There are a huge number of different types of commercial freezer on the market. All commercial freezers are intended to do a very specific job so choosing between them can be daunting. Commercial freezers have so many options including: light or heavy duty, solid or glass doors, upright, chest or low level, cabinets or walk in rooms and freezer only or a chill and freeze version.
To cut through the confusion of buying a commercial freezer you need to be clear about your requirements and how and where your freezer is actually going to be used.
There are the 9 key questions you need to ask yourself when buying a commercial freezer.
What temperature range is needed for the contents?
The first thing to consider is what type of goods you will be freezing as this will determine the temperature range you need from your commercial freezer. Light duty chest freezers and under counter freezers tend to provide a colder operational temperature range of -18 to -24C and -15 to -25C respectively. These are good for storing items over a longer period of time.
Upright freezers tend to be slightly warmer and more suited to short term use. A light duty upright freezer will operate between -18 and -20C as will an Arctic Counter freezer, which gives you worktop space with a freezer underneath which is ideal when space is tight.
Different types of foods need different temperatures when being frozen. All frozen foods should have a core temperature of at least -18C to retain freshness and kill any bacteria but some meats and fish are better kept at lower temperatures.
How much produce do you need to freeze?
How much you need to freeze will also help you determine what size of commercial freezer to purchase. You need to have sufficient space for your produce, as this is vitally important to the efficient running of your commercial freezer. The space between the produce is also very important, as this will allow air to circulate within the freezer and help maintain a consistent temperature.
Over filling the freezer can compromise temperature evenness and it also makes it difficult for staff to access produce quickly. Storage baskets or shelves will help here to not only keep products separate but to maintain air flow and help staff see instantly what the freezer contains.
What is the ambient temperature?
The ambient temperature is the average air temperature in the room the freezer will be kept in. Commercial freezers are designed to operate within specific ambient temperatures so if this temperature is significantly higher or lower than the freezer is designed for, it will experience difficulty in maintaining it’s own internal temperature. An incorrect ambient temperature may cause your freezer to use more power than necessary, which will affect its energy efficiency.
The type of door on your commercial freezer is a factor when considering ambient temperature and energy efficiency. There is a choice between solid or glass doors. Glass door freezers cope with ambient temperatures of up to 32C, whereas solid door freezers can deal with temperatures of up to 43C.
Upright freezers can be supplied with either solid or glass doors.
How often will the freezer be opened?
If you are looking for long term storage from your commercial freezer and you don’t need to open and close the doors very often then a chest freezer with solid doors, large capacity and lower standard temperatures would be ideal.
Light duty upright freezers with a glass door for ease of display are better for a retail environment where you would need to frequently open the unit.
Under counter freezers are good for small cafés and retail units where you need to open the freezer on a regular basis but do not have a lot of floor space.
How much space do you have?
The amount of space you have is another major factor when choosing a commercial freezer. Floor footprint and height are both key elements depending upon the type of business you are running and the space you have available.
Chest freezers are more suited to medium to big businesses where a larger amount of stock needs to be kept frozen. Chest freezers can come in a range of widths from 1050mm to 1800mm. They usually have a standard depth of 730mm.
Upright models take up less floor space than chest freezers so are suited to cafes, smaller shops and restaurants.
For under counter freezers height rather than footprint is a bigger consideration if the freezer is to fit under something like a bench or worktop.
Does the freezer need to be mobile?
For outside catering events such as weddings, music festivals, summer fêtes and parties you may require your commercial freezer to be mobile. Arctic Counters are ideal for this situation.
An Arctic Counter commercial freezer gives you a useful worktop area over the actual freezer unit, which contains internal shelves for easy storage of goods. They often come in a choice of widths and are mounted on castors so can be taken anywhere they are needed either outside or within the work environment.
Do contents need to be frozen quickly?
If your business is about cooking and preparing food at room temperature and then freezing it for storage then you may want to consider a blast freezer.
Blast freezers will freeze cooked food very quickly and cut down on the length of time it stays at mid-range temperatures where there is the greatest risk of bacteria being formed. Reducing this risk of bacteria being produced is not only wise for food safety but the shelf life of the food is lengthened.
To comply with HACCP regulations you need a blast freezer that has a microprocessor control unit to monitor usage and provide a record of storage.
Blast freezers are rated by freezing capacity and the volume of goods the freezer can hold. They can range from just holding a few kilograms of food to large models that will take in excess of 50 kilograms of frozen product.
Do contents need to be visible?
In a retail setting, such as a café, shop or restaurant, the stock in your freezer may need to be visible to staff and customers alike.
Here you need to choose an upright freezer with glass doors so staff can easily locate products or customers can see the goods on offer, for example ice creams.
Freezers with glass doors do however tend to be less energy efficient than those with solid doors so only choose a glass door model if your type of business absolutely demands it.
Do you need a chiller too?
As well as freezing food you may need to thaw it too, especially if it is produce that cannot be eaten or cooked from frozen.
If this is the case you may want to think about purchasing a blast chiller along with your commercial freezer. Blast chillers bring cooked food down to a lower temperature ready for freezing and bring frozen food up to a thawed state ready for cooking.
An additional benefit of a blast chiller is that when not being used for chilling they can be used for extra storage. Do make sure you find a model that meets with European regulations on food hygiene.
Once you have considered all your requirements it then makes sense to look for other features such as price and reliability. You would be wise to choose a manufacturer who can supply the full range of types of commercial freezer and can discuss your requirements with you.
Commercial Freezers for Sale - Porkka design and manufacture a range of commercial refrigeration products including commercial freezers and refrigerators, arctic counters, blast chillers, modular cold rooms, medical and laboratory fridges and more