MORE Good Garage-Ready Refrigerators (and Freezers)

Refrigerators for a GarageIn my last article about Good Refrigerators for a Garage, I talked about the two “camps” that people looking for garage-ready refrigerators fall into.

The first camp (people who want a fridge that will operate properly in the extreme temperatures of an uninsulated garage) turned out to be the most popular, and readers have been asking me to list MORE refrigerators for garage use ever since.

In keeping with the spirit of listing “3 Good Ones”, I thought that, instead of just listing 3 more good garage-ready refrigerators for this article, I would list 3 Categories of refrigerators that are good for a garage. This way, you'll have three solid strategies for conducting your own search.

So, the three categories are:

For each category, I'll explain the conditions in which it works best, and why you might want to go with one of these refrigerators for your garage. Then, I'll list a few good options you might consider purchasing.

(Click on any of those links above to jump ahead to that section.)

But, let's review the problem with keeping a refrigerator freezer in your garage before we get to the recommendations and strategies…

The Problem with Finding the Best Refrigerator for a Garage

It's all about temperature.

First off, you may not have a problem if the temperatures in your garage are not much different than that of your home. Refrigerator-freezers are generally designed to work in a temperature range between approximately 55°F~105°F, depending on the make and model. (Always check the manual for the specific range.)

If the inside of your garage will fall or rise to temperatures outside of that range, that is when your problems can begin.

Too Hot & Too Cold

Garage too hot? The compressor can get overworked and break down. The insulation might be insufficient to keep your food cold.

For climates where your garage can get significantly hotter than 105°F, there are a few models that are built to withstand the heat. Hotter than 110/115°F, and you might need to start looking at outdoor refrigerators—which are usually smaller, and may not suit your storage needs. Or, you'll need to find ways to cool your garage, or to insulate it and your fridge from the excessive heat.

Garage too cold? Your thermostat can get “confused” and your frozen food might thaw, or your refrigerated food might freeze. Maybe the fluid that works with your compressor will get too cold to flow properly, resulting in mechanical problems.

In climates where the temperature of your garage can drop to freezing temperatures, you can actually have MORE problems by simply putting a standard refrigerator freezer in it. I know, it's counter-intuitive. You'd think that something designed to keep things cold would work fine in a cold environment!

Without getting too technical, let me review why the average refrigerator-freezer has a problem working in an extremely cold garage:

  1. Refrigerator-freezer typically work by “freezing the air” in the freezer section, then using some of that cold air to cool the refrigerator section.
  2. The compressor system that keeps that freezer cold is usually controlled by a single thermostat that monitors the temperature of the refrigerator section, keeping the fridge at about 38-40ºF.
  3. When the temperature of the garage goes below that ideal range for the fridge, the thermostat doesn't bother to turn on the compressor, because it's already cold enough. No compressor action means that the freezer will begin to warm up, and its contents will thaw.
  4. If the garage gets even colder—below freezing—then the contents of the refrigerator will begin to freeze.

*(For more details, review The Temperatures in Your Garage in my previous article.)

Some Solutions

Part of the solution to the cold-garage problem is two thermostats: One for the fridge; One for the freezer.

This way, the thermostat in the freezer insures that the compressor kicks in to keep its temperature below freezing, and the thermostat for the refrigerator will insure that in only pulls in cold air when it needs it.*

Other solutions are to remove the need for two thermostats by buying a refrigerator-only unit, or a freezer-only unit.

That's how I came to the 3 categories of refrigerators and freezers listed in the rest of this article.

It's still not as simple as that, however. As I mention in this other article, you'll also need to be sure that the unit is designed to work in temperatures below freezing. That means that both:

The manual should tell you the optimal operating temperature range—often in the Installation section.

  1. The compressor will function properly; AND
  2. The refrigerator section will be properly insulated from the freezing temperatures of your garage.*

*Always check the the installation instructions (usually available online) about the ideal temperature range for your unit before purchasing it. I have found that many of the “garage-ready” refrigerator freezers are not properly insulated from freezing temperatures in the refrigerator section, or require a garage refrigerator kit for the compressor to function properly.

Now that we've gotten past all that explanation, let's look at some options.

Full-Size Freezerless Refrigerators

One way around the need for two thermostats is to get rid of one of the sections. Let's start with the freezer.

Aside from having to compensate for the dual freezing/refrigerating functions with separate thermostats, full size freezerless refrigerators have another advantage over the standard refrigerator-freezer combo: No freezer also means more space for storing items you simply want refrigerated, and not frozen.

Usually, with garage refrigerator-freezers, most of the unit is for refrigerating anyway, so you probably won't miss the freezer section.

On the other hand, if you do more freezing than refrigerating, check out the Standalone Freezers section, below.

*There are a few convertible refrigerator freezers on this list. I could easily list them under Standalone Freezers, but I want to highlight them here for being highly suitable as refrigerators for a freezing cold garage.

With that said, here are a few freezerless refrigerator reviews to look at:

Frigidaire Gallery
Convertible Refrigerator Freezer: FGVU21F8QF

Company: Frigidaire
Temperature Range: 10°~110°F (-12°~43°C)
(Download Manual)

Price: $1,299.00 Retail ($1,070~$1,199 Online)

Click to check prices & features, or
BUY IT NOW from:

Amazon
Home Depot
Appliances Connection

“Gallery” is Frigidaire's high-end appliance line, so these will be a little on the expensive side, but the additional features and appearance are usually worth the additional expense. I'll let you click those links above to dive deeper into those features.

The Frigidaire Gallery FGVU21F8QF is a 20.5 cu. ft. “Frost Free” upright freezer, convertible to a refrigerator. (Or, a refrigerator convertible to a freezer, depending on your needs.)

According to the manual for this Frigidaire convertible refrigerator freezer, temperatures below freezing (32°F/0°C) will NOT affect compressor and freezer operation. So, additional garage kits or compressor heaters are not recommended.

adjustable door bins

When set to refrigerator mode, Frigidaire's “Freeze Control Feature” will maintain the proper temperature inside the fridge, “even when the refrigerator is placed in an area where the surrounding temperature drops to 10°F (-12°C).” This will keep your perishables from freezing and being ruined.

And, the extra-thick insulation that protects the refrigerator items from freezing will also keep everything cold for over 2 days if you ever suffer a power outage.

I like how the height and position of all the shelves, drawers, and door bins can be adjusted to fit your particular storage needs. LED lighting brightens the whole interior when open.

“Frost Free” fridge freezers defrost automatically, but should still be cleaned on occasion.

Frigidaire Frost Free Upright Convertible Freezer/Refrigerator: FFVU21F4QW

Company: Frigidaire
Temperature Range: 10°~110°F (-12°~43°C)
(Download Manual)

Price: $1,049.00 Retail ($849~$949 Online)

Click to check prices & features, or
BUY IT NOW from:

Amazon
Home Depot
Appliances Connection

Remove the stainless steel surface, the sleek digital thermostat, and one or two other “flashy” features, and you have a slightly less flamboyant Frigidaire convertible freezer-refrigerator than the “Gallery” model, above.

The Frigidaire FFVU21F4QW has all of the same features that made the Gallery model a solid recommendation:

  • One large 20.5 cu. ft. compartment convertible to refrigerator.
  • Temperatures below freezing (32°F/0°C) will NOT affect compressor and freezer operation.
  • Frigidaire's “Freeze Control Feature” will maintain the proper interior temperature when in refrigerator mode, so as not to freeze your food, even when the surrounding temperature drops to 10°F (-12°C).
  • The thicker ArcticLock™ walls will keep everything cold for over 2 days if you suffer a power outage.
  • “SpaceWise” adjustable shelves, drawers, and door bins to fit your particular storage needs.
  • LED lighting brightens the whole interior when open.
  • This fridge freezer's “Frost Free”—no need to defrost.

You can get this fridge freezer in a smaller 17 cu. ft size as Frigidaire Model #FFVU17F4QW for about $90-100 less. Also available at:

Amazon
Home Depot
Appliances Connection

Frigidaire Freezerless Refrigerator: FFRU17G8QW

Company: Frigidaire
Temperature Range: 10°~110°F (-12°~43°C)
(Download Manual)

Price: $899.00 Retail ($719~$819 Online)

Click to check prices & features, or
BUY IT NOW from:

Amazon
Home Depot
Appliances Connection

Another Frigidaire. Except the Frigidaire Freezerless Refrigerator FFRU17G8QW is “all refrigerator” (no freezer functionality). It stands as a slightly smaller and more practical version of its bigger and sexier cousins above. And, more affordable.

At 16.7 cu. ft., it also boasts Frigidaire's “Freeze Control Feature” maintaining proper refrigerator temperature inside, even when the the surrounding temperature is as low as 10°F (-12°C). Like the one above, that'll keep your fruits and veggies protected from freezing in a pretty darn cold garage.

Other standard features include glass shelves, frost free defrost, and SpaceWise adjustable shelving and drawer. Click the shopping links above for more details.

Kenmore 22052 20.2 cu. ft. Frost-Free Convertible Refrigerator/ Freezer

Kenmore (Sears) freezerless refrigerator

Standalone Garage Freezers

The other way around the need for two thermostats is to get rid of the refrigerator section. Clearly ideal for long-term storage of meat and frozen goods.

Since food in your freezer is kept at 0°F (-18°C) and below, it's more likely that freezer-only units will be designed to work in freezing—and sometimes even sub-zero—environments.

*You should still check the owners installation manual to be sure that the operating range of the unit is ideal for the temperature range in your particular garage. Especially if you live in a warmer climate, reaching high temperatures.

There are two basic styles of standalone freezers you might consider for your garage: Chest Freezers and Upright Freezers. Whether chest or upright, they come in four basic size categories:

  • Compact or Small (5 to 10 cubic feet)
  • Medium (11 to 17 cubic feet)
  • Large (more than 17 cubic feet)

I'll try to get all the size categories in. Here are a few of both the Chest and Upright styles to consider:

*(Keep in mind that the convertible refrigerator freezers listed above also fit into this category.)

Chest Freezers

Because they are generally smaller and more compact, chest freezers tend to be the more popular and affordable freezers suitable for garages. I'll list them here in size-order from small- to large-sized capacities:

Kenmore 12902 Chest Freezer

Company: Kenmore
Temperature Range: 0°?~110°F (-17°?~43°C)
(Download Manual)

Price: $499.99 Retail ($269.99~$499.99 Online)

Click to check prices & features, or BUY IT NOW from: Amazon

Kenmore's compact chest freezer stands about 32″ high, with a capacity of 8.8 cu. ft. The upper limit of its operating temperature range is the standard 110°F.

Though the manual doesn't state a lower end limit for the coldest temperature, it does say this:

Temperatures of 32°F (0°C) and below will NOT affect freezer operation. Additional compressor heaters are not recommended.

Sears' Kenmore compact chest freezer also comes in black.

Other standard features include:

  • Temperature control on the outside for easy adjustment with just a twist;
  • Exterior power light so you know at a glance whether your freezer is working or not;
  • Moveable/removable wire basket sits at the top for fingertip convenience in storing smaller items.

This compact chest freezer also comes in Black as the Kenmore 12909.

GE Chest Freezer: FCM11PHWW

Company: General Electric (GE)
Temperature Range: 0°~110°F (-17°~43°C)
(Download Manual)

Price: $449 Retail ($379~$449 Online)

Click to check prices & features, or BUY IT NOW from:

Amazon
Home Depot
Appliances Connection

This small GE chest freezer Model is on the upper end of the small-size category at a 10.6 cu. ft. capacity. It can operate in temperatures as cold as 0°F, up to as hot as 110°F. Features include:

  • Interior lighting: Making it easy to see what is inside;
  • Lock with key: Allowing you to protect your valuable food items from unintentional entry;
  • Power “On” light, so you can easily see if the freezer is working without having to open the door;
  • 3 lift-out, sliding bulk storage baskets offer easy access and flexibility.

Check out the Home Depot listing or the GE Appliances site for this chest freezer: reviews in the hundreds reveal a high level of satisfaction, and answer a lot of questions about the capacity and use of this small chest freezer.

Frigidaire Chest Freezer FFFC15M4TW

Company: Frigidaire
Temperature Range: 0°?~110°F (-17°?~43°C)
(Download Manual)

Price: $599 Retail ($397~$499 Online)

Click to check prices & features, or BUY IT NOW from:

Amazon
Home Depot
Appliances Connection

At 14.8 Cu. Ft., the Frigidaire Chest Freezer FFFC15M4TW falls smack in the middle of the Medium size category.

Like the compact model listed above, the manual doesn't indicate a lower limit to the ideal ambient operating temperatures, but carries the familiar note:

Temperatures of 32°F (0°C) and below will NOT affect operation. Additional compressor heaters are not recommended.

With the larger size and capacity come additional features:

  • Caster Wheels option allows you to easly move your freezer around your garage;
  • Water Drain for conveniently removing water during defrosting;
  • Sliding plastic baskets with color-coordinated clips for easy to organization;
  • Bright LED lighting to clearly see what’s inside;
  • Safety Lock with pop-out key automatically ejects the key after locking, so you don't leave your key behind.

The power light on the outside lets you know the unit is running, and an exterior dial for temperature control makes for ease of reach and operation.

Kenmore Chest Freezer 12812

Company: Kenmore
Temperature Range: 0°?~110°F (-17°?~43°C)
(Download Manual)

Price: $899.99 Retail ($529.99~$749.99 Online)

Click to check prices & features, or BUY IT NOW from: Amazon

The Kenmore 12812 Chest Freezer just enters into the Large size category at 17.5 cu. ft. The wide style and capacity make it very much like a medium-sized upright freezer laid on its back.

The operating temperature range is similar to its counterparts, above, with the manual stating:

… the unit should be located where surrounding temperatures will not exceed 110°F (43°C). Temperatures of 32°F (0°C) and below will NOT affect operation. Additional compressor heaters are not recommended.

Additional features are on par with other medium-to-large sized chest freezers:

  • Sliding storage baskets keep household staples at the ready, and easily slide aside for access to the rest of the freezer;
  • LED lighting lets you find what you need without too much digging;
  • Interior temperature control knob lets you adjust the freezer temperature with a simple twist;
  • Defrost drain makes it easy to get water out of the freezer;

The huge 17.5 cu. ft. interior capacity is perfect for stashing bulk foods like meat from hunting season, fruit, bulk groceries, and pre-made meals for potlucks and family dinners.

Click the links to the sales sites and manual above for more info.

Upright Freezers

These, obviously, are like the freezerless refrigerators above in size and shape, except that they're refrigeratorless freezers. (What a mouthful to pronounce!)

The convenience of these over the Chest Freezers is that the shelving and door bins make it easier to organize food and access it without bending over or moving items or digging around too much.

Don't forget that the convertible refrigerator freezers listed above also fit into this category. Here are a couple that are not convertible:

Kenmore Elite 27003 Upright Freezer

Company: Kenmore
Temperature Range: 0°?~110°F (-17°?~43°C)
(Download Manual)

Price: $1,359.99 Retail ($999.99 Online)

Click to check prices & features, or
BUY IT NOW from: 
Amazon

Kenmore Elite 27003 Upright Freezer is an upscale, classy Stainless Steel, large (20.5 cu. ft.) capacity appliance with a number of bells and whistles that make it a highly useful and convenient multi-purpose freezer.

And, it can handle a freezing cold garage as well as anything else on this page. According to the manual:

… the unit should be located where surrounding temperatures will not exceed 110°F (43°C). Temperatures of 32°F (0°C) and below will NOT affect operation. Additional compressor heaters are not recommended.

Check out the list of features:

  • Security lock to insure the door stays closed and keep yours favorite foods frozen;
  • Alarm to notify you when the freezer is too warm;
  • Freezes food at -20°F—colder than most other brands, to preserve food quality and nutrients;
  • Adjustable door bins and shelving for food storage flexibility;
  • 3 bright LED clusters make it easier to find what you need—even in an unlit garage;
  • “Soft Freeze Zone” to store ice cream and other foods you only need to be frozen lightly;
  • Preserves food for up to 48 hours in case your power goes out;
  • Digital Electronic Controls give easy control over every function;
  • “Express Chill” function quickly drops the temperature to -30°F for as long as 72 hours, to expedite food preservation;
  • Frost-Free design saves the effort of chipping away at icy build up.

If you like the features, but not the price, and don't need the classy stainless steel look, you can also get it in White as the Kenmore Elite 27002 Upright Freezer for about $250 less. Click to see more on: Amazon

Frigidaire Upright Freezer FFFH21F4QW

Company: Frigidaire
Temperature Range: 0°?~110°F (-17°?~43°C)
(Download Manual)

Price: $999 Retail ($803~$879 Online)

Click to check prices & features, or
BUY IT NOW from:

Amazon
Home Depot
Appliances Connection

The Frigidaire Upright Freezer also boasts 20.5 Cu. Ft. of capacity, and the standard temperature range you've seen on this page (I'm sure you've noticed the pattern by now):

… the appliance should be located where surrounding temperatures will not exceed 110°F (43°C). Temperatures of 32°F (0°C) and below will NOT affect operation. Additional compressor heaters are not recommended.

Many of the features and benefits match those of its convertible cousin, which we listed above:

  • Adjustable drawers, shelves, baskets, and dividers allow you to organize your freezer in the way that works for you;
  • Thicker Walls keep your food frozen for over 2 days if you experience a power outage
  • Frost-Free Operation
  • Bright LED lighting makes it easy to see what’s inside
  • Power-On Indicator Light so you'll know at a glance that your freezer is working.
  • Lock With Pop-Out Key automatically ejects the key so you don't accidentally leave it in the door.

Also in a “Classic Slate” color

This unit also comes in a classier “Classic Slate” color, as the Frigidaire FFFH21F4QT for about $50 more. Find it on:

Amazon
Home Depot
Appliances Connection

Dual-Thermostat Garage Refrigerator Freezer

I put this solution at the end because good dual thermostat refrigerators for garage use are becoming harder and harder to find, or tend to be somewhat expensive. (Like this one in my other article.)

While there are a number of options out there that claim to be “garage ready,” they generally do not work as well in what I would call “extreme” cold.

Typical temperature ranges for what manufacturers consider a garage refrigerator freezer are 50°~105°F. Most people coming to this page are looking for something to work in much colder (or hotter) environments.

Here are a couple models you might want to consider that go just a bit lower than that typical range:

Frigidaire FFHT1832T-series

FFHT1832TM – Silver Mist

Company: Frigidaire
Temperature Range: 39°~110°F (4°~43°C) — lower for freezer section
(Download Manual)

Price: $879~929.00 Retail ($674~$779 Online)

Click to check prices & features, or
BUY IT NOW from:

Amazon
Appliances Connection
Home Depot

Frigidaire was my first introduction to garage-ready refrigerator freezer combinations, as well as the refrigerator garage kits that allow them to run at lower temperatures.

While they still market some models as “garage ready” the manuals come with a warning of sorts:

If your unit is in a garage or area where the temperature is below 55°F, adjust the freezer control to the coldest setting to improve performance.
NOTE: Sustained exposure to ambient temperatures below 39°F will likely result in freezing of food and beverages stored in the refrigeration section.

So, you can count on the freezer section to handle extreme cold for an extended period.

This unit has a 18 cu. ft. total capacity, 2 “SpillSafe” glass shelves, and crisper drawers. Its freezer capacity is 3.9 cu. ft. with automatic defrost.

This would be a good option if your winters tend to be “mild” or your garage slightly insulated. But you might not want to store non-freezable perishables in the refrigerator section if you're having a particularly harsh winter.

Ebony Black

This series comes in four color/finish options:

(Pearl White and Ebony Black are the cheaper two models by about $70.)

Kenmore 71215

Company: Kenmore
Temperature Range: 39°~110°F (4°~43°C) — lower for freezer section
(Download Manual)

Price: $1099.99 Retail ($649.99~$749.99 Online)

Click to check prices & features, or
BUY IT NOW from: 
Amazon

Sears' Kenmore refrigerator is another option with a dual thermostat. Kenmore refrigerator 71215 is larger in capacity than the Frigidaire above, but is similar in the functionality and temperature range. Here is their warning in the manual:

NOTE: Sustained exposure to ambient temperatures below 39°F (4°C) may result in freezing of food and beverages stored in the refrigeration section.

Its 21 cu. ft. capacity gives ample storage space, with a split shelf system and a deli drawer to provide more ways to organize your storage. LED lighting and a Frost-free freezer allow for easy maintenance.

It comes in Stainless SteelBlack, and White. (The Black and White models are about $100 less.)

Finding the Best Refrigerator for a Garage

Determining which is the best refrigerator for a garage is clearly a matter of identifying your personal situation: your storage needs, the temperature and climate, insulation in your garage, etc.

Finding a fridge that actually fits your parameters is the next difficult step.

I hope this page has been helpful in your search, but if you're still not satisfied with the listings above, you can try more advanced searches online using some special search terms:

For example, in Google, you might combine words describing the appliance and the temperature range, then add the PDF filetype to be sure it looks through PDF manuals, and then the manufacturers's site or the shopping site URL.

It might end up looking something like this:

refrigerator “below 32°F” filetype:pdf site:www.sears.com

What you type will take some trial and error, but the effort can result in options you might not have found nor considered before.

I hope that these three overall strategies, and the many options that I listed above, will give you a good start towards finding the best garage-ready refrigerators (or freezers) for your storage needs.

If you have any questions, or even suggestions for other refrigerators for garage use, please add them to the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.

~ Scott

Disclosure: 3GoodOnes.com is a professional review site. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission for your purchase. It is my hope that this post leaves you so well informed, that you won't mind that very much.

Comments (4)

  1. Deb S. March 17, 2018
    • Scott March 30, 2018
  2. Charmaine U May 6, 2018
    • Scott May 10, 2018

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