Whether in the kitchen, garage, or basement, a chest freezer is a great storage solution for anyone who likes to stock up on frozen foods. We researched dozens of models on the market, rating them on temperature control, organization options, and extra features.
Johnathan Brewer, licensed general contractor and The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board member, notes that, when adding a chest freezer to your space, consider where your power outlets and lights are located. "If you're remodeling or reorganizing your garage, it's a great opportunity to incorporate a chest freezer into your design," he also notes.
Here are the best chest freezers on the market for extra storage of your frozen goods.
Frigidaire FFCL1542AW 14.8 Cu. Ft. Chest Freezer
Lid stays up on its own
Interior LED lights
Safety lock and key
Requires more maintenance
Manual temperature controls
Whether you like to prep your meals in advance, buy in bulk, or are a baker, you can't go wrong with this model: the Frigidaire FFCL1542AW 14.8-cubic-foot White Chest Freezer. It's our top pick because of its clever features and reliably chilly interior.
It's so easy to spot what you're looking for in this extra-large Frigidaire unit, thanks to its bright interior LED lights, removable plastic baskets for organization, and a lid that stays up on its own. This type of lid makes it possible to root around with both hands.
This freezer also has an exterior power indicator light and temperature dial, which you can set from -10 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (It's generally recommended to set your freezer at 0 degrees.) It features a water drain for easy defrosting and comes with a safety lock and key. Whenever you need to move it around, make use of the casters and put it exactly where you need it.
While all of these features are appreciated, it lacks any high-tech smart features, so you have to control the temperature and manually defrost. However, since you can control the temperature externally and drain the water while defrosting, we're willing to overlook those inconveniences.
Total Capacity: 14.8 cubic feet | Dimensions: 32 x 56 x 34 inches | Control Type: Manual | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
Magic Chef HMCF7W4 7.0 cu. ft. Chest Freezer in White
Exterior temperature dial
Bulk storage baskets
Not very spacious
Requires more maintenance
The Magic Chef HMCF7W4 is another quality pick if you're searching for a chest freezer but looking to save some money. It covers all the bases with its two bulk storage baskets, a temperature dial, which you can set anywhere from -8 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit, and LED lights. You likely won't have any issues finding what you're looking for, and you can organize frozen pizzas and vegetables thanks to a removable divider.
Now, this model is not frost-free or self-defrosting. You'll have to use the included drain to defrost the unit yourself. In addition, this piece isn't quite as spacious as others on the market, but it makes the most of its 7.0 cubic feet of interior space. If you take it to a college dorm or vacation home, you'll enjoy the recessed handle and how sleek and simple this appliance looks wherever it goes.
Total Capacity: 7.0 cubic feet | Dimensions: 32.9 x 35.4 x 21.8 inches | Control Type: Manual | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
SABA SGF-50 49.5 in. Commercial Chest Freezer
Can be noisy
This commercial-grade chest freezer from SABA would work well in a cabin, pool house, or anywhere you want to serve up cold beverages or ice cream to friends and groups. It has forced air cooling to cool the bottles on top—the ones you just put in—first. The stainless steel glide lids are easy to open and close, even for kids.
Unlike the other models on our list, the SABA Commercial Chest Freezer has digital temperature control and auto defrost, which is really a luxury. It comes with a key to lock it whenever you're not around, and it has wheels so you can move it easily. Plus, the black stainless steel finish is stylish and less of an eyesore in any room. These features come at a cost since this model is nearly three times as expensive as others on our list.
Total Capacity: 15.3 cubic feet | Dimensions: 34.25 x 49.5 x 26.75 inches | Control Type: Digital | Defrost Type: Auto/cycle | Garage Friendly: Not listed
Best for Small Spaces
Midea MRC04M3AWW White 3.5 cu. ft. Mini Freezer
Lid stays open its own
Removable interior basket
Not great for garage or outdoor space
If you are looking for a chest freezer for a small space or your regular freezer's overflow, the Midea MRC04M3AWW 3.5-cubic-foot Mini Chest Freezer is an excellent pick. Its lid hinges at 45, 60, and 75 degrees, so you can use both hands to search for your favorite flavor of ice cream. It also has a removable interior basket to put items you want to access often on top. It promises to keep your favorite snacks cold with a temperature range of -11 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and you'll enjoy the quiet operation.
You have to defrost this small freezer manually, but it does include a drain to make the process easier. It's not listed as garage-friendly. Customers report that this little freezer works best when kept inside your home, as the manufacturer doesn't recommend storing it in a location under 50 degrees or above 100 degrees.
Total Capacity: 3.5 cubic feet | Dimensions: 33.5 x 22.2 x 20.59 inches | Control Type: Manual | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: No
Danby DCF072A3BDB 7.2 Cubic Feet Chest Freezer
Matte black or white finish
5-year limited warranty
Only comes with one wire basket
The Danby DCF072A3BDB 7.2-cubic-foot Chest Freezer sports a different look than your average chest freezer. This slim freezer comes in a white or matte black finish, giving it an almost toolbox look. This is great if you're hoping your freezer will blend in next to a workspace or other black appliances. At 7.2 cubic feet, this is an excellent freezer size for a family of four to store extra food, snacks, and anything else that doesn't need to be accessible in your everyday fridge and freezer.
Danby appliances are known for their quiet operation, and this one comes with a 5-year limited warranty. Installation is also easier than larger models because this freezer comes with two rear wheels and two front leveling legs to move it from time to time. This freezer only comes with one interior basket, but you can purchase more baskets for an additional cost to optimize your freezer organization.
Total Capacity: 7.2 cubic feet | Dimensions: 32.87 x 39.92 x 22.2 inches | Control Type: Mechanical | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
GE FCM22DLWW Garage Ready 21.7 cu. ft. Chest Freezer in White
Plenty of storage space
Easy to organize with dividers
Temperature alarm is sensitive
You'll never run out of space to store your favorite meals and snacks with the GE FCM22DLWW. This model has a whopping 21.7 cubic feet of storage space that is thoughtfully designed with five bulk storage baskets and four dividers. You can customize the dividers so that the appliance fits your specific lifestyle and needs, and then you can lock the entire piece when you're done organizing to keep food safe. If you're taking this freezer on the go—for a camping or hunting trip—the lock can be beneficial and put your mind at ease.
In addition to those notable design features, this GE chest freezer also includes a temperature alarm and power indicator. The piece is Energy Star-certified, so you don't have to stress about it racking up your energy bill, either. Just be aware: the temperature alarm can be a little touchy at times and can go off even when the piece is at the right temperature.
Total Capacity: 21.7 cubic feet | Dimensions: 33.38 x 73.25 x 33 inches | Control Type: Manual | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
Whynter FM-452SG Elite SlimFit 1.48 cu. ft. Frost Free Portable Freezer
Large temperature range
Compatible with a weaker outlet
Doesn't look stylish
Can be heavy to carry
Whether you're on vacation or setting up an extra freezer in your RV, you want a reliable, portable, and flexible appliance. Enter the Whynter FM-452SG: a pick that doesn't necessarily look stylish but will undoubtedly get the job done. It has 1.48 cubic feet of interior space, outfitted with two storage baskets for easy access and organization. You can adjust the internal temperature of the piece to any temperature between -8 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit to function as a freezer or fridge-on-the-go.
At 52 pounds, this piece is certainly a bit heavy to carry. You'll want to set it up at the beginning of your trip in a place that's easy to reach, so you can grab a snack and manually defrost the appliance as needed. The appliance makes up for this weight by being compatible with a 12-Volt DC outlet. This type of outlet is standard on boats and RVs, where power sources are limited.
Total Capacity: 1.48 cubic feet | Dimensions: 20 x 27 x 14.5 inches | Control Type: Digital | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Not listed
Best for Garages
GE FCM11SRWW 10.7 Cu. Ft. Manual Defrost Chest Freezer
Can withstand extreme temperatures
Exterior power light
Power outage promise
Not Energy Star-certified
Not every chest freezer can perform in all temperatures, from very cold to very hot, so if you want to keep one in your garage, it's worth it to splurge on a unit that can handle the extremes. The GE FCM11SRWW is a great pick, as it can work in temperatures ranging from 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Ultimately, you can install it in an area that's not climate-controlled.
Other benefits include two sliding storage baskets, an interior light to help you find what you're looking for, and an exterior power light to feel very assured that it's working. This model also promises to keep your food frozen for up to 48 hours in a power outage.
Total Capacity: 10.7 cubic feet | Dimensions: 33.37 x 43.75 x 24 inches | Control Type: Manual | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
For a chest freezer that's reliable, spacious, and covers all the bases, opt for the Frigidaire FFCL1542AW Chest Freezer. It's our best overall pick because it has a water drain for defrosting, removable baskets, and a lid that stays up on its own, making it an easy and accessible unit. If you're looking to spend less, the Magic Chef HMCF7W4 Chest Freezer doesn't have as much space, but it features a recessed handle, exterior temperature dial, and bulk storage baskets to organize your goods.
What to Look for in a Chest Freezer
The amount of space in a chest freezer, which determines how much you can store, can range from 3 to 22 cubic feet. An average chest freezer typically has about 15 cubic feet of interior space, which is about 112 liquid gallons. When you're shopping for a new model, you'll want to keep in mind that more capacity means the model will be wider and take up a larger spot in your garage or home. Finding the balance between storage and living space may be essential.
Unlike upright freezers, chest freezers don't usually have shelving that helps keep your frozen goods organized. Instead, chest freezers have dividers and baskets, which you can use to separate dinners from meats, fruit, or baked goods. The average chest freezer has two or three storage baskets, while more spacious and high-end models may have up to five. Some of these baskets can be sliding, and others will be removable, which is ideal for a manually-defrosting model.
Manual vs. Automatic Defrosting
If your chest freezer manually defrosts, you will need to maintain it when ice and frost build up in the interior. Once the buildup becomes a quarter-inch thick, you'll need to unplug your model, take everything out of it, and chip away at the ice and frost. After the ice and frost have been removed and have melted away, you can drain the unit and plug it back in.
If your chest freezer automatically defrosts or is considered frost-free or self-defrosting, internal coils will occasionally heat up and keep frost at bay. This option is more expensive to operate and purchase upfront, but it is easier to use.
If your chest freezer has a safety lock, you're able to secure what you're storing inside. This feature is particularly handy if you plan on leaving your freezer in a garage or frequently entertain. You can lock the appliance and feel comfortable knowing that there will be no unwanted entry. Typically, the safety lock is paired with a physical key or key fob, which you should store in a safe, accessible spot.
Any household that wants extra storage but doesn't want to set up a bulky appliance in their kitchen should look for a chest freezer with a garage-ready design. This type of design ensures the appliance will run properly, whether the external temperature is very hot or very cold. In other words, your goods won't go bad and will remain in a stable internal environment. Not all freezers are garage-ready, so it's important to look for this feature.
Exterior Power Light
It can be hard to tell if your chest freezer is on and running. Even if it's plugged in, without any sort of indicator, you may worry the appliance isn't properly storing your food. An exterior power light creates a small glow on the ground near the appliance, so you know it's working properly. It's very suitable for households that aren't quick to trust their appliances, and are planning to keep their chest freezer on at all times.
How long does a chest freezer last?
On average, a chest freezer lasts 14 years. This is longer than a standard refrigerator, which typically lasts around 10 years. You can extend your freezer's lifespan by properly maintaining it and storing it in the proper conditions. For example, if your freezer is not a garage-ready model, keep it in a kitchen or temperature-controlled basement. Make sure there's no ice buildup, and manually defrost it when needed. In addition, make sure the lid is closed tight after opening it, so the unit doesn't have to work harder than usual.
How do I organize a chest freezer?
When it comes to organizing a chest freezer, you'll want to make use of the included baskets or dividers. Group similar items together and give them their own designated basket. Stack baskets and bins for easy access to the items you need. In addition, label meats, fruits, and vegetables with a "best by" date, and put the oldest items on top, so you know to use them first. For more, check out our guide on how to organize a freezer.
How much energy does a chest freezer use?
Chest freezers typically use less energy than their upright counterparts. This is because of the quality of their insulation, which lines the walls and even helps keep your food cold during power outages. On average, a chest freezer will use 250 kWh per year, while upright freezers can use almost 500 kWh per year. If you don't fill your freezer to the brim and care for it properly, this number may go down a bit.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was edited and updated by Marisa Casciano, the senior commerce editor for appliances, cleaning, and organization for The Spruce. Throughout her career, she's researched the ins and outs of air purifiers, dishwashers, cooktops, and more in the home and lifestyle space. As an avid cook, she understands the need for extra storage space and a model that can withstand different temperatures, locations, and uses.
Erin Johnson also updated this article. She is a commerce editor at The Spruce with a focus on large appliances, organization, and cleaning. She has written about the best home products and appliances for Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living, and Apartment Therapy. Her family uses the Danby 7.2-cubic-foot Chest Freezer in matte black. She loves that this freezer blends in with the garage while preserving food throughout hot Texas summers.