While a refrigerator and freezer combination is pretty typical in most homes, sometimes a household needs a bit more 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 much food 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. The goal is to help you narrow down the options to choose the best freezer for your particular needs.
- BEST OVERALL: Frigidaire 13 cu. ft. Frost Free Upright Freezer
- RUNNER-UP: GE Garage Ready 17.3 cu. ft. Frost Free Freezer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Arctic King 5 cu ft Chest Freezer
- BEST CHEST FREEZER: Frigidaire 14.8 cu. ft. Chest Freezer
- BEST SMALL CHEST: Midea Single Door Chest Freezer, 3.5 Cubic Feet
- BEST LARGE CAPACITY: Frigidaire 24.8 cu. ft. Chest Freezer
- BEST ENERGY EFFICIENT: GE Garage Ready 10.6 cu. ft. Chest 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 you’ll be able to rule out immediately. For instance, a need for serious storage for a big family means you probably won’t want a small, portable freezer. As you dive into this guide, consider where you intend to put the new freezer, the floor space you’ve got to accommodate it, and features like blackout recovery and energy efficiency. Here’s what you should consider when you start your search for the best freezer for your situation.
There are four different 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 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 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 food.
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, the upright freezer or chest freezer are ideal. The 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. 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 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 smaller chest 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, with their capacity limited a bit by the shelves inside and the door (which often holds shelves as well).
Choosing a drawer freezer depends upon where you intend to install it; this might come along with the 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. Keep in mind that those ratings are created under ideal conditions. So if you have a large family that is constantly opening the door to the freezer, 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 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 temperature according to the manufacturer instructions, keep the 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 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 do offer finer temperature control, given their small size and common uses—to be carried from one place to another, used for travel, and the like—many are more of the “plug and play” style with only one temperature setting. Think about just how much the ability to set your own temperature matters to you as you choose the best freezer for you.
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 food will warm up during a power outage. Keep the door of the freezer closed during the outage and when the power comes back on, check the temperature of the freezer to ensure the food is still properly frozen.
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 door stays closed
- Sliding bins or hanging baskets for chest freezers to make organization easier
- Power light that shows at a glance that yes, the freezer is working
Our Top Picks
Once you’ve determined your priorities for your new freezer, take a look at these best freezer picks, which were selected based on reputation, size, and capacity, how long they keep food frozen during a blackout, energy efficiency, and more.
Don’t let its simple look fool you—this freezer has a lot to offer. It features an ample 13 cubic feet of storage with four metallic wire shelves, a deep bottom basket for larger items, and five-door bins. With a reversible 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. If the door is left open, an alarm sounds. And if the power goes out, power outage assurance means your food will stay frozen (and thus, safe) for at least two 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.
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, even back porches. Slide out the freezer bins under the bright LED lighting to make finding your food easier.
Exterior temperature control ensures you can change the temperature to your liking without ever opening the door. But if you leave the door open for an extended period of 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.
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 homes. The unit has two wire baskets where you can stash smaller or regularly-needed items, leaving the remaining 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 food stays as cold as you want it. It works well as a garage unit in climates that aren’t too extreme.
With nearly 15 cubic feet of space, this chest freezer holds plenty of food for a medium-sized household. Optional heavy-duty caster wheels allow for easy movement across hard floors. Sliding plastic baskets for organization makes life much simpler, as does the Defrost Water Drain, which allows for easier defrosting when the time comes. Bright LED lighting helps you find whatever you need, and a power indicator light provides peace of mind. This deep freeze holds food at anywhere from -10 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and the exterior Ready-Select temperature control dial makes it easy to ensure your food stays frozen just as you want it.
Though it’s well suited for garage storage in most climates, its clean white finish makes this freezer attractive enough for inclusions in kitchens, rec rooms, and basements, too. If there are little children hanging around, no problem: The Safety Lock keeps food secure and the Pop-out Key automatically ejects after locking, helping ensure you take that key with you when you walk away from your freezer.
This small chest freezer is ideal for even tiny apartments and offers a wealth of convenience. Chill food at 10 degrees to -11 degrees Fahrenheit with the adjustable thermostat, use the single hanging wire storage basket for convenience and enjoy the added bonus of a hinge-style 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 freezer can be easily moved. But don’t let that lightweight fool you; the Midea D+ System has a thinner cooling system than other chest freezers, allowing more capacity in a smaller footprint.
There are freezers, and then there are freezers you can get lost in. That’s the case with this Frigidaire, which features 24.8 cubic feet of space. Six heavy-duty caster wheels are in place to help you move this behemoth around if necessary.
The Power On indicator light shows you at a glance that it’s working, and the adjustable temperature control gives you a temperature range of -15 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Plastic buckets with color-coordinated clips and good LED lighting help ensure you can get what you want, when you want it. The Safety Lock features the Pop-out Key function, ensuring you don’t leave your key behind when you lock up the freezer.
When it’s time to defrost, the Defrost Water Drain helps you direct the water to avoid making a mess of your floors. A freezer this size is right at home in your garage, where it can handle the exterior temperatures in most climates.
This Energy Star qualified freezer offers a good capacity for a larger family, bright interior lighting, adjustable temperature control, and the power “on” light that means you can tell it is working without having to open the door.
Tested to perform well at environmental temperatures of between 0 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, this garage-ready freezer also offers convenience with three lift-out, sliding baskets, and a keyed lock for the safety of curious kids and protection of your food.
The clean, modern lines are kept intact with a recessed handle. Manual defrosting means you don’t have to worry about temperature fluctuations.
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 door and removable shelf helps ensure convenience. Rapid cooling technology helps ensure your food gets cold fast, 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.
FAQs About Your New Freezer
You might still have questions about which freezer is the best 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 food 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 have fluctuations 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 food 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 food. Some foods, like bacon, can be frozen for a month before the taste might be compromised; others, such as steaks, could be frozen for up to a year with no compromise on taste as long as they were packaged properly before freezing. To learn more, visit 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.