Stainless Steel v. Glass Door Freezers: The Best for your Business

Stainless steel vs glass door freezers, man selecting a chilled bottle of wine

Many businesses require commercial freezers and refrigerators, from restaurants to medical facilities and convenience stores. Choosing the right unit requires considering many factors. Physical design and appearance are more important than you may think. For example, having a stainless steel door or a glass door impacts product visibility, cleaning procedures, cooling and more. Here are some things to help you decide if a stainless steel door vs. glass door freezer or refrigerator is better for your business.

Consider Purpose

Purpose and what you are storing are key considerations when deciding between a stainless steel and a glass door unit. Generally speaking, fresh and raw foods are best kept in a solid door or commercial stainless steel freezer or refrigerator. Some medical supplies can be light-sensitive and require a stainless steel appliance as well. What you are storing in the freezer or refrigerator greatly impacts the type of door that is best.

Visible Contents vs. Out of Sight

You need to consider unit placement and whether you want individuals to be able to see the contents. For example, a glass door is an excellent option for a convenience store displaying chilled items available to customers like soda, juice or ice cream. On the other hand, if your business deals with medical supplies or medications and has a unit visible to customers, a glass door may cause security and privacy issues related to the medication stored inside. A steel door would likely be more appropriate. In restaurants, freezers and refrigerators are often kept in the back of the house away from customer’s eyes, so a glass door makes it easier for staff to see what they need.

Cooling and Temperature Maintenance

Both door types have pros and cons to cooling and energy efficiency. For example, stainless steel cooling units or display coolers are usually considered more energy-efficient, but it depends on how long the door remains open. The door may remain open longer while individuals look for a particular item, and this may cause a change in temperature to delicate items inside. Glass door cooling units can be visually appealing and allow people to get items quickly. However, commercial glass door freezers are often double-paned and gas-filled, causing them to work a little harder than a stainless steel unit. In the unfortunate event of a power outage, a glass door unit may warm up more quickly, leading to spoiled food or loss of product.

Cleaning Commercial Glass Door or Stainless Steel Freezers

Cleanliness is crucial to success in many businesses like the restaurant or healthcare industry, so consider cleaning frequency and procedures. Commercial glass door refrigerators and freezers tend to show smudges more easily than steel and require more frequent cleaning. A stainless steel door freezer also requires cleaning but does not show smudges as easily. Here are some recommendations for how often you should clean a refrigerator or freezer.

It’s important to note that there are many different types of stainless steel used in appliances, and there can be a difference in the coating or protective surface. If the protective surface is very thin, it can be easily damaged if not cared for correctly. Some things can damage stainless steel:

  • Hard water deposits left sitting on the surface can cause water spots and break down the protective surface.
  • Steel wool, scrapers or wire brushes can leave scratches or abrasions.
  • Chlorides found in industrial cleaners, table salt and some food can wear down protective surfaces.

Be sure to research the correct cleaning products for the appliance you choose. Here are some tips for cleaning stainless steel freezers.

Before You Buy, Ask Yourself These Questions

Before you buy a freezer or refrigerator, ask yourself:

  1. What are you using the unit to store?
  2. Will the unit be visible to others?
  3. How often is it required that I clean it or how much time do I plan to spend cleaning it?
  4. How often will it be opened and for how long?

Refrigeration Done Right

Iron Mountain Refrigeration has a decade of experience in commercial refrigeration, serving businesses from every industry. Browse all our commercial refrigeration equipment and reach out to us with questions—we’re here to help! Customers have rated us 5-stars for customer service, shipping and warranties. Plus, we ship free to most locations.