Freezers come in two distinct styles, upright and chest. Each type is specifically suited to address different needs. Regardless of which style you choose, you will have to consider where to place the unit and how much food you plan to freeze. Both decisions will affect the style and size of the freezer you purchase.

This buying guide highlights the types of available freezers and provides information on placement and usage considerations.

Upright Freezers

Upright freezers open like a basic refrigerator and include a variety of shelves and storage drawers

  • Upright design helps with organization and keeps food from getting lost in the back and spoiling.
  • Freezers can be frost-free or manual defrost models.
  • Frost-free models heat up the coils periodically to raise the temperatures to 32 degrees to keep frost from forming.
  • Manual defrost models require removing all food a couple times per year to allow the freezer to thaw. These types are more energy-efficient and prevent freezer burn better.

Chest Freezers

Chest models open from the top and hold more food per square foot than uprights

  • Chest freezers carry a lower price tag, but take up more floor space.
  • Most models feature manual defrost configurations and take a little more effort to organize.
  • Deep Freezers are stand-alone units that preserve large quantities of food for a long period of time.
  • Chest freezers are more energy efficient and their doors seal tighter, so food stays colder during power outages.
  • Lift-out drawers and sliding baskets provide added organization.

Placement and Use

One of the most important factors to help determine which type to get is its location

  • Avoid storing freezers too close to heat sources, such as near ovens or window with direct sunlight.
  • Freezers less than 2/3 full use more energy, so having a large unit might not be the best choice.
  • Consider adding jugs of water to improve efficiency if your freezer is less than 2/3 full.

Freezer Type Capacity Range (Cu. Ft.) Features to Consider Applications


5.0 - 21.0

  • Many units come in frost-free configurations
  • Shelves and drawers for convenient storage and easy access
  • Lighted interior
  • Ideal for keeping items
  • Good fit for smaller spaces


5.0 - 25.0

  • Most units are manual defrost
  • High energy efficiency
  • Lift-out drawers for easier organization
  • Ideal for families who store large amounts of food
  • Stores big and bulky
    packages easily