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Refrigerators designed for garages - worth it?

I need to replace the spare refrigerator I have in my garage - it died yesterday. I have an upright freezer in the garage so what I really need is the extra refrigerator space. In searching the internet I found a refrigerator designed by Whirlpool specifically for the temperatures in a garage. Has anyone tried one of these? Is it worth the price (about double a standard plain refrigerator)? Thanks for any help.

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  1. I would have to think that a lot of this would depend on where you live, the climate, the construction of the garage itself (ie, is it insulated and well sealed, etc)....

    1. YIkes - I never thought about how the temperature in the garage was affecting our refrigerator we have out there. We live in NJ so there is a great deal of variability in the temp. over the course of a year.

      We're currently on a rotation - the old kitchen refrigerator gets moved out to the garage when it is replaced by the new one that goes in the kitchen. This rotation started when my brother gave my DH and I a hand-me-down fridge when we bought our first home. It went into the garage. It died last year (after at least 14 yrs of service, 11 of them in our garage.) It was a pretty basic model too and it survived 11 jersey weather years out there so I'm thinking it may not make that much of a difference?

      When it died, we moved our 14 yr old fridge that was in the kitchen out to the garage and bought a new one for the kitchen. It's been out there for about a year now. So far so good.

      Edit: I meant to add that our garage is not insulated but is attached to the house and the refrigerator sits in the corner that is formed by two interior house walls, if this makes any difference.

      1. At least partially it depends on how much variation in temp. your garage suffers. Is it insulated? Attached to the house? A fridge will take up a lot more energy, too, in extremes of temp, so check out the energy rating of this fancy one.

        1. Interesting...aside from disgusing them with cutesy diamond-plate surfaces or making them look like a Craftsman tool chest, I never realized those garage fridges had any real special features.

          1. I went to Lowe's and bought a basic top freezer fridge and have never had any problems with the temps. I live in Texas and have an attached garage, but my garage can easily be in the 90s during the summer and the 30s during the winter. I think the fridge was around $400 or just under, made by GE, and Energy Star rated. Unless you are catering or storing large quantities of extremely fragile and sensitive ingredients in your garage fridge, I don't think it's worth the extra expense.

            3 Replies
            1. re: dalaimama

              I agree. I also live in Texas (moved from NJ) and was a little worried about how my deep freeze might perform in the very hot garage, but it has not been affected one bit and it is now 20 years old. I'll bet fridges work the same way.

              1. re: RGC1982

                I might perform, but it's probably using a lot more energy maintaining its temperature in the heat. If a "garage" fridge is better insulated, it might save a lot of money on utility bills in the long run.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  True enough. The question then becomes when the savings in electricity would be equal to the cost difference in fridges.

                  The OP is saying the "garage" fridge costs twice as much as a regular fridge, that the cost difference between the electrical usage of the garage fridge and the regular fridge is not going to be as much as the cost difference between the garage fridge and the regular fridge. If the regular fridge cost you an average of $2 a month more in electricity costs than the garage fridge, and the garage fridge costs $400 more than the regular fridge, it would be about 17 years before you'd have spent that $400 on added electricity.

                  I'm not saying the added insulation is a bad idea or that we shouldn't all want to save electricity, but at a cost of twice as much, it seems to me that the garage fridge is overly expensive.

            2. The only trouble we've had is when it's gotten so cold outside that the contents of the fridge froze and cases of canned pop and fizzy water burst all over the place. not big fun.

              1. We do the same thing, but I have the garage freezer right next to the garage (walk-in) door so I try to keep it moderate in summer by keeping it open and do a good clean out annually. Watch for proper drainage, too.

                Yes, we thought about the garage heat as well, but WTH, we live in Chicago; woddia expect? I run a small fan off and on, but weirdly, I have a couple of grape vines on the north side of the garage that have overgrown onto the roof and along the backyard side, so there's added shade. Think like an "old neighborhood" family; junker in the garage for back-ups and all of those trips to Costco. Keep it closed tight or else it'll overheat, leak and die an early death.

                Any frig will run hotter in the garage; keep it free from any clutter and make sure there's some ventilation (like, open the door in the evening for awhile. Ours just keeps ticking.

                Last, every garage in Chicago needs a stool, a workbench, an old TV and a radio set to either WGN, WXRT, SCORE or WBEZ: nothing in between. Weber with charcoal outside: none of that sissy gas stuff; I have a plug-in heating wand for the coals.

                Good luck: now get over to Eli's and stock up on their 2nds of cheesecake for the holidays...

                1. I am relatively confident that the real problem with an outddor refrigerator is in extreme cold temps. A modern fridge can deal with 100* in the garage every now and then, but what does it do when it's 5 below for a week. I have never looked into a special garage fridge, does it claim to have a warmer or some other special mechanism to keep it from getting too cold?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: sarge

                    The website says it has a built-in heater to keep things chilled, not frozen; a cooling system for high heat environments; and a double pass heat loop to stay dry in high humidity. www.gladiatorgw.com. I'm not concerned about freezing since it almost never freezes here (Texas), but we do have day after day of 100+ temps and high humidity. Thanks for everyone's input.

                    1. re: dalcook

                      After many years of a garage fridge in both hot and cold climates, my best advice is to place it on an interior wall, if possible. If it must be on a outside wall, avoid southern and western walls. It really does matter.

                      Another option for you, since you have a freezer, is to buy just the fridge. We did, and were able to get by with a much smaller unit, somewhat like this one: http://www.sears.com/kenmore-16.7-cu-...

                  2. It's worth keeping in mind that running a fridge in the garage, especially if it's an older model, will set you back anything up to $250 a year. A new fridge will save you cash and be, in the long run, kinder to the environment.

                    1. From my experience in the mid west (just as cold and snowy), most people here just use their old kitchen fridge or buy an older kitchen fridge that is ugly but works great. I was lucky enough for my mom to get us a pepsi fridge and we have had that for years. Many neighbours have regular hand me down fridges; no problems. We don't really care how it looks as long as it works. Also, we hose down our floor regularly and there is no problem, but you could use a palette or landscape stones to lift it up a little.

                      1. The Gladiator GarageWorks Chillerator does perform well in the garage when it's hot and cold. The new version came out this year 2013 and has a double pass heat loop that reduces exterior condensation and does keep temperatures consistent inside when hot or cold in the garage. Here's the latest information about the Chillerator: http://www.garagedetailer.com/gladiat...

                        1. I just replaced a mini fridge in our garage with an 18 cu ft Frigidaire which I got at a labor day store sale for $399. It's basically a regular indoor fridge with few bells and whistles. I expect it will cot somewhat more to operate in the garage that the advertized $59/year. As others have said, high garage temperatures are not much of a problem. Low temperatures will also not be much of a problem. Anytime the garage temperature gets below freezing, the fridge will quit trying to cool things and I would figure it would take more than a day for items in the fridge compartment to freeze. We occasionally get blue northers where the temperature drops and stays low for a week or more - not that often. If that happens, I'll have to rethink my strategy - either rearrange the items in the fridge - bringing frozen stuff from the kitchen for the fridge compartment - or simply stick an old style light bulb by the fridge and leave it on for the duration of the freeze - the heat from the bulb should do the trick.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: kagemusha49

                            Used that light bulb trick myself! However, it is good to stop using it from time to time.

                            Admittedly, there's a new little upright freezer in the basement. The walk fromthe house to a cold garage just didn't do it; that baby's sitting there empty, clean and wanting a new home.

                          2. I have the older version of this and it died this winter. Had it about 8 years. Had multiple below zero temp days this winter in PA and I think it was too much for it. Will probabhly get another, though. From what I see, it is now made even more durable.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: morlando

                              I have an old side by side refrig/freezer combo in my garage in MA. Every spring when the temperatures heat up, the freezer starts melting down all over my garage floor and it now is starting to turn black.

                              I don't need the freezer part, but could use a plain refrigerator for those trips to Costco, for drink chilling, or for the occasional birthday cake that I can't fit into my slim kitchen refrig. If I buy a new one without the freezer, will I have the same problem? I'm not sure if it is the freezer that is doing this or the refrigerator as well.

                              I have not read good reviews about the gladiator.