Purchasing a bar fridge is a great idea if you regularly host parties at home. There’s no need to make room in your main kitchen fridge and move all your groceries out of the way - your guests can seamlessly head over to your new bar fridge and grab an ice-cold beer, or juice, whatever their preference.
Having a bar fridge means having a designated place during entertainment time, whether it's just you and your pet, or you’re hosting a group of friends from out of town. It is a handy appliance that boasts convenience, a compact size, and portability. Not only that, but instead of wasting electricity by constantly opening and closing your full-sized kitchen fridge just to grab a drink, you save electricity. A typical kitchen fridge of 400-500 litres typically costs around $163 per year to run, while a 42 litre bar fridge only costs $103 per year.
A mini-fridge is an energy-efficient machine designed to make life easier. If you’re convinced that a bar fridge is something your home needs, read on to learn about what you need to know when buying one for the first time.
Buying Your First Bar Fridge
When it comes to purchasing your first bar fridge, it’s important to ask yourself, “What is the purpose of my new appliance?” Is it because you want a fridge specifically for hosting? Or, it is to simply have a more portable fridge for cooled beverages no matter the occasion or lack of?
There are several factors you can consider, including its size, functionality, features, and price. With as many bar fridges as full-sized fridges on the market today, you as a consumer will have a field day when it comes to making that final purchase. Especially when it comes to countries like Australia that take a hot summer’s day seriously - there are countless bar fridges in Australia that you can choose from.
Compact Fridges vs Bar Fridges
Although a bar fridge is technically a type of compact fridge and they both provide service as a refrigerant, there are a couple of differences between the two that you should take note of. These include:
- Storage capacity
- Internal temperature range
Storage capacity refers to how much and in what way the fridge stores things that you’re putting in it. Bar fridges are specifically designed to cool drinks, so their interior is tailored to storing cans, bottles, and other drinks. Compact fridges have a more varied interior, so if drinks don’t fit there, there might be some dead space where you can’t put anything. The internal temperature range is also important depending on what products you’re putting inside your fridge. If you want to solely keep drinks cooled, a bar fridge is cold enough to do so to as low as 4 degrees Celsius. However, if you’re looking for built-in freezers with even lower temperatures to put in your fridge, only a compact fridge can accommodate this. While some compact fridges come with these built-in freezers, others require you to buy them separately.
Purpose is something you want to think about that will affect our last two considerations: style and size. Ask yourself where you’re going to put your new appliance. Will it be placed in a family room, a home bar, outdoors, on a patio, or somewhere else? This will determine what style and size you’ll choose, and at what cost. Will you go for an expensive bar fridge for your home bar or a cheap bar fridge for your garden?
Make sure to measure the length, width, and height of the fridge and space where it will go before you set out to locate your new machine. As for style and color, this is all up to you. Think about how the fridge will look against your other home accents and furniture, and what styles are on offer. Some bar fridges have see-through doors, while others keep what’s inside more of a mystery.
Mini Bar Fridge in the Outdoors
You might have seen mini-fridges in outdoor entertainment areas, but not all bar fridges can be used outdoors. If they are rated ST (Sub Tropical 38°C) or T (Tropical 43°C), they are okay to be outside away from sunlight. Fridges that aren’t rated ST or T may not get to their coldest temperatures and simply waste their energy. Additionally, if you’re sticking to the outdoor theme, some bar fridges even allow for a 100-watt solar panel to help run it. If your fridge is small enough, the panel will supply enough energy. When choosing a bar fridge for the outdoors, remember to check the following factors.
Fridge ventilation isn’t exactly common knowledge when it comes to buying a fridge. There is, in fact, a difference between 100% built-in and ‘semi built-in’ fridges if you want to place your bar fridge inside something. Make sure you purchase a 100% built-in unit (which usually has front ventilation) if this is the case, as otherwise, you will begin to have issues with overheating and energy consumption. Allow for a minimum of 40mm of space behind the fridge and 10mm on the sides and top if placing a bar fridge inside a cupboard.
Having your bar fridge in direct sunlight will decrease its performance. This is because the sunlight may heat up the area which helps the fridge function. Especially when it comes to glass door fridges, you’ll want to keep your bar fridge away from the sun in a cool, shaded place. You don’t want yours working extra hard just to have your beverages ready for drinking.
When outside temperatures exceed 30°C, it takes a lot longer for bar fridges to reach their set temperature. It’s a smart move to fill up your fridge the night before if you’re expecting a full fridge of cold drinks for a big party, as it takes longer for them to chill during the day, especially on an extra hot day. Remember this tip to avoid drinking your drinks lukewarm.
Glass door fridges are exceedingly popular for refrigerants of all sorts, but this poses a problem when it comes to humidity. Depending on the humidity percentages outside, you may get a little or a lot of condensation. Some fridges have been made with Low E Glass, which reflects heat rays up to 70% better than regular glass, or heated glass, which is electrically heated glass that warms up to the appropriate level. These features are expensive and uncommon and can be found in few products.
Tips for First-Time Buyers
Especially for first-time buyers, you’ll want to take note of everything we’ve discussed in this article. Learning more about the bar fridges on the market and what to look out for before making a final decision, will keep you informed and smart and ensure your new bar fridge does its service.
Remember to get your bar fridge dimensions ready before starting your search, consider whether it will serve its purpose indoors or outdoors, and check out what its storage space, internal temperature range, and style are like. After you’ve chosen your perfect bar fridge, it’s all smooth sailing from there, and you can reap the benefits of convenience, compactness, and coolness.