Chest Freezer Buying Guide
If the freezer compartment in your refrigerator is packed solid, it’s time to consider buying a chest freezer. There are many reasons why families need more freezer space, and most are based on saving money. In the long term, buying one of the many chest freezer types to suit your family’s needs should save you some money.
What to consider when buying a chest freezer
Your first step is to evaluate the horizontal and vertical space available in your home for a standalone freezer unit. If horizontal space is limited, you might need to get an upright freezer instead of a chest freezer, like the Kenmore 19.7 cubic foot model shown at right, which is a horizontal unit.
No matter which style you choose, your next consideration is size. Exactly how much more freezing capacity do you need? Is your family growing? Do you want to take advantage of buying frozen items in bulk? Do you have a garden and want to freeze your seasonal harvest? Are there hunters in your family who want to fill the freezer with game? Your answers will determine what to consider when buying a chest freezer based upon size.
How to buy a chest freezer
Because chest freezers open like a suitcase, they’re able to hold more food per cubic foot than an upright freezer. Most models range in size from 5.0, shown at right, to 25.0 cubic feet. Chest freezers are usually lower in price than uprights, but they do take up more floor space.
Most modern chest freezers come with a manual defrost capability and should be located near a drain for easier cleaning. Because of their design, which provides a tighter seal on the door, they’re more energy efficient than upright units. This fact becomes especially important during a power outage.
Chest freezers are also available in solar panel styles, like the SunDanzer Solar-Powered 5.8 cubic foot model shown at right. Certain models come with Energy Star ratings for even higher energy efficiency.
Chest freezer tips
If you aren’t sure how large a chest freezer you need, consider this fact: If your unit is less than two-thirds full, it will use more energy. Resist buying a freezer that’s too large for your needs. Under-stocked freezers cost more money to operate in the long run. However, should you keep your freezer well stocked most of the year and only on occasion do the contents fall into the under the two-thirds limit, there’s a trick you can do. Add bottles of water to fill in any empty space to improve the freezer’s efficiency.
Another factor is choosing the right size chest freezer is that you want to avoid placing it near any heat sources. Keep your freezer away from direct sunlight, as the heat will make the unit work harder and reduce its efficiency. The same goes for any heating vents. The best location is the coolest spot you can find in your home.