BHS Foodservice Solutions Blog

Is There a Difference Between Residential & Commercial Refrigerators?

Posted by BHS Foodservice Solutions on 1/14/20 9:47 AM
BHS Foodservice Solutions

A huge classic kitchen in a modern residence

Whether you need more space to store perishable food items, are looking to replace an older refrigerator, or you’re moving into a new home or business, you might be on the lookout for new refrigeration appliances. As you shop around, you’ll eventually be confronted with the option to either save a bit on cost and go with a domestic-use refrigerator or go all in with a commercial-grade appliance. The choice might have you wondering: Is there really a difference between residential and commercial refrigerators?

When comparing the similarities and differences between residential and industrial refrigeration, most variances relate to safety, durability, and efficiency. For example, someone purchasing a refrigerator for their home kitchen might not give too much thought about whether or not the appliance is built to withstand rigorous everyday use or if it’s “to code,” whereas restaurants require supplies and appliances that are built to be opened and shut and used repeatedly; have easy-to-clean surfaces meant to prevent foodborne illnesses; and feature streamlined designs that improve cooling speeds and air circulation.

So, what are these differences and how do you know which is the right appliance for your needs? This article outlines some of the key similarities and differences so you can make an informed decision.

Commercial vs. domestic refrigerators and safety

Restaurants require everything—from their cooking temperatures and cleanliness to how food is stored and served—to comply with local and federal health regulations, and many industrial kitchen supplies are made with this in mind. For example, smooth, stainless steel exteriors are easier to wipe down and keep sanitized.

In addition to being easier to clean, commercial refrigerators are designed to cool more quickly. Most commercial-grade and domestic refrigeration equipment, whether it’s a reach- or walk-in freezer, chilled prep table, open-air cooler, or deli case, will operate in a similar way: they use the basic laws of thermodynamics to remove heat from the unit in order to store food at a lower temperature. Commercial units, however, will be able to regulate temperatures and much faster because of their more robust compressors and fans that can help circulate cooler air.

Commercial vs. domestic refrigerators and durability

Since commercial kitchen refrigerators are built to be used day in and day out, they are made with features and durability you wouldn’t find (or necessarily need) in a residential kitchen. For example, many of the supplies you’ll find in a commercial kitchen will be made of long-lasting materials that can withstand temperature fluctuation and frequent use, like stainless steel. Some might even be resistant to bacteria. They also typically operate at higher power settings, requiring higher heat or larger water and gas volumes. This means they require sturdier voltage outlets, water lines, and drainage capabilities than what most residential kitchens would have access to, so even if you did want to purchase a commercial refrigerator for your kitchen, you might not be able to connect it properly. On the other hand, purchasing a refrigerator built for the home and trying to use it in a commercial setting might cause the appliance to work much harder than it’s designed and built for, which typically means it won’t last as long.

Commercial vs. domestic refrigerators and efficiency

If there’s one thing commercial refrigerators are designed for, it’s fostering an efficient cooking and food-prepping environment. In general, commercial refrigerators are, as mentioned prior, easy to clean and access and provide everything your kitchen staff needs at hand. They typically have larger doors and easier access with different configurations such as walk-in refrigerators and bigger freezer units that can hold sizeable food inventories and ensure stored products are easily organized and accessible. They are also better suited for the high temperature you might find in a commercial kitchen with the oven and ranges going all day, which would give you better efficiency than a domestic-use refrigerator in that environment.

How BHS Foodservice Solutions can help

BHS Foodservice Solutions has over 80 years’ experience helping restaurants like yours find the best commercial-grade kitchen appliances your staff needs to complete a better, more efficient dining service. We have a wide range of superior kitchen supplies that are specially crafted by sought-out brands like Victorinox, Dexter, and Dick, in stock and ready to ship. If you have any questions, please contact us, and one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives can help direct you to which kitchen supplies your staff might need.

Topics: Food Safety, Restaurant Equipment, Commercial Refrigeration, Food-Safe Storage, Commercial Ice Machines, Food Preparation