The determination of the cooling capacity and overall heat transfer coefficient of an evaporator is of great importance in refrigeration industry, so that, an investigation of the theoretical and experimental performance analysis of evaporators was carried out in this study. The experimental evaporator was analyzed in account with the most common and widely used correlations together with the parameters of air velocity, fin spacing, tube diameter, evaporator temperature, refrigerant type and frost height. After a good agreement between the experimental and theoretical results was obtained, the parameters which had not been able to investigated experimentally were analyzed theoretically. It is concluded that when the experimental and theoretical overall heat transfer coefficients were compared with those from the manufacturing catalogues (for the same working conditions), the latter was found to be 15-30% higher than the former one. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd.