Walk-In Coolers vs. Reefer Containers
A walk-in cooler and a refrigerated container (or reefer container) can both be utilized to store products at a specific temperature. Businesses that need additional on-site cold storage space can benefit from either type of unit. The type of cold storage unit you select will depend on several factors –
How much product do you have to store and how is it stored (in boxes or cases, on pallets, on shelves, etc.)?
What temperature do you need to maintain for your product?
Do you need to utilize the unit on the ground or on wheels for dock level access?
What power are you able to provide at your facility?
In this article we will address these questions and determine which unit is best for your product and the success and growth of your business.
Your ProductThe amount of product you plan to store will determine which size unit will work best for you. Our walk-in coolers are 20’L x 8’W x 8’6”H on the exterior and 17’L x 7’W x 7’H on the interior. They will give you approximately 119 sq ft of floor space and 833 cu ft of overall storage space. The refrigerated containers come in both 20’ and 40’ lengths. The 20’ units are 8’W x 8’6”H on the exterior and 17’L x 7’6”W x 7’6”H on the interior. They will give you approximately 127 sq ft of floor space and 956 cu ft of overall storage space. The 40’ units are 8’W x 9’6”H on the exterior and 37’L x 7’6”W x 8’3”H on the interior. They will give you approximately 277 sq ft of floor space and 2,228 cu ft of overall storage space.
The walk-in coolers are equipped with a large 4’ walk-in door on one end. The refrigerated containers are equipped with double cargo doors on one end. The refrigerated containers give you a larger opening that is approximately 7’6”W if the doors can be swung completely open. The walk-in coolers are generally utilized if you are going to hand carry boxes or cases in and out of the unit (like in a restaurant or catering business). The door is not wide enough to accommodate palletized product. The refrigerated containers are suited for palletized product (for commercial or warehouse type applications). The 20’ refrigerated containers can accommodate up to 8 standard pallets (single stacked, side by side). The 40’ refrigerated containers can accommodate up to 18 standard pallets (single stacked, side by side).
The cold storage unit you select will also depend largely on the temperature that you need to maintain for your product. Either unit can be utilized as a temporary freezer or temporary cooler. The walk-in coolers are capable of a temperature range from 0 deg F to 40 deg F. The refrigerated containers are capable of a temperature range from -20 deg F to 75 deg F. There are two main differences between the two units. The walk-in coolers are made for cooling or freezing only. They do not produce heat. They are also not able to control the humidity level. Most of the refrigerated containers are equipped with humidity control capabilities. They are able to remove moisture (or de-humidify) but cannot add moisture (or humidify). The refrigerated containers can maintain a relative humidity between 65-95%. They are versatile in that they can be utilized more for climate controlled applications as opposed to just cooling or freezing.
Ground Level or Dock LevelThe unit you select will also depend on how you plan to access your product. If you plan to hand carry the product in and out of the unit, either type of unit will work for you. The walk-in coolers are made for ground level access only and will take up about a parking space on-site. They are delivered on a roll back or tilt bed truck and placed directly on the ground. The refrigerated containers can also be delivered on a roll back truck or tilt bed trailer and placed directly on the ground. However, they are able to be placed on wheels and backed up to a loading dock as well. If your product is palletized, the refrigerated container is the best option for you.
The last factor to consider (but probably the most important) is the power you have available on-site. All of our units are electric. The electric units are a much more cost effective alternative to diesel trailers. They are also quieter and safe for the environment as they do not produce any harmful emissions into the atmosphere. The walk-in coolers require a 220V single phase power source. They are equipped with a 50 ft power cord and require a dedicated 30 amp circuit. The refrigerated containers require either 230V or 460V 3-phase power. They are also equipped with a 50 ft power cord. If you are utilizing 230V power, a dedicated 50 amp circuit is required. If you are utilizing a 460V power source, a dedicated 25 amp circuit is required. We recommend that you have your electrician hardwire the power cord directly into an outside disconnect. You will most likely need to consult with your local electrician to determine the power that you have available at your facility.
When considering an additional on-site cold storage unit, you now have the information to determine which unit would work best for your application. Of course, we are always available to work with you one on one should you have any questions. Please feel free to contact us directly or request an online quote.