While shopping for a used commercial freezer, there are several key factors to take into consideration before you commit to purchase.

Some of my clients get wrapped up into the age of the unit. Though this is important, it is not as critical as the condition of the unit itself.
For example, we all have a grandparent with an old round top refrigerator that runs great — it just won’t die. They built freezers and coolers of days gone by much different from today’s. These “older” units are not nearly as efficient as the ones of today, and we have more options and features today. Plus, newer models are easier to use and maintain.

So what do we look for…and what are warning signs of a unit going bad? Some inside trade secrets and tips should help clarify the question:

1) Obviously it is important to ensure the unit runs and “pulls” temperature-gets cold! A thermometer is crucial here, and a digital thermometer is better yet. A digital thermometer shows temperature drops in tenths of a degree and is more accurate than traditional mercury filled thermometers. If you don’t have a digital thermometer (and why would the typical purchaser), then ask the salesman to borrow his.

Bad door gasketBad door gasket2) Check the door gaskets. This is critical. A door gasket “seals” the unit and keeps the cold in. If you have a ripped or torn gasket, the unit will not be as efficient as they designed it to be. However, don’t allow a torn or ripped gasket to deter your purchase. A door gasket is fairly easy and inexpensive to replace. If the price for the unit is right, a gasket is an inexpensive and easy repair.

Pictured here are examples of non-sealing and ripped door gaskets…signs to look for when shopping for used equipment.

3) Is there water, oil, or other liquids on the floor underneath the unit? Without going into technical details, any fluid leaking from the unit typically is a bad sign. NOTE: all units do condensate and will therefore leak some water. This water is designed to be retained in an overflow pan at the base/bottom of the unit. This is common and ordinary and shouldn’t raise questions.

4) Inspect the cleanliness of the unit. If the unit is filthy, it shows how well it was maintained. A dirty unit will not last as long as a clean, well-maintained unit.

5) Check out the thermostat (if equipped). They design the thermostat to maintain temperature inside the cabinet, but it also tells the compressor when to run. If the thermostat is bad, it could prevent the unit from shutting off on temperature and can severely damage the compressor. How can you verify if the thermostat is good? 


6) Do the lights work? NOTE: Most freezer lights will not come on until the unit gets to a certain temperature. Don’t panic or jump to conclusions when you first start a commercial grade freezer and the lights don’t come on. This is normal. If the lights do not come on there are several easy-to-look-for answers. First wait until the compressor shuts off, indicating the unit has reached the designed temperature. If the lights still do not work:

A) Check the bulbs. Keep in mind, in many units, if one bulb is bad, NONE of the lights will work.

B) Some units will have a “stater” which is an easy and inexpensive fix.

C) Most freezers have a ballast that runs the lights. If the ballast is bad, this can be an easy or very difficult to repair depending on its location and wiring. This is something an electrician or technician should deal with.

D) Another more technical reason for lights not working is lack of 110 voltage through the 220 voltage power source. Again, this will require an electrician or a certified / licensed technician.

UL certified / NSF approved

NSF Sticker
UL Sticker

See: UL insignia for further info and clarifications…

See: NSF approved for further info and clarifications…


There are many good brand name freezers in the industry today. We can assimilate preference to the auto industry in that ALL companies make similar models and ALL companies have good and bad models.

However, there are detailed differences which separates and defines the individual manufacturers.

Weidenfeller favors some manufacturers and has a list we recommend avoiding. Below, you will find the brand we recommend. The application and usage of a used commercial freezer is imperative in the decision of which freezer to purchase:

Master-bilt logo


The Master Bilt freezer is the best freezer money can buy. Features of the Master Bilt include:

  • 1 1/2 hp Copeland compressor (leads the industry) OR Copeland balanced and sealed hermetic compressors (depends on year)
  • Digital controls with factory programmed settings
  • Latching doors ~ only freezer to have doors that latch open. This feature allows for ease of loading with product without having to prop the door open or have it continually slap you in the behind.
  • Heavy duty shelving. This freezer does not have those clips that continually fall off, are hard to install, or are mysteriously lost like a sock in the dryer.
  • Full length glass doors – allows for maximum visibility for displaying of products. Until 2009, Master Bilt utilized Anthony doors. These are bar none, the best doors in the industry, and are commonly found on most walk-in coolers and freezers.
  • Heavy duty frame and supports.
  • The largest evaporator fans in the business, which allows for greater air movement and cooling.
True refrigeration logo


The True freezer is probably the most common and typical freezer used in the industry today.

  • 1 1/2 hp Copeland compressor (leads the industry)
  • Well lit cabinet with interior and exterior (signage) lighting.
  • Heavy duty frame and supports.

The name TRUE as referenced to commercial refrigeration is likely the most common and most recognizable name in the industry. TRUE makes an outstanding freezer – always have and probably always will. With that said, TRUE has not upgraded their box or freezer at all and in my humble opinion is falling behind the competition. The TRUE has many nice features such as:

  • Has a well lit cabinet interior and the exterior upper sign marque, with many different styles and options is also well lit.
  • Heavy duty frame and supports.
  • Well built door closures / hardware
  • Easy to access and use thermostat
  • Copeland 1.5 HP compressors
  • TRUE is the only brand (currently) to have an internal box drain
Beverage-air logo


  • Well lit cabinet with interior and exterior (signage) lighting.
  • Heavy duty frame and supports.
  • Well-built door closures / hardware
  • Easy to access and use thermostat
  • Easiest of all freezers to diagnose, maintain, service, and repair

Keep in mind, each manufacturer has its flaws too. We do openly share any issues with clients as they prepare to make an educated purchase.

Please check out the Equipment we currently have in stock.

We always have many used commercial freezers in stock to choose from. If you do not see exactly what you are looking for, contact us for inquiries and requests.

Thank you for your great service. We struggled with our freezer not working correctly until you came and figured out we had a couple of issues that needed corrected with the unit. The unit is working fine now. Thank you.
Emil JensenFirst United Methodist ChurchGrand Rapids, MI

Primary Communities Served

Byron Center
Comstock Park

Grand Rapids