We researched 10 comparable chest and upright freezers by looking at their storage space, warranty and annual operating cost. Chest freezers are far more compact and less expensive, while upright freezers are larger, provide more storage space, but are generally more expensive and consume more energy. Based on our research, we can recommend specific models for those who need a lot of cold storage and for those who are looking for something more economical.
If you have a big family, you’re obviously going to want a large-capacity freezer with plenty of space to store a large quantity of frozen foods. The Frigidaire has a ton of storage space but is cost effective for its size.
Best Overall: Frigidaire
After much consideration and research, we have determined the Frigidaire to be the best freezer. This upright freezer is not only the largest in our review, but also slightly more energy efficient than most upright models that are the same size.
Freezers vary quite a bit in price. Chest freezers tend to be less expensive than upright models of the same quality. The chest freezers we looked at range from less than $200 to just over $400. The upright freezers start at around $450 with high-end prices of more than $900. The trick is finding the affordable freezers that have the features you need.
Best Value: Magic Chef
The Magic Chef is an inexpensive chest freezer that provides plenty of room for storage compared to all other chest freezers. It costs less than its chest freezer counterparts and provides more storage.
Most of the freezers come with a limited one-year parts and labor warranty that will replace defective parts, but some go beyond that. Some manufacturers also offer extended warranties that you can pay extra for.
Best Warranty: Maytag
When looking into warranty information for each freezer, we were astounded by the lengthy 10-year warranty on the compressor for this upright freezer. It’s by far the best warranty we found and displays the confidence the company has in their line of 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 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. We thoroughly researched chest and upright 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 them.
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.
What Else Is Important When Choosing a Freezer?
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. For instance, the Maytag MXF34X16DW also has a 10-year limited parts warranty on the compressor, and the Haier HF50CM23NW has a five-year sealed system warranty. Some manufacturers also offer extended warranties that you can pay extra for.
Contributing Reviewer: Noel Case