The Best Garage Refrigerators of 2023

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 25, 2022 10:28 AM

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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 is 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-Cubic-Foot Top Freezer Refrigerator
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Frigidaire Apartment-Size Refrigerator With Freezer
  3. BEST LARGE-CAPACITY: GE 21.9-Cubic-Foot Top Freezer Refrigerator
  4. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Gladiator GarageWorks 17.8-Cubic-Foot Refrigerator
  5. BEST MINI FRIDGE: Black + Decker Compact Mini Fridge With Freezer
  6. BEST FRIDGE ONLY: Danby 11-Cubic-Foot All Refrigerator
  7. ALSO CONSIDER: Danby Classic Retro 4.4-Cubic-Foot Mini Fridge
The Best Garage Refrigerator Options

Photo: lowes.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Garage Refrigerator

While storage space 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. A top refrigerator freezer, which includes 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 having storage space that hovers 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 by 33 inches wide by 34 inches deep, while smaller models of about 14 cubic feet may measure just 60 inches tall by 27 inches wide by 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

While adding a garage refrigerator increases a home’s capacity to store perishable foods, it can also put a strain on the electric bill. Thus, it’s crucial to consider energy efficiency when shopping for a second fridge to go in the garage.

As with other appliances, the most energy-efficient garage refrigerators have Energy Star ratings. An Energy Star refrigerator consumes up to 40 percent less energy than a standard refrigerator, which can amount to savings of $50 to $100 or more per year in utility costs, depending on the cost of electricity. And, while an Energy Star-certified fridge may cost around 15 percent more than a standard model, buyers can expect to make up that price difference in energy savings within a couple of years.

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 space 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 with modular bins for versatility
  • Useful additional features include edge-to-edge glass shelves and LED lighting
  • Affordably priced

Cons

  • Smaller capacity than some full-size models

Get the GE 19.1-cubic-foot garage refrigerator at AJ Madison, Best Buy, Wayfair, or Lowe’s.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Garage Refrigerator Option: Frigidaire Apartment-Size Refrigerator With Freezer
Photo: amazon.com

The compact size of this garage fridge, designed for finished, climate-controlled garages, coupled with its affordable price make it a great companion for a garage workshop. It comes in three size options—3.2 cubic feet, 4.6 cubic feet, and 7.5 cubic feet—which includes the freezer section.

Vintage chrome handles, a stainless steel front, and the Frigidaire logo emblazoned on its front give this refrigerator freezer a retro look, making it ideal for home mechanics who want to keep cold beverages on hand. The lower fridge section includes three slide-out adjustable glass shelves along with a vegetable crisper and four door shelves. The upper freezer compartment is large enough to hold ice and frozen desserts.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 3.2, 4.6, or 7.5 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: N/A
  • Finish: Stainless Steel

Pros

  • Affordable option for a second food- and beverage-storage place
  • Stylish retro looks; great for a garage or game room
  • 3 size options to meet the needs of multiple space

Cons

  • Smaller than some garage fridges
  • Can only be used in a climate-controlled garage

Get the Frigidaire garage refrigerator at Amazon, The Home Depot, Best Buy, or Target (3.2 cubic feet only).

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 66.375 inches tall by 32.75 inches wide by 34.5 inches deep.

Product Specs

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

Pros

  • Large capacity exceeds that of many other garage fridges
  • Classic and timeless stainless steel finish
  • Plentiful door storage and large produce bins

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other garage fridge options

Get the GE 21.9-cubic-foot garage refrigerator at The Home Depot.

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 withstands the conditions of workshops and garages
  • Large casters allow for easy movement if needed
  • Hands-free access simplifies opening when hands are full

Cons

  • More expensive than some comparable garage refrigerator models

Get the Gladiator garage refrigerator at Appliances Connection, Garage Organization, or The Home Depot.

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 by 21 inches wide by 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 for both food and drinks
  • Built-in can dispenser, a unique feature among garage refrigerators
  • Wide temperature range withstands harsher environmental conditions

Cons

  • Very limited freezer section won’t be useful for most people

Get the Black+Decker garage refrigerator at Amazon, Wayfair, or Lowe’s.

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 by 24 inches wide by 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 certification 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, including larger bottles
  • Small footprint fully devoted to refrigerator space
  • Attractive stainless steel finish looks great in rooms where aesthetics are important
  • Energy Star rating saves on long-term energy costs

Cons

  • Expensive for size and in comparison to other options

Get the Danby 11-cubic-foot garage refrigerator on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

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; includes an 8-can dispenser
  • Attractive finish and design adds a retro vibe to any space
  • Compact size offers additional cold storage without taking up too much room

Cons

  • Expensive for a mini fridge, especially a mini version

Get the Danby Classic Retro garage refrigerator on Amazon, The Home Depot, Wayfair, or Best Buy.

Jump to Our Top Picks



Our Verdict

For its ample space, ability to endure extreme temperatures, and versatile storage design, the GE 19.1-cubic-foot garage refrigerator is well suited to endure life in a garage. If shoppers are in the market for something smaller and don’t need the added freezer space, they may want to consider the Danby 11-cubic-foot garage refrigerator.

How We Chose the Best Garage Refrigerators

Several important criteria figured into our list of the best garage refrigerators. With the exception of one selection for finished climate-controlled garages, we 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. Where possible, we learned toward models with glass shelves, LED lighting, and adjustable shelving. Finally, we selected refrigerators that cover a broad range of sizes to suit a variety of needs, including mini-fridges with a capacity of 4 to 5 cubic feet up to full-size refrigerators that have over 21 cubic feet of space.

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?

Unless your garage is climate-controlled, you need a special fridge. 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. Therefore, especially for unheated garages, it’s a good idea to unplug a garage refrigerator in the winter.

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