Chest Freezer or Upright Freezer? Maybe you should get both. (I did). If you’ve run out of space for food in your main freezer, purchasing a standalone chest freezer, or perhaps an upright freezer, is an excellent solution. In fact, if you do the math you’ll often find that the savings you experience from being able to freeze a greater quantity of food more than compensates for the cost of the freezer and the energy to run it.
The choices can seem a bit daunting, though, which is why I’ve created this comprehensive guide to purchasing a standalone chest freezer or upright freezer. Like most appliance purchases, you are considering buying something you’ll own and use for a decade or more. So take your time and make sure to consider which model is right for you.
**SPOILER ALERT** If you don’t have time to read this guide, here are the results of my research for the best standalone chest freezer and upright freezer:
Best Chest Freezer (affiliate link):
Best Upright Freezer (affiliate link):
How to Choose a Standalone Freezer
The main consideration when considering a standalone freezer is first: do you need one? To answer that question, consider the following:
- Are you cramming food into a freezer of inadequate size, constantly shuffling bags of frozen food like bricks in a Tetris game?
- Does your family eat meat? If so, do you have the capacity to buy in bulk to freeze with your existing freezer? Buying half a cow from a butcher can yield huge food savings for a family that normally buys hamburger and steaks in piecemeal.
- Do you have space for a standalone freezer?
- Do you have adequate power (ideally a dedicated circuit, meaning no other major appliances on the same circuit) for a standalone freezer?
Your next consideration, once you established that you would benefit from buying a standalone freezer, is deciding whether a Chest or Upright Freezer is the best choice for you.
Difference Between Chest Freezers and Upright Freezers
Chest Freezers are standalone freezers that open from the top. This means that they are much shorter than upright freezers but require more surface area on the floor. Basically, they have greater width than an Upright freezer, but much less height.
Pros of Chest Freezers:
- Large capacity
- Greater energy efficiency than uprights
- In the event of a power loss, food spoils slower in a Chest vs. an Upright
- Quieter than Upright Freezers (no fan built-in to circulate air)
Cons of Chest Freezers:
- Items on bottom require moving top items to access
- Hinges can wear after heavy usage
- Defrost is manual, which takes up to 24 hours and can be messier than Upright freezers
My most recommended Chest Freezer is the Midea WHS-258C1 Single Door Chest Freezer, 7.0 Cubic Feet, Whitebecause it has 7.0 cubic feet of space, an adjustable thermostat, a recessed handle (which is really nice because handles can often break after repeated use), quiet and sturdy hinges, it has a full 1-year warranty and a 2-year warranty on the compressor (excellent coverage in this appliance category).
Upright Freezers are different from Chest Freezers in that they are tall and open like a refrigerator. They have greater height and smaller width than a Chest Freezer, so they fit through a standard doorway. They are more expensive than Chest Freezers, but have more convenient features.
Pros of Upright Freezers:
- Fit easily through standard doorway
- Flash-freeze options available (quickly lowers temp when loaded with food)
- Automatic defrost options available
Cons of Upright Freezers:
- Less capacity than Chest Freezers
- Greater energy consumption
- Greater risk for freezer burn with automatic defrost
- Take up greater vertical space
My most recommended Upright Freezer is the Danby DUFM085A2WDD1 Upright Freezer, 8.5 Cubic Feet, White because it has a high capacity for an Upright (8.5 cubic feet), is Energy Star rated, has 3 shelves, a reversible door hinge, manual defrost (helps avoid freezer burn) with adjustable thermostat, and has an astonishing 18-month warranty on parts AND labor!
Before pulling the trigger on your freezer purchase, it’s important to keep in mind the following buying considerations:
Chest Freezer or Upright Freezer Size:
- How much space do you actually need for your chest freezer or upright freezer? Try to estimate the amount of food you’ll need to freeze and store for your family in the future. The industry standard is to allow for 1.5 cubic feet per family member. Give yourself a wide margin, in case you purchase some items in bulk that require freezing. The most common freezer sizes are:
- Compact (5 cubic feet)
- Small (6 to 9 cubic feet)
- Medium (12 to 18 cubic feet)
- Large (18 to 25 cubic feet)
Square Footage Available for the Chest Freezer or Upright Freezer:
- Make sure you have a location that can fit your desired freezer, so that it does not stick out into a walking path or door frame. Measure the width, length, and height of your designated area, and allow for at least 4 inches of clearance between the freezer and any walls for the power cord and to allow the compressor to have air to “breathe”.
Dedicated/Shared Circuits for the Chest Freezer or Upright Freezer:
Almost all standalone freezer units are on standard 110 volt outlets. Keep in mind multiple outlets usually share the same circuit, which has 15-20 amps of available power. If you connect your freezer to a circuit that has other major appliances on it, such as your refrigerator, you could have issues with both appliances working properly. Freezers and refrigerators typically draw up to 8 amps of power at a time. For this reason, make sure to review your home’s wiring diagrams and circuit breaker, and make sure to add your standalone freezer to a circuit that is either dedicated (no other devices drawing power from it) or shared with low-power-consumption things like lamps.
Chest Freezer or Upright Freezer Care and Warranties:
The only moving part on a freezer is the compressor. Unlike refrigerators, freezers do not have fans. The freezer coils are built into the walls of the freezer unit. Moving parts are typically the first to fail on any appliance, so making sure the warranty on the compressor is at least 2 years is important. The freezer as a whole should have at least a 1 year warranty.