Skip to content

Different Types of Freezers Compared


Though freezers have not undergone as much change over the past decade as some other large appliances, there have been some enhancements when it comes to storage convenience and energy efficiency.

You’ll find that most UK homes have a freezer section of the compartment with their refrigerator. This is convenient, but space is limited, which means some low-income families aren’t able to freeze as much bulk food as they’d like.

And savings associated with buying fresh food in bulk can be substantial, only if you have to means to properly freeze and store foods for a later date. This guide will help you to find the best freezer for your home, as well as important maintenance advice to get the most from your freezer setup.

Different Types of Freezers

There are basically two types of freezers, chest and upright – with each having its pros and cons. Many people will choose a freezer style based on size, as a lot of homes have small kitchens – especially apartments. Then it’s about looks, as people want a nice looking freezer to match their other appliances. Lastly (yet most importantly), they’ll think about food storage capacity.

Your current refrigerator freezer capacity may also influence the style that most appeals to you. Some households even have one of each style of freezer, over and above their refrigerator freezer space – that’s not uncommon.

Freezers are available in a good variety of capacities from mini apartment-sized to tall freestanding. It really depends on what you need when it comes to storing frozen foods and while the size of the household will often influence how large a freezer you need, other things such as lifestyle (hunting, fishing, entertaining) may also affect the need for a freezer space.

Where you live and the availability of food markets or whether you need to stock up for in-between shopping trips, is also an important freezer capacity consideration.

Chest Freezers

Chest freezers are the most economical to buy, have the best-frozen food storage space for bulky items but are the most inconvenient when it comes to cleaning the unit and retrieving foods.

Chest freezers require more space to place and they also need headroom for opening the lid. When it comes to performance and maintaining fairly constant temperatures since chest models have no fan, air circulation is limited and that hinders the temperature to adjust evenly throughout the freezer.

However, as long as the whole chest freezer maintains a zero F. or below temperature, foods will remain frozen.

  • Pros: Cheapest, best for bulk buyers, best for energy efficiency, lower operating costs, large variety of sizes and the freezer can be keep in a garage or utility room.
  • Cons: More difficult to clean and retrieve foods, storage baskets can get cluttered, can be awkward to defrost, basic storage options, bending required to lift foods in and out.

Upright Freezers

upright freezer capacity

Upright freezers cost more than chest models but offer the most convenience when it comes to cleaning, organizing foods and finding what you want to retrieve. However, they’re similar to a refrigerator style tends to encourage lengthy browsing which can increase energy costs.

  • Pros: Easy to neatly arrange foods, retrieve and store foods; easier to clean, not much bending, more storage features
  • Cons: Limited capacity choices, more costly, some are manual defrost, encourages browsing, less energy efficient, may not have space for large and bulky items

Chest vs Upright Freezer

Features will vary with the type of freezer and price, but you want a freezer that allows you to keep foods organized and easy to retrieve, regardless of which model you choose.

Chest models offer basic storage options; uprights, on the other hand, offer more choice when it comes to small storage bins, drawers, and baskets.

Let’s compare:

Chest Freezers:

  • Interior freezer light
  • At least one basket; more depending on capacity
  • Door locking in some models
  • Adjustable and removable separators
  • Digital or LED temperature reading
  • Power on indicator light

Upright Freezers:

  • Some have freezer Light
  • Door bins
  • Metal shelving
  • Slide-out baskets and drawers
  • Automatic defrost for cleaning convenience
  • Safety Lock
  • Alarm if interior temperature is too warm
  • Quick freeze

Chest freezers have limited features but if you are buying a large capacity model, more than one basket and removable divider would help you to better organize the contents and that means easier retrieval of what you need.

Upright freezers tend to vary when it comes to features and beyond the important items, these can help you to organize the freezer more easily as well as make it easier to wipe clean:

Freezer Defrosting

Defrosting a freezer can be a real pain, particular with chest freezers if there is no drain. Automatic defrosting is features are great, but the power involved in the cycling process can eat away at your electricity bill. When choosing whether to buy a freezer with auto-defrost, you should decide whether time or money is most important to you.

Because of the drop in temperature with automatic defrost, you’re foods are more prone to freezer burn, so that’s something else you should keep in mind.

Most chest freezers are manual defrost which can be tricky, while the majority of good upright freezers offer self-defrosting. Also, if your home isn’t well soundproofed, or your bedroom is close to the kitchen, you might want to avoid auto-defrost models are the on/off cycling can create some noise.

Energy Ratings

freezer energy efficiency

Keep in mind, your freezer will be running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, if it’s not energy efficient, you’re going to absorb the cost. Fortunately, white goods are clearly labelled with their energy efficiency rating, ranging from the best A, to the worst G.

Generally, freezers are low energy consuming appliances, compared to other white goods such as cookers, ovens, washing machines, and tumble dryers. With that said, there are many freezers with poor energy ratings, so it’s vital that you check the rating before buying.

Buying an A – B grade is the best way to go, so you know that it won’t eat into your electrical bill. When it comes to energy efficiency, chest models use less electricity because most are manual defrost and there’s less cold air loss when the door is open. Cold air falls, so when a chest freezer lid is opening, the cold air stays trapped, unlike an upright front-facing door, which lets the cold air pour out.

There’s also less tendency to browse at the contents compared to an upright model. However, this is where you must decide whether you would rather sacrifice a little energy for the organizing convenience of an upright freezer model. Once you’ve decided on a freezer type, take time to compare Energy Guide labels to see which freezers cost less to operate.

Don’t Buy If…

If you have back issues or any problem bending – and you’re a neat freak – then un upright would be more suited to you.

Don’t buy a large freezer if you shop small, as keeping this unused empty space at freezing temperatures is a waste of energy. You’ll find that a freezer that’s overly large for your household will start to accumulate foods, that will pass their use-by date.

Think smart about capacity by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you like to save by buying bulk deals?
  • Do you grow your own food or cook for large family gathering like Christmas, that requires additional seasonal storage?
  • Do you have limited kitchen space for a new freezer?
  • How often do you go shopping – weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly?

New Freezer Costs

Without a doubt, a chest freezer is cheaper to buy than an upright model and when it comes to manual versus defrost, a manual freezer is cheaper than an auto-defrost model. For this reason, freezers vary considerably in price from a couple of hundred dollars for a basic chest model, to several hundred for a custom front panel, full-featured upright freezer.

The biggest price point factors are a type of freezer, capacity and type of defrosting function. Most uprights have good food storage options; some have more ways of organizing and storing foods, plus convenient cleaning features – all of these will influence the price of upright freezers.

Shop Around

With different types and capacities, it can be difficult to find the right freezer for your home. To find the best freezer, after learning about freezer features, read freezer reviews.

Freezer Care

While a freezer may seem to require little or no maintenance, that’s far from the truth. For best energy efficiency, it’s important to keep a manual defrost freezer free of ice build-up and to keep stored frozen foods properly rotated (use oldest first) and regularly checked for quality, to discard foods that are too old or no longer safe to consume.

Foods that have suffered from freezer burn should be discarded. And you should wipe the door, shelving and interior periodically to ensure a clean place to store frozen foods.

Freezer care also includes a proper installation. Never place a freezer outside in warm climates or in front of a sunny window – this will increase your operating costs as the freezer struggles to keep cool. Freezers should be installed in a dry, cool area away from heat vents if possible.

Loading a freezer is also a careful consideration to ensure you allow room to properly close the lid, but also be able to find what you need quickly to minimize the time needed to keep the door open. If you have young children in the home, keeping a freezer locked is a good way to prevent accidents.