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The freezer attached to your refrigerator isn't always enough. When you have a big family, entertain often, or are an avid baker who wants to save a sourdough loaf for a later date, sometimes you just need the extra space that a standalone freezer provides. Of course, that standalone freezer you purchase doesn't need to be huge, and you may opt for a compact piece that has around 1 cubic foot in additional storage. On the contrary, you may decide you do need as much extra space as you can get, and invest in a chest option that has nearly 25 cubic feet of storage.
There are tons of options on the market, which offer modern features like frost-free temperature control and LED lighting. Some are exceptionally engineered to save energy, or give consumers an easier, customizable experience that includes a reversible door or self-defrosting.
Here, the best freezers and what can you expect from each of them.
Best Overall: Frigidaire FFFC20M4TW 19.8 Cu. Ft. Chest Freezer in White
Total Capacity: 19.8 cubic feet | Dimensions: 31.75 x 73.7 x 29.5 inches | Control Type: Manual | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
Interior LED lights
If it’s a ton of freezer space you’re after, the Frigidaire FFFC20M4TW offers a very roomy 19.8 cubic feet of storage for anything and everything you need to keep ice cold. This particular model also comes in a larger and smaller size, at 24.8 cubic feet and 14.8 cubic feet respectively. So, whether you're putting this freezer in your garage to store extra goods or in your small apartment, there's a model for you.
The chest freezer comes with a sliding basket to organize your meats, bags of tater tots, or frozen fruit. With your purchase, you'll also get color-coordinated Snap-On clips that can be used as section labels within your appliance. One of the major, modern perks of this freezer is that it has LED lighting so you'll never sift through your foil packs in the dark. A power-on indicator light also allows you to know when this machine is on and functioning—which isn't a guarantee with other models.
Now, if you go to move this appliance, don't fret your items falling out. It has a safety lock which you can only open with a key. Although it may be annoying to grab said key when you're in a rush, the space, versatility, and functionality of this appliance makes it our overall pick for freezer seekers.
Best Budget: Danby DCFM110B1WDB 11.0 cu. ft. Chest Freezer in White
Total Capacity: 11.0 cubic feet | Dimensions: 33.25 x 44.12 x 29.32 inches | Control Type: Digital | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
Easy to move around
If you're looking for a quality piece at a dainty price tag, this pick from Danby is the right one for you. At 5.0 cubic feet, it can store a good amount of food inside, and it keeps everything organized between its three sections. The temperature is set with a thermostat, which you can set at the chilling level you like.
When you need to clean and defrost your freezer, you'll appreciate the easy-to-clean lining and the small drain at the bottom. These elements of design make it easy to get your freezer defrosted and dry before you fill it back up again. You'll also love the lightweight build of this model, which makes it easy to lift and install in your space. Overall, this Danby piece is the perfect balance and will serve you and your household well.
Best Upright: Whirlpool WSZ57L18DM 17.7 cu. ft. SideKicks Frost Free Upright Freezer
Total Capacity: 17.7 cubic feet | Dimensions: 66.75 x 30.25 x 28.88 inches | Control Type: Electronic | Defrost Type: Auto/cycle | Garage Friendly: No
Interior LED lighting
Plenty of storage options
Electronic temperature controls
No safety lock
Upright freezers are typically more spacious than chest ones. But, this particular model is top-notch when it comes to not only capacity, but convenient features to make your life much easier. For example, the Whirlpool WSZ57L18DM has 17.7 cubic feet of space, LED lighting, and five door bins for easy-to-reach pints of ice cream and snacks. There are a total of four shelves, in addition to a bulk storage basket for any other items you may be storing in your home.
Plus, everything you store is chilled to the exact right temperature, thanks to very precise electronic controls and a temperature monitor. The monitor notices if and when things are too cold, so you can adjust the interior accordingly. This helps to prevent freezer burn from building up on any of your food, and deeming it unfit to serve. Notably, this upright freezer also has a frost-free design that eliminates the very annoying chore of manually defrosting a large appliance.
When it comes to style, enjoy a recessed handle and a light stainless steel finish that will easily match with your other appliances. This freezer essentially leaves very little to be desired or maintained.
Best Chest: 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
Large temperature range
If you don’t need quite the huge capacity of an upright freezer, or you just need something a little more reasonably priced, the roomy GE FCM11PHWW is for you. It has 10.6 cubic feet of space—which is more than enough for a family who likes to stockpile a lot of frozen goods—and is Energy Star-certified due to its efficiency and energy consumption.
Features of this model include up-front temperature controls, manual defrosting, interior lighting, and three baskets, which slide and lift out to help keep contents organized. This freezer can also be locked, just in case you want to safely store your items in a garage, and a power indicator on the outside reassures nervous owners that the freezer is plugged in and working. When it comes to chilling, the freezer's temperature can range from -10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit and can be set using the seven-setting temperature gauge.
All in all, this pick is reliable, efficient, and doesn't operate loudly. You won't have much trouble installing it, and can use it as a back-up during short power outages as well.
Best High-End: Summit Appliance SCFF532D 3.5 cu. ft. Upright Freezer in Stainless Steel
Total Capacity: 3.5 cubic feet | Dimensions: 34 x 23.63 x 23.63 inches | Control Type: Digital | Defrost Type: Frost free | Garage Friendly: Not listed
Can fit under a counter
Stainless steel exterior
Not very spacious
You shelled out the cash for custom cabinets and fancy countertops, and now you need a freezer to match your built-in fridge. No problem. This model made by Summit Appliance has you covered. It fits in a 24-inch spot under a counter, but also can be installed like a stand-alone appliance. No matter how you set it up, frozen food access is effortless, since this model is easy to load and unload. You barely have to bend down to remove items, even when accessing what's at the back of the drawers.
In addition, the SCFF532D offers frost-free operation with fan-forced cooling for even temperature distribution. As far as freezer organization goes, the unit has a full-width sliding wire basket and two adjustable dividers for arranging the inside any way you choose. This machine is also self-defrosting, which is convenient for freezer maintenance and extending its lifetime.
Best Compact: Whynter CUF-110B 1.1 cu. ft. Portable Freezer in Black with Lock, ENERGY STAR
Total Capacity: 1.1 cubic feet | Dimensions: 19.5 x 18.5 x 17.7 inches | Control Type: Manual | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
Good for small living
Not very spacious
Need a small freezer for a small space—such as a dorm room, boat, or an RV? This basic model by Whynter is an efficient, compact pick. It’s Energy Star-rated and offers 1.1 cubic feet of space. This capacity is very good for keeping a stack of frozen dinners, or several pints of ice cream at the ready.
At roughly 17.5 x 18.5 x 19 inches, the CUF-110B won’t take up more than its fair share of space in tight quarters. Inside, there's one removable wire shelf, as well as a mechanical temperature dial that allows settings from -10 to 2 degrees. The swing door is reversible and has a recessed handle to keep things streamlined. If you're tucking this freezer under a desk or table, these features add functionality to this piece, and allow you to access it in whichever way is most convenient for you.
The door is also lockable, so no one can access your stash unless they have the key. Ultimately, this appliance will get the job done and not bother you with noise. Opt for the one-year warranty if you're concerned about any potential issues.
If you're in the market for a freezer, look no further than the Frigidaire FFFC20M4TW (view at AJ Madison) that comes with modern features like LED lights and a safety lock. It's very spacious, so you'll never have to worry about storing your frozen goods again. A less expensive option is the Danby DCFM110B1WDB (view at Home Depot). It doesn't have precise electronic controls, but is very lightweight and has flexible organization options.
What to Look for in a Freezer
There are three types of freezers you can purchase: upright, chest, and convertible. An upright model looks similar to a refrigerator, but is just one compartment that features shelving, door bins, and bulk storage baskets. A chest freezer looks like a cooler, since it has a wide build and lift-open lid, and can be organized with dividers and bulk storage baskets. Convertible models can be shaped like either an upright or chest freezer, but can be used as a freezer or refrigerator. The best type of freezer for your home entirely depends on where you want to install it, what you want to store, and what organization options you'd like to have.
Manual vs. automatic defrosting
A freezer can either manually defrost or automatically defrost. If it automatically defrosts, it may have a frost-free design or also be called self-defrosting. This means that coils within the freezer will heat up routinely to prevent any ice or frost from building up along the interior's walls. In contrast, a model with manual defrosting will need to be unplugged when frost gets to be a quarter-inch thick. You will need to unload the items you have stored, chip away at the build-up, and drain out the unit. Once it's drained, you can plug the freezer back in and re-organize your frozen goods. This type of freezer can be cheaper to buy and operate, but comes with more maintenance.
If your freezer is garage-ready, it can withstand extreme, external temperatures. It doesn't need to be installed within your home, where it may take up a great deal of space in your kitchen or basement. A garage-ready model can cost a bit more, but will keep things frozen whether your garage is 0 degrees or 110 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a particularly cold or warm climate, or are hoping to install the freezer in a more flexible space, a garage-ready design is worth considering. Just keep in mind: it may cost more.
If your freezer has a reversible door, that means you can open it by swinging the door to the left or the right. This feature is particularly handy for households who don't have a lot of space for extra storage, or plan to install their freezer in a semi-cluttered area. The door usually has recessed handles, airtight seals on both edges, and a sleek design. Just know this: the seals can become worn over time, so you may need to replace them for optimal frozen food storage.
A safety lock secures your freezer, and prevents any unwanted entry. And while it's not a necessary feature to have on a freezer, it is useful if you plan on storing your appliance in your garage, or have guests over often. The lock is paired with a physical key or key fob, and ensures that your goods are secure. Be sure to store the key or key fob in a safe and accessible location.
Quick freeze setting
A quick freeze setting, which can also be called a "power freeze" setting, drops the set temperature of your freezer. It makes the internal environment as cold as possible, in order to quickly chill meat, fruit, or other goods that you just added. Typically, this setting can last for up to 50 hours at a time, and is a great feature to have if your model is convertible. It's also handy for households that want a worry and hands-free experience.
How long do freezers last?
On average, freezers last 10 to 14 years. Typically, a freezer that manually defrosts lasts slightly longer than one that automatically defrosts. This is because there are less moving parts that can suffer wear and tear over time. To increase the lifespan of your appliance, be sure to maintain it properly. Remove any ice build-up, install it in the correct location (especially if it's not garage-ready), and make sure to not overfill or underfill the appliance as this can make the appliance work significantly harder.
Why do freezers frost up?
Frost builds up on the inner surfaces of your freezer because moisture from your fresh food attaches to the appliance's coils. This process is sped up if your door isn't sealed tight, or your appliance's self-defrosting technology is unreliable and need repairs. The result will be frost and ice chunks that grow in size, until they've been chipped or drained away, and less storage space for your food.
To prevent a lot of frost from building up in your freezer, be sure to never leave the door open for long periods of time, and close it tightly when you're done. In addition, occasionally check the temperature of your freezer to ensure it's consistent and stable.
Do freezers work better when full?
Typically, you don't want to fill a freezer—whether it's a chest, upright, or attached model—to the brim. You want to pack in your meats, fruits, and vegetables, but leave a little bit of space for the cold air to circulate. A half-empty freezer will use a lot of energy, and an overfilled one will exhaust its parts. Try to find a happy medium, by filling the included storage bins and baskets, but not making it impossible to grab items for dinner with ease. For more, check out our guide on how to organize the freezer.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written 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 home cook, who's also always on-the-go, she understands the importance of storing food in a freezer that is reliable and user-friendly.