14 Signs of a Good Quality Commercial Refrigerator
Shopping for a commercial refrigerator can get confusing with so many options available. Not only do you need to consider your business’ particular needs but also durability, maintenance, size and price. Whether you are a corner store, larger grocer or food service company, the type of commercial fridge you choose impacts your business.
You need an energy efficient refrigerator that is ‘user friendly’ whether that user is your staff or your customers. Here we provide 14 signs of a good quality commercial refrigerator to help you find the best fridge for your needs and budget.
1. Good capacity
Although this doesn’t necessarily affect quality, it’s important when choosing a fridge. You need to make sure the fridge is large enough to accommodate your storage needs but not so big it looks empty. Too large a fridge will cost more to run and can also be less efficient if it is often left empty.
Stored items in a fridge help support the insulating effect of the system, so it should be kept reasonably full. However, if you buy a fridge that’s too small, packing it will block the fan and even interfere with the door closing properly. This in turn increases the risk for wasted energy as well as food spoilage.
2. Organizational features
Regardless of the type of business you run, you’ll have specific items you need to store in your refrigerator. Therefore you need to consider the organizational features of the fridge such as drawers and adjustable shelves. Adjustable shelves are needed to accommodate taller items such as larger containers of milk or soft drinks for a grocer or larger items such as a turkey for restaurants. Organizational features allow you to make the most of the space available while avoiding items from tipping over or being damaged.
This is only important if your customers will see the fridge. For example, a restaurant that has a kitchen open to customers should have a presentable commercial fridge that looks attractive.Alternatively, if you are simply storing food in the back kitchen then a more utilitarian model (like one with solid stainless steel doors) would work as well. Or if you’re a bakery looking to show off your products, a glass door unit would be best suited for your needs. Self-serve commercial fridges should be well lit and show off the goods inside.
4. Automatic defrosting
Automatic defrost systems eliminate the risk of frost buildup in your commercial fridge which can lead to poor performance and efficiency. This can interfere with the lifespan of your fridge and also require more repairs. Defrost features are time savers as well, allowing your team to focus on more important things. They also reduce the risk for spoilage as you won’t have to remove inventory from the fridge to complete the defrost process.
5. Energy efficiency
There are tons of operational factors that eat into your bottom line, including your energy bills. Choosing the most energy efficient commercial fridge provides savings that really add up over time. So even if it costs a little more up front, you’ll find your savings over the life of the fridge are worth the investment.
6. High quality materials
A well-made commercial refrigerator uses high quality materials that improve the function and the life of the fridge. You’ll have better insulation, door seals, fans, etc. that all contribute to durability and improved function. You want materials designed for low thermal conductivity and high compression, so the fridge uses less energy and stays colder, longer.
7. Climate rating
Commercial refrigerator climate ratings are designed to ensure the climate conditions in your area don’t impact the fridge’s cooling abilities. If you require a unit that functions in all extremes (both hot and cold), then you may want to consider a SN-T-rated fridge.
8. Self-closing doors
If you sell self-serve food and drinks a self-closing door is a must. It will avoid wasted energy due to doors left slightly open, while also reducing the risk of moisture buildup and food spoilage due to improper temperatures.
9. Digital refrigerator thermostat
Although this is more of a nice to have than a must, digital thermostats make it easier to monitor and adjust temperatures and provide more accurate readouts. As a result, you can enjoy lower service costs while feeling more confident food is being stored at safe temperatures.
You want your commercial fridge to be properly installed based on the clearance guidelines of the manufacturer. Although you can try doing this yourself, having your commercial fridge installed by a professional ensures the warranty isn’t void should something go wrong. It also ensures the fridge is balanced, has enough room for air circulation and that it’s not placed in unsafe conditions that could lead to electrocution. The installer will also ensure the proper voltage is available based on the manufacturer's recommendations and that the fridge has its own electrical circuit.
11. Compressor location
Consider the compressor location in relation to where the fridge will be placed. If placed in a hot kitchen, it’s often best to choose a bottom-mounted compressor, while in cooler environments the top mount is best.
12. Environmentally friendly
Commercial fridges are not just environmentally friendly due to energy efficiency. You also want to purchase a fridge with Zero ODP (ozone depletion potential) and environmentally friendly refrigerants such as R134 Hydrocarbon.
Of course, you want a commercial fridge with a strong warranty. You’ll usually see a warranty for parts and service, and often a separate warranty for the compressor. You want at least two years for parts and service and at least five for the compressor. This adds to the value of the fridge as it saves you money should something require repairs or replacement. Just keep in mind the fridge must be installed and used properly or the warranty is void.
Unless you have an unlimited budget, price always must be considered. You have to look at value, as opposed to just looking at the actual price tag. Value includes:
- The warranty
- Energy consumption
One of the easiest ways to find a high value fridge is to consider a refurbished TRUE® commercial fridge. They are completely refurbished with the latest features but sold at a highly competitive price. You’ll get all the benefits of an eco-friendly, high energy efficient brand new model, without the high cost.
To learn more about TRUE® refurbished commercial fridges, call Ancaster Food Equipment at (855) 888-9644 or contact us here.
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