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Digital Menu Boards: Residential Grade Displays vs. Commercial Grade Displays
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Digital Menu Boards: Residential Grade Displays vs. Commercial Grade Displays

Digital Menu Boards: Residential Grade Displays vs. Commercial Grade Displays

Dylan Holtzhausen
May 18, 2023
5 min read


As digital menu boards become increasingly popular in the restaurant industry, many business owners are faced with choosing between residential and commercial displays - we refer to the TV monitor when we use the phrase displays. Before investing, it is absolutely essential to fully understand the differences between these two options. In this article, we'll compare residential and commercial grade displays, exploring their advantages, disadvantages, and best use cases to help you decide on your digital menu board needs.

Residential Grade Displays

Residential-grade displays, commonly called consumer-grade displays, are designed primarily for home settings. These displays typically have lower prices and can be found at most electronics retailers. However, they may not offer the durability and features needed for commercial applications.

Advantages of Residential Grade Displays:
  • Lower cost: Residential-grade displays are generally more affordable than their commercial counterparts, making them an attractive option for businesses on a tight budget.
  • Familiarity: Many people are already familiar with consumer-grade displays, making them easier to set up and troubleshoot.
Disadvantages of Residential Grade Displays:
  • Limited durability: Residential displays are not designed for the constant use and demanding conditions often found in commercial environments. This can lead to shorter lifespans and a higher likelihood of malfunction.
  • Insufficient brightness: Reading consumer-grade displays in bright environments like shopping centers or front counters with a high angle can be challenging. They have lower brightness levels compared to commercial displays.
  • Lack of or no Anti-Glare Coating: Anti-glare coating is crucial for digital menu boards, which Residential displays don't offer. It reduces glare and reflections, ensuring the content remains visible and legible from various distances and viewing angles, enhancing the customer experience.
  • Limited warranty coverage: Residential-grade displays typically come with limited warranties that may not cover commercial use, leaving you without support if your display malfunctions.
Commercial Grade Signage Displays - Gourmet Kitchen photo by Amped Digital

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Commercial Grade Displays

Commercial-grade displays, or professional or business-grade displays, or most commonly "digital signage displays" are specifically designed for commercial environments. These displays offer greater durability, enhanced features, and superior performance compared to residential-grade displays, making them the preferred choice for many businesses.

Advantages of Commercial Grade Displays:
  • Enhanced durability: Commercial-grade displays are built to withstand the rigors of commercial use, offering longer lifespans and increased reliability.
  • High brightness: Commercial displays are a good choice if you're concerned about your menu being visible in bright or sunlit spaces. They have higher brightness levels, measured in "nits" or "cd/m2". The minimum recommended entry point of brightness in this format is 500 in either "nits" or "cd/m2" for quality visibility. 
  • Extended warranty coverage: Most commercial-grade displays come with warranties that cover commercial use, providing peace of mind and support if issues arise.
  • Anti-glare coating: Digital menu board displays with anti-glare coating improve the customer experience by reducing glare and reflections. This makes the content visible and easily read from various distances and angles.
Disadvantages of Commercial Grade Displays:
  • Higher cost: The enhanced features and durability of commercial-grade displays come at a higher price point than residential displays.
  • More complex setup: The advanced features of commercial displays may require a more complex setup process and additional hardware, such as media players or mounting systems.
Commercial Grade Signage Displays - Krispy Kreme photo by Amped Digital

Making the Right Choice for Your Digital Menu Board

When choosing between residential and commercial-grade displays for your digital menu board, consider the following factors:

  • Environment: Consider the lighting conditions and usage patterns in your restaurant. A commercial-grade display may be a better choice if your menu area is exposed to bright light or heavy use.
  • Warranty and support: Review the warranty coverage for each type of display and consider the level of support you'll need if issues arise. Most manufacturers provide a 3-year commercial warranty as their standard offering. However, some also offer an on-site warranty to ensure your menu boards are always covered and up and running.
  • Features and functionality: Determine which features are most important to your business and choose a display that meets those needs.
Commercial Grade Signage Displays - Ohana Acai photo by Amped Digital

Our Thoughts Summarized

If you're planning to set up digital menu boards for your restaurant, opt for commercial-grade displays instead of residential ones. These displays are specifically built to withstand the demanding conditions of a restaurant environment. 

Commercial grade displays are equipped with advanced features, brighter screens, and more durable components. They are also compatible with various digital menu board software systems and have extended warranty coverage, ensuring a stress-free experience. 

Although residential displays may seem cheaper at first, investing in commercial-grade displays for better performance, reliability, and flexibility, in the long run, is wiser. By doing this, you can create an exceptional in-store dining experience for your customers and lower the total cost of ownership in your digital menu board investment. 

A quick insight from the Menuzen Team: If you plan to use a residential display in a commercial setting, it's important to check that your insurance and warranty specifically cover this type of usage. Keep in mind that these displays are not meant for continuous 24/7 operation in such environments. If there is a display-related incident, such as a fire or damage, your insurance may not cover it. To avoid any issues, make sure to comply with all legal and insurance requirements before making a decision.

Here is a list of commercial-grade digital signage displays suited for Digital Menu Board use:

Samsung Digital Signage - Samsung digital signage displays provide businesses with superior picture quality and durability, enhancing the viewing experience for audiences. They enable companies to present engaging, informative, and entertaining content and are considered the most popular and common menu board display across the globe.
LG Digital Signage - LG displays empower businesses to captivate viewers with superior picture quality and durability. Renowned as another global leader, LG is a popular choice for menu board displays.
Philips Digital Signage - Philips digital signage delivers exceptional impact and helps bring your business vision to life with cutting-edge display technology. Another key global leader in the digital signage space.

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