Whether you have a large family to feed, grow a vegetable garden, do a lot of hunting or fishing, or tend to grocery shop in bulk, a chest freezer—which offers additional cold storage to the freezer in your overstuffed fridge—can be a wise purchase.
You can spend more than $1,000 on an upright version slightly smaller than a fridge, but many opt for a horizontal model with a hinged top door. These units come at a fraction of the cost and tend to be more energy efficient to boot. Read on for some important features to consider and the best chest freezers listed below.
- BEST OVERALL: Frigidaire 14.8 cu. ft. Chest Freezer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Midea MRC070S0AWW Chest Freezer
- UPGRADE PICK: Frigidaire 24.8 cu. ft. Chest Freezer in White
- BEST SMALL: hOmeLabs 3.5 Cubic Feet Chest Freezer
- BEST PORTABLE: ICECO JP40 Portable Refrigerator
- BEST FOR GARAGE: GE Garage Ready 15.7 cu. ft. Chest Freezer
- MOST EFFICIENT: Northair Chest Freezer – 3.5 Cu Ft
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Chest Freezer
As you’re deciding among the best chest freezers on the market, there are factors to keep in mind and compare. Chest freezers can vary in their size and capacity, temperature control options, defrost settings, energy efficiency, and other key features. Deciding which features are most important for your needs can help focus your search.
Size and Capacity
Most chest freezers run between 2 and 4 feet wide and between 3 and 6 feet long. Since a 5-by-3-foot appliance clearly can’t be wedged into a 4-by-3-foot clearing in a basement, measure the available space and make sure the chest of choice will fit. Measure the space where the appliance will go, as well as all the doorway openings that lead to that space, to ensure that the freezer can arrive at the chosen spot.
The capacity of most chest freezers ranges between 5 and 20 cubic feet. One cubic foot can hold about 35 pounds of cut and wrapped meat. Meat with the bone in takes up more freezer space because of its irregular shape. It’s not worth running a freezer that won’t hold everything or one that takes up unnecessary space.
When selecting an appropriate freezer capacity, factor in times of the year when there tends to be the most food, like around the holidays, after a harvest, or after hunting season. Take inventory of what will be stored to determine the capacity that will best work.
The temperature control is preset at the factory for dependable performance, but a manual temperature controller inside the unit allows for customized adjustments. Colder temperatures may be more appropriate for long-term storage, while less cold temperatures are better for keeping ice cream scoopable. Some freezers offer temperature zone control that allows for a range of storage capabilities.
Some new upright freezers feature an average temperature range of 10 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit, with some models offering colder settings. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that frozen foods be stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. The optimal storage temperature range for long-term freshness is -10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chest freezers can either be self-defrosting, also called frost-free, or there are options for a manual defrost chest freezer. Proper and consistent defrosting eliminates ice buildup and keeps the unit operating efficiently. Choosing a self-defrosting upright freezer helps avoid adding another household chore.
Frost-free chest freezers automatically run a defrost cycle about once a day. During the defrost cycle, the temperature change in the food storage area raises minimally, about 2 degrees. Food quality is unaffected by this small change.
Look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star–rated freezers operate at least 10 percent more efficiently than the minimum federal standard. These models use about 395 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and cost less than $50 per year to operate. Energy-efficient upright freezers use advanced technology, high-performance features, and better design and insulation compared with standard equipment.
One energy-efficient design feature is the magnetic seal. Rather than using a simple rubber gasket seal, efficient freezers often incorporate a magnetic strip inside the seal to form an airtight connection. Not only does the magnet eliminate airflow through gaps to the outside, but it also pulls the door completely shut if it has been carelessly closed.
Another energy-efficient feature to look for is an air temperature monitor. This feature will warn the owner if the internal temperature rises to a potentially unsafe level for proper food storage.
Chest freezers tend to be no-frills appliances, but some models offer worthwhile features. These extras are generally worth a slightly higher price if the chest will be accessed on a regular basis, it’s kept in a dark area, and/or theft is a concern.
- Some freezers come with storage bins or shelves to sort items.
- An interior light helps you see what’s in there.
- Leveling legs screw in or out to counteract an uneven floor. The freezer should tilt toward the back slightly so the door closes automatically.
- Casters are especially helpful when it’s time to clean behind the freezer.
- High-end chest freezers may come with a built-in safety lock, touch-screen control panel, and ice maker.
Our Top Picks
Hoping to stock and store a surplus of groceries so that less food goes to waste? Start the search for the best chest freezer. The following are some of the best options on the market, organized by category and chosen based on the shopping considerations above.
This chest freezer from Frigidaire offers a spacious 14.8-cubic-foot capacity to help individuals store a large quantity of frozen foods. The SpaceWise sliding baskets assist with organization and provide easy access to key items, while the LED lighting enhances interior visibility. Use the adjustable exterior temperature controls to set the temperature between -10 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit to match food storage needs.
Some other noteworthy features of this chest freezer include the safety lock and pop-out key, defrost water drain, and optional casters to allow the freezer to slide easily. According to the manufacturer, this freezer also is suitable for use in a garage in many kinds of climates.
- Size: 34 by 56 by 32 inches
- Capacity: 14.8 cubic feet
- Temperature Range: -10 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit
- Bulk storage baskets
- LED light
- Adjustable exterior temperature controls
- Safety lock and pop-out key
- Defrost water drain
- No open door alarm
- Some users report high frost build up
Get the Frigidaire chest freezer at Lowe’s or at The Home Depot.
Those who are looking for a chest freezer that won’t break the bank may want to consider this 7-cubic-foot model from Midea. To help keep foods organized and within easy reach, the freezer includes a removable wire storage basket. Users can adjust the temperature to their desired setting without opening the freezer’s door using the exterior temperature controls.
While this freezer does not have an interior light, it does feature hinges that can hold the freezer door open at 45 and 75 degree angles, freeing up users’ hands to easily access the freezer contents without needing to hold the door open themselves.
- Size: 32.1 by 21.7 by 33.5 inches
- Capacity: 7 cubic feet
- Temperature Range: -11.2 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Compact size
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Door hinge stays open when needed
- No interior light
Only comes with one wire basket
Get the Midea chest freezer on Amazon.
The Frigidaire 24.8-cubic-foot chest freezer offers an impressive list of features to help safely store and organize frozen foods. The special SpaceWise storage baskets offer color-coordinated clips to ensure items are quick to find when needed and are placed where they belong. This chest freezer also offers an exterior temperature control dial to set the temperature between -15 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit without letting cold air escape from the freezer.
Users will be able to clearly see the contents of their freezer thanks to the bright LED interior lighting. Use the safety lock with pop-out key to lock the freezer to keep children safe or protect food from theft. Other key features of this model include the optional casters, defrost water drain, and power-on indicator light to confirm that the unit is running.
- Size: 43 by 30 by 32 inches
- Capacity: 24.8 cubic feet
- Temperature Range: -15 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit
- Great for large families
- Easy to maneuver
- Includes a safety lock
Get the Frigidaire chest freezer at The Home Depot.
Those who are short on space and searching for the best small chest freezer may want to consider hOmeLabs’ 3.5-cubic-foot model. While this unit may be compact, users can maximize the storage space by optimizing the wire basket. The basket also slides across the width of the freezer to make it easier to add or remove items.
This model has exterior temperature controls and a drain outlet to assist with proper care and maintenance. This compact freezer also operates at just 42 decibels, so it can be placed in a home or office space with minimum noise disturbance.
- Size: 21.5 by 19.5 by 33.5 inches
- Capacity: 3.5 cubic feet
- Temperature Range: 10.4 to 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Compact size
- Exterior temperature control
- Quiet operation
- Not enough room for lots of frozen goods
- Some users report dents during delivery
Get the hOmeLabs chest freezer at Amazon.
The ICECO portable refrigerator freezer offers an ideal solution for those looking to transport frozen items or keep them frozen when they are away from home. This model features an adjustable temperature range between -7 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit for both frozen and refrigerated items.
Choose the option ECO mode and the compressor will save energy and only start running when the interior temperature has risen between 6 and 9 degrees from where it was set, or choose the MAX mode to cool the unit down more quickly. Both 110- to 240-volt AC and 12/24 DC cables are included with each model to allow for both home and vehicle use. While this is a portable model, it still holds quite a bit. The 40-liter capacity is large enough to fit 58 soda cans, 36 water bottles, or 12 wine bottles.
- Size: 23 by 14 by 18 inches
- Capacity: 40 liters
- Temperature Range: -7 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit
- ECO and MAX modes
- 110- to 240-volt AC and 12/24 DC cables
- Ample capacity
- May be difficult to transport
Get the ICECO fridge freezer on Amazon.
Searching for the best chest freezer for garage use? Consider GE’s 15.7-cubic-foot Garage Ready chest freezer. This model has undergone testing and performs well in both hot and cold temperature extremes ranging from 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Inside the spacious 15.7-cubic-foot capacity and four sliding storage baskets, users can store and organize frozen meats, ice cream, packaged goods, and other items. A second level rail allows users to place the sliding baskets at different heights for ease of access.
This Energy Star–qualified model also offers exterior temperature controls, a power-on indicator light, and LED lighting. The temperature alarm can help reduce food waste by letting users know if the freezer’s temperature begins to increase, and the lock and key allow users to keep their food items secure.
- Size: 33 by 65 by 28.5 inches
- Capacity: 15.7 cubic feet
- Temperature Range: -10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit
- Withstands hot and cold temperatures
- 4 sliding storage baskets
- Dual-level design
- Exterior temperature controls
- LED light
- May accumulate some frost on the lid
Get the GE Garage Ready freezer at The Home Depot or at Lowe’s.
Keep utility costs down with this 3.5 cubic foot chest freezer from Northair. This compact unit uses as little as 0.45 kilowatt hours per 24 hours, helping reduce energy consumption and providing savings on users’ electricity bills. In addition to its energy efficiency, this freezer also has a lot of impressive features to offer. One of the most impressive is the quiet compressor technology that maintains a very low noise level, as well as the soft-close lid mechanism, so users won’t disturb the rest of the household during a midnight ice cream binge.
The chest freezer offers two storage baskets that are removable for easy access to the foods beneath them. Other freezer features include the power-on indicator light, external adjustable front temperature controls, and auto-hold hinges.
- Size: 21 by 22 by 31 inches
- Capacity: 3.5 cubic feet
- Temperature Range: -4 to 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit
- Very quiet operation and opening
- Multiple colors available
- Low energy consumption
- Not enough space for large families
Get the Northair chest freezer on Amazon.
Most shoppers will appreciate the storage capacity and additional features of the Frigidaire, with 14.8 cubic feet of space and a lock and key for added security. For those looking for a more compact solution, consider the hOmeLabs with quiet operation, a small footprint, and a budget-friendly price point.
How We Chose the Best Chest Freezers
When curating our list of recommendations, we made sure to select models that offer a range of storage solutions while also fitting in the available space in a shoppers’ home. Important aspects we considered during our research were operational efficiency, temperature maintenance, and additional features. Our top picks include a wide selection of sizes, from compact units to extra large garage ready units ideal for large families.
Energy efficiency was also a major factor in our considerations, so we ensured that all options on our list came from reputable brands that provide products made from robust materials that are as efficient as possible.
After reading about all of the important chest freezer features and checking out some of the best on the market, there may still be some remaining questions about choosing among the best freezers. The following answers to some popular questions may help during your search.
Q: What is a standard-size freezer?
There is not necessarily one standard size for chest freezers. Rather, there are four different size ranges. Within each size range, the freezer’s dimensions may also vary. Below are some general dimensions for each chest freezer size:
- Compact (3 to 5 cubic feet): 21 to 28 inches wide, 32 to 34 inches high, and 19 to 22 inches deep
- Small (5 to 9 cubic feet): 29 to 38 inches wide, 32 to 34 inches high, and 22 to 27 inches deep
- Medium (10 to 16 cubic feet): 54 to 65 inches wide, 33 to 36 inches high, and 24 to 28 inches deep
- Large (17 or more cubic feet): 72 to 84 inches wide, 31 to 34 inches high, and 27 to 32 inches deep
Q: What is the difference between a chest freezer and a deep freezer?
Deep freezers are specially designed for long-term storage. Their design features additional insulation to ensure food stays completely frozen. Deep freezers can be designed as a chest freezer or an upright freezer and typically have a capacity of between 10 and 25 cubic feet.
Q: Are chest freezers better than upright?
There are pros and cons to both chest freezers and upright freezers. The “best” option can vary from person to person based on their individual storage needs.
Chest freezers typically offer a greater storage capacity and are better able to keep foods frozen should the power go out. They also are more economically priced and more energy efficient than upright models. Many chest freezers will last for 15 to 20 years, which is longer than the average upright freezer. On the other hand, chest freezers don’t offer as many shelves and organization baskets (if any) as an upright freezer. They can also be more challenging to clean and often require manual defrost, as opposed to the auto defrost offered with some upright models.
Upright freezers make it easier to keep foods organized since they feature more shelves and bulk storage baskets than chest freezers. An upright freezer also has a smaller footprint than a chest freezer and is easier to reach inside and clean. However, upright freezers are more expensive and typically only last between 10 and 15 years. They also don’t stay as cold in a power outage, so it is more likely that the food stored will go bad. While upright freezers can be good for organizing food, the layout of the shelves can make it more challenging to fit large or bulky items.
Q: What is the most efficient chest freezer?
The Northair Chest Freezer is one of the most efficient options on the market. This freezer uses just 0.45 kilowatt hours per day and can help users save on utility bills.
Q: What brand of chest freezer is best?
There are a few top chest freezer manufacturers. Some of the most respected include Frigidaire, GE, and Whirlpool.