By: BBQGuys StaffThe Skinny:
- 304-grade stainless steel exterior is excellent at resisting corrosion over years of use
- Outdoor rating ensures operation in harsh conditions and protects warranty when used outside
- High-efficiency cooling system is easy to manage with intuitive digital controls
- Front-venting design allows for seamless installation in outdoor kitchen islands
- Small footprint that’s surprisingly spacious in storing up to 152 cans at once
Ever since its founding in 2012, the folks at Blaze have built a reputation for squeezing as much value as possible into each of its grilling and outdoor living products. They seemed to take that concept literally with the Blaze 24-inch, 5.5-cubic-foot compact refrigerator , which expertly combines unexpected storage space with premium construction and efficient cooling. It’s everything we want to see out of Premium-class refrigeration: elegant yet durable design, an outdoor rating that lives up to the billing and covers outdoor use, and one of the best sets of features in class.
We concluded all that and more during the course of this Blaze 24-inch compact refrigerator review. Using a series of data-based and real-world tests, we gathered objective measurements of the unit’s quality, performance, and features — the key pillars for determining any product’s value as it relates to cost. Be aware that almost all the findings detailed here also apply to the Blaze 15-inch, 3.2-cubic-foot compact refrigerator , which is essentially the same model on a smaller scale.
- Fully 304-grade stainless steel exterior is the gold standard for corrosion resistance
- Glass shelves enhance the interior cabinet’s high-end look and are easy to clean
- Warranty won’t be voided by outdoor use, giving backyard entertainers peace of mind
Though we’re accustomed to every Blaze product having a 304-grade, commercial-quality stainless steel exterior, we used our trusty XRF analyzer to determine the metal’s true composition. As expected, it confirmed that the entire exterior (door and all) is made of 304-grade material, an especially durable alloy that’s particularly strong against corrosion. It’s a hallmark of Premium-class quality, and one that gives the Blaze 24-inch compact refrigerator a major leg up against its peers that have lesser-quality stainless or even painted steel exteriors.
This Blaze outdoor-rated refrigerator once again stood out from the pack with attractive glass shelving; most Premium-class models (and other Blaze refrigerators) use wire shelves. As for interior materials, there was no need for Blaze to depart from the industry-standard plastic, though we must note how well its black color couples with the glass shelves and brilliant white LED cabinet lighting to create a modern aesthetic. It’s all backed by a 1-year, limited warranty that’s in line with many price-point peers but has the distinct advantage of Blaze’s outstanding customer service department. And with an all-important outdoor rating, you can confidently run the unit outside without fear of voiding the warranty (a harsh reality for most non-outdoor-rated appliances).
- Outdoor rating means the unit can operate over a large range of ambient temperatures
- High-efficiency, forced-air cooling system creates greater front-to-back consistency
- Easy-to-use dial thermostat precisely controls the widest temperature range in class
It’s not easy for refrigeration units to earn an outdoor rating from international certification company UL, but the Blaze 24-inch compact fridge showed why it was worthy of that distinction. The unit stayed locked on temperatures throughout our own series of tests in hot and humid Louisiana, which came as no surprise considering the powerful compressor and high-efficiency cooling system at play. Blaze uses forced-air technology, our preferred cooling method, to quickly and consistently keep the contents chilled with air treated outside the cabinet — standard for the Premium class, but still great to see.
We obviously spent a lot of time using the digital controls during testing, and they’re as intuitive as what we’d expect from even a Luxury-class model. The control panel itself is also conveniently accessible and visible along the front-facing strip above the cabinet; some competing units place the controls at the back of the cabinet, potentially forcing you to shuffle contents to monitor and adjust temperature. And while we can’t imagine many situations where we’d need to cool something with its high-end temperatures, it’s notable that the Blaze 24-inch compact refrigerator performs so well across the largest temperature range in class (34°F–68°F).
- Holds up to 152 cans at once, making it much easier to host large gatherings
- Interior white LED lighting is critical for both nighttime use and the unit’s sleek look
- An open-door alarm, auto defrost, and door lock give the full premium experience
When a manufacturer makes a bold claim like “can fit 152 cans at the same time,” we just have to find out for ourselves. Sure enough, the 5.5 cubic feet within the cabinet held just about that number, if not a little more. (Certain experts on the BBQGuys Staff are also Tetris masters!) That’s a staggering number of drinks and condiments across just 3 removable interior shelves — the door doesn’t have any storage compartments — which can be adjusted to accommodate larger items. We were also pleased to discover the white LED illumination inside the unit cast light on all its contents, so there were no guessing games during our tests that lasted until nightfall.
There are quality-of-life features virtually everywhere you look, starting with the automatic defrost function. It swiftly did its job time and time again, saving us from performing regular hands-on maintenance just to keep the unit running throughout our review. Few Premium-class outdoor fridges have a door-ajar alarm or Sabbath Mode to comply with religious observances; the Blaze 24-inch compact outdoor refrigerator includes both. And speaking of the unit’s door, it has a lock (not always a given in this product class) to ensure the unit stays shut for optimal operation, and it can also be customized to open either left or right with a field-reversible hinge. Finally, the Blaze 24-inch, outdoor-rated refrigerator is front-venting, meaning it can be installed in BBQ islands without clearance and still thrive like the overall Premium powerhouse it is.
About the BBQGuys Staff
Being in business since 1998, we’ve assembled a group of experienced experts to evaluate every product in our growing inventory. Whether it’s our product trainers, R&D team, or the legendary Chef Tony himself — lucky you! — you can rest assured that BBQGuys Staff reviews are conducted by an authority in the field with years of industry knowledge.