Commercial vs Domestic Fridge picture comparison

What is the difference between a commercial refrigerator and a domestic refrigerator?

posted in: Aged Care | 2

Fridges are a vital piece of commercial kitchen equipment. They work for 24 hours a day, seven days a week storing valuable inventory required optimum and accurate cold environmental conditions. How can the professional chef be confident that they are getting the right fridge? With pressures on finances, individuals may default to selecting domestic fridges to achieve cost savings, however, you should consider the following before making your decision.


There are many additional options that are available to be purchased with the commercial fridge such as Door Jar Alarms, Automatic Diallers, Data logging, Battery Backup, Port entries, Stainless Interior/Exterior, glass doors and much more. With a domestic fridge, you get what you buy as they are designed and built in high volume without the ability to add optional specific features as mentioned above.

Temperature Monitoring

Temperature monitoring on domestic units are generally not useful because it varies a lot from brand to brand, and it is quite difficult and costly to retrofit non-frost-free versions with alarm systems. Domestic models should therefore not be used for high-value food inventory. Commercial kitchen grade refrigerators are the correct substitutes. Commercial grade fridges can not only be alarmed but are also fitted with digital displays allowing you to visually sight temperature fluctuations and limit access to regain a safe running temperature.


It is important to consider the total life cost of a refrigerator as it can be uneconomical to purchase a domestic unit even though the upfront cost may be lower. The interior covering of domestic refrigerators are not built to endure the typical humidity and exposures found within commercial kitchens and can substantially reduce their lifespan if used in a commercial application. Domestic units are not designed to be opened and closed to the extent that they are within a commercial kitchen; this further contributes to poor temperature maintainability, as well as the longevity of the unit.


A commercial refrigerator normally comes with a fixed or extended warranty. From the experience at Interquip Global, 96% of issues can be sorted over the phone. With the remaining 4% that can’t be fixed over the phone, we have service agents in each state ready to get to action if need be.  As soon as a domestic is used for non-domestic purposes, it normally voids the normal warranty of that unit. Additionally, repairs are difficult to coordinate and usually costly as most technicians will not repair units outside of normal household circumstances.


A commercial refrigerator is sometimes lockable so that the contents can be protected, especially in larger more open commercial kitchens. A domestic fridge doesn’t come with locks as they are designed for the domestic market where a lock can be a safety breach for children.


In summary, the selection of suitable cold storage in the commercial kitchen can unintentionally impact the quality of foodstuffs continuity and lead to financial losses. It is essential to carefully consider refrigeration choices according to the level of risk you can accept according to your research needs. Fridges manufactured especially for the commercial kitchen markets are designed with many important features that are not found in general domestic fridges. When looking at the long-term ROI, a commercial refrigerator is normally by far a more valuable and cost-effective choice.

2 Responses

  1. Sub Zero Specialized Services

    Even though most readers might not realize, a commercial and domestic refrigerator are different from each other, thus, cannot be used as substitutes. Kudos to the author, who has exerted utmost effort, and chalked down dissimilarities in terms of customization, temperature monitoring, warranty, repairs, longevity, security, etc. with acute caution.

    • Doug Grace

      Thank you Sub Zero. As a refrigeration service tech I am sure you would be very qualified to speak on this subject, witnessing many situations where the wrong equipment is used in commercial applications and being called on to repair. It is also important to note that while a commercial fridge could be used in a domestic application it is not recommended as the cost would not normally be justified and also may not suit the decor of the home.

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