3 Things to Consider Before Buying a Used Walk-in Cooler

A walk-in cooler provides an obvious benefit for businesses requiring cold storage: it keeps perishables fresh. The problem is, a walk-in cooler can represent a large upfront cost for a small business on a budget, leading business owners and operators to consider a used walk-in cooler.

Access Now: 3 Things to Consider Before Buying a Used Walk-in Cooler [Download PDF]

Applying the Buy-What's-Cheapest-Right-Now approach is understandable when cash-strapped entrepreneurs are bootstrapping a business. However, applying this approach to the purchase of a walk-in cooler, the equipment responsible for keeping inventory fresh and profitable, often leads to larger expenses in the long run.

Think buying a used cooler might still be worth it?

Consider these three things before searching for a used walk-in cooler on Craigslist:

  1. Energy Leaks
  2. Space
  3. Warranty

Energy Leaks

All the core components and parts of a walk-in cooler must be dismantled before a used walk-in cooler can be delivered from its existing location to yours. 

The issue? Walk-in cooler panels and doors will not reseal properly once taken apart. The voids caused by these improperly sealed panels and doors can lead to energy leaks. 

Energy leaks, or loss of refrigeration, can:

  • cause your refrigeration unit to overwork, decreasing its overall life
  • produce higher utility bills due to an overconsumption of energy
  • decrease the profitability of your business due to perishable loss and spoilage

Making matters worse, the condensation and mildew caused by energy leaks present a safety hazard for your perishables and employees who can slip and fall.


When you buy a used walk-in cooler, you're buying equipment built to the specifications of the space the cooler was manufactured for.

This means the used cooler you buy is likely going to be smaller than the total space available for your cooler. Sure, you can always fit a smaller cooler into your space, but how much space does that end up wasting? 

How about the door? Is its location on the cooler convenient for your space? Is the swing door offset to the right functional for your use? Could a sliding door work better?

As a small business operator, you know every square inch of real estate must be put to productive use. Leaving money on the table is not an option. 

Buying a walk-in cooler designed and built to the specifications of your location helps your business operate more efficiently and maximize profit.


Most walk-in cooler manufacturers offer a 10-year warranty for walk-in cooler panels, a 1-year warranty for refrigeration equipment, and a 1-year warranty for hardware. However, these warranties typically become null and void when equipment has been removed from its original installation site or dismantled and rebuilt.

Other warranty exclusions may include floor panels that have been wet-mopped and water hosed, or parts that have been subject to abuse, misuse, and improper installation.

No matter how good the condition of a used walk-in cooler is today, keep in mind that buying one typically means you don't have any manufacturer warranties.

In Closing

Starting and operating a business is filled with difficult decisions. Experience has shown it's better to invest on the things that build a strong foundation today than to cut corners and start operating on shaky ground.

A walk-in cooler is responsible for keeping your prized possessions - your perishables - fresh and your margins protected.

Ready to customize your walk-in cooler? Check out our wide array of coolers and freezers here.

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