What is the Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Refrigerators?

A standard refrigerator should not be installed outside.

Standard refrigerators are designed for use inside an insulated space with little to no temperature swings. Outdoor refrigerators, unlike indoor refrigerators, have key features that make them safe for outdoor use. To make sure your refrigerator is safe for use outside, keep an eye out for these necessary design elements.

Ambient Temperature Range

Outdoor refrigerators have a wider ambient temperature range than indoor refrigerators. For example, the ambient temperature range of an indoor beverage refrigerator is around 60-90◦F, whereas an outdoor beverage refrigerator has an ambient temperature range of 44-100◦F. Indoor beverage and wine coolers were designed to operate in an insulated room that has a consistent temperature range. They should never be installed in a garage or unfinished basement where they may be subject to wide temperature swings.

Durable Features

Outdoor refrigerators have been designed to withstand the elements. Modifications to the electrical housing and other components make it safe to operate the outdoor refrigerator outside. However, it is important to note that while outdoor refrigerators can tolerate a wider temperature range and operate under tougher conditions, they are not 100% weatherproof and still require maintenance. Additionally, please pay attention to whether or not it has standard features such as a locking door, digital temperature control panel, a good door seal, and that it is made from rust and corrosion-resistant material such as stainless steel.


While outdoor refrigerators are tough, certain conditions must be met to ensure they operate efficiently. If you live in a climate with extreme heat that exceeds the recommended ambient temperature of your outdoor cooler, you will need to take extra precautions. Installing your unit underneath a sturdy countertop and beneath a shade structure will help to keep it cool when the weather heats up. For those who live in colder climates where the temperature regularly dips below the recommended ambient temperature range, you may consider retiring the unit to a garage or basement temporarily during colder months. To prevent flood and moisture damage, the outdoor unit should be placed on a platform so that the water does not enter the unit.

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