigerator Options

Photo: lowes.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Garage Refrigerator

While capacity matters when it comes to garage refrigerators, other factors must also figure into this decision, including temperature range, storage options, and energy efficiency. Ahead, learn more about these and other attributes of garage refrigerators.

Types of Garage Refrigerators

Garage-ready refrigerators come in a few different types. Top freezer refrigerators, which include a large bottom refrigerator compartment and a smaller top freezer compartment, rank as the most common. Some models function solely as a refrigerator with no freezer compartment. Compact mini fridges that have smaller capacities come rated for use in a garage or even outdoors on a patio.

Garage Temperature

While a regular refrigerator can sit in a garage, it won’t perform optimally unless it’s in a region that stays the same temperature year-round. Most kitchen refrigerators tolerate ambient temperatures ranging from 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperatures in typical unfinished garages tend to reach outside of that range in colder and warmer months.

A typical refrigerator may not handle these extremes. If the ambient air temperature gets too hot, the refrigerator will have to work harder to keep its contents cold, which wears out the compressor fast. If the temperature hovers around freezing, the thermostat may make false readings and cause the freezer to thaw. If the temperature drops well below freezing, food in the refrigerator could freeze.

Refrigerators intended for garage use can handle much more extreme temperatures that go well below freezing or into triple digits.

Temperature Control and Thermostats

As with standard refrigerators, garage refrigerators include thermostats that allow the user to fine-tune the internal temperature. These temperature controls are typically located in an easily accessible place. Unlike standard refrigerators, garage-ready refrigerators also have thermostats that monitor the outside ambient temperature to better regulate the internal temperature of the fridge.

Size

Since garage refrigerators play second fiddle to the main fridge in the kitchen, they typically come in smaller sizes, with most hovering around 18 cubic feet. They range from 14 up to 21 cubic feet, and garage-ready mini fridges typically have capacities of about 4 cubic feet. Of course, the larger the fridge, the more space it will take up in the garage. Larger fridges of 19 cubic feet or more measure about 66 inches tall, 33 inches wide, and 34 inches deep while smaller models of about 14 cubic feet may measure just 60 inches tall, 27 inches wide, and 29 inches deep.

Storage

Since garage fridges typically hold food and drinks in bulk, versatile storage options are crucial. Both the main shelves and door shelves in a garage fridge tend to be adjustable, so the user can customize the inside to suit their needs. Clear glass or plastic shelves make it easier to see the contents of the fridge.

Drink storage is often the primary use of a garage-ready refrigerator. Many feature storage designs to suit that need, including special dispensers and racks for cans and large door shelves that hold tall wine bottles or gallon jugs.

Energy Efficiency

Since garage fridges consume energy just like any other appliance, many have Energy Star ratings, which minimize their impact on an electric bill. An Energy Star refrigerator consumes up to 40 percent less energy than a standard refrigerator, which can amount to savings of up to $100 or more per year.

Our Top Picks

The list below includes some of the best refrigerators for a garage. Each rated for garage use, they range from small 4-cubic-foot mini fridges to full-size 21.9-cubic-foot refrigerator freezers.

Best Overall

The Best Garage Refrigerator Option: GE 19.1 Cu. Ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator
Photo: bestbuy.com

With its ability to handle extreme temperatures coupled with its reasonable price, this refrigerator/freezer from appliance giant GE makes a great choice for bringing additional cold food storage into the garage. This garage-ready model handles temperatures ranging from 38 degrees to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The lower refrigerator and top freezer section combined offer an ample 19.1 cubic feet of food-storage capacity.

Easy-to-access temperature controls allow the user to fine-tune the temperature in both the freezer and fridge. Modular bins in the doors offer versatile storage that one can rearrange for large platters of hors d’oeuvres, tall bottles of wine, or cases of soda. Other useful features include adjustable edge-to-edge glass shelves and LED lighting.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 19.1 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: 38 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Finish: Black, slate, stainless steel, or white

Pros

  • Broad temperature range for garage use
  • Ample size
  • Useful additional features
  • Affordably priced

Cons

  • Smaller capacity than some full-size models

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Garage Refrigerator Option: Winia Garage Ready 18-cu ft Top-Freezer Refrigerator
Photo: lowes.com

Winia’s affordably priced garage refrigerator brings extra food storage to the garage without spending a lot of extra cash. Winia is a lesser-known brand, and its refrigerator stands up to ambient temperatures as low as 38 degrees and as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit, thanks to its built-in sensor.

Customizable door shelves hold larger containers, including gallon jugs, and adjust to suit containers of different heights. Clear drawers for produce make it easier to see what’s inside. The Winia fridge comes in black and white.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 18 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: 38 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Finish: Black or white

Pros

  • Adjustable door shelving
  • Clear drawers for better visibility
  • Works with a broad range of ambient temperatures

Cons

  • A little smaller capacity than other garage-ready fridges

Best Large-Capacity

The Best Garage Refrigerator Option: GE 21.9 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator
Photo: homedepot.com

With its nearly 22 cubic feet of capacity, GE’s stainless steel fridge ranks as one of the larger garage-ready refrigerators on the market. Its ample size includes large bins for produce as well as deep in-door storage bins for large drink containers, including full gallon jugs and tall wine bottles.

Noteworthy features include LED lighting, glass shelves with spill-proof edges, and a rating for ambient temperatures ranging from 38 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Just keep in mind that this model does create a larger footprint than other garage-ready models at 66⅜ inches tall, 32¾ inches wide, and 34½ inches deep.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 21.9 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: 38 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Finish: Stainless steel

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Stainless steel finish
  • Plentiful door storage

Cons

  • Expensive

Best Heavy-Duty

The Best Garage Refrigerator Option: Gladiator GarageWorks Refrigerator 17.8 Cu. Ft.
Photo: garage-organization.com

With its rugged design and thoughtful storage options, this aptly named refrigerator from Gladiator thrives in the garage. Large casters allow the user to wheel the refrigerator around with ease, and a hands-free step opening makes putting away groceries and bulk items a breeze.

Inside, metal trays and large door shelves hold bulk food items and large jugs. Thick glass shelves stand up to heavy loads of multiple 12 packs. A black matte finish with a diamond tread pattern on the door gives the fridge an industrial look that suits a garage space.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 17.8 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: 38 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Finish: Black

Pros

  • Rugged construction
  • Large casters
  • Hands-free access

Cons

  • More expensive than some comparable models

Best Mini Fridge

The Best Garage Refrigerator Option: Black + Decker BCRK Series Mini Fridge
Photo: wayfair.com

Complete the garage workshop or man cave with a good mini fridge. This garage-ready model from tool company Black & Decker withstands the potentially harsh garage environment with a temperature range of 38 degrees to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Its smaller capacity of 4.3 cubic feet, handy six-can dispenser, and door shelves that support a 2-liter bottle work well for storing plenty of drinks and snacks. Measuring just 34 inches tall, 21 inches wide, and 20 inches deep, this compact fridge fits nicely into a workshop without hogging precious work space. The Black & Decker mini fridge comes in white, black, and silver.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 4.3 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: 38 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Finish: Black, white, or silver

Pros

  • Versatile storage options
  • Built-in can dispenser
  • Wide temperature range

Cons

  • Very limited freezer section

Best Fridge Only

The Best Garage Refrigerator Option: Danby 11.0 Cu. Ft. All Refrigerator
Photo: walmart.com

Danby’s model offers 11 cubic feet of refrigerator space with no freezer storage. The fridge, which measures 59 inches tall, 24 inches wide, and 26 inches deep, features wide open shelves for plenty of food and drinks. A vegetable crisper drawer offers a great spot for produce, and adjustable door shelves provide plenty of room for larger bottles.

An Energy Star rating means powering this fridge won’t break the bank. With its stainless steel finish, it makes a great choice for garage workshops or man caves where aesthetics matter.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 11 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: 38 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Finish: Stainless steel or white

Pros

  • Ideal for drink storage
  • Small footprint
  • Attractive stainless steel finish
  • Energy Star rating

Cons

  • Expensive for size

Also Consider

The Best Garage Refrigerator Option: Danby Classic Retro 4.4 Cubic Feet Mini Fridge
Photo: wayfair.com

For those who consider their garage workshop a thing of beauty, this mini fridge makes a great finishing touch. An attractive stainless steel door with retro curves suits a well-curated home workshop.

With its 4.4 cubic feet, it has ample space for numerous beverages and snacks in its small footprint of just 33 inches tall, 21 inches wide, and 21 inches deep. Storage features include a special door rack that holds eight canned beverages and tempered glass shelves large enough to hold a 2-liter bottle. This fridge won’t put a huge hit on the electrical bill, thanks to its Energy Star rating.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 4.4 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: 32 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Finish: Stainless steel

Pros

  • Excellent for drink storage
  • Attractive finish and design
  • Compact size

Cons

  • Expensive for a mini fridge

Our Verdict

For its ample space, ability to endure extreme temperatures, and versatile storage design, the GE 19.1 Cu. Ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator is well suited to endure life in a garage. If you’re in the market for something smaller and don’t need the added freezer space, consider the Danby 11.0 Cu. Ft. All Refrigerator.

How We Chose the Best Garage Refrigerators

Several important criteria figured into our list of the best garage refrigerators. First, we only chose “garage-ready” refrigerators that can endure hotter and colder ambient temperatures than a standard refrigerator to ensure they would operate properly year-round. We also considered storage flexibility. Extra refrigerators often hold bulk items, so it’s crucial that the refrigerator’s drawers and shelving can handle large platters of food, cases of cans, tall wine bottles, and gallon-size jugs. Finally, we selected refrigerators that cover a broad range of sizes to suit a variety of needs.

FAQs

If you’re considering adding a refrigerator kit to a standard refrigerator for garage use, or if you’re wondering if it’s OK to put your refrigerator in the garage, then read on for answers.

Q. Is it OK to put a refrigerator in the garage?

Only if the refrigerator is rated for garage use. Since a garage is an unfinished space, temperatures inside can fluctuate from near freezing temps to extreme heat. A standard refrigerator is not designed to manage such extreme changes in ambient temperature and is therefore more likely to malfunction when faced with cold or heat.

Q. Do garage refrigerator kits work?

A garage refrigerator kit consists of a heating coil that warms the air around the refrigerator’s thermostat. This device tricks the refrigerator into thinking the surrounding air is warm so it turns the compressor on, preventing the freezer from thawing out when the air temperature around it is hovering around freezing. The kits do work; however, they will not help a refrigerator that’s working overtime in the extreme heat of the summer keep its interior contents cold.

Q. Do I need a special fridge for the garage?

Yes. Make sure to get a garage-ready refrigerator. A standard refrigerator can only handle temperature ranges of about 50 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit without malfunctioning or overworking. Garage-ready refrigerators are designed to work in spaces that aren’t climate controlled with broader operating temperature ranges of 32 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q. Should I unplug my garage refrigerator in the winter?

Cold weather can cause a standard refrigerator to stop working properly by forcing the fridge’s thermostat to an extremely low temperature, which shuts off the compressor and can lead to spoiled food.