What is the ideal size for a chest freezer in your home? Can you store it in your garage? In this review, we’ll cover the most important areas of consideration when selecting the best chest freezer and give you our picks for the most suitable models on the market.
Equipping your home with a deep freezer provides extra convenience and flexibility – and can even cut costs on your grocery budget. Increased freezer space allows for fewer trips to the grocery store, less food waste, and more options for kitchen organization. And best of all? Chest freezers are relatively inexpensive when compared to standard refrigerators.
In the event of a power outage, a chest freezer will even keep food safe for extended periods of time. These freezers also allow food to stay frozen longer with less chance of it burning. For any or all of these reasons, a chest freezer may be the perfect solution in your home.
When shopping, you have probably noticed different options in terms of size, appearance, storage organization, and features. So, let’s explore most viable products to meet your needs:
A Chest Freezer is Perfect If You…
- Need additional space for frozen goods. A chest freezer is much more spacious than a freezer that sits above a refrigerator, and therefore, allows you to keep more frozen food at home.
- Want to store frozen foods for extended periods of time. After all, more storage space equates to less food waste and a smaller total at the grocery store.
- Like to space out trips to the grocery store and buy food in bulk.
- Are a hunter or gardener that likes to store fresh meat and produce but have no space to do so in your main freezer.
- There are frequent power outages in your neighborhood and you want to protect your food.
A Chest Freezer May Not Be Right If You…
- Live in a small home or apartment and can’t afford to give up valuable floor space.
- Prefer shelving for increased organization (most chest freezers only come with baskets).
- Don’t have the time to manually defrost your freezer. Most chest freezers have to be defrosted manually, which can be inconvenient and time consuming. If you opt for a chest freezer, you must be willing to defrost it at least once per year.
- Need both refrigerator and freezer space. A chest freezer can only accommodate frozen items. If you need extra space for your milk and produce, we recommend opting for a second refrigerator in your basement or garage. This will give you added flexibility to store anything you need.
Are ther Other Types of Freezers?
There are different types of freezers to consider when deciding to increase your family’s frozen storage capacity. Typical categories include upright, chest, and under-counter freezers. The best freezer for your home will depend on factors such as price, available space, and your specific storage needs.
Prices range from $300 to $2,000 for upright freezers. Upright freezers are tall, so they require less space on your floor.
Most upright freezers have defrost or frost-free features. This means that the product uses a dynamic cooling system that prevents ice from building up inside the appliance. It also means you won’t have to worry about defrosting your freezer manually!
Another bonus of upright fridges is that they have shelving for increased organization. However, it’s important to remember that these shelves cannot be reconfigured to accommodate large or awkward items.
A feature that’s unique to upright freezers is aesthetic customization. In some models, you can even customize the paneling to match the rest of your kitchen.
Prices range from $200 – $1,500 for chest style freezers. Chest freezers provide the most flexibility in storage with fewer limits on the size and shape of individual items that can be stored.
The cost of this flexibility, however, is limited organizational options when compared to upright freezers. Chest freezers are great for bulky items and perfect for families that like to keep a lot of frozen food at home.
You’ll want to consider the size of the freezer and available space in your home since chest freezers do take more floor space because they are wide instead of tall. A strong argument for chest freezers is their ability to both maintain a lower temperature and remain more energy-efficient compared to other styles of freezers.
In a chest freezer, your food is less likely to burn than in an upright freezer. Additionally, these freezers can keep food safe for an extended period in the event of a power outage.
Under-counter freezers are typically priced between $2,000 to $6,000. Families and individuals that wish to save floor space may choose an under-counter freezer. These discrete appliances fit under kitchen counters and are typically limited to 34 inches in height. Undercounter freezers make a great backup when more freezer space is needed.
Important Features to Consider When Buying a Freezer
There are several features that you should consider when shopping for a freezer. Thought should be given to important factors such as size, storage flexibility, design flexibility, reliability, and energy efficiency.
Is it large enough for my family?
Freezer size can range from 5 cu. ft. for small freezers to over 18 cu. ft. for large freezers. To help determine the size of the freezer that is right for your home, we recommend 1.5 cu. ft. of storage space for each person in your home.
|Mini Freezer||Less than 5 cu. ft. ideal for individuals/couples|
|Small Freezer||6-9 cu. ft. ideal for small families|
|Medium Freezer||Under 18 cu. ft. ideal for large families|
|Large Freezer||Over 18 cu. ft. ideal for special purposes such as hunting|
If you live on your own, you’d be well-served by a mini or compact (5 cu. ft.) freezer. If you have a small family, you’d likely be satisfied with a small (6 – 9 cu.ft.) freezer.
If your family is large, you should probably look for a medium (12 – 18 cu.ft.) freezer. And of course, large (18+ cu.ft.) freezers are great if you have a large family and like to keep a lot of frozen food at home.
When choosing the size that works best for your needs, please keep in mind that it’s preferable to avoid too much empty space in a freezer. Empty space allows more room for warm air to enter the freezer.
Interior & Design Flexibility
Upright freezers generally come with in-door storage and shelving options. The shelving helps to keep your freezer organized so you can easily reach all the items inside. One possible downside with shelves is that large or irregularly shaped items can be hard to store.
Chest freezers can easily hold large and awkward shaped items, like a turkey. Baskets can be available in chest freezers for added flexibility in organizational options.
When shopping for a new freezer, you’ll also have several options in terms of design. Consider the space where you’ll use your freezer and how you would like the product to both look and function.
For instance, it’s beneficial to select a freezer on wheels if you plan to move it between different areas of your kitchen. If you’d like your new appliance to blend in with the rest of the room, you can opt for a panel-ready freezer.
Reliability in a freezer is two-fold. You’ll want a freezer that can last 24 hours in a power outage. You’ll also want a freezer that continues to work well over time in order to make the most of your investment.
Manual or Auto-Defrost
In terms of how they are defrosted, freezers come in two varieties – manual or automatic. Most chest freezers are manual-defrost, which require more time and upkeep.
In order to defrost these models, you must remove all of the food from the freezer and place them in another freezer or cooler. Next, you have to unplug the appliance and leave the door open. This allows the ice to melt, therefore defrosting the freezer.
(Keep in mind – the melted ice can create a mess. It’s best to keep large towels handy in order to mop up the water.)
The payoff for all this hard work is that food can be stored for longer amounts of time in a manual defrost model. If the power is out, food can also be preserved for 24 hours.
If a freezer has auto defrost, the defrost feature turns on automatically whenever a temperature fluctuation is detected. This saves you the time and effort of having to defrost the freezer by hand. However, food can’t be stored for as long in these models.
One of the primary considerations when it comes to controls is the ease of access. Understandably, you want a product with easy-to-access and easy-to-use controls. However, if you have kids, you’ll also want controls that are safely out of reach for your little ones.
Am I Better off with a Refrigerator or a Freezer?
Freezers are very different from refrigerators. Primarily, this is because refrigerators are designed for frequent access.
Features like door style, temperature and humidity sensors, airflow, and interior lights are all designed to accommodate this type of usage. Refrigerators also have an auto-defrost function.
The doors and seals on freezers are designed for less frequent access. Freezers are made to maintain a specific temperature and store food for longer than refrigerators. Defrosting a freezer is a manual process.
Can I Store My Freezer in the Garage?
If you’re thinking of using a refrigerator in your garage, you’ll want to consider the temperature fluctuations in that space. Internal temperatures in a garage can climb very high or drop very low depending on the season.
With a well-insulated garage, this is less of a concern. When temperatures drop below 32 degrees inside of your garage, the refrigerator’s compressor will turn off because its sensors detect that it is cold enough. This will cause the food to melt in your freezer.
Freezers, on the other hand, are designed to operate between 0 to 110 degrees. The compressor will know when to turn on more often in extreme temperatures. For these reasons, a freezer is a much better option for a garage.
The Current Appliance Shortage
Like many other things in today’s world, appliances can be hard to come by. In the search for new appliances, freezers are like gold. Since many people are working to reduce their frequency of trips to the grocery store, there’s an increased demand for freezers.
When you’ve determined the best chest freezer for your needs, be sure to check which models are in stock. If the freezer you’ve selected is not currently in stock, check back often to know as soon as it becomes available.
6 Best Chest Freezers
Now that you understand the features and usage recommendations of the different types of freezers, you can determine the most important qualities for your individual needs. Below is a list of our top picks based on the factors we have covered above, such as reliability, storage, and performance.
We’ve hand-selected each of the 6 picks below based on a combination of product testing and research. Although we weren’t able to personally test every model, we conducted thorough research to make sure we recommended only the very best models.
In fact, we’ll never recommend a product to you that we wouldn’t recommend to our family members. We want you to be thrilled with your selections, no matter which model you choose.
P.S. – Our articles are crafted by our team of both appliance experts and expert fact-checkers. We’re not a news outlet, but we take great pride in providing our readers with the most accurate and in-depth guides on the internet.
That being said, let’s dive into our picks for the best chest freezers on the market.
1) Best Overall Freezer: GE FCM11PHWW
This medium chest freezer from GE offers 10.6 cu. ft. of storage. This manual-defrost freezer is the perfect size for families with slightly-higher-than-average frozen storage needs.
This freezer comes in at 33 ½ inches in height, 50 ¾ inches in width, and 27 ½” in depth. The total height with the lid open is 59.0.” (Keep in mind that you’ll need to account for an additional 3 inches of air clearance on the back and sides.)
Some key features of this model include three lift-out, sliding, bulk storage baskets for increased organization, as well as a power “On” light to indicate operation. Additionally, this model comes with a lock and key to protect valuable food items.
The freezer is garage-ready and comes with a temperature control dial and interior lighting. The cabinet liner is metal, and this freezer utilizes foam insulation.
This freezer offers an excellent balance between available storage space and taking up minimal floor space.
The freezer cools quickly to the desired temperature and maintains that temperature well. Overall, this model is a high quality, budget-friendly choice.
2) Best Budget Freezer: GE FCM7SKWW
This 7.0 cu. ft. chest freezer from GE is also garage-ready and is ideal for a small family with average frozen storage needs.
The model requires less floor space with dimensions of 33 ½ inches in height, 37 ¼ inches in width, and 21 1/4 in depth. With the lid open, the height is 53 inches. The appliance also requires 3 inches of air clearance on the back and sides.
This freezer features two lift-out, sliding, bulk storage baskets, and a power “on” light. There’s also an easy-to-use temperature control dial and a conveniently located upfront defrost water drain. The cabinet liner is metal, and this freezer utilizes foam insulation.
This manual-defrost chest freezer fits perfectly in smaller spaces and often provides more storage space than expected. The quiet operation, organizational options, and ability to quickly achieve the desired temperature all help make this appliance an excellent option.
3) Best Freezer for the Garage: Frigidaire FFFC15M4TW
This garage-ready Frigidaire chest freezer has a 14.8 cu. ft. capacity, making it perfect for large families. This freezer’s dimensions are 32 ½ inches in height, 55 ¾ inches in width, and 29 9/16 inches in depth. The total height with the lid open is 59 ⅞ inches.
One of the best things about this manual-defrost freezer is that it can easily be placed in the garage as a means of extra storage. According to Frigidaire, their models can operate anywhere between 0° and 110°F. This means that no matter what the temperature is like outside, the freezer’s internal temperature will not be affected.
Other popular features include optional casters to quickly move the appliance, a power-on indicator light, and adjustable temperature control. The freezer also offers an interior light, exterior lock, and two sliding organizational baskets.
The optional casters offer a high level of convenience if you decide to move the freezer from time to time. This is also beneficial when it comes time to clean around the appliance.
The chest freezer runs quietly and has no problem maintaining the proper temperature. This model is a strong option with an affordable price point.
The two organizational baskets are helpful, but there could be more organizational options in a freezer of this size. To remedy this, you can place more of your own baskets in the freezer for increased organization.
4) Best Compact Freezer: Frigidaire FFCS0922AW
This small, manual-defrost chest freezer has an 8.7 cu. ft. capacity and is a great option for small families. The freezer’s dimensions are 33 ⅜ inches in height, 37 ⅝ inches in width, and 24 ⅜ inches in depth. With the lid open, the height increases to 33 ⅜ inches.
Top features on this freezer include one removable basket, external temperature controls, and a power “on” light to indicate operation. Another perk is the interior light. With a modest price to accompany a smaller sized appliance, this product is an excellent and economical choice.
Consistent temperature and quiet operation make this chest freezer a reliable choice. The sleek design allows maximum storage space with a minimal footprint in your floor space.
If you prefer high levels of organization, you may choose to add more of your own baskets.
5) Best Mini Freezer: Midea MRC04M3AWW
This mini freezer is the smallest on our list at 3.5 cu. ft. It’s perfect if you need just a little extra frozen storage space without sacrificing usable floor space. This freezer is ideal for a student dorm or office.
This manual-defrost freezer features a hanging wire storage basket for organization and an adjustable thermostat. and adjustable front legs to keep the freezer level at different heights. Convenient reversible door hinges allow the door to open in either direction to accommodate freezer placement.
Another highlight of this model is that the door will remain open anywhere from a 45 to 75 degree angle. This allows you to easily load and unload the freezer without having to use one hand to hold the door.
This model’s affordable, $249 price tag makes it a great option for extra storage with a small investment.
6) Best Large Freezer: Whirlpool WZC3122DW
This large, 22 cu. ft. manual-defrost chest freezer provides all of the storage space you could need. This freezer is ideal if you like to grow or hunt your own food – or just like spacing out your trips to the grocery store.
This model is 33.37 inches in height, 66.25 inches in width, and 30.25 inches in depth. You’ll also want to allow for a minimum of 3 inches of air clearance on both sides of the freezer and 2 inches in the back.
This model’s popular features include three large storage baskets to keep things organized, a security lock to keep your goods safe, and a bright interior light
If you’re looking for a smaller chest freezer with the same great features as the WZC3122DW, check out Whirlpool’s 15 cu. ft. WZC3115DW model.
Investing in a chest freezer can open more options for storage and convenience. In order to get the most out of your new appliance, it’s important to identify your specific needs and prioritize your preferences. Once you know exactly what you’re looking for, you are well equipped to start finding the right model for you.
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SIDENOTE. This post was last modified on January 11, 2021. However, we regularly update our content as we test more products and new models are released. We also listen to the feedback of our customers and make changes to our product recommendations based on their experiences. So don’t be surprised if you see some old comments below! Since reader comments contribute to the topic, we have decided not to delete them.