Heated Holding Cabinet Doors
Heated holding cabinets have several options that can help ensure you get the best usage out of the equipment you choose. One of those options is the type of door your unit will have. Below, we cover some of the door options you may choose from with most hot holding cabinets and the benefits and drawbacks of each of those.
On some models there is no option for door size, since undercounter, half-size, and three-quarter-size heated cabinets will have only one door for the unit. However, if you are purchasing a full-size cabinet, you will be able to choose between two door sizes.
Full-size doors offer the easiest access to everything inside, but this comes with the tradeoff of allowing the most temperature transfer when the door is opened. If you will store multiple items in one unit and want to avoid having to open multiple doors to find what you need, a full-size door may be the best choice for you.
Half-size doors, also called Dutch doors, are typically more energy efficient, as the smaller opening reduces how much heat escapes when the door is opened. It is important to note that if you opt for solid half doors, organization will be especially important to help avoid having to open both doors to find what you need.
Solid doors are typically made of the same material as the cabinet, whether that is stainless steel, aluminum, or the polycarbonate-covered metal often used in portable catering food holding cabinets. These doors provide superior insulation, which leads to greater energy efficiency and better food safety due to more stable temperatures. They are also more durable than see-through doors, which may be scratched or broken. However, with a solid door you cannot see items inside to find empty slides, check on the condition of food, or locate a specific item.
Polycarbonate doors, often identified with the brand name Lexan™, are the most economical see-through doors available. These are made of the same type of plastic found in DVDs and bulletproof glass1, and are break-resistant and shatterproof. Polycarbonate doors are the lightest option, which can be a benefit if the cabinet will be moved often, but it scratches more easily than glass and can discolor over time, which can limit the length of its usable life.
Heated holding cabinets with glass doors allow you to see the food inside, letting you check on how food is holding up, how many pans of a dish are left, how well bread is rising, or where an open pan slide is before you open the door. Because this reduces how often and how long the door has to be opened, it can help save energy that would have been spent replacing the heated air that escapes through the open door. However, that benefit must be weighed with the fact that glass doors offer less insulation, meaning they will retain less heat while closed than solid doors. These doors are clearer and more scratch-resistant than polycarbonate versions, but come at a higher price.
Hot holding cabinet door handles can be horizontal or vertical, and in some cases are combined with a latching mechanism that helps keep the door closed during transport. Depending on where your heated holding unit will be used, you may also want to consider a pass-through unit, which has doors on the front and back to allow kitchen staff and servers to access the box from each side.
Field-convertible door hinges are another option available on some models. These doors can be changed to open in either direction, helping you optimize your kitchen's workflow and remain flexible to different layouts.
- What is Lexan? A&C Plastics, Inc. Accessed January 2018.