Summer is the perfect time to make the most of our patios and decks, and fully enjoy the sun-lit outdoors. Of course there are the barbecue sessions, garden parties and marshmallow-roasting sessions around the fire-pit, but the one thing we insist should be the top priority when it comes to outdoor activities is simple enough – staying hydrated.
There’s nothing quite like knocking back a cool lemonade, soda or a plain ole’ glass of nice chilled water on a warm summer day and feeling ourselves cool from the inside out. But then again running back and forth from the kitchen fridge to the backyard tends to get a bit tedious after a while, and so does lugging a cooler filled with ice only to find our drinks swimming around in tepid water by the time half the day is through. Solution?
Well, if you’re not willing to compromise on the coolness of your drinks while you chill out outdoors, we’d recommend considering an outdoor mini fridge. Outdoor refrigerators arguably work a bit harder than indoor refrigerators and mini-fridges – considering how temperatures outdoors can fluctuate through the day, your outdoor fridge will have to feature the appropriate horsepower and insulation to maintain a steady internal temperature regardless of the external temperature.
Outdoor fridges also need to be weatherproof – while this doesn’t mean your fridge is supposed to hold up in a thunderstorm or some other extreme example of weather rebelling, it should be able to withstand a little light rain, with all electric components covered up and not exposed to the occasional splash of water from the pool or a garden hose, the body built to be rust- and corrosion-resistant.
EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD 5.49 Cu. Ft. Cooler
Our top pick slides in nice and easy under most mid-sized counter spaces (particularly thanks to the front-venting system) but can be used as a free-standing unit as well, specifically designed to work outdoors.
Thanks to its rugged functionality and performance, however, this unit is particularly effective as an outdoor mini-fridge – the stainless steel construction ensures the fridge is resistant to rust or corrosion, sleek and well-insulated to constantly maintain steady internal temperatures you can set between 38 and 50°F to keep your drinks chilled and ready whenever you need them.
The impressive internal capacity, in fact, allows you to store up to 142 twelve ounce cans inside, making this the perfect unit to invest in if you tend to entertain outdoors and don’t want to run the risk of running low on drinks when the party’s in full motion.
To ensure performance is the most effective, the unit is cooled by fan circulation, which allows for more even distribution of coolness compared to cold plates, which are known to create ‘cold spots’ or uneven cooling. The glass shelves feature holes to allow better circulation as well, and we prefer these to wire racks since they’re much easier to keep clean, especially if there’s spillage, to avoid the damage from spreading further.
Intuitive digital controls let you set the appropriate temperature you require, as well as know at a glance how cold it is inside the fridge thanks to the digital display, while LED interior lighting switches on when you open the door so you can see what you’re grabbing and organize your drinks as you like.
The unit also features auto-defrost and carbon filtering, making life easier for you by keeping impurities on the down-low inside the fridge and making maintenance and cleaning a breeze. An in-built security lock is also an appreciated extra feature considering this unit is intended for outdoor use.
KAREN’S BUDGET PICK
RCS Gas Grills Outdoor Refrigerator
As a budget option, this unit naturally doesn’t match the same sturdy durability and functionality of our top pick, but this doesn’t mean it’s any less of a great outdoor cooling unit. The stainless steel front of the unit offers protection against the elements with decent protection against rust and corrosion – some users report a couple of rust spots but this is pretty harmless.
This compact unit can be used both as a free-standing mini-fridge, or as an under-the-counter unit for your outdoor kitchen (though keep in mind you’ll have to account for some breathing room since this doesn’t have a front-venting system like our top pick).
The unit features an adjustable thermostat to set temperatures based on your requirements, with versatile internal storage options featuring glass shelves you can stand cans on or tuck in large drink bottles into on their sides, as well as two drawers. Other handy features include interior lighting, an in-built lock system, and an automatic defrost function to make keeping the unit clean that much easier.
Avallon AFR151SSODRH 3.3 Cu Ft 15″ Outdoor Built-In Refrigerator
Usable as both an indoor and outdoor unit, this is another impressive heavy-duty addition to the list, the front-venting system making it a great choice not just as a free-standing mini-fridge but as an under-the-counter unit as well, without the need for additional circulation space.
The rugged stainless steel body ensures longevity, corrosion- and rust-resistance, not only a weather-proof mini-fridge but also with the appropriate insulation to maintain steady internal temperatures despite fluctuating temperatures outside. The fridge can be set to temperatures between 34 to 50°F, compressor powered cooling ensuring the interior remains properly and evenly cooled.
We love the caster wheels included with the unit, making mobility and maneuverability so much easier, as well as the interior lighting, automatic defrost features and carbon filter keeping impurities and contaminants at bay. The unit features storage shelves on the doors, with enough space to store longer bottles and standard cans, as well as glass shelves to stand up cans and lay bottles on their sides. The unit also features a handy lock system.