Tips for Buying a Used Commercial Refrigerator


The allure of buying a used commercial refrigerator is enticing for anyone trying to save costs on equipment purchases. However, you need to be careful and thoroughly inspect any commercial refrigeration unit you intend to buy, because parts and repairs on a worn out unit can end up costing you more money in the long run.

Purchasing Tips

Routine Maintenance
Routine cleaning and maintenance are the best ways to ensure years of worry-free service from your commercial refrigerator, regardless of whether you go with a new or used model.

>> Learn More about Commercial Refrigerator Maintenance

Buying a used commercial refrigerator can be a tricky proposition, because there’s no real guarantee as to how long it will hold up once you own it. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure you purchase the best possible pre-owned commercial refrigeration unit.

  • Thoroughly inspect the unit. When looking for a used commercial refrigerator, it is best to physically inspect the unit yourself, so buying online isn’t the best option. You’ll want to check everything inside and out for excessive wear and tear. Pay special attention to the door gasket and evaporator fins. A cracked or dried out gasket will need to be replaced. If the evaporator fins are bent, the machine will suffer decreased performance.
  • Look for signs of mold or corrosion. Check the frame and doors or anything else that is metal for signs of corrosion that indicates poor maintenance. If you are physically inspecting the unit, smell the inside. If it smells musty or moldy, do not buy, because that musty smell can affect the flavor of your food.
  • Call the manufacturer with any questions. If you have any questions about the performance of the unit, it is best to call the manufacturer because they can give you an idea of what might be going wrong and how much repairs can potentially cost.

Is it Safe to Buy a Used Commercial Refrigerator?

No. Commercial refrigerators are among the worst product categories to buy used simply because the compressors on used models are prone to burn out, and since used units do not come with a warranty, you’re stuck with the bill. Replacing the compressor on a refrigeration unit can cost upwards of $1,000.

Benefits of Buying a New Commercial Refrigerator

Generally speaking, the more moving parts something has, the less reliable it is if bought used. And commercial refrigeration equipment has a lot of moving parts. That’s why it’s more beneficial to buy new commercial refrigeration equipment. Below are a couple of additional advantages new refrigerators have over used:

  • Green incentives. Beyond simple energy savings, some municipalities will even offer rebates for purchasing ENERGY STAR® Qualified commercial refrigeration equipment. Depending on where you are located, you could save anywhere from $50 to $400 just for buying an energy-efficient commercial refrigerator.[Source]
  • Compressor warranty. All new commercial refrigeration equipment comes with a compressor warranty that lasts several years, so if something does go wrong with the compressor, you are not forking over a grand to have it fixed.
  • Compressor location. This may seem like a minor benefit, but the location of the compressor can have a huge impact on energy efficiency and employee health. With used equipment, you are at the mercy of what the dealer has available, but with new commercial refrigeration equipment you can select models that have a compressor location to suit your needs.

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for the great purchasing tips. Specifically, you talk about how you should thoroughly inspect the unit, and I completely agree. Physically look at the components of the fridge will help you to ensure that it’s in working condition and it will serve the purposed for which you’re buying it for. Overall, though, I would think that thoroughly inspecting the unit will keep you safe and give you the peace of mind that you’re making the right purchase. I’ll definitely make sure I do this!

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