How to Buy a Freezer
Overview of Freezers
There are two basic freezer styles: upright (or front loading) freezers and chest (or top loading) freezers.
Chest freezers are 10-25% more efficient than uprights because of better insulation and chest freezers keep in air better than upright freezers when the door is opened. Manual defrost freezers, which are more common than automatic defrost models, consume 35-40% less energy. Automatic defrost freezers may also dehydrate frozen food, which can also cause freezer burn.
Chest freezers are ideal for storing larger items because there are no shelves to restrict the size of the items you freeze. Because the items can be stacked, chest freezers are best suited for long-term storage and for freezing items in bulk. Most chest freezers have wire baskets making it easier to organize the items you are freezing.
The useable storage area of a chest freezer will be the same amount as the listed capacity. Chest freezers are extremely energy efficient because the top-opening door will allow only the warmest air to escape while the weight of the door creates a tighter seal around the top of the unit when it is closed. Chest freezers also offer quieter operation, outstanding temperature retention, and they can be defrosted more easily than an upright. This makes the chest freezer a smart investment.
Upright freezers are best for foods that last shorter periods in your household. If your family consumes a lot of smaller frozen items that are gone in a week or two, than an upright freezer will help to keep everything organized and easily accessible. The included wire shelving also allows for a lot more different storage arrangements than would be available in chest freezers.
With an upright freezer, you may have trouble placing very large items inside because the shelves cannot be adjusted. The upright freezer’s exterior and interior looks like a refrigerator, with eye-level access to upper compartments and keeping other items within reach. While upright freezers are less energy efficient due to the front-opening door letting more cool air out, they still require less room to operate than chest freezers.
Frost-free uprights continuously circulate cold air, giving no time for frost to form. However, the constantly moving air dries out foods ("freezer burn") after about 3-6 months, which is faster than a manual defrost. If you tend to consume the food in your freezer fairly quickly, than frost-free units make a good purchase decision for you. Keep in mind, though, that they are more expensive to purchase and operate than manual defrost models.
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