Modern commercial refrigerators come in all shapes and sizes, and there is no shortage of seemingly flawless units.
But regardless of whether you’re setting up a new kitchen or are looking for a replacement commercial fridge, finding the one perfect unit out of the hundreds available can be a daunting prospect.
Doing the research and figuring out the different types of refrigerators available, and also understanding what makes a fridge better than another can take hours.
Not to mention, you will also need to sift through the available options and shortlist the best ones before finalizing your decision.
But, luckily for you, you found our post.
In addition to shortlisting the best options for you, we’ve also created a detailed buying guide to help you find the commercial refrigerator that meets your needs perfectly.
Best Commercial Refrigerators: Our Top Picks
If you have a moderately-sized restaurant or café and want to store a lot of produce, but don’t need the biggest commercial fridge money can buy, the two-door A-49R-HC will be perfect for you.
- Height: 82.5 inches
- Width: 54 inches
- Depth: 32.25 inches
- Interior Space: 41.3 cu. ft.
- Casters: Yes
The A-49R-HC is just big enough to put away a few days worth of produce and just small enough to fit in almost any kitchen.
It features a 1/4HP compressor, which can draw air efficiently, and also raise the bottom shelf for you on demand. You won’t need to bend and dig around for what you need.
The commercial refrigerator uses an eco-friendly R290 refrigerant, which has zero ozone depletion potential. It’s the right unit to get if you want your business to be more environmentally-friendly.
Its automatic defrost cycle feature leaves your staff free from the responsibility of cleaning up ice.
The shelves in the packaging are adjustable and come with a plastic coating, which resists corrosion and rusting. It comes with six shelves, and the 24 shelf clips allow you to organize them as you see fit.
Controlling the temperature of the unit is made easy with the digital controller. You can adjust the temperature between 33 and 40 degrees. The fridge is programmed never to exceed 41 degrees, helping you avoid trouble from health inspectors.
Additionally, it features door locks and self-closing door mechanisms, making it secure and easy to use.
But perhaps the most impressive thing about the A-49R-HC is that it defrosts automatically four times a day. You can use the readout on the LCD to keep track of the temperature.
Every store and cafeteria deserves having a sleek-looking display refrigerator. And you won’t find one that strikes the right balance between performance, looks, and price like the Koolmore 78.
- Height: 84.75 inches
- Width: 78.25 inches
- Depth: 30 inches
- Interior Space: 53 cu. ft.
- Casters: Yes
Finding a gorgeous display refrigerator can be a challenge in and of itself. The Koolmore 78 has three glass doors, making it perfect for displaying drinks, flowers, and freshly cut servings of salad. You could also display a lot of other prepared food.
What’s more impressive is the fact that it offers 53 cu. ft. of storage, making it one of the biggest units on this list.
While storage space won’t be an issue, organizing items won’t be an issue either. The twelve easy-to-adjust shelves enable you to customize the fridge as needed. Every shelf is coated with epoxy, making them non-corrosive.
The aluminum interior and the stainless steel exterior are easy to clean, and the LED lighting that comes incorporated into the unit gives it an attractive look.
The glass used has anti-fog properties, ensuring that the items you display are always visible, and the external digital dial makes the fridge that much easier to control.
Having a fridge for storing meat and other produce can undoubtedly help the kitchen operate more smoothly. However, you will also need a reliable bar refrigerator to ensure drinks are always ready to serve. There are only a few options that impress as much as the Arctic Air ABB72G.
- Height: 39.5 inches
- Width: 73 inches
- Depth: 24 inches
- Interior Space: N.A.
- Casters: Yes
Regardless of if you run a bar or a restaurant, having a stock of ready to serve drinks is critical for your success.
The 73” wide ABB72G supplies more than enough space to put away all the drinks you need to serve.
Its 1 ½” thick stainless steel top provides a stable workspace, which, coupled with the surrounding cabinetry make it an excellent all-around option.
The powder-coated steel finish in the front gives it a modern, attractive look. The finish also makes the refrigerator a lot more durable.
It has three glass doors, and the spacious interior makes storage and cleaning a lot easier. The crystal clear view of the drinks that the glass gives you makes it that much more attractive, and the LED lighting further complements its overall look.
The six included shelves, front-breathing design, electronic thermostat, and digital LED display make the ABB72G one of the most flexible refrigerators available.
Using the right refrigerated case to merchandise your items can make a big difference to the look of your café or deli. In addition to elevating your business’s look, the Avantco DLC64-HC-B will also keep the food items fresh for long periods.
- Height: 42.875 inches
- Width: 64.25 inches
- Depth: 32.5 inches
- Interior Space: 21.9 cu. ft.
- Casters: Yes
The large curved glass front attracts the eyes to the DLC64-HC-B nearly instantly. Add the beautiful LED lighting, brilliant shelving, and the three sleek sliding doors into the mix, and you have one of the best looking commercial refrigerators available in the market.
The Avantco refrigerator uses eco-friendly refrigerant, making it that much more attractive, and the 3/5HP refrigeration system helps ensure that all the food items are appropriately preserved.
You can stack your best products on the six epoxy-coated shelves, which combined can carry up to 132lbs of weight.
What makes it one of the best commercial refrigerators is the fact that it is easy to operate. The digital controller makes the temperature easy to monitor, and the automatic defrost feature makes the maintenance painless.
The steel exterior boasts a durable black finish, and the 304 stainless steel used to build the interiors ensures that the fridge will last you years.
The Avantco SS-2R-G-HC strikes the right balance between durability, reliability, and ease of use, which, coupled with its reasonable price, make it one of the best commercial refrigerators money can buy.
- Height: 82.5 inches
- Width: 54 inches
- Depth: 32.25 inches
- Interior Space: 41.3 cu. ft.
- Casters: Yes
The sleek appearance of the SS-2R-G-HC is only one of the many features that make it an integral part of a busy kitchen.
The interiors are made from 304 stainless steel, making it corrosion resistant and super easy to clean. It also virtually guarantees that the fridge won’t get damaged over time due to accidental spills and other messes.
Also, since the entire cabinet is foamed in place, the unit will retain the temperature for longer.
The Avantco SS-2R-G-HC is programmed to hold a temperature between the range of 33 and 40 degrees – never more or less. The feature makes the fridge food-safe.
The 1/4HP compressor keeps the food appropriately cold and preserved, and the use of R290 refrigerant makes the unit one of the eco-friendliest refrigerators there are.
The two glass doors in the front, coupled with the interior LED lighting make it attractive to the eye – it won’t look shabby or out of place in any kitchen.
If you have a large kitchen and need to store large quantities of food daily, there are only a few other options that will satisfy your needs as well as the Nor-Lake KLB7766-C.
- Height: 116 inches
- Width: 72 inches
- Depth: 72 inches
- Interior Space: 196 cu. ft.
- Casters: No
Besides being the largest commercial refrigerator on the list, the KLB7766-C also stands out as the most reliable due to its robust set of features.
The aluminum floor of the refrigerator seals the framework of the unit, providing you with a robust surface that you can place various items on. The electric vaporizer gets rid of any of the condensed water in the walk-in, removing the need for installing a drain line.
What’s more, the self-contained Capsule Pak unit in the refrigerator gives you 100% usable storage by making use of a flush coil design. Furthermore, the Capsule Pak is easy to install and uses R-449A refrigerant.
The top-notch insulation helps maintain the unit’s temperature, and the self-closing doors make the unit that much easier to use. You can also lock the door with ease, and not worry about anybody getting locked in, since a safety release protects them from any accidents.
One of the best things about the refrigerator is that the panels on it are crafted from 26 gauge corrosion-resistant galvanized steel. It is one of the most durable commercial refrigerators currently in the market.
Controlling the temperature is just as easy – you can adjust it between 35 and 38 degrees using the external dial per your requirement.
Optimizing back-of-house operations can be challenging as it is, but when you’re selling pizza, the circumstances can get a lot more demanding. Getting your hands on the Avantco SSPPT-260 Pizza Prep Table can help with that.
- Height: 43 inches
- Width: 60 inches
- Depth: 31.5 inches
- Interior Space: 16.7 cu. ft.
- Casters: No
Streamlining the preparation process can be as simple as getting your hands on the Avantco SSPPT-260.
The top rail can accommodate seven food pans at a time, giving the staff more than enough space to send out pizza like clockwork.
Lids protect the pan rails, and the contents are held at food-safe temperatures. There’s also a full-length cutting board incorporated right into the table, enabling the staff to slice veggies and assemble pizzas and pies swiftly.
The additional interior space, the epoxy-coated shelves, the lack of poisonous refrigerant, and the use of 304 stainless steel make it a proven option that’s worth every penny.
Picking from a shortlist of the best commercial refrigerators can still be challenging if you don’t know what you should be looking for. Here’s a guide to help you tell a good commercial refrigerator from a bad one, and also to help you understand what you should be looking for.
The first thing you must assess is how much food do you need your fridge to hold in one go. If you don’t assess that, there’s a good chance that you’ll have trouble with the fridge down the road.
You don’t want it to have too much storage since it’ll take up too much space in your kitchen. Not to mention, a bigger fridge also translates to higher running costs. But you also don’t want it to have too little storage, because that will inevitably lead to food going waste.
Approach it this way:
You need the commercial fridge to be able to hold enough food for your busiest service possible comfortably.
Also, remember that there is a difference between a fridge’s capacity and its net capacity. The net capacity is what defines its storage capacity – so make sure you compare your different options based on net capacity.
How much space in your home or business do you have to place a fridge?
Whatever fridge you buy will undoubtedly need to fit in your workspace. Consumers often forget about the spacing aspect and end up having to return the freezer because it doesn’t fit.
You must measure how much space you have in your kitchen, and only then make the buying decision.
You must also remember not to compromise the walking space to get a fridge in the size you want. You may have the convenience of putting food away without hesitation at first, but over time, the lack of space will get frustrating.
Commercial refrigerators are of several types, and each type is meant for a specific purpose. Picking the wrong refrigerator can make cooking and serving great food a lot more challenging than it already is.
Reach-in refrigerators look a lot like domestic refrigerators, but they’re significantly bigger. They have either Dutch-style half doors or full-length doors, and also have several compartments to make organizing easy.
Walk-in fridges offer a large amount of storage space and have several shelves to make storing food and beverages in bulk easy.
Serve over counter fridges are those you see at the butcher shop and the café. These help both show off the items you offer and preserve them. These are often confused with pastry or bakery display refrigerators, which serve a similar purpose but have a fundamentally different design.
There are also under-counter refrigerators that function a lot like regular reach-in units do. What makes them different is that they are a lot shorter and can fit in smaller spaces. These are appropriate for commercial kitchens that require certain items to be used on an as-needed basis.
Bar refrigerators are of several types, but plate chillers and keg coolers are the most popular types. Their stainless steel exterior gives them a streamlined and sleek look.
Refrigerated prep tables are becoming more and more popular. These are placed at the cook line in commercial kitchens. Refrigerated prep tables are mainly of two kinds: salad tables and pizza tables, and the depth of the cutting board and amount of storage varies accordingly.
Design and Build
The aesthetics of the commercial refrigerator must not be ignored. You may think that the look of the commercial refrigerator is of no significance, but in reality, you must ensure that it enhances the aesthetics of your kitchen.
You may not mind the design at first, but there’s a good chance that picking the wrong option will eventually begin to look like an eyesore.
Get a commercial refrigerator that is bold, yet elegant, and complements the look of your kitchen.
Another critical factor to consider is the material the fridge is built out of. Ensuring that the refrigerator has a robust build is one of the best ways to know that it will last you for years.
Different brands use different materials to create their freezers; however, if you want to get your hands on only the most robust option, look for a stainless steel build.
The number of doors is not what we’re talking about. Modern commercial refrigerators boast feature-loaded doors that make access to the fridge’s contents easy.
These features also help save energy, and the small power savings here and there compound to a significant reduction in running costs over time.
Some commercial fridges have self-closing doors, which not only helps save energy but is also very helpful when your hands are full.
Other commercial refrigerators have a pedal opening mechanism, making it so that you don’t need to touch the door at all when you want to access the fridge’s contents.
Most commercial freezers have stable doors, and these are an excellent option for those that want to conserve energy. Since the door is only open when needed, the temperature is retained a lot more efficiently than in refrigerators with full doors.
The cost of running a commercial refrigerator may not seem like much when compared to how much the unit costs. However, the costs add up quickly, and keeping the fridge working should never seem burdensome.
One of the best ways to ensure that you can keep the refrigerator running without any problem is to look at the energy efficiency rating.
The energy rating of the refrigerator helps determine how much energy it consumes and how much power it exudes. The best commercial refrigerators consume the least amount of energy and exude the most amount of power.
It’s important to note that chest freezers and commercial display freezers do not currently require energy efficiency ratings.
Freezing Options and Temperature Settings
Most modern commercial refrigerators come in one of two freezing options – deep freezing and normal freezing. The best commercial refrigerators offer both of the freezing options and are able to handle both at the same time.
Getting a commercial refrigerator that can operate in both of the freezing modes will save you a lot of time in the kitchen, and also guarantee smoother operations in the long run.
Before you decide to buy any commercial fridge, you must check whether it has the temperature controls you need to ensure that your food stays fresh. The availability of just a handful of temperature settings can make managing your food items a lot easier.
The temperature controls should be just as easy to access as it is easy to use.
Getting a commercial refrigerator with adjustable shelves makes managing storage space a lot easier.
Different fridges come with a different number of shelves and ensuring that you get the model with the maximum number of shelves enables you to fit the most number of food items conveniently.
Depending on your use case, getting a large set of adjustable shelves might not be as important. In general, though, the higher the number of adjustable shelves available, the more you’ll be able to fit into the refrigerator conveniently.
The insides of a freezer sometimes accumulate ice. You might think of it as a good thing, but in reality, it decreases the cooling performance and also reduces the lifespan of the unit.
For this reason, the best commercial refrigerators have a built-in automatic defrost system. The system does not need manual activation, and it kicks in whenever too much ice has accumulated.
However, most commercial refrigerators don’t have this feature. You will need to defrost them whenever too much ice accumulates manually.
It’s a known fact that meat and fish are expensive. And in general, the contents of a commercial refrigerator are highly valuable.
If you’d feel safer keeping the contents under lock and key, you’ll be happy to know that there are commercial refrigerators out there that making locking up and securing your stock easy.
However, it’s also important to note that most secure refrigerators are expensive.
Q: What is the difference between a commercial fridge and a domestic fridge?
A: The two main differences between these two fridges is the size and the capacity. However, there are some more subtle differences between the two.
For instance, a commercial fridge is designed to withstand frequent use. While a domestic fridge may be opened around six times a day, a commercial fridge will be continuously opened and shut.
For the fridge to function correctly even during frequent use, powerful compressors are embedded into them. The doors and hinges are sturdier to withstand the constant movement and fans are embedded into the fridge to help it run cooler. The fans make the fridge noisier too.
Q: How big is a commercial refrigerator?
A: Depending on the type of commercial refrigerator you get your hands on, it may be between 65”-84” in height, and 24”-33” in width. The width of commercial refrigerators averages between 23” and 36”.
Q: How long will a commercial refrigerator last?
A: The run of the mill commercial fridge will serve you for ten years before beginning to give you trouble. However, the best commercial refrigerators last upwards of 15 years, and sometimes even serve the user for 20 years before giving out.
Q: Does the refrigerant I use make a difference in the commercial refrigerator’s performance?
A: Refrigerant is the fluid that aids the unit in its refrigeration cycle. If you’re buying a refrigerator for a professional kitchen, it doesn’t make a difference whether your unit uses R404a, R134a, or R600a refrigerant.
However, if you wish to be more environmentally cautious and use products that don’t cause harm, you can get your hands on R290 refrigerant. It’s considered to be the most eco-friendly refrigerant since it does not contain greenhouse gases like its counterparts.
Q: What causes the formation of ice in commercial refrigerators?
A: There are a number of reasons why ice could form in a commercial refrigerator. One of the most common reasons is a faulty thermostat – the unit may not be able to gauge the temperature, leading to freezing accurately.
You can check whether the thermostat has gone bad by measuring the temperature of your freezer using a thermometer and comparing the value to what the thermostat indicates. If there’s a large difference, getting the thermostat repaired or replaced will fix the issue.
Sometimes, consumers set the temperature of the fridge too low and forget about it. Setting the temperature too low can cause the freezing problem and also lead to issues with the refrigerant. If your thermostat is set to a value lower than 32 degrees, dialling it up a little will likely solve the problem.
If neither of these is the case, there is likely a problem with the compressor of the refrigerator. There may also be another underlying technical issue. In these cases, getting in touch with a professional repair person is the right way to go.
Now that you know what you should be looking for and are also acquainted with the market’s best options, finding the right commercial refrigerators should be a breeze.
However, if you’re in doubt, you can blindly go for the Avantco A-49R-HC 54” Reach-In Refrigerator. It’s moderately sized, has a powerful compressor, doesn’t damage the environment, and also defrosts automatically, leaving little need for maintenance.
It’s the one option we can recommend to anyone without reservations.