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If your freezer is packed to the brim and quickly becoming a jigsaw puzzle when trying to fit everything in, then you may be in the market for an upright model that offers additional space—and, inevitably, a sense of relief. This type of freezer certainly is a game-changer, as it can be set up in your kitchen—where you can easily access your chicken and sweet potato fries at dinner time—or in your garage. They come with double doors or in extra-large capacities, so you can easily peruse what you have and not buy the same item twice at the grocery store.
Upright freezers are in the business of being reliable and practical like your home appliances should be. However, they take it to the next level by delivering space and even the ability to keep your goods frozen for multiple days in the event of a power outage.
Below, the best upright freezers on the market:
Best Overall: Frigidaire FFFU16F2VW 16 cu. ft. Frost Free Upright Freezer in White
Total Capacity: 16 cubic feet | Dimensions: 67.75 x 27.75 x 29.12 inches | Control Type: Mechanical | Defrost Type: Frost free | Garage Friendly: Yes
Able to withstand a power outage
Plenty of storage options
Frost can build up inside
Door seal can be flimsy
This pick from Frigidaire gives you plenty of room to store everything you need, and makes sure it stays frozen solid, thanks to the brand's EvenTemp Cooling System. This technology circulates air to prevent warm spots from forming and ultimately spoiling your food. It's one of many features this upright freezer has that makes it the best option to shop, hands-down.
In addition to the cooling technology, this model also can keep your food frozen for up to two days in the event of a power outage and be installed in a garage. It can withstand temperatures from 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and even sports a reversible door so you can shimmy it into any spot that's most convenient for you. A design that's both thoughtful and accessible continues within the 15.5-cubic-foot interior, that's outfitted with four shelves and a sliding storage basket. For any items that don't easily stack on shelves, or you'd like to be able to reach for quickly (like a container of ice cream), there are five spacious door bins as well.
Other helpful features include an alarm that sounds if the door is left open, a light at the bottom that tells you at a glance if the freezer is working properly, and LED interior lights so you can see what you're looking for. All in all, this upright freezer checks off all the boxes and would be a great buy for any household.
Best Budget: Maytag MZF34X16DW 15.7 cu. ft. Frost Free Upright Freezer
Total Capacity: 15.7 cubic feet | Dimensions: 60.75 x 30.25 x 29.13 inches | Control Type: Electronic | Defrost Type: Auto/cycle | Garage Friendly: No
Can freeze food quickly
Only comes in a white finish
Average amount of space
Don’t burn up cash shopping for an ice-cold appliance. Instead, save money with this budget-friendly freezer from Maytag. It'll treat you to high-end amenities such as interior LED lighting, an automatic defroster, and a fairly large capacity of 15.7 cubic feet. It skips out on a stylish, stainless steel finish, but definitely provides a lot of bang for your buck otherwise.
With its FastFreeze feature, you're able to freeze a large amount of goods very quickly so that they don't lose any of their original, store-bought freshness. This feature typically lasts for 24 hours, before the freezer goes back to its automatic cycle. For those who like to freeze fruit for smoothies or freeze meat, this feature will make a big impact and ensure that every meal with flavor. If you're someone who's looking for an upright freezer for extra storage purposes, this model also comes with three adjustable shelves and a built-in storage gate that turns the freezer floor into usable space.
For a model with an average amount of capacity and a reversible door as well, this piece is sort of a hidden gem. It may use up the same amount of energy as an upright freezer with slightly more space, but will save you money the day you purchase it without a doubt.
Best Large Capacity: GE FUF21SMRWW Garage Ready 21.3 cu. ft. Frost Free Upright Freezer
Total Capacity: 21.3 cubic feet | Dimensions: 76.5 x 32.88 x 31.37 inches | Control Type: Manual | Defrost Type: Frost free | Garage Friendly: Yes
Very spacious interior
Tight door seal
Can be installed in a garage
Items can fall out of wire basket
On the expensive side
For the maximum in upright freezer storage space, turn to this very large option from GE. It's impressive in size, measuring 6 feet and 3 inches tall, and packing in just over 21 cubic feet of space. In comparison, most upright freezers top out at about 20 cubic feet. GE squeezed in an extra 1.3 cubic feet for you to stash a few more steaks or frozen dinners.
This model of upright freezer from GE has four wire shelves and one wire basket to keep things sorted and visible. In addition, four door shelves keep any smaller items in plain sight. Now, the super strong seal of this model may make the door a little tough to open. However, this seal will ensure that no cold air escapes the interior, stabilizing the environment your food is in.
Of course, such a large capacity upright freezer might not fit well in your kitchen, or you may not want to haul this heavy-duty model down to the basement. If you plan to keep it in your garage, know that it will perform well in temperatures from 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the manufacturer. This is also a frost-free unit at a quality price, so you won’t need to worry about thawing and draining this mammoth appliance.
Best Compact: Magic Chef MCUF3W2 3.0 cu. ft. Upright Freezer in White
Total Capacity: 3.0 cubic feet | Dimensions: 32.1 x 20.3 x 22 inches | Control Type: Mechanical | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
Suitable for small living
Easy to organize
Narrow temperature range
Requires more maintenance
It's quite possible that you don't need a ton of extra freezer space, and are looking for a more compact pick like the Magic Chef MCUF3W2. This upright freezer has just 3.0 cubic feet of storage space, which is ideal for smaller households, apartments, or RVs. Although it does require you to manually defrost it from time to time, it has two wire shelves for organizing easy-to-make meals, meats, fruits, or vegetables. In addition, its reversible door with a recessed handle makes it a flexible option that can be installed just about anywhere.
You can pair it with a matching mini refrigerator to complete an on-the-go kitchen, or set it up in a basement where you're putting together an at-home bar. Once you install it, just use the manual controls to adjust the interior's temperature anywhere between -4 and 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit. This range is much narrower than other models' on the market, but you'll likely find it meets your needs.
Best for Garage: Gladiator GAFZ30FDGB 17.8 cu. ft. Upright Rolling Garage Freezer in Black
Total Capacity: 17.8 cubic feet | Dimensions: 72.25 x 30.25 x 32.38 inches | Control Type: Electronic | Defrost Type: Frost free | Garage Friendly: Yes
Stainless steel foot pedal
Heavy-duty caster wheels
Not compatible with an ice maker
On the expensive side
Do you keep your upright freezer in the garage? If so, consider this model that is built to be durable and portable, making it the perfect choice for an appliance that will be stored in flexible temperatures.
The Gladiator GAFZ30FDGB features a black matte finish and a unique step-to-open door. It's super convenient to open up the unit using the stainless steel foot pedal when you have arms full of groceries ready to be stocked inside. Adding to the functionality of this garage-ready upright freezer is how it sits on four, heavy-duty caster wheels. Reposition the freezer easily if you need to use the space for other storage needs or a special project.
On the inside, you’ll find heavy-gauge wire shelves and baskets, with adjustable positions to store and sort frozen goods. Door shelves and bins keep tiny goods within easy reach. All in all, there's 17.8 cubic feet of space of food storage. And while this model isn't compatible with an ice maker kit, it does keep your food chilled at the right temperature thanks to electronic controls.
Best with Manual Defrost: Danby Designer DUFM059C1WDD 5.9 cu. ft. Manual Defrost Upright Freezer in White
Total Capacity: 5.9 cubic feet | Dimensions: 56.3 x 21.46 x 22.28 inches | Control Type: Mechanical | Defrost Type: Manual | Garage Friendly: Yes
Doesn't use a ton of energy
Not very spacious
Requires more maintenance
If you don’t quite trust the natural, automatic defrosting cycles of a freezer, then consider this small Danby model that has manual defrost. It has a mechanical thermostat that can be set anywhere from -11 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes time to manually defrost this piece, you'll want to pull everything out so you can scrape any thick ice chunks off the interior and cooling elements.
This is quite a tedious task, but luckily this particular model isn't too large. With an 5.9-cubic-foot capacity, it has just enough space to store anything extra that wouldn't fit in your main freezer, but won't overwhelm you on cleaning day. You can organize your frozen food using five shelves that quickly attract cold air. Once you close its reversible door, you can be happy with the fact that it runs quietly and remains reliable.
Although this model may not have every single bell and whistle, it certainly will get the job done and fill your needs. It's slightly more cost-effective because of the smaller capacity, but also because it runs on about half the energy of other upright freezer models, at 256 kWh compared to nearly 500 kWh per year.
Best for Convenience: Whirlpool WSZ57L18DM 17.7 cu. ft. SideKicks Frost Free Upright Freezer
Total Capacity: 18 cubic feet | Dimensions: 66.75 x 30.25 x 31.25 inches | Control Type: Electronic | Defrost Type: Auto/cycle | Garage Friendly: No
Electronic temperature controls
Can be paired with matching refrigerator
No reversible door
This upright freezer does a lot to make it easy for you to store and access food in whatever way is best for you. It offers almost 18 cubic feet of space to store your grocery store goods, and prioritizes accessibility with bright, LED lighting and five door bins. You can use these bins to store smaller items such as a pack of butter or pre-made smoothie, so that they don't get lost in the back.
In addition to those five door bins, this model also has one bulk storage basket and four shelves that'll help keep you organized and stress-free. If you typically worry about your items getting too frozen, you'll also love the interior electronic temperature controls in this model that let you tailor your experience, as well as its frost-free design. This takes away the need to manually defrost your freezer, which can be time-consuming and annoying.
Overall, this upright freezer doesn't shy away from style or functionality. With a stainless steel exterior, it'll fit in well with your other kitchen appliances or could even be placed beside its matching refrigerator.
Any household that's in the market for an upright freezer, in order to maximize their storage of frozen goods, should head straight for the Frigidaire FFFU16F2VW (view at Home Depot) that has a myriad of features. This model has cooling technology to prevent warm spots from building up, can be installed in a garage, and has a reversible door. Looking to spend less? Shop for the Maytag MZF34X16DW (view at Home Depot). Although it doesn't have a stainless steel finish, it does have high-end amenities like an automatic defroster.
What to Look for in an Upright Freezer
The interior of an upright freezer is measured in cubic feet. It can range from as little as 3.0 cubic feet, to nearly 22 cubic feet. The larger the capacity of your model, the more you can store, so you'll need to consider how much you want to store before buying. The average upright freezer has around 16 cubic feet of space, and is divided up with four or five shelves, as well as a basket. To put this in perspective, that's enough space to store 560 pounds of meat.
Manual vs. automatic defrosting
Upright freezers either manually or automatically defrost. If a freezer manually defrosts, that means that ice and frost will build up in the interior over time. To maintain the model and ensure the cold air can flow evenly, you must unplug the model, remove everything from inside, and give the frost some time to melt away. You can speed up the process by chipping away at the frost build-up, before then draining the water, and plugging in your appliance. Automatic defrosting eliminates this routine, and allows the model to regulate itself. This type of freezer is also known as frost-free or self-defrosting, and can make your experience much easier, but will cost more to operate and purchase upfront.
The temperature range of an upright freezer will determine what you can store inside of it. In most models, this range goes from -10 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for storing food for long periods of time. Compact or budget models typically have a smaller range, and only allow for the internal temperature to be set between -4 and 7 degrees, while convertible models can be set as high as 44 degrees. To find the right fit for you, consider what you're storing, and know that the internal temperature range is separate from the exterior temperatures your upright freezer can withstand.
If an upright freezer is garage-ready, it can be used in an outdoor setting where temperatures can be very flexible. Despite a very hot or cold external environment, the unit will run reliably and effectively. A garage-ready model is most suitable for households who don't want to eliminate space inside their home for more frozen food storage, or want their appliance to have several installation options.
Quick freeze setting
When you turn on your upright freezer for the first time, or add new items to it after going to the store, a quick freeze setting will help the internal environment get cold fast. When activated, it'll override the temperature you set, and circulate the coldest air possible. It will continue for up to 50 hours—packing in the flavors of your meats, fruits, and vegetables. This is useful for households who want an entirely hands-free experience, or are interested in a convertible model.
An upright freezer with a reversible door can be opened by swinging the door to the left or right. This is a convenient feature if you plan on installing your freezer in a tight space or cluttered garage. You'll notice that this type of door features recessed handles and airtight seals. The seals can become worn over time, but be replaced if needed.
How do I set the temperature on an upright freezer?
To set the temperature on an upright freezer, first locate the temperature controls. The controls could be a manual dial, which you turn to your desired setting, or an electronic panel, where you tap buttons until the readout shows the proper internal temperature. To properly store frozen food, you should set the internal temperature to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Some upright freezers have a warm temperature or door alarm that'll notify you if the interior gets warmer than that.
How do you organize an upright freezer?
When organizing an upright freezer, or any freezer, you want to keep one rule in mind: first in, first out. In doing so, you won't forget about certain packaged meats, and inevitably throw them away after you find them months later. Another tip to follow includes putting your fruit, frozen meals, or vegetables in their own designated storage bins. In addition, plan to store bread and butter in the door bins, as it's a bit warmer. For more, check out our guide on how to organize a freezer.
What is better, a chest or an upright freezer?
In terms of space, an upright freezer is better than a chest freezer. It has a smaller footprint, leaving space for other items in your home. Upright freezers are also easier to organize— since shelving and door bins provide many thoughtful organization options. In contrast, chest freezers use less energy, and are less noisy. This is essential if you want to save money or are planning on installing the unit in your home. For more, check out our guide on chest versus upright freezers.
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 cook, she knows the importance of finding a freezer that's both spacious and reliable.