Worktop Freezers Buyers' Guide
A worktop freezer fulfills two very important needs in a kitchen: frozen storage and workspace. A freezer work table is a type of undercounter freezer that has a heavy-duty stainless steel top, which is made to accommodate food prep.
Size and Access
Worktop freezers are available in one or two sections, with interior sizes ranging from 5.7 to 27 cubic feet and widths as small as 27 inches and as wide as 67 inches. When considering sizes, pay close attention to the height, especially if your unit will be installed next to a counter that you want it to be flush with.
A one-section freezer work table will have either one door or two drawers. A two-section model may have two doors, four drawers, or one door and two drawers. Sections with doors allow for easy access to packaged products, while drawers make it easy to store readily-accessed pans of ingredients or prepared food.
Another option to consider is whether you would prefer solid or glass doors. Solid doors provide better insulation, while glass doors allow you to see inside, which can help conserve energy by limiting the amount of time the doors are open when retrieving items or taking inventory.
Worktop freezers may have their compressor located on the side or rear of the unit. When considering which option is best for you, keep clearance requirements in mind. If the compressor is side-mounted, it may not be able to be placed flush against a wall or piece of equipment. Likewise, a rear-mounted compressor may require extra clearance in the back. Some rear-mounted units have a front-breathing setup which allows for little to no clearance, but that blows warm air out of a vent on the front of the equipment, which may be uncomfortable for someone standing in front of the unit using the worktop surface for extended periods of time.
Manufacturers offer various special features to make their worktop and undercounter freezers more useful in certain kitchens, like a built-in cutting board as part of the worktop surface. Depending on the type of food prep you plan to do on your worktop freezer, this may be of great benefit to your kitchen.
Another special feature available from some manufacturers is making the freezer work table a specific height. Low-profile models are available at just under 32-inches high, while others are ADA-compliant at 34-inches high.
A backsplash can make cleanup much easier, and is offered for many worktop freezers either standard or as an optional attachment. Detachable backsplash models can be cleaned separately from the surface, but they create a seam that can harbor bacteria if the backsplash is not removed for the area to be cleaned regularly. A commercial freezer with a backsplash built into the worktop as one piece eliminates that unsanitary gap and makes it easy to clean.
On the interior of the undercounter refrigerator, the type of shelving used varies between models. Most models offer PVC-coated wire shelving. These shelves are durable, but the PVC eventually flakes off, leaving the metal underneath to rust. A more long-lasting option is stainless steel shelves, available standard with some models and as an option with others.