Which is best for food storage? Upright Freezers vs. Chest Freezers

Which is best for food storage? Upright Freezers vs. Chest Freezers

In the decision-making process between upright freezers vs chest freezers, there’s plenty to consider, with storage being the crucial element. Whether it’s going to be your main space for frozen goodies or an additional unit to prevent overflow, a new appliance will be a world of help. 

Whether you opt for an upright or chest model, these freezers are united by the fact that they both slow down bacterial growth thanks to their extremely cold temperatures, meaning they can store food for years if needed (depending on the food in question). What’s more, upright and chest freezers tend to be used a little less than integrated freezers, so your food will keep better. So whether you want to store leftovers or stash ice cream, you’ll have space for it all.

When deciding between upright freezers vs chest freezers, cost is a crucial factor. Chest freezers tend to be a little cheaper to purchase and to run compared with their upright counterparts, though you might be swayed by the organizational prowess of upright models. If you need an appliance to prevent your side-by-side refrigerator from being overpacked and you’re on a tighter budget, also check out our guide to the best mini fridges for an affordable alternative. 

Chest Freezers


As we’ve already mentioned, a chest freezer is less expensive than an upright freezer, with often the same cubic feet of interior space available. Chest freezers are also more energy-efficient than upright models, so you save in the long run too. However, you do need the room to fit a chest freezer in, while upright models take up a lot less floor space. 


You might already associate chest freezers with disorganization, as their designs can be thought of as more difficult to separate out. However, newer models seek to tackle this by including bins and drawers that are sometimes even color-coded, so you can arrange your food inside. The best models even have interior LED lighting to prevent you from rustling around in the darkness, so you can see the space you need to sort out. This also makes your food easy to find in a full freezer, especially if it's in a utility area.


Chest freezers are shorter and wider than upright models and take up more floor space. You need to bend down in order to put food in and take it out, which isn’t great if you have higher mobility requirements. Plus, chest freezers also need to be manually defrosted, while upright models have auto defrost options. That means you’ll need to be prepared to squat and hunch over to clean your chest freezer out. In the event of a power-cut, keeping the freezer shut will maintain sub-zero temperatures for a while, but chest freezers are tough to clear out if the power goes out for long periods.


Chest freezers are also easier for children or animals to get into than upright freezers, which is why many models come with a lock and key. If you have small children and you’re thinking about purchasing a chest freezer, this feature is especially important to prevent any accidents and keep your peace of mind. 

Upright Freezers


Upright freezers store food vertically, meaning they take up less floor space in your home than the horizontal chest freezer. Because of this, if you live in a small apartment or have limited storage space, an upright freezer is a good choice. Their designs will also save your back from constantly bending over, and allow you to simply grab what you need and go.


The vertical shelves, baskets and door bins make organizing and finding food in your upright freezer easy. These freezers also typically have LED lights that illuminate the interior for visibility.


Upright freezers come with features that are helpful when you freeze a variety of food. Some upright freezers come with a soft freeze zone, which is warmer than the rest of the freezer and allows you to thaw meat or soften ice cream. The top models can even be converted to refrigerators and have LCD display screens that control the interior temperature. Of course, they're no substitute for the best refrigerators.

Which is best: upright freezers vs chest freezers?

The best choice between upright freezers vs chest freezers is dependent on your situation when it comes to space, budget, and preference towards different features. If you have more floor space and don’t mind bending down to retrieve your leftovers from a chest freezer, then it might be more economical to opt for one of those models for your garage. If you’re sold by the added control that upright freezers have over both temperature and organization, then it’s easy to see spending the extra cash on one as a very worthy investment. 

Whether you opt for an upright freezer or chest freezer, there’s plenty of choice out there, which can quickly narrow down your search to the perfect model. Make sure you tick off all the features you want before making your final decision so that you can truly enjoy your new space for all your favorite frozen foods without wasting money on unnecessary features or gimmicks.

Millie Fender
Head of Reviews

Millie Fender is Head of Reviews at Top Ten Reviews. She also works on our sister sites: Real Homes, Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, and Livingetc. As Head of Reviews, Millie is on a mission to make sure that we are reviewing all of the latest and greatest products for you and your home, whether it's a vacuum cleaner or an inflatable hot tub.