The Restaurant's Guide To Buying Commercial Walk-Ins


When you set out to purchase a commercial walk-in refrigerator or freezer, a combination of variables come into play and knowing what you need for your restaurant or grocery store will narrow down the list of brands to choose from. So, before you set out in your search, check out our guide in finding the best commercial walk-in for your business.

What To Look For In A Walk-In Cooler

First consider ease of use of the different refrigeration systems available in the foodservice industry. No one wants to buy a cumbersome walk-in cooler or a refrigeration unit that comes with a hefty repair bill or uses a lot of energy.

Next, consider the desired temperature range and installation. Examine the space your new walk-in cooler will need to store food. Third, consider the energy usage. Check the details ratings and other customer reviews of the commercial freezer for your restaurant. Does it last long? Does it have high-quality insulation and what is the specific need of the freezer unit?

Pros & Cons Of Prefabricated Vs. Built-In

Prefabricated Pros

  • Built with locking panels for expansion
  • Availability is more flexible; usually with immediate shipment
  • Costs less

Prefabricated Cons

  • Cooling configurations may not meet your specific needs
  • Size availability
  • Standard made styles may not meet your food storage need

Built-In Or Custom Build Pros

  • Straight forward
  • Built to your specification
  • Often made with structural tiles on walls and floors

Built-In Or Custom Build Cons

  • More costly
  • Inconvenient in wait time for customization
  • May require an architect

Types Of Insulation – Polyurethane and extruded polystyrene is the standard insulation for walk-ins. Polyurethane is the most widely used due to lower costs and efficiencies.

Types Of Metal Skins – These include Galvalume, G 90 Galvanized Steel, Aluminum, G 90 Galvanized Steel, and Painted G 90 Galvanized.

  • Stainless Steel – Resists rust and scratches but more expensive
  • Galvalume – Strong but eventually rust and is second most expensive
  • G 90 Galvanized Steel – Less expensive but rusts faster
  • Aluminum – Does not rust easy; however, is more expensive than steel and dents easier

Floor Choice – Sometimes walk-in coolers and freezers come without a floor. If either comes without a floor, they must be installed on a ground contact concrete floor.

Door Choice – To be satisfied with your unit, make sure you find the one that has the most functional door and one that uses little energy. Check the structure and think about the durability and potential cost associated with repairs.

Outdoor Systems – This type of system will need a rain roof and a winter kit.

Energy Consumption – Check for stamps of approval by organizations like ENERGY STAR®.

Brands You Can Trust

Which brands have the best energy consumption, the best price and longest durability? What about great customer service? Here is a list of popular walk-in refrigeration brands trusted by The Kitchen Spot.

Trusted Walk-In Brands

  • American Panel – Both walk-in refrigerators and freezers available. Comes with walk-in monitoring systems and visual and temperature alarm set points.
  • Amerikooler – Both walk-in refrigerators and freezers available. Models comes with airtight joints, strong floor construction, and spring assisted hinges.
  • Bally – For 90 years, they have been the pioneers of the commercial refrigeration world. Their longevity and recognition in the industry speak for them.
  • Imperial Brown – With a vast selection of refrigeration units and accessories, they also develop custom models for your special needs.
  • Kolpak – This brand’s units provide peace of mind with their strong focus on temperature variance selections.
  • Master-Bilt – They pride themselves in providing time for efficient service. Their mission is to add each in installation and service.
  • Nor-Lake – Indoor and outdoor units available with respectable warranties on parts and labor.

Commercial Walk-In Maintenance

At some point or another, you will need to maintain your unit. Aside from cost, customer service is important in your purchase decision. When you need your unit repaired you want to know that the brand you purchased from will have timely and cost-efficient customer service that saves you potential food waste, labor and efficiency in running your business.

Popular Commercial Walk-In Pre-Fab Models

American Panel 8X10F-I Pre-Fab Walk-In
Comes with indoor, foamed-in-place 4″ urethane floor panels, and acrylume interior & exterior hinged door with camlift hinges. Has a 100-monitoring system, vapor proof light, and top mounted 2-1/2 HP low temperature (-10° F).

Amerikooler DC060672 Outdoor Walk-In Cooler Without Floor
This outdoor walk-in cooler comes without the floor, and is made with 26-guage Galvalume. Its alloys keep it fully insulated and free from corrosion and kinetic incidents.

Kolpak KFX7-0610-CR Pre-Fab Walk-In
This walk-in cooler is durable, rust resistant and its door is reinforced by a kick plate. The ceiling and wall panels are strengthened by foamed-in-place polyurethane insulation. Cam lock connectors ensure correct alignment between panels for stability.

Nor-Lake KL7446 Pre-Feb Walk-In
Comes with four-inch-thick panels that are NSF and UL Listed, to ensure a steady temperature range, an external thermometer to monitor temperatures, and a CSA and UL listed dead bolt locking door with a 26-inch-wide opening.

Master-Bilt MB5860812CIX Pre-Fab Walk-In
This self-contained refrigeration system is wired, optimally charged and run tested, fully compliant with all Federal EISA requirements, and UL listed door.

Let The Kitchen Spot connect you with expert dealers to help you find the best in design, build and installation from trusted walk-in refrigeration brands.