A spacious upright freezer with nicely-organized shelving. We love the Soft Freeze Zone for foods that don't require solid freeze. Has a convenient on-door temperature gauge.
On the large side, but if you needs lots of space you may not mind.
A spacious and space-saving upright model by one of the most popular brands. Impressive feature set includes LED lighting, easy-access shelves and a frost-free unit.
It's heavy, and care must be taken to prevent floor damage from the leveling legs when moving it. Compressor can be noisy when running.
Has 3 sliding baskets that lift out for easy cleaning, and bright interior light so you can always find what you need. Garners praise for its practical mid-range size and affordable price.
Power cord is on the short side, and no handle means the door is somewhat awkward to open. Not as spacious as some upright models, but suitable for most users.
Offers a compact yet spacious design that is practical for many consumers. Isn't extremely noisy when running. Wire basket helps with organizing contents. Affordable.
Lid issues have been noted. Has the tendency to build up frost.
A supreme model that's frost-free, spacious, and attractive. Can be converted to a refrigerator if your needs change. Smudge-proof stainless steel finish and sleek handle.
High price. The door can be difficult to open for some users. Large and heavy.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
For many families, a freezer is an indispensable appliance. You can save money by buying in bulk or freezing fully prepared meals for easy weekday dinners. Freezers come in different styles and sizes, and many include a host of features that you may or may not need. Finding the one that’s right for your family means taking into account your available space, storage needs, and the number of people in your household.
If you’re ready to buy but don’t know where to begin your search, you’ve come to the right place. At BestReviews, we talk to experts, assess customer opinions, and test products to find the best of the best. We don’t accept free manufacturer samples so that we can bring you honest, objective feedback.
We’ve provided a shopping guide to help you know what type and size of freezer would work best for your family. Be sure to take a look at our top five picks to see the freezers we think are most worthy of your hard-earned money.
Same floor space as average refrigerator (about 6.25 square feet)
Easy to organize because shelves and drawers provide easy access
Variety of finishes to match other appliances
More temperature variation, especially near door
Less efficient than chest freezers
Sometimes noisier than chest freezers
More usable space (fewer shelves and dividers)
More consistent temperature (making freezer burn less likely)
Quieter than uprights
Stay cold longer during power outage (with lid closed)
More difficult to organize
Easy to lose items that fall to the bottom
Take up more floor space than uprights (about 12 square feet vs. 6.25 square feet)
Plug into car battery
Hold up to 85 quarts
Include storage baskets or shelf
Some also refrigerate
Not very efficient
Not a lot of choices
Storing food in several layers of plastic helps prevent moisture loss and freezer burn.
Freezers come in three basic sizes:
Compact/Small (5 to 9 cubic feet)
Medium (12 to 18 cubic feet)
Large (over 18 cubic feet)
To find the right size for you, you’ll need to take a few different factors into account. Most important is how much floor space you have for the freezer. A chest freezer would make a good choice for a garage, while a space-saving upright would work better in a utility room. Also consider the food storage needs of your family. As a general rule, you’ll need 1.5 cubic feet of freezer space per family member.
The freezer rule of thumb is 1.5 cubic feet per family member.
Chest freezers are better at holding a consistent temperature. In uprights, the area near the door can be a few degrees warmer than the back of the shelves. Self-defrosting uprights regularly experience a small temperature shift when the fans turn on to defrost the evaporator.
Power outages pose a problem for frozen food. Freezers with a good seal around the door can usually keep food cold until the power comes back on. Chest freezers are better at this, but some uprights also perform well. Many manufacturers boast that, in a power outage, their freezers can keep food cold for up to 24 hours under ideal conditions (door or lid closed). In reality, the freezer will probably keep your food cold for a shorter time. Some uprights lose their ability to safely freeze food after about nine hours. If you live in an area known for prolonged power outages, a chest freezer is probably a better choice.
Chest freezers are more energy efficient overall. Keep in mind that most freezers don’t meet the manufacturer’s claims for energy efficiency. In fact, most freezers are about 17% less energy efficient than stated claims because the advertised energy efficiency is based on ideal conditions.
Models with an Energy Star rating can save you up to 10% each year on your energy bill.
Keeping food organized makes it easier to find what you need when you need it and helps prevent waste. Chest freezers present more of an organizing challenge than uprights. Look for a model with as many dividers, bins, and shelves as possible to provide easy access to everything in the freezer.
A lock gives you extra reassurance that the freezer door is securely shut. Families with small children will appreciate a mechanism that keeps little ones from opening the door (and leaving it open).
Manual: All chest freezers and some upright models must be defrosted manually. These freezers are more energy efficient and less expensive, with better temperature consistency and fewer instances of freezer burn. You’ll need to regularly turn off the freezer, empty it, let any frost melt and drain, and clean the freezer, which can be a time-consuming process.
Self-defrosting upright freezers are usually noisier than chest freezers because of the fans that turn on and off during defrosting.
It can be costly to find out your freezer has been off because of a breaker problem or power outage. A power indicator light gives you a visual sign of the status of the freezer, a simple feature that could save you a lot of money.
Soft-Freeze: Some freezers have a soft-freeze option for items you don’t want to get rock hard. Foods like ice cream and butter that don’t need to be as deeply frozen can be more easily enjoyed with this setting.
Because of possible temperature fluctuations, some self-defrosting freezers have an alarm that sounds when the temperature gets too warm inside the freezer. Like a power indicator light, an alarm gives you a little extra security in case of problems.
Some freezers have an alarm that alerts you if the door has been left open.
With the push of a button, a convertible freezer can be used as either a freezer or refrigerator. This is a nice feature if you have changing needs over the holidays or when entertaining a large number of guests on special occasions.
Some chest freezers come on castors so they can be moved. Considering the amount of floor space they take up and the weight of a full chest freezer, a model with castors can make it much easier to organize your space.
Some freezers have a seal that keeps air from escaping or entering the freezer. Models with a vapor lock are energy efficient, but they also take some serious muscle to open. If you don’t need to get into your freezer often, a door that’s tough to open probably won’t cause a problem.
To minimize the amount of time the door or lid stays open, keep a list of the items in the freezer. Holding the door open while you try to find something causes frost to build up more quickly.
Inexpensive: For less than $200, you can find several upright models with a capacity of 3 cubic feet and chest freezers with a capacity between 2.1 and 6.9 cubic feet. Some of the upright freezers come in different finishes, such as slate or stainless steel.
Mid-Range: In the $200 to $600 range are chest freezers with a capacity from 5.3 to 17.7 cubic feet, including some baskets and dividers for organization. Upright models range from 3 to 20 cubic feet, with many self-defrosting models and adjustable shelves. Many upright models come in different finishes, too.
Expensive: Between $600 and $1,000, you’ll find uprights with a capacity of 13.8 to 21 cubic feet that are self-defrosting, have reversible doors, and can be converted to a refrigerator. Internal organization options are usually more durable and of higher quality at this price. The chest freezers have a capacity between 10.9 and 24.8 cubic feet and have castors, safety locks, and baskets and dividers.
Decide where you’ll keep the freezer before you buy. Chest freezers take up more floor space. Uprights require more clearance around the freezer to open the door.
Open the freezer door as infrequently as possible. This will keep frost from building up inside.
Keep your freezer organized. Label the foods so you can quickly find what you need.
Q. What is the typical height of a chest freezer? I’m short and worry I won’t be able to reach the bottom of the freezer.
A. A typical chest freezer stands anywhere from 30 to 33 inches high. There’s some variation by model, but that is a standard height range. Castors add to the height. For those who might be worried about reaching the bottom of the freezer, measure the distance from your waist to the floor. If the height of the freezer is above your waist, it might be hard to reach some foods. You can opt to keep a stool nearby if necessary.
Q. What’s the benefit of a freezer that can also be used as a refrigerator?
A. If you have a large family, you’ve probably already realized the benefit of having a second refrigerator. Convertibility gives you more options. For example, if you host large family parties or frequently entertain big crowds, converting a freezer to a refrigerator lets you keep fully prepared dishes ready to go without needing to thaw them. Once the party’s over, you can convert the unit back to a freezer for the leftovers. Keep in mind that many convertible models have vapor lock doors that are harder to open. These models don’t usually work as well as a refrigerator if you need to access it frequently.
Q. How often should I defrost a chest freezer?
A. It’s time to defrost if the frost is between one inch and one-and-a-half-inches thick. You’ll need to take everything out of the freezer first. How often you’ll need to defrost depends on how often you open the lid and how long the lid stays open.
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