If you’re reading this, you’re likely in the beginning stages of planning your outdoor kitchen. How exciting!
Of course, one of the first areas you’ll want to address is your outdoor kitchen budget. What are you willing to spend on your outdoor kitchen project? It’s a big question.
There are so many outdoor kitchen costs you have to factor into your budget. Materials, labor, appliances, utilities… It all adds up quick!
You may be aware that the average cost of an outdoor kitchen lies around $12,000-$13,000. While this average is helpful information… It doesn’t encompass the lower or higher end project you may be budgeting for. If you’re planning on creating a grandiose outdoor kitchen, the true cost definitely won’t fall into our average!
While it’s true that the costs can add up quickly… Know that outdoor kitchens actually add value to your home. When considering your budget, keep in mind you’ll most likely be getting a return on your investment.
While we can’t tell you what the magic number is for your budget… We can discuss the main factors so you can manage your expectations. We’ll compile them all here so you’re not searching the far corners of the internet for every nugget of information.
What is the Scale of your Project?
Before we start throwing numbers around… We have to determine what the scale of your outdoor kitchen project is.
Are you keeping it small and simple? Do you want a large, luxury outdoor kitchen? Or do you want something in the middle?
We’ll break this section up based on the scale you’re hoping to achieve.
If you don’t have lofty goals… A modest outdoor kitchen budget model could work well for you.
Designs in this category are simple, functional, and affordable. They can be a great option for those simply looking to upgrade from a cart model grill. You can enjoy a budget friendly outdoor kitchen without breaking the bank.
Being a lower cost option… Naturally, these designs will be shorter and have limited features. If that’s what you’re looking for, there’s nothing wrong with that!
Also keep in mind a budget friendly outdoor kitchen is often manufactured with low-grade materials. Therefore, you won’t get as much longevity compared to more expensive solutions. Most homeowners are installing an outdoor kitchen for long-term use, so just be aware. Some of you actually want a short-term solution. In that case, this will be a plus for you!
What does the typical budget outdoor kitchen look like? They’re usually linear islands with a couple appliances. We’re talking a built in grill, some storage, and maybe a refrigerator on the upper end. For finishes, you’ll usually see stucco, manufactured veneer stone, and tile countertops.
Now… Where can you find an outdoor kitchen to satisfy the modest budget? Most often they are found at big box stores. Think Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc. Expect the price range to sit anywhere from $2,000-$7,000.
You can also find outdoor kitchens that match a modest budget online. More specifically, online retail stores. They’ll also offer more options with additional features if you’re open to spending more. Kitchens from these websites will cost somewhere around $4,000-$10,000.
Maybe a budget model outdoor kitchen isn’t going to cut it for you. You want a little extra. Additional functionality and the ability to entertain is what you’re after.
If so, a mid-range outdoor kitchen budget may suit your needs better. You’ll have access to more options and the flexibility to customize your design. Perhaps you just want a larger linear layout… Or an outdoor kitchen bar for your guests to sit at.
Mid-range options are where you can begin to consider L-shape layouts. If you’re really looking to step up your hosting game… You’ll probably love an L-shape outdoor kitchen!
As far as outdoor kitchen solutions go… Mid-range options introduce higher end prefabricated outdoor kitchen solutions or even a scratch-built outdoor kitchen.
These prefab options won’t be found at big box stores or online retail sites. We at RTA offer a high end prefab option that would also be included in this category. Our outdoor kitchens are not only customizable… They’re built to last a lifetime.
Let’s circle back to the scratch-built option. With a mid-range budget, you can hire a contractor to build you a custom outdoor kitchen. They’ll build it on site and tailor the design to your needs.
So… What’s the catch? Well, there can be some complications. For one, most local contractors or builders don’t specialize in outdoor kitchen construction. That means you’re likely hiring a generalist, not a specialist. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this… There will be limitations in their skillset. You may have to temper your expectations depending on who you work with!
You’re certainly dying to know… What’s the price tag? For mid-range outdoor kitchens, expect to pay anywhere from $10,000-$25,000.
No matter the budget, we have a solution
Top of the Line Budget
You may be saying to yourself… Mid-range sounds pretty good, but it’s not enough. You need more!
You want an outdoor kitchen that makes your family and friends’ jaw drop to the ground when they see it. You want an outdoor kitchen worthy of a magazine.
It can certainly be done! As long as you have the budget for it… The sky is really the limit here.
A high end budget introduces the ability to have a U-shape layout. You’ll be able to deck it out with all the appliances you could ever want. For many of us… That’s the best part!
If you’re considering a high end outdoor kitchen… You will definitely want to hire someone who knows their stuff. With the amount of money you plan to spend, it’s essential the project is done properly.
Bottom line? Do your research! When hiring a contractor or builder… Make sure they are a specialist. They will have the experience required to turn your dream into a real-life masterpiece.
As far as materials go, a wide variety can be used. It really just comes down to your aesthetic preferences. Stucco, tile, stone… You name it, it can be done! You’ll also have a wide range of appliances to choose from. In some cases… Homeowners build their outdoor kitchen to offer even more than their indoor kitchen.
So… What’s a top of the line outdoor kitchen going to run you? As we said earlier, the sky is the limit. Most luxury outdoor kitchens begin at $30,000 and can go as high as $70,000+.
If your wallet suddenly scampered off in fear… We understand! These options aren’t for everyone. But if you are after a top of the line outdoor kitchen… It will certainly be a marvel to behold!
And there you have it. The three main brackets for an outdoor kitchen budget. How do you feel? You probably already have an idea which category is the best fit for you.
Now that we have the broad outline for your budget… Let’s discuss budgeting for other aspects of the project.
Other Outdoor Kitchen Budget Considerations
In order to truly understand your ideal outdoor kitchen budget… We must consider all facets of the project. There are many pieces involved that are easily overlooked (but add a cost!).
First is the patio. After all, you can’t build an outdoor kitchen without something to put it on!
The cost of your patio will vary depending on the material you choose to use. On average, a 12’x12′ patio will run you about $2,000-$6,000.
Here is the average cost of common patio materials:
$8-$20 per square foot
$10-$15 per square foot
$10-$30 per square foot
$20-$40 per square foot
Another cost will be running utility lines. You’ll need gas, water, and/or electricity lines depending on the appliances you choose. Some of you may already have utility lines in place. If that’s you, kudos! Otherwise, you’ll need to factor installation costs into your budget.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect to spend on utility lines:
If you want a sink, you’ll have to install water and drain lines. Most plumbers will charge around $500-$2,000 for the task.
If your appliances need power, you need electricity lines. An electrician will charge around $50-$100 an hour for their services. The installation is usually about 6-10 hours of work.
It will cost about $15-$25 per linear foot to run a gas line to your outdoor kitchen.
Beyond utility lines, there’s also a shade structure to consider. This feature is not necessary… But some homeowners appreciate being able to cook outdoors in a shaded area. A pergola or pavilion will run you anywhere from $8,000-$25,000.
It may not seem like much… But where you place your outdoor kitchen can affect the final price you pay.
There are a couple terms attached to the location of your outdoor kitchen: perimeter and satellite.
Perimeter outdoor kitchens are situated close to the home. They can also be placed directly against a back wall of the house. These kitchens tend to cost less than a satellite outdoor kitchen.
A couple reasons. For one, you may leave off some appliances. Being so close to the home, there’s less of a need for a sink, refrigerator, etc. You’re close enough to hop inside and grab what you need.
The second reason is utility lines. The closer your outdoor kitchen is to the house… The shorter your utility lines have to be. Shorter utility lines lead to less materials and labor. The savings will keep your wallet a bit more full!
As expected, a satellite kitchen is the opposite of perimeter. They’re located further away from the house. The increased distance means you’ll have to pay more for utility lines… And you’ll want a more extensive array of appliances. Who wants to haul a bunch of things back and forth when you’re so far away from the house? There are other ways to get your 10,000 steps in!
Speaking of appliances… There are some additional considerations here.
Put your RTA outdoor kitchen where you want
Budgeting for Appliances
Just as it sounds, economy appliances won’t break the bank. As with budget-friendly outdoor kitchens, you’ll find these appliances at big box stores and online retailers.
Generally speaking, economy appliances are manufactured with low-grade materials. They’re not made to last a lifetime. And honestly? They’re not designed to be built into outdoor kitchens, either. So if something goes wrong in the future… It will be a challenging (and costly!) problem to fix.
The average economy grill will cost $500-$1,500. While these prices are easy on the eyes… We don’t recommend these grills for your outdoor kitchen. They’re simply not meant for an outdoor kitchen. If you want an economy grill… It’s best as a standalone appliance.
Premium appliances are your mid-market option. There’s a significant jump in quality and additional features.
Most premium appliances will be constructed from 304 stainless steel. This is important! Appliances made with 304 grade stainless steel are meant to last a lifetime.
Premium grills will also be designed with outdoor kitchens in mind. They’re meant to be built into an outdoor kitchen. Unlike economy models, premium grills will match requirements for safety and performance.
Do you have to donate your left kidney to pay for a premium appliance? Not at all! Premium grills pickup where economy leaves off, ranging from $1,500-$3,500.
It’s true, you’ll pay more upfront… But these appliances will last far longer than economy models. The increased functionality and longevity of your project is well worth the cost.
Yep, luxury appliances are just that… Luxury!
These appliances by far will be the nicest and flashiest you’ll come across. The quality is top notch as well. The question is… Is all that extravagance worth the steep price increase?
Luxury appliances are going to perform phenomenally, no doubt about it! You will have virtually endless features and options at your disposal.
And of course… Luxury appliances are designed to be built into outdoor kitchens.
So… What is all that opulence going to cost you? A luxury grill will begin at $5,000 and can exceed $10,000.
Yes, it’s a big jump! Really, what you’re paying for here are the bells and whistles. They won’t necessarily grill food better than premium grade options. Whether the discrepancy in cost is worth it or not is really up to you.
That’s a wrap for appliance grades. While we talked mainly about grills here… There are other appliances you may consider for your project as well.
Other Appliance Considerations
Once the grill has been decided… Refrigerators are usually the first additional appliance homeowners consider.
It’s important to understand how to shop for an outdoor refrigerator that will last. First and foremost… Make sure you purchase an outdoor rated refrigerator.
Yes, you could buy a mini fridge for $300-$500… But it won’t be a fun time for you. Since regular mini fridges are not rated for the outdoors… They won’t be able to handle the temperature fluctuations from being outside. As a result, they burn out pretty quickly.
So, what does an outdoor rated refrigerator cost? A good quality outdoor refrigerator will start at $1,000 and hover around $5,000 for luxury brands.
What if you still want cool beverages but can’t justify the cost of an outdoor refrigerator and running electric lines?
A great alternative would be a drop-in cooler or pull out ice chest. There’s no electricity needed! You’ll have cool beverages available for gatherings with minimal effort. Get some ice, throw in your drinks… And boom. Refreshing beverages!
On the topic of refrigeration… Many wonder if an ice maker is worth it.
It’s true, they are highly convenient! It’s nice not having to pickup ice at the local convenience store.
It may be more trouble than it’s worth, however. First of all, you have to run a water line for the ice maker to function. And if you live in a cold climate… You’ll have to winterize it every year.
If you use your ice maker all the time, it’s probably worth it.
For cost, you’ll pay around $2,000-$4,000 plus the cost of running water lines.
Kegerators are a really fun addition to your outdoor kitchen! If you’re looking to grab attention, this will certainly accomplish that.
The question is… Is it necessary? A kegerator will take up a good amount of real estate on your outdoor kitchen. There’s also no utility beyond keeping your beer on tap.
If you get a keg of beer and it’s not finished the same day… You can’t reuse the beer. Whereas if you simply keep single beers in your refrigerator… You can drink them at a later date and they won’t go bad.
A kegerator unit will cost around $2,000-$4,000 plus the electricity needed to operate.
Sinks are an incredibly functional addition to your outdoor kitchen. You can wash hands, clean up, and wash dishes right outside.
As you know, you’ll have to run water and drain lines for a sink. If you live in a cold climate, you’ll have to winterize water lines as well.
Just like grills, there are tiers to sinks as well.
An inexpensive drop in sink will cost around $300. A high-quality drop in sink will run you $700-$1,000. Finally, a refreshment center or bar sink will cost $1,300-$2,000.
Storage is often overlooked in outdoor kitchen design. Therefore, we always recommend adding storage to your project. It’s a key part of the convenience of an outdoor kitchen. You won’t want to run in and out of the house just for utensils!
Believe it or not, there’s even variety in the drawers available! There are sealed drawers and non-sealed drawers. Sealed drawers are fitted with gaskets to keep water out. Of course, sealed drawers will cost more for this feature.
Here’s the basic breakdown on storage drawer cost:
- A small storage drawer setup will cost around $500-$800
- Sealed storage drawers start at $800
- Large storage or combo storage setups cost between $800-$2,000
At first glance, access doors seem like another storage option. In reality, they don’t provide much in the way of functionality. They simply allow you to access the interior of your outdoor kitchen island.
Why does this matter?
You want to be able to access the components of your appliances for maintenance and repairs if needed. Having an access door will make that possible!
Single access doors will cost around $200-$400. A double or larger access door costs $300-$800.
We consider warming drawers an honorable mention. It’s not a common addition to outdoor kitchens as they have a very specific purpose.
As a result, warming drawers are more of a “nice to have”. If you’re going to be feeding an army and need to keep food warm while you continue cooking… A warming drawer could be very useful for you.
As for cost, a warming drawer will run you about $1,000-$2,000.
Now that you’ve got an idea of your appliance budget… Let’s discuss the materials for your outdoor kitchen.
only get the appliances that you need
Outdoor Kitchen Materials
Another large portion of your budget will be devoted to outdoor kitchen materials. It’s what your outdoor kitchen will be made from, after all!
In terms of outdoor kitchen composition… Consider the island structure to make up 40-50% and the appliances make up the other 50-60%.
Materials used depend a lot on the outdoor kitchen solution you choose. We won’t dive into that here, but we do have a ton of information in our other blogs. One of the solutions we discuss often are outdoor kitchen frames.
For those who have decided on a frame system for their outdoor kitchen… Know that the frames themselves will be an added material cost. RTA is a frameless system which actually completely avoids this cost… And it lasts longer, too!
Ultimately, there’s one thing to keep in mind when choosing materials. Ensure you choose materials that are resilient to your environment. Generally speaking… The cheaper the material, the less it will hold up long-term.
Below are some common materials and their price ranges.
Island Structure Materials
$5 per sq ft
Manufactured / Cultured Stone
$10 per sq ft
$25-35 per sq ft
$25-45 per sq ft
Porcelain or Ceramic Tile
$10-25 per sq ft
$35-60 per sq ft
$50-70 per sq ft
$60-150 per sq ft
$70-100 per sq ft
Aside from the quality of material… Also consider the required maintenance for different countertop options.
Hidden Costs of Ownership
While we’ve discussed all the main points to consider in your outdoor kitchen budget… There are also hidden costs that can drive the cost up.
We won’t dig into the details here… But rather, just make the concept aware to you. If you’re curious to learn more, check out our blog on the top hidden costs of an outdoor kitchen.
We’ve covered a lot in the way of outdoor kitchen budget today. Surely, you have a lot to consider!
As you continue to determine your budget… We suggest reviewing the other articles on our blog. There’s a wealth of information about materials, types of outdoor kitchens, designs, and more.
The more you read, the more you’ll have questions popping up. To answer those burning questions of yours, why not schedule a call with one of our design experts? They’ll be able to quell any concerns you have and guide you in the right direction for your project.
Our design team can also assist you with your outdoor kitchen budget. You’ll learn what is realistic and the best fit for your space.
Upgrading your outdoor living space is what we do best. We’d be honored to assist you with your project!