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Chest Freezer Buying Guide

< All Buying Guides.

Chest freezers provide the perfect solution for high freezer storage needs and offer increased capacity when compared with upright freezer alternatives. The lid lifts upwards as oppose to an outwardly opening door reducing potential obstacles in busy areas. These commercial freezers are ideal for large busy commercial kitchens and also for effective storage in convenience stores and supermarkets. Food is frozen in minimal time to lock in freshness and maintain premium condition when defrosted for use.

So you have established that your business needs a chest freezer, but what features should you be looking for? Understanding all elements can guarantee that you make the best decision the first time.

Key features;

  • Quality insulation ensures that temperatures are easily achieved and more importantly maintained, providing ultimate food safety and security for valuable stock.
  • Always look for the temperature range of each unit. Typically chest freezers will achieve temperatures between -18˚C and -22˚C although this may vary slightly between manufacturers. There are specialised pieces of equipment available that run at extra low temperatures, generally between -25˚C and -45˚C. These products are mainly used for scientific purposes and are not recommended for food storage.
  • The manufacturing materials used are typically strong and durable, capable of withstanding heavy use. The majority of units will feature protection from corrosion, a useful feature when extreme cold temperatures are at work.

Areas to consider;

  • The most obvious choice is the size of the equipment you require. Not only should you measure all dimensions to ensure that you have the space to house the unit but also pay attention to the height. While you may not be restricted with ceiling height, it is vital to take into account that these units are accessed from above and so users must be able to reach inside.
  • While chest freezers typically have a much larger capacity than other items that perform the same job there is still a huge range to choose from. Starting from 261 litres/9.22 cubic foot through to 705 litres/24.9 cubic foot there is plenty of scope to cater for all businesses. It is vital to establish the amount of storage you need prior to making a purchase as opting for a unit too small will be pointless and choosing a product too large will cost extra in running costs as you chill space that isn’t necessary.
  • Always check to make sure what you are receiving with each unit. Some will feature stackable baskets ideal for storing smaller items whilst others will use dividers for increased organisation.
  • Do you require a plain storage piece or will you need to display produce? There is a choice of lids, each with unique features. Select from standard hinged white lids, stainless steel prep lids that provide additional food preparation areas and glass hinged or glass sliding lids to display items in the most attractive way.
  • Certain models are promoted as being low energy maximising performance whilst reducing running costs.
  • The defrost function is usually manual meaning that extra work will be needed to remove any build-up of ice however automatic defrost units are available. Be sure to establish which works best for your business and check defrost settings before you purchase.

Additional features;

  • Does the unit have an easy to use control panel? This can make set-up and running much easier.
  • A thermostat should come as standard for easy monitoring of temperature and conditions, guaranteeing that your produce is always housed in the perfect setting.
  • If looking for hinged lid freezers it is helpful to have a counterbalanced lid. This will prevent the lid from falling on the user as they reach inside.
  • Some models are designed with a lock providing additional security for valuable stock. Due to the size and bulk of these products they are usually housed away from main kitchen areas therefore locks can offer vital protection when employees aren’t present.
  • Typically chest freezers are manufactured with white materials for a clean and hygienic result however for something a little different, there are white units with blue trim available.
  • Would your business benefit from internal illumination? The majority of chest freezers will include this feature which ensures that the user has full visibility when retrieving stock.

You may have finally narrowed down your options and may already know which commercial freezer will best suit your requirements however before finalising your purchase be sure to check these final areas.

  • Always be aware of the warranty that is provided with each unit. While many come with a full parts and labour warranty, others will be supplied with parts only. There may be an option to upgrade to a full warranty, something which is recommended. Should any problems arise with a full warranty you are fully covered and will incur no further expense however with a parts only system you will need to cover the cost of engineer call-outs and labour. Warranties often range between 12 and 24 months although some may be longer.
  • A position and unpack service is offered with certain units. While this isn’t essential, it does make moving heavy bulky items a lot easier.

Ask advice

With so many features and specifications making the right decision can be difficult. If you have a friend in the same area ask for their advice however always be aware that their suggestions will be based on their individual business requirements and may not be ideal for yours. Alternatively seek advice from an impartial supplier who can suggest freezers that meet all of your demands. The FFD team are trained to provide unbiased advice and provide valid suggestions with regards to your perfect piece of equipment.