Beverage Refrigerator Glossary: Terms to Know

When purchasing a beverage refrigerator it’s important understand what the terminology and features mean. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of key words you’ll see when shopping for a beverage refrigerator. Understanding these will ensure that you’ll purchase the right type of unit for your needs!

Beverage Fridge In Your Home

If you find any terms listed on any of our beverage refrigerators that you are unsure of or would like clarification on, please leave us a comment below, refer to our FAQs page and/or give us a call at 1.800.297.6076.


Adjustable Shelving — most of the units have adjustable shelving allowing you to perfectly organize your beverage refrigerator. They are able to hold a variety of cans and bottles including tall 16oz and 20oz bottles. Adjustable shelving can either be chrome metal or glass.


Auto Defrost — automatically heats internal coils on a regular basis to prevent frost build up.


Built-in — (also known as undercounter) these units are made to be built into cabinetry by venting the hot air from the compressor out the front of the unit, however they can be used as a freestanding unit as well. They are usually more expensive than freestanding units due to the engineering behind making them, but they also tend to have more of the upgraded features like fan cooling and digital temperature control on top of the front venting system.


Cold plate cooling — a cold plate is filled with a solution and cooled by a compressor in the unit, therefore items closest to the compressor tend to feel colder than those further away, creating a “cold spot”.


Compressor — a refrigerator cools by removing heat from the inside, the compressor turns gas back into a liquid by compressing it. The heat is pushed out through metal coils typically located on the back of the unit.


Digital Temperature — an easy to read screen that allows you to control and read the exact temperature.


Dual-zone — a unit that has two different temperature zones within the same unit. Great for storing wine with colder beverages like beer or soda.


ETL Approved — the ETL mark is proof of product compliance to North American safety standards.


Fan circulated cooling — a fan in the unit helps circulate the cold air and provide even cooling among the items. Units with this feature tend to be more expensive.


Freestanding — this unit stands alone and requires 2-3 inches of clearance on the top and sides of the unit and 3-5 inches on the back of the unit to allow the heat from the unit to escape. Freestanding units come in a variety of sizes to add the convenience of having cool beverages in any room.


Front venting — vents in the front release hot air from the compressor which allow units to be built directly into cabinetry. Also known as undercounter or built-in.


LED Lighting — an interior light that offers easy selection and display of your beverages. LED lighting is more efficient and longer lasting than regular bulbs. The soft blue lighting can create a nice ambiance for the room. Lighting can be manual or automatic controlled depending on the model.


Low Temperature — some of our beverage refrigerators are low temperature models. Most units range from high 30’s to 50’s but some models can get to the low 30’s.


Manual Defrost — unit must be unplugged to allow frost build up to melt.


Manual temperature — a manual knob that allows you to control the temperature but will not give you exact the temperature setting.


Outdoor Beverage Refrigerator — this unit comes in freestanding and built in models, but are made of durable stainless steel to withstand and function properly in any outdoor climate. The compressors on outdoor beverage coolers are also built to withstand the higher ambient temperatures of the outdoors without overheating.


Reversible door — a reversible door allows it be hinged from either the right or left side.


Safety Lock — a lock on the front door for child safety or for keeping expensive drinks safely locked away.


Slim 15” width — this size unit is the perfect width to replace outdated appliances that were used extensively in houses built or updated in the 1980’s. Most built in units are 24” which is the size of a standard cabinet making this slim width harder to find.

Lyndsy Adams

About Author

Lyndsy is a new mom who recently moved from New York City to Austin, TX with her husband and dog. She loves to watch The Food Network, discover new restaurants around town, and can’t pass up the opportunity to pet a cute puppy.

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