Outdoor compact refrigerators are a great investment for your outdoor kitchen. Just like with any outdoor kitchen appliance, it is important to purchase a refrigerator that is durable, reliable, and will perform for many years to come. It is also important to consider how you'll be using the refrigerator to make sure it fits your needs.

Here are 5 features you need to consider when buying an outdoor compact refrigerator to ensure confidence in knowing you're making a great purchase.

Outdoor Compact Refrigerators

1. Placement

Where do you plan on placing your outdoor refrigerator? Will you be building it into an outdoor kitchen island, or will it be stand-alone on your patio? It is also important to make sure your refrigerator is placed in a covered area, out of direct sunlight or weather, as this will definitely effect the performance and life of the refrigerator. Knowing where you will ultimately place it will help ensure you purchase a refrigerator that's perfect for your space.

If you plan on building your refrigerator into an outdoor kitchen island, it is import to consider how the refrigerator vents, as well as its cutout dimensions. Front-vented refrigerators ventilate from the front of the appliance, and require no extra spacing around the refrigerator for ventilation when placed into your island cutout. If you already know your islands cutout dimensions for the refrigerator, you will need to find one with the proper width, depth, and height dimensions to ensure it fits properly.

Rear-vented refrigerators vent from the back side of the appliance. If you plan on installing a rear vented refrigerator into your outdoor kitchen island, you should take into account the extra spacing needed around the refrigerator in your island cutout for proper ventilation. Ventilation requirements are published by the manufacturer. Many customers add island vent panels in the rear of their island to increase air flow.

2. Durability

It is important to consider the durability of an outdoor refrigerator to make sure it will withstand the ever-changing outdoor environment. This makes all the difference in having a refrigerator that will last for only a few years or one that will go the distance.

Outdoor rated refrigerators are the best choice for ensuring durability. They undergo a series of tests for durability to be approved and warrantied for outdoor use. These fridges are usually built with a high-grade stainless steel exterior and designed to withstand the harsh outdoor environment.

3. Capacity

Knowing what you plan on storing in your outdoor refrigerator will help you decide on the capacity that's right for you. Consider the dimensions and layout inside the refrigerator to see if its storage is adequate to your needs.

If you are planning on storing food in your outdoor refrigerator, then one that is food safety certified should be considered. Food safety certified refrigerators have passed a strict set of evaluations to ensure food safety requirements and standards are met. These products are evaluated, tested, and certified to maintain temperatures below 40-degrees outdoors, and are built with food safe materials, giving you more confidence in knowing that your food can be stored safely and properly.

4. Performance

Consider the cooling type each outdoor refrigerator offers, as it can make all the difference when it comes to performance. There are typically two types of cooling offered when it comes to outdoor compact refrigerators: forced air and cold plate.

Cold plate refrigerators feature a cooling plate in the back of the appliance. The drawback to this cooling method is that your contents in the back of the refrigerator may obstruct the cold air-flow, creating inconsistent temperatures from the front to back of the unit.

The best cooling method for outdoor refrigeration is forced air. Forced air refrigerators feature fans inside the refrigerator that circulate to keep the temperature more precise and consistent throughout. This cooling method also cools down your refrigerator much faster than cold plate.

5. Security

A locking outdoor refrigerator is great for keeping children safe or if you simply want to protect the contents of your fridge. These refrigerators typically feature a keyed lock on the front door.

Now that you know what type of outdoor refrigerator you're looking for, check out our list of the Best Outdoor Refrigerators or shop our large selection of Outdoor Compact Refrigerators