2-Section Reach-In Freezers Buyers' Guide
If you have the space for a larger commercial freezer, a two-section reach-in freezer, also called a two-section commercial upright freezer, is a great way to add more frozen storage space to your kitchen. Read more about which options are available with these units before deciding which two-section commercial freezer is the right fit for your kitchen.
Size and Storage
Two-section commercial freezers can be between 39.5 and 55 inches wide and between 29.5 and 36 inches deep, so you'll need to know how much room is available in your floorplan before choosing a model. Available interior storage space in two-section commercial upright freezers can be between 43.5 and 51 cubic feet. Overall dimensions are important for installation purposes, but interior storage space, which will determine how much you can actually store, is another necessary consideration.
If you plan on frequently or exclusively storing food pans, pan racks are an available option on most freezer models. These make it easier to move food pans in and out of the freezer and can allow you to prepare frozen dishes, like ice cream, ahead of time.
Two-section commercial freezers are available with a number of different door styles. Solid doors provide more efficient insulation, but don't allow the kitchen staff to see what's being stored inside without opening them, which can lead to the doors being open longer and more frequently. Glass doors are usually double- or triple-paned and heated to prevent condensation from obscuring the view of what's being held. These types of doors allow staff to locate needed items without opening the doors, which is convenient in a busy kitchen where open doors can obstruct the workflow and decrease the overall energy-efficiency of the equipment.
Two-section reach-in freezers are also available with half doors, sometimes called Dutch doors, which can limit the amount of cold air that escapes each time an individual door is opened. Each section will have two half doors or one full-sized door that are generally right-hinged on the right side and left-hinged on the left side. This means that the full freezer unit is accessible when both sides of doors are opened.
Doors on these models are often available with a number of useful features, including:
- Recessed handles, which can help avoid potential injuries that jutting handles might cause in a busy commercial kitchen;
- Door locks to better protect your products;
- Self-closing functionality that prevents doors from being left open, which can make the compressor work harder or raise food to unsafe temperatures;
- And hold-open capabilities, which lets staff intentionally prop the door open for inventory and stocking.
The compressor location should also factor into your final purchasing decision, as it can determine how well your compressor performs and how often it needs servicing. Two-section commercial freezers with top-mounted compressors generally have more interior storage space but should be used in cooler kitchens and kept away from cooking equipment. Rising hot air can make the compressor work harder, which creates avoidable wear-and-tear and increases utility bills. The components in these compressors can also be damaged and made less efficient by grease-laden vapors.
Bottom-mounted compressors can collect flour, dust, and other particles that settle on the kitchen floor and might need to be serviced more frequently, so they should be avoided by foodservice operations that use large amounts of flour, such as pizzerias and bakeries. However, a bottom-mounted compressor is easier to reach than a top-mounted compressor, which often makes service calls faster and less expensive.
Two-section commercial freezers usually come with three shelves per section. These shelves can be constructed with coated wire or stainless steel and are adjustable in certain increments that vary between manufacturers. These units are also commonly supported by casters that can be between 4 and 6 inches tall and make moving them, either for cleaning or rearranging, much easier. Additionally, check to see if the two-section reach-in freezer you're considering comes with a digital thermometer display that will make the freezer's interior temperature more visible than dial-type thermometers, making it easier to ensure that your food stays safely stored.