Which kitchen appliance is right for me: Walk-in or reach-in refrigerator?

Commercial-Kitchen-Appliance-maintenance-25022020For any restaurant owner, deciding the right commercial kitchen appliance can be a struggle. One thing most commercial kitchen owners struggle with is deciding between walk-in and reach-in refrigerators.

The choices can vary depending on your business size. Whether you own a massive chain of restaurants or a small kitchen service with few dedicated customers, your choice will vary significantly.

Regardless of the choice you make, opting for regular commercial kitchen appliance maintenance is critical for your business.

So, how exactly can you decide which refrigerator type your business needs?

Factors that decide your refrigerator-type needs

  • Usage:

The first factor you need to keep in mind before making the purchase is your usage for the refrigerator. Your usage for a refrigerator for commercial kitchen can include:

  • Storage
  • Keeping it from spoiling
  • Keeping up the freshness
  • Maintenance of temperature

And so on!

However, this doesn’t mean you can simply place a boiling hot item inside the refrigerator, and it will be cooled down to the required temperature. Both walk-in and reach-in refrigerators are designed to ensure that the food popped into the machine stays fresh for longer.

If you place a hot piece of food inside the unit, it could lead to a sudden rise in the temperature for the system. This is turn, potentially threatens the quality of other food items present in the refrigerator. The key is to bring down the food item to room temperature and then store it. If your refrigerator isn’t cooling in an efficient manner, make sure you schedule a commercial kitchen appliance maintenance immediately.

At the end of the day, the goal for both refrigerators is to keep the food safe by maintaining an ideal temperature. With reach-in refrigerators, the area needed to be cooled is fairly small, which means doors opening every now and then won’t change the temperature inside by a large margin. However, the walk-in refrigerators are required to cool a significantly large premise. So, walking in every now and then can lead to higher energy consumption for temperature maintenance.

  • Budget:

Another critical aspect you need to keep in mind with regards to your commercial kitchen appliance purchase is the budget. Unless you have the Midas’ touch and can turn everything into gold, you will surely be on a budget, especially when you have just started your restaurant business.

In most cases, a walk-in refrigerator tends to cost way more as compared to the reach-in refrigerator. So, if you have just started your business and lack the financial support, opting for a reach-in refrigerator could be your option for the day. If you do not want your financial obligations to go higher with unnecessary repairs, make sure you schedule a commercial kitchen appliance maintenance.

  • Location and Space:

If your kitchen space isn’t big enough to accommodate the walk-in refrigerator, there is no point in purchasing it. If space is a constraint, you should opt for the reach-in refrigerators. You can always update when the business is booming and you have added to the existing kitchen space.

Plus, having a walk-in refrigerator crammed up in a small space can lead to improper functioning of the machine. Further, it can cause energy consumption to go higher as there is a lack of proper air circulation around the unit. So, wouldn’t it be better if you waited for the right time to get your walk-in refrigerator and make-do with the reach-in? In case you have decided the type of refrigerator for your business, make sure you reach out to professionals for regular commercial kitchen appliance maintenance.

Pros and Cons of Walk-In Refrigerators


  • Can be customized as per your kitchen space
  • The open layout allows for easy space organization
  • Outdoor installation feature removes excessive noise and heat from your kitchen
  • Supports bulk storage and saves unnecessary expenses on the deliveries
  • Consumes less power if used as a replacement for multiple reach-in refrigerators
  • Can be kept both outdoors and indoors


  • Higher initial price
  • Might require a professional installation service provider
  • Installation requires more preparation work
  • Seismic and climate activity needs to be considered in certain regions
  • Requires add-on equipment like strip doors, shelving, and air curtains
  • Customization might require a longer timeline
  • You might still need a reach-in for emergencies
Pros and Cons of Reach-In Refrigerator


  • Consumes less space
  • Compact format of under-counter models can be purchased
  • Provides shelving options
  • Easy access to all your ingredients
  • ADA models present
  • Affordable and cheaper than the walk-in variants
  • Simple installation process
  • Models available with the energy star rating


  • Most models tend to have limited options for customization
  • Limited capacity for storage (one to 3 sections)
  • Most of the reach-in refrigerators are self-contained
  • Tends to add noise and heat to your kitchen
  • Shorter lifespan as opposed to the walk-in units

If you have decided to purchase a walk-in refrigerator for your business, here are some of the maintenance tips for you. But, before that, make sure you hire professional help to ensure any need for repairs is addressed immediately. You can hire service providers such as Enertia HVAC/R for commercial kitchen appliance maintenance.

Tips to keep your walk-in refrigerator working perfectly

  • Wash your walk-in refrigerator on a regular basis with simple water and soap combination every month or even sooner if there is a need.
  • Refrain from the use of harsh chemicals for cleaning purposes.
  • Keep the refrigerator floor free from debris through regular mopping and sweeping
  • Immediately wipe up any spills to avoid any dangerous freezing issues.
  • Clean the evaporator coil and blades on a regular basis. However, this should only be done by a professional for commercial kitchen appliance maintenance to avoid any unfortunate accidents.
  • Check your condensing unit & the evaporator on a regular basis to help with airflow maximization.
  • Opt for professional quarterly commercial kitchen appliance maintenance and inspection of the seals and door hinges.
  • Monitor the unit’s temperature on a regular basis and note any changes. If the changes are way too much, give a quick call to professional commercial kitchen appliance maintenance and repair service providers.

In general, there is no special formula to determine which machine is the best fit for your restaurant business. Each business is unique on its own, and only the business owner can determine what works best for optimum performance in terms of cooling needs without a glitch. Keep in mind that regardless of the machine you pick for your business, keeping them in their prime condition is a must. You need to make sure that the commercial kitchen appliance maintenance sessions are always carried out by professional service providers and not by novice technicians.

In need of a reliable commercial kitchen appliance maintenance? Looking for an expert team to get the job done? At Enertia HVAC/R, we take care of all your kitchen appliance installation, repair, replacement, as well as maintenance needs.

You can ask for a free service estimate by texting us at (469) 351-9657. For more information about the services, write to us at enertiallc@gmail.com.

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