It’s one of the less glamourous aspects of running a kitchen but we all have to buy a new freezer unit at some point in our lives and an often overlooked option is to go the second-hand route.


Amongst the many restaurants that go into liquidation every year and businesses which employ a policy of buying new upgrades at predetermined intervals, there is always a healthy amount of used but fully functioning older model surplus to requirements on the market. 


Firstly, there is one important fact that needs to be addressed and that is the difference between commercial and household freezers which is essential to understand irrespective of whether you choose to buy new or used freezers.


Commercial freezers are designed with durability being a prime concern to enable them to cope with greater usage and more demanding environmental conditions.  This is reflected in the build quality, from the actual materials used in making the body of the freezer to the mechanics which need more powerful compressors to handle the heavier workload caused by higher humidity levels and the temperature raising more frequently due to being opened more.  Industrial freezers also require stronger defrosting abilities to combat the greater ice build-up that can be expected to occur and many domestic appliances do not have their own external temperature displays which aid the health and safety requirements for HACCP reports.


With buying used freezers there is of course one main advantage which is the financial gain that it provides, but this can be quantified in the following ways:


  • It’s possible to make potentially huge financial savings in purchasing a used freezer relative to buying a new version of the same model.
  • You can buy higher quality, premium equipment that wouldn’t otherwise fit your budget
  • Generally speaking, trusted manufacturers and top of the range models have a much longer expected lifespan and run more efficiently, so buying a used freezer can still prove more economical in the long term compared to cheap newer models



Buyer beware!

There are several pitfalls which come with the territory of buying used freezer appliances and common things to look out for include:


  • The general cleanliness and state of repair
  • That all door seals are intact and not showing signs of splitting
  • Unusual or strained mechanical noises when it’s switched on
  • All parts and components are included with the sale


It is also advisable to do some research by looking at consumer reports and customer reviews to check that the model you’re purchasing is easily serviceable and that spare parts are readily available and relatively inexpensive. 


We recommend that you always try to inspect the freezer physically before agreeing any sale with small scale sellers.  Don’t be afraid to take a knowledgeable person with you if you have little technical know-how or experience with the equipment so they can check the integrity of the equipment rather than only noticing superficial or surface damage.


One problem which is hard to spot from a quick inspection is the level of refrigerant gas within the unit which acts as a coolant and naturally dissipates over time but low levels could also indicate a leakage somewhere


Finally, once you have completed the sale and acquired your used freezer for a bargain price, closely monitor the equipment over at least the first month as any problems that arise which aren’t quickly detected could easily lead to a lot of food spoilage which both has a financial cost and can leave the business vulnerable due to a short-term lack of stock on site.


To conclude, the safest option by far is to always buy the goods from a trusted source or supplier who will often sell refurbished products or B-grade and factory seconds as well as used freezers which have undergone quality checks from their own in-house specialist engineers.  There is some real bargains to be found in the used market and by investing a little more time into your search for equipment, you can find a truly great deal.