Commercial vs. Residential Freezers

Industrial vs. Residential Freezers — What’s the Difference?

Posted by | 15-06-2020

Not all freezers are made the same — while many meat lovers and at-home chefs stock up on their favourite ingredients at home in freezers installed in their pantry or garage. These are often not the same as the restaurant foodservice operation variety.

Unlike residential refrigerators and freezers, freezers designed for businesses are typically larger, more versatile, and robust. These can handle large quantities of frozen goods at a time, making them increasingly popular in homes as well, in place of residential refrigerators. In contrast, residential freezers can only hold enough food for the average family.

That’s why the choice for larger families, home-based business owners, and restaurateurs is obvious: upgrade to an industrial freezer to stock up on more food and supplies and keep them consistently cool to preserve fresh taste and quality.

Choosing between an industrial and residential freezer? Learn about their differences and how to choose the best one for your needs, budget, and storage requirements below:

Industrial Freezers

Industrial freezers are the go-to choice for businesses in various industries when it comes to freezing and preserving goods on a larger scale. These robust and specialized appliances are distinct from their residential counterparts and play a vital role in maintaining the quality and safety of perishable items. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the world of business freezers, exploring their definition, various types, key features, and how they are manufactured.

Industrial freezers are specialized freezing units designed primarily for use in commercial settings. Unlike residential freezers, typically found in homes, industrial freezers are engineered to meet the rigorous demands of businesses and industries that require efficient and high-capacity freezing solutions.

Types of Industrial Freezers

Industrial freezers come in several types, each tailored to specific business needs. Let's explore these types in detail:

1. Commercial Chest Freezer

  • Design: Chest freezers have a horizontal layout, resembling a large box or chest, with a top-opening lid.
  • Use Cases: Ideal for businesses that need bulk storage, such as grocery stores, ice cream parlors, and restaurants.
  • Features: Deep storage capacity, excellent temperature retention, and energy-efficient design.

2. Commercial Upright Freezer

  • Design: Upright freezers feature a vertical orientation, similar to a standard refrigerator, with front-opening doors.
  • Use Cases: Commonly used in restaurants, laboratories, and medical facilities where easy access and organization are essential.
  • Features: Compact footprint, precise temperature control, and convenient shelving.

3. Commercial Deep Freezer

  • Design: Deep freezers are specialized units designed to reach extremely low temperatures, making them suitable for scientific research and healthcare applications.
  • Use Cases: Found in research laboratories, healthcare institutions, and industries that require ultra-low-temperature storage.
  • Features: Exceptional temperature control, robust insulation, and storage options for sensitive materials.

4. Commercial Reach-In Freezer

  • Design: These freezers are similar to upright units but are typically more compact and used for quick access.
  • Use Cases: Businesses where employees need frequent access to frozen items, like convenience stores and cafes.
  • Features: Accessibility, durable construction, and adjustable shelving for various products.

Features of Industrial Freezers

Industrial freezers are known for their distinctive features, which set them apart from residential models:

  • Robust Construction: Commercial freezers are built to withstand heavy daily use and are constructed with high-quality materials to ensure longevity. Commercial freezers pack much more powerful cooling and storage abilities. Their exteriors are typically stainless steel or scratch-resistant and polished glass. They are designed to survive increased wear-and-tear damage and resist corrosion while matching a store or kitchen’s sleek, modern look.
  • Precise Temperature Control: Accurate temperature control is crucial for preserving the quality of goods, and commercial freezers offer advanced temperature management systems. Unlike the single, less-than-accurate thermostats of residential freezers, multiple temperature sensors and alarms are installed inside commercial freezers. Backed by much more powerful compressors, these temperature controls trigger an auto-defrost function to maintain an optimal indoor temperature 24/7 and alert staff when doors are left open to prevent food spoilage.
  • Enhanced Insulation: These units are heavily insulated to maintain low temperatures efficiently, even in high-traffic areas.
  • Large Storage Capacity: Designed to accommodate a substantial volume of products, making them suitable for businesses with high storage needs. Commercial freezers are built with larger storage capacities to handle the requirements of commercial kitchens; these interior shelves are also crafted from commercial-grade materials that are easy to clean and resist bacteria. This allows kitchen staff to keep up with the fast pace of inventory movement while reinforcing food safety. With increased storage and improved cooling ability, it’s no wonder that commercial freezers are far more efficient, safe, and durable for restaurants, stores, cafes, food service operations — and even homes.
  • Durable Shelving and Racks: Commercial freezers are equipped with sturdy shelving and racks capable of supporting heavy loads.

How Industrial Freezers Are Made

Understanding how these specialized appliances are manufactured can provide insights into their quality and performance. Commercial freezers undergo a meticulous production process:

  • Frame and Cabinet Construction: Manufacturers use heavy-gauge steel or aluminum frames and cabinets for durability.
  • Insulation: High-density foam insulation is injected into the walls to minimize heat transfer and improve energy efficiency.
  • Compressors: Powerful compressors are installed to ensure quick temperature recovery after door opening.
  • Temperature Control Systems: Commercial freezers feature advanced control systems, often with digital displays, to maintain precise temperatures.
  • Interior Components: Interior components, including shelves and racks, are designed to withstand heavy use and can be adjusted to accommodate various product sizes.

Residential Freezers

In contrast to their larger and more robust commercial counterparts, residential freezers cater to the needs of individual consumers and households. These compact appliances are designed to provide efficient freezing solutions while fitting seamlessly into home environments. 

Residential freezers are freezing units designed exclusively for home use. These appliances are typically found in kitchens, garages, or utility rooms, serving the primary purpose of preserving frozen foods for individual households.

Types of Residential Freezers

Residential freezers come in several types and configurations, each designed to cater to specific household needs. Let's take a closer look at these types:

1. Upright Freezers

  • Design: Upright freezers resemble the layout of a standard refrigerator, with a vertical orientation and front-opening door.
  • Use Cases: Ideal for households with limited floor space or prefer an organized freezer section.
  • Features: Adjustable shelves, temperature control, and door storage.

2. Chest Freezers

  • Design: Chest freezers feature a horizontal layout with a top-opening lid resembling a large chest or box.
  • Use Cases: Commonly used in homes that require bulk storage capacity or as a secondary freezer.
  • Features: Deep storage space, energy-efficient design, and excellent temperature retention.

3. Refrigerator-Freezer Combos

  • Design: These units integrate both a refrigerator and freezer compartment, typically found in standard kitchen refrigerators.
  • Use Cases: Suitable for households seeking a combined solution for fresh and frozen food storage.
  • Features: Precise temperature control for both compartments, adjustable shelves, and door storage.

4. Undercounter Freezers

  • Design: Undercounter freezers are designed to fit beneath kitchen counters, offering a space-saving solution.
  • Use Cases: Perfect for small kitchens or as an additional freezer for frequently used items.
  • Features: Compact size, easy integration into kitchen design, and adjustable shelving.

Features of Residential Freezers

Residential freezers are designed to meet the specific needs of homeowners, offering a range of features and benefits:

  • Compact Size: Residential freezers are smaller than commercial units, making them suitable for home use.
  • Simple Temperature Control: These freezers typically have user-friendly temperature control settings.
  • Stylish Designs: Manufacturers prioritize aesthetics to ensure these appliances blend seamlessly with kitchen decor.
  • Energy Efficiency: Residential freezers are designed to be energy-efficient, helping homeowners save on utility bills.

How Residential Freezers Are Made

Understanding the manufacturing process of residential freezers sheds light on the quality and functionality of these essential home appliances:

  • Cabinet Construction: Manufacturers use materials like stainless steel or high-quality plastic for the cabinet's construction.
  • Insulation: Residential freezers are insulated with foam to ensure efficient temperature retention.
  • Compressors: Compact yet powerful compressors are employed to maintain consistent temperatures.
  • Temperature Control Systems: These freezers have intuitive temperature control systems, often featuring easy-to-read displays.
  • Interior Layout: The interior design prioritizes organization, with adjustable shelves and storage options suitable for home use.

Residential vs. Industrial Freezers — The Real Winner

Freezers play a crucial role in preserving food and other perishables. Whether you're a restaurant owner, a homeowner, or anyone, choosing the right freezer is essential. We'll conduct a detailed comparison between commercial and residential freezers, analyzing various aspects to help you make an informed decision.

A. Size and Capacity

Commercial Freezers:

  • Typically larger with expansive storage capacity.
  • Ideal for businesses with high-volume storage needs.
  • Available in various sizes, including chest and upright models.

Residential Freezers:

  • Smaller and more compact, suitable for household use.
  • Designed to fit into kitchens or garages without consuming excessive space.
  • Limited storage capacity compared to commercial counterparts.

B. Temperature Control

Commercial Freezers:

  • Offer precise temperature control settings.
  • Capable of maintaining ultra-low temperatures for extended periods.
  • Essential for preserving a wide range of perishable goods.

Residential Freezers:

  • Simpler temperature control systems, often with fewer options.
  • Designed for standard home freezing needs.
  • May not reach the extremely low temperatures required for specialized commercial applications.

C. Durability

Commercial Freezers:

  • Built to withstand heavy daily use in commercial settings.
  • Constructed with high-quality materials for enhanced durability.
  • Designed for longevity and robust performance.

Residential Freezers:

  • While durable, they may withstand a different daily wear and tear level than commercial models.
  • Constructed with materials suitable for household use.
  • Durability sufficient for standard home applications.

D. Energy Efficiency

Commercial Freezers:

  • Efficient but consume more energy due to their size and cooling power.
  • Typically designed for high-traffic areas where energy efficiency is secondary.

Residential Freezers:

  • Designed with energy efficiency in mind to reduce household energy costs.
  • Smaller sizes and insulation contribute to better energy conservation.

E. Cost

Commercial Freezers:

  • Generally more expensive upfront due to their size and features.
  • Represent a significant investment for businesses.

Residential Freezers:

  • More budget-friendly, with a range of options to fit various price points.
  • Designed to be affordable for individual homeowners.

F. Noise Level

Commercial Freezers:

  • May produce more noise due to larger compressors and fans.
  • Noise level may not be a significant concern in commercial environments.

Residential Freezers:

  • Engineered for quiet operation to avoid disturbance in home settings.
  • Noise level is a key consideration for residential use.

G. Design and Aesthetics

Commercial Freezers:

  • Utilitarian design focused on function rather than aesthetics.
  • Typically feature a plain exterior with no decorative elements.
  • Designed to be placed in back-of-house areas in businesses.

Residential Freezers:

  • Designed with aesthetics in mind, often matching kitchen decor.
  • Exterior finishes and styles vary to complement home environments.
  • Meant to be displayed in kitchen or garage spaces.

Industrial Freezers for Home Use: The Trend of Using Industrial Freezers in Residential Settings

The trend of commercial freezers in residential settings has increased, driven by the desire for increased storage capacity and durability. Over recent years, homeowners have increasingly adopted commercial freezers in their residential spaces, mainly for two reasons:

Increased Storage Capacity

Commercial freezers offer significantly larger storage capacity than standard residential models. This trend caters to households with extensive frozen food storage needs or those who prefer to buy groceries in bulk.

Durability and Longevity

Commercial freezers are built to withstand heavy daily use, appealing to homeowners seeking a long-lasting appliance that can handle frequent opening and closing.

Repair and Maintenance

What happens when the freezer breaks down? More than the average family-size fridge or residential freezer, commercial freezers require regular maintenance servicing to keep them in good condition and optimal function. Commercial technicians perform regular maintenance check-ups and parts replacements to ensure reliable cooling, a consistently fresh taste, and the highest food safety standards.

Invest In a Professional Appearance

Today’s commercial kitchens should be sleek and clean — conducive to collecting items in the pantry and accessing key appliances. Commercial freezers support this by featuring a polished and corrosion-resistant exterior. Their stainless steel bodies of industrial freezers are built to last and ensure reliable long-term cooling and storage. Choose from various sizes, colors, and other exterior finishing details that support your cooking needs and budget.

Interested in our industrial freezers? Take a look at our collection!


If you run a business in the food and beverage industry, then investing in a high-quality restaurant freezer is a must. Click here to learn more about Ancaster Food Equipment’s refurbished True® commercial display freezers, or contact us by phone at 1-(855) 888-9644.

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