Table of Contents
- What Are Retro Fridges?
- History Of the Galanz Fridge Brand
- What You Need to Know About Galanz Retro Fridges
- The Galanz Retro Fridge Line-up
- Review of the Top-5 Galanz Retro Fridges: Mini, Top-Mount, Bottom-Mount
- Final Word
A Galanz retro fridge will be a fan favorite and source of many compliments wherever you place it. Combining mid-century artistic design and chrome accents that lend the promise of quality with the functional practicality of modern features, the popularity of retro fridges continues to soar.
Where is the appeal in pursuing a 1950s kitchen in 2021? It’s the pursuit of cool and a desire to add a pop of color to modern kitchen design that has grown boringly neutral. A Galanz retro refrigerator in a funky color can deliver this look all on its own.
Many appliance manufacturers are looking to cash in on the retro-styled kitchen revolution. But very few can offer the same level of value and vintage old-school charm as Galanz. Today we will review the Galanz brand’s lineup of retro-themed fridges to highlight their retro credentials and practicality. Let’s dive right in.
What Are Retro Fridges?
Retro fridges are new fridge models designed to look like the fridges from the past. The more popular retro models imitate fridges from the 1950s and 60s.
Despite their vintage appearance, retro fridges are every bit as modern as the standard models that appliance manufacturers are putting out. They have features that make them as functional and practical as regular fridges you can buy today.
Retro fridges can often be confused with vintage fridges, which are genuine old fridges from the 1950s and 60s. Retro-styled fridges aim to recreate the artistic quality and vibrant, colorful look of mid-century fridges but with current technology under the hood.
Why Are Retro Fridges So Popular?
Retro fridges have a nostalgic appeal for older people. For the younger crowd, the retro look is simply cool. The pastel baby blues, mint greens, and yellows, though not everyone’s cup of tea, are endlessly interesting and will enliven any kitchen.
If you are looking for a centerpiece with a real presence, a black or red fridge can make a bold statement. But retro fridges aren’t just popular for their colors. They are also coveted for their rounded corners and chrome accents.
Fridges from the mid-century era that current retro models imitate benefited from optimistic construction and had a ‘made-to-last’ presence, thanks to their heavy use of metal.
Appliances from that time were the definition of cool and oozed head-turning flair and character. But the fridges that succeeded them adopted an industrial feel that could never be as charming. The 80s through to the 90s were characterized by large soulless cold boxes that were marketed as refrigerators.
Today, even as refrigeration technology has advanced so much, delivering greater energy efficiency, convenience, more storage, and better organization options, the looks have grown decidedly stark. It is much like ‘you can get any finish you want as long as it is stainless steel’.
A More Durable Feel
Another feature of contemporary fridge design that has us looking back at the 1950s generation with envy is the function over quality approach. Even though today’s fridges are designed to use less energy and deliver more efficient cooling, it doesn’t seem like durability is a goal that’s taken as seriously.
In terms of sturdy build quality, they certainly don’t make them like they used to. Yes, refrigerators from the 50s and 60s weighed a ton, but those things could take a beating. They looked like they could take a few knocks because you could see they had metal bodies, thanks to the exposed copper and polished steel trim.
With today’s advanced manufacturing methods, rounded metallic handles and the whole sculpted look aren’t difficult to achieve. And the retro fridges from Galanz, as SMEG, Big Chill, and other manufacturers, have shown. Galanz is milking the retro trend with a whole line of mid- century-themed fridges.
History Of the Galanz Fridge Brand
Galanz retro fridges are made by the Guangdong Galanz Enterprises Company of China. The company was started in 1978 and is headquartered in the Foshan area of Guangdong.
Curiously, the company started out selling duck feathers and only diversified into home appliances in 1992, starting with microwave ovens. Today it is the largest maker of microwave ovens, with one of the world’s largest manufacturing facilities for home appliances.
The company added refrigerators to their growing line of home appliances around the year 2000. Galanz would expand its fridge line to include retro models as the trend started to take hold. Today Galanz has retro models of other home appliances too.
What You Need to Know About Galanz Retro Fridges
We will get into the different retro fridges that Galanz makes in a moment. First, here’s what to expect when you buy a retro fridge so you are sure that it will meet your food storage needs.
Less storage than regular fridge styles
Galanz retro models don’t come with tons of storage space, at least at the same level as standard models. The largest Galanz retro fridge has 12-cu. ft. of claimed capacity. With a family of four needing between 18- and 22-cu. ft. of cold storage space, this Galanz retro fridge will only work for a small family.
A Galanz retro fridge may not work as a primary fridge unless you are going to buy a standalone freezer to go with it. But it will be perfect for an office, single-person apartment, or dorm room where you don’t need a lot of storage space.
We have also seen these retro fridges used in the customer-facing areas of neighborhood bakeries, auto repair shops, and other small businesses. They work just as well keeping your refreshments and snacks fresh as they do as display pieces. The pop of color and retro style will give these places an individual look and playful ambiance that customers will like.
Small footprint perfect for compact spaces
Galanz retro fridges have a striking slim profile that will suit small kitchens. Their small footprint means the kitchen does not look as cramped as it would if you tried to fit a large fridge in there.
We see the fridges’ slim profile working outside the kitchen too, in places where there is no shortage of space, but you don’t want a large appliance dominating the room. Offices come to mind here.
Beware of fake metal accents
Polished steel handles and chrome trim are major features of retro fridges that give them their vintage 1950s look. Just that with some Galanz retro fridges these aren’t real steel or chrome handles. Usually, it’s plastic that’s coated in a stainless steel finish.
That isn’t an issue if you aren’t going to be pulling and pressing down hard on your fridge handles. Another point is the handles on genuine vintage 1950s fridges are twist-lock style, which means you must twist the handle to open the fridge. Today’s retro fridges have a magnetic strip under the sealing gasket that pulls the door shut, so you don’t twist the handles to open.
Some of the trim that looks like metal isn’t metal. They are plastic made to look like polished metal. Again, that’s no issue if all you are after is the ‘look’. But it does mean that the handles and all this trim aren’t as hard-wearing as you imagine a 1950s fridge to be.
Limited color range
While 1950s fridges were available in a dizzying range of color options, Galanz will only offer a few color options per model. So, you will not find a rainbow of colors to choose from, as you would on a 1950s mail catalog.
For a fridge style whose appeal leans heavily on its use of fun, playful, and vibrant colors, you may be disappointed that there isn’t as wide a color palette as you would like.
Low on premium features
While Galanz retro fridges have managed to recreate the 1950s look to a T, they skimp on the more premium features that make modern fridges so functional. After all, retro fridges are only designed to look vintage, not function as so.
You will not find a Galanz retro refrigerator with such features as automatic temperature control, ice dispensers, and WiFi connectivity. Granted, a through-the-door water dispenser would not create a realistic mid-century aesthetic as such features didn’t exist then. But separate, dedicated temperature controls for the freezer and fridge compartment is a critical feature. And since that’s an ‘under-the-hood’ feature, it will not affect the look.
Because Galanz retro fridges use one manual temperature control for both the freezer and fridge compartment, you can’t lower the fridge temperature without lowering the freezer temperature too, which is problematic. Furthermore, a manual thermostat control can make it hard to set the most ideal temperature for your groceries, which means some retro mini-fridges are only good for keeping drinks cold.
Some retro fridges also lack a way to circulate cold air around the whole fridge. This passive cooling means some areas of the fridge will be colder than others, which can create less than safe food storage conditions. The fridge will also take longer to cool, even on the coldest setting.
The Galanz Retro Fridge Line-up
Galanz has a near full line of retro fridge models, with different sizes to select from. The fridges come in different configurations. So, whether you are shopping for a retro mini-fridge, a top or bottom mount upright, Galanz has you covered.
Galanz Retro Mini Refrigerators
Galanz retro fridges generally have a small footprint, but the mini models are especially compact. They will not offer much storage, but their small size allows them to fit in very tight spaces.
Sometimes people are drawn to mini-fridges because they don’t have much to store. It would not make sense to buy a large fridge that would be near empty all the time, so a small fridge with just the space you need works best. The fridges make more ideal storage for bedroom snacks or home gym or office refreshments.
Galanz retro mini-fridges come in the following capacities: 2.5-cu. ft., 3.3-cu. ft., 3.5-cu. ft., and 4.4-cu. ft. With such an expansive selection you shouldn’t struggle to find one that is just the right size (or color) for you. They are all single-door models.
Galanz Top-Mount Retro Refrigerators
This is the traditional style that you would have found in 1950. The configuration has a small freezer mounted at the top of the unit and a larger fridge compartment set at the bottom.
Galanz offers six options in this configuration. In terms of storage capacities, you have a better chance of finding the size that more closely matches your needs here, unlike the mini-fridges that don’t have a lot separating them.
The smallest Galanz top-mount retro fridge could pass for a mini-fridge at just 3.1-cu. ft. The others have storage capacities of 4-cu. ft., 4.6-cu. ft., 7.6-cu. ft., 10-cu. ft., and 12-cu. ft. The 12-cu. ft. fridge also happens to be the largest retro fridge that Galanz makes.
Galanz Bottom-Mount Retro Refrigerators
The opposite of top-mount fridges, bottom-mount retro fridges have the fridge compartment positioned at the bottom of the unit. The freezer typically has a larger capacity than top-mounted freezers.
Galanz has just one model in the bottom-mount configuration. The model comes with 7.4-cu. ft. of storage.
Review of the Top-5 Galanz Retro Fridges: Mini, Top-Mount, Bottom-Mount
Mini-fridges are great for maximizing space in a small area. So compact, you can use them anywhere around the home, whether it’s the home office, games room, gym, or garage. And with a cool retro look, a compact fridge can help add a real personality to the space.
This Galanz 3.3-cu. ft. retro mini-fridge is the cutest little fridge you will find. If you buy it for your office, you better get ready for compliments because you will get lots of them.
Made even more compact by its use of a single door, we can see the Galanz 3.3-cu. ft. retro mini-fridge tucking in nicely under a kitchen countertop or bookshelf in a home office or dorm room.
Hard to imagine for a fridge so small, but this retro stunner has a built-in freezer. At 0.39-cu. ft., you are not going to fit a large Thanksgiving turkey in there, but we can imagine it being enough to fit frozen treats for one person.
In the fridge compartment, there are four slots for adjustable shelves. Removing one shelf allows you to fit taller items. The 2.84-cu. ft. of storage can just about work as the main fridge for a student who otherwise wouldn’t have the space for a larger fridge. In an office, it’s more than you need to keep your drinks and snacks cool.
Speaking of tall items, there is a slot in the door storage where you can fit a 2-liter milk or wine bottle. There are also seven soda can dispensers and a couple of slots for one or two soup bottles and some cheese.
Overall, this is a functional energy and space-saving fridge. We just wish the doors were reversible. That would have meant the fridge fits in just about any space.
|Internal Capacity||2.84-cu. ft.|
|Freezer Capacity||0.39 cu. ft.|
|Total Capacity||3.3 cu. ft.|
|Dimensions||17.6″ x 21.02″ x 35.43″|
|Annual Energy Consumption||325 kWh|
|Noise Level (dBA)||Low|
Sometimes you want more than just something to hold your snacks and drinks. If a family-sized top freezer is more than you need, this Galanz top-mount retro fridge is a good middle ground.
Like a miniature standard upright, this retro fridge has a layout and looks exactly like your normal fridge, just smaller. With its layout, you wouldn’t think that this fridge has a slightly smaller capacity than the single-door GLR33MBER10 mini-fridge. While that mini-fridge would work well in an office, this one will look great in a kitchen.
For some context on how compact this little charmer is, it sits flush with standard height countertops. That gives you more placement options, including under a window or within a slot in a built-in cupboard.
The Galanz GLR31TBEER retro fridge has two separate doors for the freezer and the fridge section. That means you won’t have to open the fridge compartment and let in warm air from outside when you only need to take something from the freezer. The result is greater energy efficiency.
Inside the fridge looks the same as a regular fridge too. There is even a large crisper drawer for your fruits and vegetables. That large crisper, however, means there is only space for two removable shelves. Besides enabling organization, the removable shelves and crisper make it easy to clean the fridge.
The fast-freezing freezer, though small, will hold enough meat for a few meals, which works just fine for someone who doesn’t buy groceries in bulk. In the door, there is a bin with enough storage space for a couple of ice cream tubs.
In the looks department, you can put this compact Galanz retro fridge just about anywhere and it will immediately enhance the ambiance of the space. With those retro handles, chrome accents, and popping color options, the fridge will not need any stickers to look cool.
On the negative side, we came across quite a few complaints of the fridge arriving with noticeable dents and other signs of damage. The Galanz customer care also needs to improve, judging from the number of customer inquiries that were never responded to.
|Internal Capacity||2.08-cu. ft.|
|Freezer Capacity||0.95-cu. ft.|
|Total Capacity||3.1 cu. ft.|
|Dimensions||19.17″ x 23.31″ x 35.16″|
|Annual Energy Consumption||320 kWh|
|Baskets/Bins||1 crisper drawer|
|Defrost Type||Partial automatic|
|Noise Level (dBA)||42 dB|
You will hear this Galanz 10-cu. ft. retro refrigerator referred to as a ‘true top freezer’, which is an ode to its family-sized capacity. The fresh food compartment is large enough to hold refreshments, condiments, soups, and water for a small family. That storage is almost as much as it gets for Galanz top-mount retro fridges, with the only larger option being the 12-cu. ft. model.
Even for its considerably ample storage capacity, this freestanding refrigerator has a small footprint, which is in keeping with Galanz retro fridges. So, you shouldn’t struggle to find space for it even if your kitchen is small. That makes it a good size for apartments.
The retro, yet sleek, look of this fridge is, without doubt, its best quality. The slightly rounded corners and polished steel-like handles and trim give it a strong vintage ‘50s look. You have a choice of several colors including baby blue, black, and white, but we feel the red is strikingly retro.
If the outside of the fridge teleports you back to 1957, the interior jolts you right back to the present. Inside you will find the standard adjustable shelves, a crystal crisper drawer, and door bins that offer more convenient storage for wine and milk bottles.
There are a few quality issues you should want to know. One is with the door storage bins on the fridge compartment. The bins are made from flimsy plastic that we don’t see lasting very long. You should probably not put full 2-liter milk bottles there. The second wrinkle we have is the internal light that is not very bright.
Even with those quality issues, this full-size Galanz retro fridge is well-reviewed by customers. Customers have remarked at the size of the freezer, which is quite big considering the size of the fridge itself. Many can’t get enough of the retro look.
|Internal Capacity||7.42 cu. ft.|
|Freezer Capacity||2.42 cu. ft.|
|Total Capacity||10 cu. ft.|
|Dimensions||23.74″ x 27.48″ x 61.81″|
|Annual Energy Consumption||292 kWh|
|Baskets/Bins||1 crisper drawer|
|Noise Level (dBA)||42 dB|
The Galanz 7.6-cu. ft. retro fridge is what we would recommend for small apartments. Slim and tall, it’s quite a sight with its retro look and is neither too small nor too big. It will not take up much space, but your visitors will never miss it, thanks to its funky retro styling. It’s practical not just for small apartments, but for man caves, gyms, and as a secondary fridge in the kitchen too.
The fridge is well-built and thoughtfully designed. We like the leveling front legs that keep it steady on uneven floors. The handles are sturdy, but they aren’t metal, as we have seen with all the Galanz retro fridges we have researched and reviewed so far. Still, you want the handles to be actual metal. Perhaps that’s one sign that we are not going back to the all-metal fridges of the 1950s that were built like tanks.
The temperature control on this fridge is adjustable, allowing more personalized use. In all honesty, though, automatic temperature control would have been better. If you set the temperature low, the back of the fridge starts to freeze up.
You don’t want the fridge compartment icing up, so you must set the temperature a bit warmer than you want to, with the obvious worry being the temperature not cold enough to safely preserve some foods.
Away from the frosting issues, the fridge does come with nice organization options, with adjustable/removable shelves. Not forgetting the door bins that provide dedicated storage for tall bottles and your soup jars.
At 2.93-cu. ft., the freezer is not that big but will work just fine for single- person households. One issue we have with it is that it tends to ice up so you will need to manually defrost it. So, an automatic defrost feature would certainly be more desirable.
|Internal Capacity||5.85-cu. ft.|
|Freezer Capacity||1.58-cu. ft.|
|Total Capacity||7.6 cu. ft.|
|Dimensions||21.73″ x 24.45″ x 58.35″|
|Annual Energy Consumption||347 kWh|
|Baskets/Bins||1 crisper drawer|
|Noise Level (dBA)||42 dB|
Bottom-Mount: Galanz GLR74BBER12 Retro Bottom Mount Refrigerator
Bottom freezer fridges generally have more freezer storage than top freezer fridges, even for models that have the same total capacity. This 7.4-cu. ft. bottom-mount retro fridge comes with 2.9-cu. ft. of freezer space and will be a better option for people who store more frozen groceries than the 7.6-cu. ft. top freezer model above.
We like this configuration for the positioning of the handles that are lower and more central. This makes it easier for users to access both the freezer and fridge sections without stretching or bending down too much. It also gives the fridge a sleeker, more balanced look.
As is standard with modern fridges of this size and style, you have removable transparent glass shelves that you can move up and down, depending on your storage needs.
There is also a crisper drawer you can use to separate your fresh fruits and vegetables from your chilled condiments to keep them fresh and tasty. It’s nice to see the bright LED interior light, too, that makes it easy to locate your favorite snacks when you need to quench a late-night craving for a sweet treat.
Because the freezer is larger, there are two removable shelves for ease of organizing. Without the shelves, much of the freezer capacity would be unusable as stuff will just come tumbling down when you open the door.
|Internal Capacity||4.59 lbs|
|Freezer Capacity||2.93 lbs|
|Total Capacity||7.4-cu. ft.|
|Dimensions||20.79″ x 24.09″ x 65.55″|
|Annual Energy Consumption||350 kWh|
|Baskets/Bins||1 crisper drawer|
|Defrost Type||Partial automatic defrost|
|Noise Level (dBA)||-|
Galanz makes some of the coolest retro refrigerators on the market. The fridges have a playful old-school vibe that will instantly transform any kitchen, office, dorm room, and pretty much anywhere you need something compact to hold a bit of food, snacks, and frozen treats.
While Galanz isn’t the only manufacturer making retro-styled fridges, it has one of the widest ranges you can choose from.
Galanz retro fridges are made in Guangzhong, China. The company has a US-based product development team whose sole focus is the American market.
The frosting issues caused by the lack of automatic defrost functionality on most models are about the only major weakness of Galanz retro fridges. Otherwise, the fridges are quite reliable. They are fast cooling and aren’t prone to sudden failure.
Most Galanz retro fridges have a manually adjustable thermostat that you can use to set your desired fridge temperature. This numbered temperature control dial is positioned inside the fridge compartment. Turning the control knob left or counterclockwise will make the fridge warmer. Turning it right or clockwise will make it colder.
According to the FDA, the most ideal temperature for your Galanz retro fridge is 40 degrees Fahrenheit for the fridge section and 32 degrees for the freezer. Mind that on Galanz retro fridges, there is one common manual temperature control for the freezer and fridge compartments. In this case, set your fridge temperature at level 4.
To make sure your fridge has cooled to a temperature that guarantees proper food preservation, wait at least two hours after plugging it in before you put any food in. Even then, check to see if the fridge has cooled to the right temperature.