Whether you’re looking for a larger fridge to have in your home or you run a restaurant or cafe and need to store fruit, dairy, meat and other perishables, you’re going to need a fridge that is reliable and high performance.
When it comes to buying a commercial fridge there are numerous factors that you’ll need to consider such as storage space, temperature variants, how much energy they consume and whether or not they can be transported.
Refrigerators are a long-term investment that could see you spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars. You want the best levels of build quality and design, but how can you know whether you are getting the best refrigerator for your money?
Which commercial refrigerator will be suitable for specific storage and refrigeration needs? Which features on refrigerators are a luxury and which ones are essential? How much can I be expected to pay for a decent commercial refrigerator?
Don’t worry, help is at hand. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best commercial refrigerators currently available on the market, with a comprehensive breakdown of what they have to offer a home chef or restauranteur. We'll then follow that up with a buyer’s guide and a section of the most frequently asked questions on the subject.
Top 5 Best Commercial Refrigerator
OUR TOP PICK
Our first refrigerator is one that is commonly seen near most till fronts and shop doorways, a display fridge for small cafes and restaurants who want to flaunt their cakes, smoothies and sandwiches whilst keeping them chilled - introducing the KoolMore 27-Inch Commercial Countertop Refrigerator.
This unit contains bright LED top lighting to ensure the maximal level of visibility for the food inside. You can nicely display your cakes, pies and sandwiches on the adjustable chrome shelves, which are resistant to rust and removable, making them very easy to clean.
It comes with a temperature display on the outside, so you can ensure that everything inside is being kept at the correct temperature. You can also adjust the temperature with digital temperature controls.
With fully-sealed rear doors, a staff member can efficiently clean or restock this refrigerator with food as and when necessary. We recommend this product for coffee shops, delis or restaurants that have a high turnover of food and beverages.
With a well-lit interior and temperature controls, users of this fridge have praised its solid build quality and easy-to-use design.
The perfect display fridge with a simple interface that does not require a high level of maintenance.
The stainless steel, removable shelves, this is one of the most hygienic refrigerators on our list, again, ideal for any restaurant who wants refrigerators they can clean speedily at the end of a busy day.
Some users have complained that these fridges occasionally have difficulty maintaining the optimum temperature.
Next up is a refrigerator that is adapted to store wines and beverages in particular.
The Phiestina 24-Inch Built-In Dual Zone Wine and Beverage Cooler is well adapted for storing your beverages in separate compartments for speedy access - if you run a restaurant and want to give the impression of having an ordered, efficient shop floor and kitchen, you’ll certainly want to invest in one of these!
Featuring an almost silent compressor, this freestanding unit can slot in nicely with any kitchen or office environment. At just 24-Inches, it’s extremely compact, you can simply plug it in and start using!
This refrigerator has the looks as well as the functionality, with a front vent and very discreet kick plate design. The stainless steel exterior and interior is the ultimate in hygienic wipe-down material.
One of the main selling points of this fridge is the fact that you can set different temperatures for different zones of the fridge, which is perfect for storing all types of beverages, whether it’s wines or beers that need their own precise chilling climates.
This versatile fridge is a must-have for most restaurants, its doors allowing for quick and easy access to the contents and smooth, efficient service for the customers.
However, if you have the storage space in your kitchen, this would make the perfect accompaniment to your everyday fridge. Having a separate refrigerator for chilled wines and other types of alcohol will certainly make you the talking point amongst your friends and work colleagues.
Some users have complained that the dual temperature settings do not always stay fixed at the desired temperature.
This next fridge is another display unit that is designed specifically for beverage lovers, although this is a slightly more compact model than the previous one.
This is a decent model if you want to entertain or work in the retail business but you want to save on space - this is the Whynter BR-128WS Beverage Refrigerator.
Built from solid stainless steel, this fridge comes with an impressive compressor and internal air-cooling system that gives an even distribution of cool air across your entire interior. You can be sure that all the drinks in this refrigerator will stay cool throughout the day.
Inside is a very bright LED light that ensures that the contents are illuminated, so any wait staff using it can quickly grab the desired brand of wine or bottle of beer and take it to the table with the minimum of fuss. Reversible swing doors also allow for versatile and speedy access.
A highly energy-efficient fridge, it also comes with a locking function to guarantee that your expensive wines and champagnes will stay secure when you aren’t around. Again, this is very useful for a busy restaurant floor.
The adjustable shelves inside can be removed and adapted for all kinds of storage style - horizontal to increase capacity, vertical to highlight the display or a mixture of both!
The locking feature makes this refrigerator one of the most secure on this list.
The smaller size might not make it suitable for larger kitchens or restaurants that need more storage space. However, due to the reasonable price, you could buy a few of these and place them side-by-side.
Next we have a refrigerator that is simply perfect for anyone who wants to store large amounts of drink, coming as it does with a whopping 12 fluid ounce capacity.
The EdgeStar CBR1501SLD Stainless Steel Beverage Cooler makes the perfect centerpiece for most hectic restaurant kitchens that deal with a high volume of orders daily.
First off, this comes outdoor approved. That’s right, you can use this refrigerator at a festival or outdoor bar and it will withstand the worst that the elements have to throw at it. The compressor and power unit are also certified for outdoor use, so you can rest easy knowing that this machine will run safely.
It can store up to 142 cans - that’s a lot of beer! So if you are the sort of person who hosts multiple garden parties throughout the year, then you might want to fork out a few dollars for this titan. However, you can also use this space to store additional drinks such as wine or champagne.
Like most of the other refrigerators on this list, this one is manufactured from solid stainless steel and comes with removable shelves which makes it a lot easier to clean in case of accidental spillages that can often occur in a busy kitchen!
The large storage space - with just one of the Edgestars, you can be sure that your well-attended party is stocked to the ceiling with all the wines, champagne and beers you and your guests could want.
You can wheel this one outdoors - come rain, wind or shine, you can use this refrigerator for your garden gala and not have to worry about the weather damaging the fridge’s running components.
With a digital temperature control system, you can adjust the inner temperature of this fridge to suit the specifications of whatever beverages are contained within.
Some users have complained of leakage around the base after a few months of usage.
Our final refrigerator comes from a stalwart in the fridge-making market, the very well-respected Danby brand. This company has had decades in this field manufacturing quality products that come highly rated by users on Amazon - introducing the Danby DAR044A6DDB Contemporary Classic Compact All Refrigerator.
Another smaller fridge, which will help you save space in the kitchen or dining room and is probably more suitable if you’re thinking of hosting parties of somewhere between 2 and 4 people.
The sleek black face of this refrigerator hides many stylish features such as reversible doors, integrated rubber chrome door handles, and an interior light.
It also comes with a scratch-resistant worktop so your refrigerator can double up as a place where you chop your vegetables. No space goes un-utilized with this unit!
This unit will undoubtedly save on storage space, so is particularly useful for modest restaurant kitchens that simply cannot afford the extra room to house a heavy-duty fridge.
All the components of this fridge are designed with maximum durability in mind. It has an automatic defrost setting system and a mechanical thermostat.
It also has chrome-trimmed glass shelves which can be removed for cleaning, with a vegetable glass-topped crisper. This is ideal if you want to store your meats and veggies in different compartments to reduce cross-contamination. The door basket can store up to 2 liters and it comes with a can dispenser in the side interior.
Some users have complained that the digital interface struggles to maintain a steady temperature.
Best Commercial Refrigerator Buying Guide
Numerous factors need to be considered when purchasing a new commercial refrigerator, and you need to know your specifications before investing your money in one. Ask yourself a few of the following questions to narrow down what you’ll be needing from your next chiller.
How Much Energy Will Your Refrigerator Consume?
Look at the energy rating of the refrigerator. Does it consume a lot of energy but give little output? Ideally, you want a refrigerator that does the opposite, one that can run throughout the day on very little electricity yet converts it into consistent temperatures throughout the day.
Refrigerators tend to be run consistently, they aren’t turned off. The last thing you want is to have an astronomical bill at the end of the month because you’ve got a power-guzzling fridge.
What Types Of Drink Will You Be Storing?
There are many diverse types of drinks out there: alcoholic, soft drinks, wines, beers and champagne. Some of these need to be chilled at very specific temperatures, especially wines, so they do not spoil or freeze.
Also, consider the receptacles that these beverages are contained in - large glass bottles or smaller aluminum cans. The material will affect the temperature of the drink. The size of the receptacle will also affect how easy they are to be stored. If you are storing just wine bottles, you might want to think about investing in a refrigerator with a hefty storage capacity.
How Do You Want Your Commercial Fridge To Look?
If you’re a chef or a waiter in a restaurant, you’ll want a fridge that is easy to access and easier still to clean. The last thing you want at the end of a long working day is to be crawling around inside a refrigerator to try and remove those stubborn stains against the back of the unit.
Stainless steel and removable shelves are features that allow for optimum cleaning and prevent cross-contamination.
Also, a fridge needs to fit in with the overall decor of your kitchen or restaurant area. You'll need to ask yourself whether your fridge will be housed on the shop floor or in the kitchen and whether you want a glass-fronted refrigerator so that the customer can see what they’re buying.
Do You Need A Normal Or A Deep Freezer?
There are currently two freezing options for most refrigerators: normal and deep freezing. Ideally, you should have a refrigerator that supplies you with both options, as it will give you that extra versatility when storing different types of beverages.
As we have seen from the refrigerators listed above, some fridges can even maintain different temperatures within the same space! You’ll probably be looking to spend a little more money on this state-of-the-art feature, but it will give your restaurant or bar that added touch of sophistication, as well as saving space that would otherwise have been taken up by multiple units.
What Is Your Budget?
If you’re reading this article, chances are you have realized that a refrigerator is a pretty essential purchase for most eating establishments. However, you can save on costs dramatically by knowing what exactly it is you’re looking for.
Most commercial refrigerators have ample storage space, so if it’s simply capacity and basic temperature you’re looking for, you can probably be looking at spending around a few hundred dollars.
However, if you want additional features such as locking, reversible doors, digital timers and rolling castors on the base, you can expect to spend a lot more money. Refrigerators with independent heating controls will be the most expensive models currently on the market.
How Many Storage Compartments Does It Have?
To avoid cross-contamination and reduce the mess caused by spillages, you might want to think about investing in a refrigerator with separate compartments.
Beverages come in a range of different packaging, so if you already know the type of beverage your refrigerator will be storing, you can buy one with the appropriate holders.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Cold Can A Commercial Fridge Be?
Most regular home fridges can refrigerate at around the 35-38 degree mark, whereas some commercial refrigerators can be set to temperatures as low as 40-45 degrees. This means that commercial fridges are generally more unsuitable for storing food and might freeze more perishable items such as fruit and vegetables.
Most refrigerators for beverages can be set to the range of 35-40 degrees to avoid freezing. However, some wines have specific temperatures at which they need to be kept, so make sure you consult the packaging before chilling.
What Is The Difference Between A Commercial Refrigerator And A Home Refrigerator?
Commercial refrigerators are usually designed for commercial use, that is, use in restaurants and cafes (although there is no law preventing you from owning a commercial refrigerator in your home). A commercial refrigerator generally has a larger storage capacity than a regular refrigerator and has much narrower racks to accommodate more items.
A lot of commercial refrigerators also have glass fronts to allow the user to monitor the beverages inside or a prospective customer to peruse the contents without opening the door and lowering the overall temperature inside.