What Does a “Garage-Ready” Freezer Mean? And Does it Matter?

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Last updated on March 16, 2023

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You thought that just any freezer could go in your garage?

Obviously, if you're asking this question, you did. But here's the long and the short of it...

Sometimes, they can't.

Freezers are designed to maintain frigid temperatures while expending as little energy as possible.

The problem?

They're banking on the exterior conditions being more or less constant.

If you live in an environment where temperatures can get a little extreme (in either direction), it's worth knowing what a "garage ready" freeze is. 

"Garage Ready" Defined

what is a garage ready freezer

A garage ready freezer is one that is capable of maintaining ideal freezer temperatures with outside environments ranging between 0°-110°F.

Freezer manufacturers understand that most people don't live in environments with such extreme temperatures. So, generally they don't create freezers that are designed to withstand such conditions. 

But, that raises the question...

"What about people who do live in such extreme conditions"?

That's where garage ready freezers come in. 

Garage ready freezers are equipped with components that both help them maintain their set temperature, while also safeguarding against potential component damage. 

"Garage Ready" Components


Manufactures have different ways of making a freezer "garage ready". Most of them will use a variation of the techniques listed below.


Stronger Compressor

what is a garage ready freezer

Your compressor is the motor that pushes cold air into your freezer. A stronger compressor means it can push in a higher volume of cold air at a time. 

So, a stronger compressor has a better chance of resisting external temperatures from influencing internal temperatures. 


Thicker Insulation

Thicker insulation means more material between the inside and outside of your freezer. This allows it to have an easier time maintaining desired temperatures by resisting cold air from going out and hot air from coming in. 

More insulation also reduces the amount of time your compressor runs which saves you money on your electric bill.


Stronger Seal

It's easy to underestimate how much cold air is lost through an inferior seal. A lot of manufacturers skimp on the seal and this allows cold air to slowly (or quickly) sneak out into the atmosphere.

A stronger seal offers similar benefits to thicker insulation. Both of these should work together to keep in the cold as effectively as possible.


Multiple Thermostats

This is a quality that all freezers should have but some manufacturers are slower to catch on. Having multiple thermostats gives your freezer more dependable data. It also offers a backup thermostat in the off-chance one of the thermostats kicks the dust. 

Having multiple thermostats will also help from unnecessarily turning on the compressor.


DIY Garage Ready Freezer Options

garage-freezer

But before you panic and junk your current freezer, it might be possible to adapt it for use in the garage! Check out these DIY strategies:


Buy a "garage kit"

This is useful for places where it gets cold. This will stop your fridge from turning off in the winter.

Just wrap the heating coil around the temperature sensor on the freezer so it never thinks that it's cold outside (but be prepared for your electric bill to go up a bit).

Here are several options on the market:



Build your own insulated and enclosed space in the garage

Okay, this one's a bit more involved. But it'll definitely save you on the electricity bill – and in the long run, it'll help save the planet.

You'll need to use a lot of insulation. We're talking something like this:

Photo credits


Is a Garage-Ready Freezer Worth it?

So all this being said...does it really matter?

Maybe not if you live in Bogotá. Maybe not if you live in the mountains on Hawaii. Otherwise...it's important to understand what's at stake:


Pros

  • A garage-ready freezer will help you save money in the long run by keeping your food from spoiling.
  • Garage-ready freezers come with features like manual defrosting and energy star ratings, which can save you even more money in the long run.
  • Your food will stay fresh.


Cons

  • You'll have to spend some extra cash upfront to buy a garage-ready freezer.
  • Your electric bill might skyrocket.
  • It's not good for the environment (not as much as the building-an-insulated-space option).


Best Upright Garage Ready Freezer


Frigidaire Garage Ready 5.8-cu ft Upright Freezer (White)

frigidaire-freezer-side-view
frigidaire-freezer

Specs:

External Dimensions (WxDxH): 23x23x57 inches
Internal Capacity: 5.8 cubic feet
Weight: 89 pounds


Features:

  • 5 wire shelves
  • Adjustable temperature control
  • Manual Defrost
  • Leveling Legs
  • Annual Energy Consumption 281 kWh


Pros:

  • It's a great size for a compact freezer
  • It fit nicely into many spaces


Cons:

  • Shelves are not adjustable
  • No interior light


Best Garage Ready Small Chest Freezer


We have a separate article on the Best Small Chest Freezers. Here are the garage-ready versions.


GE Garage Ready 5-cu ft Manual Defrost Chest Freezer (White)

GE-freezer
GE-freezer-food

Specs:

External Dimensions (WxDxH): 29x21x33 inches
Internal Capacity: 5 cubic feet
Weight: 63 pounds


Features:

  • Power light to easily see if it's working without having to open the door
  • Lift-out, sliding bulk storage basket
  • Adjustable temperature control
  • Recessed handles for a clean appearance
  • Up-front defrost water drain – conveniently located to easily drain water during defrosting
  • Manual defrost


Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Good size


Cons:

  • The door seal is often weak, allowing water to get in and turn to ice
  • It's missing a rear cover plate


Best Garage Ready Medium-Sized Chest Freezer


GE Garage Ready 7-cu ft Manual Defrost Chest Freezer (White)

GE-defrost-freezer
GE-defrost-freezer-food

Specs:

External Dimensions (WxDxH): 37x22x53 inches
Internal Capacity: 7 cubic feet
Weight: 75 pounds


Features:

  • Power light to easily see if it's working without having to open the door
  • 2 lift-out, sliding bulk storage baskets
  • Adjustable temperature control
  • Recessed handles for a clean appearance
  • Up-front defrost water drain – conveniently located to easily drain water during defrosting
  • Manual defrost


Pros:

  • Plenty of room inside
  • Easy to use


Cons:

  • No back panel
  • It accumulates heavy frost during use
  • No interior light


Best Garage Ready Large Chest Freezer


GE Garage Ready 10.6-cu ft Manual Defrost Chest Freezer (White) ENERGY STAR

GE-energy-star-freezer
GE-energy-star-freezer-with-food

Specs:

External Dimensions (WxDxH): 51 x 28 x 34 inches
Internal Capacity: 10.6 cubic feet
Weight: 114 pounds


Features:

  • Power light to easily see if it's working without having to open the door
  • 3 lift-out, sliding bulk storage baskets
  • Adjustable temperature control
  • Lock with key
  • Interior lighting


Pros:

  • Quiet
  • East to carry with two people


Cons:

  • It doesn't have wheels so is difficult to move once placed
  • The door will swing out if not opened carefully


Frequently Asked Questions

food-in-freezer

Do Garage Ready Freezers Have Heaters Inside Them?

Yes, garage-ready freezers work by heating the temperature sensor so that they never shut off, even if it's snowing outside.


Do Garage Ready Refrigerators Require More Energy?

Yes. As stated above, they do not shut off.


Are Garage Ready Freezers More Expensive?

Yes, garage-ready freezers are often more expensive, but this is mainly because they come from reputable brands who make better products overall.

So you're getting quality for your money.


Conclusion

As you see, not just any freezer will operate well in the garage.

However, if you don't want to buy a new fridge, there are several DIY ways to "garage-ready" your fridge (or your garage) to handle temperature fluctuations.

It might not be the most energy-efficient to have a freezer that never shuts off, but it'll save your food.

And if you're into going green, we also have an article on the Best Solar Fridges. Save energy in one place to use it in another!

Feel free to reach out with any further questions...we are here to help.

Jane Sofia

About the author, Jane Sofia

Jane Sofia Struthers is a self-taught vegan chef who’s always terrorizing kitchens of one continent or another. When she’s not culturing her own soy milk yogurts in the oven, she’s either cooking plant-based goodies for her Couch-surfing hosts or on the lookout for more delectable, animal-free goodies.