Undercounter and worktop refrigeration are low-profile, space-saving solutions ideal for adding additional refrigerated storage for ingredients, as well as more surface space for food prep. This buying guide covers the main options, features, and benefits of undercounter, worktop, and chef base solutions.
Undercounter refrigerators and freezers are designed specifically, as the name suggests, to fit conveniently underneath counters, providing quick access to refrigerated storage without compromising kitchen space. They range in size from 27″ wide to more than 93″ wide. One, two, and three-door models are available, as well as drawer-configuration models that feature pull-out drawers instead of doors.
The standard height for an undercounter refrigerator is 36″ tall, including casters or legs. Manufacturers also offer “low profile” and “ADA-height” undercounter refrigeration models should you need something shorter. Low profile undercounter refrigerator units are approximately 32″ high and designed to fit underneath an ADA height countertop. ADA-height models are approximately 34″ tall, designed to sit flush against an ADA-height countertop.
As with all styles of refrigeration, an important consideration is compressor location. Depending on where the exhaust is located on the unit, you will want to ensure there is enough clearance on that side so the unit can operate efficiently. Spec sheets (found on each product page) often provide clearance guidelines to help users ensure proper ventilation. If you’re looking to squeeze your undercounter refrigerator into a tight space, you would want to opt for a “front-breathing” unit. These models feature the intake and exhaust in the front, meaning the clearance requirements on the sides and back are much shorter.
Worktop refrigerator and freezer units share similar functionality with undercounter models with the key differentiator being their design to provide a work surface for prep in addition to cold storage. They feature a raised backsplash that’s either bolted or welded to the back of the unit to protect the wall from splashes and other food messes.
ADA-compliant models are available as well. Note that the height refers o the top of the surface and not the top of the backsplash.
Chef bases are designed to provide cold storage near where you’ll be cooking for convenient access to ingredients. They’re similar in function to traditional equipment stands, but instead of an open space for pot and pan storage, there are refrigerated drawers. This serves to maximize kitchen space, and save time from having to walk back and forth to your walk-in cooler to grab ingredients.
Before investing in a chef base, you’ll want to ensure you have enough space to accommodate both the unit and the equipment you’ll be using on top of it. The equipment you place on top should be mounted on legs to give enough clearance that hot air isn’t directly transferring from the bottom of the cooking equipment to the top of the base.
Chef bases typically come with a flat top and a marine edge – a grooved edge designed for containing spills. It’s important to know the weight limit of the top of the chef base to ensure the equipment you use doesn’t exceed it.
True Manufacturing has been a world leader in commercial refrigeration since 1945! Seventy years ago, the Trulaske brothers manufactured the first upright freezer inside their St. Louis home. Today, True Manufacturing still leads the commercial refrigeration industry in innovation, quality, and energy efficiency.
Traulsen is the gold standard for commercial refrigeration, providing high-quality cooling equipment to the foodservice industry since 1938. We carry a range of their products, whether you need a Traulsen freezer, Traulsen cooler, or two- or three-door Traulsen refrigerator.
Commercial refrigeration leader Turbo Air has free shipping and low prices, but the savings don’t stop there! Turbo Air has several energy-efficient technologies to help save on utilities and prolong the life of your equipment. Plus, with over 80 products qualified under the latest Energy Star guidelines, you may qualify for rebates from your utility company for even more savings.
Kratos Refrigeration is a growing line of quality refrigeration products at an affordable price. An ideal solution for new restaurants looking for equipment without cutting too deep into their bottom line. Shop their assortment of undercounter, worktop, and chef base refrigerators and freezers today!
Based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Emily uses her 15+ years of marketing, copywriting, and design experience to create foodservice equipment content that is as fun to read as it is useful and informative. After a long day of crafting many lovely words and images, you can usually find Emily with a big smile and dirty hands; either in the kitchen cooking up a new recipe or tending to her impressive jungle of houseplants.