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Whether you tuck a chest freezer into a corner of your garage, kitchen, or basement, it'll be a quality solution for your frozen food storage needs. These appliances are usually modern in design, with interior lighting and temperature control settings that you can set yourself. After coming home with a particularly large haul from the store, these freezers will ensure you don't have bags of frozen kale or chicken tenders sitting out on the counter while you re-organize your top or bottom freezer.
In addition, most come with storage baskets that slide so you can easily access what you do put into them. The capacity of this appliance can range from 9 cubic feet—which is about the size of a standard freezer attached to a refrigerator—to 15 cubic feet. Before choosing a chest freezer, decide how much extra space is needed in your home and then shop accordingly.
Below, we've found the best chest freezers for a variety of budgets and needs.
Best Overall: Frigidaire FFFC15M4TW 14.8 Cu. Ft. Chest Freezer in White
Total Capacity: 14.8 cubic feet | Dimensions: 32.5 x 55.75 x 29.56 inches | Control Type: Manual | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
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 FFFC15M4TW. It’s so easy to spot what you’re looking for in this 14.8-cubic-foot unit, thanks to its bright interior LED lights, removable plastic baskets for organization, and a lid that stays up all 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 can be 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 also 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. All in all, this large range of features makes it our pick for best overall.
Best Budget: Hotpoint HCM9DMWW 9.4 cu. ft. Manual Defrost Chest Freezer
Total Capacity: 9.4 cubic feet | Dimensions: 33.38 x 41.62 x 27 inches | Control Type: Manual | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
Exterior temperature dial
High-temperature warning light
Lock and key can be tricky to use
If you're hoping to spend less on a chest freezer, the Hotpoint HCM9DMWW is for you. It has an exterior dial for temperature control with seven different settings, so you can be certain your food is being kept at the ideal temperature. Notable features also include a high-temp warning light that automatically turns on when the freezer is open, and a green power light that makes it clear when it’s on and running correctly.
In addition, an interior LED light turns on when the lid is lifted, and there are two sliding, bulk storage baskets that make it easy for you to store and locate all your favorite foods quickly. With a built-in defrost drain, and a lock and key, this model certainly treats you to the works without requiring you to spend a lot.
Best Splurge: SABA SGF-50 49.5 in. Commercial Chest Freezer
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
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—aka the ones you just put in—first. The stainless steel glide lids are easy to open and close as well, even for kids.
This model has a digital temperature control and auto defrost which alone makes it worth the extra cost. It comes with a key so you can lock it whenever you’re not around, and wheels so you can move it easily. Plus, the black and stainless steel finish is stylish and less of an eyesore in any room.
Best Large Capacity: GE FCM22DLWW Garage Ready 21.7 cu. ft. Chest Freezer in White
Total Capacity: 21.7 cubic feet | Dimensions: 33.38 x 73.25 x 33 inches | Control Type: Manual | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
Plenty of storage space
Easy to organize with dividers
Temperature alarm is sensitive
On the expensive side
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 lock the entire piece when you're done organizing to keep food safe. If you're taking this freezer on-the-go—say, for a camping or hunting trip—the lock can be very helpful 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 go off even when the piece is at the right temperature.
Best Portable: Whynter FM-452SG Elite SlimFit 1.48 cu. ft. Frost Free Portable Freezer
Total Capacity: 1.48 cubic feet | Dimensions: 20 x 27 x 14.5 inches | Control Type: Digital | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Not listed
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 piece that's reliable, portable, and flexible. Enter, the Whynter FM-452SG: a pick that doesn't necessarily look stylish, but will certainly get the job done. It has 1.48 cubic feet of interior space, which is outfitted with two storage baskets for all your organization needs. The internal temperature of the piece can be adjusted to any temperature between -8 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now, 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 also manually defrost the appliance as needed. The appliance makes up for this weight by being compatible with even a 12-Volt DC outlet. This type of outlet is common on boats and RVs, where power sources are a bit limited.
Best for Garages: GE FCM11PHWW Garage Ready 10.6 Cu. Ft. Chest Freezer
Total Capacity: 10.6 cubic feet | Dimensions: 33.5 x 50.75 x 27.5 inches | Control Type: Manual | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
Can withstand extreme temperatures
Doesn't use much energy
Exterior power light
Can become warped over time
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 FCM11PHWW is a great pick, as it can work in temperatures ranging from 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Ultimately, it's able to be installed in an area that's not climate controlled.
Though it’s medium-sized, it’s Energy Star-rated, meaning it runs efficiently and without taking up many resources. It won’t rack up new charges on your electric bill. Other benefits include three sliding storage baskets, an interior light to help you find what you’re looking for, and an exterior power light so you can feel very assured that it’s working.
For a chest freezer that's reliable, spacious, and covers all the bases, opt for the Frigidaire FFFC15M4TW (view at Appliances Connection). It's our best pick overall because it has a water drain for defrosting, removable baskets, and a lid that stays up on its own which makes it an easy and accessible unit. If you're looking to spend less, the Hotpoint HCM9DMWW (view at AJ Madison) doesn't have as much space, but does include a high-temp warning light to ensure your goods are always chilled properly.
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, then you will need to maintain it when ice and frost builds up in the interior. Once the build up 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 has been removed and is 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 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 build up, 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 really 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 your 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, who is the large appliance expert 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.