What Is A Larder Fridge? – Everything Explained

If you’ve been shopping around for some new kitchen appliances you may have come across the term larder fridge. And you may be wondering, what makes it any different to a regular fridge. Fear not!

In this post, I’ll explain what a larder fridge is, its pros and cons as well as answer some popular questions about the topic.

Let’s get into it!

What Is A Larder Fridge?

Unlike a regular fridge freezer or American fridge freezer, there is no icebox or freezer compartment inside a larder fridge or behind a separate door that is part of the fridge.

It is designed to give the maximum amount of space for refrigerated goods, rather than freezer goods. Because of this, the temperature is commonly only able to be set between 1 and 5C.

Larder fridges are available in a range of different sizes and as both integrated and freestanding. The most common larder fridges are usually under-counter units designed to give the most fridge space possible for small kitchens.

The larder fridge was the first type of refrigerator produced in the 1920s. It improved the shelf life of perishable foods and changed the way we prepared many types of foods. Instead of opening a tin of veggies or meat, we could opt for fresh versions. Still, you had to visit the market several times a week.

The combination fridge and freezer started appearing in the 1950s at the same time that supermarkets became more popular. Still, the larder fridge remained a common choice for many people.

The smaller under-counter models conveniently fit under the worktop and support an active urban lifestyle. The tall fridge/freezer units were more common for folks that lived in the suburbs or more rural areas.

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Larder fridges are usually more affordable than their fridge/freezer counterparts because they use a smaller cooling unit.

You can pick up an under-counter version for less than £150. A tall larder fridge runs between £800 and £2,000. The higher-end will be an integrated fridge with a match cabinet door panel that makes your fridge seem to vanish in your kitchen.

As with regular fridges, today’s larder fridge can include a salad crisper drawer for your fruits and vegetables, drawers to store deli meats, and sliding shelves for ease of access. If you make a habit of stopping by the grocer after work for your dinner’s ingredients, a larder fridge is a great option.

If you love the idea of a dedicated fridge and freezer pair, for maximum dedicated food storage, look for appliances that match or go for integrated models to fit in with the style of your kitchen.

Tall larder fridge next to tall freezer
Larder fridge (right) next to full height freezer (left)

Pros of Larder Fridges

  • Fits Perfectly Under Your Worktop: It is the right size for smaller kitchens found in flats or terrace condo conversions. It won’t take up extra valuable floor space.
  • No Wasted Storage Space: If you live entirely off a lot of fresh food and never freeze leftovers, you are not paying for an empty freezer section and get some extra room for your fresh food.
  • Affordable: A larder fridge costs less to purchase and less to run compared to a freezer/fridge combination.
  • Finished to Match Your Kitchen: Larder fridges come in an array of popular finishes from traditional white, black, stainless steel, and even matching integrated cabinet faces. Giving it a variety of installation options.
  • Supports Your Healthy Lifestyle: A smaller under-counter larder fridge helps you to keep only fresh food in stock and limits room for forgotten leftovers to hide.

Cons of Larder Fridges

  • No Way to Make or Keep Ice: Since there is no ice box, you will need to buy a bag of ice to use immediately or invest in a separate freezer.
  • Limits Food Storage Options: You can’t make a big batch of soup or lasagna and freeze the leftovers for later.
  • Common Smaller Size May Not Work for Families: Even if you only have one child, an under-counter larder fridge will struggle to provide enough room for the extra food. A tall larder may not give you enough flexibility for a growing family.

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What is an Under-counter Larder Fridge?

An under-counter larger fridge fits under your worktop along with the dishwasher and base storage cabinets. It can be either freestanding or integrated, will be under 90cm in height and have a single door. It provides a good amount of space for cold food and beverages but, importantly, does not have a freezer section.

This is a popular type of fridge found in flats and older small kitchens. It’s a popular option if you live in the city or just down the street from the market, so you can shop often.

Your under-counter larder fridge comes in a variety of depths, typically between 55 to 60cm deep. As well as 55 – 60cm wide. Although there are many models slimmer and shallower than 55cm. This means you can find one that best suits the depth of your worktop or island.

If you just grab the first one you find, it may be too deep and stick out beneath your worktop, with can create a pinch point in smaller kitchens.

Under counter larder fridge
Under Counter Larder Fridge

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What is a Tall Larder Fridge?

Tall larder fridges can be either freestanding or integrated and typically come between 55-60cm wide and deep. Most commonly they will be 175cm tall. Although there are a few different heights available for taller larder fridges. Usually around 130-150cm or 150-175cm.

A tall larder fridge can stand alone or slide in between other floor-to-ceiling cabinets. It looks more like a side-by-side fridge/freezer combination but is dedicated just to keeping food cool and will not have a freezer section.

This is a good choice if you have a large family or like to stock up on groceries. There is tons of room for storing platters and large dishes when you are entertaining. It may have a water dispenser in the door, but it will not make ice or have a freezer.

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What is an Integrated Larder Fridge?

An integrated larder fridge can be an under-counter or tall design. It is integrated because it features a panel or cabinet door that matches your kitchen cabinetry fitted to the front of it and is installed inside a kitchen cabinet.

It will sit flush with the drawers and other doors of your kitchen units. This is more of a custom installation, and you pay extra to ensure that it fits seamlessly in with your cabinetry and kitchen design. As you will need to purchase a door (or doors) as well as a cabinet to install it into.

Also, because it has cupboard doors attached to the front of it you won’t be able to have a water dispensing model, as the door would cover it.

Freestanding larder fridges tend to have slightly more storage capacity (cubic feet) than their similar-sized integrated counterparts. If you have a 60cm wide freestanding and a 60cm wide integrated larder fridge the integrated model has to fit within the 60cm space, meaning it needs to be less than 60cm wide. Whereas the freestanding model can be 60cm wide externally.

What’s the difference between a larder fridge and a fridge?

In most cases, an appliance listed as a standard fridge will include a freezer or icebox section. The freezer can be located in the larder section or have its own door above or under the larder fridge section. 

A larder fridge, on the other hand, only cools food and beverages to approximately between 1 and 5C. It does not have the stronger coils and compressors needed to chill food below the freezing point and won’t have a separate freezer or icebox. It is designed to give you the maximum fresh food storage inside the larder fridge compartment.

You may need to purchase a separate freezer unit if you only have a larder fridge. 

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Where is the coldest part of a larder fridge?

Since a larder fridge has no freezer coils in an icebox section, the coldest part of the larder is at the bottom and as far to the back as possible.

Cold air sinks and the coolant coils are located in the back. Leaving the doors closed helps to keep the larder fridge closer to its lowest setting.

what temperature should a larder fridge be?

A larder fridge should be set between 2 and 5˚C.

Your particular make and model may be able to be set higher or lower than this. Usually between 0 and 8˚C. However, as you open the fridge throughout the day, the temperature inside will rise as the warm air from outside rushes in. Therefore you need to set the fridge temperature a little lower to compensate for this.

You don’t want to set it too low, however, as this will use more energy and may damage some foods stored inside.

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Final Thoughts…

There you have it! Everything you need to know about larder fridges.

Whilst it is only a minor distinction, a larder fridge is importantly different to a regular fridge. So, knowing the difference while you are shopping around for your new kitchen renovation can save a lot of confusion.

Whether a larder fridge is the best choice for you and your kitchen, only you can decide that!



Michael from Kitchinsider.com

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.