Tabletop models, floor models, units with pressure boilers, units with atmospheric boilers, “connectionless” units, different capacities.
Convection steamers are used when high volumes of high quality products are required. These units use high volume, high velocity dry steam for maximum heat transfer in minimum time. No flavor or aroma transfers occur which allows different products to be prepared simultaneously. Used for vegetables, poultry, meats, eggs, and pastas.
Tabletop units have a capacity of between 3 & 5 cafeteria pans. Floor models have a capacity of between 6 & 24 pans. Units with pressure boilers may be used to power adjacent kettles. Check with sales rep for boiler horsepower required for different steamer/kettle combinations. Atmospheric boilers may not be used for powering adjacent kettles. Connection less steamers have no water line, no drain line and typically do not have to be placed under a hood (local codes may differ). No filtration or descaling required. This is a great unit where water problems exist. Timer types differ with all brands.
Menu items that will be prepared in the steamer, number of students participating in breakfast and lunch program, time allotment per lunch period. Also, you must know voltage available for electric units and gas type for gas units. Be aware of space availability, as different units require different amounts of space.
All steamers have following utility requirements: gas or electric main power source, 110 volt electric for controls, cold water and drain. Drains should be open and not direct connected and be within six feet of the unit. As with all steamers, it is critical that incoming water be inspected and treated if necessary to reduce boiler scale. In very bad water areas, a connectionless steamer may be the answer. Consult a water specialist for recommendations. In areas where bad water exist, “boilerless” units are most popular. These units require no water filters and never need deliming or descaling.