Commercial Steamer Guide

Things to consider for your commercial steamer purchase.

By Kinnek Community

Before you make a purchase, let Kinnek do the hard part. Submit a free request for quotes using the form to the right, and we'll get multiple suppliers to provide you their commercial steamer offerings and pricing so that you can compare all your options in one place!

Commercial steamers are still relatively niche products, but they are highly prized in kitchens that focus on healthy cooking, vegetarian or vegan cuisine, seafood, and on fast cooking in general.

Steamers are extremely efficient - they are able to cook faster than competing methods, with the added benefit of preserving the nutrient value and moisture of the food better than competing methods.  Steamers work by boiling water and transferring the heat created by that boiling water to the food (the details may vary depending on the type of steamer you choose, however).

Before you purchase a steamer, consider the availability of quality water for steaming, kitchen space, the need for a steamer (whether your menu could benefit from the purchase of an independent commercial steamer), the cost, and the per hour efficiency necessary to meet your production needs.

Water Quality Maintenance

Of prime importance to the operation of a steamer is the quality of the water that is boiled to heat the food.  If the water is of low quality, there will be significant negative effects on the flavor of the food.  To ensure that you do not encounter any flavor issues related to low quality water, follow the manufacturer’s recommended solvent levels to determine whether the water being used to steam is of sufficient quality.  As a general rule, do not attempt to steam with water that does not meet the manufacturer’s standards.

Pressure Steamers vs. Convection Steamers

Both convection steamers and pressure steamers use steam to cook food, but in convection steamers, the steam is circulated at normal pressure by convection with a fan, while in pressure steamers, the machine is tightly sealed, enabling a large buildup of pressure - and thus heat - that steams the food.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each type.

Pressure Steamers

  • Cooks faster than equivalent convection steamers, as it typically cooks at higher heat and pressure.
  • Good for large batches of food, such as in cafeterias, universities, hospitals, etc.
  • Works especially well with starchy or tough foods, such as potatoes and meat.
  • Initially more expensive than equivalent convection steamers.
  • Larger, less safe, and more difficult to use.
  • The taste of some foods may sometimes transfer to the next batch made in the steamer.
  • May not handle delicate foods as well as convection steamers, such as vegetables.
  • Cannot be opened while it is cooking, which means that workers cannot check the food inside during operation.

Convection Steamers

  • Usually produces higher quality results due to the lower cooking temperature, which preserves more of the nutrients, moisture, and texture of the food cooking inside.
  • Doesn’t suffer from taste-transfer issues.
  • Can be opened during operation to check on food or alter the food, making it easier to use and adapt to in a hectic commercial kitchen.
  • Initial costs are lower.
  • Takes longer to cook (but still faster than conventional ovens!).

Should you purchase a steamer with a boiler?

Choosing between a boilerless and boiler-included steamer will depend largely on the volume needs of your kitchen.  High volume kitchens (and in which the steamer will be frequently in-use during serving hours) will most likely require a boiler, despite the fact that the inclusion of the boiler makes the steamer more difficult to clean and requires more maintenance overall.  On the other hand, small volume kitchens (or any kitchen in which the steamer will not be seeing high volume use) will most likely do better with a boilerless steamer, as they require less maintenance, are easier to clean, and last longer.  Ultimately, you’ll want to choose a boilerless steamer (for lower costs, maintenance, and labor) unless there is a volume need that demands the inclusion of a boiler.

Related Restaurant Equipment and Supplies

Get Free Commercial Steamer Quotes from Multiple Suppliers


You have not completed the form. Please fix the errors above.

Related Articles

The Three Items of Merchandising You Need to Promote Your Brewery
Profile: California Winemaking at Cinnabar Winery
Commercial Measuring Equipment Purchasing Guide
Used Restaurant Equipment Purchasing Tips
Pizza Baking and Serving Tools Purchasing Guide
Pizza Oven Cleaning Tips
Cross-contamination Prevention Tips
Commercial Juicer Purchasing Guide
Coffee Brewing Machine Purchasing Guide
Pest Control Tips
Whiskey Glasses Types
Commercial Pizza Oven Purchasing Guide
Energy Efficiency Tips for the Commercial Kitchen
Commercial Dinnerware Materials Guide
Overhead Warmer Equipment Guide
Kitchen Health and Food Safety Tips
Cutlery Purchasing Guide - Knives
Knife Maintenance Guide
Commercial Pan Liner Guide
Commercial Microwaves Guide
Commercial Grill Guide
Commercial Waste Processor and Disposer Guide
Exhaust Hood Purchasing Guide
Self-Service Food Holding Equipment Guide
Commercial Food Preparation Equipment Guide
Popcorn Concession Equipment Guide
Kitchen Work Table Purchasing Guide
Pots, Pans, and Skillets - A Cookware Guide
Commercial Toaster Purchasing Guide
Food Storage Equipment Purchasing Guide
Commercial Range Purchasing Guide
Commercial Oven Maintenance & Cleaning Tips
Full-Size Commercial Oven Purchasing Guide
Deli Equipment Purchasing Guide
Commercial Ice Maker Purchasing Guide
Ceramic Mugs Purchasing Guide
Beer Glasses Purchasing Guide
Wine Stemware Purchasing Guide
Commercial Fryer Purchasing Guide
Commercial Refrigerator Guide
Brew Trends: Cooperative Craft Brewing (Part 1)
The Case for Cans: Trends in Craft Beer Canning
The Rise of the Cider Bar: Wassail NYC
Profile: Urban Winemaking with Brooklyn Winery
St. Patrick's Day Pub Promotions: How Galway Bay Pub Honors Its Heritage
How to Purchase Commercial Dishwashers
What is a Beer Growler? A Beginner's Guide