In professional kitchens, commercial freezers are the most common appliance used to keep food frozen. The freezers often hold thousands of pounds of stock, so they must be reliable and secure. The following guide should help you choose the right commercial freezer from all of the different types available. Each has its own advantages, so you should be able to make an informed decision.
What is a commercial freezer?
Commercial freezers are designed for much more frequent use than their domestic counterparts. Aside from normally being bigger, they can withstand being opened constantly as they feature powerful compressors, sturdy construction and fan assistance.
Businesses in the hospitality industry use commercial freezers to maintain the quality and freshness of food that won’t be used straight away.
Types of commercial freezer
Commercial upright freezers, also called cabinet freezers, are ideal for storing items quickly and conveniently. Items are placed on shelves, which in a lot of models are adjustable. Upright freezers come in a range of sizes so can fit into most catering areas, and allow you to use height, which would otherwise be wasted space.
Benefits of commercial upright freezers
- Their footprint is compact and they make use of tall spaces
- Generally upright freezers will have a larger capacity than other types of commercial freezer
- The sizes are gastronorm compatible so trays can easily be transferred
- They can be positioned close to your food preparation areas so can be accessed quickly
Counter freezers combine frozen storage with valuable countertop food prep space and are a versatile choice for your kitchen. The countertop will be made from stainless steel which is strong and durable for food prep or placing smaller kitchen appliances.
Benefits of counter freezers
- They offer undercounter frozen storage to make the most of your kitchen space
- They are gastronorm compatible so food can put in or out easily
- Provides a sturdy base for small appliances such as microwaves, ice cream machines and more
These are usually around knee height and provide a useful base for other kitchen equipment, so it can be raised to a comfortable working height.
Benefits of low freezers
- They are sturdy and can have large appliances such as convection ovens or griddles placed on top of them
- You can control the temperature setting for each drawer
- They are gastronorm compatible so trays can easily be transferred between appliances
Commercial chest freezers are larger than their domestic counterparts but operate in the same way. They are perfect for placing in small kitchens, storage rooms and cellars as you can store a large amount of food in them.
Benefits of chest freezers
- As they open from the top, it’s harder for cold air to escape so they are very efficient
- They have a large capacity so are ideal for storing bulky containers
Undercounter freezers are ideal for areas with limited space, as they can be tucked out of the way. They are small and discreet, whilst still providing fast access to ingredients.
Benefits of undercounter freezers
- They are great for front of house use or crowded spaces due to their front breathing refrigeration
- Due to their smaller size they are ideal to store items that are used on an as-needed basis
Features of commercial freezers
Here’s what you need to be looking out for before you purchase a commercial freezer:
- Capacity – The freezer needs to have enough space to store enough ingredients for your busiest service. If you get one that’s too small, food could be wasted, but if you get one that’s too big, it will take up too much space in your kitchen.
- Size – The commercial freezer needs to fit in your kitchen. Remember to check your access to ensure it will actually fit through your door!
- Climate class – This is the highest ambient temperature the freezer will operate at. Climate Class 4 is considered medium-duty, whereas Climate Class 5 is heavier-duty. If your kitchen is usually over 32°C you will probably want to go for a Climate Class 5.
- Efficiency – The more efficient a freezer is, the less it will cost to run. Check the energy efficiency rating to help you make a decision.
- Automatic Defrost – Some commercial freezers will feature an automatic defrost system to improve the performance of the freezer. If not, you will have to manually defrost the unit when it accumulates ice.
- Doors – Some models of commercial freezer will come with self closing doors, which can be useful to save energy or if you’ve got your hands full. Some may also feature pedal opening, so you don’t need to touch the door making it much more hygienic.
Commercial freezer FAQs
What is the difference between a domestic and commercial freezer?
Commercial freezers are designed for highly frequent use, so feature powerful compressors, high-quality construction and fan assistance.
What is refrigerant?
Refrigerant is the gas or fluid used as part of the refrigeration cycle. This isn’t too important to factor in when buying a commercial freezer, but if you’re trying to be eco-friendly then choose a freezer that uses R290 refrigerant. This doesn’t contain greenhouse gases whereas other refrigerants normally do.
How long can I store food in a freezer?
This depends on the type of produce you will be storing, but is usually between 1-6 months max. Where possible, freeze foods in their original packaging or vacuum packed containers to improve the freshness, form and quality of the produce.
How long do commercial freezers last?
If looked after correctly, commercial freezers can live from 10-15 years. This will depend on how often you conduct maintenance and how often the freezer is used.
What temperate should commercial freezers be?
For safe food storage, commercial freezers should remain at -18 ℃. Anything higher is shown to cause vitamin content to deteriorate.