While a refrigerator isn’t a tier 1 concern in your Airbnb, it is something most of your guests will use. And that means that your fridge can cause problems.
We’ve run into a few problems during our 5+ years hosting Airbnbs and ended up replacing a few fridges.
What we’ve found is that the best refrigerator for Airbnb is one that is small, has a fridge and a freezer, has ice in it, but does not have any dispensers. The ice doesn’t have to be produced by an ice maker, and in many cases it’s preferable if it doesn’t have an ice maker.
Today I’ll be sharing 3 fridges that we’ve used in our Airbnbs, and even showing you the one we bought most recently.
What Do We Stock In Our Refrigerators?
Guests don’t need much to already be in your fridge. This is basically the list:
- Bottled water
- Baked goods (we keep these in the freezer)
- Occasionally something that was left behind by previous guests
And we don’t even always keep bottled water around. The primary use of the fridge is to provide our guests a space to store their food.
When a guest orders out and ends up with leftovers, they’re going to need somewhere to store that food.
If they’re planning to cook for their college-attending child who they’re visiting (a common thing in our listings), then they’ll do some grocery shopping. Obviously they need a fridge to store a lot of that food.
So no need to stock much (or anything), but you’ll still want a fridge, or at least a mini-fridge.
Fridge Issues To Keep In Mind
The golden rule when buying items for your Airbnb is “easy to use, hard to break.” This holds true for refrigerators as well.
Based on my experience, there are two things that make fridge’s easier to break. The first is an ice maker and the second is those water/ice dispensers that can be on the doors outside the fridge.
Americans love their ice, and so if you don’t provide ice for your guests you’ll be getting messages and/or phone calls. But if you have an ice maker in your freezer then you may be dealing with a broken ice maker every few months.
And the water/ice dispensers can get clogged or just stop working altogether. Guests regularly use these dispensers, so the moment one breaks you will be alerted. It’s nice that you can get it fixed quickly, but I don’t like things breaking while guests are there (it increases the chances of a bad review).
We’ve taken two different approaches to address these things.
First, is just to go ahead and keep the ice maker and dispensers and deal with any problems that arise. And second is to forego them and use ice trays or bags of ice in the freezer.
We’ve yet to find a perfect solution, but both have worked for us.
Our (current) ideal Airbnb refrigerator
We’ve had some different refrigerators at our Airbnbs over the years. We bought and listed a new house just last month and based on all our experience thus far, this is the refrigerator we bought for the house.
Galanz GLR10TRDEFR Retro Refrigerator (12.0 cubic feet)
- Small, affordable, energy efficient
- Comes with fridge and freezer
- No ice maker, no dispensers
- Several colors and sizes available
- Only in service at our newest Airbnb for about a month so far
So one thing that I haven’t talked about much yet is size of the fridge. You won’t have a choice in every kitchen, because often there is a space cut out for the refrigerator. But when you do have a choice, I recommend going small.
Well guests don’t need a big fridge for one. Unless they’re staying for months at a time, they won’t need enough food to fill a large fridge. Second is that they use less electricity, and that saves you money. So whenever possible go smaller.
We chose this fridge because it’s small, and it doesn’t have an ice maker or dispenser on it. Easy to use, hard to break.
Please excuse the mess in the photo above, but this was before we listed the property. I took this right after I moved the fridge into the kitchen (I was able to do this myself, without a dolly, because the fridge is small and light).
I can’t yet speak to the durability or longevity of this fridge, but in terms of features, price and visual aesthetic, it is our top pick.
Other Refrigerators That Have Done Well In Our Airbnbs
We haven’t had as much flexibility to buy the fridge we wanted with our other listings, but even so we’ve been relatively fortunate with what we’ve ended up with.
Kenmore 36″ Side-by-Side Refrigerator and Freezer
- Bigger, still affordable
- Comes with side-by-side fridge and freezer
- Ice maker and water/ice dispenser
- Been in use at one of our Airbnbs for just under a year now
After one of our refrigerators died, we ended buying this Kenmore unit to replace it. We didn’t have as much flexibility with this one because there was a cut out in the kitchen for the fridge that was pretty big. We would have loved to go with a smaller fridge, but in this case it just wasn’t possible.
Even though the old fridge did have the occasional problem with the ice maker or dispenser, we decided to keep those features in this fridge. Partially because it’s harder to find a big fridge without these things, and partially because the old fridge was, well, old. And we were hopeful that the newer fridge would have fewer problems.
After nearly a year, we have yet to have a single problem with this fridge. I know it’s a short time frame, but that’s the best I can do right now. I’ll have to report back later.
Again, I can’t speak for the long term durability, but the fridge looks great (we bought a matching microwave) and it has worked perfectly thus far.
Frigidaire FFHB2750TS 36 Inch French Door Refrigerator
- Used in our Airbnb for more than 3 years with minimal issues
- Very big (27 cubic feet)
- Ice maker and ice/water dispenser
- Pull out freezer
We actually inherited this refrigerator. When we bought our third Airbnb more than 3 years ago, this was the fridge that the old owners left behind.
It is such a nice fridge that we didn’t see any reason to replace it, so we didn’t.
And you know what? It’s actually worked out really well. The only problem we’ve ever had in the three years since listing the home is once the ice dispenser got clogged with ice. We ended up having to spend a day defrosting the freezer on a day that wasn’t booked.
And that was it.
A slight inconvenience, but we didn’t lose any money and the guest that reported the problem still gave us a 5 star review.
So considering we didn’t pick out this fridge, it has ended up working out great as an Airbnb refrigerator.
Now this unit is considerably more expensive than the other two on my list. I wouldn’t recommend buying this one unless you’re opening a luxury listing or you need a big fridge to fill the space in your kitchen.
If this one fits your needs, then you can expect it to work well, look luxurious and present you with very few problems.
Our most recent Airbnb refrigerator purchase was the Galanz GLR10TRDEFR Retro Refrigerator. We picked this one because:
- It is small – Guests don’t need much space in the fridge and smaller means more energy efficient.
- It has a fridge and freezer – You need a freezer to keep ice in. At least in the U.S. lots of guests strongly want ice.
- It doesn’t have any dispensers – Dispensers create more chances for things to break, I recommend avoiding them if possible.
- It looks great – If your place doesn’t look amazing, you won’t be making much money on Airbnb.
We’ve had good luck with some other refrigerators as well, but the Galanz checks all the boxes based on what we’ve learned in the last 5 years of hosting.