For many years, the Gladiator Refrigerator has been a go-to garage fridge recommendation, and on the surface, that makes sense. It’s spacious, can withstand extreme temperatures, has many great features and has a sleek design that works with any garage.

But is it worth the hype, and are there better garage fridges out there? That’s what I wanted to find out, so I decided to test the Gladiator garage refrigerator in my garage.

Here’s the elevator pitch version of my Gladiator fridge review: It’s one of the best things I’ve done for my relationship because it allows me to have extra food on hand while not crowding the kitchen fridge (which my girlfriend is very thankful for), but I do have some concerns about its durability.

Read on to find out more.

What is the Gladiator Fridge?

The Gladiator All Refrigerator is a garage-ready fridge. Its powerful compressor keeps food cold even in a garage that may experience rapid temperature changes. Unfortunately, Gladiator doesn’t specify what type of compressor it uses.

Let’s look inside: There are 17.8 cubic feet of storage space, and as the name implies, it’s just a fridge (Gladiator sells a freezer that looks just like the fridge). You get adjustable edge-to-edge shelves, two drawers and five door shelves.

But wait, there’s more. A step-to-open foot pedal allows you to open the door even when your hands are full, and depending on where you’re putting it, you can change the direction the door opens. Need to move it elsewhere in your garage? That is no problem since the fridge has caster wheels for easy portability.

It’s also Energy Star-certified, and according to EnergyGuide, it only costs about $41 a year to run (this figure might change based on your usage and local climate).

Gladiator is owned by Whirlpool, which also makes several garage-ready fridges and smart fridges and produces several appliances and storage systems for your garage.

I Tried It

Gladiator All Refrigerator

The garage refrigerator everyone’s talking about

Gladiator Fridge Features

Let’s take a closer look at what makes the Gladiator Fridge one of the best choices for garage refrigerators.

Spacious

Remember when I said the Gladiator Fridge was one of the best things I did for my relationship? Well, I was only being a little sarcastic when I said that. I’m a foot taller than my girlfriend and frequently lift weights, so my caloric demands are higher than hers. Our kitchen fridge simply didn’t have enough space to hold all the food I needed to stay full during the day, which is why most of my protein and extra snacks live in the Gladiator Fridge.

Here’s a quick look at how much food we have in our fridge right now:

The 17.8 cubic feet of storage space is enough for large families or those who like to entertain. To give you an idea of the size of this refrigerator, a 17.8 cubic foot kitchen fridge (which includes the freezer space) is considered “small.” But again, this is just a fridge with a wide-open design to fit as much food as possible.

However, the Gladiator Fridge has a fundamental flaw: no door open sensor or alarm. We’ve been cautious about shutting the door is closed every time we retrieve something, but there’s been one or two times we’ve found it slightly ajar. Thankfully, it wasn’t open for long during those times, but I would’ve liked to see a beeper to let people know when it’s not sealed correctly.

Although I like having the door shelves for beverages and other items, I have to nitpick the bottom shelf for a second. We use this to store wine bottles and other drinks, but I’ve found that they tend to roll around if they’re not packed strategically. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s been often enough that it’s an annoyance.

Adjustable Shelves

The Gladiator Fridge’s edge-to-edge adjustable shelves help increase its capacity. I love it when fridges have this option because sometimes I want to marinade a large roast or conduct a kitchen experiment, like making my own pickles, and I want to make sure it doesn’t hit the shelf above it. Sometimes, you want to chill tall wine bottles or stack a large number of soda cans for a party.

Whatever you put in this fridge, there are numerous ways to configure it so everything is secured safely.

Wheels

Gladiator doesn’t say how much its garage refrigerator weighs, but I can tell you it’s a hefty son of a gun and would take at least two people to place it on a dolly. Luckily, you won’t need that since it has casters that effortlessly glide on concrete for easy portability.

Important note: You must put the wheels on before setting this up in your garage. We didn’t do that, and now our fridge is filled with things, so we can’t put the wheels on. I will say that these casters feel heavy-duty.

We don’t plan on moving this fridge much, so the lack of wheels isn’t a huge issue for us.

It does, however, mean we can’t take advantage of one of the cooler features.

Step-to-Open

Opening the Gladiator Fridge isn’t difficult, even when holding a 36-count Diet Coke and two rotisserie chickens in your hands. Still, if you need an extra hand (figuratively speaking), there’s a step-to-open feature. We didn’t realize that you couldn’t install this once the fridge is set up because, like the casters, it needs to be on its side to install it properly.

I tried putting it on while the fridge was upright with no luck.

Interchangeable door

While I haven’t taken advantage of this feature, it’s nice to know that you can change what direction the door opens simply by unscrewing and screwing a couple of bolts into a bracket. This allows it to fit into any space in your garage.

Energy Star-certified

Don’t worry about a second fridge running up your electricity costs. According to the EnergyGuide, the Gladiator Fridge is Energy Star-certified and should only cost about $41 per year to operate. This number may change based on your usage and where you live. For example, if you live in Florida or Arizona, the compressor may need to work harder to keep your food cool than someone who lives in a more moderate climate.

I live in North Carolina, which gets humid during the summer. We haven’t seen a significant uptick in energy costs since installing the Gladiator Fridge about two months ago, but I’ll update this article if anything changes.

Check out our tips for garage refrigerator and freezer maintenance.

Garage Ready

It goes without saying, but the most important feature of the Gladiator Refrigerator is the fact that it’s garage-ready. This industry term means it can be placed in a garage and keep food cool thanks to a powerful compressor.

Gladiator doesn’t specify what type of compressor it uses for the All Fridge, which is where one of my major concerns comes into play. In reading through the customer reviews for this fridge, I found several complaints that it stopped workingsome people said it lasted one year, others said it took up to five for it to break. You can make a garage refrigerator work again on your own, but it’s often an expensive and laborious process.

It’s not uncommon for fridge compressors to stop working; honestly, it’s a matter of when and not if it will break. That said, the Gladiator Refrigerator costs around $1,500. It would be nice for something that expensive to last a bit longer than five years.

To be fair, the compressor has to work a bit harder due to the temperature changes, so we shouldn’t expect it to have the same durability as an indoor fridge.

How We Tested It

The Gladiator Fridge has been our backup refrigerator for about two months, and we’ve been using it to store extra food that can’t fit in our kitchen fridge. During those two months, we’ve checked to see that all food is still cool, beverages are kept cold, and there are no signs of a broken door seal or other maintenance issues.

I will update this Gladiator fridge review with any problems should there be any.

Pros

A lot of spaceEdge-to-edge adjustable shelvesGarage-readyEnergy Star-certifiedStep-to-open featureInterchangeable doorWheels

Cons

Only comes with a one-year warrantyNo “door open” sensor

FAQ

Who makes the Gladiator fridge?

The Gladiator Fridge is produced by Gladiator Garage Works, which the Whirlpool Corporation owns.

What makes a fridge garage-ready?

A garage-ready fridge has a compressor that can withstand outdoor temperatures and temperature changes and still keep your food cool. Additionally, it usually has a durable exterior compared to kitchen fridges.

Where are the Gladiator fridges made?

Gladiator doesn’t specify where its fridges are made, but its parent company, the Whirlpool corporation, produces all of its products in the United States of America.

What other Reviewers Had to Say

People seem to love the Gladiator Fridgewhile it still works, that is. Its website has an average rating of 2.8 out of 5, with most of the complaints being about the fridge dying after six months to about five years. Many customers also seem upset at Gladiator/Whirlpool’s customer service.

“As many reviews have said, this thing does not last very long,” customer reviewer Reno614 says. “It is way too expensive to only last that long.”

Customer reviews on Home Depot are slightly better, with a 3.9 out of 5 average rating. One customer says their fridge has lasted 12 years, which is the longest I’ve seen out of the dozens of reviews I’ve read. “It still works fine, except for the defrost condensate line,” writes Boilerfan. “I only need to empty it every 6 months.”

Still, other Home Depot customers complain about short-lived fridges and poor customer service.

Gladiator Garage Refrigerator vs. GE Fridge

Whirlpool and GE are two of the most reliable refrigerator brands, and the two companies are at the top of the list when it comes to garage fridges. But which brand should you go for?

The GE Garage-Ready Fridge is the clear winner if you’re looking for extra freezer space. It looks and acts just like a kitchen fridge but can work in temperatures ranging from 38 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Springtime in New Jersey is unpredictable, and we’ve had 50-degree and 85-degree days,” says Caitlyn Fitzpatrick, senior shopping editor. “The GE has performed well through them all, and the fridge’s contents have remained at the ideal temperature.”

Looking at the customer reviews, it seems to last a little longer than the Gladiator Fridge.

Gladiator, however, is still the winner when it comes to storage space. The GE Fridge is 21.9 cubic feet, but some of that is reserved for the freezer (which doesn’t have a light).

Final Verdict

Time will tell if the Gladiator Fridge is a worthwhile appliance. As of this writing, it’s done well in keeping food cool in various temperatures, and I’m a big fan of the space it provides. I’m still a little peeved that it doesn’t come with a door-open alarm, and the complaints about its short-lived compressor worry me a little, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.

Where to Buy the Gladiator Refrigerator

I Tried It

Gladiator All Refrigerator

A garage-ready refrigerator that keeps food cold even in extreme temperatures

The Gladiator Fridge is available at P.C Richard & Son,The Home Depot and Lowe’s. As of this writing, this garage fridge retails for around $1,600.

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