Wire carts, solid stainless carts, two or three shelf, polymer carts. Wire pan racks, aluminum pan racks, end-load or side-load racks, adjustable racks, either open or enclosed, roll-in refrigerator racks.
Carts and racks should be specified to meet a specific need. If the cart is to be used for clean-up, a polymer, two or three shelf cart might be best because it is quiet, strong, and easy to clean. If the cart is to be used for mobile transport of light equipment, such as a food processor or a slicer, a stainless steel two shelf cart might be best, for strength and for holding accessories on the lower shelf. Racks are either riveted or solid, or are shipped “knocked down” for ease of assembly and for reduced shipping costs. They are generally used for transport and storage of specific types of pans.
Usually, lighter loads are used on polymer or wire carts and heavier loads are put onto stainless steel carts. However, there are many classifications of strength. While stainless steel carts may look heavier, some units are lighter gauge steel, with a potential for easy bending or folding when heavy objects are dropped on them. Stainless carts are also considerably more expensive than polymer carts or wire carts. Racks are bought either with the pans loaded from the end or from the side. The spacing between the pans is critical for maximum utilization of the rack. For school foodservice, usually an aluminum, end load rack with 3″ or 5″ spacing is most often purchased.
For carts, the intended use, and the size required. For racks, the size of the product to be transported or stored, and the required distance between the slides.
The greatest cause for concern with carts is durability and cleanability. A cart that is quiet and easy to move but that breaks shortly after purchase is no bargain. Also, a very expensive cart, very heavy duty, that is being used to move pans from the kitchen to the line, is an inefficient use of your kitchen dollars.