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Differences Between Commercial & Residential Refrigerator

Jul. 16, 2019

Cooling and freezing are common terms in refrigeration and air-conditioning. The term refrigeration denotes cooling and freezing, and often used in the context of the process of subjecting food or drink to cold in order to chill or preserve it. The basic objective of refrigeration is to keep perishable foods stored for a certain period of time by preventing its possible spoiling in the normal room temperature. The probability of spoiling is apparently high at warmer temperatures compared to cooler temperatures. This is what used in the concept of refrigeration, developed initially in developed countries over a couple of centuries ago, which is an essential technique of keeping foods safe from spoiling, by preventing growth of decaying bacteria.


Traditional way of refrigeration

A refrigerator (colloquially fridge) is an electric gadget that is used for refrigeration. Prior to advent of this gadget, people used to store foods in a manual method storing food in an ice-filled box, called ice-box. This traditional method is still in practice in many countries, and almost everywhere for storage of foods in outdoor setting such picnic or other recreational activities. Ice box, a compact non-mechanical refrigerator, remained in use as a common household gadget in many homes for about a century and a half, and was a common kitchen appliance before advent of electric refrigerators, especially during early 20th century, but launch of effective and advance models of electric refrigerators curbed the use ice-box and made it an outmoded appliance.

Basic objective and components of a refrigerator

A refrigerator is popular device used in homes as well as in commercial scenario, and typically have same components such as a thermally insulated compartment, a cooling gas-filled compressor, and heat pump to extricate heat inside the compartment to external environment. The basic objective of refrigeration is same in both residential and commercial settings, to protect foods from spoiling, but the difference in the applicability of a refrigeration device. The commercial environment is larger than home environment, and better refrigeration is, therefore, needed in commercial setting. The devices use for refrigeration and freezing are advance compared to the one used in homes, usually a high-end device.

Typical difference between residential, commercial and industrial refrigeration

Commercial refrigeration is basically classified into two groups: commercial and industrial. Though both are commercial in general, yet refrigeration technique employed in industrial segment such as cold storage, frozen foods, medical, pharmaceuticals, and others is further advance compared to refrigeration commonly used in commercial sector such as grocery stores, pharmacy stores, etc.  The reason for the use of advance refrigeration technique is the high-end need necessitated for bulk production and long-term storage. For example, a frozen foods industry may need to store its production for a longer period compared to a grocery store to which it supplies its products. This justifies the use of advance refrigeration system in industrial segment. Thus, advancement ascends in the direction of home refrigerator system to commercial system, and from commercial to industrial system.

A commercial refrigerator is more versatile

The difference in the role of residential and commercial refrigeration, and between commercial and industrial refrigeration allows to consider a reason for not using same type of refrigeration devices/system in residential, commercial and industrial segment although a growing number of people have started installing of commercial refrigeration equipment in their home kitchens. A trend has changed because people wants to make better use of technology by making use of advancement. The commercial refrigerators are incontrovertibly more advance, and also have higher functionality and better cooling efficiency, regardless of their energy-efficiency. The main reason for incorporating commercial refrigerating device is higher versatility of commercial fridge over residential fridge which has been specifically designed to use in a small setting like home. This also offers justification to the enhance sale of commercial fridges.

Key difference that keeps commercial refrigerator up over residential model

The main difference between commercial and residential refrigerators is in the role performed by them. Commercial refrigerator models play a bigger role compared to residential refrigerator models. The residential models are designed to serve the purpose to hold a quantity of food for the needs of an average family but a design of commercial model can store larger quantities of food or bulk supplies needed for the sake of a business. Besides, there are other differences that may or may not be associated with the role.

Common differences between commercial and residential refrigerators

There are few other differences between commercial and residential refrigerators that pertain to either visual or functional aspects. 

  • The common difference is in size and layout which is a visual difference. The commercial unit is designed to provide more space for holding a variety of foods in bulk and are, therefore, have bigger chassis and compartments compared to residential models. Few large size models are, however, available in the market for residential use. Residential models, small or big, usually are freezer incorporated, and have adjustable shelves and more drawers to segregate various food items.

  • Residential refrigerator models usually have a compact design to accommodate in the moderate kitchen space as an average home doesn't have a large size kitchen.

  • Another visual difference is in the exterior appeal of refrigerator. The exterior appearance of commercial refrigerators in nearly same and a simple design, but residential models usually have an aesthetic design and look, finish, colorful exterior in stainless steel look or other colors. The residential models use different materials to make chassis of different models.

  • The difference between cooling ability of commercial and residential refrigerators is a common difference. The basic role of both types is same, which is cooling, but commercial models are more efficient in their role compared to residential models because former use more powerful compressor for cooling function. They have, therefore, ability to maintain the temperature consistent even when the refrigerator is frequently opened. This is the major difference that pertains to functionality.

  • Another major difference that relates to refrigerator’s functionality and use is its maintenance. While residential models perform efficiently for long years without a need of spending on regular maintenance and repairs, commercial refrigerators require regular maintenance checkups and repairing that require additional after-sales costs on components and availability of refrigeration technicians who also charge price for their service. Thus, a commercial refrigerator is always expensive to use.

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