Quite often when shopping for appliances, especially online, we’ll come across the term “commercial” in a title. Whilst there are no industry standards applied to phrase, and it can be used whenever without reparation, it does usually apply to a standard set of features from appliance to appliance.

Commercial and domestic bar fridges may sometimes look the same, but there is a significant difference between the two. When deciding, it’s worth considering eaches pros and cons so you can make the best choice for your situation. As a small business owner, do you really need to invest in a commercial fridge for your countertop, or can you get by on a second hand domestic one from a friend? Is it worth investing in a commercial grade fridge for a home bar if you think you’ll get a lot of use out of it? Valid questions, that have varying answers depending on what’s important to you!

Commercial bar fridges are almost always more expensive than residential units. As a consumer, we usually take this as a sign that they’re better quality and more durable. This is reasonable assumption to make, and is actually pretty accurate, but it still doesn’t mean that a commercial unit is your best option.

Commercial refrigerators are equipped with heavy duty internal and external fans, and a whole bunch of other hardware, which keeps the product inside at an ideal temperature. They’re very efficient at cooling warm items, and it doesn’t take long for an item to be chilled once it’s placed inside a commercial fridge. Busy cafe and bars that are constantly opening and closing their bar fridges to stock up or serve customers really need cooling on this industrial level. It makes sure new stock is chilled and ready to serve quickly, and keeps the fridge’s insides cold even though cool air is constantly being let out.

Quality and solid construction also play a part in a commercial fridge’s effectiveness. Thickened steel, multiple layers of glass, and high grade insulation should appear in the fridge body, as well as extra fans, evaporators, condensers – the list goes on. They’re packed with all these features to make them top notch at keeping things cold. However, as effective as these units are at doing what a fridge does best, it does come with a couple of drawbacks.

First of all, commercial fridges are a lot louder than their domestic counterparts. You’re probably thinking “But I’ve never even heard my fridge!”, and you’re right! Home bar fridges are geared to chill as efficiently as they can without getting too loud, so it’s unlikely you’ve ever heard them at work unless you put your ear right up to them. Commercial fridges are actually quite loud in the absence of any other noise, and can be quite a nuisance in quiet environments.

Secondly, if you install a commercial fridge you’ll notice a big jump in your power bill. Because of all their extra cooling power,bar fridges designed for businesses often need twice as much power as domestic ones do. Not only do they draw more power, more quickly, but may even require it delivered at 220 volts instead of 110 volts. Many normal homes and some small businesses will need to upgrade their electrical system to be able to provide this kind of voltage, resulting in even more costs. Alternatively you could use a power converter to bump up the voltage, but this is another appliance that takes power of it’s own, and also adds to your power bill.

Lastly, commercial units are designed for large spaces. You won’t fit one inside any sort of cabinetry, and most of them need 6 to 8 inches of clearance around them. This can be really hard to configure  in home bars, especially if limited space is already a factor.

Overall, commercial bar fridges are excellent at what they do. If you want a cold drink for you or your customers every single time you open it, with super fast cooling times and lots of space inside, you can’t go past a commercial unit. But if you have to consider basically any other factor besides having a fridge that knocks the rest out of the park, you’ll have to seriously think about whether it’s worth it!