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Chest vs Upright Freezers [Pros and Cons]

by Pam Silvia

There are generous advantages to owning a freezer that is separate from your refrigerator. Whether you place it in your basement, garage, or mudroom, an upright or chest freezer can provide your family with enough storage space to keep wholesale groceries or stockpile foods fresher for longer.

When it comes to choosing between upright vs chest freezers, there are critical factors to consider beyond just the price tag. Right away, it’s not difficult to tell both freezers apart—an upright freezer, as its name implies, stands vertically, possessing a front-opening door and interior shelving for food storage, whereas a chest freezer typically sits lower to the ground, has a lift-up door, and contains baskets (not shelves) for food storage.

At a Glance:

Upright Freezers vs Chest Freezers [Comparison Table]

Upright Freezers Pros and Cons

Chest Freezers Pros and Cons

Best Upright Freezer

Best Chest Freezer

Read our blog to discover the pros and cons of upright freezers vs chest freezers—and more!

Upright vs Chest Freezers: An Overview

From initial costs to product dimensions, here is a side-by-side comparison of product attributes associated with the purchase of upright and chest freezers:

Product Attributes Upright Freezers Chest Freezers
Price Range (14 cu. ft.) $600 to $800 $500 to $700
Capacity (cu. ft.) 3.0 to 25.0 5.0 to 25.0
Height (in.) 33 to 72 28 to 74
Width (in.) 19.5 to 33 32 to 36
Depth (in.) 20 to 29 21 to 33

Upright Freezers: Pros and Cons

As previously mentioned, the configuration of an upright freezer resembles that of a mini fridge with a front-opening door and interior shelving. In terms of installation, an upright freezer must have enough room for the door to swing open without obstruction. Overall, upright freezers are favored for their convenient configuration, as it enables easy access to your food inventory in addition to effortless cleanup and maintenance.

As far as usage goes, here are a few pros and cons associated with owning an upright freezer:


  • Foods are easier to access
  • More organization accessories
  • Easier to clean
  • Takes up less floor space
  • Auto-defrost feature is available


  • Larger items may be harder to organize
  • Not as energy-efficient
  • More expensive to purchase
  • Shorter lifespan by five years

Delving into specifics, upright freezer vs chest freezer efficiency is not equivocal. Because upright freezers are prone to having slight gaps around the door frame, more energy is required to keep your foods frozen. That said, the storage capacity of an upright freezer is capped at a generous 25 cubic feet—the same as a chest freezer.

Most conveniently, however, upright freezers are typically stocked with an auto-defrost feature, which eliminates the need to manually chip away the frost buildup, making food packaging easier to see, while also reducing odors, improving temperature management, and preventing foods from sticking together.

father helps children pack school lunches with upright freezer

Chest Freezers: Pros and Cons

Not to be outdone, a chest freezer is seen as a refrigeration solution that maximizes storage space for all your frozen favorites. Compared to an upright freezer, a chest freezer stores more food along the width of the appliance—not the height. Because it has a lift-up door, you will need to consider headroom above the appliance. While this means it will occupy significant square footage in your room, this cost is outweighed by the fact that chest freezers can accommodate wider and more oddly shaped items. According to Consumer Reports, chest freezers have around 20 percent more usable space than upright freezers.

Here are other pros—and some cons—associated the ownership of a chest freezer:


  • More storage capacity
  • More energy-efficient
  • Less expensive to purchase and maintain
  • Keeps food fresh longer in a power outage
  • Longer lifespan by 5 years


  • Foods may be harder to access
  • Fewer organization accessories
  • Harder to clean
  • Takes up more floor space

When it comes to upright freezer vs chest freezer energy usage, chest freezers use up less energy than upright freezers, providing some relief to both the planet and your wallet. This is largely because chest freezers have an airtight seal at the top to keep the food inside fresh. Ultimately, the airtight locking seal means that less energy is required to keep the container cool.

Product experts assess that chest freezers outlast upright freezers by about 5 years, which is probably owed to their construction, as they do not overheat or have leakage issues. Chest freezers are expected to last between 15 and 20 years while upright freezers have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years.

mother retrieves frozen snacks for her children

Best Upright Freezer: Frigidaire 15.5 Cu. Ft. Upright Freezer

Never waste time chipping away ice in your freezer again with this Frigidaire upright freezer’s frost-free design that does the work for you. The Frigidaire FFFU16F2VW freezer model keeps food frozen for at least two days in the event of a power outage, thanks to its superior tight seal that locks in cold air. Meanwhile, the EvenTemp™ cooling system constantly circulates cold air throughout the freezer cavity with smart sensing technology that adjusts airflow to maintain a uniform temperature.

As far as organization features go, this freezer’s flexible system allows you to easily organize your family’s frozen favorites with four adjustable metallic wire shelves, one deep bottom basket, and five spacious door bins that let you make the most of every available square inch of your freezer. You can monitor the ideal environment for your frozen foods with the audible temperature alarm that alerts you when the door is left open or the freezer’s temperature rises. Most conveniently, you can know at a glance that your freezer is keeping your favorites safely frozen and fresh with a floor-projected indicator light.

 Frigidaire 15.5 Cu. Ft. Upright Freezer open revealing groceries

Best Chest Freezer: Frigidaire 8.7 Cu. Ft. Chest Freezer

This Frigidaire chest freezer makes for wonderful supplemental refrigeration with features that optimize both space and temperature control. The Store-More™ removable basket is a convenient lift-out storage solution for your favorite foods, and the Power-On indicator light lets you know when the freezer is working. Plus, the easily adjustable temperature controls let you choose the right settings for your frozen items. What’s more, the Frigidaire FFFC09M1RW freezer is over 22 percent more energy efficient than the brand’s 2013 models, making the case that innovation in Frigidaire’s line of chest freezers never stops.

Frigidaire 8.7 Cu. Ft. Chest Freezer open revealing groceries

The Final Verdict

As you may have guessed, your decision between an upright vs chest freezer will ultimately depend on personal specifications, including budget, accessibility, and storage needs. An upright freezer may be the more prudent purchase for individuals who require or prefer easier accessibility to their frozen items. This freezer type also takes up less square footage, which is especially ideal if you are looking to maximize a compact space.

On the other hand, a chest freezer is typically less expensive to purchase and maintain, is more energy-efficient, keeps foods fresher for longer in a power outage, has more storage capacity, and lasts longer than its upright counterpart.

Shop Our Freezers at Spencer’s

As always, don’t forget to shop local! Be sure to scour our catalog of freezers and ice makers, and if you have other questions regarding differences between upright vs chest freezers don’t hesitate to call or visit your friends in the business at Spencer’s TV & Appliance. Proud to have served our customers since 1973, we have 10 locations in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Glendale regions. Call or visit us today!