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Stand-alone upright and chest freezers are great options for households that like to store large quantities of frozen meats, vegetables, fruits and other food. Use our guide to research the best freezer brand for you. We’ve gathered information on all your options to simplify the process of choosing a freezer that fits your lifestyle and budget.

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Benefits of using a stand-alone freezer

Buy in bulk

Having a large upright freezer lets you buy perishable food in bulk. Things like meat, vegetables and other frozen foods can be stored and thawed whenever you’re ready for them. Keep in mind, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends tossing frozen, uncooked roasts and steaks after a year and frozen, uncooked ground beef after four months. Here are some reasons to buy in bulk.

  • Stocking up during sales: An upright freezer lets you take advantage of sales by stocking up without missing out on a good deal. Buy as many frozen dinners, pizzas and ice cream bars as you want when they’re on sale.
  • Store fresh fruit: If you like to shop at farmers markets or local farms during the summer, freezers make it easy to stock up on fresh fruit and save it for a later date. To make sure your produce freezes without clumping up, wash your fresh fruit and let it dry. Then, put parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Lay your fruit on the parchment paper in a single layer and place in the freezer or a few hours. Once it’s frozen, put your fresh fruit in tightly sealed freezer bags or use a vacuum sealer ($50-$200) to make your bag airtight. Letting air in the bag will lead to freezer burn, so make sure it’s sealed tightly.
  • Buy bulk meat from a butcher: Many people buy half of a cow or pig from a local farmer and store the meat in a freezer for whenever they need it. It’s often cheaper to buy meat in bulk this way. It usually comes already packaged for the freezer, so all you need to do is throw it in the freezer when you get it and thaw it in the refrigerator the night before you plan on using it.

Always have ice on hand

If you regularly need more than just a couple ice cube trays worth of ice on hand, an upright freezer is a great place to store large ice bags. This can be helpful if you:

  • Are a frequent party host: It’s easier to have ice on hand than to go out to get some every weekend. It also makes impromptu get-togethers a lot more simple.
  • Use ice regularly to pack in a cooler: If you frequently pack a cooler, you probably use a lot of ice. Keeping a bag or two on-hand makes it easy to pack, especially if you tend to be a last minute planner.
  • Regularly nurses bumps and bruises: Make your own ice pack by putting ice in a freezer bag. Place a towel or other layer of material in between your skin and the ice bag to prevent discomfort.

Plan ahead (without really planning ahead)

Life is hectic, and it’s not always easy to plan your dinners out days (or weeks) ahead of time. Having a freezer where you can store perishables makes it easy to avoid eating out without having to spend time meal planning. This is great if you:

  • Are a busy person who sometimes forgets to go grocery shopping: It happens. When you’re at the end of a long day and don’t want to cook, having a meal in the freezer that you can throw in the oven can be a lifesaver.
  • Get unexpectedly snowed in: Getting snowed in is a lot more manageable when you have enough food to get by for a few days while the roads clear.
  • Have kids who are prone to inviting friends over on a whim: Unexpected guests in the form of hungry teenagers will be easier to handle if you have some frozen lasagna or other snacks to feed them.
  • Are the kind of person who likes to plan ahead: If you plan ahead, you can make meals, like casseroles or crockpot dinners, ahead of time and place them in the freezer to use on days when you don’t want to cook. Seal freezer bags tightly to prevent freezer burn, and don’t re-freeze food after it’s been thawed.

Different types of stand-alone freezers

Chest freezers

Chest freezers are shaped like a large box and have a lid that opens upward. They generally provide less access to items stored at the bottom and require a bit more space than other types of freezers. Most chest freezers have storage baskets to store frequently-accessed items and come in a large range of sizes.

Upright freezers

Upright freezers are popular because of their accessibility and because they give you lots of options for organizing your food items. Upright freezers are similar to upright refrigerators: they have shelving systems and can be stored almost anywhere in your home. Many upright freezers have an automatic defrost system, making them easy to clean and maintain.

Drawer freezers

Often found in large home kitchens or industrial kitchens, drawer freezers provide extremely easy access to food items. They can be customized to match a particular kitchen design and can be built into existing cabinets.

Portable freezers

Some companies make portable, battery-powered freezers to transport frozen foods without the need for ice. You can charge the battery using your car’s 12-volt outlet, making them a great option for tailgating and camping.

Things to consider when buying a freezer

How much space do you have?

Freezers come in four sizes: compact (5 or less cubic feet), small (6-9 cubic feet), medium (12-18 cubic feet) and large (over 18 cubic feet). Regular chest freezers are great for spaces where you have a lot of extra room like your garage. Upright freezers and drawer freezers are more compact and can be made to fit in smaller spaces. Don’t forget to note the size of your home’s doorways when choosing a freezer size.

How much food do you need to store?

An easy way to figure out how big a freezer you need is to multiply the number of people in your family by 2.5 cubic feet. This will give you an estimate of your food storage needs. Measured in cubic feet, freezers can be as small as around 3.0 and larger than 20 cubic feet. One cubic foot of freezer space holds around 35 pounds of food.

What's the difference between automatic and manual defrosting freezers?

Manually defrosting your freezer can be a pain. You have to take all the items out, shut if off and drain the water, hoping your items haven’t thawed during that time. Most people manually defrost their freezers once a year. Automatic defrosting freezers warm up to around 32 degrees once a day to keep ice crystals from forming. This prevents you from having to unload the contents of your freezer, risking the unwanted thawing of your food. It’s a good idea to defrost and clean your freezer at least once a year to prevent ice build up and get rid of smells.

How energy-efficient is your freezer?

Medium sized freezers use anywhere from around 200 to 500 kilowatts per year, according to Energy Star. If your freezer automatically defrosts, it will be closer to the 500 kilowatt range. Energy Star-rated large freezers (18 to 22 cubic feet) cost about $55-$65 per year to run, or about $5 a month.

What are some important freezer features to look out for?

Some modern freezers have extra features like soft-freeze sections where you can store things like ice cream or butter and keep them “ready to eat.” Most freezers have temperature alarms that constantly monitor the interior temperature and sound if it rises above the set temperature.

What’s the standard warranty on a freezer?

Most new freezers come with at least a 1-year warranty on parts and labor. Some include a 5- or 10-year warranty on the compressor. Your freezer should be covered under your home warranty’s appliance plan after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. Consult with your home warranty to make sure your freezer is covered before the manufacturer’s warranty runs out.

Not sure how to choose?

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    Author reviews for stand-alone freezers

    Amana Appliances

    Amana has been making affordable appliances for cooking, cleaning, heating and cooling for over 80 years. Their line of freezers includes upright or wide designs that range in price from $229 to $649. Capacities range from 5.3 cubic feet to 16 cubic feet.

    Read more about Amana Appliances

    Electrolux is known for making kitchen, laundry and home care appliances. They also make 12 sizes of chest freezer ranging in size from 3.5 to 28 cubic feet.

    Read more about Electrolux
    Maytag Refrigerators

    Maytag designs and makes kitchen appliances, washers and dryers and central heat and air units. They have two models of chest freezers and three upright freezers.

    Read more about Maytag Refrigerators
    Magic Chef

    Magic Chef got its start over 85 years ago and today makes a variety of kitchen and home comfort appliances. It offers several models of upright and chest freezers that range from 3.0 to 9.0 cubic feet. They also sell a portable freezer. Check Magic Chef’s website for places to buy their products.

    Read more about Magic Chef
    Danby Freezer

    Danby has been designing and making refrigerators and specialty kitchen appliances for over 65 years. Its line of freezers range in size from 2.6 to over 15 cubic feet. You can choose from 19 models of wide or upright freezers. Find the nearest retailer that sells Danby freezers on their website.

    Read more about Danby Freezer
    Kenmore Freezer

    Kenmore is known for its home appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens and freezers. Their freezers come in black or white with digital or mechanical control systems and range in size from under 10 to over 21 cubic feet. You can find pricing and retailers near you on Kenmore’s website.

    Read more about Kenmore Freezer
    Midea Electric

    Midea was founded in 1968 and has gone on to design and make numerous home appliances, including chest freezers. It offers several models of upright and chest freezers ranging from 1.0 to 7 cubic feet and priced from around $130 to $259.

    • Adjustable temperature: Midea chest freezers offer a range of temperatures, from -12 to -28 degrees.
    • Easy clean: Midea designs its chest freezers to make cleaning a breeze. The interior is said to be easier to wipe down than typical silicone or aluminum coatings on other freezers. Midea also includes removable gaskets to make them easier to clean.
    • Storage: Midea freezers are designed with doors that open between 45 and 75 degrees for easy packing and unpacking. They have removable storage baskets so you can organize food the way you want it.
    • Upright freezers: Midea has three models of upright chest freezers ranging in size from 1.1 to 13.8 cubic feet. They feature adjustable legs, manual defrost, a door alarm and mechanical temperature control. Upright freezers cost between $229 and $260.
    GE Freezer

    GE has been making home appliances for over 125 years. It designs and makes six models of chest freezers that range in price from $189 to $899 and three models of upright freezers, ranging in price from $599-$849. They range in capacity from 5 to over 21 cubic feet.

    • GE 5.0 cubic feet freezer: GE’s smallest chest freezer has a capacity of 5.0 cubic feet and costs $189. It features a “Power on” light, a lift-out sliding storage basket, adjustable temperature control and recessed handles.
    • GE 7.0 cubic feet freezer: This chest freezer is GE’s mid-range capacity freezer. It comes in white or camouflage and lets you defrost the unit manually. Like the 5.0 freezer, the 7.0 has a power-on light and adjustable temperature controls. It has two lift-out bulk storage baskets for food storage flexibility. They cost $219 for the white version and $279 for the camouflage version.
    • GE 10.6 cubic feet freezer: The 10.6 freezer includes an automatic interior light, a lock with key and three lift-out sliding storage baskets to help you organize your food. It is also Energy Star qualified. The 10.6 costs $399.
    • GE 15.6 cubic feet freezer: The 15.6 freezer is one of two large chest freezers made by GE. It includes a lock with key, LED interior lighting and second level-railing that provides easy access to sliding baskets at different heights. The 15.6 costs $699.
    • GE 21.6 cubic feet freezer: This is GE’s largest chest freezer and it retails for $899. It includes a lock with key, LED interior lighting and second-level railing for easy access to sliding storage baskets. It has a high energy rating, costing around $46 a year to operate.
    Frigidaire Freezers

    Frigidaire makes specialty appliances for your kitchen and laundry room and for home comfort (air conditioners, dehumidifiers and air purifiers). In addition to its freezer/fridge combo models, it makes 30 models of chest and upright freezers that come in three collections: Frigidaire Professional, Frigidaire Gallery and Frigidaire.

    Read more about Frigidaire Freezers
    Haier Freezers

    Haier designs and makes modern home appliances like washers and dryers, refrigerators, oven ranges and freezers. In addition to its freezer/fridge models, it makes five different chest and upright freezers ranging in size from 3.5 to 14.5 cubic feet.

    Read more about Haier Freezers

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