Updated: June 8, 2015
Freezer Reviews:Things to consider when buying a freezer are - do you tend to buy in bulk, grow your own fruits or vegetables, prepare family meals in quantities that you need extra freezer space, hunt each season and need extra space for storing the meat. A tradional refrigerator freezer that most families have in their kitchens is not meant to be a long-term storage place. That's why getting a secondary freezer (chest or upright) in your house could be a great money saver in the long run. If you find your regular freezer always getting overcrowded then a good chest freezer in your garage could come in handy. With frozen food lasting at least 6 weeks, you can buy in bulk and save 10% on your grocery bill each month. Space is definitely a major consideration when buying a second freezer. An upright may take up too much room, but a chest freezer can be placed in almost spot and have things put on top of it as if it were a bench. I bought an upright for my garage (actually a used freezer) and it's been doing a great job. I did see an increase in my monthly electric bill to keep it running, but the cost savings outweigh the energy bill. Make sure you keep the freezer 2/3 full to achieve maximum efficiency. Top name brands for freezers are Frigidaire, Whirlpool, GE, Haier, Avanti and Kenmore. You can research and buy them online at places like Sears.com or HomeDepot.com.
Buying Guide - There are two basic choices in freezers: upright and chest. There are advantage and disadvantages to each which make the purchase of either one a decision you should research. First, the advantages to a chest freezer are - it's energy efficient, makes for a great secondary freezer, is a little less expensive than the upright freezers, and retains cold better during a power outage. The disadvantages are few - harder to organize as new packages get added, interior may not be lighted. The advantages to an upright freezer are - easy to see the content since it's organized much like a fridge, lighted interior and separate shelves make it easy to organize. The disadvantages are - it's more expensive than a chest freezer, less energy efficient. The best chest freezers we reviewed were the White Kenmore Elite (24.9 cubic feet) that sells for $649 and the White Frigidaire Chest Freezer (19.7 cubic feet) which sells for $529. When it comes to upright freezers, we preferred the stainless steel look, but when it's stored in your garage or storage space, who really cares about the color. Consumer Reports did a recent survey on home freezers and rated them based on temperature performance, energy efficiency, noise, energy cost, capacity, and for features like power on light and interior lights. We found other freezer reviews on Epinions, Good Housekeeping, and on Sears.com in the customer comments section. Amazon.com lists hundreds of upright and chest freezers with owner reviews as well and they definitely help you make a more informed buying decision. You can browse the top selling chest and upright freezers online here.
Chest Freezer:Chest freezers are meant for longer term storage as compared to the upright models, so keep that in mind when selecting one. They often are deeper and let you stack frozen foods on top of each other so trying to find what you are looking for can be a struggle unless you keep a list of what is in the freezer. When it comes to top rated models (RECOMMENDED) we suggest the Frigidaire FFC0522DW which is a manual defrost variety and provides up to 5 cubic feet of capacity. The top lifting door with handle is easy to access and the adjustable temperature control allow the owner to get near perfect freezing conditions. There is a defrost drain, a power-on light, and it's UL rated for household use. It even comes with a convenient lift out storage basket which is great for smaller items. It's compact enough to fit almost anywhere in a garage or basement. If you are looking for a slightly larger chest freezer, consider the Frigidaire Gallery : GLFC2528FW Freezer with almost 25 cubic foot of space. Lastly, the Kenmore 1692 is top rated per Consumer Reports and with 8.8 cubic feet capacity the Kenmore is really the perfect size. Most of these chest freezers cost about $50/year to operate, so you need to be saving that much in food storage expenses to make out financially. My parents buy an entire sheep each year and save the meat in their freezer saving them $100's.
Upright Freezer:RECOMMENDED - We found that more consumer magazines gave the Whirlpool EV209NBTN top billing over any other model. It scored well in temperature control, energy efficiency, and was relatively quiet. It is a two door model with a pull out bin down below and it has a faux stainless steel look. Whirlpool upright freezers are well made and have a solid reputation in the industry. Reviews point towards high customer satisfaction. The one drawback to this 15 cubic foot capacity freezer is that it will cost you roughly $85/year to operate. Several other upright freezers rate high for many features, but they are all noisier to run. The only other brand that we could find with decent ratings were the Frigidaire upright freezers - both the FFU12F2HW and FFU21F5HW model #'s received positive reviews from consumers and they hold a large amount of frozen foods. If a quieter freezer is what you want, consider the manual defrost models versus the self-defrosting ones. Also, some like the Whirlpool (see above) have an alarm that will sound if the freezer goes beyond a certain temperature.
Freezer Organization Tips:
- Label each package clearly with a description of the contents and the date
- Keep an inventory checklist on a clipboard near the freezer
- Package contents properly using a sealing system, freezer bags, or plastic containers