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Best freezers 2020: Chest freezers, upright, and small freezers for your home

Best freezers 2020: Chest freezers, upright, and small freezers for your home
(Image credit: Sub Zero)

Need one of the best freezers for your home or garage? We’ve got everything from the best chest freezer to small freezers in this guide. 

If you need a garage freezer, then chest freezers offer a good solution with lots of space. Because chest freezers don’t have any drawers, they are ideal for storing bulkier food items, however, you will need to bend down to reach items that are stored at the bottom. Chest freezers also take up more flooring space than an upright model, so consider where you’re going to store your freezer.                

The best upright freezer could be a better choice if you want a freezer for your kitchen. Upright freezers come in a variety of finishes and many can be integrated into your kitchen cabinets. Upright freezers are often more advanced than chest freezers, with many smart upright freezers now available with touch controls. 

Things to look out for in the best upright freezers include flexible storage space, ice makers, pedal door openers, and how energy efficient they are. The most energy-efficient freezers will be Energy Star certified, so be sure to look out for this in our freezer reviews. 

If it’s a tight space you have to fill then one of the best small freezers will be ideal. Small freezers are great for RVs, student dorms, or just a smaller kitchen. If you’re on the lookout for a smaller model, opt for a small freezer that sits flush against the wall and has flexible shelving so that you can make the most of limited space. 

If you’re looking for other staple kitchen appliances, don’t miss our guide to the best side-by-side refrigerators or French door refrigerators that combine both a freezer and refrigerator in one. 

So, whether you want the best small freezer, an upright model, or a spacious chest freezer, just keep reading to see our freezer reviews and find the best one for you. 

1. GE 21.3 FUF21SMRWW Frost-Free freezer: Best overall freezer

(Image credit: GE)

GE 21.3 FUF21SMRWW Frost-Free freezer

Best overall freezer

Capacity (cb ft): 21.3 | Form: Upright | Warranty: One year | Controls: Touch

Masses of storage space
Accessible trays and drawers
Digital controls and display
Turbo freeze
Expensive
Too large for some

The GE 21.3 FUF21SMRWW Frost-Free freezer is our pick as the best overall freezer. This is an upright freezer that crams in masses of space, 21.3 cubic feet to be exact, and does so while remaining accessible and smart controlled. This isn't the cheapest freezer out there but for your money you can enjoy a one-year parts and labor warranty. This freezer can live in your kitchen but is also good for wide ranging external temperature variations, meaning it can live in your garage too.

Touch controls and a display on the front of this freezer make it easy to use and annual maintenance is as simple as a clean out. The frost-free nature of this freezer means it'll take care of everything else itself. The turbo freeze mode is a nice touch which allows you to quick cool when you add more food so as to maintain temperature and save on food longevity. Slide out drawers and great shelving make this an easily accessible unit that's perfect for regular use. 

2. Electrolux All Freezer with IQ-Touch Controls EI32AF80QS: Best premium freezer

(Image credit: Electrolux)

Electrolux All Freezer with IQ-Touch Controls EI32AF80QS

Best premium freezer

Capacity (cb ft): 18.58 | Form: Upright | Warranty: Three year limited | Controls: Touch

Great looks
Superb storage organization
Dedicated ice cream area
IQ-Touch controls
Expensive

The Electrolux All Freezer with IQ-Touch Controls EI32AF80QS is a design statement as much as it is a way to keep your food fresh for longer. That stainless steel build with framed door finish is stunning and actually enhances any kitchen it's placed in. There's a plentiful 18.58 cubic feet of storage which is all easily accessible via easy slide drawers, wide shelves and even dedicated soft serve ice cream door storage. The addition of an automatic ice maker, scent-free air filter, LED lighting and IQ-Touch controls all make this a really comprehensive offering that justifies its steep price. The three-year limited warranty is also great to help you spend that extra on something that's made to last.

3. Whirlpool WZC3122DW: Best chest freezer

(Image credit: Whirlpool)

Whirlpool WZC3122DW

Best chest freezer

Capacity (cb ft): 22 | Form: Chest | Warranty: One year limited | Controls: Dial

Lots of storage space
Three interior bins
Lock and key
Manual defrosting
Large unit

The Whirlpool WZC3122DW chest freezer is a huge unit that makes for an ideal garage storage option for long term food access. Since it's a chest freezer you get a lot more capacity, at 22 cubic feet, for your buck than you might if you went upright.

You also get Whirlpool's US made three-year limited warranty for peace of mind. This features three interior sections so you don't have to dig around to find what you want. Everything is kept secure with a lock and there's a really useful drainage hose for when you want to defrost and clean out this impressive chest freezer. 

4. Gladiator 17.8 Upright Rolling Garage freezer: Best freezer for garages

Gladiator 17.8 Upright Rolling Garage freezer

(Image credit: Gladiator)

Gladiator 17.8 Upright Rolling Garage freezer

Best for garages

Capacity (cb ft): 17.8 | Form: Upright | Warranty: One year limited | Controls: 3 levels of cold

Pedal open door
Heavy-duty casters
Rugged and well organized
Not the cheapest
Only one year warranty

The Gladiator 17.8 Upright Rolling Garage freezer is, as the name suggests, a great option for your garage. It gives you all the storage organization and space saving of an upright freezer while also giving chest freezer levels of capacity a good bit of competition. But the stand-out unique feature we love, aside from that dirt defying matte black finish, is the large metal pedal which opens the door. This is great for hands-free access, just what you want when carrying a lot in and out of the garage. All that's complemented with wheels for easy maneuverability to organize the garage as you need, plus a one year warranty. 

5. Sub Zero ID30F freezer: Best integrated freezer

Sub Zero ID30F

(Image credit: Sub Zero)

Sub Zero ID30F freezer

Best integrated freezer

Capacity (cb ft): 4.9 | Form: Integrated | Warranty: 12 year limited | Controls: Digital

12 year limited warranty
Sleek design
Touch controls
Auto ice maker option
Expensive
Not the most space

The Sub Zero ID30F freezer would have been higher up our list were it not for the prohibitively expensive price. But for that you do get a rather unique 12-year limited warranty, so spread the cost and it's really a good investment. You get 30-inch wide drawers which soft close and feature soft-on lighting, with lots of external finishing options to suit your kitchen. From touchscreen controls to Sabbath mode and an optional automatic ice maker, this has all the features you'd expect from a high-end brand. This is also Energy Star rated to save you money on running costs and is actually built to last 20 years.

6. Whynter CUF-110B freezer: Best compact freezer

Whynter CUF-110B freezer

(Image credit: Whynter)

Whynter CUF-110B freezer

Best compact freezer

Capacity (cb ft): 1.1 | Form: Compact upright | Warranty: One year limited | Controls: Dial

Compact and portable
Energy Star rated
Flush back for compact storage
Flippable door
Relatively small storage capacity

The Whynter CUF-110B freezer is a perfect compact unit for an RV, boat, office, college dorm, truck or small apartment. Essentially it's a great way to save space while keeping food frozen. Its 1.1 cubic feet of space will store several frozen meals and some drinks easily. The rear is flat so it sits flush against a wall, taking up as little room as possible. There's a dial to adjust the cold and this works well keeping even ice cream solid while remaining energy efficient, thanks to its size. It's also lockable, quiet and has a reversible swing door to suit its space. 

What to consider when buying a freezer

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 and freestanding freezers are Energy Star certified, which means that the manufacturer participates in the energy efficiency program developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. 

In addition to important considerations like cost and features, there are certain specifications you will want to consider before deciding which freezer to purchase. Some considerations, like where to store the freezer, will depend on environmental factors that vary based on where you live.

Because freezers are often located in rooms that are not as insulated as your home's interior, you should consider carefully where the best location is for your upright freezer. In some locations, you may be able to store it outside. Ideally, you want to put it in a cool, dry place in your home. 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.

If you decide to place your freezer in your garage, consider the fluctuation in temperatures it will experience during summer and winter months. Placing the freezer against a west-facing wall in your garage is not a good choice as heat from the sun will collect in the garage, forcing the freezer to work harder. This uses more energy and increases your power bill. Conversely, if outside temperatures dip below freezing during the winters where you live, this can be hard on the freezer's internal parts and components.

Most of the freezers come with limited one-year warranties. Manufacturers that cover vital parts such as the compressor are more comprehensive in warranty coverage. 

Contributing Reviewer: Noel Case

How much do freezers cost?

The cost of a freezer depends primarily its capacity and style. Upright freezers generally cost more, while chest freezers are more economical, and larger models cost more than smaller ones. Upright freezers can run anywhere from $300 to upwards of $800. 

Chest freezers can cost as little as $150 or as much as $700 on average. The biggest opportunity for savings on a freezer is to wait for a sale, and often your best bets are Labor Day, Memorial Day or President’s Day sales. Retailers also drop prices when newer models are coming out and they need to clear inventory, so keep your eyes peeled if you have the luxury of waiting to purchase.

You should also measure the space where you plan to place your freezer and then compare your measurements to the dimensions in our buying guide reviews. Keep in mind that you need to leave a few inches around the appliance for air clearance. You’ll need enough space above the freezer to lift the lid if it’s a chest freezer or to open the door wide if it’s an upright freezer. 

Taking the time to measure the intended space for your freezer and knowing the freezer's dimensions assures quick and painless installation. Manufacturers suggest a certain number of inches of air clearance to help the unit operate more efficiently; otherwise, your freezer’s compressor may work overtime to keep your food frozen.

How to prevent freezer burn

Freezer burn happens because moisture evaporates from your food, thus drying it out. This can result from temperature fluctuations caused by frequently leave the door open, inconsistent temperatures, temperatures set too low or trying to freeze too much food at once. To prevent freezer burn, you can do the following:

  • Set the temperature well below freezing, preferably between 0 and 2 degrees Fahrenheit.    
  • Don’t stuff your freezer full of food. Only freeze about 3 pounds of food, especially meat, per cubic foot of space. This doesn’t apply to prefrozen food such as frozen dinners – just meat and other food being frozen for the first time.
  • Keep the freezer door closed as much as possible. Never leave it sitting open.
  • Store food in plastic or glass containers with airtight lids or in sealable freezer bags. Keep liquid items in jars. You can double wrap baked food and leftovers in aluminum or waxed paper before sealing them in freezer bags.  
  • Rotate your food supply to prevent food from staying in the freezer longer than nine months.