For food-service establishments looking to use their kitchen space -- or their front-of-the-house area -- more efficiently, a commercial undercounter refrigerator is a great choice.
These refrigerators fill spaces under counters that often go to waste anyway, and they make food items much more accessible in a busy kitchen when time is of the essence.
Nearly all varieties of undercounter refrigerator are designed to be installed under countertops that are at the standard height of 40 inches, but buyers can find undercounter units in a wide range of sizes and with numerous features. While some units feature more conventional doors, which typically have more storage space, there are plenty of undercounter fridges that utilize drawers, which usually allow for easier access to food items. Some units offer a combination of both doors and drawers.
Users of these models have reported that undercounter units with doors come in handy for front-of-the-house uses while the drawers are helpful in a kitchen's cook line where a fridge can hold pan-fulls of prepared food items.
What to look for in a new undercounter refrigerator
Aside from the size and configuration of the the refrigerator's interior, and the height, width and depth of the fridge's exterior, there are some other factors to keep in mind when purchasing a new unit.
One crucial consideration is the location of the compressor. That's because clearance is needed around the compressor to prevent dangerous overheating. So if the compressor is located on the side of the refrigerator, there will need to be several inches of clearance on that side. If the compressor is located in the back of the refrigerator, there will need to be several inches of back clearance.
Pay attention to the location of air vents, too. The vents also need clearance for good air flow. Blocked vents can cause the compressor motor to burn out.
Another feature to look for on an undercounter refrigerator:caster wheels as opposed to legs. Models with casters are helpful because they make the unit easier to move for both cleaning and servicing. Just make sure a unit with casters also has locks on the wheels so the fridge stays in place.
Also some undercounter units have glass doors, which can be convenient because they allow someone to look in for items without having to open the doors, but they are not as energy efficient as solid doors.
Prices for undercounter refrigerators can range from $1,000 for a 28-inch Turbo Air that has a single solid door to $12,000 for a 82-inch Delfield that features four drawers that can be programmed independently to perform separate cooling functions, including refrigerator, freezer, thaw cabinet or chill cabinet.
Many products range between $2,000 to $3,000. For example, there's the 49-inch True model with two glass doors and caster wheels that sells for about $2,300, and a 73-inch True with three solid doors at goes for about $2,400. Both of these are considered to be good values by some.
There's also a Beverage Air 48-inch undercounter model with four drawers that sells for about $3,400 and a 78-inch two-door unit from Victory that has a price tag of around $4,800. These two units are throught to be good values, too.
For more information, visit the commercial fridge page or a page about glass door refrigerators.