There are many types of stand-alone freezers, including chest and upright freezers. Chest freezers are horizontal and can be great for deep freezer storage and storing large items. However, they can be harder to access since they sit lower to the ground. In contrast, upright freezers are vertical, giving you more shelves to organize your groceries. Many people also find them easier to use than chest freezers.
Read on to learn more about the differences between chest vs. upright freezers so you can get a clear idea of which is better for you.
Types of Freezers: Chest Freezers vs. Upright Freezers
What Is a Chest Freezer?
Freezer chests sit horizontally on the floor, have top-opening doors, and are wider and deeper than upright freezers. Chest freezers also tend to have fewer organizational shelves or baskets. You may have to dig for older items closer to the bottom.
What Is an Upright Freezer?
Also known as stand-up freezers, upright freezers stand vertically. They look a lot like refrigerators since they have front-opening doors and multiple organizational baskets and shelves.
Differences Between Chest Freezers and Upright Freezers
Chest and upright freezers have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Which Freezer Models Have More Cubic Feet of Usable Space?
According to Consumer Reports, chest freezers typically have more usable space than their upright counterparts. This gives you plenty of room to store large items such as:
- Frozen lamb legs
- Bags of ice
- Prepped meals
- Frozen deli meat
- Jars of homemade soup and broth
Which Type of Freezer Is More Energy-Efficient?
Chest freezers are more energy-efficient. Unlike upright freezers, chest models have airtight seals at the top to keep your food fresh. This seal means that less energy is required to keep the freezer cold.
Which Is Better at Keeping Food Cold?
The airtight seals make chest freezers better at keeping food cold.
This feature comes in handy during a power outage. Most models can keep food frozen for two to three days after the power goes out. In contrast, most upright freezers can keep food frozen for only a day at a time.
Which Is Easier To Use?
Most people will probably find upright freezers easier to use.
Chest freezers require you to lean over, bend, and lift to get food that’s buried near the bottom. This can take a lot of time and energy, especially if you store a lot of food. Many chest freezers have only one or two wire baskets to help you organize your goods, which means a lot of items will likely become buried.
Upright freezers come with many organizational shelves and baskets, allowing you to sort your food more easily. With all of your contents neatly organized, you won’t have to spend much time locating older items.
Which Uses Less Floor Space?
If you’re pressed for floor space, consider getting an upright freezer. They take up less room since they’re thin and stand upright.
Which Requires Less Maintenance?
Chest freezers may need more maintenance because most models require manual defrosting. This means you need to remove frost from the inside. If you don’t do this at least once a year, your food may not stay at the right temperature. The door may also jam, potentially causing damage to the unit.
On the other hand, upright freezers usually come with auto-defrost systems that prevent frost buildup by automatically defrosting the freezer’s evaporator coils.
Which Has a Longer Life Span?
Uprights tend to have shorter life spans than freezer chests. Many chest freezer models can last up to 20 years if maintained properly, while upright units typically last around 15 years.
Is a Chest or Upright Model Better To Use as an Extra Freezer or Deep Freezer?
To determine which type is a better extra freezer or deep freezer, ask yourself what you plan to store and what your priorities are.
Pick an option like the GE FUF17DLRWW 17.3-Cu. Ft. Upright Freezer if you:
- Store smaller items. Upright freezers come with shelves, racks, doors, and other organizational components that are great for storing small items like packaged meats, frozen dinners, or produce. This GE model is no exception — it has four shelves, two baskets, and four racks for easy storage.
- Want to spend less time finding items. Upright freezers work like fridges, so you don’t have to bend over to reach what you want.
- Want automatic defrost. Most upright freezers, including this GE model, come with automatic defrost. This means you don’t have to manually remove frost every year.
- Are pressed for floor space. If you live in a small apartment or don’t have enough room in your house for an extra or deep freezer, consider getting an upright model. They take up less floor space because they stand upright.
Pick a chest freezer like the Hotpoint HCM4SMWW 3.6-Cu. Ft. Chest Freezer if you:
- Store larger items. If you need ample room to store large items like frozen turkeys, lamb legs, ice bags, pizza boxes, and ham, consider getting a chest freezer. Like many other chest freezers, this Hotpoint model has only one organizational component — a wired basket — giving you plenty of room to store wide and irregularly shaped items.
- Want to be prepared for power outages. If you live in an area that experiences frequent power outages, consider getting a chest freezer. The airtight seals will keep your food cold for at least two to three days while your power is out.
- Don’t mind manual defrosting. Most chest freezers need to be manually defrosted at least once a year.
- Have enough floor space. Chest freezers typically take up more floor space, so make sure you have enough room before you buy one.
- Value energy efficiency. Compared to upright units, chest models don’t need as much energy to keep your food cold.
- Want a freezer that lasts longer. Chest freezer models may last up to 20 years, while most upright freezers last only 15 years.
In short, there’s no real answer to the question of whether chest or upright models are better. Either can be great depending on your circumstances and preferences.