How to

18 October 2016

Breaking Down the 5 Primary Types of Cold Room

The type of cold storage you need to use depends on a number of factors – what you’re stocking, the size of your intake, vehicle access, power, space allowance, etc. If you need to install any kind of cold storage system, it’s important that you know exactly what kind from the word go. Understanding the key distinctions between the 5 main types is a good first step.


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These are basically industrial fridges, and tend to be used in catering to store the goods which need to be kept cold or frozen, but not immediately accessed. Typically, they are just big enough to allow room for one person, two at a push, and have a full sized door.  A ‘chiller’ walk in tends to operate at somewhere between 2°C and 12°C, a mid-range temperature unit will sit between 5 and -2 and a freezer will go from about -16 to -22.


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Modular cold rooms serve a similar purpose to walk-ins, but the size is far more variable, as they come in flat-pack form, whereas walk-ins tend to come premade. They can be cabinets, small rooms or full sized rooms, with the same temperature options. Often, multiple modules can be locked together or erected in close proximity, so you could have a chilled one, cold one and a freezer all lined up if you needed to. It’s also easier to fit additional design features based on what you’re storing.


Img source: hospitalityandcateringnews
Combination (or combi) cold rooms have internal temperature zones, so you can keep goods at different temperatures within the same unit. Once again, they can go all the way down to -22°C, depending on exactly what you need, and they can be fitted in various different shapes and sizes. This is largely a money and power saving option, as you’re putting everything into one unit, rather than having to route power to separate ones.


Img source: coldstoresolutions.wordpress
The largest type of unit on the market, industrial cold rooms are basically warehouses, designed for bulk storage. Never mind walk-in access, these units are designed to fit forklift trucks, mezzanines and aisles of pallet racking. For this reason, they’re obviously only worth considering if you have the funding, space and stock to accommodate/necessitate them. They use a very different cooling system to the smaller units, which means that the applications differ. In fact, they expand, to things like data centres and laboratory storage.


If you have very specific needs, cold storage units can be made to almost any size and specification (within reason). Many services offer a ‘made-to-measure’ option for those with very particular purposes in mind. It tends to be a case of contacting them directly, outlining what you want and then getting specifications and a quote for the work. It’s not a cheap option, but for some it’s an essential one.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop.