Every restaurant needs walk-in coolers. Depending on your space and needs, you may want an indoor or outdoor unit. In either case, there are several factors that will affect your decision and help you find the ideal walk-in for your establishment. Let’s take a closer look at how to choose a walk-in and some of the top models available.
How to Choose Indoor and Outdoor Walk-In Coolers
There are several things to consider when choosing an indoor or outdoor walk-in cooler, including:
One of the first things to consider is whether you want the unit to store refrigerated or frozen foods.
While a walk-in fridge will still hold temperatures below 41 degrees Fahrenheit, a freezer will keep foods much colder – around zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Consider how you’ll use the cooler to help you find a unit and refrigeration system that will meet your needs. Keep in mind that the refrigeration systems for freezers will be significantly larger than those for refrigerators.
Storage space is one of the most important things to consider. How much space do you need? How much space do you think you will need in the near future?
If it’s in your budget, look for walk in coolers and freezers that will meet your needs now and give you room for growth.
Some commercial walk-in coolers and freezers come with refrigeration units, while others do not. Consider whether you want a turnkey option or the ability to use your own refrigeration system setup.
If the unit does come with a refrigeration system, consider the type that will work best for your business:
- Top mount units are pre-assembled and self-contained. A qualified technician must install them. The evaporator coil may hang down on the side of the box, or it may be located on top of the box to provide more interior space.
- Remote systems are less costly and sit outside the unit to reduce ventilation needs.
- Side mount systems are very similar to top mounts, but they are mounted to a side panel instead. The evaporator coil’s location reduces interior shelf space, so this is a consideration for this type of system. However, side mount refrigeration systems work well for low ceilings.
Types of Commercial Refrigeration Walk-In Coolers
There are two main types of walk-ins for restaurants:
- Prefabricated: The most common type of walk-in purchased by restaurants. These units are pre-built and include insulation. They come in a variety of sizes and layouts to meet your needs. They’re also easy to install, move and expand. Because they’re so easy to install, prefab units cause less disruption to your business.
- Built-in: Just as the name suggests, a built-in walk-in cooler is custom-made for your space. These coolers can be built to any size and made to fit your exact needs, but they are not easily expanded and are more costly to build.
Of course, it’s important to consider the size of your space. For indoor walk-ins, size is even more important because there’s less flexibility in the layout of your kitchen. For outdoor units, you still need to consider how much space you have, but you may have a little more wiggle room to go slightly larger than you planned.
Commercial Walk-In Coolers Reviews
Now that you know what to look for when choosing a walk-in cooler, you may be wondering which models will work best for your establishment. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top walk-in cooler models in our inventory.
The Mr. Winter 6X6CWF is one of the top box-only walk-in coolers for restaurants. The ceiling and wall panels are well-insulated with polystyrene foam that’s enveloped in 26-gauge Acrylume coated steel.
With dimensions of 6’W x 6’D x 7.6’H, this cooler has a generous amount of space for storage.
The unit does not come equipped with a condenser, compressor or evaporator. The floor-less design also makes it easy to install this cooler right on top of a concrete pad or flooring.
If you’re searching for an indoor walk in coolers, the 10X12CWFRRO for Mr. Winter may be a great option. This model stands 7.6’ tall, 12’ deep, and 10’ wide, so it offers an exceptional amount of storage space.
The wall and ceiling panels are insulated with polystyrene foam housed in 26-gauge zinc-aluminum coated steel.
This model does not come with flooring, but it’s ready for easy installation onto your existing kitchen floor. It does come with a top-mount Tecumseh refrigeration system. The 10X12CWFRRO is built to order.
For outdoor walk-in coolers, the 8X8CWFRRO is an excellent option from Mr. Winter. This model is 8’ wide, 8’ deep, and 7.6’ high. Unlike some other models from this brand, this cooler also comes with a remote Tecumseh refrigeration system.
The wall and ceiling panels have insulation made of polystyrene foam that’s encased in Acrylume coated steel. The unit does not have flooring and is designed to be installed on existing concrete flooring.
The 8X10CWF has a 10-foot depth and 8-foot width. This box-only model does not have flooring or a refrigeration system, so you can outfit it as you see fit.
Like other coolers from Mr. Winter, this unit’s wall and ceiling panels are insulated with polystyrene foam housed in Acrylume coated steel. Again, it will need to be installed on top of a concrete pad or flooring.
Choosing a walk-in cooler isn’t a decision to take lightly. All refrigerated units require significant investment, so make sure that you choose a model that will work for you now and in the future. Size and refrigeration systems are two of the most important considerations.
Make sure the unit can meet your temperature needs and fit into your space, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. Finally, take the installation requirements into consideration. Will the installation disrupt your business for several days? How much will it cost? Keeping all of these points in mind will help narrow down your choices to find the ideal option for your business.