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Comparing Self-Contained Refrigeration & Remote Refrigeration

You may have been browsing the selection of commercial refrigeration on the KaTom website and wondered why certain units seem considerably cheaper and are noted as “remote.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you can use a remote control to drive them around your kitchen, but there is a good explanation for why they’re so much cheaper: They don’t have a condenser.

In reality, this type of commercial refrigeration does have a condenser, it’s just not in the box itself as it is in self-contained refrigeration. The two are not exactly interchangeable and there are some pros and cons to consider when you think about purchasing either. Let’s have a look at these two types of commercial refrigeration and examine what situations each is preferable for.

Self-Contained Refrigeration: All-in-one Commercial Refrigerator & Commercial Freezer

Most commercial coolers have self-contained refrigeration systems, which means the entire system, from condenser to evaporator, is built into the cabinet. The condenser can be located on the top, the bottom, and even the sides or back of the commercial cooler, but the evaporator is always on top of the unit. The two are connected by tubes carrying coolant that enables the system to ensure proper holding temperatures for food storage.

Self-contained Refrigeration

These systems are convenient and suitable for almost any application, offering simple “plug and play” operation that shouldn’t require any technical work. Manufacturers prefer to produce this type of commercial refrigeration system because they have fewer warranty calls from them. With remote refrigeration, there is an involved process to setting up the cooling system that, if not performed properly, can make the commercial refrigerator or commercial freezer fail.

Pros of Self-Contained Refrigeration:

Cons of Self-Contained Refrigeration:

Remote Commercial Refrigeration is the Solution for Some Steamy Kitchens

Somewhere north of 90 percent of the commercial refrigerator and commercial freezer models sold in the United States will be self-contained refrigeration, but there are certain applications where a remote unit is preferable. Those include kitchens with limited ventilation that tend to get very hot. Additionally, facilities with low ceilings may be best served by remote refrigeration because a self-contained unit may not be able to draw in adequate air for operation, which can mean it works harder and is less efficient. Finally, grocery stores and other facilities that house large displays of multiple commercial coolers typically choose these units to keep the heat and noise that could be created by a bank of self-contained systems out of the customer space.

Remote Refrigeration

A remote refrigeration system consists of an insulated cabinet for cold food storage that has the evaporator and duct work built in. The condenser and compressor, meanwhile, are located in a separate unit connected to the box by a pair of lines that transport coolant between the two. Typically that part of the system is located outside the building, though it can also be placed in an interior “plant room.”

There is some misconception about remote refrigeration that multiple units can operate with a single condenser/compressor unit. Though multiple refrigeration units can be tied on to a rack system that looks like a single cooling tower, inside there is actually a single condensing and compressing unit for each connected commercial cooler.

Pros of Remote Refrigeration:

Cons of Remote Refrigeration: