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Bottle Cooler Buying Guide

All buying guides.

Buying a commercial bottle cooler is so much more than purchasing a container in which to store and chill drinks. There are many aspects to consider before forking out cash and potentially making an uninformed choice.

Take a look at our buying guide to guarantee that your business only invests in a unit perfect for your needs!

  • What size and capacity do you need?

There are various sized bar chillers on the market, each able to fulfil the requirements of the largest and busiest of bars, cafés or canteen self-service areas or smaller venues where compact drinks fridges are required. Whether you are looking for compact yet still effective undercounter chillers or larger upright units which maximise storage and display, all of your needs can be met.

While it is essential to accurately measure external dimensions to guarantee that you have the room to fit in the equipment it is also vital to purchase a product that offers ample storage capacity. Many suppliers will provide details of external dimensions and overall capacity as well the number of standard 330ml bottles that can be stored to give a more realistic idea of what’s on offer. The capacity measure however will obviously vary when different sized products are housed.

The majority of back bar coolers will feature adjustable shelves to meet different storage needs. Shelves can be adjusted to accommodate bottles of all sizes, cans, cartons and even sliced fruit.

When measuring the external dimensions always allow for ample air circulation around vents, improving operations and increasing longevity. Keeping vents, condensers and compressors clean and unobstructed will ultimately improve efficiency and reduce service and maintenance call outs. Gamko are the only manufacturer to build their bottle coolers with a low to no maintenance coil. On the majority of refrigeration the compressor will consist of thin coils that allow dust, dirt and grease to easily be sucked into the machine causing blockages, reduced performance and ultimately the burnout of the compressor. Gamko have designed their bottle cooler range to house a thicker and more compact coil that makes it difficult for any unwanted materials from entering the internal mechanisms. This feature has proved to be highly effective in real working situations.

Remember – the purchase price doesn’t dictate the capacity of the bar equipment instead reflecting the specifications, features and build quality on offer.

  • Basic manufacture details

Bar fridges are generally available with a choice of single, double or triple doors each with increasing capacity. Always carefully check the measurements of the equipment in regards to the space available. In order to maximise storage space select the largest capacity possible whilst still remaining within your maximum external dimensions.

How do the doors open?

Generally there will be a choice of either sliding or hinged doors. This decision shouldn’t just be made on personal preference alone but also with consideration for accessibility, possible obstacles and practicality. Are there any walls or other units that could hamper the opening of doors? Could open doors cause chaos when busy bar staff are trying to serve? Also consider the fact that sliding doors can begin to stick over time as general dirt and residue drink leakage can build up within the runners. Generally hinged options are highly recommended with sliding doors only being used when access is a major issue.

  • Temperature range

Refrigerated bottle cooling units typically feature a wider temperature range to accommodate the numerous types of drinks that are stocked, often including wines, beers, ciders, alcopops, juices and soft drinks. Look for an approximate range that covers 4˚C; a general recommended temperature at which most items can be stored effectively.

  • Specifications

Pay attention to any additional features and specifications available on each piece of equipment. Internal air circulation is always recommended due to the fan evenly and consistently distributing chilled air around all stock, effectively cocooning each bottle in the ideal atmosphere.

Digital control and display is also preferable as it allows greater precision and accuracy. Monitoring of temperatures is also simple with an ‘easy to glance’ readout. Regularly noting temperatures can give some prior warning as to any potential technical difficulties. If temperatures begin to rise or become erratic, this will signal that there is a problem.

Many bar fridges feature internal lighting as standard, an essential element to showcasing your products in the most attractive way possible.

Back bar refrigeration will often feature an integrated locking mechanism; a useful way to increase the safety and security of valuable stock.

  • Build quality Vs Price

The obvious choice for businesses working to a tight budget is an entry level product mainly due to the lower price tag. Beware of choosing equipment solely on price alone. Many lower priced bottle coolers may offer a smaller upfront investment however will cost a fortune in running and maintenance costs. Higher priced models may come with a larger initial outlay but will run more efficiently and will have increased longevity saving money in the future. There are finance options available when certain specifications are met and Foster and Gamko even offer 12 month 0% interest free credit ensuring that businesses can experience top of the range quality without a large upfront payment.

Generally, the higher the price the better the build quality; the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ has never been more apt. Plastic shelves and fittings featured on cheaper units are replaced with durable and more appealing metal and interiors are designed to be hygienic, easier to clean and to retain their appearance.

  • Efficiency

Always pay attention to the total power wattage of each piece of equipment in relation to the features offered. Generally speaking most people believe that the higher the power wattage the more work the bottle chiller has to do to achieve desirable temperatures and storage conditions. While this might be relevant to some units be careful as this isn’t always the case. Take note of the features and specifications of each unit; you may find that higher wattage figures could be a result of powering certain features which make the unit better overall.

  • Warranty 

Always check the warranty that is supplied as standard as it will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.

  • Ask advice

If you have looked at each individual element and are still unsure as to which bottle cooler will best meet your needs, ask the advice of an impartial third party. If you have friends in the industry ask them for recommendations however remember that their suggestions will be based on their individual business and personal requirements. Alternatively enquire with an impartial dealer who will offer an unbiased view on the entire range of bar chillers on the market. Trained to listen to a customer’s needs and tailor options based on personal requirements why not contact the FFD team for a helping hand!

By taking into account each individual aspect of a bottle cooler and understanding exactly what your business needs you will be able to make an informed and better still the right decision regarding your investment.