Which Type of Stand-Alone Freezer is Right for You?

Which Type of Stand-Alone Freezer is Right for You

Having a dedicated freezer is a great way to store large amounts of food, more than we could possibly store in a refrigerator freezer. Buying food in bulk or large cuts of meat often results in big savings, so getting that new freezer could be a great investment. 

The two basic types of stand-alone freezers are chest freezers and upright freezers. When deciding on the best type of stand-alone freezer for your needs, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. The amount of space you have.
  2. The size of freezer you need (some sources suggest roughly 2.5 cubic feet per person).
  3. Where in your home you plan to put it.
  4. What type/size of food you want to freeze.
  5. What kind of up front and operating costs you are willing to pay.
  6. The reliability of the brand and model you’re interested in buying.

Size and Appearance

Typically, chest or upright freezers meant for the home come in three basic sizes: 

  • compact or small (5 to 9 cubic feet)
  • medium (12 to 18 cubic feet), and 
  • large (more than 18 cubic feet)

Upright freezers: If you don’t want to put your freezer in the basement or garage, the upright freezer is the clear winner. Since it takes up less floor space than the chest variety, and your kitchen is large enough you may be able to find a spot for it there. Another plus is that upright freezers are now available in different finishes so that they can look quite attractive. 

Chest Freezers: Chest freezers sit horizontally on the floor and are deep in comparison to upright freezers. This may be ideal when adding food items into it, but it also means that you will have to dig for older items. The most common place to find a chest freezer is the garage, utility room, or basement of a house, since it tends to be such a large appliance. The large, boxy dimensions of the chest freezer are ideal for storing large cuts of meat. This use of space frees up the refrigerator freezer for foods you will be eating in the near future. 

A quick note about garages — if your garage is insulated, climate controlled and dry, your freezer will do just fine there. Otherwise, your freezer’s compressor has to work overtime to maintain its interior temperature when it’s very hot in your garage and it costs you more to run the appliance. If it’s too cold and the compressor shuts off, your food could thaw. In that case, better to find a place in the home. 

For either type of freezer, make sure to leave at least one inch of space on all sides for proper air circulation.

Storage, Organization, and Ergonomics

Upright Freezers: 

  • Upright freezers have shelving compartments in them, similar to a fridge. This is an easy way for items to be neatly organized on different levels throughout the freezer. 
  • Choose a model that allows you to move the shelves to better make use of the space. 
  • Adjustable and removable door storage bins and adjustable shelving with pull-out baskets make an upright freezer more usable.
  • Larger frozen items may not fit well in the freezer due to the shelving compartments. This reduces the space vertically, giving no room for tall items.

Chest Freezers

  • Many chest freezers have additional storage baskets and compartments that can be used to make organization easier. 
  • With a chest freezer, you’ll have to bend over to access the items or remove baskets. 
  • One of the benefits of using a chest freezer, however, is the ability to fit in larger items. The lack of shelves makes it easier to fit in a single large item such as a turkey.
  • Many chest freezers have up to 20% more usable space than an upright freezer. If you plan on storing large items, the chest freezer is likely the wise choice.


  • Chest freezers generally have to be manually defrosted. 
  • This means thawing out the freezer, draining it, and then cleaning out the inside. 
  • Bending over and going deeper into the freezer can be tiring on the back and legs for some and even impossible for some seniors.
  • Many upright freezers can be placed on the auto-defrost option and then wiped down. This takes less time and is easier on the body. Not all upright models have this feature, so make sure to find out before you purchase. 

Cost and Energy-Efficiency

  • Chest freezers are generally more energy-efficient than upright as they use less electricity. 
  • Look for energy-efficient models in either type, which can further your cost savings.
  • Chest freezers use an airtight locking seal at the top to keep the food inside fresh and frozen. This also means that less energy is used to keep the container cool. 
  • Due to its simpler design, chest freezers are generally priced lower than their upright counterparts. 
  • If there is a power outage, chest freezers can keep food frozen for 2 to 3 days at a time; upright freezers can only keep things frozen for approximately one day at a time. 

Food Longevity

Chest freezers tend to keep food at a more consistent temperature than upright freezers which may result in keeping foods safe and fresh longer. Temperatures in an upright freezer may not be as consistent, (food stored on door shelves is at a slightly higher temperature) so you may not be able to leave food in an upright freezer for as long a period of time.

Pros and Cons of Each

Chest Freezers:


  1. Higher storage capacity for large items
  2. More affordable to purchase
  3. Less expensive to run
  4. More energy-efficient
  5. Keeps food fresh longer during a power outage


  1. No auto-defrost
  2. Harder to clean and maintain 
  3. Takes up more floor space
  4. Harder to reach items

Upright Freezers:


  1. More baskets and shelves 
  2. Some models have an auto-defrost feature 
  3. Requires less floor space 
  4. Easier to clean
  5. Items are easier to reach


  1. Less space for large items 
  2. More costly upfront
  3. More expensive to run
  4. Faster food spoilage during power outage 

Whatever type of freezer you choose, C&W Appliance Service can keep it running at its best. Call us at (855) 358-1496 or submit our online service request form for all your major appliance repair and maintenance needs.


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