Table of Contents
- Retro Refrigerators At a Glance
- The Ultimate Fridge Buying Guide
- Review of the 6 Top-Rated Retro Fridges
- Mini Retro-Style Refrigerators
- Final Word
You have to admit we all have a deep craving for that chic retro lifestyle. Fashion, clothes, cars, and appliances all have that unique vintage air that simply never goes out of style. This timelessness is the reason why many manufacturers are mixing vintage or, for want of a better word, retro appliances with today’s technological advancements and contemporary designs.
Many retro cars, clothes, and home appliances are making a massive come-back in their relevant niches. Fantastically updated with the latest technology, they slot perfectly into modern-day life. One such household appliance, the retro refrigerator, has been in the spotlight lately.
This consumer interest has caused us to dive into the world of retro refrigerators and do some research on them. Being the refrigerator experts that we are, it was amazing to learn that retro-style refrigerators have everything a consumer could wish for in a modern-day refrigerator. It offers style, uniqueness, advanced technology, reliability, and durability.
Retro Refrigerators At a Glance
Before we present you with the 6 best retro-style refrigerators in 2021, it is vital to know everything about a retro refrigerator. The common concerns of a homeowner who isn’t aware of a retro refrigerator are what a retro refrigerator is, why I should invest in a retro refrigerator and how much space is needed to install one.
Before we open the doors of the best retro-style refrigerators, let’s get to know them better.
Brief History of Refrigerators
Artificial refrigeration can be traced back to the 1750s. The first vapor-compression refrigeration system was built in 1834, but it was in 1913 that refrigerators for home use were invented. The introduction of Freon-based compressor systems helped expand the refrigerator market. Home-use refrigerators with separate compartments for freezers were introduced in the 1940s because the luxury of frozen food had become commonplace and a necessity. The fridges we describe today as retro refrigerators were a product of the 1950s. However, they weren’t called retro fridges then; they were a modern convenience! Gradual technological advancements in the refrigerator industry have enabled us to enjoy refrigerators as we see and use them today. Present-day refrigerators are smart, energy-efficient, spacious, and offer versatile and interactive features. These machines have become a cornerstone of our lives and feed us when we feel hungry.
What is a Retro Refrigerator?
A retro refrigerator is a fridge with the classic 1950’s look but with all the modern-day technologies. Retro fridges are characterized as flashy chrome fridges with round edges and vintage-style handles. They come in different shapes and sizes with various features. You will mostly find one-door or two-door models in retro fridges. The one-door variants have small storage space and are best for garages, bedrooms, or secondary refrigerators. The two-door models have ample storage space and separate compartments for the freezer and fridge. An average American family can use these models as a central refrigerator.
Why is it a good investment?
A retro refrigerator is a good investment if you want to give your home a vintage touch. Many people design their kitchen with a touch of retro style. A retro fridge is eye-candy with all the features of a modern refrigerator. It is also an excellent option for garages, game rooms, and attics.
Many bars, pubs, and restaurants now install a mini-retro fridge to give the place an authentic vintage look. Bars and pubs in the 1950s were the best of all times. Those times had sublimity.
So, a retro-refrigerator will bring beauty and grandeur to the place it is installed. And you don’t need to worry about the features; the retro-refrigerators on our list are carefully selected and are the best.
How much space do you need for installing a retro refrigerator?
Retro refrigerators come in different sizes. The space required depends on the model you are buying. Most retro fridges have a freestanding design. They don’t need plumbing connections as they don’t have water dispensers. They work as independent units. However, they still need some cushion around all sides for air exchange.
There are two ways you can install a retro fridge. The first is to check the dimensions of the model and then place it in an appropriate space. The second is to measure the pre-allotted space for the refrigerator and then buy a model according to the available area. The following points will help you buy the right machine according to the available space.
- Do not measure your old refrigerator. Instead, you must measure the available space.
- Start by measuring the width of the available space at the top, middle, and bottom. Include the measurement at the thinnest point. The narrowest width will determine the maximum width of the refrigerator you can buy.
- Measure the height of the space from the floor to the lowest point of the upper cabinet (if you have any). This will be the maximum length of the refrigerator.
- Measure the depth of the space from the back wall to the front of the counters or any other fixtures on the spot. You don’t want your refrigerator to protrude out.
- Take into account islands or any other centerpieces as you will be moving your refrigerator through your kitchen.
- Subtract 1/8 inch from each side, 1-inch from above objects, and 2-inches from depth. This is the minimum space cushion modern refrigerators need to function properly.
- The resulting measurements will be the maximum dimensions of the refrigerator you can select.
OK, so now you want one; where can you find the best retro fridge for your home? Perhaps you’d like a mini retro fridge for your bedroom or garage to keep a steady supply of chilled drinks coming your way while working on your DIY projects. Or, you may be tempted to buy a standard-sized retro refrigerator with a freezer and fridge for your kitchen. We have got you covered when it comes to retro refrigerators; your questions answered and the best retro-style refrigerators reviewed.
This article will review the 6 top-rated refrigerators along with a buying guide and an FAQ section to help you make the best purchase decision.
The Ultimate Fridge Buying Guide
Retro refrigerators are not cheap. On the contrary, they are costly than contemporary refrigerators in the same capacity. The reasons are simple; they have an impressive and flashy design compared to present-day refrigerators. Secondly, they have more chrome on them and still have all the modern-day features like LED lights, digital temperature controls, door alarms, and adjustable shelves.
How to Choose the Right Retro Refrigerator?
You don’t buy a refrigerator every year. The average life of a quality refrigerator is 8-10 years. To use a refrigerator for such a long time, you need to ensure that it has all the features you need. Therefore, it is critical that you checkmark all the required features in your shortlisted machine. We want you to get the most out of your money and select a machine that will be your companion for at least a decade. To help you buy the best machine according to your needs, we have created e buying guide which explains all the characteristics you ought to be looking for.
Features to Consider Before Buying a Retro Refrigerator
Retro refrigerators come in the top freezer, bottom freezer, convertible, and mini designs. Each design has different capacities, features, and price ranges. A bottom-freezer refrigerator is regarded as the most practical and usable design because it saves you from bending your back when you frequently open the fridge compartment. Top-freezer design is best for people who frequently use the freezer section. A convertible model Galanz GLF11URDG16 is ideal when you need more freezer/fridge space. You can choose the operating mode. Mini fridges are best for individual use, dorm rooms, garages, offices, and shops.
Never buy a refrigerator before checking the available space at your home. We don’t want you to get stuck in the hassle of returning or selling the machine at low prices. We have already explained how to calculate the available space to determine the maximum dimensions of the unit you can buy.
Retro fridges don’t have large capacities of French door refrigerators. They are best for small families or to be used as secondary refrigerators in your home. The standard size refrigerators have capacities between 7-12 cubic feet, whereas mini-refrigerators have 3-5 cubic feet capacity. Homeowners already know how much storage capacity they need. However, it is still a practical approach to go through your needs before buying a new machine.
Compartments and Shelves
Do you need a separate freezer? Do you need one door unit, or do you need a convertible refrigerator? Are you content with a lidded refrigerator box inside your mini retro refrigerator? All such questions are relevant here. Separate freezers are great for people who frequently store raw meat, ice creams, and other frozen entrees. Convertible models are best for someone looking for a lot of freezer/fridge space. A cool box is best for room fridges, dorm rooms, garages, and shops.
You would also like to look at the number of shelves, the material they are made of, and adjustability. For example, a crisper drawer is a must for households as you would like to keep vegetables and fruits in it. Similarly, the door configuration is also critical as it is the storage place for bottles, jars, and cans. If you are looking for a mini retro fridge for your garage or shop, Frigidaire EFR376 will be a practical buy as it offers dedicated can storage.
Retro fridges are all about design and colors. Apart from refrigeration, they add a vintage touch to your kitchens, rooms, dorms, garages, offices, or shops. Most brands offer retro fridges in a variety of colors. You have the freedom to choose the color that will compliment your setup or beef up the overall design.
Handles are an important part of retro refrigerators. Not only are they used to open the doors, but they are also an integral ingredient of the retro design. An ideal handle will be made of metal with chrome over it. Cheap models have plastic handles that look like chrome but fail to live up to the standards of a chrome handle. They’ll look attractive and flashy but will soon break when exposed to rough use.
Chrome handles, on the other hand, are heavy-duty and can withstand years of use. They are usually found on expensive models. How can you check the handle when buying a retro refrigerator online? Go through user reviews. We have already done this part for you, and almost all the refrigerators on our list have durable and sturdy handles.
Almost all retro refrigerators have a right-swing door. However, a few come with left swing doors as well, such as Smeg’s FAB32. You need to consider this before buying the refrigerator because it can then lead to space problems. Some people don’t have room for left swing doors because they usually place freestanding refrigerators at the corner of their fridges.
Make sure that your fridge is Energy Star certified. Don’t forget to go through the energy guide as it will tell you about the annual energy consumption and estimated yearly spend. The actual yearly spend won’t differ much if you operate the fridge according to the mentioned parameters.
Don’t forget to check other features like LED lighting, temperature control mechanism, and door alarms. In addition, some models like SMEG offer digital temperature controls. Such features make the machine user-friendly and increase its usability down the lane.
Warranty and Certifications
Most retro refrigerators come with a 1-year warranty. This is the industry standard. Even the brands offering 3-5 year warranties on contemporary models offer a 1-year warranty on retro fridges. However, you must look for an Energy Star rating. An Energy Star certified refrigerator meets the performance standards set by EPA and helps save energy, money and emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
The last thing to consider is the price. Retro fridges start as low as $200 and go up to $5000. As the price goes higher, the features get better. You will get more storage space, interactive temperature control systems, better handles, and durable materials. Of course, it all depends on your budget. However, always try to get a machine that offers the best value for money.
- Read the instruction manual, installation guide, energy guide, specification sheet, and all the other information provided by the manufacturer. It is mandatory before setting up your refrigerator.
- Let your refrigerator stand for at least 2 hours if it has been shipped vertically and for 24 hours in case of horizontal shipping before turning it on. It allows the gas in the compressor to settle down.
- Always leave manufacturer-recommended space on all sides.
- Never overload your refrigerator.
- Don’t run your machine outdoors if it isn’t rated for outdoor use.
- Avoid running your machine on low voltage.
- Avoid placing too hot food/container in the fridge.
- Use leak-proof bags for storing raw meat, poultry, and fish.
- Seek professional help in case of any serious problems.
Review of the 6 Top-Rated Retro Fridges
We have researched various retro fridges available in the market and selected the best 6 among them. We explored and studied every feature, so you don’t have to. As a result, we came up with the 3 best standard-sized retro-fridges and 3 mini retro fridges for garages, homes, and attics.
Let’s get you the perfect vintage-style retro fridge!
Unique Appliances is a well-known name when it comes to retro-styled appliances. Its bottom freezer refrigerator is the epitome of the classic times. It takes you back to the 1950s with its iconic summer mint color, chrome finish, and classic handles.
The round-edge refrigerator features a bottom freezer with a 1.9 cubic feet capacity. The freezer section offers 3 drawer style cabinets with one big cabinet, allowing you to keep large and wide boxes in it. The two upper boxes are perfect for storing ice cream tubs and food boxes. The 5.1 cubic feet fridge at the top features one clear crisper drawer for fresh foods such as vegetables and fruits. You have 3 storage racks and 1 wine rack for keeping your drinks chilled. All of these racks are adjustable and made of glass. The door has three storage racks for bottles, jars, and your favorite beer cans.
You get a dial-style thermostat with silver-chrome handles. The internal LED is bright and illuminates every corner of the fridge, so you don’t have trouble spotting your favorite item. The unit comes with a 1-year warranty. The best thing about this machine is that you have the luxury to choose from 7 different colors.
Galanz is inspired by the past and designed for the future. Its products have all the classy retro looks and modern-day technologies. The GLF11URDG16 is a convertible machine that can be adjusted to meet your storage needs. Please note that this refrigerator can only be used as a fridge or a freezer at one time. This feature makes the machine versatile but also reveals its limited usage at the same time. You cannot use it as an ordinary refrigerator with both freezer and fridge at one time. Instead, you can use it as a perfect secondary refrigerator to give a retro touch to your kitchen.
The 11.0 cubic feet machine is a single door unit with a classic chrome door handle and round edges. You will find 3 adjustable storage racks with a crisper drawer at the bottom. The door has 4 storage cabinets for keeping your drinks. The crisper drawer at the bottom is large enough and allows easy storage of all your favorite fruits and vegetable, keeping them fresh for a long time. It is a spacious machine and offers enough capacity to meet an average family’s freezing/refrigeration needs.
The machine offers a bright internal light for easy spotting of your favorite stuff. Galanz is a perfect balance between technology and classic design. It provides a touch-panel temperature control system. The refrigerator temperature can be adjusted from 33F to 45F, and freezer mode functions from -8F to 5F.
Machine’s looks and features make it an ideal unit for kitchen, offices, and garages. It will remind you of our great past and give you a smooth refrigerator experience with modern-day technology. The package includes 4 glass shelves, 1 crystal crisper, a power cord, and manuals to help you get started.
Smeg’s FAB32ULPG3 is another top-of-the-line refrigerator that can meet the needs of a small to medium-sized family. It will add the perfect vintage look to your setup while giving you all the features of a modern-day refrigerator, such as bright LED light, door alarm, and electronic temperature controls with a digital display at the top.
The bottom freezer refrigerator has a total capacity of 12.89 cubic feet. The freezer capacity is 3.43 cubic feet, and the total fresh food capacity is 7.20 cubic feet. The freezer has 2 drawers and one flapped compartment. The flapped compartment is big enough to keep large boxes and store raw meat without any hassles. The freezer shelves are plastic for long life. You also get a fast-freeze compartment.
You will find 3 adjustable storage racks with a crisper drawer. The crisper drawer and cover are glass. The storage racks are adjustable. There are three storage buckets in the door, with 2 of them being adjustable. One door shelf is covered with a transparent cover. You can locate everything inside through the bright LED lighting. The fridge comes with an egg tray and an icebox. Please do not confuse an icebox with an ice maker.
Other features include a fast-freezing mode, temperature alarm, door alarm (acoustic and visual), and inverter compressor. The display function includes holiday, fast-freezing, fast-cooling, ECO, and temperature alarm. It is a silent machine and operates at 37dB (A).
Mini Retro-Style Refrigerators
Galanz GLR40TRDER is an ideal fridge for an individual. If used properly, you can use this machine for two people as well. The two-door retro-style mini-fridge has separate compartments for the freezer and fridge, giving you plenty of storage space for your fresh food and frozen entrees.
The freezer section has a 1.4 cubic feet capacity with one rack. You can remove the rack to adjust large and tall boxes in the freezer or even keep a whole chicken or turkey inside. It also has a door storage bin to keep jars or for chilling your soda can quickly.
The fridge compartment has a 2.6 cubic feet capacity with two adjustable storage racks and one crisper door. The door offers 2 full-size storage bins and 2 half-size storage bins to organize your jars and bottles easily. The temperature range for the refrigerator is – 32ᵒF to 47ᵒF, and for the freezer, it is below 0ᵒF.
The 2-door model comes in hot red, vinyl black, and bebop blue. All three colors take you back to the 1950s, giving your kitchen, garage, or office a perfect retro look. The machine has a mechanical thermostat control, bright interior lighting, chrome handles, and leveling front legs for easy installation.
Please note that it is a small machine and is recommended for small families or individual use. It is also an ideal option for your shops, bars, and RVs. You can also use this fridge as a secondary refrigerator in your home.
Kenmore is usually associated with modern-day refrigerators, but it also offers a few vintage-styled retro refrigerators. The 99098 is an ideal machine for dorm rooms, garages, offices, and shops.
The 4.4 cubic feet single door refrigerator features a flapped freezer compartments, which functions at a lower temperature than the rest of the machine for a quick cool. In addition, it offers a big and spacious humidity-controlled crisper drawer for fresh food items. The humidity control crispers keep your food items fresh for a longer period. You also get one glass storage rack which can be adjusted at three different positions according to your storage needs. The door has three storage bins. Two bins have a steel pipe, so tall bottles get additional support and don’t fall when you open the door.
The door doesn’t feature a handle; instead, you get a grooved design to open the door. You can adjust the temperature manually with a dial. It has a tabletop design, allowing you to maximize counter space in your kitchen. It is a sturdy machine; you can even place a microwave oven over it. The bright LED light makes it easy to locate your favorite food items without any hassle.
This retro-style refrigerator is a perfect machine for individual use, dorms, offices, attics, and garages. The 3.2 cubic feet fridge comes in 6 different retro colors to give a perfect vintage look to your setup.
If you are looking for a steady supply of chilled soda cans with an easy storage facility, then it is your best buy. The door provides a dedicated can storage space, a milk box shelf, a small jar shelf, and one long shelf for boxes. The fridge has a lidded cool-box which functions at a lower temperature than the rest of the fridge. You can place small items/boxes in it as it has a capacity of 0.25 cubic feet. The fridge capacity is 3 cubic feet. The two glass storage racks can be adjusted at 6 different levels, thus making your machine versatile and spacious at the same time. However, like all the fridges, it lacks a crisper drawer. It can lead to drying fresh food items.
You can control the temperature of the machine with a manual dial-style thermostat. It is a manual defrost machine. Apart from the one-year industry-standard warranty, you also get a 90-days returnable warranty on this product. The door features a chrome handle with Frigidaire written in chrome and a thick chrome line at the bottom. This fridge will surely give the perfect retro look to your room.
Unique’s retro fridge is the best standard-sized refrigerator, Galanz GLF11URDG16 is the best convertible retro machine, and Frigidaire EFR376 is the best garage retro mini-fridge.
Yes. Retro fridges are no longer the troublesome machines manufactured in the 1940s and 1950s. These machines just have a vintage exterior. However, you will find modern-day technology inside and all the features of present-day refrigerators. It is evident by the Energy Star rating on all the retro fridges reviewed above.
The price of a retro fridge may vary from $200 to $5000. It all depends on the features and storage space you need.
A retro refrigerator can last for 8-10 years without developing any major issues.
So now that you know everything about the best retro fridges you can buy in 2021, it’s time to give a vintage touch to your home. A retro fridge does not only offer modern-day features; it also instills a classic look to your room, kitchen, or office.