What’s the difference between commercial fridges and domestic ones?

Listed Under: Blog

Commercial and domestic fridges both keep food at a safe temperature. They both work using refrigerant and humidity control and can store almost anything.

Commercial refrigerators, such as those stocked by Fridgesmart, are designed for businesses. Domestic fridges are built for home use.

There are several significant differences between the two. In this article, we’ll explain why this is the case. In the process, you’ll see why domestic fridges aren’t appropriate for business use.

How often the refrigerator is opened and closed

Your domestic fridge at home is probably opened about 20 or 30 times per day (as a reasonable estimate). The cooling system is designed to handle this and return to stable operating conditions soon afterwards.

Commercial fridges, though, might be opened and closed hundreds of times per day. Each customer coming along will open the door, reach in, and close it again. Those used for ingredient storage in your commercial kitchen will also see far more use than a typical household. These refrigerators are designed to handle many more temperature fluctuations than domestic models.


Commercial refrigerators tend to be much larger than domestic units. This is simply because they have more produce to hold. As customers come by, stock depletes (whether front-of-house or in the preparation rooms).

Domestic fridges are smaller because they have to fit in your home. Sure, you can find those massive fridge/freezer models, but even those are small next to a commercial unit.


Domestic fridges are certainly designed to look appealing. They’ll be fitting straight into your home kitchen, after all. Commercial storage fridges (such as those you’ll use in a business’s kitchen) fit into the same category.

Commercial display fridges, though, are specifically created to promote the food or drink they contain. With glass or clear plastic, they showcase their contents. You’ll struggle to find domestic refrigerators with a clear view of the inside without needing to open the door.

Wear and tear

A commercial fridge has to be tougher than a domestic one. Each day, it’ll see far more use, whether in the front-of-house or the kitchen.

For example, customers will open a display fridge hundreds of times per day. It might also be opened (and held open) by staff restocking the shelves. Glass fronts will end up covered in handprints and dirt deposits. At the same time, the sealing around the door suffers from almost constant wear and tear.

This means commercial fridges are more robust. You could find a stronger domestic model if you wanted, but there’s usually no need. The average home refrigerator doesn’t get used enough to justify the extra cost.

Protection against power outages and crystallisation

When there’s a power cut, there’s often nothing a business can do about it. They’ll need to run a generator or wait until the electricity companies turn everything back on.

To counter this, commercial refrigerators are built to hold their temperatures for longer. They’re higher quality with better temperature and humidity regulation. This protects against power outages (warming) and excessive cold (cooling and crystallisation).

The trade-off for this increased efficiency is higher maintenance costs. A domestic fridge should be serviced now and then throughout its lifetime, but commercial units need regular inspections and repairs.

Regular maintenance

Let’s be honest; you’ve probably never had your home fridge serviced in your life – well, not until it developed a problem, at least. And most domestic refrigerators don’t need servicing. The only thing you should do is pull the fridge out and clean the area behind and coils once or twice per year.

Commercial fridges, though? That’s a different story. Business owners can’t afford for fridges to suddenly stop working. They hold hundreds of pounds of goods that could spoil. Because of this, it’s vital to get commercial refrigerators serviced and keep them clean. Your staff can do most of this work, but occasionally you’ll need a specialist.

Unsurprisingly, this makes commercial fridges more expensive than domestic ones.

Ask Fridgesmart for help

Fridgesmart is a UK-wide supplier of commercial fridges, freezers, and other supplies. We offer next-day delivery, a Lowest Price Guarantee, and unmatched aftersales support and guidance. All our products come with a warranty, too.

Feel free to get in touch to learn more about commercial refrigerators and how they can benefit your business. We’re always happy to have a commitment-free, friendly chat about what you need and how we can help.

Contact us using the Live Chat feature in the corner of your screen. We look forward to your message.