While a refrigerator and freezer combination is pretty typical in most homes, sometimes a household needs a bit of extra freezer space for long-term cold storage. That’s where the stand-alone freezer comes in.
Choosing the best freezer for your needs includes looking at several factors, such as the space you’ve got for the new appliance, how many frozen foods you intend to store, how you feel about energy efficiency, and more.
This buyer’s guide looks at the highest quality freezers out there, providing you with the knowledge and specifications to make an informed purchase for your extra freezer space.
- BEST OVERALL: Frigidaire 13 cu. ft. Frost Free Upright Freezer
- RUNNER UP: GE Garage Ready 17.3 cu. ft. Frost Free Freezer
- BEST BUDGET: Arctic King 5 cu ft Chest Freezer
- BEST HIGH-END: Atosa Reach-in Freezer with Half Doors
- BEST MINI FREEZER: Midea 3.5 cu.ft Mini Freezer
- BEST LARGE-CAPACITY: Arctic Air AWF25 30″ Reach-In Freezer, 25 Cubic Feet
- BEST ENERGY EFFICIENT: Whynter UDF-0831SS 8.3 cu.ft. Digital Upright Freezer
- BEST PORTABLE: Euhomy Mini Freezer, 1.1 Cubic Feet
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Freezer
The best freezer for you will depend upon the features that matter most to you. Some need serious storage for a big family; others require a compact freezer for a small home or space. Here’s what you should consider when you start your search for the best freezer for your intended use.
There are four types of freezers. Each offers a unique set of features, and some are better suited to certain environments than others.
- Upright freezers: These look much like a refrigerator, but they have only one door and are probably a bit smaller. When you open the freezer door, you’ll see shelves, just like in the refrigerator/freezer combo you already have. Upright freezers can come in a variety of finishes.
- Drawer freezers: You’re probably familiar with these freezers, as they often come as a refrigerator/freezer unit, where the refrigerator is on the top and the freezer is a drawer that pulls out on the bottom. However, it’s also possible to buy a drawer freezer on its own that fits into your cabinetry; these might be referred to as “under-counter” freezers.
- Chest freezers: These freezers have one door that opens from the top. Depending upon the size of the chest freezer, there might be dividers to help with organization. Just as with the uprights, they come in a variety of finishes.
- Portable freezers: These small freezers can be lightweight enough to pick up and carry around; they look very much like a dorm-style refrigerator. They are tiny and are meant for storing small quantities of frozen foods.
Determining where you intend to place the freezer is one of the first steps in choosing which one might be best for your home. If you can sacrifice some space under your cabinets, the drawer freezer option might work very well.
If you have room in the garage or laundry room, an upright freezer or chest freezer is ideal. A portable freezer, given the small size and ease of transporting it, can be a great solution for those who don’t have much space to spare. Think carefully about where you want the freezer to go before you begin your search.
A point to keep in mind: Most freezers work best when they are in an area that stays at a comfortable room temperature so that cold air stays cold. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for a freezer that you intend to put in an area without temperature control, such as a garage.
Size and Storage Capacity
Once you’ve chosen a location, it’s time to break out the measuring tape. What size of freezer will fit where you want it to go? This might eliminate some options; for instance, that upright freezer might not fit in that dedicated space in the garage, but a mini freezer will.
In addition to looking at the actual size of the unit and whether it will fit where you want it to, you’re also looking at the interior size and storage capacity. The larger chest freezers are usually the best for storage capacity, as they are essentially big boxes that keep food frozen. Uprights are next in line for the strength of their cold air, with their capacity limited a bit by the shelves inside and the freezer door (which often holds shelves as well).
Choosing a drawer freezer depends upon where you intend to install it; this might come along with installation of all-new cabinetry during a remodel, so there are other considerations that come into play. When choosing the size of a drawer freezer, talking to a contractor might be the best bet.
When looking for energy efficiency, always start with the Energy Star label. This will help you compare apples to apples when it comes to how much energy you’ll be using in creating cold air. Keep in mind that those ratings are created under ideal conditions. So if you have a large family that is constantly opening the freezer door, don’t expect to get the efficiency as stated on that Energy Star label.
As a general rule, chest freezers tend to be more energy efficient since they often have a tighter seal around the freezer door and don’t often have self-defrosting features. Upright freezers are next on the list, followed by freezer drawers and portable freezers.
To make the most of your energy efficiency, operate your freezer at the ideal cold air temperature according to the manufacturer’s instructions, keep the freezer door closed as much as possible, and fill it up—the more frozen food in there, the less air to circulate, and the easier it will be for the compressor to keep up with the need for cold air.
Many chest freezers have excellent temperature control. That might be thanks to the tighter seal on the freezer door (that it opens from the top allows gravity to do its work), but it might also be because few chest freezer models are frost-free. However, many chest freezers offer only a few options for temperature, sometimes even as simple as “high” or “low.” If you want finer control, many upright freezers offer that option, as do several drawer freezers.
Though some portable freezers offer finer temperature control, given their small size and common uses—to be carried from one place to another, for travel, and the like—many are more of the “plug-and-play” style with only one cold air temperature setting. Think about just how much the ability to set your own temperature matters as you choose the best freezer for you.
Blackout Recovery (Power Outage Assurance)
If you live in an area where you might lose power for an extended period of time, this option could mean the difference between safe, usable food and ruined food that you have to throw out. Some freezers are better at maintaining frozen temperatures than others; chest freezers tend to be tops in this regard and might be able to sustain a stable frozen temperature for a few days.
All freezers should be able to maintain a proper temperature for at least a few hours. A good rule of thumb is that the smaller the freezer is, the faster the frozen foods will warm up during a power outage. Keep the freezer door closed during the outage to keep the cold air in, and when the power comes back on, check the temperature of the freezer to ensure the frozen foods are still properly cold.
Freezers are just like any other appliance; they can be simple and straightforward, or they can be loaded with bells and whistles. Look for additional features if something in particular matters to you. Here are a few options you’ll encounter during your shopping:
- Alarms that alert you when the temperature in the freezer drops too much.
- Door locks that ensure the freezer door stays closed.
- Sliding bins or hanging baskets for chest freezers to make organization easier.
- Adjustable shelves for upright freezers to fit frozen foods of different sizes.
- Power light that shows at a glance that yes, the freezer is working.
- Wheel rollers for easy portability.
- Frost-free feature to prevent ice from forming so you don’t have to use manual defrost.
- Thermostat to show you the temperature.
- Adjustable temperature (manual or electric) for energy efficiency, to prevent freezer burn, and conversion to refrigeration.
- Reversible freezer door(s) for design, positioning, and right- or left-handedness.
- Flush back for fit, design, and extra freezer space.
- Fingerprint-free finish for easily keeping clean.
- Prep table top on chest freezers for extra work space.
Our Top Picks
Once you’ve determined your priorities for your new freezer, take a look at these top-quality models for your kitchen, garage, or RV.
Don’t let its simple look fool you—this freezer has a lot to offer. It features ample 13 cubic feet of storage with four metallic wire adjustable shelves, a deep bottom basket for larger items, and five freezer door bins. With a reversible freezer door available in white or brushed steel, this Frigidaire offers plenty of practical bells and whistles, such as adjustable temperature control and solid performance in environments of up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
EvenTemp cooling constantly moves air around, ensures the freezer doesn’t develop warm spots, and avoids the problem of some areas getting way too cold, which causes freezer burn. If the freezer door is left open, an alarm sounds. And if the power goes out, power outage assurance means your frozen food will stay frozen (and thus, safe) for at least 2 days.
Ample LED lighting helps ensure you can find what you need without squinting in the dark. Want extra peace of mind that this very quiet freezer is working? The Floor-Projected Power-On Indicator Light makes it crystal clear.
- Type: Upright freezer
- Dimensions: 27.75 by 67.75 by 25.625 inches
- Price: $$
- Open freezer door alarm alerts you
- Power outage assurance for storm-prone areas
- Runs in ambient temperatures from 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit
- Adjustable thermostat to deep-freeze provisions without freezer burn
- Can’t tell from specs if the back is flush
- Takes up room in a smaller garage or basement
- White finish could get dirty in a garage setting
This sizable upright freezer from GE works well even in extreme temperatures. It powers through temperatures from below freezing to up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a suitable option for garages, three-season rooms, and even back porches. Slide out the freezer bins under the bright LED lighting to find your frozen foods easily.
Exterior temperature control ensures you can change the temperature to your liking without ever opening the freezer door. But if you leave the freezer door open for an extended time and the alarm sounds, letting you know the temperature is rising, the Turbo Freeze option will quickly bring it back to the proper set temperature.
And besides that, the unit just looks good. The handsome white freezer has exterior controls in an understated panel at the top center, as well as a polished handle that makes it look quite classy—even if it is sitting in your garage.
- Type: Upright freezer
- Dimensions: 32.8 by 64.7 by 31.3 inches
- Price: $$$
- View items with clear bins and glass adjustable shelves
- Turbo Freeze amplification especially useful in hot climates
- Alarm alerts to prevent open freezer-door defrosting
- External temperature controls to minimize summer openings
- A locked bin is a great idea, but could lose key
- Can be bulky in a 1-car garage
- White exterior is a dirt magnet
If you don’t need a full-size freezer but you’d still like a decent amount of extra cold storage, consider this 5-cubic-foot unit from Arctic King. With a sleek black finish, this small but mighty freezer fits just as well in apartments as it does in houses. The unit has two wire baskets where you can stash smaller or regularly needed food, leaving the remaining freezer space for larger items.
As with most smaller chest freezers it will require a manual defrost, but that’s made much easier by the lighter weight; two people can easily move it from room to room. Two temperature controls (high or low) help ensure your frozen foods stay as cold as you like. This freezer works well as a garage unit in climates that aren’t too extreme.
- Type: Chest freezer
- Dimensions: 33.5 by 24.9 by 21.7 inches
- Price: $
- Ideal for small spaces like apartments
- Chic black finish
- Holds more than you’d think
- Well insulated and cools down quickly
- Not suitable for external usage
- Can be hard to dig down to the bottom
- Moving often can make it hard to level afterward
As far as upright freezers go, professional or commercial styles don’t suit everyone. But if you entertain frequently or work in hospitality for a living or as a side gig, this commercial double-door beauty is one to consider, especially if you have the space for it.
At just over 82 inches high and with 21 cubic feet of interior freezer space, this freezer stands higher and deeper than most. But that’s because it’s divided into two compartments, each with its own hinged, self-closing freezer door. Use the adjustable shelves for catering trays in preparation for a gathering, or remove them to store large proteins. Or do both—that’s the beauty of having two compartments.
Running on environmentally friendly R134A refrigerant, this frost-free freezer runs between -33 degrees and 40 degrees Fahrenheit and runs optimally wherever you choose to place it. The stainless steel construction is stylish enough to place in a kitchen and will jazz up any garage, with preinstalled casters making it easy to move should you change your mind about where to keep the appliance. Either way, LED interior lights, recessed freezer door handles, and freezer door locks to keep fingers out of party appetizers ensure that you’ve made a good decision.
- Type: Upright freezer
- Dimensions: 29 by 31 by 82.2 inches
- Price: $$$$
- Deep and wide adjustable shelves for prepared frozen foods
- Two sections can separate catering trays from provisions
- Lock prevents anyone from messing with party stuff
- Freezer doors are not reversible
- This freezer is taller than most for tougher fit
- Be wary of warranty coverage if residential usage
This small chest freezer is ideal for even tiny apartments and offers a wealth of convenience. Keep frozen foods at -12 to -28 degrees Fahrenheit with the adjustable thermostat, use the single hanging wire storage basket for convenience, and enjoy the added bonus of a hinge-style freezer door that remains open at an angle while you look for whatever you need.
Perhaps you want to defrost it on the porch so you don’t have to worry about cleaning up water that might spill onto your floors. At just about 60 pounds empty, this compact freezer moves easily. But don’t let that light weight fool you; the Midea D+ System has a thinner cooling system than other chest freezers, allowing more capacity in a smaller footprint.
- Type: Chest freezer
- Dimensions: 20.59 by 22.2 by 33.5 inches
- Price: $
- Freezer door hinges are reversible
- Wire hanging basket keeps items steady and up top
- Defrost drain helps for cleaning
- Inconspicuous compact freezer
- Hinge-style freezer door opens only 45 to 75 degrees
- Manual defrost means water cleanup, despite the drain
If you really need to stock up—or you’re just a mega-couponer buying in bulk—check into this large-capacity upright freezer. At 25 cubic feet, it takes up a lot of garage or playroom space. But this is no ordinary vehicle; it’s engineered with the compressor on the bottom. That does two things: It elevates the bottom interior compartment so that you don’t have to bend down far to pick up heavy objects, and it allows you to use the freezer’s top as additional storage without blocking any important airflow.
With a recessed handle, the reversible freezer door has a remain-open feature that allows you to load and unload frozen foods from the adjustable shelves without hauling repeatedly on the seal. Meanwhile, the external electronic thermostat with digital LED display helps easily maintain the temperature between -10 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
The white epoxy-coated front and sides of this freezer make a handsome addition to a kitchen no matter the color of other appliances. But it’s also resistant to grime if you want to place it in a garage. Inside, a white ABS interior liner with stainless steel floor makes it easy to clean regardless of where this freezer is placed.
- Type: Upright freezer
- Dimensions: 30.75 by 29 by 78 inches
- Price: $$$$
- The remain-open feature saves seal wear and tear
- Easy movement with four casters, two locking
- Three adjustable shelves to customize storage
- A bottom-mounted compressor lessens bending
- Ice builds up if not locked, increasing freezer burn
- Motor hums on the louder side
- Check warranties to make sure they cover residential use
What a clever contraption this is, converting from refrigerator to freezer and back again via a special feature—and quickly, too. And you don’t have to guess how it’s operating at the moment. An exterior digital display on the slim, silver freezer door lets you know the temperature, which cools down to -11 degrees Fahrenheit. You’d think the flip-flopping would cause ice to build up, but a signature Frost-Free Feature prevents having to manually defrost the freezer.
This Energy Star–rated unit is not uber-heavy and filled with machinery, either. While not a compact freezer, it is slim and light at 124 pounds. This single-door compartment is on wheels nonetheless, allowing for easy movement from room to room. There’s also a surprising 8.3 cubic feet of freezer space, housing six adjustable shelves along with a slide-out basket. That’s a lot of storage capacity in one smart body.
- Type: Upright freezer
- Dimensions: 24.9 by 23.4 by 67.8 inches
- Price: $$
- Six sliding adjustable shelves and bulk storage basket
- Energy Star rated
- Converts to refrigerator
- The frost-free feature prevents ice buildup
- More narrow than wide, so better for one or two people
- The handle is not recessed; requires assembly
This tiny yet mighty portable freezer is designed to sit on a countertop and hold just a few things—great for a dorm room, storing medication, or chilling a few six-packs for poker night. A reversible freezer door and removable shelf help ensure convenience. Rapid cooling technology can chill foods quickly, and the seven-level temperature system allows you to adjust the freezer between -7.6 and 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
The sleek exterior, available in stainless steel or black, is suitable for most areas of the home or office. This quiet unit has a short cord for safety, and though it should be manually defrosted, there might be some moisture escape—that’s why many consumers use a drip tray underneath it, just in case.
- Type: Portable freezer
- Dimensions: 17.5 by 18.6 by 19.2 inches
- Price: $
- A removable shelf offers versatility
- Ideal for a dorm room, office, or the road
- Easy opening with built-in handle for freezer door
- Adjustable feet
- Easy to defrost, drain, and clean—but needs drip pan
- Must chill this compact freezer upright for 24 hours before use
For an extra freezer that satisfies all your food storage needs, the Frigidaire 13 cu. ft. Frost Free Upright Freezer is our best overall choice. There’s plenty of room for provisions, an alarm to let you know when the freezer door is open so that they don’t all melt, and power assurance to keep items cold for 2 days should there be a blackout. And there’s never a need to defrost.
We also recommend the energy efficient Whynter Digital Upright Freezer, which flips from being your extra freezer to being your extra refrigerator. It also has six adjustable shelves and a basket for plenty of storage.
How We Chose the Best Freezers
To choose the best freezer, we looked at prices, dimensions, design, energy efficiency, and customer reviews where possible. We also looked at the reputations of the brands, how easy they were to work with on a customer service level, and whether the appliances were built for home or professional use. In the end, this curated list was developed from extensive product research after taking dozens of products into consideration.
You might still have questions about which is the best freezer for you. Though you can narrow the options down by type, size, capacity, and location, you might still have questions about whether frost-free is best, how long you can keep frozen foods in a freezer, and more. Here are some of the pertinent points you need to know before you have that new freezer delivered and installed.
Q: Are frost-free freezers better?
That depends. Frost-free freezers have a self-defrost system that periodically cycles to avoid ice buildup. The problem is that some of these freezers can fluctuate in temperature during those cycles. If that’s a problem for you, going with a freezer you must manually defrost could be a better option.
Q: What is the difference between a freezer and a deep freezer?
These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, though some consider a chest freezer to be a “deep freezer”—likely because the chest freezer has the capacity to hold frozen foods several feet deep, while a typical upright freezer makes food much easier to access.
Q: How long can I keep my food frozen?
That depends on the frozen foods. Some foods, like bacon, can be frozen for a month before the taste might be compromised; others, such as steaks, can be frozen for up to a year with no compromise on taste as long as they were packaged properly before freezing. To learn more, see the Cold Food Storage Chart at FoodSafety.gov.
Q: How do you defrost a freezer?
If your freezer has an auto-defrost function, you don’t have to worry about this; the appliance does it all on its own. If you’re going to manually defrost the freezer, this step-by-step guide on How to Defrost a Freezer tells you everything you need to know.
Q: How long do freezers last?
Most manufacturers say their freezers last for up to 20 years, but the average lifespan seems to be around 11 years. You can increase your freezer’s longevity with proper maintenance, including defrosting on a regular basis and ensuring there is never more than a quarter-inch of frost in the freezer.