There are two basic freezer styles: upright (front loading) and chest (top loading). Chest freezers are 10-25% more efficient than uprights because they are better insulated and air doesn't spill out when the door is opened. Manual defrost freezers are more common than automatic defrost models. Manual defrost models consume 35-40% less energy than comparable automatic defrost models. Because a freezer is opened less frequently than a refrigerator, frost will not build up as quickly as it might in manual defrost refrigerators. Automatic defrost freezers may dehydrate frozen food, causing freezer burn.
Chest freezers are ideal for storing larger items because there are no shelves to restrict the size of the items you freeze. Most chest freezers have wire baskets making it easier to organize the items you are freezing. Because the items are stacked, chest freezers are best suited for long-term storage and for freezing items in bulk.
The useable storage area of a chest freezer will be the same amount as the listed capacity. Chest freezers are extremely energy efficient. The top-opening door allows only the warmest air to escape while the weight of the door helps to form a tighter seal when it is closed. Also, chest freezers offer you quiet operation, outstanding temperature retention in power outages, and can be defrosted more easily than a comparable upright. All in all, a chest freezer is a smart investment.
Upright freezers are a good choice if you are only going to purchase what your family will be eating over a short period, usually a few weeks. In other words, if your family uses lots of smaller frozen items, an upright helps to keep everything organized and easily accessible. Wire shelving allows for many different storage arrangments than available in chest freezers.
You may have some trouble finding placement for very large items, because the shelves in a manual defrost upright cannot be adjusted. The exterior of an upright freezer looks like a refrigerator. The interior is similar to that of a refrigerator, too. You'll have eye-level access to upper compartments, and other items are conveniently within reach. Manual-defrost upright actual useable space is about 1 1/2 cubic feet smaller than the manufacturer?s listed capacity. An upright freezer is less energy efficient than a chest freezer, because the front-opening door allows more cool air to escape than a top-opening door. But if space is a concern, an upright requires less room than a chest freezer.
Frost free Upright models continuously circulate cold air, so frost doesn't have time to form. The constantly moving air may dry out foods ("freezer burn") after about three to six months - faster than a manual-defrost freezer. But if you use the food in your freezer quickly, they are a good choice. These freezers are more expensive to purchase and operate than manual defrost models.
Like manual-defrost uprights, frost-free uprights require less floor space and offer easier access to stored items than chest freezers. They also come in the same sizes as manual-defrost models, but they offer less useable space - about 2 cubic feet smaller than the labeled capacity.
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