How To Buy Used Commercial Kitchen Equipment - Guide
used commercial kitchen equipment(1)

How To Buy Used Commercial Kitchen Equipment - Guide

February 27th, 2024

A study released in 2022 found that every year, restaurants in the U.S. spend $28 billion on equipment repairs and maintenance and a whopping $35 billion on new equipment.

Commercial kitchen equipment is expensive, and buying it second-hand helps reduce the cost burden especially for smaller restaurants. Used and well-maintained equipment can offer better value for restaurant owners than buying new equipment.

But how do you go about buying used commercial kitchen equipment? This article will address the most important steps involved for restaurant owners.

 Key Highlights

  • Buy recognizable brands only.
  • Look for Energy Star certified equipment.
  • Compare prices and negotiate before inspecting.
  • Find local restaurants that are closing for best deals.
  • Inspect thoroughly and ask detailed questions.

Go With Reputable Brands Only

Try to buy used commercial kitchen equipment produced by reputable brands to ensure that you are getting at least some baseline of quality standard. There are many brands to pick from and doing the research prior to purchasing is important.

There are several reputable commercial kitchen equipment brands known for their quality, durability, and innovation. Some of quality commercial brands include: Vulcan, Hobart, True Refrigeration, Cambro, Blodgett and others.

Know Your Needs

One significant aspect to consider is to know the exact dimensions of the work space in your restaurant. External demands influence work patterns and structure. So, it is crucial to understand the kitchen’s specific needs.

Knowing your kitchen layout and customer’s demands can help you plan your kitchen design and prioritize which equipment is more essential. Layouts, access to outlets, lighting and ventilation system all impact your commercial kitchen equipment needs.

Look For Energy Star Certified

Always ensure that the equipment is certified by Energy Star when buying any used kitchen equipment. The blue Energy Star label offers restaurants simple, credible, and unbiased information that assures restaurant owners of certain quality standards.

An Energy Star-certified kitchen restaurant equipment saves energy without compromising on its quality or style. This also helps protect the environment and saves money on monthly utility bills.

Check If Parts Are Easily Available

When buying used commercial kitchen equipment, check how easily you can repair it in case it breaks down. Depending on usage tear and wear, you can check if the equipment has spare parts and whether you may need them.

Also, ensure that spare parts are available in your area as kitchen equipment is a critical part of a restaurant’s operations. This can help maintenance managers to make more informed decisions and plan for contingencies.

Inspect Equipment Thoroughly

Ensure kitchen equipment’s condition through proper inspection before purchasing it. There shouldn’t be any signs of rust or damage and the equipment must be in fully functional condition.

The equipment must also meet all the compliance and safety standards. Check the records of maintenance and repair. This will help you determine the shelf life of the equipment you’re buying and reduce potential issues in the future.

Get Warranty If Possible

Warranties or return policies offered by companies on kitchen equipment are a relief signal for restaurant owners. But, when buying used equipment, there is usually no warranty.

Sometimes equipment owners will offer a short-term guarantee or a return offer, which are always beneficial when choosing branded equipment. If faced with additional warranty purchase option, do consider getting it as it may reduce cost of future repairs and maintenance.

Negotiate & Compare Prices

When negotiating and comparing prices for used commercial kitchen equipment, start by researching market prices from various sources to establish a baseline. Inspect multiple options, considering factors such as condition, age, and additional services offered.

Ask detailed questions about the equipment’s history and maintenance, highlighting any defects or issues to leverage during negotiations. Be flexible, open-minded, and courteous throughout the negotiation process, considering trade-offs and building rapport with the seller.

Finalize all terms in writing, including price, payment terms, and any warranties or guarantees provided, to ensure clarity and transparency in the transaction.

Where To Buy

Restaurant can buy used commercial kitchen  from online marketplaces (Kijiji, Ebay, etc.), restaurant equipment stores, or through specialized vendors.

One of the best places to buy used commercial kitchen equipment at discounted prices is at closing restaurants. If you know a restaurants that will be closing its doors, inquire about their kitchen equipment.

You can also check Facebook groups and other local classified sites to find relevant used commercial kitchen equipment sales but make sure you do your due diligence and  conduct thorough inspections.

Factor In Additional Costs

When purchasing used commercial kitchen equipment, it’s essential to anticipate additional costs beyond the initial purchase price. Consider expenses such as delivery, installation, warranty, and potential repairs or refurbishments needed to bring the equipment up to operational standards.

Factor in ongoing maintenance and servicing costs as well to ensure the long-term viability and efficiency of the equipment. By accounting for these additional expenses upfront, you can make a more informed decision and budget accordingly for the overall investment in used kitchen equipment.


Navigating the process of purchasing used commercial kitchen equipment requires careful consideration, research, and strategic planning. By following the steps outlined in this guide, restaurateurs can make informed decisions that align with their budgets and operational needs. With these strategies in mind, purchasing used commercial kitchen equipment becomes not only a cost-effective endeavour but also a strategic investment in the efficiency and success for your restaurant.


Well-maintained commercial kitchen equipment from reputable brands can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years or more. The lifespan of commercial kitchen equipment can vary widely depending on factors such as the quality of the equipment, frequency of use, maintenance practices, and the specific type of equipment.

The most important piece of equipment in any commercial kitchen is the oven. Ovens are versatile and essential for a wide range of cooking tasks, including baking, roasting, broiling, and even some types of grilling. They are used to prepare a variety of dishes, from bread and pastries to meats, vegetables, and casseroles. 

Chef’s knife is the most common tool in a commercial kitchen. Chef’s knives are essential for a wide range of food preparation tasks, including chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing, and so much more.

Table of Contents

Get The Latest Restaurant Trends, Guides & Tips