What is a Commercial Work Table: Definition, Types, Features & Selection

What is a Commercial Work Table: Definition, Types, Features & Selection

December 10, 2023

When it comes to outfitting a commercial kitchen, one essential component often stands out for its versatility and necessity: the commercial work table. Central to myriad activities, from food prep to storage, these tables are the backbone of any efficient kitchen environment. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the various types of commercial work tables and their specific applications, providing insights into everything from price ranges to ideal dimensions.

Overview of the Importance and Applications in Commercial Settings

A commercial kitchen is a dynamic, high-energy environment where efficiency and space utilization are paramount. Work tables play a pivotal role in organizing these spaces, providing essential surfaces for food preparation, storage, and equipment placement. From bustling restaurants to busy bakeries, these tables are integral to the smooth operation and workflow of any food-related business.

Exploring the Types of Commercial Work Tables

Commercial work tables come in various forms, each tailored to specific needs and functionalities. Understanding these differences is key to optimizing any commercial kitchen space.

Before diving into the specifics, it's important to recognize the fundamental differences among various types of tables used in commercial settings:

  • Work Tables: These are the all-rounders, often used for a variety of tasks.
  • Prep Tables: Specifically designed for food preparation, often featuring added amenities like cutting boards.
  • Equipment Stands: Sturdier and usually lower in height, perfect for holding heavy kitchen equipment.

Work Tables

Commercial work tables are the Swiss Army knives of the kitchen. Typically made from durable materials like stainless steel, they provide a sturdy, easy-to-clean surface for a variety of tasks.

Average Price Range: The price of commercial work tables can vary significantly based on size, material, and features. On average, prices range from $100 to $500.


  • Preparing ingredients
  • Assembling dishes
  • Holding appliances and kitchen tools
  • General storage

Typical Dimensions: Standard dimensions for commercial work tables usually range from 24 to 30 inches in width and 36 to 96 inches in length.

Prep Tables

A prep table is designed with food preparation in mind. They often feature additional components like cutting boards or integrated storage for tools and ingredients.

Average Price Range: The price for prep tables typically ranges from $150 to $700, influenced by size, material quality, and additional features.


  • Chopping and slicing ingredients
  • Mixing and assembling dishes
  • Holding frequently used tools and ingredients
  • Organizing food prep workflow

Typical Dimensions: Prep tables generally range from 24 to 36 inches in width and 36 to 72 inches in length.

Equipment Stands

Equipment stands are built to support heavy kitchen appliances like mixers, grinders, or ovens. They are typically lower in height for easy access and increased stability.

Average Price Range: These stands usually cost between $100 and $600, depending on their size and weight capacity.


  • Supporting heavy appliances
  • Providing additional workspace at a lower height
  • Improving kitchen layout and appliance accessibility

Typical Dimensions: The dimensions for equipment stands vary but generally range from 18 to 24 inches in width and 24 to 48 inches in length.

Specialized Work Tables

Specialized work tables are designed with specific tasks in mind, enhancing efficiency and productivity in a commercial kitchen. These tables vary in size, material, and design, catering to different operational requirements.

Mobile Work Tables

Mobile work tables are a dynamic and versatile addition to any commercial kitchen. Equipped with casters, these tables offer the convenience of mobility, allowing for easy reconfiguration of workspaces as needed.

Average Price Range: Mobile work tables typically range from $200 to $600, depending on size, material, and the quality of casters.


  • Relocating workspaces for different kitchen tasks
  • Transporting ingredients and tools across the kitchen
  • Facilitating cleaning and maintenance of kitchen floors
  • Adapting quickly to changing kitchen layouts

Typical Dimensions: These tables often range from 30 to 48 inches in width and 18 to 36 inches in length, with varying heights to accommodate different tasks.

Enclosed Base Work Tables

Enclosed base work tables offer an amalgamation of workspace and storage. These tables come with cabinets or shelving units underneath, maximizing the use of space in busy kitchens.

Average Price Range: The price for enclosed base work tables can vary from $300 to $800, influenced by size, material, and the type of enclosure.


  • Storing kitchen tools and equipment
  • Providing a clutter-free workspace
  • Securing sensitive items under lock and key
  • Enhancing the organization in high-traffic kitchens

Typical Dimensions: Standard dimensions for these tables usually range from 24 to 36 inches in width and 36 to 72 inches in length.

Dish Tables

Dish tables are an essential component in the dishwashing process in any commercial kitchen. They are typically positioned adjacent to dishwashers, facilitating efficient cleaning and organization of dishes.

Average Price Range: Dish tables are generally priced between $200 and $500, depending on their size and specific features like integrated sinks or drying racks.


  • Sorting and stacking dirty dishes before washing
  • Holding clean dishes post-washing for drying
  • Streamlining the workflow in dishwashing stations
  • Reducing clutter and improving hygiene in dishwashing areas

Typical Dimensions: These tables often range in size, with widths from 24 to 48 inches and lengths from 30 to 60 inches.

What are the Different Work Table Materials?

In the commercial kitchen landscape, the material of a work table is more than just a functional choice; it's a strategic decision that affects everything from durability to aesthetics. Let's delve into the details of the most commonly used materials: stainless steel, wood, and poly materials.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel, a cornerstone in commercial kitchens, is renowned for its sleek appearance and robust nature. Predominantly used in kitchen work tables, stainless steel is a composite of iron, chromium, and other metals, offering a high degree of strength and resilience.

Pros and Cons:

  • Pros:
    • Durability: Exceptionally resistant to corrosion and tarnishing.
    • Hygienic: Non-porous surface prevents bacterial growth, crucial for food safety.
    • Heat Resistant: Can withstand high temperatures without sustaining damage.
  • Cons:
    • Cost: Generally more expensive due to its superior quality.
    • Cold Aesthetic: May lack the warmth of materials like wood.
    • Noise: Can be noisier during use compared to other materials.


Wood, with its inherent warmth and traditional appeal, is a popular choice for settings where appearance is as valued as functionality. Varieties like maple and oak are common, offering a balance of durability and aesthetic appeal.

Pros and Cons:

  • Pros:
    • Aesthetic Appeal: Provides a warm, inviting feel to the kitchen space.
    • Gentle on Equipment: Less harsh on knives and other tools, reducing wear.
    • Versatility: Suitable for both prep work and as a serving station.
  • Cons:
    • Maintenance: Requires regular treatment to maintain hygiene and prevent warping.
    • Susceptible to Damage: Can be scratched and dented more easily than metal.
    • Hygiene Concerns: Porous nature can harbor bacteria if not properly sealed.

Poly Materials

Poly materials, such as polyethylene, offer a modern, lightweight alternative to traditional table materials. Known for their versatility, these materials are becoming increasingly popular in various kitchen settings.

Pros and Cons:

  • Pros:
    • Easy Maintenance: Simple to clean and resistant to staining.
    • Lightweight: Easier to move and reconfigure within a kitchen space.
    • Cost-Effective: Generally more affordable than stainless steel or wood.
  • Cons:
    • Durability: Less robust than stainless steel, prone to scratches and cuts.
    • Heat Sensitivity: Cannot withstand high temperatures like metal can.
    • Aesthetic Limitations: May not offer the desired look for certain kitchen designs.

Why Does Material Matter

The choice of material for a work table in a commercial kitchen is a critical decision that impacts daily operations.

Stainless steel offers unmatched durability and hygiene, making it a staple in most commercial kitchens, especially those that demand high levels of cleanliness and frequent use.

Wood brings an element of traditional charm and is favored in settings where the appearance and a less industrial feel are important.

Poly materials, offering practicality and budget-friendliness, are suitable for less intense kitchen environments or where flexibility and weight are considerations.

Sizing and Dimension Considerations for Work Tables

Choosing the right size for a commercial work table is critical for maximizing efficiency and ergonomics in the kitchen environment. Here are some key measurements and sizing tips:

  • Length and Width: The size of the work table should correlate with the kitchen's available space and the tasks it will be used for. Standard lengths range from 24 to 96 inches, while widths usually vary between 18 to 30 inches.
  • Height: An ideal work table height is generally around 34 to 36 inches. This is comfortable for most users, minimizing strain during food preparation.
  • Workspace: Ensure there is enough surface area for the intended tasks. For instance, food prep tables might need more space compared to tables used for storage or holding equipment.

The Role of Undershelves and Storage Options

The addition of undershelves to work tables can significantly impact the functionality and storage capacity in a commercial kitchen. Here’s a comparison between open base and undershelf tables, along with a detailed look at types of undershelves.

Comparison: Open Base vs Undershelf Tables

  • Open Base Tables:
    • Pros: Easier to clean underneath and offers flexibility to store larger items.
    • Cons: Less storage space for kitchen tools and equipment.
  • Undershelf Tables:
    • Pros: Provides additional storage space, making it easier to organize and access kitchen tools and ingredients.
    • Cons: Can be more challenging to clean and might restrict the storage of larger items.

Types of Undershelves

Each type of undershelf, with its distinct features, caters to different needs and preferences in a commercial kitchen. Let's check some of the most popular ones.

Galvanized Undershelves:

  • Description: Made from galvanized steel, these undershelves are characterized by their robust and rugged build. The process of galvanization involves applying a protective zinc coating to steel to prevent rusting, making them a durable option for high-traffic kitchen environments.
  • Pros:
    • Cost-effective and economical, providing a budget-friendly storage solution.
    • Sturdy and capable of supporting heavy kitchen equipment and bulk storage.
    • Resilience in various kitchen environments, withstanding exposure to moisture and heat.
  • Cons:
    • Not as corrosion-resistant as stainless steel, especially in highly acidic or saline environments.
    • Can show wear over time, such as scratches and minor dents, impacting the aesthetic appeal.
    • Less suitable for kitchens with highly stringent hygiene standards due to the potential for rust over time.

Stainless Steel Undershelves:

  • Description: Crafted from high-quality stainless steel, these undershelves seamlessly integrate with stainless steel work tables, offering a cohesive and professional look. Their non-porous surface makes them a hygienic option for food preparation areas.
  • Pros:
    • Exceptionally durable, resisting rust, corrosion, and tarnishing even in demanding kitchen conditions.
    • Easy to clean and maintain, supporting stringent hygiene and sanitation standards.
    • Sleek and modern appearance, enhancing the overall aesthetic of the kitchen workspace.
  • Cons:
    • Generally more expensive, reflecting their higher quality and longevity.
    • Can be heavier, requiring more effort in installation and adjustments.
    • Prone to visible fingerprints and smudges, requiring regular cleaning to maintain their appearance.

Adjustable Undershelves:

  • Description: These undershelves are designed with versatility in mind, featuring mechanisms that allow for height adjustments. This adaptability makes them suitable for kitchens that require frequent layout changes or have varying storage needs.
  • Pros:
    • Highly customizable, accommodating different storage requirements with ease.
    • Ideal for kitchens with dynamic workflows or changing menu items.
    • Allows for better organization and space utilization, adapting to different sizes of kitchen tools and equipment.
  • Cons:
    • May require more time and effort to adjust, especially when laden with kitchen items.
    • Potentially less stable than fixed undershelves when not properly secured.
    • Adjusting mechanisms can wear over time, necessitating maintenance or replacement.

Fixed Undershelves:

  • Description: Fixed undershelves are permanently attached to the work table, offering a stable and secure storage solution. They are designed for kitchens where the storage needs are constant and predictable.
  • Pros:
    • Provide a stable and immovable storage space, ideal for heavy and frequently used kitchen items.
    • Lower maintenance, with no moving parts that could wear out or require adjustment.
    • Typically easier to clean, with fewer crevices and joints than adjustable models.
  • Cons:
    • Lack the flexibility to adjust height or position, which can be limiting in kitchens with evolving storage needs.
    • Can make cleaning under and around the table more challenging.
    • Not suitable for kitchens that require customizable storage solutions or frequent layout changes.

Tabletop Designs and Edge Types

The design of a tabletop and its edges plays a significant role in the functionality and aesthetics of work tables, especially in commercial kitchens. Let’s explore the different designs and their respective advantages.


Description: Square tabletops are characterized by their straight edges and sharp corners. This design is straightforward and aligns perfectly with other kitchen surfaces or equipment, offering a seamless and orderly look.


  • Maximized Workspace: The sharp corners and straight edges provide maximum use of the surface area, making them ideal for kitchens with limited space.
  • Uniformity: These tabletops can be easily aligned side-by-side with other square or rectangular tables, creating a cohesive and organized workspace.
  • Versatility: Suitable for a variety of tasks, from food prep to storage, their simple design does not restrict specific uses.
  • Ease of Customization: The straightforward design allows for easier customization with accessories such as cutting boards, racks, or equipment stands.


Description: Rounded tabletops, known for their curved edges and corners, bring a softer aesthetic to the kitchen. They are designed to provide a safer and more accessible working environment.


  • Safety: The absence of sharp corners reduces the risk of injury, making them a safer option, particularly in high-traffic kitchens.
  • Ease of Movement: The rounded edges allow for smoother movement around the table, beneficial in compact spaces.
  • Enhanced Aesthetics: The curved design can soften the look of a commercial kitchen, making the space more inviting.
  • Improved Accessibility: Rounded corners can make it easier to reach different parts of the table, improving ergonomics during food preparation.


Description: Countertop style tabletops are designed to mimic the look and functionality of traditional countertops. They are often integrated directly into the kitchen's layout, offering a seamless and continuous work surface.


  • Seamless Integration: Blends with other kitchen surfaces for a unified look and streamlined workflow.
  • Increased Durability: Often built to withstand heavy use, countertop tables are ideal for rigorous commercial kitchen activities.
  • Customization Options: Can be tailored to include built-in appliances, sinks, or storage solutions, maximizing kitchen efficiency.
  • Spacious Work Area: Typically wider than other table types, offering ample space for food preparation and plating.

Backsplashes and Their Importance

Discussion on Different Backsplash Designs: Backsplashes are essential features in commercial kitchen work tables, designed to protect walls from splashes and spills during food preparation. They vary in height and style, each offering specific benefits:

  1. Standard Backsplash: Usually about 4-6 inches high, these are common in commercial kitchens. They protect walls from water, oil, and food splashes, making cleanup easier.
  2. Extended Backsplash: Taller than standard versions, these offer additional protection for walls against spills and are ideal for kitchens with extensive food prep.
  3. Curved Backsplash: Designed with a slight curve, these backsplashes prevent food and debris from getting trapped in corners, simplifying cleaning.
  4. Removable Backsplash: Offers flexibility, as they can be removed for thorough cleaning or when a flat surface is required.
  5. Integrated Backsplash with Shelves: These backsplashes come with built-in shelving for additional storage, helping to keep essential tools and ingredients within easy reach.

Customization and Accessories for Work Tables

Customizing work tables with various accessories can significantly enhance their functionality and efficiency in a commercial kitchen setting. Let's explore some common accessories and customization options that cater to specific kitchen needs.

  • Cutting Board Attachments: These are essential for prep tables. They can be made of materials like wood or polyethylene, offering a durable and hygienic surface for chopping and slicing.
  • Undercounter Drawers: Ideal for storing utensils, small tools, and ingredients. These drawers help keep essentials within reach while maintaining a clutter-free workspace.
  • Overhead Shelving: Utilizing vertical space, overhead shelves are perfect for storing dishes, spices, or other frequently used items.
  • Side Racks: Attached to the side of the table, these racks are useful for hanging towels, aprons, or pots and pans.
  • Integrated Sinks: Some work tables come with built-in sinks, enhancing the efficiency of food prep and cleaning tasks.
  • Wheeled Base: Adding casters to a work table makes it mobile, allowing for easy movement around the kitchen – a boon in dynamic kitchen environments.
  • Heat Lamps: For tables used in food serving areas, heat lamps can be installed to keep food warm before service.
  • Custom Size and Shape: Work tables can be customized in various sizes and shapes to fit specific kitchen layouts and requirements.

Drawers, Shelving Units, and Other Add-ons

A detailed list of various table accessories and their uses can help in selecting the right combination for a specific kitchen setup.

  • Drawers:
    • Description: Built-in or attachable drawers offer convenient storage space.
    • Uses: Ideal for storing cutlery, napkins, small kitchen tools, and other essential items for quick access.
  • Shelving Units:
    • Description: These can be undershelves, overhead shelves, or side-mounted shelving units.
    • Uses: Great for storing plates, bowls, ingredients, and larger kitchen tools, helping to keep the work area organized and efficient.
  • Side Splashes:
    • Description: Similar to backsplashes but installed on the sides of the table.
    • Uses: Prevent spills and splatters, keeping adjacent areas clean.
  • Utensil Hooks:
    • Description: Hooks or bars that can be attached to the table's sides or undershelves.
    • Uses: Hang frequently used utensils, pots, pans, or towels for easy accessibility.
  • Slide-out Trays:
    • Description: Trays that can be hidden under the tabletop and pulled out when needed.
    • Uses: Convenient for prepping ingredients, holding tools, or as an additional working surface.
  • Built-in Cutting Boards:
    • Description: A cutting board that fits seamlessly into the tabletop.
    • Uses: Provides a sturdy and hygienic surface for cutting and chopping, which can be easily removed for cleaning.
  • Adjustable Feet:
    • Description: Feet that can be adjusted to ensure the table is level on uneven floors.
    • Uses: Ensures stability of the table, which is essential for both safety and precision in food preparation.
  • Trash Chute:
    • Description: A hole in the tabletop with a trash container underneath.
    • Uses: Allows for quick disposal of waste, keeping the work area clean and efficient.
  • Drop-in Bins:
    • Description: Recessed bins that can be inserted into the tabletop.
    • Uses: Useful for holding ingredients, ice, or as a cold storage option.

Maintenance and Care of Commercial Work Tables

Proper maintenance and care are crucial for ensuring the longevity and functionality of commercial work tables. Here are best practices for cleaning and maintaining different table materials:

Stainless Steel Tables

  • Clean with mild detergent and warm water; avoid abrasive materials.
  • Dry immediately to prevent water spots and maintain shine.
  • Use stainless steel polish occasionally to restore luster.
  • Check and tighten screws and bolts periodically for stability.

Wood Top Tables

  • Clean spills immediately to prevent staining or warping.
  • Use a mild cleaner and avoid excessive water.
  • Regularly apply mineral oil to condition the wood.
  • Avoid direct exposure to heat sources to prevent cracking.

Poly Top Tables:

  • Wipe down with a mild detergent and water.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals that can degrade the material.
  • Disinfect regularly, especially in food preparation areas.
  • Inspect for cuts or gouges that can harbor bacteria.

Where to Buy and Pricing Guidelines

When looking to purchase commercial work tables, it's essential to consider both the source and the budget. Here are some tips on where to find commercial work tables and considerations for budgeting:

  • Restaurant Supply Stores: Check local and online restaurant supply stores for a variety of options.
  • Manufacturer Direct: Consider buying directly from manufacturers for potentially better prices and customization options.
  • Used Equipment Dealers: Explore used equipment dealers for budget-friendly options.
  • Online Marketplaces: Websites like Amazon, eBay, or specialized online kitchen equipment stores offer a wide range of products.

Kitchenall's Selection: Kitchenall offers an extensive selection of work stations, commercial work tables, and equipment stands, designed to optimize kitchen efficiency. Their range includes:

  • Stainless Steel Worktables
  • Open Base Worktables
  • Wood Top Worktables
  • Equipment Filler Tables
  • Work Table Parts & Accessories

All our commercial equipment and work tables are built to last and are NSF certified, ensuring quality and safety standards. With over 3,500 reviews, Kitchenall stands as a reliable source for quality kitchen equipment.

Understanding Pricing Variations

The cost of commercial work tables can vary based on several factors:

  • Material Quality: Higher-grade materials like premium stainless steel or solid wood typically command higher prices.
  • Size and Design: Larger tables or those with complex designs (like integrated sinks or custom shapes) will be more expensive.
  • Brand Reputation: Established brands with proven quality assurance may offer products at a premium.
  • Customization: Custom features such as additional shelves, drawers, or specific dimensions can increase the cost.
  • Certification: Tables that are NSF certified, ensuring they meet public health and safety standards, may be priced higher.

Comparing Commercial Work Tables to Residential Tables

Understanding the key differences between commercial and residential work tables is crucial for selecting the right equipment for specific settings. Here are some of the main distinctions:

  • Material Durability:
    • Commercial: Typically made of heavy-duty materials like stainless steel to withstand constant, rigorous use.
    • Residential: Often constructed from lighter materials like wood or composite, suited for less frequent use.
  • Size and Scale:
    • Commercial: Larger in size to accommodate bulk food preparation and storage needs.
    • Residential: Smaller, designed to fit in home kitchens with limited space.
  • Design and Ergonomics:
    • Commercial: Designed for efficiency and long hours of use, often with adjustable heights and ergonomic features.
    • Residential: Focus on aesthetics and comfort, with standard heights and styles suitable for home use.
  • Customization and Accessories:
    • Commercial: Offer more options for customization like undershelves, drawers, and cutting board attachments.
    • Residential: Typically come as standard models with limited customization options.
  • Maintenance and Cleaning:
    • Commercial: Designed for easy cleaning and maintenance, with materials resistant to corrosion and heavy use.
    • Residential: Require standard home-care products, not necessarily built for high-intensity cleaning regimes.

How to Choose the Right Work Table for Your Needs?

Selecting the right work table involves understanding your specific needs and the environment in which the table will be used. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Assess the Space Available: Measure the area where the table will be placed to ensure a good fit.
  2. Determine the Material: Consider the type of tasks - stainless steel for heavy-duty use, wood for aesthetics, or poly for specific tasks like dough preparation.
  3. Consider the Work Table's Use-Case: Prep tables for food prep, equipment stands for holding appliances, etc.
  4. Durability: Look for tables that can withstand the rigors of your specific environment.
  5. Size and Storage Needs: Ensure the table meets your space and storage requirements.
  6. Maintenance Requirements: Consider how easy it is to clean and maintain the table.
  7. Budget Considerations: Balance between quality and affordability.
  8. Additional Features: Think about add-ons like undershelves, drawers, or cutting boards.
  9. Noise Level: Some materials and designs can increase noise in the environment.
  10. Heat Resistance: Important if the table will be near heat sources or used for hot food preparation.
  11. Customizability: The ability to modify or add features in the future.
  12. Mobility: Consider if you need a stationary or a mobile table with wheels.


We have explored the multifaceted world of commercial work tables, highlighting their vital role in optimizing kitchen efficiency and functionality. From the various types of work tables—each suited to specific tasks and environments—to the intricate details of materials, sizing, and design, we've delved into aspects crucial for making informed choices.

Understanding the differences between commercial and residential tables and the importance of undershelves and accessories, equips you with the knowledge to select the ideal work table for your needs.

Whether it's adhering to legal and safety standards or considering future trends, we aim to serve as a valuable resource for anyone looking to invest in commercial work tables, ensuring durability, compliance, and adaptability in a dynamic culinary landscape. Contact us now if you need expert advice from a professional with years of experience.