Kristen Hicks on August 10, 2016 2 Comments Table of Contents Most Common Types of Freezers Factors to Consider While Shopping Popular Brands of Freezers A freezer may seem like a fairly simple contraption. You just need it to keep your food cold enough, right? When you start shopping for a freezer you’ll quickly realize that it can get much more complicated than that. Freezers come in many different types and sizes and you’ll find a surprising array of available features and different factors to consider. Most modern homes have a freezer already as part of their refrigerator, but in many homes that doesn’t provide enough space for their needs. Large households, those that like to buy in bulk to save, gardeners that want to ensure their produce can last longer, and hunters that regularly find themselves with large quantities of meat to keep fresh, may all find that they need the extra space provided by a standalone freezer. If you lack freezer space, deciding that you need a standalone freezer is an easy realization. Identifying the right freezer is the tricky part. Our guide will give you a head start into figuring out what to expect in your search, how to pinpoint what you need and want from a freezer, and what to look for in the freezer you choose. 3 Main Types of Standalone Freezers If you’re buying a freezer that’s not attached to a refrigerator, you have a few different options to choose from. Let’s take a closer look at each type of freezer. 1. Upright Freezer Click Here to View All Upright Freezers Upright freezers are popular for the convenience they offer. They’re usually easy to fit through a door, don’t take up too much space, can be easily moved, and typically come equip with compartment dividers that make keeping your food organized in a manner that suits you best. Unfortunately, upright units tend to be a little more expensive than the other popular types of freezers available to you and they also use a bit more energy. However, when it comes to convenience and ease of use, upright freezers take the crown. Benefits: Don’t take up too much space. Easy to keep food organized. Keep your different types of food easily accessible. Can be moved easily. To Keep in Mind: May be more expensive than other types. Use more energy. 2. Chest Freezer & Deep Freezer Click Here to View All Chest & Deep Freezers Chest freezers, often referred to as a deep freezer, are a very popular choice for the cost and energy conscious buyer. They have the largest capacity of the three types. If you have a lot of food you need to keep frozen or large items you’ll want to fit in your freezer, they’re the best choice. They use less energy than upright models and stay cold for longer when there’s an energy outage. They’re not as convenient for everyday use as upright freezers, because getting to any items on the bottom of the freezer will require moving everything on top of them. They’re also more likely to require manual defrosting, which gets messy and can be a pain to deal with. On the bright side, they typically cost less than going with an upright model, both in upfront costs and long-term energy costs. Benefits: Affordable Large capacity. Less energy. Keeps food frozen longer without power. To Keep in Mind: Harder to get to items in the freezer. Usually require manual defrosting. 3. Portable Freezers Click Here to View All Portable Freezers Portable freezers are smaller than the other options, so won’t hold nearly as much, but they typically cost less and have a variety of features not available in other types of freezers. Designed to allow you to transport frozen food from one place to another, portable freezers are handy for anyone taking their food on-the-go. Because of their ability to stay at a constant temperature, despite the elements they are traveling within, portable freezers are widely used for camping, boating, long road-trips or anyone that frequently travels in an RV. These are great because you don’t have to constantly fill it with ice, or empty out the melted water. You just set the temperature and let it ride along with you. When it comes to taking frozen foods on the go, this is easily the best freezer available. Benefits: Affordable. Allow you to take frozen foods on the go. Don’t need to use ice to keep your food cold. Great for camping, fishing or RVing. To Keep in Mind: Small capacity. Factors to Consider When Buying a Freezer To gain a clear picture of what you want in a freezer, it helps to have an idea of what your options are. These are some of the most important factors to consider in your search and features to be on the lookout for. 1. Size Most people buying a standalone freezer will already have some freezer space as part of their refrigerator and are looking to expand. That makes size and capacity the most important considerations for many freezer buyers. Before you start browsing your options, you should have an idea of how much you want your freezer to hold so you can get one with the proper capacity for your needs. You’ll also want to keep in mind how much space it will take up. Where do you plan to keep the freezer, and how much space is available there for it? An upright freezer will be easier to fit into a kitchen, but if you need the capacity of a chest freezer you’ll have to be sure to find or create a big enough space in your home to keep it in. 2. Cost Know your budget for buying a freezer from the get go, but also keep in mind how long-term costs can compare. If you’re trying to decide on an energy efficient model that costs more upfront than other options, the costs over time of running it will pay off. Upright models usually cost more than chest freezers and use more energy, so know that you’re paying a premium for convenience if you choose an upright freezer. Useful features like automatic defrost will end up costing you more, but the convenience of being able to skip dealing with manual defrosting may be well worth the difference. Also keep in mind shipping costs. A freezer is typically pretty large and heavy (portable models excepted), so the costs can get up there unless you go with a vendor that offers free shipping. 3. Energy Use Freezers need to keep running constantly (at least any time there’s food in them) to do their job. That means they’ll be using energy pretty much 24/7. Choosing an energy efficient freezer can therefore make a noticeable difference in your overall energy costs and footprint. Energy Star does rate freezers, so looking for an Energy Star qualified model can work as an easy shorthand to identifying a freezer that performs well in terms of energy use. 4. Amount of Use There are many factors that come into play in determining the amount of use a freezer is likely to get. How often you go shopping, how many people will be using the freezer, and what your eating habits look like, just to name a few. Hunters will need ample space to keep large quantities of meat frozen. Families that like their frozen pizza will need to make sure their freezer fits enough of them easily. Take a look at the typical habits of your household that will influence how your freezer regularly gets used. But also consider how much food you should expect to need it for in the times when it will get the most use – right after a grocery trip or over the holidays, for example. If the point of buying a standalone freezer is to make extra space for the overflow items that don’t fit now, it’s smart to choose the size and type that will accommodate your highest level of need so you don’t end up buying one that still falls short when you need it most. 5. Temperature and Climate Classification According to the FDA, you should keep your freezer temperature at 0° F (-18° C). While all freezers will be designed to reach this temperature, their ability to do so consistently can be affected by the climate they’re kept in. If you’ll be keeping your freezer in your kitchen or another room inside, you probably don’t need to worry about this. If you’re planning to keep your freezer in the garage, outside, or in any space where the temperature fluctuates with the weather, check on the optimum temperature range of any freezer you consider. Some models are designed to work just fine in a garage or other comparable space, others will work less efficiently or have trouble staying cold enough. 6. Organization Options The biggest appeal of upright freezers in comparison to chest freezers is they make it much easier to keep your food well organized and easy to access. They come with compartment dividers and are designed so that accessing whichever item you need is much simpler than with chest freezers. Chest freezers do often come with hanging baskets (and more can be purchased) that help a bit with the issue, but you’ll still likely be stacking a lot of foods, which means having to remove items before you can get to the one you want. They also require more bending to reach the items on the bottom, which may be physically difficult for some customers. 7. Noise Level Every freezer will make some noise, but some are much quieter than others. If your freezer will be kept in a space you spend a lot of time in, you should consider the noise levels of the different models you check out. Manual-defrost freezers are usually quieter than self-defrosting ones. To get an idea of whether a freezer is abnormally loud or has a reputation for being quiet, you should check out user reviews of the different models you consider. 8. Blackout Performance Blackout performance refers to how long a freezer will keep items cold during a power outage. For most consumers, this isn’t a concern that will come up too often, but having the right freezer can make a big difference when it does. A freezer with a good blackout performance can save you from soiled, smelly food and an unpleasant cleaning task. Chest freezers have the best reputation for blackout performance. If you think there’s much chance of your household encountering regular power failures, a chest freezer’s your best bet. 9. Manual or Self-Defrost Any time your freezer develops a buildup of ice around the edges, its efficiency will decrease unless you defrost it. Defrosting your freezer manually isn’t fun – it means temporarily removing everything, waiting however long it takes for the ice to melt, and then cleaning the freezer before you put it all back in. You’ll have to find another way to keep your food cold enough in the meantime (or eat it all down before you start). Self-defrosting freezers save you the trouble. They usually cost more, are louder, and are more prone to freezer burn than manual defrost models, but they offer greater convenience and improved energy efficiency. 10. Extra Features to Consider Some freezers come with extra features consumers may appreciate. Freezer locks: If you’re worried about children in your house accessing the freezer or leaving the door open, a freezer with a lock may be worth considering. Soft freeze: Do you eat a lot of ice cream? Hate how it’s always so stiff and difficult to scoop when you’ve just taken it out of the freezer? A soft freeze feature is the solution. It’s a section specifically for ice cream that keeps it at just the right temperature. Dial thermostat: A dial thermostat helps you stay aware of how cold your freezer is and more easily control the temperature you want it to be at. Combination refrigerator/freezer: If you know you need the extra space for food, but what types of food you need it for can change, a freezer that lets you switch between temperature settings for a refrigerator and freezer can come in handy. Popular Brands of Freezers When you purchase a freezer, you want to trust that it will work well and last you for a while. Considering the brand reputation of any freezer you look into will help ensure you choose a model that’s quality. We looked at the user reviews for some of the top brands on the market to gain an idea of what customers think of their freezers. 1. Avanti Avanti makes different types of freezers that earn largely favorable reviews. Customers say they work great, have a visual design that matches with other appliances in the kitchen, and are conveniently sized not to take up too much kitchen space, but still hold enough. We encountered a couple of complaints amongst the reviews about how long they last, but those were in the minority. The overall gist of what people have to say about their Avanti freezers is positive. 2. Danby Danby makes upright, chest, and portable freezers and their products get strong reviews across the different types. Happy customers mention getting great energy efficiency with their models and finding their Danby freezers to be reliably durable. 3. EdgeStar EdgeStar sells a range of portable freezers. Their freezers earn some mixed reviews, but they lean more toward the positive. A lot of customers find their freezers quiet, effective at keeping food frozen, and easy to transport when heading camping or on long driving trips. 4. Engel Engel makes high-end portable freezers which reviewers insist are worth the premium prices. They say the models don’t use much power for the consistent and effective performance they provide. They’re touted for being quiet, getting cold fast (and staying cold), and lasting longer than most comparable products on the market. 5. Frigidaire Frigidaire is a brand you’ll encounter at many popular retailers. They make a number of chest and upright freezer models that earn reviews that vary considerably by model. Some units get almost all 5-star reviews, others mostly 1-star ones. We recommend checking out the reviews for any particular Frigidaire model you consider before purchasing. 6. GE GE is another familiar brand that you’ll come across if you spend any time browsing freezers at the retail stores. They sell both chest and upright freezers and their reviews are predominantly positive. The freezers are reliably functional and the GE brand is known for durability. 7. Kenmore Kenmore also makes upright and chest freezers that can commonly be found at popular retailers. As with Frigidaire, we found that their reviews change a lot based on the particular model customers buy. Where some freezers get almost uniformly negative reviews, others are praised as just what the customer wanted. Do some extra research into the specific freezer you want from them before making a purchase. 8. U-Line U-Line makes a compact freezer that you can install under your counter. They use a convection cooling system, which means the freezer gets cold fast while remaining energy efficient. Reviewers like how their freezer looks, how well it works, and how quiet it is. Conclusion As you’ve seen, choosing the right freezer really is more complicated than finding something that will keep things cold. You have a lot of options to consider and taking some time to work out what you really want from a freezer and which model on the market is the best fit for you will ensure you’re more likely to be happy with your purchase.