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Outdoor Walk In Coolers Basics

Metal outdoor walk in used to store temperature controlled items in an outdoor walk in freezer

Outdoor walk in cooler basics covers a variety of need to know information for businesses seeking an outdoor walk in cooler. Understanding the basics of outdoor walk-in coolers will allow you to make an informed and confident decision before purchasing a new outdoor walk in.

There are many benefits of utilizing outdoor walk ins. Some of the top benefits include freeing up space within a business as well as providing additional storage for large quantities of perishable goods that require a temperature-controlled environment.

Although similar to indoor walk ins, outdoor walk in coolers requires different specifications to ensure protection from environmental elements such as wind, rain, snow, heat and animals. These factors should be considered before making a decision. 

Outdoor walk-in coolers are susceptible to the effects of weather and must be designed specifically to withstand even the most severe weather conditions.

Due to this, outdoor walk in coolers require different materials, designs, and elements to ensure longevity, and protection.

This blog serves as a guide on the basics of outdoor walk-in coolers and what you need to know before buying one.

What Is An Outdoor Walk In Cooler?

Outdoor walk-in coolers are temperature controlled environments for the storage of perishable goods that is stored outside and specifically manufactured to withstand a variety of environmental factors. 

Outdoor walk in coolers are  often placed outside restaurants, bars, and warehouses allowing extra storage that is conveniently located for quick usage.

While outdoor walk-ins are manufactured to be free standing, they do have the ability to be an attached unit on the outside of a building. 

Outdoor walk in cooler basics

Outdoor Walk-In Cooler with Tan Finish and Mesa Profile

Outdoor Walk In Coolers VS Indoor Walk In Coolers

Deciding to utilize an outdoor walk in cooler vs an indoor walk in cooler comes down to the business need as one is not better over the other. 

Although seemingly obvious, an outdoor walk in cooler differs most noticeably by the location in which it is installed. However, there are a few other factors differentiating the two. 

Another factor to consider that differentiates an outdoor walk in cooler is the requirement of roofing. 

Outdoor walk in cooler roofing protects the unit from environmental factors allowing the unit to maximize its energy efficiency and lifespan. 

Refer to this blog for more guidance on choosing an indoor or outdoor walk-in cooler.

Outdoor Walk In Cooler Benefits

Outdoor walk-in coolers provide certain advantages over indoor walk-in coolers. The primary advantage is space availability, as outdoor walk in coolers provide additional space outside of a business. 

Another advantage is the location of the condenser in the refrigeration unit.

To operate, walk in coolers utilize a refrigeration unit that removes warmth from within the cooler. To rid the cooler of the warmth, it is expelled out of the unit and into surrounding areas.

The benefit of utilizing an outdoor walk in cooler over an indoor walk in cooler is the ability to expel the warm air outside, versus inside the business where additional energy usage is needed to cool the surrounding area.

Outdoor Walk In Pros

  • Easy Installation
  • Maximize Space Indoors
  • Convenient Access
  • Energy Efficient

Outdoor Walk In Cons

  • Requires Additional Protection From the Elements
  • Higher Cost Upfront Cost
  • Potential Damage from Environmental Elemements

Outdoor Walk In Cooler Manufacturing

Outdoor walk in coolers requires additional considerations for design and manufacturing to ensure proper protection from environmental factors. 

During the manufacturing process, outdoor walk in coolers’ metal undergoes the process of mesa profiling. 

This process corrugates the metal, adding additional strength and protection. This not only adds a structural component to the unit but also improves the appearance of the unit by minimizing natural imperfections from weather and day to day business wear and tear.


Machine used to create Mesa Profile for Outdoor Walk In Coolers

Once corrugation is complete, the metal is then sent down the line to be constructed. During this time the proper materials are brought together to create the frame.

After the frame is complete, it is sent to a foam press where it is filled and pressed to become one as a panel.

Once a panel is cured it is inspected and sent to be wrapped and prepared for shipping.

What To Consider Before Buying an Outdoor Walk-In Cooler

Before buying an outdoor walk-in cooler there a few things to consider such as size, location, color, climate, roofing and more.

Outdoor Walk in Cooler Size

When choosing an outdoor walk in cooler for your business it is important to consider how much additional space is required to safely store your products. 

When researching outdoor walk in cooler sizes, it is important to note these sizes are measured by the exterior size and do not take into account the thickness of the panels. To properly choose the appropriately sized unit it is important to consider the inside of the unit is smaller than the listed size.


outdoor metal building used as an equipment enclosure

Other factors to consider when choosing a walk in cooler size are the organizational tools you intend to use such as shelving and aisle space to restock and retrieve items as needed. 

Outdoor walk in coolers can be manufactured in a wide range of sizes from small units like a 10×10 to large customized units.

Outdoor Walk In Cooler Insulation

Outdoor walk in coolers require insulation to properly protect items in the unit from environmental factors. 

Outdor walk in cooler insulation is offered in 3.5″, 4″, and 5″ to best guard even the smallest transfer of heat from outside of the unit to the interior. 

While note required, it is recommended that outdoor walk in coolers in warmer climates consider a 4″ or 5″ insulation to ensure proper protection. 

Outdoor Walk In Cooler Customizations

There are a variety of options to consider when designing a walk in cooler for your business. Size, color, roof options and location are just a few of the customizations available to best fit the need of the business and environment in which the cooler will be installed. 


Outdoor walk in cooler are manufactured in a wide range of sizes depending on the storage need of your business. 


Another factor to consider for customization is the color. While it is recommended to stick with a light, white, tan, sand and other natural colors to deter the transfer of heat from the sun to the unit, it is possible to customize any outdoor walk in cooler color to fit your business brand and design but energy efficiency should be considered when doing so.

Custom outdoor walk in used to store items that require temperature control. Vertical alternating panels in white in red

Custom Outdoor Walk-In With Membrane Roof, White and Red Mesa Profile


While outdoor walk in coolers are designed to be free standing buildings, it is not uncommon for businesses to have them designed and installed so they can be attached to their current building. For some, this offers improved convenience and security.

Roof Options

While roofing is required for outdoor walk in coolers there is some customization options available. Location of installation and environmental factors should be considered before choosing a roof option for your walk in cooler. The roof of an outdoor walk-in cooler will either be a membrane roof with tapered foam or a standing seam roof.

When To Use an Outdoor Walk In Cooler

An outdoor walk-in cooler can be used for a variety of different applications. When dealing with size restraints, outdoor walk-in coolers can be used to free up storage and operating areas.

A common use of outdoor walk in coolers is for foodservice businesses with little kitchen and storage space. These applications include grocery, online grocery pickup, restaurants, bars, universities, hotels and more.

Outdoor walk-in coolers can help grocery stores and foodservice businesses by providing a dedicated storage space separate from the storefront to handle to online and pick-up orders.

Additionally, outdoor walk-in coolers can be used for e-commerce.






Combat Weather and Climate Concerns For Outdoor Walk Ins Coolers

Understanding the effects climate puts on an outdoor cooler will ensure the right materials, insulation, colors, and roof options are chosen appropriately to ensure proper protection and longevity of the unit.

At the most basic level, dark finishes are not to be used as they absorb heat and can cause visible damage on the metal. Weather should not be an issue for outdoor walk-in coolers as there are specific finishes, and components that are designed to specifically withstand harsh weather conditions.

The industry standing for outdoor walk in coolers is to choose natural finishes such as white, tan, or sand. These colors are less likely to absorb heat, keeping your walk in cooler for outdoors at proper temperatures. 

Climates with significant snow or rain will require specific roof options to ensure proper run off, protecting the integrity and structure of the unit from additional weight bearing and moisture retention. 

Outdoor walk-in coolers are specifically customized and designed to combat the effects of weather. At KPS Global, our engineering and design team recommends certain specifications that are designed to withstand harsh conditions. 


Outdoor walk in coolers are a great asset to many businesses as they offer additional storage for perishable items in a convenient location. 

Factors to consider before choosing an outdoor walk in cooler include: size, install location, roofing, and insulation. 

Due to their easy installation, convenient access, energy efficiency, and space savings, outdoor walk in cooler are a great choice for businesses seeking additional storage. 


For more information on outdoor walk-in coolers visit our website or contact a KPS Global expert to get started today.

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