Main Differences Between Commercial and Residential Refrigeration

Main Differences Between Commercial and Residential Refrigeration

A refrigerator is a refrigerator, right? Yes—that is, unless you’ve ever been in a commercial kitchen. There’s an obvious difference between commercial refrigerators and residential refrigerators once you’ve seen them both. While they both technically do the same thing, there are some key differences in the way they get their jobs done and in the way we need to interact with them.

Here are some of the main differences, as well as some of the similarities, between commercial and residential refrigeration.


Before we get into differences between residential and commercial refrigerators, let’s start with the similarities. Both do basically the same thing—that is, they keep food and beverages at a cold temperature. This goes for freezers as well. They are so similar, in fact, that a residential fridge could be used in a commercial setting, and a commercial refrigerator can be installed in a residential setting.

While you’re not likely to see a refrigerator model that’s designed for an apartment installed as the workhorse cooler for a restaurant, there has been a trend of commercial units being installed in residential spaces. If you’ve got the space for it—and the budget for maintenance—this can be a very handy appliance to have in your kitchen.


One of the main differences between residential and commercial refrigerators is their size. Commercial fridges are larger than residential units—often much larger. They are designed to hold a lot more food and substantially larger containers than are common for home use. This extra space can come in handy when you’re hosting get-togethers with a lot of food and drinks. The downside is if your kitchen is on the smaller side, a commercial fridge may end up taking up more room than you bargained for.

Because of that large size, commercial refrigerators also require much more power than residential models. They get colder faster, and that means they use more powerful components like compressors to maintain a consistent temperature even when the door is open. The downside here is that it will use more energy on a regular basis, which, in turn, will raise your energy bill.

That extra power also leads to more maintenance. Because they are more specialized, commercial refrigerators need regular maintenance and service to make sure they keep working in top condition. This has to be done by commercial refrigeration technicians, which can cost more than a residential refrigeration technician.

Another difference is aesthetics. Commercial units are often stainless steel, which gives a clean, modern look. Residential appliances are also available in this look, so it’s easier now to blend a commercial unit in with the look of the rest of your kitchen. This holds true for main refrigerators as well as drawer and standalone freezer units.

When you need any type of refrigeration service for your commercial property, reach out to the experienced professionals at American Refrigeration Inc. for the best, most reliable service. We’d be glad to take a look at your equipment and get to the bottom of any issues.