Pros and Cons of Each Freezer Type, and Other Information About Freezers

If you are like most of us, the freezer compartment of your refrigerator may not be big enough for your frozen foods, and you may be considering the purchase of a new freezer to take on some of the load. Before you make such a major acquisition, there are several factors to consider. First, decide how much food you will be putting into your new freezer. Freezers run more efficiently if they are at least 2/3 full, so a determining factor as to the size you'll buy is based on what you plan to store in it. Where you plan to locate your freezer is another consideration. Freezers come in two types: a chest version and an upright. The chest version comes in several sizes, from a smallish one to a pretty big one. Because they are shaped similarly to a chest of drawers, you'll find that they are not tall, but wide. An upright freezer is tall and narrow, more on the order of your standard refrigerator. Which model you'll purchase may also be dependent on the available space to put it. The following paragraphs will offer information on the various brands and types of freezer, including capacity and measurements as well as price ranges.

Chest Freezer Information

Some advantages of owning a chest freezer include price--generally cheaper than an upright freezer; more energy-efficient, and they retain the cold better than uprights should you experience a power outage. Disadvantages are primarily that the foods are harder to organize or to find because there are no shelves where they can be easily seen, and that most don't come with interior lights. It's also not as convenient to dig into the depths of a chest freezer, especially if you have a larger model. Following are our picks for chest freezers:

  • Amana AFC0503B Chest Freezer
    This is a small chest freezer, only 5.0 cubic foot of space, but ideal if you are a small family or only plan to use it to stock up on sale items from your grocery store. This is a manual defrost freezer so periodically you will have to remove your food and defrost the build-up of ice. If you don't open and close this freezer very often, this should only be a once-a-year chore. Comes with a lift-out basket to help organize and find your food items. Very energy efficient, estimated costs for electricity to run this model are about $2 a month, based on an annual usage of 240kwh. Also features a counter-balanced lid which will stay open in most any position, and a power-on light that tells you your freezer is running. Price for this model is about $250.
  • Fridgidaire 14.8 cubic foot GLFC1526F chest freezer ranges in price from about $355 to $513. This chest freezer has an interior light, door lock and temperature control.
  • General Electric FCM20DPWH
    With 19.7 cubic feet of space, this freezer should handle all of your freezing needs. There are three lift-out baskets to help you organize your foods and have access to them. This model needs defrosting, probably about once a year, so recommendations are to locate it in a freezer or in your basement. Electricity usage averages about 480kwh a year, so about $40 a year to run it.
  • Kenmore Elite 16582
    Another top rated chest freezer, this model boasts a huge 24.9 cubic foot interior, so if you are looking for a large freezer, consider this model. Even though it is huge, it only uses about 512kwh of electricity a year, putting it in the range of $42 to operate annually. This takes up a great deal of floor space, so be sure its new home can accomodate it before you buy it. Features 3 lift-out baskets for organizing your food, a digital temperature display, power on indicator and an alarm which sounds when temperature rises to above freezing. Price is in the neighborhood of $700.

Upright Freezers

If you are considering purchase of an upright freezer, there are quite a few advantages over a chest type freezer. First, as the name implies, they are upright, like your refrigerator. They don't take up as much floor space as the chest freezers do, but you will need a place to put it that has plenty of "up" space. You can get uprights in a variety of sizes, so if you don't want a larger one, you can still find smaller capacity uprights. With an upright, you will usually find an interior light to help you find food you've stored there, and it's usually fairly visible because food is stored on shelves and not in baskets. Following are our picks for upright freezers.

  • General Electric FUF14DPRWH upright freezer

    This 13.7 cubic foot model is a nice medium-size upright freezer which should have plenty of room to store your frozen foods. Features include three wire shelves, 5 shelves in the door, and a large wire basket. It's frost-free, so you'll never have to defrost it. Also coms with a lock. Uses about 621kwh of electricity a year, so your cost to run it comes to about $51 annually. This model is priced at under $500.

  • Kenmore 24722 Upright Freezer
    This has a 17.1 cubic foot capacity, well-lit interior, and is fairly cheap to run. It uses about 480 kwh each year, for a running cost of about $39. One drawback is that it is manual defrost, so should be located where it won't be a problem to defrost. Comes with a lock, 3 fixed shelves, 4 fixed door shelves and a 5th shelf with fold-down gate.
  • The GE FUM5SNWW Upright Freezer
    If you're looking for a smaller capacity freezer in an upright, this one may be for you. Available for under $300, it's a 5 cubic foot capacity upright with manual temperature control. Doesn't have a door lock and is manual defrost, but good for smaller storage situations.
  • 20.3 cu. ft. Kenmore Upright Freezer 26062
    Kenmore has a good reputation for quality appliances. You'll find a lot to like about this model if you are looking for a larger freezer. It has received an Energy Star rating, is frost-free, features an interior light, temperature alarm, and security lock. There are 5 interior shelves and 6 door shelves. Buy this one from Sears for about $637.00

We can't begin to tell you all that's available, so use these as a guide as you shop for your own freezer.

Freezer Tips

Here are a few tips for use with your freezer:

Your freezer will work more efficiently if you keep it at least 2/3rds full. You'll use more electricity trying to keep a few things frozen.
If you don't have enough food in your freezer to fill it about 2/3rds full, freeze water in milk jugs or liter pop bottles to take up the space.
Frozen milk or pop bottles placed in your picnic cooler will keep your foods cold for your picnic. No need to buy ice, and no melted ice cubes to dispose of when you're done.
Be aware of how long specific foods keep in the freezer. They do not have an indefinite life there.
Package your foods in freezer safe containers or freezer bags. Label them clearly with the date you put them in the freezer. Keep a list of the foods in your freezer, with expiration dates. Check the list frequently so you can plan your meals around these foods before the expiration date.

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