Walk-In Coolers Vs. Reach-In Coolers

As a restaurant owner, you know that being productive is a critical part of succeeding in your industry. The right cooler can help keep your operation working efficiently and effectively, but you may be wondering which cooler is best for your operations: a walk-in or a reach-in cooler.
At Fugh Refrigeration, we’re going to help you determine which cooler will work better for your commercial kitchen.

What You Need to Know about Reach-In Coolers

A reach-in cooler is what you commonly see in a commercial kitchen. It is a compact, insulated cooler that you can store your food supplies in before preparing them.

Pros of Reach-in Coolers

  • A major benefit of reach-in coolers is that they are compact, meaning they do not take up much space. They can also be installed where they are easily accessible to your chefs and are available in a variety of different sizes and models.
  • To keep wait times low and the quality of your food high, reach-in coolers provide chefs with easy access to the ingredients they need. They also typically come with shelving, whereas you will need to install shelving separately if you purchase a walk-in cooler.
  • Easy installation is another benefit of reach-in refrigerators. All you need is a power source and enough floor space, and your reach-in cooler can be installed anywhere in your kitchen area, even on uneven floors since they have adjustable feet.

Cons of Reach-in Coolers


While reach-in coolers have many great benefits, they also come with their share of drawbacks:
  • Self-contained- This means every function that a reach-in cooler performs goes on within the refrigerator itself, adding to the heat and noise of the kitchen.
  • Shorter lifespan- On average, they have a shorter lifespan than a walk-in cooler due to the smaller machinery being more quickly damage.
  • Less storage capacity- With only 3 or 4 shelves inside, there is less storage for bulk quantities of food.

What You Need to Know About Walk-in Coolers

Walk-in coolers are a large cooler that is designed to hold your foods and ingredients at a safe temperature. This type of cooler is typically utilized for bulk food storage such as meats and vegetables.

Pros of Walk-in Coolers


  • Walk-in coolers are a customizable option that can fit almost any space, keeping them out of the way of your waitstaff and kitchen staff. Since they are larger and able to hold more than a reach-in cooler, they are a great solution for commercial kitchens that need to purchase food items and ingredients in bulk while saving on delivery.
  • Since they can also be installed outdoors, you do not have to worry about adding more noise and heat to your busy kitchen. Walk-in coolers also feature an open layout that allows you to install shelving and organize your items in a way that is most convenient for you.
  • Rather than increasing your power bill with multiple reach-ins, you can get enough space for your commercial kitchen by installing a walk-in cooler.

Cons of Walk-In Coolers


  • Even with the convenience of bulk storage, it is likely that you will still need a reach-in cooler in your kitchen to provide your workers with easy and efficient access to food items and ingredients.
  • Walk-in coolers tend to have a higher initial cost and require extra equipment such as strip doors, shelving, and air curtains. You will also likely require professional installation for your walk-in cooler, and it will take more prep work to get the installation area ready.

How to Choose Between a Reach-in or a Walk-in Cooler


Both types of coolers offer many benefits to a restaurant’s operations, so the one you choose will depend on your specific needs.
In most cases, a walk-in cooler offers better quality than a reach-in, but it also takes up a lot more of your valuable space near the kitchen. If only having a walk-in cooler was an option, then it would be the best solution for your restaurant, but unfortunately, that is not the case.
Having an easy-to-access refrigerator in the kitchen area is crucial to keeping your operations running smoothly. Without the convenience of a reach-in refrigerator, you could experience increased wait time, frustrated employees, and complaining customers.
In conclusion, using both a walk-in cooler and a reach-in cooler is the best way to keep your operations effective and efficient. Contact Fugh Refrigeration today to schedule your reach-in cooler or walk-in cooler installation!

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