A Buying Guide to Nor-Lake Walk-In Coolers and Freezers

Buying a walk-in will be one of the biggest investments you’ll make when owning a business. The options are endless and you want to be sure you’re ordering the best walk-in possible. There’s no reason buying a walk-in has to be stressful. With this guide, we’ll answer any questions and provide the tools you need to feel confident about your purchase.


Cooler, Freezer, or Combination Unit?

What you’re planning on storing in your walk-in will determine which type of walk-in to go with. Nor-Lake walk-in coolers store items at +35° F  and are best for storing produce, dry goods, flowers, and anything that will keep without freezing. Walk-in freezers store food at  -10° F and are for items that need to remain frozen before their use. Like the name implies, combination units have both a cooler section and a freezer section within the same box.


How Big?

Deciding on a size for your walk-in is perhaps one of, if not the most important steps in deciding which walk-in to buy. The rule of thumb formula for calculating the amount of space required is…

1 cu. ft.

28 lb.

For more information on calculating the proper sizing and space requirements, click here.

Nor-Lake walk-ins come in a wide variety of pre-fabricated sizes to choose from. Walk-ins range from as small as 4′ x 5′ to as large as 10′ x 14′, and anywhere in between. If you’re unable to find a pre-fabricated size that fits your need, Nor-Lake can always create a custom walk-in unit as well.

Standard walk-in heights range from 6′ 7″ high to 8′ 7″ high. Door sizes come in 26″, 30″ or 36″ options.


Indoor Vs Outdoor

There are a few key elements to keep in mind when it comes to deciding whether you’d like to go with an indoor or an outdoor box.

Space Requirements

The most important key to deciding indoor vs outdoor is, of course, seeing where you have the most available room. Regardless of indoor or outdoor, you’ll need to make sure the unit has half a foot to a foot of breathing room on all sides.


Generally speaking, indoor units tend to be more cost-effective than outdoor units since they don’t require they weather-proofing and larger refrigerations systems like an outdoor unit does. Plus outdoor units receive far more wear and tear than an indoor unit which could lead to more frequent maintenance costs.

Refrigeration Condensing Unit Location

Whether it’s remote or self-contained, having an indoor refrigeration system will create added heat to the environment and may put a bit of a strain on your HVAC system. Not only that but indoor condensing units also produce a bit of extra noise.
(See more about  the different type of refrigeration systems below).


When it comes to flooring options, walk-in coolers can be purchased with or without a floor. A poured concrete slab will provide adequate flooring for a cooler. However, freezer units do require you purchase a floor with them for better insulation.

Ambient Temperature

Walk-ins located in warm temperatures, either indoors or out, will have to work harder to maintain the temperature within the box which puts more stress on the refrigeration components. Walk-ins located in an area where ambient temperatures tend to be colder won’t have to work as hard to maintain the cooler temperatures and therefore put less wear and tear on the unit.



The Refrigeration System

Nor-Lake uses it’s patented Capsule-Pak Refrigeration system for all self-contained units. There

Remote Refrigeration

Remote refrigerations systems are systems where the condensing unit is separate from the box itself. Remote refrigerations give you a wider array of options as far as location; they can be located inside or outside your building, on the roof of your establishment, or even on the roof of the walk-in itself. Keep in mind, all remote refrigeration systems should always be installed by a professional.

Ceiling Mount Refrigeration

Nor-Lake’s standard ceiling mounted Capsule-Pak is pre-assembled and completely self-contained. Unlike other manufacturers which allow the evaporator coil to hang low into the box, Nor-Lake’s Capsule-Pak has a flush coil, which allows for 100% usable space on the interior. With ceiling and wall mount, please consider that if the unit is located indoors, self-contained refrigeration systems can add both noise and heat to your building.

Wall Mount Refrigeration

Wall mounted refrigeration carries many of the same benefits as the ceiling mount, with the added benefit of ease of access to a technician should the unit need servicing. Wall mount is also convenient for customers who may not have space to expand above the unit. The wall mounted option is available for both indoor and outdoor units.

Additional Accessories


Investing in kickplates is a great idea to protect your walk-in and preserve your investment. Kickplates reinforce the door against bumps, dents, scratches, and kicks from feet, equipment, and/or hand trucks. They are available in either stainless steel or diamond tread.

Exterior Ramps

If you intend on rolling product into your walk-in either by hand truck or by dolly, it’s best to invest in an exterior ramp. While certainly not required, it does facilitate a smoother way to put products into your walk-in.


Norlake offers green epoxy -coated shelving kits as an optional accessory with it’s walk-ins. Generally speaking, the shelves are designed to cover the side and back panels of the unit.


Nor-Lake offers one of the best warranties in the industry by offering…

  • 18 Month Labor/Service and original equipment parts warranty
  • 15 Year original equipment panel warranty
  • 5 Year compressor warranty


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