Know The Differences between Domestic and Medical Refrigerators

Did you know that there are stark differences between domestic and medical refrigerators? If no, then this article is right for you, and if yes, then this article will help you further solidify your understanding, so read on, regardless of knowing it or not.

Both types of refrigerators differ from each other in the following respects:

Storage Items

Domestic refrigerators are meant for storing items, such as fruits, vegetables, beverages, pork, fish, etc. But medical refrigerators are meant for storing medicines, reagents, vaccines, blood, biological samples, etc.

Temperature Range

Domestic refrigerators can provide a temperature range of 0 to 10 degrees C. These refrigerators often generate temperature fluctuations and bear the possibility of frost accumulation in the cabinet.  

If you store stuff, such as reagents and vaccines in a domestic refrigerator, the temperature fluctuations will make them lose their potency and become unfit for use. 

One the other hand, medical refrigerators can maintain a temperature range of 2 to 8 degrees C. The temperature fluctuation is very minimal, which varies within 3 degrees C.

For a blood bank refrigerator is a must as it has to keep blood at 4 degrees C, without temperature fluctuations. 

Sensor Types

Domestic refrigerators generally come with only one temperature sensor. The temperature changes significantly during the starting and stopping of the compressor. 

But medical refrigerators usually have 2 to 3 temperature sensors. As such, such refrigerators can maintain an accurate temperature.  

After you open and close the door frequently, the control system can bring the temperature to the earlier levels. 

Compressor Types

Compressors in both refrigerator types are different. The compressors in the domestic refrigerators can lead to sudden temperature drops to fluctuate the temperature significantly. If temperature-sensitive medical items are stored in such a refrigerator, they might get damaged. 

But compressors used in medical refrigerators are robust. They reduce temperature fluctuations.

Cooling Methods

The cooling methods in both the refrigerator types are different. Usually, domestic refrigerators come with direct cooling auxiliary fans to minimize electricity consumption. 

The evaporator remains close to the inner wall, where the temperature is lower. When you place medicines close to the inner wall, frost is likely to build-up on the items. 

There is a layout of finned evaporators in medical refrigerators, with a fan system to keep uniform air temperature inside the unit. 

Usually, the fin-type air cooling structure, which has a sophisticated design to maintain temperature uniformity and low-temperature fluctuation, is used in medical refrigerators. 

A specially designed back air duct inside isolates the cold source to maintain a uniform and constant temperature within the unit. Such a refrigerator ensures the safety of biological products such as reagents, vaccines or samples.

Alarm Functions

Domestic refrigerators do not have any alarm system. But some high-end variants do have an over-temperature alarm function.

Medical refrigerators come with an alarm function. In fact, it is a must for such refrigerators., which come with alarm systems, such as high and low-temperature alarms, thermostat failure alarms, power failure alarms, door opening and closing alarms, and high ambient temperature alarms. 

Additionally, the refrigerators come with a condenser congestion alarm, sensor failure alarm, low battery alarm, and abnormal voltage alarm. 

Thermostat Types

In domestic refrigerators, there are adjustable mechanical thermostats with a range of 1 to 7 digits. Some of the high-end variants come with LED digital thermostats to display the inside temperature.

Medical refrigerators come with an electronic temperature controller with LED digital display or liquid crystal display. It displays the real-time inside temperature.

Temperature Accuracy

Medical refrigerators can maintain temperature more accurately than domestic refrigerators. With ordinary mechanical thermostats, domestic refrigerators fail to maintain temperature accuracy. However, the high-end variants come with digital display thermostats to maintain a temperature accuracy of 1 degree C.

Medical refrigerators can maintain a temperature accuracy of 0.1 degrees C.with an electronic thermostat.

Insulation Layer Thickness

Usually, the thickness of the insulation layer of domestic refrigerators is 20-45mm of polyurethane foam. In medical refrigerators, the insulation layer’s thickness is usually 40-50mm of high-density polyurethane foam. And for low-temperature freezers, the insulation thickness can reach 120-160mm. With thicker insulation, medical refrigerators can provide better insulation performance.

Internal and External Materials

A domestic refrigerator’s cabinet’s external material is made of a steel plate with an organic coating. It is also called a colour coated steel plate. It is also made of a metal plate with a surface covered with PVC or PET film. The inner liner material is usually made of Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) copolymer of polystyrene (PS) plastic.

In medical refrigerators, cold-rolled sprayed steel plates are generally used to make the outside of the cabinet. And the inside is made up of cold-rolled sprayed steel plates, electro-galvanized steel plates or 304 stainless steel, which has better corrosion and rust resistance.


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