Beginners Buyers Guide to Glass Door Bar Fridges

Whether you’re setting up a new bar, pub or kitchen or need to replace an outdated bar fridge, choosing the right option can be a challenge. With so many options available, there are a number of factors to consider. From the size and what you’re storing to how it cools and what maintenance it requires, you’ll want to compare a few factors to make sure you’re choosing the right glass-door bar fridge. 

While it may seem like a smaller investment than something like cooking equipment or a commercial dishwasher, bar fridges are an integral part of any hospitality business. Explore the Restaurant Equipment buying guide for glass door bar fridges and choose the perfect option for your kitchen, bar or cafe. 

Size and Capacity

Whether your fridge is used for customer access by a deli counter or behind the bar for staff use, you’ll want to consider how much space you need. From storing cans of drinks to beers or wine, start by calculating the actual volume of stock you’ll need to keep cold and on hand. 

For high-traffic establishments or bars and pubs with a happy hour and fast turnover, larger models such as the 3-Door Thermaster LG-330HC with higher capacities are ideal. If you’re running a smaller venue, you might find that a more compact option that doesn’t take up an excess of precious space is more than enough.  Depending on the logistics of where your glass-door bar fridge needs to be, you may also benefit from a double or three-door option over a single-door fridge. 

When it comes to choosing the right size, we’d recommend avoiding buying something that’s not in line with the capacity you need. While it may seem a good idea to have an abundance of space or try and pack in as much as you can into a smaller glass-door fridge, you’ll want to avoid over or understocking your fridge. This ensures it works optimally, giving you consistently cold drinks throughout. 

Temperature Range and Control

All refrigerators will either feature static cooling or fan-forced cooling and understanding how each works will help you in choosing the best glass-door bar fridge. When it comes to temperature range and control, you should also be aware of the fact that commercial fridges are a lot more reliable and show the live temperature. Domestic fridges, by contrast, will show an average temperature, meaning you may be used to seeing the digital display showing a static number. With regular use, your bar fridge will vary by up to a few degrees. The reason is that refrigeration is more cyclical and allows for some variance. 

Keep in mind that commercial fridges show live temperature readings, unlike most residential models that show an average temperature only. This is important because if you have never owned a commercial fridge before, you may think the temperature changes frequently, but this variance is normal due to the cyclical nature of the cooling system. Even if your fridge is set at 2℃ but is registering as 5℃, the contents inside it will still be fine.

Along with the internal temperature, you should also know that humidity can affect the function of your refrigerator. High humidity levels can cause condensation on glass-door bar fridges, which can mean water can pool on the floor, which poses a slipping hazard but can also damage your fridge. If your establishment is somewhere with high humidity that can’t be mitigated with air conditioning, you’ll want to ensure you opt for a tropical-rated fridge. They’re designed to reduce high volumes of condensation and will keep the floor free of water, as well as give your customers or staff a clear view of the contents inside. 

Static Cooling

Static cooling is typically found in the smallest bar fridges and doesn’t utilise an internal fan to circulate the cold. In order to cool the contents of your fridge down, there’s a cooling element, typically on the interior back wall. As it releases cold air, the warm air rises, which, in turn, creates a natural convection current of air circulation inside your refrigerator. 

Glass-door bar fridges that utilise static cooling are typically quieter and use less energy. However, they are slower to reach lower temperatures and are more likely to have uneven temperature distribution throughout. They also typically can’t get as cold as fan-forced refrigerators, making them a better option for less temperature-sensitive contents. 

Fan-Forced Cooling

Fan-forced cooling, like in a fan-forced oven, utilises a fan, but in this instance, it’s used to expel warm air to keep the internal temperature of your bar fridge consistently cool. One of the benefits of fan-forced cooling is that you’ll have a more even temperature distribution throughout the fridge, eliminating the chances of any warm spots. Fan-forced refrigerators also offer a more stable temperature even with regular use and frequent door opening and closing. The Thermaster LG-1000P is an exceptionally high-performance model, giving consistent cool throughout the inside, even with heavy use. 

However, the fan does make them a noisier option and they’ll also use more energy than a static cooling system would. These options are better for contents that must be kept at a certain temperature, including things like wine or beer. 

Fan-Assisted Static Cooling in Commercial Bar Fridges

To get the benefits of both of these systems, you can get fan-assisted static cooling bar fridges. Static cooling is their default chilling mechanism, but this is optimised by a fan that circulates the air better, along with decreasing the overall internal temperature. It’s not only cooler, more consistent and more energy efficient but is also quieter than a fan-forced cooling system alone.

Energy Efficiency

Along with cooling efficiency, you also want to find a glass-door bar fridge that’s efficient with energy use. Aside from lowering your environmental impact, it’ll also help you save money on electricity bills in the long term. While commercial refrigerators and freezers don’t typically have a star rating, you can look for certain features to ensure you’re picking a fridge with lower energy consumption. 

Consider the refrigerant used in the model you’re looking at, we recommend looking for something like R290-A, which reduces your operating costs. Equally, R600A is a non-toxic option and is one of the most climate- and cost-friendly options. Energy-efficient refrigerators should also include features like LED lights for lower power usage and high levels of insulation to lock the cold inside and low-energy compressors. 

Shelving and Storage Options

Another practical piece of glass-door bar fridge buying advice is to consider the shelving options. We recommend checking whether the shelves are adjustable so you can change them as and when you need to. You may want to switch out the kind of drinks you’re stocking over time, so ensuring you can adjust the interior layout of your glass-door bar fridge is important. 

You’ll also want to consider how sturdy and easy to clean your shelves are. With frequent use, it’s important to have options that are hard-wearing but can also be wiped down easily. 

Warranty and Support

Regardless of what you’re using your glass-door bar fridge for, you’ll want to ensure you’re making a good investment that will last you for as long as possible. Another piece of advice is to choose one that has a good warranty, along with high-quality customer support, in case you need help with any issues like repairs or replacement parts. 

What to Look for in a Glass Door Bar Fridge

The main job of your glass-door bar fridge is, of course, to keep everything inside cold. Along with things like capacity, cooling type, energy efficiency and size, there are a few other important considerations when you’re buying your first glass-door fridge. 

  • Make sure you’re choosing a model with digital temperature control over options like dial controls. You’ll want a precise reading that allows you to properly monitor and ensure your drinks are staying cool enough. 
  • Along with having a digital temperature control and monitor, you’ll also want to choose a glass-door bar fridge with a range of temperatures. Different drinks are best enjoyed at slightly different temperatures, so having the option to adjust it will give you more versatility from your fridge. The 198L Polar G-Series Under-Counter Back Bar Cooler With Sliding Doors is a great example of this. 
  • Double-glazing is a good investment, ensuring that the fridge’s contents stay cool even with frequent openings. You might also want to consider sliding doors over hinged doors for easier access like you can find in the Thermaster Under Bench Two Sliding Door Bar Cooler LG-208SC. This is especially important in smaller or more awkward spaces where a swinging door can get in the way. 

Logistical Tips for Buying a Glass Door Bar Fridge

When you’ve decided on a model you like the look of, we recommend running through this list first to make sure everything will fit the way you want it to and stand the test of time. 

  • Measure the space you have available for your bar fridge, and make sure you’ve got space around it for the fan to ventilate. As a general guideline, you’ll want at least 10cm around your fridge. 
  • When you know the size you can accommodate, consider what kind of doors you want, whether that’s single, double or triple doors and hinged or sliding. 
  • Choose the exterior colour and material, whether that’s something like a minimalist black or an easy-to-clean and resilient stainless steel. 
  • Check what the warranty is, along with what the manufacturers' customer support is like. 
  • Do some research into what the model you’re considering needs in terms of ongoing maintenance to ensure it matches with what you’re capable of committing to. 
  • Contact the team at REO for more information if you’re trying to decide between a few models for a personal recommendation! 


How to Maintain Glass Door Bar Fridges

Once you’ve chosen your glass-door bar fridge, you’ll want to look after it in order to get both the best performance and extend its lifespan. There are a few ongoing pieces of maintenance you’ll want to do to achieve this: 

  1. Regular cleaning: Wipe down both the inside and outside of your bar fridge to keep it hygienic and looking its best for customers. We recommend using a gentle cleaner and a soft microfiber cloth. 
  2. Check the seals: In order to stay cool, your bar fridge’s seals need to be in good condition. Make sure they’re firmly intact, making an airtight connection. A well-sealed fridge will also use less electricity, making it more affordable to run. 
  3. Monitor the temperature: While some fluctuation in internal temperature is normal, if you notice any major changes or your fridge isn’t maintaing at the temperature you’ve set it at for an extended period, you may want to check everything is working properly. 
  4. Defrosting: Some models will defrost themselves automatically, but if yours doesn’t, make sure that you’re regularly scheduling it to defrost to avoid ice buildup. Too much ice will reduce the amount of space inside your fridge and will also impact performance. 
  5. Clean the filter: For glass-door bar fridge models with an evaporator filter, we recommend checking them monthly and cleaning them when necessary. Dust can build up on them, impacting their ability to bring fresh, clean air into the cooling system. 

Perfect Pairings

To create the most efficient refrigeration setup, you might want to combine your glass-door bar fridge with other options to match the stock you have on hand:

  • Wine Fridges are the perfect addition for establishments, whether you offer a large variety of wine or need to have different temperatures to serve your wines at the optimal temperature. 
  • Commercial Drink Fridges are a vertical alternative for larger storage needs, whether it’s soft drinks or higher volumes of cans or bottles of beer.
  • Under Bench Fridges are the perfect option for busy bars, with easy access and extra storage for a variety of chilled drinks. 
  • Pizza Prep Fridges can be an invaluable addition for establishments that serve both drinks and pizzas, giving you space to keep your ingredients chilled along with a designated food-prep area. 

If you’re looking to upgrade your glass-door bar fridge or purchase one for the first time and want more information or a personal recommendation, get in touch with Restaurant Equipment now! You can book a free consultation, contact us via email at or give us a call at 1300 35 25 45. 

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