What’s the Difference Between Residential and Commercial Refrigeration?

A residential fridge and commercial fridge each serve their own purpose and have their own advantages. A residential fridge can hold enough food to feed you and your family for about a week. A commercial fridge, however, has to contain enough food to feed at least 100 people a day. Nonetheless, there are many other different factors that set these two refrigeration types apart, such as:

  • The layout.
  • Their cooling ability.
  • Power and energy usage.
  • Its exteriors.
  • Maintenance and repair, which we’ll be discussing all below.

Their purpose is perhaps the most major difference between commercial and residential fridges. The residential fridge is constructed to hold the amount of food needed for an average family. A commercial fridge, on the other hand, is designed to stock larger quantities of food, specifically in the food industry, for business sake. Here are the more significant differences that divide the two:


Residential refrigeration normally has several shelves and compartments allowing the separation of the foods. It usually comes with a freezer incorporated and often even a water or ice maker included. Commercial refrigeration provides more space for holding larger quantities of food, which explains why they’re bigger in size compared to residential models. They also contain at least one or two shelves maximum, with the intention to make stacking food easier.

Cooling Ability

As expected, commercial refrigerators have a much higher cooling ability than residential fridges. Commercial fridges are backed by very powerful compressors and are usually equipped with temperature sensors and alarms. They’re able to sustain the constant temperature even when the fridge is opened at frequent intervals. Residential refrigerators are powered by weaker compressors and insulation. This results in the loss of heat and temperature fluctuations, causing food safety hazards.

Power and Energy Usage

Like the cooling ability, commercial refrigerators have more power than residential fridges. The food industry involves strict codes and regulations governing the food storage and the temperature it should be set to. So, the higher cooling power is beneficial for food establishments.

However, despite its energy-saving features, commercial fridges still consume more energy than residential refrigerators. Commercial fridges keep a consistent temperature even if it needs more energy to handle the safety of perishable food items. That being said, residential refrigerators are more energy efficient. They allow the shutting down of the unit and drift in the temperature to save more energy.


The majority of commercial fridges in food establishments have stainless steel exteriors. Some can be scratch-resistant or polished glass. It’s designed to have strong durability, enough to remain after increased damage from wear and tear, with corrosion resistance. Residential fridges, on the other hand, are generally made of fragile, weak materials compared to commercial fridges.

Residential refrigerators are more susceptible to damage from wear and tear caused by the constant opening and closing of doors. However, they do come in several different shapes, sizes and materials, with a wide selection of colors as well.

Maintenance and Repair

With commercial and residential refrigerators, you cannot expect the same technician to solve the problems of both refrigeration units. It’s best to ensure that the technician you contact is completely conversant with the refrigeration type you have. It’s most crucial in restaurant situations where complications or setbacks can cost food businesses thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

A commercial technician must perform regular maintenance checkups, repairs and servicing of commercial refrigerators. All of this must be done regularly at frequent intervals. The technician should be well trained and qualified to solve all commercial-fridge problems. If not, it may result in a big loss in terms of food costs. Also, their services will cost more than the services of residential technicians.

It would be wiser to choose a commercial refrigerator for your commercial setting, and a residential refrigerator for your at-home kitchen. Consider the purposes each of them serves and the advantages they both bring, to make your decision accordingly. Visit our website to browse our restaurant equipment and supply. For more information, contact us today!