In this ultimate outdoor kitchen storage buyers guide, I will give you everything you need to know for buying the best outdoor kitchen storage. A Grilling Life buyers guide.
Having a grill, smoker, or pizza oven in your backyard opens up the door to endless outdoor cooking opportunities.
But even the most premium outdoor appliances won’t have the same conveniences as your indoor kitchen — unless, of course, you take it up a notch.
Outdoor storage can transform a simple grill into a true outdoor kitchen, with places to organize your equipment, ingredients, beverages, and more.
With outdoor storage, you can make cooking and entertaining more effortless than ever — without any running back and forth into your house.
You can have ingredients at your fingertips, every tool you need at hand, and drinks for you and your guests chilled and ready to go.
But outdoor kitchen storage has more than just functional value! A well-designed outdoor kitchen can make a stunning statement in your backyard (not to mention an excellent investment in your home’s worth).
There are almost endless options and questions that arise when you start designing your outdoor storage solution. Do you have it match your grill or your home?
What materials should it be made from? How much storage do you need?
What features should you absolutely have, and which optional ones will make you glad you included them?
That’s where our outdoor kitchen storage buyers guide comes in!
What You Can Expect from This Outdoor Kitchen Storage Buyers Guide
In our outdoor kitchen storage buyers guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to purchase your own outdoor kitchen and storage solutions.
We’ll cover figuring out how much storage you need, how to choose the look for your storage, and selecting what features you want to include.
We’ll also talk about a few features that many people end up regretting not including in their outdoor kitchen storage that we definitely recommend you do add.
This guide should equip you with everything you need to get started on your own outdoor storage solutions. Let’s get into it!
In This Article, We’ll Explore:
Click a topic below to be taken directly to that section.
What are Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets?
Outdoor kitchen cabinets are specially designed to fit in seamlessly with your backyard and hold up against the elements. They don’t just provide storage space but counter space as well allowing you to prepare food and keep your supplies safe after cooking.
Why You Should Install Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets
Outdoor kitchen cabinets offer fantastic convenience for outdoor cooks. You won’t need to run back and forth to the house grabbing supplies, and you can organize your tools and ingredients so that they’re ready whenever you are.
Figuring Out How Much Storage You Need
Everyone has a different outdoor cooking style, and that applies to storage as well!
How much storage you need will depend on how close your outdoor kitchen is to your house (aka how often you’re happy to walk back and forth), how often you plan on using it, how much gear you own, and any special equipment you’ll need to store if your kitchen incorporates features like sinks or pizza ovens.
You Could Match Your Outdoor Storage With Your Grill
If a sleek, cohesive outdoor kitchen is what you have in mind, you’ll want to choose storage with finishes that match your grill. If you’re going this route, many grill manufacturers also offer storage and kits that match the materials and styles of their grills to eliminate any guesswork.
You Could Go With Matching Components
You may not want your outdoor storage to perfectly match your grill, but for a well-designed look, your storage components should at least match each other. Choosing to only match your storage components to each other and not your grill can also help with cost savings, since matching collections often come with a premium price tag.
Selecting the Right Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets Material & Construction Quality
When it comes to the materials your outdoor storage solutions are made from, it isn’t just about how they look — you need to think about how they’ll hold up against the weather.
Rain, snow, and even the sun can take a huge toll, so choosing quality materials is essential to ensuring your investment lasts.
You’ll also need to consider how well constructed the types of cabinets you select are. They need to be made of quality material and constructed to last.
Premium Outdoor Kitchen Storage
Premium outdoor storage stands apart from your everyday storage options for its high-end look and convenient features.
Premium finishes will typically match the grills made by the same manufacturer, and come with features sure to wow, like soft-close doors, hidden hinges, recessed handles, and gaskets to make sure the things you’re keeping inside are safe from the elements.
With premium lines, you’ll have the most options for colors and finishes and even illuminated glass paneling if you’re looking to create a nighttime party oasis.
Standard Outdoor Kitchen Storage
If you still want to create a great outdoor kitchen but premium options don’t fit your budget, don’t worry! Standard outdoor kitchen storage will get the job done and still look great.
These options typically have visible hinges and basic handles with plain stainless steel styling.
While the look of standard kitchen storage options will be pretty similar across different manufacturers, the materials they use can vary, so choose carefully (more on that in the next section!).
Best Types of Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets
Stainless Steel Outdoor Cabinets | Outdoor Grill Cabinets | Glass Door Cabinets | Utility Outdoor Cabinets | Aluminum Outdoor Cabinets | Wood Outdoor Cabinets | Concrete, Brick, or Stone Outdoor Cabinets | High-Density Polyethylene and Other Plastic Outdoor Cabinets
When it comes to outdoor kitchen cabinets, again, you’ll have quite a few options to choose from depending on your budget, space, and personal style. Let’s break down a few of the most common types!
Stainless Steel Outdoor Cabinets
Stainless steel cabinets are easy to maintain, and won’t rust when exposed to rain or snow. They’ll also come in different colors outside of the typical gray, including black, bronze, silver, and more.
Just remember that not all stainless steel is created equal — opt for durable 304-grade stainless steel to make sure your storage components can outlast whatever weather comes your way.
Outdoor Grill Cabinets
Grill cabinets are designed specifically to be installed around a grill, and hold all of your grilling essentials such as tongs, spatulas, spices, and more. You’ll often find grill cabinets made from stainless steel, but they also come in wood and aluminum options.
Glass Door Cabinets
Glass cabinets are a clear choice (get it?!) for outdoor cooks looking to add a bit more sophistication to their outdoor storage. Their weather-resistant, tempered glass panes can make the space seem bigger, and come in a variety of finishes to fit your outdoor decor.
Utility Outdoor Cabinets
Utility cabinets are workhorses for storing your grilling essentials and freeing up space outside. They’ll also do a great job standing up to the elements, as they’re usually made from sturdy aluminum.
Aluminum Outdoor Cabinets
Speaking of aluminum, general aluminum cabinets are another great choice for your outdoor kitchen. They’re corrosion-resistant, easy to maintain, lightweight, and come in a variety of colors and finishes, allowing you to design the perfect outdoor kitchen of your dreams.
Aluminum cabinets are also pretty affordable, which means expanding your kitchen or fixing parts that wear down won’t break the bank.
Wood Outdoor Cabinets
If you’re looking for a more natural look for your outdoor kitchen, or want it to match any wooden features on your home, wood cabinets are for you!
Just note that wood cabinets are more prone to corrosion and damage than their metal counterparts. If you live in an area that gets humid weather or a lot of rain and snow, consider building in some sort of protection for your cabinets to help ward off rot.
Wood cabinets also won’t do much to insulate what’s inside them, so be mindful of any food or other ingredients you store in them.
Concrete, Brick, or Stone Outdoor Cabinets
Another option for a high-end, stylish-looking kitchen is concrete, brick, or stone cabinets. These are great for more than just aesthetics — they’re durable and weather-resistant as long as they’re installed and sealed correctly.
High-Density Polyethylene and Other Plastic Outdoor Cabinets
High-density polyethylene and other plastics are an excellent choice for outdoor cabinets since they’re affordable, waterproof, and offer a variety of designs to fit any style.
They don’t have as long of a lifespan as metal cabinets, however, and will break down over time. You’ll also want to make sure they have a moisture-proof seal if you plan on keeping any fresh ingredients in them, so they don’t spoil.
Outdoor Kitchen Storage Necessities
Regardless of your budget, space, or style, your outdoor kitchen wouldn’t be complete without a few key features. Check them out below!
Outdoor Kitchen Access Doors
Access doors are crucial for any outdoor kitchen since they do exactly what their name says and give you access to the gas plumbing connections and water lines that keep your kitchen running.
Any appliance that uses gas or water will require an access door, placed ideally within six feet, so it’s easy to make any repairs or perform maintenance. While these don’t have to be placed directly under your grill, many people do since it gives the kitchen a cohesive look.
Outdoor Kitchen Storage Drawers
Drawers are the cornerstone of any decent outdoor storage arrangement. They’re perfect for storing everything you need for cooking, from grilling tools to towels and everything in between.
Organizing your supplies in drawers means you can spend more time focused on cooking and entertaining, and less time running back and forth from your house to your outdoor kitchen carrying ingredients and tools.
Access Door & Drawer Combos
Access door and drawer combos give you the best of both worlds in one easy-to-install package.
You can choose from a variety of different configurations for these combos, from two-drawer models to options with four drawers.
As with standalone access doors, you’ll want to install these either right under your grill or appliance, or within at least six feet.
Propane Tank Enclosures
Propane tank enclosures give your propane tanks a safe and secure place to sit while staying out of sight and making sure your kitchen has a professional look.
Some models feature sliding roll-out drawers, which make it simple to change out empty fuel tanks.
Unlike access doors, you’ll want to avoid installing a propane tank enclosure right under your grill — check out your owner’s manual to see where the manufacturer recommends you install these.
Outdoor Kitchen Trash Bins & Chutes
When you’re cooking up a storm, you’ll want a spot to easily dispose of food scraps, packaging, and empty drinks. That’s where trash bins and chutes come in!
These are especially handy features to have in your outdoor kitchen, as they’ll eliminate trips to your house to throw things away and look a whole lot nicer than a standalone trash can.
You can buy trash bins in single or double configurations (add a recycling bin for those drink cans!), and choose from options that slide or tilt out.
With a chute, you’ll just drop your trash right through your countertop and won’t even need to think about opening it up until it’s time to empty it!
Outdoor Kitchen Storage Options You’ll Wish You Included
If you have the space and budget, there are plenty of options out there for you to go beyond the basics with your outdoor kitchen.
These features add a bit more flair and function to your outdoor kitchen, and if you weren’t considering them when you first started dreaming up your kitchen design, you might want to give them a second look.
Enclosed Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets
Enclosed outdoor kitchen cabinets block out moisture, humidity, and pests, which makes them great for storing things like spices, sauces, and barbecue rubs.
Stainless steel and options advertised as “dry storage” are the way to go here, as they’ll keep out water and ensure the things you store in them stay fresh and ready to use in cooking. We’ll talk more about dry storage in a bit!
Outdoor Kitchen Paper Towel Holders
Get your paper towel roll off of your counter, and invest in a space-saving paper towel holder. These don’t just free up counter space — they keep your paper towels out of sight and out of the elements until you need them.
Ice Bins & Ice Chest Drawers
If you plan on entertaining in your outdoor kitchen (or if you just enjoy having a cold drink with you when you grill), you’ll want an ice bin or ice chest drawer as part of your storage setup.
Ice bins give you a built-in ice chest that keeps drinks cool, while ice chest drawers hold a standard ice chest and work great with ice makers.
You can even utilize these features for extra storage when they’re not busy holding ice and drinks. Talk about a win-win!
BBQ Island Spice Racks
Imagine a world where all of the spices you need for cooking are right by your side as you grill, not all the way back inside your house. That can become a reality with a built-in BBQ island spice rack!
These sliding racks hold all of the spices you need and save valuable counter space, then slide away out of sight when you’re done.
If you’ve built up a collection of spices and rubs, these storage features are a must-have.
Grilling Island Cutting Boards
The name of the game for outdoor storage is saving space, and keeping helpful features hidden until it’s time for them to be, well, helpful. Cutting boards are no exception!
A grilling island cutting board will slide into a drawer when not in use, so it doesn’t take up any space on your counters. You can even install them right over a trash bin so you can toss out your scraps as you chop!
Outdoor Kitchen Warming Drawers
Outdoor cooking is all about multitasking and making sure your dishes hit the table at the same time. A warming drawer can help with that!
Warming drawers can be used to keep food warm as you finish grilling other items, or to warm up buns and sides.
As a bonus, if you have a pool and aren’t using your warming drawer for food, you can warm up towels to keep everyone toasty warm after their swim.
Additional Things to Consider before Buying Outdoor Kitchen Storage
So you have a design vision for your outdoor kitchen, and the features you want to include in mind — but there are a few more things to consider before launching into creating your perfect outdoor kitchen.
Dry Storage Options
Dry storage, as the name implies, keeps whatever you store inside of it dry and away from moisture, weather, and pests that can ruin your barbecue.
Cabinets that are advertised as dry storage will feature gasket-sealed doors and fully enclosed construction that prevents rain, snow, bugs, or rodents from getting inside and contaminating whatever it is you’re storing.
Whether you plan on using dry storage to safeguard dishware or keep spices, rub, and other non-perishable ingredients away from backyard critters, these cabinets will keep them safe.
Soft-close drawers aren’t just a sought-after feature for indoor kitchens anymore! You can add them to your outdoor storage components for a high-end look and feel.
But the soft-close function does more than just elevate your outdoor kitchen! These systems can help give your kitchen components a longer life by cutting down on the amount of stress the drawer slides and finish are put under.
So if you burn your food and need an outlet for that anger, take it somewhere else — your soft-close outdoor kitchen system is here to eliminate slamming and preserve your drawers and cabinets.
Reversible Door Options
Reversible doors give you the choice to have your cabinets open to the right or left, depending on the space and configuration you’re working with.
Doors with the ability to open a full 90° will also give you more design options and make it easy to grab what’s inside.
Ease of Maintenance
Keep maintenance in mind while you’re shopping for your outdoor kitchen storage, and look for materials that will be easy to clean or repair.
No matter how beautiful a kitchen is right after you install it, it won’t be much fun to use if it’s dirty or falling apart a few months later.
Check Current Owner’s Feedback & Opinions
The best insights into the quality of an outdoor kitchen storage solution come from people who currently own them!
Check online reviews and blogs to learn about any potential issues, maintenance struggles, or pros and cons of a certain product or brand you have in mind. If you spot any red flags, do some more research or look for a brand with more glowing customer reviews.
We especially recommend that you look for opinions from people who live in an area similar to yours and have had their kitchen for a while, so you can tell how the components will hold up against the elements and years of use.
Good Customer Support Matters
If you have any issues with installing your outdoor kitchen storage, or something starts malfunctioning down the line, you want to know there’s a team of people working for the manufacturer who has your best interests in mind.
Check out online reviews and ratings to learn about a manufacturer’s reputation and customer support offerings. You don’t want to get stuck on the phone for hours if you need help, so if customer reviews say the support is less than amazing, look elsewhere.
Get to Know the Warranty Options Before You Buy
Your outdoor kitchen is an investment, so protect it! Research the warranty options your manufacturer provides before you shop.
Trustworthy manufacturers will be willing to protect their products with a good warranty if they believe in the products’ quality.
With a generous warranty, you can know you’re covered for years of great outdoor cooking experiences.
Stainless Steel BBQ Storage
Stainless steel can do more for your outdoor kitchen than just boost its durability! It also gives a clean, cohesive, and professional look when paired with red brick, painted brick, or stone.
Of course, we always recommend that you look for quality 304-grade stainless steel. This means your cabinets and drawers are made from the best quality steel available and will last for years without rusting.
Colorful Stainless Outdoor Cabinets
If you have a colorful house (or just a colorful personality) that you want to match your outdoor kitchen to, look for colored stainless steel cabinets! These will lend a fun look to your kitchen, while still holding up against the elements.
If you’re opting for colorful cabinets, pair them with stone or stucco islands and black soapstone, quartz, or marble countertops for the best overall look.
Teak Grill Island Storage
If you prefer a more natural look for your outdoor kitchen, teak grill island storage is for you. Teak will pair well with any materials that have a neutral finish and earth-tone palette, as well as poured concrete counters.
Teak is warm and inviting but does come with the drawback of more maintenance than stainless steel requires. You’ll want to apply an outdoor furniture sealer or oil to teak cabinets at least twice each year to keep them in good shape.
Final Thoughts on Our Outdoor Kitchen Storage Buyers Guide
An outdoor kitchen with great storage features will help transform your backyard grilling or smoking operation into a true outdoor chef’s paradise.
A well-designed and maintained outdoor kitchen is an investment, of course, but the time you’ll spend enjoying its features (not to mention the trips to and from the house that ample outdoor storage can save you) is well worth it.
Whether you’re looking for a basic grill cabinet to match your grill or a full-scale, high-end kitchen with a sink, drink cooler, and space for all of your outdoor cooking toys, we hope this buyer’s guide gave you some insights to start your buying journey!
The most important thing to keep in mind is your personal style, both for design and cooking. Your outdoor kitchen should fit your style (and budget, of course) and become a true extension of your indoor kitchen.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with colors, the features you want to include, and your layout!
Bear in mind the climate of your location when choosing a material — if you get a lot of rain or snow, you’ll want kitchen storage that’s built out of something that can stand up to whatever Mother Nature throws at it.
Once you have the vision of your perfect outdoor kitchen storage in mind, do some research on previous customer experiences and warranty options to make sure your investment will last your years of phenomenal outdoor cooking.
After that, all you have to do is make the purchase and start planning your first party in your new outdoor kitchen!
Now It’s Your Turn
I want to hear from you:
Which brand of gas grill have you used before?
Have you used any of the gas grill brands listed above and have any feedback to share?
What features do you typically like to see in a built-in grill?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.
If you still have questions, please feel free to send me a message.
Disclosure – At The Grilling Life, I am committed to researching and writing thoughtful, informative and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your outdoor cooking needs. If you like what I do, you can support me through my chosen links, which earn me a commission. This allows me to continue sharing with you my love for all things barbecue. Your support is truly appreciated.