What’s inside this buyer’s guide
- What is a commercial freezer?
- Types of commercial freezers
- Some specialised commercial freezers
- How do you choose a commercial freezer?
- Features to consider
- Best commercial freezers
- Used commercial freezers — worth considering?
- Frequently asked questions
- Commercial freezer glossary
- Keep your cash. Use ours!
A robust commercial freezer is the backbone of your restaurant and the secret behind keeping raw and cooked foods fresher for longer.
From local diners to supermarkets and food chains, commercial freezers are indispensable equipment for businesses that handle perishables.
Commercial freezers come in various types and sizes.
Plus, there are a plethora of brands – pocket-friendly to premium – to choose from. So how do you know which one is the best for your needs?
This commercial freezer buying guide is a comprehensive handbook to help you choose the right commercial freezer for your business so that your offerings are always fresh and ready.
What is a commercial freezer?
A commercial freezer is a crucial appliance designed for businesses that need to store large quantities of food or other perishable items for extended periods.
Unlike your typical household freezer, commercial freezers are more robust and powerful, offering greater storage capacity and enhanced cooling technologies. They come in various configurations.
These units typically maintain a temperature between -23°C and -18°C (which can vary depending on the make and model) to ensure that products remain at optimal temperatures, preserving their quality and adhering to food safety standards.
Types of commercial freezers
The commercial kitchen landscape is diverse, and so are the freezer requirements.
Understanding the different types of commercial freezers available is crucial for making an informed decision.
Let's explore the options.
Upright freezers, commonly referred to as reach-in or vertical freezers, are a prevalent choice for many businesses.
Their vertical design efficiently utilises space, offering ample storage without occupying excessive floor area.
Most models feature adjustable racks, facilitating easy storage and access.
The roll-in variety of upright freezers allows the user to wheel in racks with food containers, making food storage and access a breeze.
For businesses aiming to display frozen products, models with glass doors, also known as vertical display freezers, serve as an excellent solution, enhancing product visibility and potential sales.
- Efficient floor space usage.
- Generous storage capacity.
- Adjustable rack systems.
- Gastronorm (GN) compatibility for seamless operations.
Chest freezers, with their horizontal orientation, provide substantial storage capacity.
While they demand more floor space, they provide effective storage for large containers.
The top-opening design ensures superior energy efficiency by retaining cold air.
Those with sliding glass tops, also known as horizontal display freezers, are perfect for showcasing items, making them suitable for front-of-house storage of frozen goods like ice creams.
Certain chest freezers come with a stainless steel lid, offering dual functionality as a worktop.
If you’ll need to access the items stored in the freezer frequently, however, a counter freezer will be more practical.
- Large storage capacity suitable for bulky containers.
- Top-opening design for energy efficiency.
- Range of sizes and top configurations available.
Counter freezers are excellent at saving space and are perfect for space-constrained kitchens.
They merge the utility of a freezer with a worktop's convenience.
These units are available in diverse sizes, with door and drawer options to cater to various needs.
Their strategic design ensures frozen items are within arm's reach, reducing unnecessary movement.
The front-opening doors or drawers are another advantage, eliminating the need to clear the worktop to access the freezer's contents.
- Dual functionality: storage and workspace.
- Diverse sizes and door or drawer configurations available.
- Gastronorm (GN) compatibility for seamless operations.
Want to make optimal use of those vacant undercounter spaces?
These freezers are ideal for the job.
Designed to fit seamlessly beneath countertops, undercounter freezers are both compact and unobtrusive.
They offer the convenience of additional freezer storage without occupying any extra floor space.
With a range of sizes, specifications, and height options available, you can always get a model according to your preferences.
Remember to measure your counter height and width before selecting a model.
Want the inside scoop on undercounter freezers? Check out our 'Best Commercial Undercounter Fridge and Freezer 2023 Buying Guide.' It's got all the tips and tricks to help you find the perfect fit for your business.
- Maximises space utilisation.
- Quick access to ingredients.
- Different door/drawer options to fit unique needs.
Commercial low freezers let you do more with your kitchen space.
Beyond their primary function of providing freezer storage, they serve as an ergonomic base for other kitchen equipment, lifting them up to an optimal working height.
These units are distinctively shorter than standard undercounter freezers, typically aligning just above knee level.
While normal stands might work just fine to give your kitchen equipment some extra height along with minimal storage, low freezers excel by combining essential frozen storage with the functionality of a stand.
- Provides great backup or additional freezer space.
- Comes with drawers for better accessibility.
- Gastronorm (GN) compatibility for seamless operations.
Imagine having an entire room dedicated just for freezing.
That's what walk-in freezers are all about.
These aren't your average freezers; they're custom-built spaces where you can literally walk in, grab what you need, or stock up in bulk.
Tailored to your needs, they can take on various configurations. Ideal for large businesses and food chains, they're champions at preserving stock, ensuring your products stay fresh for months on end.
- Generous storage space.
- Precision temperature controls for efficiency.
- Hassle-free access.
- Adaptable to your specific needs.
Some specialised commercial freezers
In the realm of commercial freezers, there are some specialised varieties tailored for distinct applications.
While standard commercial freezers are versatile, storing a range of items at sub-zero temperatures, these specialised units are designed to serve particular purposes and are not suitable for long-term storage.
Blast chillers, sometimes referred to as blast freezers or flash freezers, are engineered to rapidly reduce the temperature of food by blowing cold air over it and gradually dropping the chamber temperature.
This swift cooling process preserves food quality, taste and extends its shelf life for longer term storage.
It takes just 90 minutes for a blast chiller to take down the temperature of freshly cooked food from +70°C to 3°C or below.
However, it's essential to note that blast chillers are not designed for prolonged storage. Once the rapid cooling is achieved, items should be transferred to a standard refrigerator or freezer.
While not indispensable, a blast chiller can enhance a large kitchen's efficiency by accelerating the food cooling process.
As the food retains its taste, texture and form, they appear as fresh as cooked for the first time, when served.
Batch freezers are specifically designed for the production of frozen desserts, including ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and more.
Contrary to standard commercial freezers, their primary function isn't long-term storage but the making of these frozen delights.
They come in various configurations, ensuring flexibility in production volume and type.
How do you choose a commercial freezer?
So, you're on the hunt for the perfect commercial freezer for your business?
You need to consider your precise requirements, expectations, and limitations.
Let's break down the key things you need to think about to nail that decision.
What will you store in the freezer?
First up, what are you planning to store?
Most standard commercial freezers used in the food industry maintain between -23°C and -18°C, but this can vary based on the specific freezer type and model.
The food you're storing plays a role in your choice.
For instance, if you've got perishable items like vegetables or desserts that you’ll store for a day or two, you might want a slightly warmer setting within this range to keep things fresh.
But if you're storing items like meat or fish in bulk for longer, cooler temperatures might be the way to go.
Where's it going to live?
If you're thinking front-of-house to show off those frozen goodies, an upright display freezer is your best bet. If it's out in the open, you'll want it to look good, with the right lighting and even a sturdy lock for security.
And if you've got ice creams or frozen treats to show off, the horizontal commercial glass top freezers are perfect.
But if it's backstage in the kitchen, storage space and efficiency are your top priority.
In case your team will be in and out of it all day, an upright freezer with sturdy stainless steel doors and adjustable racks could save them from constant bending.
Tight on space? Countertop and undercounter models can be real lifesavers.
Decide where your freezer will live to choose the right type and size.
Get the measurements
Before you commit, make sure you've measured out where your freezer's going to sit. Whether it's front and centre or behind the scenes, size matters.
You'll want a freezer that fits your space and your storage needs.
So, measure the space properly and also account for any extra space the unit might need for proper ventilation.
Commercial freezers are typically plug-and-play equipment.
Consider easy access to power sockets or if you’ll need a new electric point closer to the space.
Plus, ensure there's enough room for your crew to access the unit and move around.
Features to consider
Navigating through the freezer world means balancing your storage needs with available space.
Oversizing isn’t just a space issue - it’s a ticket to unnecessary resource usage, from electricity to maintenance.
But, with a variety of freezers in the market, there’s a solution for every space challenge.
If a large freezer is non-negotiable, but space is tight, consider a strategic combination of freezer types.
An undercounter freezer, paired with a compact reach-in, might just meet your storage needs and space limitations effectively.
Reach-in freezers, even those with a modest 600mm x 600mm footprint, require adequate headroom, while chest freezers demand more floor space but are forgiving on height.
Under counter freezers tuck neatly below, saving space and providing additional storage under your worktop.
Freezer capacity depends on its size and type.
Vertical, reach-in freezers maximise storage, with some large three-door models offering up to 1,500 litres.
Typical commercial chest freezers can house up to 600 litres, model-dependent.
While undercounter, counter, and low freezer models may not boast the highest capacities, they shine in providing practical, space-efficient storage, crucial for a seamless kitchen operation.
With a range of capacities available, your selection should align closely with your specific needs.
A tropical-rated commercial freezer is specifically engineered to work efficiently in high temperatures and humidity, as typically found in tropical regions.
If your kitchen temperature frequently tiptoes above 32°C (due to higher outdoor temperatures and various heat-generating equipment in your kitchen), you should opt for a tropical-rated freezer that can work efficiently in a higher ambient temperature.
The maximum ambient temperature for a freezer is available in the manufacturer’s manual.
Many commercial solid door freezers from reputed brands can efficiently operate even at a sizzling 40°C - 43°C ambient temperature.
Doors and drawers
The world of doors and drawers in freezers is both varied and versatile.
Drawers, often found in counter, undercounter, and low freezers, offer ease in organising and accessing items but may compromise a bit on storage space compared to their door counterparts.
You'll also find models blending the best of both worlds with a combination of doors and drawers.
Diving into doors, the solid and see-through glass variants each have their merits.
Solid doors bring sturdiness, ease of cleaning, and maintenance to the table.
Plus, they are more energy efficient.
Glass doors, on the other hand, are the stars in display and visibility. Let's delve a bit deeper.
Commercial display freezers
Glass door or glass lid models, known as commercial display freezers, play a pivotal role in showcasing and promoting frozen items.
These are ideal for front-of-house applications.
Commercial display freezers can be broadly categorised into vertical display freezers and horizontal display freezers, with the latter often featuring sliding lids.
Horizontal display freezers are also available in straight glass lid and curved glass lid models.
Number and style of doors
Freezers can flaunt anywhere from 1 to 4 doors or more, influenced by their type and size.
While vertical reach-in freezers are typically available in 1 to 3-door models, 2 door commercial freezers are common in several setups.
The 4-door models are typically spotted in undercounter and counter freezers.
Commercial vertical freezers typically offer two door styles: standard and stable doors (also known as half doors).
The latter, divided into two parts, allows the top half to be opened independently of the bottom, a feature cherished by professional caterers managing large quantities of frozen goods.
Frost accumulation in a freezer isn’t just a chilly problem; it’s a performance and efficiency downer.
Enter defrosting, the heat-introducing process that melts away ice build-up, ensuring your freezer runs smoothly and efficiently over time.
Manual defrosting, especially in commercial settings, can be tricky and time-sensitive.
The frequency of defrosting is influenced by the frequency of door opening, kitchen humidity, and moisture from stored food.
Failing to defrost at the right time can lead to quality deterioration of the stored food.
Auto defrost, however, takes the reins, automating the defrosting process according to system needs.
This liberates kitchen staff from additional tasks and ensures consistent freezer efficiency.
Frost-free freezers bring an automatic fan into the mix, designed to ward off warm air and prevent moisture from settling and freezing on the walls.
By circulating cold air within, it keeps frost build-up at bay, eliminating the need for manual defrosting.
Security for a freezer might seem minor until it becomes major.
For display freezers and models gracing front-of-house spaces, a robust locking mechanism is non-negotiable.
Even solid door models tucked away behind kitchen doors may require locking features to manage resources effectively.
If your freezer doesn’t come with a built-in lock, retrofitting one can be a challenge, making it wise to choose a model featuring this from the get-go.
Temperature control and display
Navigating the chilly zone between -18°C and -23°C or the range where your chosen commercial freezer comfortably resides, might be needed depending on your food type and storage duration.
Having the flexibility to adjust the temperature is key.
Opt for a freezer that comes with a digital temperature controller and display, providing your staff with a straightforward way to adjust and ensure precise commercial freezer temperature, removing any guesswork from the equation.
Compressor and compressor position
The heart of a commercial freezer is its compressor, and ensuring it's powerful and matches with the freezer’s capacity is paramount.
Opting for a model boasting a high-quality compressor from a reputable manufacturer impacts not just efficiency but also the longevity and reliability of the unit.
Apart from the quality, also factor in where the compressor is positioned in your freezer.
These are your go-to if your space has a penchant for getting a bit dusty or experiences the occasional ingredient spill. In this design, the condenser stays clear of all that floor-level mess.
If your kitchen runs hot or is always bustling, this might be your match. Positioned closer to the floor, it basks in potentially cooler air and gives a little height boost to those lower racks, making access a breeze.
Nestled on either side of the unit, you’ll find these in various freezer types, from commercial counter to chest and undercounter models.
In most commercial vertical freezers, the compressor is positioned on the top or bottom of the unit.
While all commercial freezers will produce some noise, opting for a model that keeps its cool quietly ensures your kitchen remains a harmonious environment.
Those premium, low-noise models might come with a slightly heftier price tag, but the serenity they bring to your workspace is priceless.
Think of spending a little extra on an energy-efficient commercial freezer as planting a seed for savings on your electricity bills - and it's a good choice for our planet.
In New Zealand, every commercial freezer needs to meet the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS).
You'll spot an Energy Rating Label on freezers, which will show how energy-efficient it is.
More stars on that label?
That's a higher energy efficiency score! And to give a little nudge towards creating even more energy-saving equipment, there's now a Super Efficiency Rating that goes up to a stellar ten stars!
Ease of use and cleaning
Accessibility to items in the freezer is crucial, especially during bustling kitchen hours.
Reach-in vertical freezers, particularly those with see-through doors, provide straightforward access to items without needing to bend over or search too hard.
Roll-in racks offer a practical solution for the smooth storage and retrieval of items.
Digital controls and displays simplify the operation of the unit, making it user-friendly.
Now, let’s talk about keeping things neat and clean.
Freezers with lightweight, sturdy, and removable racks are always the best choice.
They make the cleaning process simple.
A high-quality stainless steel exterior is like having a freezer in easy-to-clean armour.
And if you’re opting for a commercial glass top freezer or a vertical display freezer, choosing one with high-quality, sturdy, and low-maintenance glass is a smart move.
Best commercial freezers
With a presence spanning over 15 years, Polar Refrigeration is a global, trusted name.
Their reputation among commercial caterers is solid and well-earned.
Polar manufactures high-quality commercial fridges and freezers for diverse kitchen needs. Plus, they do so at an excellent price point.
Currently, their products are sold in over 100 countries worldwide.
Let's explore a couple of their popular freezer models.
Polar C-Series Upright Freezer – 600ltr maximises storage with a minimalist floor space approach. It features a single, solid stainless-steel door. Six fixed shelves offer a generous storage space. The model can operate efficiently in up to 38°C ambient temperatures.
Another popular model, Polar C-Series Under Counter Freezer White 140Ltr, is best defined as a compact and convenient solution. This small commercial freezer fits snugly under counters, providing easy access to frozen items. It features two sturdy fixed shelves and is designed for light-duty use.
Explore Polar Refrigeration’s commercial freezer range here.
For over 50 years, SKOPE Refrigeration has been cooling with distinction. This New Zealand-based company now boasts a global reputation. They design and manufacture premium commercial refrigeration solutions.
Let’s explore a few of their standout models:
Skope ReFlex 2 Solid Door Upright Vertical Chiller/Freezer is a high-volume storage solution. It features ten adjustable shelves and two self-closing, lockable solid swing doors. It occupies only 1.15m² of floor space.
It's ideal for back-of-house duties in up to 40°C conditions. The interior and exterior showcase high-quality stainless steel with anti-fingerprint coating.
If you need a space-saving undercounter solution, the ReFlex 2 Solid Door Undercounter Freezer will fit right in. This two-door model is powerful and versatile.
For compact spaces with more headroom, the ReFlex Single Solid Door Upright Vertical Freezer is a popular choice. It occupies only 0.52m² floor space. Five adjustable shelves offer flexible configuration options for your frozen goods.
Skope Reflex range uses the innovative SKOPE-connect controller, which lets you choose the temperature settings via an app on your mobile. With loaded pre-sets, switching between various commercial freezer temperature ranges is simple.
Explore more Skope Refrigeration freezers here.
Federal Hospitality Equipment
Federal Hospitality Equipment (FED), a distinguished importer of commercial freezers in Australia & New Zealand, might just be the stop you need.
With a robust history exceeding 45 years, FED has been steadfastly serving the commercial kitchen equipment industry, ensuring quality and a range that genuinely stands out.
Dive a bit deeper, and you'll discover a comprehensive collection that includes display freezers, upright freezers, chest freezers, and workbench freezers, each designed to cater to varied commercial needs.
Take, for instance, the LG-1500GBMF, FED’s triple-door supermarket freezer. It's a thoughtfully designed upright display unit equipped with twin compressors, adjustable shelves, and self-closing tempered glass doors.
Then there’s the WD-200F, a heavy-duty chest freezer that seamlessly blends functionality with efficiency. It offers quick and deep freezing, ensuring low energy consumption, and features like an indicating light and a low-noise design. It also features an in-built locking system.
FED takes pride in distributing Thermaster refrigeration products in New Zealand.
Popular models like the SUF500 TROPICAL Thermaster 2×½ door SS Freezer and the SUF1000 TROPICAL Thermaster 4×½ door SS Freezer have found their place in various commercial settings across New Zealand, offering reliable freezing solutions.
Check FED commercial freezer collection here.
Established in 1999, Bromic Refrigeration has blossomed into a trusted supplier across Australia and New Zealand. Their journey, rooted in supplying reliable, quality commercial refrigeration, has been tailored to meet distinct customer needs.
A nod to sustainability, Bromic crafts energy-efficient freezers, utilising natural refrigerants. Their collection spans upright, chest, and undercounter models, plus countertop and island freezers.
The UF1300SDF-NR, a 1300-litre, double-door upright freezer, is perfect for bustling commercial kitchens. It boasts ten adjustable stainless steel rails and shelves, accommodating 2/1 Gastronorm trays.
The CTF0100G4S, Bromic’s countertop display freezer, is a compact solution blending functionality and aesthetics.
It features three fixed shelves, integrated static cooling, and ample display space, all under the spotlight of high-impact LED lighting.
Exploring display chest freezers? The CF0700FTFG-NR offers practical features with a visually appealing display. This commercial glass top freezer showcases frozen products through cool-operating tempered glass lids.
With corrosion-resistant construction and a decal-friendly design, it emerges as a prime pick for retail businesses.
Explore Bromic Refrigeration’s commercial freezers here.
1945 saw the quiet start of True. Today, they globally equip both growing and established food chains with world-class refrigeration solutions.
Renowned for quality, eco-friendly tech, and stellar customer experiences, True has carved its niche.
Let's delve into some top models.
T-23DF-HC from their upright freezer collection is a smart ‘dual freezer’. Its two stable doors and compact design make it a snug fit for tight kitchen spaces. Engineered for up to 40°C ambient temperature, it’s a movable, efficient cold storage solution.
GDM-35F-HC~TSL01 is a glass door display freezer that doesn’t just chill but dazzles with two full-swing glass doors and LED lighting.
Its black powder-coated stainless-steel front and eight shelves don’t just store; they showcase, making your retail merchandising unmissable.
On the hunt for something compact and undercounter? Say hello to the small commercial freezer TUC-27F-D-2-HC.
This petite unit is a space-saver with double drawers and castors. This stainless steel-top unit is ideal for making the most of those unused counter spaces or elevating your front-of-house setup.
Find more True Refrigeration commercial freezers here.
Used commercial freezers - worth considering?
Spending thousands of dollars on a new commercial freezer can put a strain on your budget and cash flow.
If you’d prefer not to invest a lot of money in new commercial kitchen equipment, a cheaper, used commercial freezer might be the solution you’re looking for.
SilverChef’s range of ‘Certified Used’ commercial equipment is mostly ex-rental equipment sourced from businesses we know and trust.
The equipment is typically less than two-and-a-half years old, has been fully refurbished by us, and is backed by a three-month parts-and-labour warranty.
Considering the effective, or useful, life of a commercial freezer is much longer, you can be sure our Certified Used products have plenty of life left in it.
You can either buy or finance the ‘Certified Used’ (and clearance) equipment on our website. (We’re one of the few financiers, if not the only one, in New Zealand that funds second-hand commercial kitchen equipment).
Read more about ‘Certified Used’ equipment.
Frequently asked questions
Where can I find commercial freezers for sale?
Looking for commercial freezers for sale? Your options are pleasantly varied!
From brand-new, state-of-the-art units from specialised retailers to savvy second-hand finds on SilverChef’s platform, there’s a freezer out there that’s just perfect for you and your budget.
Our certified used commercial freezers are available on easy weekly rent, meaning you need not pay the price upfront. Rent the product, use it, and buy only if you want to. Our Rent-Try-Buy solution ensures maximum flexibility.
Also, don’t miss to check out the physical kitchen equipment supplier stores in your area. They often run attractive offers. Plus, the brand sites are surely a dependable point of purchase. Whether you’re decking out a cosy café, a bustling restaurant, or a supermarket, these spots offer a spectrum of choices to suit every culinary need.
What is the right commercial freezer temperature?
The ideal range typically falls between -18°C and -23°C, but it varies depending on the freezer type and model. Why? Well, this temperature ensures your food stays safely stored, and it's a formidable defence against the growth of unwanted bacteria. Plus, it keeps the essential vitamins intact over time.
To pinpoint the perfect temperature for your freezer, consider a few factors. Take a look at what you're storing, how often you open the freezer door, and the temperature in the surrounding environment. It's all about finding that balance.
For precise guidance, consult your freezer's instruction manual. It’s your trusty companion in navigating the right commercial freezer temperature for different types of perishable items under varying conditions.
How much does a commercial freezer with glass doors cost?
For commercial freezers with glass doors, the final bill can swing quite a bit based on factors like the make, model, and what features are packed in.
For instance, a standard upright 2-door commercial freezer with glass doors might start at around $4000. But if you're thinking about a small commercial freezer, a compact version could land in your budget zone at around $2000.
Now, if you're eyeing those commercial glass top freezers – the chest freezers that double as display units – they can range from about $1600 to $3000 or more.
The good news? There's a plethora of choices out there, thanks to numerous brands and models. So, finding a commercial freezer with glass doors that suits your needs and wallet is not difficult when you know where to look.
Commercial freezer glossary
A vital component of a refrigeration system that pumps refrigerant and maintains adequate pressure to cause refrigerant to flow in sufficient quantities to meet the cooling requirements of the system.
This coil dissipates heat from the refrigerant, changing it from vapour to liquid.
A component where the refrigerant evaporates and absorbs heat from the glycol as it passes through.
Gastronorm (GN) compatible
Gastronorm is a standardised system for sizing kitchen containers and trays, ensuring compatibility and efficiency across various kitchen appliances and utensils.
A gasket in commercial freezers ensures an airtight seal, preventing cold air from escaping and warm air from entering, crucial for maintaining temperature stability and energy efficiency.
The refrigerant is a chemical substance that draws heat from inside the freezer, transports and then expels it outside.
Low E glass
Low E Glass is energy-efficient glass that minimises the passage of ultraviolet and infrared light through the glass without reducing light transmission, often used in commercial freezers to reduce energy consumption.
A temperature control device consisting of sensors and relays that monitor and control the functions of a refrigeration system.
Keep your cash. Use ours!
We hope this guide has helped you better understand what you need to look for in a commercial freezer and how to choose the right model for your needs.
If you want to know more, you can always reach out to the SilverChef team.
Hospitality equipment can be expensive, and paying for it outright can put pressure on your business’s cash flow.
Our finance solutions allow you to get the equipment you want now and to pay for it in small, regular amounts out of the revenue it generates for you.
Rent–Try–Buy® not only helps you maintain your cash flow, it gives you unrivalled flexibility to adapt your equipment to the changing needs of your business.
You can upgrade or buy the equipment at any time or, after 12 months, return or continue renting it.
If you decide to buy the equipment, we’ll give you back 50% of the rent you paid in the first year and 25% of any rental payments thereafter — to put toward the purchase price.
Read more about Rent–Try–Buy.