Cambro Vs Carlisle – Which Food Pan Carrier Is Best?

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When it comes to choosing the best food pan carriers, Cambro vs Carlisle is an inevitable debate. 

Both are big names in the food service field and have a versatile range of food carriers to cater to your needs.

Whether it’s an electric or a non-electric pan carrier from any of the brands,  you should focus on the making material, size, weight, cost, loading style, heat retention, etc.

On that note, let’s explore some of the best-selling products from both manufacturers to decide on a better bargain. 

Cambro Vs Carlisle – A Quick Comparison

If you want a quick comparison between Cambro and Carlisle food pan carriers, there are a lot of things to focus on.

All their insulated carriers are made to accommodate your rapidly changing catering needs quite effectively.

But based on size-to-weight ratio, budget, cost-effectiveness, stackability, security features, loading style, etc., they do differ in some aspects.

If we compare two of their best-selling products, the Cambro EPP400110 Lightweight Food Carrier and Carlisle End Loader Rectangular Carrier, the main difference is noticeable in the cost.

Although Carlisle carriers are known to be more budget-friendly, here we see the Carlisle one is more expensive. 

Quick Comparison Chart – 

Key FeaturesCambro EPP400110Carlisle End Loader
Dimensions‎25.98 x 17.32 x 25.59 inches17.5 x 25.25 x 1 inches
Weight9.5 pounds30.5 Pounds
MaterialPlasticPlastic
Holds hot or coldfor 4+ hoursfor 6+ hours
The HallmarksLightweight, unaffected by most chemicals, High quality material, Great structural strength & 100% Recyclable.Ultra-sturdy, Easy transport, Maximize freshness, ‎Portable & Insulated, Easy to clean and use.
PriceCheck on AmazonCheck on Amazon

Talking about the dimensions, Cambro Lightweight Food Pan Carrier has 25.98×17.32×25.59 inches dimensions. And it has extremely lightweight ergonomics of 9.5 pounds.

However, the Carlisle one has dimensions of 20.75×13.75×17 inches. But it’s heavier than the Cambro one.

Despite being lightweight, the Cambro one didn’t compromise with structural strength. It’s extremely reliable to handle significant loads. 

Most importantly,  it’s made of 100% recyclable material which is CFC-free. And the chemically inert interior is unaffected by chemicals, oil, or grease.

Talking about the freshness of food, Cambro Lightweight carrier keeps food fresh for 4+ hours.

Cambro UPC300 Black Food Pan Carrier
Cambro UPC300 Black Food Pan Carrier
Rotomolded for maximum durability; Molded in rails for seamless construction; Fully removable gasketless door saves time and cleaning
$298.99

On the contrary, the Carlisle maintains food temperature for up to 6 hours. I guess that justifies why you will spend around $100 more for the Carlisle one.

Also, the Carlisle rectangular carrier can accommodate a wide variety of multi-sized pans in different depths and dimensions. That surely counts as a big plus for any food pan container. 

However, the Cambro one is quite a good choice on a moderate budget. Honestly speaking, it offers a lot of amenities like a high-end food pan carrier.

Being dishwasher safe, it is very easy to clean and maintain. And having ergonomic handles on all sides of the carrier, it is easy to carry.

Being a bit heavier, the Carlisle carrier comes with two molded handles to be carried by two persons.

And thanks to the molded ridges inside, placing the food pans becomes easier and more secure. 

Keeping all these arguments aside, if you prefer keeping your food fresh for longer, you should definitely go with the Carlisle Cateraide PC Insulated Carrier.  It can easily accommodate all your ever-changing catering needs with its ultra-durable architecture. 

But of course, it costs a bit more. So, I personally suggest the Cambro Lightweight Food Pan Carrier as a more budget-friendly pick.

It has some commendable features as an economic food pan holder that are more than enough for small food business owners. Besides, it’s lightweight,  easy to wash, and eco-friendly as well.

Also Read: Yeti Roadie 24 Vs Tundra 35 – Which Is Best For You

Overview Of The Top 3 Picks From Cambro

As we all know, Cambro has been a big name in the food-serving industry for many years. Since its outset in 1951, they have been producing some tremendous food-carrying containers including some proven plastic products. 

Let’s look forward to 3 of their top-graded food carriers of all time.

Cambro Lightweight Insulated Food Carrier

Looking for an insulated food carrier that is lightweight as well? I guess the name says it all. Yes, it’s a very lightweight pick from Cambro, one of the greatest food service solutions around the world. 

Truth be told, the most attractive feature of this insulated carrier is its structural strength. 

Cambro Lightweight Insulated Food Carrier

Top Features

  • Ultra-lightweight construction 
  • 100% recyclable and CFC-free
  • Made of high-performance eco-friendly foam
  • Holds hot/cold food for more than four hours
  • Has ergonomic handles on all sides of the carrier

Check today’s price on Amazon

SpecificationsParameters
ManufacturerCambro
Dimensions25.98 x 17.32 x 25.59 inches
Weight‎9.5 pounds
MaterialPlastic
Thickness‎11 Inches
ColorBlack

Being carefully made of expanded polypropylene, it can handle notable loads. The 11 inches of thickness is no joke at all.

Besides, the food carrier is absolutely safe for food contact. The chemically inert architrave has nothing to do with chemicals, oil, or food grease.

And of course, the 4+ hours food holding capacity is quite satisfactory for food service operators.

Overall, it is, indeed, a wise selection for busy catering business owners to serve their customers. They don’t need to worry about food getting spoiled. 

Pros

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Out-of-the-box energy absorption 
  • Easily portable, thanks to the ergonomic handles

Cons

  • It doesn’t include the divider tray
  • It needs some time to be prepared
Also Read: How To Keep Meat Warm After Smoking For Hours 

Cambro Ultra Front Loading Insulated Pan Carrier with Handles

Cambros are the gold standard in the food service field and this ultra-front-loading pan carrier proves that again. What I love about this 300 UPC-110 black insulated carrier is the seamless engineering. 

Thanks to that, it fits even inside a small vehicle snugly. Resultantly, both transportation and storage become a breeze!

Cambro Ultra Front Loading Insulated Pan Carrier with Handles

Top Features

  • Made of seamless polyethylene 
  • Ensures food safety for 4+ hours
  • Constructed with 300 mm capacity 
  • Insulated with thick foam for better heat retention
  • Consists of plastic latches to secure food pans inside

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SpecificationsParameters
BrandCambro
Dimensions22″L x 4″W x 3″H
Weight27 pounds
MaterialPolyethylene
Capacity300 Milliliters

Moreover, the industry-leading insulation is what makes it one of the best-selling Cambro carriers. 

Another good point about it is the CFC-free insulation. Cambro always prioritizes food safety and this is no exception.

With the dimensions of 24×16.5×23.31 inches, it can hold 4 full 12×20 size pans comfortably. And if you need to carry half-size food pans, put 8 of them inside the carrier without being hesitant.

However, if you want to take your catering business to the next level, just place hot or cold meals inside the carrier in a pan and feed your customers the freshness of the food. 

Pros

  • No cords or chargers needed
  • Delivers food safety and freshness at a time 
  • Holds stack and handles for easy transportation 

Cons

  • The door comes off easily
  • Steel pans could be sliding down when you open the door

Cambro S-Series Front-Loading Ultra Pan Carrier

Lastly, I have a wonderful pan carrier from the Cambro S series, a front-loading carrier with multiple pan-holding capacities. 

Honestly speaking, the S-series Cambro carriers are revolutionary to solve all food service problems. With the dimensions of 26.5″×18″×25″, it can hold multiple pans of hot or cold food for hours.

Cambro S-Series Front-Loading Ultra Pan Carrier

Top Features

  • Includes a built-in menu clip
  • Rugged and reliable polyethylene shell
  • Measures 26.5(L)×18(W)×25(H) inches
  • Has molded-in handles for comfortable carrying
  • Highly insulated carrier with thick polyurethane foam

Check today’s price on Amazon

On top of that, the rugged polyethylene construction delivers unmatched durability and strength.

If you are looking for a one-stop solution for your catering or food delivery business, nothing can beat this front-loading pan holder for sure.

Trust me, you will be blown away by the integrated pan staging shelves. Resultantly, the pans are totally secured inside the carrier.

And guess what, only two people can carry it comfortably, thanks to the molded-in handles. 

Although the S-series carriers are a bit more expensive than the rest of Cambro products, all the exclusive amenities of this ultra-durable food cabinet make the investment quite cost-effective. 

Pros

  • Enables quick content labeling with the menu clip
  • The unbreakable ergonomics make the carrier long-lasting
  • The door includes a 9-inch latch for secure opening and closing

Cons

  • A bit heavyweight 
Also Read: How to Keep Hot Dogs Warm After Grilling? 

Overview Of Top 3 Picks From Carlisle

Now let’s dive into the closest competitor of Cambro in the food service field. Yes, it’s Carlisle, one of the industry giants for manufacturing low-priced food pan carriers. But do they compromise the quality? Let’s try to figure it out by reviewing their top 3 picks below.

Carlisle Cateraide Insulated End Loader Rectangular Pan Carrier

This is an absolute blessing for those who want to carry a number of food pans together. Whether you want your food delivered as prepared for a wedding party, birthday party, or a friend’s get-together, all you need is this rectangular food container. 

Carlisle Cateraide Insulated End Loader Rectangular Pan Carrier

Top Features

  • Keep food fresh for at least 6 hours
  • Can accommodate five full-size pans 
  • Made of ultra sturdy insulated plastic
  • A Cateraide insulated end loader pan carrier 
  • Includes molded ergonomic handles for carrying convince  

Check today’s price on Amazon

SpecificationsParameters
BrandCarlisle
Dimensions17.5″D x 25.25″W x 1″H
Weight30.5 Pounds
MaterialPlastic
ShapeRectangular

You name a catering event and I will tell you how this handy carrier could deliver fresh food at that event.

Although it’s a plastic made rectangular food pan carrier, it’s very well-built. The rugged and robust plastic construction is very much prone to wear and tear.

Moreover, you can place a large variety of multi-sized pans inside. The interior has molded ridges to hold the pans securely. 

Whether you need to carry hot or cold food in boxes, you can absolutely depend on this heavily insulated carrier. 

Best of all, the built-in ergonomic handles make it one of the best portable carriers ever.

With the dimensions of 20.75″×13.75″×17″, this Cateraide PC insulated pan carrier is quite versatile, indeed.

Pros

  • Delivers excellent temperature retention
  • Reduces food waste by keeping the taste unchanged 
  • Built with commercial-grade polyurethane insulation 

Cons

  • The hinges could be sturdier
Also Read: How To Keep Rotisserie Chicken Warm (11 Exclusive Ways)

Carlisle Cateraide Slide N Seal Polyethylene Top Loader Pan Carrier

Now let’s talk about a top loader pan carrier from Carlisle. As the name informs, it’s built with the revolutionary Slide N Seal design for ease of use.

What makes this food pan container different from other Carlisle carriers is the new molded-in tethered lock pin. Thanks to that, the foods are sealed with safety.

Carlisle Cateraide Slide N Seal Polyethylene Top Loader Pan Carrier

Top Features

  • Includes a self-venting lid
  • Has no gasket, hinge, or latch 
  • Architectured with Slide N Seal design
  • It’s a black food pan carrier with a height of 8″
  • Designed with Carlisle’s signature thick insulation

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SpecificationsParameters
BrandCarlisle
MaterialPolyethylene
ColorBlack
Is Dishwasher SafeNo

Also, it doesn’t come with hinges, latches, or gaskets. All Carlisle cared about was easy loading, handling, and stacking while designing this product.

Yes, it’s a small pan carrier with little space inside compared to those multi-rigged ones.

But the sleek and contemporary outlook, scratch-free polyethylene construction, and durable ergonomics make it the best value for money. 

Pros

  • Tough and durable construction 
  • Keep food fresher and crispier for a long time
  • Molded in tag slot to seal and tag carrier easily 

Cons

  • Not dishwasher safe

Carlisle Cateraide Dual Capacity Food Pan Carrier With Dolly

Lastly, I have the most expensive food pan carrier on this list which is a dual-capacity carrier from Carlisle. But can it justify its expensive price tag? 

Let’s try to find out below.

Carlisle Cateraide Dual Capacity Food Pan Carrier With Dolly

Top Features

  • Keep food fresh and unchanged for 4-6 hours
  • Can accommodate 10 full-size food pans easily
  • Sturdy plastic construction to withstand wear and tear
  • Includes molded ergonomic handles for easy transportation 
  • Wonderful heat retention with the commercial grade polyurethane insulation

Check today’s price on Amazon

SpecificationsParameters
BrandCarlisle
Dimensions24.25″L x 17″W x 50″H
MaterialPlastic
ColorBlack
Special FeatureOven-safe

Are you operating a catering business?  Trust me, you have to have this dual-capacity food pan carrier to take your business to the next level.

As already mentioned, it’s made of ultra-durable plastic to ensure food safety to the fullest.

With the dimensions of 24.25″(L)×17″(W)×50″(H), it can hold up to 10 full-size pans in multiple arrangements.

You can even place food pans of different depths and dimensions according to your needs.

As the carrier uses Cateraide PC insulation inside, it can hold heat very well. 

Whether it’s hot or cold food inside, the taste remains the same even after hours. You can deliver crisp salads or chilled cheesecakes exactly at the right temperature.

Pros

  • An oven-safe food pan carrier
  • Easily withstands high-heat exposure
  • Includes two snap lock clasps to close the door securely 

Cons

  • A bit expensive 

What Are The Differences

After closely observing some top-selling products from Cambro and Carlisle, I found the following major differences between their food pan carriers-

Temperature Retention 

The Carlisle carriers are better in temperature retention. They can hold temperature for up to 6 hours whether the food is hot or cold.

But I found the Cambro carriers to keep food fresh for 4 hours only.

Capacity

In terms of pan-holding capacity, I bet with Carlisle again. They have built-in ridges to hold food pans of different configurations.

Cost

You will find a lot of good pan carriers on different budgets both from Cambro and Carlisle.

But for a more economic pick, I recommend the Cambro Lightweight Insulated Carrier with almost the same amenities as an expensive food pan carrier.

What Are The Similarities 

There are a lot of similarities between Cambro and Carlisle food pan carriers. They both produce excellent insulated containers to keep food fresh between cooking and delivering. 

Durable Construction 

Both manufacturers design their products with top-quality materials. As we all know, food pan carriers are meant to be exposed to high heat. 

Resultantly, they should be prone to wear, tear, and damage. Both Cambro and Carlisle containers are engineered with the thought to last longer despite being used for years.

Food Safety 

As you are carrying food in those carriers, they should be non-toxic. And fortunately, the products I reviewed above are 100% safe for food contact.

Versatility

Based on your catering demand, you can choose either top loading or front loading products from both the brands. They have a wide array of food pan carriers with different dimensions and loading styles. 

Cambro Vs Carlisle – Which I Should Go For

Well, that’s absolutely your call to decide. But as an absolute food geek, I recommend Carlisle carriers as they keep food fresh for longer, up to six hours. Isn’t that great if you are stuck in traffic?

Though the Cambro carriers are also good with some excellent add-ons, I prefer Carlisle to Cambro for better insulation and longer food freshness.

Conclusion

Hopefully, now you can decide on your pick between Cambro vs Carlisle food pan carriers. All the products reviewed above have great consumer response along with a great value for money.

However, the Cambro ones are more lightweight, hence, easier to carry.

But the Carlisle carriers keep food fresh for longer. And that’s the USP of  a Carlisle food pan carrier to cater for your needs.

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