Wire vs Glass Shelves – Refrigerator Shelves Comparison

Wire vs Glass Shelves Refrigerator
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Wire vs Glass Shelves Refrigerator

Refrigerators are handy kitchen appliances; we have all used one at least once. People usually don’t give enough thought to the kind of shelves that are used in refrigerators. However, they matter a lot.

The right type of shelf is essential for health, safety, and productivity, especially at an industrial level. Some refrigerators come with wire shelves, whereas others have glass shelves. So which one is the better option?

Let us compare the two to find out.

Features Wire Shelves Glass Shelves
Material Steel Glass
Strength High Comparatively low
Easy to Clean Yes Yes
Temperature Regulation More Less

1. Wire Shelves

The wire shelves are standard shelves that we find in refrigerators, especially those that were built a few years ago. Wire shelves are easy to install and maintain.

Since they are the standard shelves in refrigerators, they are also readily available. You can replace them easily should one get damaged somehow.

The wire shelves have spaces between the wires, which makes it easier for air to circulate. If your refrigerator has wire shelves, the temperature distribution profile will be stabilized faster than in refrigerators with shelves of different materials.

2. Glass Shelves

wire vs glass shelves refrigerator
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Another increasingly popular type of shelf being used in refrigerators is the glass shelf. One reason is that when compared to grill or wire shelves, glass shelves are much easier to clean.

Spills can be controlled and do not drip down to the lower levels, damaging everything in between.

In most fridges, you will notice that the lights are placed near the top shelves. This is different from glass shelves, as glass reflects light pretty well.

So with glass shelves, there is no squinting to find that can of tomato paste in the bottom; you will find it easily! If your wire shelves are filled, then light barely gets to the bottom shelves.

Additionally, glass shelves have also become popular because of their aesthetic value. A fridge with glass shelves tends to look more sleek, modern, and put-together. It gives a flawless look that is nearly impossible to attain with wire shelves.

Wire Shelves vs. Glass Shelves

Between wire and glass shelves, which one is better suited for your refrigerator? Well, that entirely depends on what kind of refrigerator you have and what you usually store in it. Let’s see how they stack up.


A control of freezer in the fridge, close-up view
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Since the primary responsibility of a freezer is to cool, we will be concerned with the lowest temperatures the shelves will have to face.

In other appliances, we usually analyze the highest temperature they will be exposed to in order to determine the material best suited for them. Similarly, with refrigerator shelves, we will have to determine the lowest temperature the refrigerator can go.

If your refrigerator sees extremely low temperatures often, then you will need shelves designed as well as made of materials that can withstand these low temperatures.

If the material of the shelves is weak or brittle, it will break under low temperatures and the load of the contents placed on it. Even if they don’t break, there is a possibility of them bending out of shape. Such shelves are not an option you would want to go for in the long term.

Under this concern, steel wire shelves or something of similar grade would be a better option than glass shelves. The latter is bound to become useless in the long run if your fridge is exposed to extremely low temperatures regularly.


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If you are selecting the shelves for a commercial freezer or fridge, then it is vital to consider the load of the contents it will handle on a daily basis. Even if your fridge is not for commercial purposes, this is still a critical factor to consider.

If the shelves have to handle higher weights regularly, they will need to be strong enough to sustain them. Weak and frail materials will not be able to hold up to the load and will end up breaking.

It will be even worse if one of the top shelves breaks, it will spill the contents on the lower shelves and maybe even the floor. Then there is the added hassle of cleaning everything up and the cost of replacing the broken shelves.

If your fridge does not need to handle big weights on a daily basis, then you can go for glass shelves too. But we suggest using wire shelves for the stability they offer.

Types of Product

Dragon fruit in the fridge
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Some ingredients have their containers and do not come into direct contact with the shelves. However, others, such as fruits and vegetables, have direct contact with the refrigerator shelves.

The nectar of the fruits, vegetables, or blood from the meat placed on shelves can come into contact with the rack. Glass shelves may be made of plexiglass. Plexiglass is a hygroscopic material which means it can absorb some water.

So these liquids can bleed into the glass and stain it. If there is prolonged exposure to fluids, the glass may even get damaged.

With wire shelves, there is no problem of liquids bleeding into the material and destroying it. However, the juices can still drip to lower levels and ruin some other food placed on the shelf.

The dripping of fluids can easily be remedied by placing a plastic sheet on wire shelves so that no liquid drips to the lower levels, and in case of spills, it is easily cleaned.

Ease of Maintenance

Woman in rubber gloves and apron cleaning empty refrigerator
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Sanitation is a very basic but the most crucial concern when it comes to food and food storage spaces. Whatever shelves are placed in your refrigerators should be easy to clean. The material should be such that the growth of bacteria or fungi is near to impossible.

Steel wire shelves are super popular in cold storage options. They are rounded, which does not allow any liquid to pool on the shelf and contaminate any food present there.

Moreover, steel is a resilient substance that does not get rusted easily. It also does not allow bacteria to grow on itself, provided it is regularly sanitized.

Final Verdict

The type of shelves you use in your refrigerator depends on the company and how you use the shelves. If you want to use them mainly for your home, where they do not have a ton of contents stored on them, glass shelves may work fine.

However, strong and reliable steel wire shelves are a better and safer option for commercial storage. We suggest getting the stainless steel wire shelves; either way, they will last a long time and offer much more than glass shelves.

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