Upright freezers and chest freezers for your home

More than two-thirds of the space in a traditional combination refrigerator/freezer is usually devoted to refrigeration, making it difficult to freeze and store large quantities of meat, pre-prepped meals or extra fruit preserves in addition to everyday frozen foods. If you're tired of overstuffed fridge freezers with more items than you can sort through, then investing in an additional freezer is a sensible alternative.

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What to Consider Before Buying a Freezer

The freezer you purchase should work with the space you have and your desired level of maintenance, so there are a few factors to consider in order to make your search as quick and stress-free as possible.

First, before you visit a store or shop online, you should know exactly where you plan to locate the freezer and measure the area, leaving at least an inch between the wall and the back of the unit. Freezer sizes range from small compact versions to refrigerator-sized models, but remember that the greater the size of the freezer, the more power will be required to operate it.

If the freezer will be installed under a countertop, purchase a model that opens at the front. If you prefer a top-loading freezer, make sure that there is enough space above the unit for the door to open (especially for a slide-in unit that will be positioned beneath cabinets).

Second, decide whether you prefer more organization or more open space. Some freezers offer several shelves and specialized compartments to accommodate the size and temperature needs of different foods. Pre-arranged compartments will help you organize foods and make them easy to find, but they also reduce overall space in the unit.

Finally, if manually defrosting the freezer sounds like a mind-numbing task, narrow your search down to models that include an automatic defrost system.

Choosing a Freezer Model

Choosing the right freezer model should be relatively easy once you know which features will work best with your home kitchen. Freestanding units can generally be divided into three categories – chest freezers, upright freezers and compact freezers.

  • Chest freezers are top-loading units with the greatest capacity and energy efficiency. As they are long rather than tall, chest freezers require the most floor space, but they are able to maintain extremely cold temperatures even when the freezer loses power temporarily. Some owners enjoy the simplistic design of chest freezers, but they can include drawers and wire baskets if you want more organization. However, this type of unit usually requires manual defrost, and if you find a chest freezer with a self-defrosting system, it could be significantly more expensive.
  • Resembling the shape and arrangement of a traditional refrigerator, upright freezers are designed for convenience, with compartmentalized storage and features like automatic defrost, However, upright freezers are more expensive and have greater energy costs than chest freezers, and they also have less usable space and are less accommodating to oddly shaped or oversized items.
  • Compact freezers are small-volume freezers available in either chest or upright models. Compact freezers are ideal for smaller living areas with limited kitchen facilities, such as apartments and dorms.

The freezer you choose should reflect a realistic assessment of your needs. Avoid overspending and unnecessary energy costs. Don't buy a massive freezer unit if you aren't planning to take advantage of its full capacity. When you shop, check the energy guides to find the most efficient models and make sure that the doors are well-sealed to maintain the temperature. If you plan well, you'll bring home the right freezer to keep your favorite foods frozen year-round.