Walk-in Chiller or Walk-in Freezer: Which Should I Get for My Business?

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On our sunny island, the tropical climate poses unique challenges to preserving the freshness of perishable goods. The heat and humidity have conspired to make reliable and efficient refrigeration solutions a necessity all year round. The upfront investment costs and the long-term benefits of maintaining optimal storage conditions can vary depending on the refrigeration solutions you choose.

Compared to stand-alone refrigeration units, walk-in chillers and freezers have spacious interiors that make it easier for staff to navigate items. Keeping inventory accessible greatly reduces the risk of waste. Walk-in cold rooms are also more energy efficient and can maintain a consistent temperature with minimal fluctuations. So which walk-in cold room is best for you?

In this article, we’ll walk you through the key differences between walk-in chillers and freezers so you can determine which option fits your unique needs in Singapore’s hot and humid climate. 

What is a walk-in chiller?

A walk-in chiller maintains temperatures between 1 to 5 degrees Celsius, ideal for perishable goods like meats, seafood, dairy and produce. It’s a more flexible option if you need to store a variety of chilled items. 

What is a walk-in freezer?

A walk-in freezer operates between -18 to -25 degrees Celsius, suited for long-term storage of frozen goods. If you primarily deal with frozen foods, a walk-in freezer would be better.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Between a Walk-in Chiller or Freezer

So you need cold storage for your business, but can’t decide between a walk-in chiller or freezer.  Here are some key factors that will narrow down the options for you.

Temperature Requirements

The key difference is temperature. A chiller operates between 1 to 10°C, while a freezer goes down to -18°C or below. If you’re storing fresh produce, a chiller is ideal. For frozen goods or ice cream, you’ll want a freezer. Some businesses use a combination chiller-freezer with different temperature zones.

Volume of Goods

A walk-in freezer is a big investment with the intense insulation and upfront costs. If the majority of your goods can be kept at a higher temperature between 10°C, consider getting a walk-in chiller. Stand-alone freezers can complement your freezing and storage needs if there is a lesser volume of frozen goods.

Humidity Control

Our tropical weather means controlling humidity is important. Chillers typically have built-in dehumidifiers to prevent excess moisture buildup which can damage produce and promote bacterial growth. Freezers also need dehumidification for optimal performance. Make sure any unit you choose is designed for humid conditions.

Costs

Consider the running cost of both a chiller and freezer and compare it with your savings with several stand-alone units. Factor in costs over the lifetime of the equipment to determine what makes the most economic sense for your business.

 

With the right choice and good maintenance, a walk-in chiller or freezer can serve your cold storage needs for years to come. Think about how you’ll use it and choose a unit specifically built to handle Singapore’s climate for the best results.

Top Uses for Walk-in Chillers in Singapore

Deciding on a walk-in chiller vs a walk-in freezer largely depends on the types of food you are storing. If any of these items relate to your business, you might consider getting a walk-in chiller:

  • Fresh Produce

    • Storing fresh produce like fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood or dairy. Restaurants, food processing facilities and distribution centres rely on walk-in chillers to keep ingredients fresh before use or transport.
  • Preserving Flowers and Plants. 

    • Florists use walk-in chillers to keep flowers, foliage and orchids cool, which helps them last longer. This is especially useful in Singapore’s hot climate.
  • Cooling industrial materials.

    •  Certain manufacturing processes require materials and parts to be chilled before use. Walk-in chillers provide an efficient way to cool large volumes of materials to precise temperatures.
  • Fermenting or ageing foods. 

    • Some foods like cheese, kimchi, or craft beers require controlled cool temperatures during fermentation or ageing. Walk-in chillers are ideal for artisanal producers to achieve optimal conditions.
  • Stabilising temperatures. 

    • Walk-in chillers can also be used simply to provide a cold environment for tasks that require lower temperatures. Research labs, electronics facilities or medical centres may use them for various applications.

With many benefits for commercial and industrial purposes, walk-in chillers continue to be an essential appliance for businesses in Singapore’s tropical heat. 

When a Walk-in Freezer Makes More Sense for Your Needs

If you need to store perishable food items or ingredients at an even lower temperature, a walk-in freezer is probably your best choice. Compared to a chiller, a freezer operates at a colder set point, usually between -18°C to -30°C. At these icy temperatures, a freezer can keep food frozen for an extended period of time.

Keep Stock in Bulk

For businesses like restaurants, bakeries or food processing plants in Singapore, a walk-in freezer allows you to buy ingredients in bulk and keep them on hand. You’ll have plenty of storage space to stock up on meats, seafood, frozen dough and other items. A freezer also gives you more flexibility in creating and testing new menu items since you can make large batches and keep leftovers.

Save on Perishables

If you deal with seasonal ingredients or need emergency backup storage, a walk-in freezer comes in handy. You can purchase fruits, vegetables and other goods when they’re most affordable and plentiful, then keep them frozen to use when supplies are low. In the event your main refrigerator or chiller goes down, a freezer provides you temporary cold storage so you don’t lose your perishable inventory.

Get the Best of Both Worlds

For some companies, a combination walk-in chiller and freezer is useful. You can partition off part of the space at a colder temperature for short- or long-term frozen storage, while still using the rest of the unit as a chiller. This dual-zone setup may be more budget-friendly than investing in two separate units. It also consolidates your cold storage to a single location.

Let Kiat Lay Coldroom Specialist Help You with Cold Storage

With over 4 decades of experience building custom cold rooms for a range of businesses, we are the go-to builders to help you create more efficient cold storage. Based on the nature of your business and your space, we will recommend the size and layout of your walk-in chiller/freezer

With every room, safety and consistency is our top priority. With thorough insulation and efficient cold panels and refrigeration systems, we keep temperatures consistent throughout the walk-in cold room. Our inside-door releases make it impossible for someone to get locked in. Protect your staff with a release mechanism that makes it easy to get out to prevent accidents.

If you’re not sure if a walk-in chiller or walk-in freezer is the right solution for your business needs, give us a call and we will provide consultation on the best investment for you. Call us at (65) 6793 3313 or email us at enquiry@kiatlay.com.sg.

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