Worktop Refrigerators Buyers' Guide
Worktop refrigerators are multifunctional pieces of restaurant equipment that offer the convenience of a work table with additional refrigerator space built into the base. Adding worktop refrigeration to your kitchen can provide a solution for workflow and cold storage needs, but you need to know what size and style will work best for your business before investing in one.
Knowing what size your refrigerated work table needs to be before shopping will help you avoid any unnecessary complications when adding the unit to your kitchen. Worktop refrigerators can be as small as 24 inches wide or as large as 108 inches wide, and range in height from 27 to 40 inches. Pay close attention to the specs of the model you choose, however, as some worktop surfaces might be larger than their refrigerated bases.
The location of the compressor and breathing vents should be another major factor in your buying decision. Compressors can be mounted on the front, back, or side. Because these machines need to be able to take in cool air and blow out hot air, it's important that the vents, which might be on the front or side, aren't obstructed. That consideration comes into play if you're planning on installing your unit against a wall or beside other equipment. Make sure you can accommodate the manufacturer's recommended clearance requirements on all sides to keep the compressor running efficiently.
Doors or Drawers
Access to the refrigerated area of the work table is provided in the form of doors or drawers, and which of these the unit has changes the ways you can use it. Drawers are only designed for holding food pans, which are meant to store fresh food and ingredients; a drawer could hold one 6-inch-deep, full size 12 x 20-inch pan or a configuration of smaller pans.
Doors open to reveal adjustable wire shelves, which are ideal for storing jars, jugs, or boxes of ingredients. Some doors will have a self-closing feature, which saves air that would have been lost if someone forgot to shut the door.
Refrigerated work tables can have multiple doors and drawers, or a combination of the two. The number of doors or drawers available usually depends on how many sections the refrigerated unit has. One, two, or three sections are most common, with one door or two drawers per section.
Most worktop refrigeration units come with casters, ranging in size from 3 to 6 inches, which makes it easier to move them for cleaning or relocation. Work tables might be available with a marine, or no-drip, edge or a backsplash, both of which help contain messes. Many worktop refrigerators are constructed out of stainless steel, which is easy to clean, or aluminum, which is more light-weight. Additionally, some worktop refrigerators are also manufactured for ADA compliance.