Best Commercial Refrigerators: Review of the top 5 fridges
Commercial refrigeration brands, like all other equipment types, are numerous. With models available to suit every requirement and budget.
But with so much choice it can be difficult to decide what model is going to be best for you.
To help you, Eco Catering have created a list of our top 5 picks of the commercial fridge sector. This is based on our experience of the fridges we have supplied, their reliability, customer feedback and the manufacturer’s energy rating scores, warranties and everything else that should be considered when buying a new fridge.
For this review we are using refrigerators but keep in mind that, as a general rule, freezer and other temperature variants will tend to share the same general stats, although energy consumption will increase, as is the case with freezers. If the fridge performs well it would be expected that the freezer variant would follow suit.
Here are 5 of the best single door upright refrigerators currently on the market, all capable of holding GN 2/1 tray sizes
Update: Since we created this article there has been a major update from Foster Fridge, with the launch of the all-new Foster G3 range. With improvements across all aspects of the refrigerator, we have decided the new Foster Eco Pro G3 EP700 H cabinet will now take the number 2 position and the Liebherr GKPV 6590 will slip to number 3. Foster still doesn’t quite match the efficiency of the Gram Superior Plus K72 and is still 3 years short of Grams impressive 5 year warranty, which is why Gram keeps the top spot. The G3 is now that much closer to both the Liebherr and Gram in efficiency and, as much as we highly recommend the Liebherr, we can’t overlook the price difference. As great as the Liebherr is, it is significantly more expensive.
Highly efficient fridge with industry leading warranty
Net Volume: 462 litres Climate Class Test: 5 Energy Efficiency Class: A Energy Consumption: 285kWh/year Warranty: 5 years
+ Energy efficiency
+ Long warranty
– Initial purchase price
– Unit depth
If energy efficiency and low running costs are your priority, then look no further than the Gram Superior Plus. One of the few commercial units claiming a Class A rating for energy efficiency in the harshest Climate Class 5 test and providing one of the lowest energy consumption cabinets in the market, using only 285kWh per year. That adds up to a significant saving compared to other premium cabinets and a huge difference between the best and worst listed here, some two and a half times more efficient, and that’s before we look at lesser cabinets that don’t feature in this article. When measured over a cabinet’s life, that is a significant saving. Efficiency isn’t it’s only trump card, as the unit comes with a very high specification. 10 degree temperature control range with accurate temperature setting allowing for multiple usage. A useful foot pedal opener allowing for hands-free door opening and an industry leading 5 year parts and labour warranty, showing Gram’s confidence in their range and giving you complete peace of mind.
Watch our Gram Superior Plus overview video:
Industry favourite with a good cost to performance balance
Net Volume: 480 litres Climate Class Test: 5 Energy Efficiency Class: A Energy Consumption: 332 kWh/year Warranty: 2 years
+ Improved every area of the already popular G2 range
+ An impressive 100+ kWh per annum reduction in energy consumption compared to it’s predecessor
– Still doesn’t quite match the industry leader for efficiency, but it’s a lot closer
– Warranty length
Foster are one of the most recognised and purchased commercial refrigerators in the UK. And deservedly so. A British manufacturer, they have been developing and building commercial fridges for over 50 years. Not only are the cabinets great, they are very well supported, with parts and service support readily available. The all new Foster G3 EP700H has replaced one of the biggest selling premium upright cabinets and this looks set to continue its dominance with the latest G3 range. Every area of the already impressive G2 cabinet has been improved upon. Offering better ‘real world’ efficiency whilst maintaining its leading storage capacity. The Foster G2’s couldn’t match the impressive efficiency figures of Gram and Liebherr, the G3 changes all that. Matching the Liebherr’s figure and getting much closer to the Gram Superior Plus. And it does this whilst still maintaining its more affordable price tag compared to both competitors. The EP700H offers the latest iteration of Foster’s innovative condenser design helping reduce potential blockages and making the G3 EP700 range very easy to maintain. If you’re looking for a premium unit with a good level of efficiency and support without the price tag, the Foster G3 fridge does make a compelling argument.
Robust, solid, energy efficient performer
Net Volume: 465 litres Climate Class Test: 5 Energy Efficiency Class: A Energy Consumption: 336 kWh/year Warranty: 2 years
+ Build Quality
+ Temperature range
– Warranty length
Designed and manufactured in Austria, Liebherr are a quality product and typically Germanic in their design and build. They have a very solid, quality feel giving a real sense of robustness. The GKPV 6590 really is a very solid refrigerator. But it’s not just the build that excels. They run the Foster G3 very close on energy consumption and are second only to the industry leading Gram Plus K72 in energy consumption, with a consumption rate of 336kWh per year. This gives the refrigerator an A rating for energy whilst being tested in the highest climate class of 5. Liebherr only offer this unit with a stainless steel interior and exterior, for durability, robustness and ease of cleaning. They also feature the very useful pedal operated door opening for those times where your hands are full. Another leading feature is the shelf loading. They can hold a not insignificant 60kgs of product per shelf. They also have a helpful 17 degree variation in their temperature set point, running from -2 to +15 degrees. Allowing for real flexibility and future proofing. Even though this fridge is at the higher end of the price bracket, by the time you spec. other brands to the same level, you’re not too far off the same cost and they would still come up short in ultimate specification. The only negative is the warranty period when compared to the likes of Gram. The two year period is in keeping with the majority of manufacturers but for a unit of this quality and at this price point we’d like to see a 5 year warranty. That aside there really isn’t much to fault with the Liebherr.
A good performer with leading spec. for around £1000
Net Volume: 415 litres Climate Class Test: 5 Energy Efficiency Class: C Energy Consumption: 548 kWh/year Warranty: 2 years
+ Stainless Steel inside and out
+ Temperature range
– Energy efficiency
Hoshizaki, like a number of manufacturers have recognised the need for a more cost effective range for independent operators. People looking for a good commercial refrigerator without the requirement for the absolute best. Hoshizaki’s revised Snowflake range, now the Snowflake II, is a good option. Surprisingly, completed with a stainless steel exterior and interior, something not found as standard even on a number of premium models. It also comes with a 2 year warranty and sports a decent temperature range for flexibility. It’s a very good spec. from an industry leading brand and all for around £1000.
Watch our Hoshizaki Snowflake II overview video here:
Good all-rounder for around £1000, built by one of the UK’s leading commercial refrigeration manufacturers.
Net Volume: 440 litres Climate Class Test: 5 Energy Efficiency Class: D Energy Consumption: 733 kWh/year Warranty: 2 years
+ Major brand support
+ British built
– G3 isn’t much more
– Energy efficiency
Another industry favourite from Foster. Striking a good balance between quality and price. Built for the independent operator and usage in sites that aren’t too busy and the environment not too harsh. Backed by Foster’s service and parts support, the XR is a safe choice. Efficiency is pretty good for the price point whilst still maintaining a good net capacity. Scoring a D in the energy efficiency rating whilst being tested to climate class 5, a test which many manufacturers won’t put their budget cabinets through. So even though the consumption level is high, ideally the XR range wouldn’t be used in the harshest environments. Foster would argue this is where the G3’s range should be operating. With that taken into account the running costs would probably be quite a bit lower. However it’s good to know their cabinets will still function where others around the £1000 mark could well fail.
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