What Refrigerator Is Best For Commercial Catering Equipment?

When it comes to fitting out a commercial kitchen, refrigeration plays an important part of the process.

Choosing the right refrigerator, coldroom or fridge freezer is different to domestic style appliances. It’s also a crucial decision as refrigerators built for home use are not suitable for a commercial environment and will not perform to desired requirements.

When catering equipment is being specified, there are a number of considerations to outline, especially on the cool side of kitchen.

What is the difference between a commercial and domestic refrigerator?

By definition, a refrigerator is an appliance used for keeping food, drinks and ingredients cold. They prevent items from spoiling and maintain their freshness for a longer period of time. A refrigerator is made of many components, including a heat pump which takes heat away from the air inside the fridge, maintain cold air circulation.

When compared to domestic fridges, commercial refrigerators are designed for greater, more frequent use, as well as being robustly built from stainless steel to withstand the day-to-day pressures of busy commercial kitchen environments, which can peak to temperatures of 43°C.

Whereas, a domestic fridge may be used less frequently during a day in comparison to a commercial fridge freezer, which will be constantly being opened and closed over the course of a working day. Each time the door opens the temperature inside goes up, which increases the chance for bacteria to multiply within the food stored in the fridge. This means a compressor in a commercial kitchen environment has to do a lot more work than the one in a kitchen at home. If a domestic fridge (typically designed for conditions up to 20°C) is placed in a commercial setting, it would either break down or fail to perform, resulting in unsafe food storage conditions.

Commercial grade refrigerators are constructed with cleaning in mind with stainless steel interior and exterior easy to clean, which also resists bacteria and infection. Shelves are easily removable too to maximise cleaning space and overall hygiene.

Furthermore, commercial fridge freezers are made with efficiency in mind and packed with powerful performance features to maintain food freshness and longevity. This helps reduce food waste and costs.

refrigertor fridge freezer catering equipment guide

Energy Saving tips for Commercial Refrigeration

If you are buying new equipment, select energy-saving models: you’ll save running costs for the life of the machine.

Choose equipment with intelligent controllers that detect changing situations, keeping energy use to a minimum during quiet periods.

A controller with an advanced energy saving function ensures the evaporator works more efficiently – increasing performance and economy.

Consider having drawers or half doors instead of full doors – they save energy because only the relevant part of the cabinet is accessed.

Better insulation will save energy and make the refrigeration more efficient. It should be high quality, high density polyurethane, at least 75mm thick.

If possible, select a refrigerator designed for the product you are storing and set at the optimal operating temperature.

Always choose cabinets with self-closing doors or drawers and good quality gaskets that give a tight seal.

Location, Location, Location

Lowering the ambient temperature of the kitchen will provide significant energy savings.

Good ventilation will increase efficiency and maximise working life, so make sure there’s adequate space all around the equipment.

Avoid placing refrigeration next to prime cooking equipment as the heat will affect efficiency.

Always choose cabinets with self-closing doors or drawers and good quality gaskets that give a tight seal.

Day to Day

Keep doors closed whenever possible. Never prop a door open.

Keep your fridge or freezer as full as possible. The emptier the cabinet is, the harder the equipment has to work to maintain temperature. BUT don’t overfill the cabinet as it may block the airflow.

Stack products evenly and be aware of load limit levels for maximum airflow. Always choose cabinets with self-closing doors or drawers and good quality gaskets that give a tight seal.


Always follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations.

Use a reputable service company to maintain equipment regularly.

A regular maintenance programme will reduce the risk of breakdown and maximise the equipment’s working life. Remember to keep a maintenance log in line with f-gas regulations.

Check door gaskets/seals and clean them regularly. Check self-closing doors are working properly.

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