What’s inside this buyer’s guide
- Under counter fridges and freezers
- Dual-temperature under counter fridges
- How to choose an under counter fridge or freezer
- Under counter fridge and freezer height
- Under counter fridges and freezer sizes
- Under counter fridges and freezer clearances
- Under counter fridge and freezer door and drawer types
- Other features to consider
- Benchtop and prep fridges and freezers
- Chef bases
- Best under counter fridges and freezers
- Frequently asked questions
- Under counter fridge and freezer glossary
- Keep your cash, use ours!
In the bustling cityscape of your food service, the commercial under-counter fridge and freezer are the subway system, efficiently operating beneath the surface, delivering freshness at every stop.
If you want to maximize your kitchen space while keeping your perishables fresh and your frozen goods chilled to perfection, a powerful commercial under counter fridge and freezer is what you need.
From cozy cafes and upscale bistros to bustling restaurants, compact food trucks, and even schools or eldercare facilities — they fit perfectly in just any food service operation.
There are several makes and models of commercial under counter freezers and fridges available in the market, which often makes selecting the best one an uphill task.
This comprehensive guide has everything you need to zero in on the ideal fit quickly.
Under counter fridges and freezers
Both commercial undercounter refrigerators and freezers share a basic design, functioning as storage solutions to extend the freshness of perishables.
The key difference is in their individual thermostat and cooling systems, which determines their temperature limitations.
A commercial under counter refrigerator can operate within a temperature spectrum of roughly 33°F to 45°F, the ideal window for prolonging the life of perishables like meats, dairy products, and fresh produce.
On the other hand, a commercial under counter freezer maintains a far chillier temperature range, generally spanning 5°F to -20°F.
It freezes food elongating its effective storage lifespan.
However, it's important to note these temperature parameters can vary depending on the specific model of the fridge or freezer and the unique preservation needs of the items intended for storage.
Dual temperature under counter fridges
These unique models offer both a refrigeration and a freezer compartment within one single unit, making it a perfect space-saving solution.
Having both a freezer and a cooler in one appliance allows for quick access to both types of stored items, negating the need to buy separate machines.
It’s the perfect solution for businesses that have limited space or need flexible storage.
How to choose an under counter fridge or freezer
Before you order a commercial under counter fridge or freezer for your business, think about the following aspects to avoid post-purchase troubles and maximize returns.
Measure your space
It is vital to find out beforehand the dimensions of the space where you wish to place the undercounter unit.
Measure the width, depth, and height accurately.
Be mindful of potential obstructions like pipes, switches, power outlets, or other fixtures that could interfere with the placement.
Choose an appliance that fits neatly within the calculated dimensions.
Consider how you’ll use it
Consider whether the under cabinet refrigerator or freezer will be continuously used in a busy setting or only intermittently during peak demand times.
Will it serve as a supplementary cold storage unit, or will it be essential for everyday operations?
The responses to these questions will help you determine the specific model, capacity, and temperature range you need.
Do your research
Once you have a clear understanding of your requirements and limitations, spend some time researching the undercounter refrigerator and freezer options available.
Go through the manufacturer's spec sheets for different models to identify the most suitable choices.
Look for critical factors like size, clearance requirements, capacity, energy efficiency, compressor type, temperature range, door type, shelving options, and warranty before narrowing down your choices.
Under counter fridge and freezer height
Commercial under counter refrigerators and freezers generally come in three distinct heights.
You can choose the one that suits your specific needs and available space.
The usual height for under cabinet refrigerators or freezers, including the legs, is 36 inches.
These are slightly taller compared to the standard countertops, which are usually 34 inches in height.
Countertop (disability friendly)
Countertop models are typically 34 inches tall and align perfectly with the height of most countertops.
They integrate seamlessly with the countertop, offering a continuous surface.
This height is also ideal for differently-abled people.
Low-profile under cabinet freezers and fridges have a height of approximately 32 inches, making them suitable for fitting underneath a standard counter.
These models allow full utilization of the countertop without sacrificing any space to accommodate the appliance.
Under counter fridges and freezer sizes
No matter how little space you have, there’s a commercial under counter fridge or freezer to fit in perfectly.
They come in different widths to meet the diverse needs of commercial establishments.
They can range from as slim as 20 inches – 24 inches to as broad as 72 inches or even more.
The number of doors usually corresponds to the unit's width.
Some most common size and door options are:
Units of 36 inches in width or less usually come with a single door.
These smaller models are best for establishments with low refrigerated storage needs or for front-of-house applications.
Units with two doors typically range between 36 and 72 inches in width.
They are prevalent in commercial settings, striking the right balance between available space and capacity.
Typically, under cabinet refrigerators or freezers spanning 72 inches or more in width come with three doors.
These expansive models are designed to accommodate the refrigeration needs of large-scale food service operations.
Keep in mind that size specifications can vary depending on the brand and model.
Some manufacturers may also allow size or door customization based on your preferences.
Depths (shallow & deep)
The average commercial under counter refrigerator or freezer measures between 24 to 30 inches deep, though this can differ among manufacturers.
Depth can also correlate with the unit's width. Smaller, single-door models generally have lesser depth compared to larger, multi-door units.
Shallow units are ideal for counters with less depth, while deeper units offer more storage.
Choose a depth according to the space available.
Under counter fridges and freezer clearances
When placing an under counter refrigerator or freezer, it's critical to allow enough clearance for optimal operation.
These appliances are designed to slot neatly under countertops, hence ensuring adequate space for ventilation is vital.
Typically, a few inches of clearance is needed around all sides of the fridge or freezer.
This space enables air circulation, to avoid overheating. Ignoring clearance can strain the unit, potentially leading to malfunctions and frequent repairs.
Depending on the positioning of the air exhaust, under counter refrigeration or freezing units can be categorized as side/rear venting or front venting.
During installation, you need to make sure the unit has enough clearance to breathe unobstructed.
In these commercial under counter refrigerators and freezers, the air exhaust is positioned on the side or rear of the unit, but air inlets could be on the front, side, or rear.
So, these models require additional side or rear clearance for ventilation.
For front breathing units, both the air exhaust and inlet are front-facing.
As a result, they can operate with lesser side clearance, making them more appropriate for small under-counter spaces.
Before installation, always check the manufacturer's specifications for clearance.
With appropriate clearance and maintenance, your appliance will function well for years.
Under counter fridge and freezer door and drawer types
Commercial under counter refrigerators and freezers can come with various door or drawer styles.
Each style comes with its unique advantages and drawbacks.
Larger units with multiple doors may feature a combination of doors and drawers.
Choose the door style that suits your needs best.
Solid door undercounter refrigerators and freezers are frequently found in commercial settings.
They prevent heat loss effectively, maintaining consistent temperatures without burdening the compressor.
Moreover, they are generally more durable and easy to clean.
Solid door units are ideal for back-of-house use.
However, they don't allow you to check the contents without opening the door.
Glass door undercounter fridges or freezers have more aesthetic appeal and allow you to check the contents without opening the doors.
Though they can be less energy efficient, than their solid door counterparts.
Glass doors often demand a bit more effort to clean and maintain compared to solid doors.
They are best suited for front-of-house use.
Instead of doors, some commercial under counter fridges or freezers might feature drawers.
Drawers improve organization and accessibility, as the contents move out with the drawer when pulled.
However, the drawer design may sacrifice some storage space and could be costlier.
Some manufacturers may offer the option to customize the door design as per your preferences.
Other features to consider
As you are looking for the optimal commercial under counter refrigerator or freezer for your business, there are several additional considerations to keep in mind to ensure a flawless match.
Here’re some important features you shouldn’t miss.
Forced-air vs static cooling
When it comes to commercial under counter refrigerators and freezers, two different cooling mechanisms are common – static-air cooling and forced-air cooling.
Both efficiently ensure cold storage but in distinct ways.
With static cooling, the cooling process is centered around compressed air being channeled through evaporator coils within the appliance's walls (and sometimes shelves).
This action cools the inner walls (or shelves), which subsequently chills the air inside.
Some units may also incorporate a small fan to quickly distribute the cool air within the cavity.
These are known as fan-assisted static-cooled systems.
Static cooling conserves energy and is an excellent choice for commercial refrigerators and freezers where you don’t need to open the unit’s door frequently.
Forced air cooling
Contrastingly, forced-air cooling systems utilize one or more fans to thrust cold air into the unit and extract warm air.
These systems are best at achieving swift cooling, making them ideal for bustling commercial kitchens and food services that frequently access the refrigerator or freezer.
However, these systems burn more energy, can carry a higher price tag, and may cost more to repair if issues arise.
Therefore, study the unit's expected placement, intended contents, storage duration, and door access frequency before selecting the most suitable cooling method for your business.
This provides added flexibility.
Typically, an under counter fridge in a restaurant operates within a temperature bracket of 35°F to 46°F, as temperatures below could freeze your food, and above could spoil it.
As for commercial freezers, the common temperature range in food services spans from roughly 5°F to -20°F.
Nevertheless, temperature specifications can vary across brands and models.
Think about the contents you will store in the unit to determine the right temperature range.
Some units may allow temperature adjustment based on the ambient temperature or quantity of stored food.
This provides added flexibility.
Dual-temperature commercial under cabinet refrigerators and freezers, featuring distinct fridge and freezer compartments within the same unit may also be an ideal fit for your needs.
Currently, the majority of commercial under cabinet freezers and refrigerators come equipped with self-defrosting systems, though you may encounter models requiring manual defrosting as well.
With auto-defrosting models, internal coils are periodically heated to prevent the accumulation of frost, ensuring consistent cooling.
However, this process consumes more energy because a heating element is introduced in a cool environment.
Conversely, manual defrost systems lack automatic heating elements.
The defrosting procedure needs to be initiated manually via a switch or button, typically located inside the appliance.
The frequency of defrosting depends on factors such as door opening frequency, kitchen humidity, and moisture ingress from the food.
Also, it might differ based on the appliance's make and model.
Not defrosting a manual system right when needed can interfere with the cooling mechanism of the unit and potentially spoil the stored food.
Hence, for commercial kitchens, self-defrosting systems are usually a better choice.
Digital temperature controller
A temperature regulator, or thermostat, manages the internal temperature of the refrigerator or freezer by activating and deactivating the compressor to match the user's preferred temperature.
Commercial fridges can feature either a mechanical temperature controller or a digital one.
Mechanical temperature controllers are more affordable and easier to maintain, but they are less effective than digital controllers at maintaining precise temperatures.
Moreover, they have a limited lifespan.
In contrast, digital temperature controllers employ circuit electronic technology to modify the temperature.
These are user-friendly and offer high-precision control.
However, they carry a higher price tag, and repairs might be costlier.
Although investing in an energy-saving commercial underbench fridge or freezer may seem costly upfront, it can save considerably on utility bills in the long run, as well as help reduces negative environmental impacts.
In the USA, these appliances should be compliant with the energy conservation standards for commercial refrigerators and freezers set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Typically, a commercial refrigerator or freezer with an Energy Star label consumes 20% less energy compared to its non-certified peers.
Hence, when shopping for a new commercial under cabinet freezer or refrigerator, don't neglect to inspect the energy efficiency of the appliance and aim for one with the Energy Star certification.
If you're leaning towards a glass door undercounter fridge or freezer, typically known for consuming higher energy compared to solid door units, always choose an Energy Star-certified model to save on energy bills.
Adequate interior lighting is an important feature for commercial under cabinet freezers or fridges.
The absence of enough light can cause difficulties in organizing and identifying stored items. Moreover, glass door undercounter fridges and freezers may lose their aesthetic appeal without proper lighting.
In the past, commercial refrigerators and freezers often used incandescent or halogen bulbs for internal lighting.
But modern models have transitioned to using Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) or LED lights.
CFL bulbs are energy-efficient and give a cooler light that enhances the look of the stored food, an aspect that's particularly useful for refrigerated display units.
However, these lights tend to be sensitive to extreme temperatures and humidity, which could lead to a shortened lifespan and less effective lighting in colder environments.
In contrast, LED lights perform exceedingly well under these conditions. Notably energy-efficient, they offer bright, consistent lighting and are known for their durability.
In addition, the intensity and color of an LED light can be customized, which gives more flexibility.
A highly useful feature found in commercial under counter freezers and fridges is the automatic closing mechanism of the doors and drawers.
This helps maintain the internal temperature, preventing the stored food from spoiling, and reducing energy waste.
With automatic closing doors and drawers, there's no need to worry about accidentally leaving the fridge or freezer open, as they will secure themselves shut just with a little push.
The doors of these cooling and freezing appliances come fitted with a sealing gasket that includes a magnetic strip.
This strip pulls the door back into a closed position with just a slight push.
Some models are intentionally engineered with a slight backward tilt to use gravity to assist in closing the door.
Additionally, some commercial under counter refrigeration and freezing units feature an alert system that activates when the door remains ajar for a prolonged period.
For self-closing drawers, a spring-loaded mechanism is often used to ensure rapid closure.
This feature is invaluable in bustling commercial kitchens where staff may overlook closing the doors or drawers perfectly due to the fast-paced environment.
It also plays a vital role in scenarios where customers may be using the equipment.
Just like any other electric appliances, lower noise levels are desirable for commercial under counter refrigerators and freezers.
The intensity of noise is measured in decibels, with a lower decibel figure representing a quieter appliance.
In the USA, there’re no specific regulations to govern the noise output for commercial underbench fridges or freezers.
However, noise control may be enforced locally, with different localities implementing their own rules. Investing in a model with quiet operation is always prudent.
Sound emissions from commercial fridges and freezers may surge during compressor startup or defrosting cycles.
However, contemporary models that use advanced technology usually operate more quietly.
Choosing a less noisy appliance will contribute to a more comfortable atmosphere for your staff and clientele.
Benchtop and prep fridges and freezers
Although they are similar to under cabinet refrigerators and freezers, these appliances are not designed to be positioned under the counter.
Instead, they offer a flat, usable countertop area, combining refrigerated storage with a preparation area within a single compact unit.
Countertop and prep units commonly come with a backsplash to protect the wall or nearby areas from food splatters.
Depending on the specific model, the backsplash could be affixed to the cabinet or be an integral part of the unit's design.
Some prep fridges also have extra storage sections on the countertop.
The top surface of these units can be used for various tasks, like chopping vegetables or preparing salads, pizzas, and other meals.
The use of chef base fridges and freezers is increasing in the food service industry, as they provide an accessible refrigerated storage solution near the cooking area, promoting a more efficient workflow for chefs.
These units merge an under cabinet refrigerator or freezer with a robust countertop capable of accommodating various countertop cooking devices, such as griddles, charbroilers, or fryers.
The refrigerated base can accommodate a variety of fresh or frozen ingredients, from meats to garnishes and even ice cream, based on your needs.
These units offer the convenience of keeping ingredients within easy reach, while reducing constant movement in the kitchen, and also help maximize your kitchen space.
Best under counter fridges and freezers
For over 75 years, True has been a trusted provider of award-winning refrigeration solutions to the commercial hospitality sector.
Renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship, energy-saving capabilities, and sturdy construction, True undercounter refrigeration and freezer units consistently raise the bar in the industry.
They cater to a wide range of requirements by offering various models with distinct features.
True's innovative Reverse Condensing Fan motor technology, paired with top-notch insulation and shorter operating durations, minimizes energy usage while maintaining optimal cooling.
Particularly popular are the True undercounter refrigeration TUC-24-HC, a solid single-door model valued for its compactness and dependability, and the TUC-72-HC, praised for its spacious storage and reduced operating expenses.
The TUC-27G-HC~SPEC3 is a popular choice for a glass door variant.
True's dedication to using high-quality materials, pioneering technology, and eco-friendly production practices has solidified its reputation for delivering outstanding performance in the commercial refrigeration sector.
Beverage - Air
Beverage-Air is a leading brand in commercial refrigeration, well-recognized for its innovation and commitment to quality in the food service industry.
The company's roots date back to 1944, when the company was founded in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Today, Beverage-Air continues to be a prominent player, offering an extensive range of products to meet the needs of the restaurant and hospitality sectors.
Among their offerings, the UCF20HC, with a solid single-door, is a popular model for services in need of a compact and efficient freezing solution.
The model UCFR48AHC, a 48 inches refrigerator/freezer with double doors and adaptive defrost, is praised for its reliable performance and flexibility.
It provides dual temperatures in the same unit - left-side freezer and right-side refrigerator - with full electronic control.
Turbo Air is a globally renowned manufacturer of commercial refrigeration solutions and a well-trusted brand in the USA’s hospitality equipment scene.
With over 20 years of experience, the brand boasts a product line covering over 500+ refrigeration units. Turbo Air is known for its energy-efficient, eco-friendly products and enjoys a presence across 67 countries.
A defining characteristic of Turbo Air's commercial under counter refrigeration units is their Self-Cleaning Condenser.
This feature, exclusively patented by Turbo Air, serves to elevate operational efficiency and secure long-term durability while ensuring reliable performance.
Among their popular under counter models, the dual temperature refrigerator/freezer JURF-48-N featuring a highly efficient compressor and TUF-28SD-D2-N compact freezer with two drawers in a single section are lauded for temperature consistency and energy efficiency.
The two-section glass door refrigerator JUR-48-G-N is a popular choice for restaurants.
Ikon Refrigeration, a part of the MVP Group with over six decades of experience in food service equipment manufacturing, is recognized for supplying robust, high-performance products that cater to businesses of all scales.
Rapidly gaining a stellar reputation, Ikon is known for creating inventive, energy-saving refrigeration solutions.
Their commercial under counter refrigeration and freezing units are especially noted for their intelligent layout, sturdy construction, and cutting-edge cooling technologies, making them exceptional for high-intensity commercial settings.
Some of Ikon's popular undercounter units include the compact Ikon IUC28F freezer and the Ikon IUC61R refrigerator.
Both models boast exemplary temperature regulation, digital LED temperature readouts, electronic thermostats, and simple maintenance, setting them apart in the market.
As a globally acclaimed manufacturer of commercial kitchen appliances, Atosa is committed to optimizing kitchen operations. With headquarters located in the USA, the company prides itself on manufacturing products that are highly durable and of superior quality.
Even with such high standards, their wide range of refrigeration solutions remains competitively priced.
Atosa's undercounter fridges and freezers stand out with their advanced features, like cutting-edge digital temperature management, automatic defrosting, and self-diagnostic functions, all aimed at boosting operational efficiency and reducing downtime.
Atosa's MGF8406 double-door, commercial under counter freezer, featuring a high-quality construction and sleek design, is a recommended option for businesses requiring efficient storage in the sub-zero range.
The Atosa MGF8404GR, a 72-inch undercounter fridge with three stainless steel doors, an electronic temperature controller, and a temperature spectrum of around 33°F to 45°F is an equally preferred option for back-of-the-house applications.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best under counter refrigerator for commercial use?
Determining the "best" under-counter refrigerator for commercial use largely depends on your specific needs and requirements.
Factors such as the size of your business, the amount of food you need to store, energy efficiency considerations, budget, and even the layout of your kitchen can all play a role in what might be the best option for you.
Check out the best under counter fridges and freezers section above for the most popular brands and models that might fit your needs.
Where can I find the best deals on under counter fridges for commercial use?
Finding the best deals on commercial under counter fridges might need careful research. Online marketplaces or specialized kitchen equipment websites offer competitive prices and seasonal sales.
Purchasing directly from manufacturers or authorized distributors might also get you some cost-saving deals.
Local kitchen supply stores or wholesale outlets are good places to look.
How to maintain an under counter freezer for commercial use?
Maintaining an under counter freezer for commercial use is crucial for longevity, efficiency, and food safety.
Regularly clean the interior and exterior, check door seals for wear, and monitor the internal temperature.
Defrost as needed, following the manufacturer's guidelines.
Keep condenser coils clean and free of debris to ensure proper heat dissipation.
Schedule professional maintenance at regular intervals to check all components and identify potential issues.
Under counter fridge and freezer glossary
The component in a fridge or freezer responsible for circulating the refrigerant throughout the cooling mechanism.
A component of the cooling system that removes heat from the refrigerant vapor, causing it to change back into a liquid state.
Wheels attached to the refrigerator or freezer's base for easy mobility.
A term indicating that the fridge or freezer is built to withstand intensive use in a commercial setting.
A rubber seal with magnetic properties, which surrounds the fridge or freezer door, ensuring a secure closure that minimizes heat transfer.
It is the process of removing ice accumulation from the evaporator.
A component of the cooling system that enables the refrigerant to evaporate, extracting heat from the fridge or freezer's interior during the process.
A part of the cooling system that aids in distributing cold air within the freezer.
A substance, typically in a gas or liquid form, used in refrigeration systems to transfer heat and facilitate the cooling process.
Keep your cash. Use ours!
We hope this guide has helped you better understand what you need to look for in commercial under counter fridges and freezers, and how to choose the right model for your needs.
If you want to know more, you can always reach out to the SilverChef team.
Hospitality equipment can be expensive, and paying for it outright can put pressure on your business’s cash flow.
Our finance solutions allow you to get the equipment you want now and to pay for it in small, regular amounts out of the revenue it generates for you.
Rent–Try–Buy® not only helps you maintain your cash flow, it gives you unrivaled flexibility to adapt your equipment to the changing needs of your business.
You can upgrade or buy the equipment at any time or, after 12 months, return or continue renting it.
If you decide to buy the equipment, we’ll give you back 60% of the net rent you paid in the first year and 20% of any rental payments thereafter — to put toward the purchase price.