Commercial fridge buying guide

A commercial freezer is a vital addition to any professional kitchen, especially those that require reliable long-term storage of meat, pre-prepared dishes and desserts. The range includes a huge variety of catering freezers ideal for takeaways, restaurants, staff canteens or retail outlets. Whether you need a large capacity chest freezer for storing frozen vegetables, or if you require a small under counter freezer for your bar, the range includes everything for the professional caterer.

How to choose a freezer?

Upright Freezer: as the name implies this freezer is standing up. They come in various models like single door freezers, two-door freezers, and even three-door freezers. Those freezers can, in turn, be divided per purpose: glass door freezers for display and solid door freezers for storage.
Upright freezers, same as refrigerators, can be divided by the location of the refrigeration plant- top mount, where the compressor and condenser are positioned on the top of the freezer. On the under mount freezer the compressor and condenser are located under the freezer, this is helpful for the kitchens that get extremely hot at the peak times because the colder air is denser compared to hot air and thus helps to cool both condenser and compressor of the freezer.

Climate classes:

It is important that you choose your next fridge or freezer in accordance with the peak temperature of your kitchen:
Subnormal or SN: ambient temperature range from +10°C up to +32°C
Normal or N: ambient temperature range from +16°C up to +32°C
Sub topical or ST: ambient temperature range from +18°C up to +38°C
Tropical or T: ambient temperature range from +18°C up to +43°C
As you can see from the table above the fridge or freezer with the classification “Normal” or ”N” wouldn’t be able to operate in the very hot environment.

When buying a capital asset that is meant to serve you for years to come, like refrigerator or freezer it’s important to consider the cost of spare parts, service and accessories. Some manufacturers supply as standard only two or three shelves and you may be required to purchase additional as accessories.

Spare parts

The truth is, that the more advanced the refrigerator is, the more faults it can develop. Therefore, as a refrigeration specialist, we recommend buying units with the generic parts like controllers and fans. As a rule of thumb, the PCB controllers cost twice as much to replace then generic controllers and no company carries them as a van stock, so same day repair wouldn’t be possible. The more high tech your unit is the more it will cost to service and limits the availability of the spare parts.
Buy local brands
We have had a couple of situations where the refrigerator has been purchased from America or New Zealand and because there are no spares available in the UK we had to order spares from the manufacturer. As a consequence, the fridges were down for ten days before the spares arrived at our office and we were able to fit them.
Another thing worth mentioning is when buying used refrigerator or freezer its worth to make sure that the manufacturer is still in business or you may end up with the unit that has no spares like a front or side glass available.

Door GASKET

It’s a legal requirement that door gaskets of the refrigerators and freezers wouldn’t be damaged in any way. Some manufacturers supply door seals at the price of 20 GBP and then some supply door seals at the 60 GBP. If the door seals for your unit are not available because of the manufacturer ceased trading, then the cost of re-manufacturing of the new door seals on site starts from 80 GBP depending on the size of the unit.

Fridge duty:

Generally speaking, there is Light and Heavy duty type of equipment available.
Light duty– static cooling and condenser, plate evaporator is not fan assisted and is usually located inside of the back wall. The internal lining is usually made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and externally covered with soft metal like most household fridges. Designed for light use and storage, the maximum ambient temperature shouldn’t exceed 32°C (class N). Suitable for storage of cooked foods or vegetables. Not suitable for busy commercial kitchens or to cool hot products.

Heavy duty– fan assisted cooling coil and condenser, stainless steel throughout, designed for a frequent opening of the doors and can recover temperature rapidly, thus suitable for busy kitchens. Usually equipped with digital controller and castors.