Water Bath Heater

Using a water bath heater to retherm food can help prevent the surface drying, scorching, uneven heating, and sogginess that other methods can cause. A bain marie heater creates natural convection in water to gently and evenly heat food from a frozen or chilled state to 165 degrees F, the temperature necessary to ensure harmful bacteria is destroyed. They can also be adjusted to hold that food at a safe 150 degrees F until you're ready to serve it. More

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Retherm units are available with a wide range of water capacities. Depending on the individual output of your establishment, you may wish to choose a small 5 gallon water bath heater or a large 22.5 gallon one. Ultimately, the output capacity of the warmer will also vary depending on the volume, size, and shape of the bags of product being warmed.

One Vat or Two

Depending on how much and how many types of foods you'll be reconstituting, you will want to choose a model that has one or two vats. A single vat will provide you with a smaller footprint, while one with two vats will allow more volume to be rethermed at one time. With a two-vat option, you may use one vat on a regular basis, leaving the other for specialty items. The temperatures of the vats can be controlled individually, making it possible to warm different foods at different temperatures.

Digital or Manual Controls

Digital controls typically permit the user to program temperatures and preset cooking times for certain dishes. This can keep training simple for operations with high turnover or operators who need to commit their attention to other tasks. Manual controls allow the operator to control temperatures on demand and may be most suitable for low-budget or low-volume operations.

Automatic Water Fill

Many water bath heater models have automatic water fill available. When the levels are too low, the tanks will automatically refill to proper water levels without overfilling. This can help avoid messes and costly repairs. There are a number of models that do not have the auto-fill option. These are suitable for establishments that may not have access to water hook-ups. Most, however, will have a bypass or manual-fill option.

Vat Covers

In order to prevent debris from entering the device, vat covers are strongly recommended. Some vats have lift-off covers, while others are hinged. Lift-off design allows ease in cleaning and may be more accessible. Hinged-type may be more desirable where space is limited and when one-handed operation may be necessary. Some vat covers accommodate basket lifts, while others do not, so be sure to choose the proper type for your unit if you're replacing yours. Models with two-piece covers allow users to keep one side covered while removing items or cooking on the other side. This can help reduce heat loss and the elevation of ambient heat in the kitchen.


If easy mobility is high on your priority list, choose a model that has casters. Many water bath heaters come equipped with legs, but casters will allow single-person movement for cleaning and relocation.

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