Buying Guide: Commercial Refrigeration

Last updated on November 13th, 2023 at 04:04 pm

Refrigeration units take many forms for commercial kitchens, hospitality businesses, medical facilities, and schools. But, wherever it’s used, a refrigerator plays an important role – preserving ingredients at their freshest and ensuring food safety.

Choosing the right commercial refrigerator becomes more complex in these professional settings. Precise temperature control and appropriate storage capacity are essential.

From walk-in coolers that store ingredients in bulk, to under-counter refrigerators providing quick access to frequently used items, the choices are diverse.

Each type of refrigeration unit plays a vital role in your kitchen running smoothly.

In the realm of hospitality, whether you run a restaurant, a hotel, or catering business, your refrigeration needs to reliably maintain the quality and freshness of food and beverages. It stores fresh produce, proteins, and beverages, so guests receive nothing but the best products.

Picking a refrigerator based on these factors can help streamline your organization:

  • Refrigerator size
  • Compressor configuration
  • Energy efficiency
  • Temperature range and cooling type
  • Noise levels
  • Ease of maintenance

This comprehensive buying guide walks through essential types of commercial refrigeration and what they’re used for. We’ll explore the various types of refrigeration units, their applications, and the benefits they offer.

Whether you need a reliable storage solution for fresh produce, proteins, or beverages, each type of refrigeration unit plays a vital role in keeping your kitchen running smoothly. Join us as we delve into the world of commercial refrigeration to help you make an informed decision.

This blog gives key info about choosing the right refrigeration unit.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be well-prepared to make an informed decision aligned with the needs of your business.

Reach-In Refrigeration Units

Keeping perishable items stored safely is a necessity for all food service businesses.

Reach-in refrigeration comes in four common access types.

  • Reach-in: Traditional sliding or swing-doors at the front of the unit.
  • Pass-thru: Doors in the front and back of the unit that’s great for busy kitchens.
  • Roll-in: Accept rolling racks with a ramp at the front of the unit.
  • Roll-thru: Can roll racks through the front and back of the unit.

If you don’t access both sides regularly, or your kitchen doesn’t already use rolling racks, stick with a traditional reach-in.

Reach-In Refrigerators:

Reach-in refrigerators are some of the most popular and versatile choices in the world of commercial refrigeration. Available in one, two, or three-door models, they offer a wide range of refrigerated storage options to meet your business needs.

These units typically feature adjustable shelving systems, allowing you to efficiently organize products and maintain proper food hierarchy. Whether your business relies solely on a reach-in refrigerator or uses it to complement a walk-in unit for larger operations, their adaptability makes them an essential asset.

Your options don’t stop at capacity. You can choose between glass or solid doors and decide between LED or fluorescent lighting. Additionally, factors like compressor location, the number of doors, and storage capacity play a vital role in finding the perfect-sized reach-in refrigerator for your business.

True T-49-HC reach-in refrigerator

Reach-In Freezers:

Reach-in freezers are an essential addition to any food service establishment. These units are your go-to for extending the shelf-life of food items and allowing your kitchen staff to get a head start on meal prep.

When it comes to picking the perfect reach-in freezer for your needs, you’ve got options.

You can choose from one, two, or three-door units based on the available space and the amount of food you need to keep frozen.

Smaller operations often go for a two or three-door reach-in freezer as their primary freezing solution, while larger kitchens might add a reach-in freezer alongside a walk-in unit to handle high-volume demands.

Seagate SB27F reach-in freezer

Refrigerator / Freezer Combos:

Dual temp refrigerator/freezer combos are a smart solution that combines both refrigerated and frozen food storage within a single unit, maximizing your available space.

What sets these units apart is their separate compartments, each accessible through distinct doors, allowing you to regulate temperatures with precision.

This flexibility makes them an ideal choice for small businesses seeking efficient cold storage solutions, especially when space is at a premium.

Moreover, they can be strategically placed near the cooking station in larger operations, streamlining access and boosting productivity.

You’ll find a variety of configurations to choose from, including solid or glass doors, half (Dutch) doors for convenient access, bright interior lining for enhanced visibility, and precise temperature controls.

This versatility ensures that your dual temp refrigerator/freezer combo is tailored to meet your specific needs, making it a valuable addition to any food-related business.

Beverage-air CT1HG reach-in refrigerator freezer combo

Walk-In Refrigeration Units

To choose a walk-in unit, whether you need a refrigerator or freezer, you’ll need to consider these things:

  • Installation: Walk-ins commonly are available for indoor or outdoor use. Some brands offer easy-install options while others require professional help to install.
  • Floor: Determine whether your unit comes with a pre-installed floor, or without. Walk-in refrigerators can work with existing flooring. However, freezers will need to have a special floor installed to resist cracking in extreme cold temperatures.
  • Size: Not only will your walk in refrigeration need to be able to store all your food, but it needs to fit in your space, too!
  • Features: Since a walk-in is a full room dedicated to storing food at cooled temperatures, it needs to work consistently. A malfunction could easily cause a huge loss of inventory and profit, so shop around for a walk-in with safety features that make sense for your business.

Purchasing a walk-in cooler or freezer requires careful planning and consideration of various factors.

Assess your space, storage needs, temperature requirements, insulation, and refrigeration system to choose the right unit for your business. Additionally, stay informed about local regulations and maintenance requirements to ensure the longevity and efficiency of your investment.

Walk-in refrigeration units at
Walk-in freezers at

Merchandising Refrigeration Units

Merchandisers come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and use types. However, they are all used to refrigerate or freeze food products.

Retail stores love these units because they provide customers with an excellent view of products for sale.

To determine the best fit for your business consider these questions:

  1. What do you need to store?
  2. How accessible do you want it to be?
  3. How much room do you have to place it?

Glass Door Merchandiser Refrigerators:

As a business owner, investing in a glass door merchandiser is a strategic move that can transform your operations. These commercial refrigerators offer a multitude of benefits, starting with their ability to create an eye-catching display that draws in customers.

The glass doors allows potential buyers to see your offerings without opening the fridge. This encourages impulse sales and reduced energy waste. Furthermore, the organized storage and adjustable shelving options simplify restocking and maintenance.

Not only do glass door merchandisers enhance your product presentation, but they also save you time, improve customer experience, and boost your bottom line.

Seagate SSM-48 glass door merchandiser refrigeration units

Glass Door Merchandiser Freezers:

A glass door merchandiser freezer is your secret weapon for turning browsers into buyers.

A merchandiser freezer provides commercial business owners with three key benefits: first, it enhances product visibility and accessibility, making it easier for customers to locate and choose their desired frozen items.

Second, it contributes to increased impulse sales, as the attractive display of frozen goods can encourage additional purchases.

Finally, it helps maintain product quality and freshness, ensuring that businesses can offer a consistent and appealing selection of frozen products to their customers.

Check for advanced defrost features, oversized refrigeration units, and varying capacities to choose the right glass door freezer for you.

Atosa MCF8720GR glass door merchandiser freezer

Bagged Ice Merchandiser Freezers:

These freezers keep your ice bags frozen and make the shopping experience more enjoyable for customers. With their visibility, convenience, and reliability, you can boost your ice sales and keep your customers coming back for more.

Convenience stores, gas stations, supermarkets, and other retail locations use these freezers to store ice for sale. Customers can easily buy enough ice to chill their beverages or to keep items cold. These freezers come in various sizes and configurations, and they are essential for businesses that want to offer a convenient way for customers to purchase ice.

True GDM-49NT-HC bagged ice merchandiser

Commercial Wine Coolers:

If you’re in the business of selling wine or considering expanding your wine offerings, a wine merchandiser refrigerator is a must-have.

These refrigerators give you precise temperature control for wines. Whether you’re selling reds, whites, or sparkling wines, a wine merchandiser refrigerator ensures they’re stored at ideal serving temperatures. Precision temperature zones set these refrigerators apart from other commercial units.

A wine merchandiser refrigerator is more than just a cooling appliance. It’s a statement piece in your wine retail business. With its elegant design, precise temperature control, visibility, and convenience, it enhances the shopping experience for your customers.

True GDM-23W-HC commercial wine refrigeration units

Floral Merchandisers & Coolers:

A floral merchandiser provides the ideal temperature and humidity levels to keep your floral arrangements vibrant and appealing. Glass doors allow customers to see floral products without compromising the cool, humid environment.

Floral merchandisers allow flower shops and other stores to sell flowers and plants year-round, even during an off-season. This helps business owners cater to their customers needs no matter the time of year.

True GDM-69FC-HC-LD floral merchandiser refrigeration units

Open Air Display Merchandisers

Open air merchandisers are most commonly used in retail stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores. They display and store perishable items, such as fresh food, beverages, and snacks.

These refrigerators have an open front and no doors, allowing customers to access products easily.

One of the key features of these refrigerators is their unique air circulation system. Cold air continuously circulated within the unit maintains a consistent and uniform temperature in the open display area. This is important for keeping products fresh and at the right temperature.

The open design of these refrigerators allows customers to have easy access to the products. They’re ideal for impulse purchases and quick shopping.

They are best suited for products with a shorter shelf life.

Proximity to the external environment can affect temperature. Proper product rotation and refrigeration settings are important for maintaining freshness.

Vertical open air merchandiser refrigeration units at
Island open air merchandiser refrigeration units at
Horizontal open air merchandiser refrigeration units at

Refrigerated Prep Tables

Pizza and sandwich prep tables share some commonalities. However, they do have specific features that set them apart.

What’s the Difference Between a Pizza Prep Table and Sandwich Prep Table?

Sandwich prep tables have shallower cutting boards. Typically a sandwich prep table will have an 8″ or 10″ cutting board that’s perfectly sized for sandwiches, appetizers, and salads. Most will also come set up with 1/6 size food pans in the refrigerated rail.

Pizza prep tables have a deep cutting board area to accommodate large pizzas – some up to 20″ deep. They will typically come with 1/3 size food pans for toppings, and have a raised rail.

Consider these things for either a pizza or sandwich prep table:

  • Size: Most refrigerated prep tables are designed to fit close to other equipment or tables in the kitchen. However, even front-breathing units will need 6″ of clearance. Make sure you calculate breathing room when you buy.
  • Pan Capacity: Decide how many ingredients you want to stock at a time based on your menu. Check if pan capacity is listed as 1/3 pans or 1/6 pans.
  • Storage Access: Common configurations include doors, drawers, or some combination of both.

Pizza Prep Tables

These refrigeration units help pizza shops assemble pizzas quickly and accurately. They feature a raised rail that keeps unwanted spilled toppings from falling onto pizzas. Food pans stay at safe temperatures in the refrigerated rail.

These prep tables come with a large, flat work surface and convenient storage space underneath, designed to keep your ingredients cool and fresh. Plus, many of these units also have adjustable shelves and compartments, to customize the organization to fit your specific needs.

What’s so great about a pizza prep table?

  1. Preparation: A pizza prep table is where you get everything ready for making pizzas. You can put all the ingredients on it, like pizza sauce, cheese, toppings like pepperoni and veggies, and even the dough. It keeps everything organized and within easy reach.
  2. Keeping Ingredients Fresh: Underneath the prep table, there’s a special, chilly area, just like a refrigerator. It’s perfect for keeping all the ingredients fresh and cool. So, the cheese stays cold, and the veggies stay crisp and tasty.
  3. Speedy Pizzas: When you’re busy and lots of people want pizza, a pizza prep table helps you work fast. You can quickly assemble the pizzas because everything you need is right there.
  4. Tasty Pizzas: By keeping ingredients fresh and making it easy to prepare, a pizza prep table helps you make sure your pizzas are always yummy and ready to be served to happy customers.

They’re equipped with easy-to-clean materials, which is essential in a busy kitchen. These features collectively make pizza prep tables indispensable tools for culinary success in the foodservice industry

Turbo Air TPR-67SD-D4-N pizza prep table refrigeration units

Sandwich Prep Tables:

A sandwich prep table provides restaurants with an efficient and organized workspace for assembling sandwiches and salads. It allows for quick access to fresh ingredients, ensuring faster service and consistent quality, making it an essential tool for streamlined food preparation in a busy kitchen.

But, sandwich prep tables can be used flexibly for many different menu items. Toppings for nachos, bowls, and other appetizers can be held in the refrigerated rail. They have removable cutting boards that are easy to clean and perfect for meal preparation.

What else can you use a sandwich prep table for?

  1. Wraps: You can use a sandwich prep table to prepare wraps and burritos. The ample work surface and ingredient storage make it easy to assemble a variety of wrap-style dishes, just like sandwiches.
  2. Cold Entrees: If your menu includes cold entrees like cold pasta salads, sushi, or seafood platters, a sandwich prep table is a handy tool for organizing and assembling these dishes.
  3. Appetizers: Many appetizers, like bruschetta, cold canapés, or antipasti, can be efficiently prepared with a sandwich prep table. It allows for quick and organized assembly of small bites.
  4. Tacos and Burritos: You can keep tortillas, meats, vegetables, and toppings neatly organized and ready for assembling customized tacos or burritos.
  5. Desserts: For desserts like ice cream sundaes, banana splits, or customized parfaits, a sandwich prep table can be used to organize refrigerated toppings.
  6. Customized Bowls: As bowl-based meals become more popular, a sandwich prep table can help assemble custom grain bowls, salad bowls, or poke bowls.
  7. Cold Beverages: If your establishment serves cold beverages with customized ingredients, like smoothies, juices, or iced coffee, a sandwich prep table can help with ingredient organization and assembly.

Speed up ticket times with a sandwich prep table. Plus, extra ingredients can be stored in doors or drawers underneath the unit to be restocked quickly.

Delfield 4432NP-12M sandwich prep table refrigeration unit

Chef Base Refrigeration Units

Finding refrigerated storage while not giving up work space is a dilemma that many establishments face. Refrigerated chef bases offer a solution – they hold refrigerated items while supplying a sturdy worktop for appliances.

By choosing a chef base, you’re not just investing in a work surface, but in a kitchen solution that optimizes your space, workflow, and ingredient quality, making it a valuable addition to your cook line.

Why is a chef base a good investment?

  1. Product Quality: A chef base significantly elevates your product quality. By keeping your ingredients at the ideal temperature, you can be sure that everything you serve is fresh and of the highest quality. This means your customers enjoy consistently delicious meals, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  2. Food Cost: The efficient organization and storage of ingredients within a chef base contribute to significant savings in food costs. You’ll experience less food waste and spoilage since ingredients are kept in optimal conditions and rotated often. With easy access to ingredients, portion control is improved, further reducing food costs.
  3. Labor Cost: Chef bases streamline your kitchen operations, making your staff more efficient. By eliminating the need for extra trips to storage areas, less time is spent running around the kitchen. This increased efficiency translates to a more productive team.
  4. Customer Experience: The improved workflow and timely service enabled by chef bases enhance the overall customer experience. Faster and more efficient cooking and preparation lead to quicker service times, reducing customer wait times.
Chef base refrigeration units at
Chef base freezers at

Bar Refrigeration Units

Upgrading or expanding your bar refrigeration is a smart move that can positively impact your business in several ways. Let’s explore how investing in quality bar refrigeration can be a game-changer.

  • Enhanced Cooling Efficiency for Fresh and Appealing Beverages – One of the foremost concerns for any bar owner is delivering consistently cold and refreshing drinks to customers. Quality bar refrigeration units excel at this task, ensuring that your beverages remain perfectly chilled.
  • Reduced Energy Costs for Increased Profit Margins – Efficiency is the name of the game, not just in your bar service but also in your overall operation. Upgrading your refrigeration to energy-efficient models can significantly reduce your utility bills. The savings can have a direct impact on your bottom line, allowing you to allocate resources where they matter most.
  • Optimal Storage and Organization for Streamlined Operations – A well-organized bar is a productive bar. Quality bar refrigeration offers ample space, adjustable shelving, and well-thought-out layouts. These features ensure that your bar staff can easily access ingredients, garnishes, and beverages, promoting efficiency during peak hours.
  • Elevated Aesthetics and Customer Appeal – The appearance of your bar is equally important as the quality of your drinks. Modern, stylish bar refrigeration units can serve as attractive focal points in your bar. Upgrading to units that complement your bar’s design not only enhances your establishment’s overall look but also makes a positive impression on patrons.
  • Seamless Integration for Easy Expansion – As you look to expand your bar or add new refrigeration units, consider models that seamlessly integrate into your existing setup. This allows for a hassle-free expansion while maintaining the consistency and efficiency your customers have come to expect.

Now that we’ve explored the advantages of upgrading your bar refrigeration, let’s take a look at the various types of bar refrigeration units.

Back Bar Coolers:

Back bar refrigeration units are versatile, ideal for keeping various items at the right temperature within easy reach. They provide storage for bottles, cans, and frequently used products like juice, mixers, and garnishes, making them a great fit for bars, coffee houses, sandwich shops, and busy restaurants.

Beyond their versatility, back bar refrigeration units offer unique value to businesses.

These compact and accessible coolers not only keep your inventory organized and readily available but also enhance the visual appeal of your bar or restaurant.

With a stylish design and well-lit interior, they can act as an attractive display, drawing the attention of customers and encouraging them to make beverage and product selections.

Glass door back bar coolers offer excellent product visibility, making them a strong choice for showcasing beverages and enhancing impulse sales. They add a modern aesthetic and can improve the overall ambiance of your establishment.

In contrast, solid door back bar coolers provide superior insulation and temperature control, making them more energy-efficient and ideal for environments where maintaining stable temperatures is crucial. They offer privacy by concealing the contents and are an excellent choice when maintaining a neat and organized appearance is a priority.

Your choice should align with your specific business goals and the atmosphere you wish to create.

True TBB-2-HC back bar refrigeration units

Bottle Coolers:

Bottle Coolers are ideal for storing and chilling a large quantity bottled items, such as beer and wine. They allow top access rather than front access and generally feature dividers rather than wire shelves. Bottle coolers are an excellent choice for bars and clubs because of the easy access and simple setup.

Glass and Plate Chillers:

Glass and Plate Chillers keep glassware and dinnerware perfectly chilled to keep food and beverages colder, longer. When you place chilled food on a warm plate it too gets warm, same goes for beverages.

True T-50-GC-S-HC glass and plate chiller

Keg Coolers:

Keg coolers are essential to bars, pubs, and other establishments that serve draft beer, as they will keep the draft at an ideal temperature until the moment it is served. Customize your Keg Cooler with the number of taps, type of material, and different options.

Beverage-air BM23HC-S-31 keg cooler

Display Cases

Refrigerated display cases are essential for keeping your bakery and deli products fresh, visually appealing, and ready for immediate sale.

They play a significant role in attracting customers, reducing waste, and enhancing the overall shopping experience. By investing in these refrigeration units, you can effectively boost your sales and customer satisfaction while maintaining the quality and safety of your products.

What are refrigerated display cases used for?

  1. Showcasing Freshness: Refrigerated display cases are used to showcase and store perishable food items, like pastries, cakes, sandwiches, salads, deli meats, cheeses, and other chilled or cold items.
  2. Temperature Control: These cases maintain a cool and consistent temperature, ensuring that your products remain fresh and safe for consumption while on display.
  3. Visibility: They feature glass or transparent doors and sides that provide a clear view of the products, enticing customers with a tempting display of your delicious offerings. Customers are more likely to select something that looks delicious and readily available.
  4. Hygiene and Safety: Properly refrigerated items reduce the risk of food spoilage and foodborne illnesses, contributing to food safety and customer trust.

Bakery Display Cases

In the bakery industry, it’s all about keeping your baked goods fresh and looking irresistible. That’s where bakery display cases come in.

They preserve the just-baked taste and texture of your treats while presenting them beautifully. These cases solve the core challenges of freshness and presentation, making your bakery an enticing destination for customers.

What kind of bakery display case do I need?

Choosing between a dry and dual-zone bakery display case depends on your specific bakery needs.

If you primarily offer dry baked goods, a dry case might be suitable, while dual-zone cases provide the flexibility to showcase a wider variety of bakery items, including those that require refrigeration to maintain freshness and quality.

Here are some common dry and wet baked goods:

Dry Baked GoodsWet Baked Goods
Cookies: Various types of cookies, such as chocolate chip, oatmeal, and shortbread, fall into the category of dry baked goods.Cakes: Moist and tender cakes, like chocolate fudge cake or cheesecake, have a higher moisture content and are typically considered wet baked goods.
Breads: Crusty bread varieties like baguettes, ciabatta, and sourdough are considered dry baked goods due to their low moisture content.Custards and Puddings: Desserts like crème Brulé, flan, and rice pudding are moist and rely on a creamy, pudding-like texture.
Crackers: Savory or sweet, crackers are dry and crispy baked products, often served as snacks or accompaniments for cheeses and spreads.Cream-Filled Pastries: Pastries filled with creams or custards, such as éclairs and cream puffs, are considered wet baked goods due to their filling.
Biscuits: Dry biscuits, such as tea biscuits or scones, are baked with minimal moisture and are typically enjoyed with beverages.Fruit Tarts: Tarts with fruit fillings or fruit toppings have a higher moisture content, making them fall into the wet baked goods category.
Pretzels: Salted or flavored snacks with a dry and crispy texture.Mousse: Desserts like chocolate mousse or fruit mousse are soft and moist, often requiring refrigeration.
Dry baked goods (left), Wet baked goods (right)

To answer the question of what type of bakery display case is needed, it’s essential to highlight the differences between dry and dual-zone bakery display cases:

Dual-Zone Bakery Display Cases:

  • Versatility: Dual-zone display cases have both dry and refrigerated sections. You can showcase a wide range of bakery items, from cakes and cream-filled pastries in the chilled section to dry goods like cookies in the dry section.
  • Moisture Control: These cases control humidity in the refrigerated section, keeping items fresh and moist. This is ideal for cakes and desserts that need refrigeration.
  • Expanded Options: With dual-zone cases, you can diversify your bakery offerings, appealing to a broader customer base by accommodating both refrigerated and dry goods.

Dry Bakery Display Cases:

  • Best for Baked Goods: Dry bakery display cases are designed for showcasing baked goods like cookies, bread, and pastries. They maintain the ambient room temperature, preserving the texture and taste of your treats without refrigeration.
  • Minimal Moisture Control: Since they do not refrigerate, dry display cases don’t add moisture to the air. This makes them ideal for items that shouldn’t become overly moist, like crusty bread or flaky pastries.
  • Energy Efficiency: Dry cases typically consume less energy compared to refrigerated units, which can result in cost savings over time.
Dual-zone bakery display cases
Dry bakery display cases

Deli Cases

For deli owners who understand the unique challenges of the industry, deli display cases offer tailored solutions.

These cases preserve the quality and flavor of your deli meats and cheeses. Additionally, they provide energy savings, directly impacting your bottom line and reducing operational costs.

Furthermore, the adjustable shelving provided by these cases empower you to manage your inventory efficiently. This means you can minimize waste by improving inventory control.

Overall, deli display cases not only ensure optimal product presentation but also offer a practical, cost-effective solution for maintaining freshness.

True TCGG-60-S-HC-LD refrigerated deli case

Sushi Display Cases:

When it comes to showcasing sushi in a professional setting, the choice of display case is crucial. Sushi display cases differ significantly from bakery or deli cases due to their specialized features tailored for sushi’s unique requirements.

What makes a sushi display case different from other refrigerated displays?

Sushi display cases have several features that differentiate them from bakery cases or deli cases, primarily to cater to the specific needs of sushi presentation and preservation. Here are some key differences:

  1. Temperature Control: Sushi display cases are designed to maintain a precise temperature range of 32°F to 41°F (0°C to 5°C) to keep the sushi fresh and safe. his range is essential to preserve the freshness and safety of the raw seafood in sushi.
  2. Humidity Control: In addition to temperature control, sushi cases offer humidity control features. Maintaining the right moisture levels prevents sushi from drying out, ensuring each piece is served at its best.
  3. Presentation: Sushi display cases are designed with lighting and arrangements that enhance the visual appeal of sushi, making it more attractive to customers. The aesthetics of the case are a top priority to showcase the artistry of sushi.
  4. Hygiene and Sanitation: The raw nature of sushi demands impeccable hygiene. Sushi display cases feature components that are easy to remove and wash, ensuring a clean and sanitary environment. While hygiene is essential in all food display cases, the specific requirements for sushi are more critical.
  5. Regulatory Compliance: Sushi display cases adhere to specific regulations related to the handling and storage of raw seafood, distinct from bakery and deli cases.
  6. Accessibility: Sushi display cases are designed to provide easy access to sushi for both customers and staff while still protecting the sushi from contaminants.
  7. Food Trays and Containers: Specialized trays and containers inside sushi display cases securely hold sushi pieces, preserving their freshness. These containers are uniquely crafted to complement sushi presentation.

Sushi display cases are specialized commercial refrigerators that offer precise temperature and humidity control, emphasize aesthetics, and comply with sushi-specific regulations.

Choose from self-contained or remote refrigeration in a variety of sushi display cases to meet your needs, depending on where you plan to display the fresh product.

Hoshizaki HNC-180BA-SLH sushi display case

Undercounter and Worktop Refrigeration Units

When it comes to equipping your commercial kitchen, selecting the right refrigeration unit is a crucial decision.

Worktop and undercounter refrigeration are two popular options, each with its unique features to consider.

Let’s dive into the distinctions between these two choices.

Workspace√ – Flat top for work space✗ – Designed to fit under counters
Access√ – Doors, drawers, or combination√ – Doors, drawers, or combination
Capacity√ – Available in sizes from 27″ – 72″√ – Available in sizes from 27″ – 72″
Ventilation✓ – Front-venting or rear-venting✓ – Typically front-venting
Noise level✓ – Known for quiet operation
Versatility✓ – Can be used as a prep area and storage✗ – Used solely as storage in tight spaces

Undercounter refrigeration units:

One of the biggest benefits is how much space you’ll save. Undercounter units fit neatly along with cabinetry, eliminating the need for designating room for a normal refrigerator.

They’re also easy to access and some units can hold as much as standing full size units. 

Undercounter units can be used in anywhere, from commercial kitchens to bars and even residential areas.

Undercounter refrigeration units at
Undercounter freezers at

Worktop refrigeration units:

Worktop units are an excellent choice for establishments that want to maximize their use of space.

They provide a refrigerator and an area to work on instead of sitting under an existing area or taking up space that could be used for dry storage. Worktop refrigeration units are great for all types of of establishments.

Restaurants can benefit from them because it keeps ingredients close, it makes working at a concession area or even within the home a breeze because you have instant extra space to work with as well as refrigeration.

Worktop refrigeration units at
Worktop freezers at

Commercial Ice Cream Freezers

In the culinary world, ice cream is a beloved treat.

Ice cream freezers are a must-have for restaurants and cafes that want to offer a diverse range of flavors.

These cabinets showcase various scoops ready for creation of sundaes, floats, and ice cream-based specialties. Additionally, drop-in ice cream dipping cabinets, seamlessly integrated into countertops, provide a sleek and space-efficient solution, perfect for premium establishments looking to blend functionality with aesthetics.

Drop-in ice cream dipping cabinets are ideal for compact spaces in convenience stores. They serve as eye-catching displays, allowing easy access to a selection of popular ice cream flavors, encouraging impulse purchases and customer satisfaction.

Ice cream dipping cabinets and drop-in ice cream dipping cabinets do wonders for all kinds of businesses. They keep those treats fresh and ready for your enjoyment wherever you are!

Ice Cream Dipping Cabinets:

These commercial refrigeration units are the vibrant stage for showcasing a diverse array of tempting flavors. With their transparent displays, customers can clearly see available options.

These cabinets provide an enticing visual of various scoops, inviting customers to explore and choose their perfect scoop or sundae.

Beyond their visual appeal, ice cream dipping cabinets are designed for operational ease. Servers find them incredibly convenient as these cabinets allow quick access to the stored ice cream containers. The layout and accessibility of the cabinets streamline the process, enabling servers to swiftly dish out customers’ favorite flavors without delay.

Ice cream dipping cabinets come in various sizes and styles, catering to different space requirements.

From countertop models for compact spaces to larger floor-standing units, they offer flexible solutions for businesses, adapting to the available space without compromising on the variety or quantity of displayed flavors.

Beverage-air BDC-HC-8 ice cream dipping cabinet

Drop-In Ice Cream Dipping Cabinets:

Drop-in ice cream dipping cabinets are the chameleons of the dessert world, seamlessly integrating into countertops for a sleek, modern look.

Their design adds a touch of sophistication to any establishment, providing an aesthetic appeal while being space-efficient. This layout facilitates easy reach for a smooth and quick service process

Much like their upright counterparts, drop-in ice cream dipping cabinets maintain the perfect temperature for both opened and unopened containers of ice cream. They preserve texture and taste, so that product is consistently served at its best.

Additionally, they offer storage space for extra product, ensuring a continuous supply of fresh, ready-to-serve ice cream.

These drop-in cabinets come in a variety of sizes and configurations, fitting seamlessly into different counter spaces. Whether it’s a small cafe or a bustling diner, drop-in models cater to diverse business needs.

Delfield N227P drop-in ice cream dipping cabinet

Other Commercial Refrigeration Units

Welcome to the realm of commercial refrigeration’s unsung heroes—units beyond the standard fridges and freezers.

This section unravels a diverse range of specialized refrigeration units, each tailored to meet unique demands in the bustling food and beverage industry. These units serve as silent champions, orchestrating efficient bulk storage, precise cooling, and adaptable arrangements.

From optimizing space to preserving quality, they stand as allies for businesses handling perishable goods. Join us on a journey through these versatile refrigeration assets.

We’re shedding light on their distinctive functionalities and the invaluable roles they play in maintaining freshness.

Whether it’s the sprawling space of chest freezers, the precision cooling of milk coolers, or the adaptability of drop-in cold wells, these units quietly, yet efficiently, safeguard the quality of goods. Find out how to elevate the operational efficiency of your business across the board with these specialty refrigeration units.

Ready to explore the hidden stars of commercial refrigeration?

Chest Freezers:

Commercial chest freezers are the heavy-duty champions of frozen storage. They’re like the big siblings of the freezers at home, but bigger and more durable. They’re used in lots of places to keep a ton of stuff frozen, making sure everything stays super cold and fresh long term.

Common Uses for Commercial Chest Freezers:

  1. Restaurants and Kitchens: In restaurants, these freezers are like treasure chests for keeping loads of frozen food fresh—things like meat, ice cream, and ready-to-cook meals. They’re massive and make sure chefs always have what they need.
  2. Stores and Groceries: Grocery stores and convenience stores use chest freezers to keep all their frozen goodies, like frozen veggies, meals or desserts. These freezers show off the food to customers and make sure everything stays frozen and good to eat.
  3. Catered Parties and Events: At big gatherings, chest freezers come in handy to keep heaps of food cold. They store pre-made meals and lots of ice for drinks. They’re huge and make sure everyone gets fresh food.
  4. Homes: Some homes use these big freezers, too. They’re great for keeping extra food or special stuff really cold. Some special stores use them for unique frozen foods, keeping everything fresh for customers.

These robust and sizeable chest freezers play vital roles in various settings, acting as guardians of frozen goods. They ensure that food remains fresh and frozen across different locations and industries.

Beverage-air NC34HC-1-W chest freezer

Cold Food Wells

Drop-in cold food wells are like magic—right where you need them, helping you keep your food cool and serving lines moving fast.

They come in different sizes and can hold various pans, so you can pick the one that fits your kitchen perfectly. Plus, they’re super easy to install in your existing setups for maximum convenience.

Size and Capacity Options: These cold food wells come in different sizes, so you can choose the one that fits your kitchen setup. They also have varying pan capacities, meaning they can hold different amounts of food. Think about how much space you have and how much food you need to keep cool to decide which one is best for you.

Customizable Installation: These wells can fit right into your existing units. This means you can easily add them to your current kitchen setup without too much fuss. It’s all about making things super convenient for you.

Efficient Food Cooling: Drop-in cold food wells are like mini fridges right in your serving line. They keep your salads, dressings, or any other cold items at the perfect temperature. This makes serving food a breeze and keeps everything fresh for your customers.

Speedy Service: Having these wells close by helps your serving lines move faster. You have all your chilled stuff right where you need it, ready to go. It’s like having your own little cooling station right in the heart of your kitchen or serving area.

Delfield N8159-BRP cold food well

Milk Coolers

Schools and hospitals utilize commercial milk coolers in specific ways distinct from other commercial refrigeration units due to their unique design and dedicated purpose.

In educational settings, milk coolers are often used in cafeterias or dining areas to ensure a ready and continuous supply of cold milk for students. These coolers are typically compact and designed for efficient storage and dispensing of milk cartons or bottles.

They contribute to providing a quick and accessible source of fresh and cold milk during meal times, promoting nutrition and hydration for students.

Milk coolers store heavy crates on floor racks made of stainless steel wire and often epoxy-coated for durability. A crate full of milk boxes can weigh over 30 pounds each, so durability is key. Additionally, this allows cold air to circulate freely around the crates for consistent cooling.

True TMC-49-HC Milk cooler refrigeration unit

Conclusion: Refrigeration Buying Guide

In the world of commercial refrigeration, each unit stands as a vital asset, ensuring freshness and operational efficiency.

Whether it’s the sturdy chest freezers for storing in bulk or versatile drop-in cold food wells for smoother service, these choices make a real difference.

Your pick isn’t just a buy; it’s an investment in how well your business runs.

Dive in, understand the details, and match what you need with what these units do. Here’s to making smart choices, keeping things fresh, and watching your business thrive with the perfect cooling solutions

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2 Responses

  1. Kenneth O'Brien says:

    Thanks for the article. I am currently trying to find the right equipment for a small restaurant that I’m opening up. As you can guess this has been a hectic process.

    I’m in the market for commercial refrigeration and am having trouble deciding where to get it, and what type/model I should get! So far I’ve found numerous websites, but I’m torn between the one that is posted on here and this one:

    Either way, I guess I’ll have to make my decision sooner rather than later. Thanks for this post. Good work.

  2. I just wanted to thank you for going over things to think about when buying a refrigerator. I’m glad you mentioned that you should check out the interior of a refrigerator and see if it will fit your needs. I’d like to learn more about different functionality designs, and some circumstances they would be more ideal for.