Is There A Difference Between A Cooler Vs. A Refrigerator?

Whether you own a bar, restaurant or convenience store, having the right commercial refrigeration equipment is crucial. Providing your customers with drinks cooled to the ideal temperature and ready to go whenever they need them is one of the most important elements of your ongoing success. However, if you’ve ever shopped for this equipment, you understand how many options are available to you. These units come in so many different sizes, shapes and styles that it can be a little confusing for the average small business owner to keep straight.

For example, do you need a cooler or a refrigerator? Although many people use these two terms interchangeably, the truth is that choosing between a cooler versus a refrigerator is a little more involved than you might think. Read on to learn more about each kind of appliance so you can make the right choice when it comes to a cooler versus a fridge for your business.

Commercial Coolers

A commercial cooler typically describes a unit that is used to keep beverages cool until customers purchase them. They’re usually found in retail stores or behind bars, and feature glass doors and LED interior lighting to help customers see what’s inside. There are many different configurations of these units available, including narrow coolers with swinging doors and double-wide models that feature sliding doors. Some include lighted panels that can be customized with advertising or logos to promote a particular product line or fit into a store’s branding. Some of the most common cooler types include:

  • Retail display coolers for point-of-sale purchases
  • Back bar coolers used for chilling bottles and cans
  • Open air coolers that don’t include doors for easier access to products

Commercial Refrigerators

On the other hand, refrigerators tend to be used in commercial kitchens and other back-of-house applications. Because they are used primarily by kitchen staff or other employees, they mostly don’t include branding or glass doors found on consumer-facing coolers. In addition, they also tend to feature adjustable shelving and specialized compartments for specific types of products such as eggs or fresh produce. Because a commercial fridge comes equipped with these features, it tends to be more versatile than a cooler. Some of the most common varieties of commercial refrigerators include:

  • Wine refrigerators that are designed to keep wines at their ideal temperature to maintain quality
  • Undercounter refrigerators that fit beneath work surfaces for easy access to ingredients
  • Medical refrigerators designed specifically to preserve medications, biological samples and more

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Refrigeration Unit

If you’re trying to choose a cooler versus a refrigerator, it’s important to sit down and think about what features you need most and how you’ll be using it. Some of the most important factors to consider include:

  • Temperature: Although both types of units provide adjustable temperature ranges, it’s important to know that refrigerators are typically designed to operate at temperatures of 39 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Coolers, on the other hand, can be set at a temperature of up to 65 degrees for wines and other types of beverages.
  • Humidity: Refrigerators tend to keep humidity levels low, while coolers offer more flexibility. This is important for wine and other products that benefit from a more humid storage environment.
  • Display: If you want customers to be able to choose their beverages without leaving the door open and wasting energy, a cooler is the best choice. Their glass doors and interior lighting make it easy to display items.

No matter which unit you need, Iron Mountain Refrigerator & Equipment has the best selection. To learn more about everything we have to offer, get in touch with us today or browse through our inventory here on our website.