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Reasons to Consider Chest Freezers [Buying Guide]

by Pam Silvia

There are generous advantages to owning a separate freezer. While this purchase may occupy considerable square footage in your garage, basement or spare room, a chest freezer can supply your family with ample food-storage space and keep bulk purchases fresher longer.

Amid the pandemic that is currently sweeping the world, it is as important as ever to ensure that your family is stocked up on the essentials, such as certain protein-dense foods (including meats and fish), fruits, and vegetables that can go bad if they are not eaten quickly and are unaided by freezer technology. And because your kitchen’s freezer-refrigerator is probably at full capacity now, a chest freezer is an especially prudent investment.

Without further ado, here is our chest freezer buying guide:

Chest Freezer vs. Upright Freezer

To illustrate the differences in appearance between both standalone-freezer types, a chest freezer sits lower to the ground, and it stores much more food along the width of the appliance, not the height. In addition, chest freezers also have a lift-up door and interior baskets for food storage.

 chest freezer

By contrast, an upright freezer, as its name implies, stands vertically. Upright freezers also have a front-opening door and interior shelving for food storage—much like standard refrigerator models.

upright freezer

Both types of freezers have their merits; however, there are a few reasons why chest freezers have an edge over upright models.

Environmental and Fiscal Considerations

For starters, chest freezers use up less energy than upright freezers, providing some relief to the planet and your wallet. 

Chest freezers use an airtight seal at the top to keep the food inside fresh and frozen. The airtight locking seal means that less energy is required to keep the container cool. Compared to chest freezers, upright freezers are prone to having slight gaps around the vertical door frame, which results in more energy being needed to keep the food cold. This fact alone grants the chest freezer another point of favor in its “pros” column: chest freezers keep your foods fresher longer than upright freezers because less cold air escapes the appliance.

By the same token, because chest freezers are more energy-efficient, they cost less money to run. They are also, on average, less expensive upon initial purchase. 

Along with being more energy-efficient, chest freezers have to be defrosted manually whereas most upright models are stocked with an auto-defrost setting (generally, to defrost themselves, chest freezers need to be unplugged and drained out). What does this difference mean? Well, if a freezer has an auto-defrost option, it means that the frost is removed from the inside of the freezer. Upright freezers equipped with the auto-defrost setting tend to be noisier than chest freezers. This is due to the additional air circulation within the appliance, and the fact that upright models require more energy to run means that upright freezers produce a louder electrical hum. 

And, not only are chest freezers less noisy, but they preserve your food longer in the event of a power outage. This is because chest freezers typically have thicker insulation, allowing for cold air to still surround the food instead of pooling at the bottom of the appliance when the power is out. Without power, a fully stocked chest freezer can keep your food frozen for up to 72 hours, whereas upright freezers can keep your food frozen for about 48 hours if unopened. 

By the way, if you do experience a power outage, it is advised that you eat the ice cream first. Hey now, I don’t make the rules.

person assessing electric bill expenses with calculator

Space and Storage Considerations

In terms of capacity, both types of freezers typically are sized anywhere from five cubic feet to 25 cubic feet; however, there are more capacious chest freezer options than there are larger upright freezers in the market, so you could say chest freezers have more storage capability. From our catalog, Frigidaire carries a sizable chest freezer that is 24.8 cubic feet, and Sub-Zero offers an upright model that is 22.6 cubic feet—both of which are currently our largest models for each respective freezer type. 

But if you are on the prowl for something smaller, as in, “the smaller the better,” we’ve got you covered there, too. Hotpoint’s 3.6-cubic-foot chest freezer is a great option if spatial occupancy is a concern. In terms of figuring out how to organize a chest freezer, Hotpoint’s  small chest freezer also comes with a removable basket to better compartmentalize your foods. GE’s 5-cubic-foot small chest freezer is nothing to scoff at, either. With recessed handles and adjustable temperature control, you’ll find that this no-nonsense model was the most obvious solution to your overflowing bulk-food inventory all along.

As a bonus, chest freezers can accommodate larger and more oddly shaped items that may be difficult to place in an upright freezer.

The Case for Upright Freezers

This is not all to say that investing in an upright freezer is an unwise decision. In fact, upright models have plenty going for them, including the fact that they have more baskets and shelves for organization. Upright freezers also take up less floor space (making it the ideal choice for compact rooms), are very accessible with items being more easily within reach and are easier to clean by virtue of their uprightness. 

And to circle back to the fact that upright freezers typically have an auto-defrost feature: despite the aforementioned noisiness, this setting is useful in that it does not require you to unplug or drain out your appliance to defrost as you would if you owned a chest freezer. In other words, with an upright model, there is no need to bend yourself over and reach into the depth of your freezer—saving you from potential back pain and a possible headache.

person stocking an upright freezer

In short, chest freezers and upright freezers have their unique merits and either purchase is a prudent investment in the midst of COVID-19. Chest freezers are the more energy-efficient and frugal purchase, and performance-wise, they preserve your foods longer. Upright freezers prove to be the lower-maintenance and easier-to-organize counterpart, with auto-defrost, storage accessories and a more accessible configuration.

Please check out Spencer’s Appliance & TV’s vast catalog of freezers, and give us a call today!