Commercial Steam Table: Best Picks for Your Business


Worcest 6 Pan Commercial Food Warmer

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A commercial steam table is an indispensable piece of equipment in the food service industry. Used primarily in buffet-style dining settings and commercial kitchens, these tables use steam or heated water to keep cooked food at the optimal serving temperature.

Commercial Steam Tables

Commercial steam tables, or buffet steam tables, are designed to keep prepared food at safe serving temperatures for extended periods. Using either electric heat or gas, they heat water to produce steam surrounding the food pans, keeping food warm without further cooking. They are most commonly found in establishments that need to maintain food temperature over a period, such as in buffet lines, cafeterias, and catering events.

These tables consist of wells where water is heated to create steam. Above these wells, food pans containing the prepared food are placed. The steam that rises from the wells envelops the food pans, maintaining the temperature of the food. The benefit of this method is that it prevents food from drying out, which can occur with dry heat methods.

Steam tables are available in various sizes and designs, with some having two or more compartments to simultaneously hold different types of food. Some models also include storage bins underneath for added convenience, enabling the efficient organization of supplies. Whether serving lasagna or stir-fried vegetables, commercial steam tables ensure that your food remains at the ideal temperature and texture.

The primary purpose of commercial steam tables is to keep food warm while preserving its quality. Unlike other methods that continue to cook food while keeping it warm, steam tables eliminate this problem, ensuring that the food remains at the correct serving temperature without becoming overcooked. This makes them an ideal choice for commercial food-serving establishments.

Best Commercial Steam Table Picks for Your Business

Keep the foods you serve at your place of business warm with these commercial steam tables now available on Amazon.

FeatureTop Pick: Worcest 6 Pan Commercial Steam Table Food WarmerRunner Up: Leblett Commercial Countertop Steam Table with Temperature ControlBest Value: VEVOR Commercial Electric 4-Pot Steam Table Food Warmer
BrandWorcestLeblettVEVOR
ColorStainless SteelStainless Steel and GlassAll Stainless Steel
MaterialStainless Steel201 Stainless Steel304 Stainless Steel
Voltage110 Volts110V/ 60Hz110V/60Hz
Wattage1500 watts1.2kW2000 W
Number of Food Pans664
Capacity16 Qt/15LTotal Capacity: 36L/ 38QtEach Pan Capacity: 22L/5.8 gals
Temperature Range86-185?/30-85?30-85?/ 86-185?0-100?/0-212?
Anti-Dry-Boll Button DesignYesYes-
Safety FeaturesETL, CE ROHS certifiedPrevents dry burning-
Adjustable TemperatureYesYesYes

Worcest 6 Pan Commercial Steam Table Food Warmer

Key Features:

  • High Capacity: With 6 compartments and included lids, this food warmer provides a total capacity of 16 Qt/15L, accommodating all your food heating requirements.
  • Thermostatic Adjustment Design: Easily control the temperature within the range of 86-185?/30-85? using the adjustable knob. The thermostatic temperature control ensures a consistent temperature throughout the unit, saving energy while keeping your food warm.
  • Anti-Dry-Boll Button Design: The food heater includes an anti-dry button that automatically stops dry-boiling when the water is depleted. Simply add water and press the button to restart the heating process. Cleaning is also convenient with a built-in faucet for easy water drainage.
  • Food-Grade Safety Stainless Steel: Crafted from food-grade 304 stainless steel, this steam table is resistant to rust and corrosion. The thickened wall adds sturdiness and durability, ensuring long-lasting performance. The product is certified ETL, CE, and ROHS for supreme quality and safe use.
  • Wide Applications: Ideal for restaurants, canteens, catering services, and other high-demand food establishments, this electric food warmer is a versatile choice for keeping and heating food efficiently.

Worcest 6 Pan Commercial Steam Table Food Warmer

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Leblett Commercial Countertop Steam Table with Temperature Control

Leblett Commercial Food Warmer

Key Features:

  • Maintain Optimal Taste: This steam table efficiently heats food with hot water, retaining heat and freshness for longer durations compared to traditional alcohol-heated warmers. Enjoy your food at the perfect temperature, preserving its taste and quality.
  • High Safety: Preventing dry burning, the steam table automatically shuts off power when water levels are insufficient, ensuring safe and worry-free operation.
  • Large Capacity: Featuring six 6L/6.3Qt pans, this steam table allows you to hold ample food quantities, catering to your customers’ needs.
  • Temperature Adjustable: Easily adjust the temperature with the control knob, offering a range of 30-85?/86-185? to suit different food requirements.
  • Constant Temperature Function: The steam table includes an automatic constant temperature function, halting heating once the desired temperature is reached and resuming when needed, maintaining a consistent food temperature.
  • High Efficiency: With 1.2kW power and a U-shaped heating element, this steam table rapidly and evenly heats food, ensuring efficient food preparation.
  • Easy to Use: Add water to the bottom of the food warmer, load your food, and plug in the electricity to start using—no complicated processes or setup required.
  • Customer Service: We are committed to providing quality products and excellent service. If you encounter any issues, please get in touch with us, and we will promptly assist you.

Leblett Commercial Countertop Steam Table with Temperature Control

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VEVOR Commercial Electric 4-Pot Steam Table Food Warmer

VEVOR Commercial Electric Food Warmer

Key Features:

  • All Stainless Steel Construction: The heavy-duty stainless steel structure ensures robust sturdiness and longevity, with all parts in contact with food made of food-grade material for added safety and hygiene.
  • Four Full-Size Pans: This steam table can accommodate four 1/1-size, 6″ deep food pans, allowing you to separate different foods and maintain their original flavors.
  • Adjustable Temperature: Easily set the temperature between 0-100°(0-212?) using the rotary knob, ensuring your food is kept at the ideal temperature. Please note that this steam table is intended for dry use.
  • Fast Heating: The well-designed thickened heating tube provides rapid and even heating, maximizing efficiency and ensuring quick heat transfer for your food.
  • 2 Lockable Wheels: Equipped with 360-degree rotation lockable wheels and a side handle, the steam table offers easy movement and secure placement, allowing you to position it conveniently in your kitchen.
  • Cutting Side Table & Under Shelf: The included poly cutting board provides extra workspace for ingredient preparation, while the practical under shelf offers storage space for utensils, food pans, and other essentials.

VEVOR Commercial Electric 4-Pot Steam Table Food Warmer

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ROVSUN 42.3QT 4-Pan Electric Commercial Steam Table

ROVSUN 42.3QT 4-Pan Electric Commercial Food Warmer

Key Features:

  • Premium Quality: Constructed with high-grade stainless steel for durability, corrosion resistance, and food safety.
  • Large Capacity: Features a 42.3QT capacity with four compartments and lids, providing ample space for various food items.
  • Humanized Design: Equipped with a convenient faucet for easy operation and cleaning. Long-term insulation preserves the delicious taste of the food.
  • Adjustable Temperature: Easily adjust the temperature from 86-185?/30-85? to quickly heat up your food and keep it at the ideal temperature.
  • Versatile Applications: Suitable for nacho cheese, chicken wings, stews, eggs, porridge, soup, chili beans, milk, and more. Ideal for restaurants, catering, parties, cafeterias, and other events.

ROVSUN 42.3QT 4-Pan Electric Commercial Steam Table

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SYBO Commercial Grade Stainless Steel Food Warmer Steam Table

SYBO Commercial Grade Stainless Steel Bain Marie Buffet Food Warmer

Key Features:

  • Large capacity pan with compartments and lid included
  • Durable food-grade 304 stainless steel construction
  • Interchangeable design for easy replacement
  • ETL, CE, and ROHS certified for commercial use
  • Automatic shut-off and keep-warm function for convenience
  • 2-year new replacement warranty for peace of mind

SYBO Commercial Grade Stainless Steel Food Warmer Steam Table

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VBENLEM Commercial Electric Food Warmer 3 Pot Steam Table

VBENLEM Commercial Electric Food Warmer 3 Pot Steam Table Food Warmer

Key Features:

  • High-quality food-grade stainless steel construction
  • Three-well pans with lids for holding full-size food pans
  • Individual temperature control for each well
  • Foldable cutting board for extra workspace
  • Practical under shelf for storage of utensils and food pans
  • Wide application in restaurants, canteens, fast food establishments, and more
  • Fast heating with efficient heat transfer
  • Foldable side table for additional workspace

VBENLEM Commercial Electric Food Warmer 3 Pot Steam Table

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TAIMIKO Food Warmer Buffet Steam Table

TAIMIKO Bain Marie Food Warmer Buffet Warmer

Key Features:

  • Large capacity pan with six compartments and lid included
  • Durable stainless steel construction for easy cleaning and long-lasting performance
  • Adjustable temperature control for personalized warming
  • Fast heating stainless steel U-shaped heating tube for efficient heat transfer
  • Suitable for various occasions, including family gatherings, parties, and commercial use
  • Easy-to-clean design with a drain tap for effortless maintenance

TAIMIKO Food Warmer Buffet Steam Table

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Cadco WTBS-2RT Countertop Buffet Warmer

Cadco WTBS-2RT Countertop Buffet Warmer

Key Features:

  • 2 half-size steam pans: Allows you to serve a variety of dishes simultaneously.
  • Variable heat control: Temperature range of 155°F – 205°F for precise heat adjustment.
  • Removable pans and pan holders: Easy to clean and customize according to your serving needs.
  • Warming shelf base: Provides additional space for warming or serving.
  • Cool-touch handles: Ensures safe handling during operation.
  • Stainless steel construction: Offers durability and a sleek appearance.
  • Non-skid feet: Ensures stability and prevents slipping on countertops.

Cadco WTBS-2RT Countertop Buffet Warmer

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Sabary Electric Commercial Stainless Steel Food Warmer

Electric Commercial Food Warmer

Key Features:

  • 32 Qt Large Capacity with 6 Compartments: Ideal for keeping a variety of dishes warm and ready to serve.
  • Solid and Rustproof Stainless Steel Construction: Ensures durability and reliability, keeping your food warm for a long time.
  • Temperature Control with Anti-Dry Burning System: Provides even heating and automatically stops heating when the water level is low.
  • Easy to Clean: Features a tap for draining excess liquid, making cleaning effortless.
  • Widely Applicable: Suitable for office cafeterias, school cafeterias, birthday parties, restaurants, and more.

Sabary Electric Commercial Stainless Steel Food Warmer 

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TECHTONGDA Propane Gas Steam Heater

TECHTONGDA Propane Gas Food Soup Warmer

Key Features:

  • Uniform Heating & Durability: Made of stainless steel 304, this food warmer ensures uniform heating and offers a long service life.
  • Propane Gas Operation: Easily control the temperature with the gas regulator valve and adjust the inlet flow. Note that the machine cannot be used on flammable material.
  • Large Capacity: With 8 wells and a generous size of 13″10.5″4″ (32.5cm26.5cm10cm) for each container, you can conveniently pack a variety of dishes, including soups.
  • Simple Operation: The easy-to-use button and clear indicator light make operation hassle-free.
  • Package & Content: The wooden box and foam packaging provide additional safety, and the package includes a heating tank and matching lid.

TECHTONGDA Propane Gas Steam Heater

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Importance and Applications of Commercial Steam Tables

Commercial steam tables are essential for businesses that need to maintain the temperature of prepared food for long periods. From buffets and cafeterias to banquet halls and catering companies, these units enable large quantities of food to be kept warm and ready to serve. They are designed to be robust and durable, capable of withstanding the rigors of a busy commercial kitchen.

In addition to their primary function of keeping food warm, steam tables also contribute to an efficient workflow in the kitchen. Some models come equipped with storage bins underneath, allowing for the convenient storage of additional food pans, utensils, or other necessary supplies. This feature can significantly improve the organization and efficiency of a commercial kitchen, making the service process smoother and faster.

Furthermore, commercial steam tables also play an important role in ensuring food safety. By maintaining food at a temperature above the “danger zone” (between 40°F and 140°F, where bacteria grow most rapidly), steam tables help to prevent foodborne illnesses. This is especially critical in buffet settings, where food is exposed for extended periods.

From a customer’s perspective, steam tables also improve the dining experience. Food kept at the right temperature tastes better and has a more appealing texture. Whether in a restaurant, a catered event, or a school cafeteria, a commercial steam table ensures that the food served is not just safe but also delicious and enjoyable.

Different Types of Commercial Steam Tables

Several types of commercial steam tables are available in the market, each designed to meet specific needs. The most common types are gas steam tables and electric steam tables. As their names suggest, gas steam tables use propane or natural gas as a heat source, while electric steam tables use electricity.

Gas steam tables are often preferred for their high heat output and quick recovery times. They are ideal for use in environments where access to electricity may be limited or in establishments that already utilize gas for other tasks.

Structure and Design of Commercial Steam Tables

The structure and design of commercial steam tables vary according to the specific needs of an establishment. However, some standard components make up the build of these units. This section will discuss the key components, the materials used in construction, and the differences in design based on manufacturer and model.

Key Components of a Commercial Steam Table

A commercial steam table comprises heating elements, wells or compartments, a water pan, and food pans. The heating elements, powered by gas or electricity, heat the water in the well or compartment to produce steam. This steam then envelops the food pans placed above, keeping the food warm.

The compartments or wells in a steam table are designed to hold water and create a steam environment for the food pans. They are typically lined with spillage pans, which collect any food or liquid that may drip or spill from the food pans, ensuring that it doesn’t contaminate the water or other foods.

The food pans are shallow, rectangular trays that sit above the steam wells and hold the food items. They are designed to transfer heat evenly across their surface, ensuring uniform food heating. Some steam tables also feature a sneeze guard or protective shield to protect food from airborne contaminants.

Finally, some steam tables have storage bins underneath the wells. These bins provide additional storage space for spare food pans, utensils, or other supplies, adding to the efficiency and convenience of the steam table setup.

How Commercial Steam Tables Work

Commercial steam tables utilize steam heat to maintain the temperature of cooked food for extended periods. This section will examine the heating process, the variations in heating techniques, and how steam tables ensure food stays safe and of high quality.

The Heating Process

Commercial steam tables keep food warm by using water to create steam that heats the food pans from below. Here’s how it works: the steam table wells are filled with water, then the heating elements, either electric or gas, heat the water until it turns into steam—the steam envelopes the food pans, warming the food evenly and efficiently.

The efficiency of heating food using steam comes from the fact that steam transfers heat better than dry air. This results in the food maintaining its temperature without becoming dry or overcooked, as can happen with other warming methods. The moisture also helps to preserve the food’s flavor and texture.

It’s important to note that steam tables are designed to keep already cooked food warm and are not meant for cooking food. This is because they operate at a consistent temperature optimal for maintaining food warmth, not cooking.

Variations in Heating Techniques

Two primary heating techniques are used in commercial steam tables: electric heating and gas heating. Electric steam tables use heating elements to heat the water in the wells. This method offers precise temperature control and is commonly used in settings where access to gas may be restricted.

On the other hand, gas steam tables use a natural gas or propane burner to heat the water. This method provides powerful and efficient heating and is often preferred in high-volume food service operations. However, it requires proper ventilation and access to a gas supply.

Some models of steam tables use exposed elements to heat the water directly, while others use sealed elements that heat the water indirectly. Each method has its advantages, with the direct heating method providing fast heating times and the indirect method offering more even heating.

Ensuring Food Safety and Quality

Commercial steam tables play a significant role in maintaining food safety. They keep food at temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the point at which harmful bacteria can start to multiply rapidly. This ensures the food remains safe for consumption for longer periods.

In terms of quality, steam tables help maintain the food’s texture, moisture, and flavor. Unlike dry heat methods, which can cause food to dry out or become overcooked, steam heat provides gentle, even heat that helps food retain its original quality. This is particularly beneficial for delicate dishes that can easily become tough or rubbery if exposed to dry heat.

Commercial steam tables offer an effective and efficient solution for keeping food warm, safe, and tasty, making them an invaluable tool in any food service operation.

 

Choosing the Right Commercial Steam Table

When selecting a commercial steam table for your food service business, various options can feel overwhelming. Your choice will significantly affect your kitchen’s operational flow and efficiency. In selecting commercial steam tables for our recommendations, we meticulously assess a series of key factors to ensure that we present options that are efficient, durable, and cater to the varied needs of food service establishments. Here’s how we evaluate them, complete with an importance scale for each criterion:

  1. Capacity and Size:
    • Importance: 9/10
    • The size and the number of compartments are critical. The steam table should accommodate the volume of food typically served, fitting well within the available kitchen or serving space.
  2. Temperature Control and Consistency:
    • Importance: 9/10
    • Precise and consistent temperature control is vital for keeping food at safe and optimal serving temperatures.
  3. Build Quality and Material:
    • Importance: 9/10
    • Durability is key in a commercial setting. Stainless steel construction is preferred for its longevity and ease of cleaning.
  4. Energy Efficiency:
    • Importance: 8/10
    • Considering the extended operating hours, energy-efficient models can significantly reduce operating costs.
  5. Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance:
    • Importance: 8/10
    • The unit should be designed for easy cleaning and simple maintenance to ensure hygiene and extend its lifespan.
  6. Versatility and Adaptability:
    • Importance: 7/10
    • A steam table that can accommodate various pan sizes and types offers more flexibility for different menu items.
  7. Safety Features:
    • Importance: 8/10
    • Safety aspects, such as cool-to-touch areas and splash guards, are important for protecting staff and customers.
  8. Drainage and Moisture Control:
    • Importance: 7/10
    • Good drainage systems help manage moisture and make cleaning easier, maintaining the quality of food.
  9. Cost and Budget Considerations:
    • Importance: 7/10
    • We aim to balance the price with the features and benefits offered, seeking options that provide long-term value.
  10. Aesthetics and Design:
    • Importance: 6/10
    • The appearance should be professional and suitable for front-of-house use if applicable.
  11. Warranty and Manufacturer Support:
    • Importance: 7/10
    • Reliable customer support and a solid warranty are important for peace of mind and assurance of quality.

FAQs

What are the benefits of using a commercial steam table in a restaurant setting?

Commercial steam tables offer several benefits in a restaurant setting. They maintain food at safe temperatures for long periods, ensuring it stays hot and fresh without drying out or overcooking. This is especially beneficial in buffet-style restaurants or catering events where food needs to be served over an extended period. Additionally, they can help optimize kitchen space by featuring storage bins underneath for supplies and extra food pans.

How does a commercial steam table ensure food is kept at safe temperatures?

A commercial steam table ensures food is kept at safe temperatures by using heated water to generate steam. This steam surrounds the food pans, creating a consistent temperature environment. Most steam tables also feature thermostatic controls, allowing operators to adjust the temperature as needed to meet food safety regulations, which typically mandate holding hot food above 140°F.

What types of food are best suited for a commercial steam table?

A variety of food types are suitable for a commercial steam table, especially those that benefit from moist heat to maintain quality over time. These include stews, soups, casseroles, and sauces. However, it’s also good for non-liquid items such as rice, pasta, and vegetables. It’s not recommended for crispy foods as the steam can make them soggy.

What is the energy consumption of a commercial steam table compared to other warming equipment?

Commercial steam tables can be more energy-efficient than other types of warming equipment. This is because they use steam to heat the food, which requires less energy than dry heat methods. However, actual energy consumption can vary based on the model, size, usage, and whether the steam table is electric or gas-powered.

How should I clean and maintain my commercial steam table to ensure it remains efficient?

To maintain efficiency, a commercial steam table should be cleaned daily to avoid buildup of food particles and bacteria. This involves emptying and cleaning the water pans, wiping down the surfaces, and cleaning the heating elements as per manufacturer’s instructions. Regular maintenance should also include checking and replacing any worn out components, such as seals or heating elements, to ensure the steam table continues to operate efficiently.

What safety measures should be taken when operating a commercial steam table?

When operating a commercial steam table, it’s important to use heat-resistant gloves to prevent burns. Always check water levels to prevent the unit from running dry and overheating, which can be a fire hazard. When cleaning or performing maintenance, ensure the unit is turned off and cooled down to avoid burns or electric shock.

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Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 9 years. He currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.