4 Steps to Selecting the Best Commercial Refrigerator for Your Operation


Find the style that works for youdiagram of commercial refrigerator doors

When selecting the best commercial refrigerator or freezer for your application, consider the food and beverage items you need to store. Determine the location where you will install the unit (whether in your kitchen or in the front of house), and how you will need to access the food items each day. This will help you determine the size, capacity and door style of the refrigerator, which can narrow down the types.

Learn about types of commercial refrigerators »

Find the size that meets your needs

There is no real size standard when it comes to commercial refrigeration. The right size commercial refrigerator for your food service operation will be based entirely on the space available and storage capacity needed. It will help to know about how much product you need on a daily or weekly basis. Bring these base numbers to an Account Manager at FoodServiceWarehouse.com, and he or she can help you determine the number of sections or cubic feet that would best accommodate your operational needs.

Common fridge sizes: How many sections are right for you?

Refrigerator sizes are typically associated with the number of doors. A unit will have the same number of doors as it has sections. You may know how many sections you want, or you may know how wide a unit you can install. When it comes to reach-in refrigerators and freezers, two-door (or two-section) units are a common choice.

SizeCubic FeetWidth (Inches)
1-Section20 – 30 cu. ft.20″ – 30″
2-Section30 – 50 cu. ft.40″ – 60″
3-Section50 – 70 cu. ft.70″+

Home-style cooking doesn’t mean you can use a home fridge

Restaurant operators may sometimes be tempted to purchase a residential refrigerator or freezer for the restaurant instead of a commercial unit. These facsimiles are less expensive, and small business owners might think they can get by with something smaller and less powerful. However, there are several functional, legal and safety-related reasons why commercial refrigeration is the best choice for commercial kitchens.

Despite residential refrigerators being inexpensive and easy to come by, there are legal and safety considerations that require all commercial kitchens to invest in commercial refrigeration.

Residential Fridges

  • Provides less storage space than commercial models of equal exterior dimensions.
  • Weak compressors and minimal insulation results in heat loss and temperature fluctuations.
  • Door storage poses a food safety risk because products on the door are not kept cold enough.
  • May not comply with health code inspections due to non-NSF rated materials.

Commercial Refrigerators

  • Coved interior corners allow for easy cleaning.
  • Design meets or exceeds health code requirements.
  • Powerful refrigeration system keeps temperature within two degrees of the thermostat setting.
  • Made of commercial-grade materials which resist bacteria and hold up to heavy use in a busy commercial kitchen.

Know your options

Additional options and accessories can make your commercial refrigerator even more efficient, depending on the needs of your operation. Pan slides may be far more efficient than actual shelves, for instance. Talk to your FoodServiceWarehouse.com Account Manager about your operational style to be sure you have what you need. Be sure you consider the options available to you before you make your final purchase. This way, you know you are truly getting the best machine for your money.

Learn more about refrigerator options & accessories available to you


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  1. I really want to get a commercial refrigerator like these ones. They look really cool to me, plus they are more functional. The larger option would fit perfectly with my house and needs.

    • Nicole Castellano
      Nicole Castellano on

      Hello Kirk- Commercial refrigerators are best used in commercial kitchens. If installed in your home it would be very noisy, use up a lot of electricity and most importantly void your warranty (unless you had a business license associated with your residential address). Thank you for reaching out and let us know if you have anymore questions.

  2. My wife and I are looking to get a new fridge for our home. We have never had to do this before, so we aren’t sure what to expect. This helped a ton though and I can’t wait to use what I learned to help us find a good fridge.

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