How to Pick the Right Freezer


  • ⬥ Budget
  • ⬥ Capacity (size of the freezer)
  • ⬥ Energy efficiency
  • ⬥ Footprint
  • ⬥ Convenience

Chest freezer

Price and capacity:

Chest freezers are among the most economical types of freezers and every bit of space in the chest is usable.

Energy and convenience:

Most chest freezers need to be manually defrosted. It is possible to find automatic defrost freezers, but they will take more energy to run. 

Insulation in the sidewall of chest freezers help the unit to hold in the cold. This means the unit will run less frequently, saving you money.

Should you experience power interruption, chest freezers can maintain the cold in the freezer for as long as two to three days, depending on how much is in the freezer.

Note: Many people with chest freezers report that when they experience a power outage they cover their freezers with blankets to help retain the cool even longer.

Chest freezers typically have, at minimum, a single wire basket to help with organizing the contents. This is helpful for oversized items such as a large turkey. 

A downside to the chest freezer is that foods can be difficult to reach as they’re buried on top of each other. And unless you keep a written inventory, foods can be forgotten and kept frozen past their freshness date.

Tip: Use cardboard boxes to help organize your contents better.


There’s no question a chest freezer will need some room. How much room will depend on the size model you purchase. Make sure there’s room for the door to easily open all the way. 

When looking for a location to put a chest freezer, pay attention to the turns and doorways you will need to pass through. You don’t want to purchase a freezer only to find out you can’t put it where you wanted.

Note: Place the freezer in a dry and level area.

Upright freezer

Price and capacity:

Upright freezers will often cost more to purchase than a chest model. Their storage capacity is also smaller than a chest freezer; by as much as 10% to 15%.

Price will be dictated by both capacity and storage systems. Convenience features such as auto defrost will also bump up the price compared to freezers with manual defrost.

Energy and convenience:

Upright freezers aren’t as energy efficient as chest freezers. In addition, you will incur more energy use with automatic defrost features so consider these factors before making a purchase.

However, unlike chest freezers, upright freezers are very easy to organize. This makes it simpler to rotate and monitor the freezer contents to eliminate food waste.

Some models of upright freezers include storage systems with adjustable shelving, bins and baskets. While this is helpful with most freezer needs, larger items will require shelves to be moved or removed entirely.


As you can imagine, upright freezers take up less space than chest freezers.

When considering where to put an upright freezer, ensure that there’s enough room for the door to open freely. Also, position it so that you have at least an inch of space all the way around it.

Also, many upright freezer doors can be reversed, so check for this feature when considering a freezer for your home.

Other factors to keep in mind:

Upright models don’t tend to last as long as chest freezers.

Both freezer styles typically come in sizes ranging from 5 to 25 cubic fee. However, keep in mind that the capacity will be different in the same size chest and upright model.

Freezers are a great way to expand the family food budget by allowing you to take advantage of deep discounts, or buy food in bulk. 

Freezers need to be at least two-thirds full to run efficiently so if you don’t buy in bulk or you have a small family go with a smaller freezer. 

Money saving tips

If possible, buy a used freezer, especially if it’s a chest type as they are well known for their longevity.

Buy only the size you need…your freezer will work harder and last fewer years if it’s not kept at least two-thirds full..

Also, consider how you plan to use it. If you want the freezer to be an extension of your existing refrigerator’s freezer, buy a smaller freezer. If you plan to buy large portions of meat (e.g. a side of beef) go with a large capacity freezer.

If you have wasted space, use old water bottles filled ¾ of the way with water and freeze them. Then remove them as needed when your storage needs change.

Calculate 1.5 cubic feet of space for each family member to get a rough idea of what you’ll need. 

Bottom line, the right freezer will be one that suits the needs of you and your family.