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Why Are Outdoor Kitchens So Expensive? (We Find Out)

Outdoor kitchens are an exceptional investment. There are many reasons that outdoor kitchens are expensive, however one of the major reasons is standing heat loss.

An outdoor kitchen is an excellent investment. It provides a beautiful outdoor entertaining space where friends and family members can relax, cook some great food, and enjoy the fresh outside air. It’s not a cheap endeavor, though. Outdoor kitchens can be pretty pricey. But why? Why are outdoor kitchens so expensive?

Outdoor kitchens tend to be expensive because you’re essentially creating a second kitchen outside complete with flooring, cabinets, and appliances. The cost will vary depending on the size of the outdoor kitchen and what you ultimately choose in terms of items, such as type of barbecue, size of the refrigerator, installation of sinks, etc.

If you’re considering a new kitchen, you might be surprised by the bill. But there are reasons for the high price tag. Below, you will find all of the information necessary to understand why outdoor kitchens are so expensive.

Why Are Outdoor Kitchens So Expensive?

There are many contributing factors to the price of an outdoor kitchen. From the floor to the cabinets, and appliances to the seating arrangements, the price can get steep pretty quickly. Remember that you can always get bids from multiple contractors/builders to find a price you’re comfortable with. 

Now, here are the top eight reasons why outdoor kitchens are so expensive. 

Size Matters

The size of your outdoor kitchen is going to play a significant role in how much it costs. The larger the outdoor kitchen, the more flooring, and cabinets you will need to install. Obviously, the more equipment, supplies, and labor called for will up the price tag.

Placement

This might not come to mind at first, but where your outdoor kitchen sits will also alter the price. There are two types of outdoor kitchens: perimeter and satellite. The perimeter kitchen is located right outside the home, such as on the patio. Since the appliances are so close to the home, they can typically share utilities easily.

An outdoor kitchen with an Umbrella.
The perimeter kitchen is located right outside the home.

Satellite outdoor kitchens, on the other hand, will need their own lines curated. This is especially true if you install a sink or refrigerator and opt for a gas grill. The initial installation costs can be significant, and utility bills after that can be pricey, too.

Appliances

Appliances can make or break your outdoor kitchen budget. For example, you can buy a basic drop-in grill for around $1,000. If you want something fancier, you can choose a custom build with a high-end grill which can easily cost over $2,000.

If you decide to purchase a refrigerator for your outdoor kitchen, that can be pretty expensive, too. This all depends on the type of fridge you’re buying. Most people are satisfied with a small mini-fridge that sits under one of the countertops. However, others may want a full-sized fridge to hold all of their cooking and drinking essentials. These can cost hundreds more.

An outdoor kitchen with oven.
Appliances can make or break your outdoor kitchen budget.

Sinks are another expensive appliance you may or may not want in your outdoor kitchen. They come in handy but might not be necessary if your outdoor kitchen is relatively close to its indoor counterpart. 

There is also the option of adding other appliances, like a wood-fired pizza oven, deep fryer, or smoker. Depending on which models are chosen, this could increase the price by several hundred or thousands of dollars. 

Flooring

Sure, your outdoor kitchen could sit on dirt, but it wouldn’t be aesthetically appealing. You want your outdoor kitchen to look nice and inviting. You also want your appliances to have somewhere sturdy and reliable to sit.

A stairs with a stone flooring.
The better option is concrete or stone.

With flooring, you have many options. Tile tends to be the cheapest option, but it also has the most upkeep. The better option is concrete or stone. These durable materials can withstand the elements, whether you’re in a warm climate or expect a lot of snow.

Countertops

Don’t forget the counters! The counters will provide storage for your outdoor items and act as a prep and serving station. The number of countertops you decide on will reflect in the price. If you’re keeping things small, you may only spend a couple of hundred dollars. Those that want an L-shaped or wrap-around custom framework will spend hundreds more.

An outdoor granite countertop.
The counters will provide storage for your outdoor items and act as a prep and serving station.

You also need to consider the countertop material. Granite is the most popular option, but it is also the most expensive. Other options to consider are marble, concrete, or tile. 

Seating

When you create an outdoor kitchen, you’re creating an entertainment venue that friends and family members will love to come and enjoy. But it’s hard to create an area that feels warm and welcoming without proper seating.

An outdoor kitchen beside a swiming pool.
It’s hard to create an area that feels warm and welcoming without proper seating.

A table and chair set can easily cost around $500. Seating becomes even more expensive when you opt for fancy couches and recliners or tables that come with a built-in fire pit. 

Entertainment

Entertainment is 100% optional, but it can turn your outdoor kitchen into a premier venue. When it comes to entertainment, some of the most popular options are:

  • Installing a TV to watch sports, movies, etc.
  • Buying a stereo system with or without surround sound
  • A bar for serving up delicious beverages
  • Fire pits that are electric, gas, etc.
  • Pools, either in-ground or above ground
  • Games like cornhole or badminton
  • Misters or heaters to keep the temperature perfect

Utilities

It’s clear that the initial cost of an outdoor kitchen can easily start at around $3,000 and end up over $30,000, depending on what you’re adding. But don’t forget the monthly cost of your outdoor kitchen, too. The price for utilities will be higher if you install fridges, sinks, and gas or electric grills that need connection and monthly payments.

Final Words

Outdoor kitchens are a great way to transform your backyard into a deluxe entertainment center the whole family will enjoy, but they come with a pretty high price tag. Every aspect of the outdoor kitchen will impact the final price tag, from the chosen appliances to flooring and countertops. Expect to pay at least a few thousand for a simple outdoor kitchen.

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