Chest Freezers Review
Why Buy A Chest Freezer?
The top performers in our review are Avanti, the Gold Award winner; Amana, the Silver Award winner; and Danby, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a chest freezer to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 chest freezers.
It can be exciting to take advantage of a big sale and buy in bulk. What do you do, though, with all of those extras when your refrigerator and freezer are practically bursting? An upright freezer can provide you needed space for those frozen pizzas, ice cream and casseroles that won’t fit in your fridge, but you may find that you still need a lot of extra space to store everything.
Chest freezers can be a solution for storing all of your frozen goods without taking up a lot of space. On average, these smaller freezers are about 5 cubic feet and are ideal for dorm rooms, small apartments or smaller homes with limited space. The small chest freezers we evaluated have different features and design elements, so be sure to read our reviews and articles about chest freezers to determine which one works best for you.
Chest Freezers: What We Evaluated, What We Found
When you make any big purchase, you want to make sure you get the one that’s right for your needs. One of the most important factors goes beyond the initial price of the appliance. You want to choose a freezer that costs only a small amount each year to operate and consumes very little energy. In fact, the best chest freezers are Energy Star certified, which means that the manufacturer participates in the energy efficiency program developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE). We thoroughly researched chest freezers that are comparable to each other in cost and storage space and calculated how much, on average per year, it would cost you to run.
You also want to be sure you measure the space you plan to place the chest freezer and then compare your measurements to the dimensions we provide in our comparison chart. Keep in mind that you need to leave a few inches around the appliance for air clearance, and you need enough space above the chest freezer to lift the lid. Manufacturers suggest a certain number of inches of air clearance to help the unit operate more efficiently; otherwise, your chest freezer’s compressor may work overtime to keep your food frozen. We made sure to include all of those dimensions and the weight of each freezer so there are no surprises when you get your chest freezer.
The ultimate question when picking a chest freezer, though, is how many pints of ice cream can I stuff in there? So, we put each freezer’s interior storage space to the test by stacking as many pint-sized containers as we could to give you a real-world idea of how much food you can fit in each freezer.
What Else is Important When Choosing a Chest Freezer?
In addition to cost and space, there are certain specifications and features you want to consider before deciding which chest freezer you want to purchase.
Dimensions & Weight
In addition to knowing the dimensions of the freezer, remembering to add a few extra inches along the sides and back for optimal air clearance, you'll need to know the height of the unit with the lid fully open to ensure you can easily access those frozen pizzas and ice cream pints. Taking the time to measure the intended space for your freezer and knowing the freezer's dimensions assures quick and painless installation.
If you keep smaller items in your chest freezer, like extra popsicles or small bags of vegetables, having a storage basket helps keep them organized in one spot. Compartment dividers are available with some models, which can also help with organization, so you know what you have at a glance. A door lock can keep curious young ones out of the freezer, an important safety feature for those with small children or grandchildren.
Several other elements to consider when choosing a chest freezer include warranty information and whether you can store your freezer outside. For example, if you live in a very cold climate, you may not be able to keep your chest freezer in your garage, because the system requires that coolant boil by a combination of pressure and heat, and if exterior temperatures are too cold, the freezer may stop working. Read the reviews to find the best freezer for your location and situation.
Our Verdict and Recommendations
We weren’t surprised to find that Avanti’s chest freezer came out on top – the 5.2 cubic foot unit is Energy Star compliant and, on average, uses 198 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. It offers a generous amount of space for extra food storage and gets down to below-freezing temperatures.
Also efficient is Amana’s compact chest freezer, with its 215 kWh annual consumption, Energy Star certification and average annual operating cost of $26.
The third place award goes to Danby, which doesn’t have the same energy efficiency stamp of approval as our top two award winners, but it only uses approximately 224 kWh, and it includes adjustable legs, which can help keep the unit, and the coolant inside, level. This ensures an even distribution of coolant to keep your foods frozen.
There are several other chest freezers that made our lineup that didn’t score as well as the top three but are excellent choices just the same. In fact, the Magic Chef chest freezer is much bigger at 6.9 cubic feet and can fit about 420 pints of ice cream, but still comparable in price. And the Idylis small chest freezer can descend to temperatures as low as -17.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
Each unit on our lineup is designed with manual controls, rather than electronic, and they all require that you manually defrost them, like most chest freezers, which means you have to occasionally thaw the unit, remove the excess water, clean the interior chest and then refill and refreeze your food. Also, all of the chest freezers in our lineup come equipped with drains, which make emptying all of that water much easier.
Regardless of which chest freezer you choose from this lineup, you get ample storage space and quiet compressors – and all of the chest freezers come with a one-year warranty for added peace of mind.