The Best Upright Freezers for the Home or Garage

Shop less often and store more food efficiently with one of these convenient, cost-saving appliances.

By Mark Wolfe | Updated Jan 10, 2024 1:35 PM

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An upright freezer full of food between a workbench and storage cabinet.

Photo: Lowes.com

If you’re looking to control the household food budget or simply want to limit trips to the grocery store, stand-alone freezers can be an excellent investment. They offer long-term storage space for perishable foods while helping owners take advantage of grocery store sales. These large-capacity freezers also can be essential for those who garden, fish, or hunt.

The best upright freezers allow for better organization of stored foods and utilize less floor space than chest freezers. Upright freezers are available in different capacities and finishes that match other appliances in the home. This buyer’s guide includes important factors that will help you narrow down the options for the best upright freezer and provides a list of some of the top-performing models on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: GE 17.3 cu. ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Frigidaire 16 cu. ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer
  3. BEST FOR GARAGE: Gladiator 17.8 cu. ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer
  4. BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: Whynter 2.1 cu. ft. Energy Star Mini Upright Freezer
  5. BEST MINI FREEZER: Magic Chef 3.0 cu. ft. Compact Upright Freezer
  6. BEST MIDSIZE FREEZER: GE 14.1 cu. ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer
  7. BEST LARGE FREEZER: GE 21.3 cu. ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer
  8. BEST FROST-FREE: Whirlpool 18 cu. ft. Upright Freezer
  9. MOST ORGANIZED: Frigidaire 20 cu. ft. Upright Freezer
A person's hand opening the best upright freezer using the grip on the top corner.

Photo: depositphotos.com

How We Chose the Best Upright Freezers

We researched the most sought-after freezers in their respective categories and discovered that the best upright freezer models are determined by their size, capacity, temperature range, and other special features included by select brands.

While searching for the best upright freezers available, we found that the most popular units among users had temperature ranges of 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit; were compact enough to fit in closets, garages, and even apartment spaces; and had capacities ranging from 2.1 to 21.3 cubic feet of storage space. Plus, some of these picks were even large enough to hold hundreds of pounds of food products.

We also looked for freezers with adjustable shelving, deep storage baskets or bins, audible door-open and temperature alerts, wheels, and leveling feet. Plus, select models are UL certified and Energy Star certified for their energy-efficient features.

Our Top Picks

Whether a shopper is looking for the best upright freezer for a garage space, basement, or another spot in a home, selecting the right upright freezer can be challenging. In addition to the type of freezer or the size and energy efficiency, there are several other optional features to compare. To help shoppers as they consider their options, below are some of the best upright freezers organized by category.

Best Overall

The GE 17.3 cu. ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer with its door open on a white background.
Photo: bestbuy.com

Product Specs 

  • Size: 64.75 inches high by 32.875 inches wide by 31.375 inches deep
  • Capacity: 17.3 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • 2 adjustable shelves and 2 fixed shelves for ample storage and versatility
  • 1 shallow drawer, 2 deep drawers, and 4 door bins for food, ice trays, bottles, and more
  • Comes with a lockable door and an LED light for added convenience
  • Comes with Energy Star certification; exterior temperature controls keep all the cool air in

Cons

  • Door is not reversible; may not work ergonomically in some spaces

GE’s 17.3-cubic-foot frost-free model has plenty of extra freezer space to load up with meat, ice cream, and frozen veggies. The interior is well organized to help keep track of inventory, with two adjustable shelves in the midsection, a fixed shelf at the top with a shallow drawer beneath, another fixed shelf in the lower section with two deep drawers beneath, and four bins attached to the door.

Other convenient features include interior LED lights, a lockable door for safety and security, an exterior electronic temperature control, and a high-gloss handle that looks great and cleans easily. This stand-alone freezer is Energy Star certified for efficiency and is rated for use in ambient temperatures between 0 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Get the GE 17.3 cu. ft. upright freezer at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Frigidaire 16 cu. ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer on a white background.
Photo: homedepot.com

Product Specs 

  • Size: 67.75 inches high by 27.75 inches wide by 26.625 inches deep
  • Capacity: 16 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • 4 adjustable shelves and 5 interior bins (including a deep bottom bin) provide plenty of versatile storage
  • Smart-sensing technology adjusts airflow to maintain a uniform interior temperature
  • Interior LED light provides visibility; suitable for dark spaces such as garages and pantries
  • Audible door-ajar alarm lets the user know that the door is still open or the temperature is rising

Cons

  • Some users report difficulty adjusting the door from side to side
  • Internal temperature control; may lose some of the cold temperature within

This 16-cubic-foot upright freezer from Frigidaire is perfect for a large household without a lot of floor space to spare. It offers a variety of ways to organize the interior on four adjustable shelves, a deep bottom bin, and five bins on the interior of the reversible door.

Frigidaire’s unique cooling system constantly circulates cold air throughout the freezer with smart-sensing technology that adjusts airflow to maintain a uniform temperature. It also features bright interior LED lights, a door-ajar alarm that audibly alerts if the door is left open or the temperature rises, a floor-projected power-on indicator, and an internal dial temperature control.

Get the Frigidaire 16 cu. ft. upright freezer at The Home Depot.

Best for Garage

The Gladiator 17.8 cu. ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer with its door open on a white background.
Photo: bestbuy.com

Product Specs 

  • Size: 72.25 inches high by 30.875 inches wide by 32.375 inches deep
  • Capacity: 17.8 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • 3 adjustable shelves, 2 drawers and full-width bins, and 2 half-width bins
  • The unique step-to-open door provides hands-free access to the freezer’s interior
  • Made with a sleek hammered granite and matte black door finish

Cons

  • Some users report poor quality and construction compared with similar models
  • Pricey relative to other options on the market

The Gladiator upright garage freezer features plenty of frozen storage space for large households or the hunting camp. Flexible organizing options include three adjustable shelves and two interior drawers, plus two full-width bins and two half-width bins on the door interior.

One of the features that’s great for garage spaces is the step-to-open door that makes it easy to open up when arms are full. Even in extreme temperatures between 0 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, this garage freezer operates efficiently. Heavy-duty casters allow for easy movement when needed.

Get the Gladiator upright freezer at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.

Best for Small Spaces

The Whynter 2.1 cu. ft. Energy Star Mini Upright Freezer with its door open to show it full of packaged food.
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs 

  • Size: 27 inches high by 17.25 inches wide by 20 inches deep
  • Capacity: 2.1 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: -10 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • Comes with a sleek stainless steel door; can be reversed to fit a given space
  • Built with 2 removable wire shelves, a recessed handle, and a locking door that comes with 2 keys
  • UL-certified and Energy Star–rated model saves energy and provides reliability
  • Suitable for dorm rooms, home or professional bars, garages, use in pantries, and more

Cons

  • Must be manually defrosted when no longer in use

Small spaces such as home bars, dorm rooms, and man caves can benefit from the compact and reliable Whynter upright freezer. This stainless steel mini freezer is sized to fit into small spaces while having a 2.1-cubic-foot capacity. It has a recessed handle, a reversible swing door to accommodate the space it is placed in, and the adjustable thermostat allows the user to set the interior temperature between -10 and 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, there are two removable wire shelves for organizing ice, frozen foods, glassware, and more.

This small but mighty 75-watt unit also comes equipped with a cylinder lock with two keys, a UL certification, an Energy Star rating, and it runs at a 45-decibel noise level, which should not disturb anyone in the immediate vicinity. The only downside to this option is that it must be manually defrosted.

Get the Whynter upright freezer at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Wayfair. 

Best Mini Freezer

The Magic Chef 3.0 cu. ft. Compact Upright Freezer with its door open to show it full of frozen packaged food.
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs 

  • Size: 34 inches high by 20.3 inches wide by 22.2 inches deep
  • Capacity: 3 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: -4 to 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • 2 wire shelves keep ice trays, drinks, and food items separate and organized
  • Made with a reversible door with a recessed handle and a magnetic gasket to keep cold air in
  • Adjustable leveling feet keep the unit balanced on uneven surfaces
  • Front-door temperature controller keeps all the cool air in while the user makes adjustments

Cons

  • Some users have reported that this model frosts quickly; may require frequent defrosting

If a household has been relying on a refrigerator’s top or bottom freezer compartment for all frozen storage needs, this mini stand-up freezer from Magic Chef can double the available space. It is 34 inches high by 20.3 inches wide by 22.2 inches deep and includes two wire shelves to help organize the space. This is a good choice for small spaces, apartments, condos, or offices.

The reversible door has a recessed handle that saves space and works conveniently in any location. A magnetic gasket seal improves energy efficiency, and adjustable leveling feet take the wobble out of any uneven base. The cabinet is finished in black, and the door features a stainless finish. A front interior temperature controller allows for easy adjustment of the setting. Manual defrosting is required as needed.

Get the Magic Chef upright freezer at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Best Midsize Freezer

The GE 14.1 cu. ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer with its door open to show it full of packaged frozen food.
Photo: lowes.com

Product Specs 

  • Size: 62 inches high by 28 inches wide by 32 inches deep
  • Capacity: 14.1 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • Comes with 4 wire shelves and 2 clear slide-out bulk bins
  • Digital thermometer and temperature control panel integrated
  • Key lock on the door makes this freezer suitable for offices, dorm rooms, and other shared spaces
  • Interior LED light provides visibility in dark environments

Cons

  • Some users have reported a loud operating volume

The GE 14.1-cubic-foot frost-free upright freezer offers plenty of freezer space to feed five with energy-saving operation. It is 62 inches high, 28 inches wide, and 32 inches deep. Organizing features include four wire shelves and two clear slide-out bulk bins. The digital thermometer and temperature control panel are conveniently located on the exterior of the door. This garage-ready freezer is tested to perform in temperatures between 0 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

The included key lock helps to keep kids out of this midsize freezer, and it provides a measure of security when the freezer is in a shared space. Interior LED lighting allows for finding things quickly, and turbo Freeze boosts the cold to restore the storage temperature quickly after the door is closed. An alarm alerts if the storage temperature rises or if the door is left open. This frost-free freezer eliminates the need for manually defrosting.

Get the GE 14.1 cu. ft. upright freezer at Lowe’s or The Home Depot.

Best Large Freezer

The GE 21.3 cu. ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer with its door open to show it full of packaged frozen food.
Photo: homedepot.com

Product Specs 

  • Size: 76.5 inches high by 32.875 inches wide by 31.375 inches deep
  • Capacity: 21.3 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • 4 adjustable shelves and 4 full-width inner door-mounted bins for storage
  • Audible temperature alarm sounds when the temperature drops or the door is left open
  • User-friendly design with LED interior lights and a door lock with a key

Cons

  • High price point relative to other options currently available
  • Some users report poor quality construction or difficulty using

The GE 21.3-cubic-foot frost-free upright freezer is the largest-capacity residential upright freezer available. There are plenty of ways to organize the space as well. This unit features four adjustable shelves, dual bottom bins, and four full-width inner door-mounted bins to organize meat, produce, and frozen treats.

This unit is rated for use between 0 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit and is an excellent choice for an unheated garage or basement. It features an audible temperature alarm, LED interior lights, a locking door with a key for safety and security, and exterior electronic temperature control. Turbo Freeze provides an extra boost of cold air to restore the interior temperature after loading.

Get the GE 21.3 cu. ft. upright freezer at The Home Depot or Walmart.

Best Frost-Free

The Whirlpool 18 cu. ft. Upright Freezer with its door open to show it full of packaged frozen food.
Photo: lowes.com

Product Specs 

  • Size: 66.25 inches high by 30.25 inches wide by 29.125 inches deep
  • Capacity: 17.7 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: Unlisted

Pros

  • A spacious 17.7-cubic-foot interior for ample storage space
  • Comes with 4 adjustable shelves, a bottom drawer, and 6 door-mounted bins
  • LED interior light aids with visibility; suitable for dark spaces such as pantries and garages
  • Reversible door provides versatility and user-friendliness wherever the unit is placed

Cons

  • No temperature range is listed; may not get as cold as some users may desire

This Whirlpool upright freezer provides plenty of room to store bulk meat purchases or to preserve the harvest from a backyard garden with its 17.7 cubic feet of space. The reversible door allows customizing the direction it opens to fit the location, and users can organize everything on four adjustable shelves, a deep bottom drawer, and six door-mounted bins.

This unit also features LED interior lighting and electronic temperature controls, including a Fast Freeze mode to quickly drop the freezer temperature. Frost-free means that the freezer may never need to be emptied to thaw ice buildup.

Get the Whirlpool upright freezer at Lowe’s.

Most Organized

The Frigidaire 20 cu. ft. Upright Freezer on a white background.
Photo: homedepot.com

Product Specs 

  • Size: 71.75 inches high by 32.625 inches wide by 28.25 inches deep
  • Capacity: 20 cubic feet
  • Temperature range: 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • Ergonomic construction; made with a wide opening and a shallow depth so users can easily reach all corners of the interior
  • Made with 4 adjustable wire shelves, 5 door shelves, and a wire bulk bin
  • Variable speed compressor and smart sensor consistently keep a uniform temperature
  • Door has a tight seal, auto-close feature, and a door-ajar alarm; food and drink can stay cold for 2 days during a power outage

Cons

  • Price point is higher than comparable options on the market

For those looking for the best upright freezer for garage spaces, the Frigidaire 20- cubic-foot upright freezer offers ways to use space efficiently, starting with its space-saving design. At 71.75 inches high by 32.625 inches wide by 28.25 inches deep, it fits in the same space as an average 17-cubic-foot model. A wider opening and shallower depth make it easier to access all the contents, even in the very back. The interior space is organized with four adjustable wire shelves, a wire bulk bin, and five door shelves.

This garage freezer is designed to work in temperatures from 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooling system’s variable speed compressor constantly circulates cold air through the freezer, and it has a smart sensor that adjusts airflow for a uniform temperature throughout. A tight seal ensures that food will stay frozen for 2 days in a power outage. The auto-close door, tight seal, and door-ajar alarm help eliminate spoiled food. The convenient frost-free design eliminates ice buildup and the need for manual defrosting.

Get the Frigidaire 20 cu. ft. upright freezer at The Home Depot.

Jump to Our Top Picks



What to Consider When Choosing an Upright Freezer

An upright freezer is usually a functional purchase. As such, the main shopping concerns beyond appearance are performance and convenience. How much food can it hold? How easy will it be to find things in the freezer? Are there any special maintenance concerns? Read on to learn more about these factors, plus the capacity, energy efficiency, and other features that differentiate upright freezers.

Capacity 

Upright freezers can be categorized as compact (up to 5 cubic feet), small (5 to 9 cubic feet), medium (9 to 18 cubic feet), and large (more than 18 cubic feet). They are proportionally tall and narrow, and their footprint doesn’t increase that much with added capacity. Some of the smallest models have the advantage of fitting either above or below counter height.

Most foods hold up well in a freezer for about 6 weeks before quality begins to deteriorate and freezer burn sets in. Individually wrapped butcher cuts can last up to a year. Think about how much frozen food the household consumes within that time frame. A good starting point to determine the right home freezer capacity is to multiply the number of people in the household by 2.5 cubic feet of storage space. As consumption varies among people, also factor in food-purchasing habits.

Those who buy in bulk may want to keep in mind that 1 cubic foot of space can hold about 35 pounds of food. A side of beef requires about 8 cubic feet of space. It’s OK to buy a freezer that’s a bit larger than what is expected for regular use. However, keep in mind that empty freezer space wastes energy.

Dimensions

Exterior dimensions of a freezer can be important. With the exception of garage freezers, make sure that the freezer will fit through the door of the home before buying. Also, it is helpful to size up the location where it will reside, including the footprint and the freezer door swing clearance, before making a purchase.

On the smaller end, a 6-cubic-foot upright freezer is usually about 57 inches tall and has a footprint of 22 inches wide and 23 inches deep. A midsize 14-cubic-foot model fills a space 64 inches tall, 30 inches wide, and 32 inches from front to back. For a 20-cubic-foot freezer, 72 inches of height clearance and floor space that’s 33 inches wide and 29 inches deep is usually needed.

Temperature Control 

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 warmer 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 deep freezer models 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. If purchasing an upright freezer with an eye toward extended storage, colder is usually better.

Defrosting

Upright freezers can either be self-defrosting, also called frost-free, or manual defrost. 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.

Upright frost-free 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 Fahrenheit. Plus, upright frost-free freezers ensure that food quality is unaffected.

Energy Efficiency

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 to 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.

Additional Features

  • Freezer compartments and shelves: Organizing stored food is one of the primary reasons to buy an upright freezer rather than a chest freezer. All things being equal, a freezer with the most freezer compartments and shelves, ideally ones that are adjustable, can make it easier to organize food. More shelves allow for different storage configurations, including removal of shelves as needed to make room for large items, whereas compartments and drawers are ideal for keeping small items such as food, glassware, and ice trays organized.
  • Interior lights: Interior lights are tremendously helpful in locating specific ingredients, but they are not always included. The best upright freezers not only include interior lights but have enough lighting to make it easy to see all of the contents quickly and easily.
  • Touch screen: Touch-screen controls conveniently display the internal temperature and allow adjustments without opening the door. This feature improves operating efficiency and convenience.
  • Ice maker: Although it may seem like an obvious feature to include in a freezer, few upright freezers incorporate ice makers. But some do, and it makes a lot of sense.
  • Door safety lock: The option to lock a freezer door is a consideration for safety and security. This option is especially helpful when the freezer is located in an unsecured location outside the home. Families often prefer to lock their freezers and eliminate the risk to curious children who may want to play inside them.
  • Leveling legs/wheels: What’s under the freezer can matter, too. Leveling legs screw in or out to counteract an uneven floor. The freezer should tilt toward the back slightly so the door closes automatically. Wheels are especially helpful when it’s time to clean behind the freezer. Be sure to consider these options while shopping.

The Advantages of Owning an Upright Freezer

Owning an upright freezer allows users to stock up on food for up to 6 months at a time or more, reducing trips to the grocery store and butcher shop. Plus, the added storage space helps save money because it can accommodate extra food when there is a sale. Gardeners, hunters, and fishermen often need space to preserve foods that come in large quantities all at once. Upright freezers take up less floor space than chest-style deep freezers with similar storage capacity, making them a great choice where floor space is limited.

  • Upright freezers provide lots of storage space for bulk cold storage at home.
  • They require less space than chest freezers, and they stay better organized.
  • Owning an upright freezer helps save on a food budget by allowing users to stock up on seasonal or sale-priced items.

FAQs

Whether you’ve made your selection or you are still shopping around for a new upright freezer, it’s not uncommon for numerous questions to arise. Read on to learn the answers to some frequently asked questions.

Q. What is the best brand of upright freezer?

General Electric (GE) and Frigidaire upright freezers have been among the top sellers for decades. They consistently receive high praise for product innovation as well as lasting durability. If you’re looking for an established brand, these two would be a great place to start.

Q. What should I look for when buying an upright freezer?

Many tend to shop for functionality first, then consider aesthetics. Start by narrowing down the field with size. Measure the available space and estimate the volume of food to be stored. Next, think about budget. When everything else is equal, consider the value of Energy Star. Energy efficiency costs more up front but saves money in the long run, so spending 10 to 15 percent more could become a bargain over time.

Q. How often should an upright freezer run?

An upright freezer should run about 80 to 90 percent of the time, with the compressor cycling on at approximately 30-minute intervals. A freezer’s compressor should never be running consistently for long periods of time.

Q. What is the quickest way to defrost an upright freezer?

Frost-free upright freezers never need to be defrosted. Manual defrost freezers should be emptied and the built-up ice melted on a regular basis. Simply let the ice melt on its own. Place a fan near the freezer to expedite the process.

Q. How long should you wait to put food in a new freezer?

After powering up a new freezer, wait a minimum of 4 hours before turning it on and stocking it with food. Some manufacturers even recommend waiting overnight before adding food or drink.

Q. What is the average life of an upright freezer?

Upright freezers have an average lifespan of about 10 to 15 years. To maintain the life of an upright freezer, ensure that all parts are operating properly with special attention being paid to the unit’s compressor.

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