What Is A Larder Fridge? – Kitchen Terms 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!

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What Is A Larder Fridge?

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

It’s essentially a fridge-only appliance, providing 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 5°C.

Larder fridges are available in a range of different sizes and as both integrated and freestanding.

This type of fridge is especially popular in Europe and is valued for its efficient use of space and energy, making it a practical choice for storing a large quantity of fresh foods at an optimal temperature.

A Quick History

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.

How much does a larder fridge Cost?

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 models will most likely be an integrated fridge with a matching cabinet door panel that makes your fridge blend in with the rest of your kitchen.

As with regular fridge freezers, a 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 the majority of your grocery shopping and cooking revolves around fresh ingredients rather than frozen items, then opting for a larder fridge is an excellent choice to maximize your storage space for fresh foods.

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

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

The main difference between a larder fridge and a normal fridge is that a larder fridge is exclusively for refrigeration, with no freezer compartment. This means it offers more space for storing fresh food.

In contrast, a normal fridge typically includes both a refrigeration and a freezer compartment, dividing the space between these two functions.

Larder fridges are ideal for those who need extra space for fresh produce or who use a separate freezer, while normal fridges are suitable for those who need both refrigeration and freezing capabilities within the same unit.

A larder fridge is generally more energy-efficient because it only needs to maintain a single, consistent temperature for its refrigeration space.

On the other hand, a normal fridge’s energy efficiency can vary, as it requires more energy to operate both the refrigeration and freezing compartments, each of which needs to be maintained at different temperatures.

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Pros of Larder Fridges

  • Increased Fresh Food Storage: Larder fridges offer more space for fresh food storage as they don’t include a freezer compartment. This is ideal for those who shop frequently for fresh produce or prefer to consume fresh over frozen foods.

  • Energy Efficiency: Since they are dedicated to refrigeration only, larder fridges are often more energy-efficient compared to fridge freezers. This can lead to lower electricity bills and a smaller carbon footprint.

  • Consistent Temperature Control: With no freezer compartment, larder fridges maintain a more consistent cool air temperature throughout, which is crucial for the optimal preservation of fresh foods.

  • Variety of Sizes and Styles: They come in various sizes, from under-counter models for smaller kitchens to full-size versions for larger households, and in styles that can seamlessly integrate into your kitchen design.

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Often have a comparable or lower initial purchase price than standard fridge-freezers. Combined with their energy efficiency and potentially lower maintenance costs, they can be a more affordable option in the long run.

Cons of Larder Fridges

  • No Freezer Compartment: The most notable drawback is the absence of a freezer. If you frequently store frozen foods or require ice, you’ll need a separate freezer, which can be an additional expense and require more space.

  • Space Requirements: If a separate freezer is needed, it means allocating more space in your kitchen or utility area for two appliances instead of one combined unit.

  • Not Ideal for All Lifestyles: For individuals or families that rely heavily on frozen foods, ready meals, or bulk-buying food for freezing, a larder fridge may not meet their needs effectively.

  • Possible Higher Initial Investment: In cases where both a larder fridge and a separate freezer are required, the combined cost might be higher than purchasing a single fridge-freezer unit.

  • Energy Consumption of Two Appliances: If a separate freezer is also in use, the combined energy consumption of both appliances could be higher than a single fridge-freezer, impacting energy bills and environmental footprint.

  • Limited Availability and Variety: There can be fewer models and options available in the market for larder fridges compared to more traditional fridge-freezers, potentially limiting your choices in terms of features and design.

What is an Under-counter Larder Fridge?

An under-counter larder fridge is a type of refrigerator designed to fit neatly under kitchen counters, offering a convenient and space-saving solution for storing fresh food. Like standard larder fridges, it exclusively focuses on refrigeration, without including a freezer compartment.

It can be either freestanding or integrated, will be under 90cm in height and has a single door. This design makes it an ideal choice for smaller kitchens, offices, or additional storage in larger kitchens.

Under-counter larder fridges are typically compact in size, making them an ideal solution for households or individuals who prioritize fresh produce or have limited space.

Despite their smaller size, they are designed to maximize internal storage capacity for refrigerated items and often come with various compartments and shelves for efficient organization and extra room.

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. So you can usually find one that best suits the depth of your worktop or island. 👍

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. 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.

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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

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.