Which chest freezer is best?
Upright refrigerators with built-in freezers are a modern convenience that most people can’t imagine living without. However, they have little room for long-term food storage, especially in their notoriously small freezer compartments.
Chest freezers provide a simple solution for anyone in need of more space for storing frozen food. Whether you’re looking to stock up on sale items or keep prepared meals ready for later use, the Midea MRC050S0AWW Chest Freezer provides ample interior space in a compact package. Its discreet design and efficient cooling system make it the best chest freezer for most purposes.
What to know before you buy a chest freezer
Chest freezer volume is described in cubic feet and is the most important consideration to keep in mind. Some people prepare meals and freeze them in bulk for later use. Others, especially hunters and farmers, need a large-capacity freezer to hold pounds of frozen meat or vegetables. Determine what interior capacity will meet your needs.
Consider not only what you plan to store in your chest freezer but also the space it will occupy. Chest freezers are chunky appliances, and even the most aesthetically pleasing models are still little more than large boxes. Choose a freezer that will comfortably fit your intended location and still allow you to easily access it.
Most people are satisfied with the nondescript high, medium and low settings on many freezers. If you want to keep your chest freezer at a specific, regulated temperature you will need a unit that features an adjustable thermostat.
If you are going to keep your chest freezer in a commonly used area of your home, it is worth considering how it will look. Some chest freezer models are available in finishes from simple white to stainless steel, although options are usually limited. For those concerned with aesthetics, select a freezer that matches the appliances you already own for a more unified look.
What to look for in a quality chest freezer
Without a power-indicator light, there is no way to quickly check that your chest freezer is running. Select a unit with this feature for peace of mind and also to avoid the frost and temperature spikes that result from opening your freezer to check its functionality.
Freezers develop frost buildup that can decrease their efficiency and make it hard for you to remove food. When too much ice accumulates, you will need to take out a chest freezer’s contents so that the frost can melt and the resulting water can drain. Freezers with an automatic defrost feature control frost levels without you having to do any of the work manually. These freezers are more expensive and usually make more noise than models that require manual defrost.
It can be challenging to see into especially deep chest freezers without an interior light. If you plan to keep your freezer in a basement, garage or other dimly lit area, an interior light that turns on when you open the appliance is especially useful.
Some chest freezers include shelves, racks and baskets that allow you to better organize your food as opposed to just stacking everything. Having to dig for what you are looking for keeps your freezer open longer and decreases its efficiency.
Portable chest freezers are available for those who desire more freezer space in their motorhomes or campers. These small chest freezers are equally as usable at home as they are in an RV, although their small size does not make them ideal for long-term storage.
Many chest freezers have the capability for you to install a lock on the lid. This helps to prevent small children from being able to open the appliance and potentially fall into it.
How much you can expect to spend on a chest freezer
Small chest freezers can cost less than $200, while larger, premium models can be up to $1,000. Medium chest freezers typically cost $300-$800 and have an internal capacity between 5 and 9 cubic feet, which will fit the needs of most users.
Chest freezer FAQ
Do chest freezers work better when they’re full?
A. Yes. Purchasing a chest freezer that is too big for your needs or keeping a freezer mostly empty results in the appliance using more energy to stay cold. For your freezer to work efficiently, keep it full.
Will a chest freezer with automatic defrost spoil your food?
A. No. Freezers with an automatic defrost feature only adjust the temperature enough to prevent ice crystals from accumulating inside the appliance. However, freezers with automatic defrost can result in more freezer burn.
Can you keep your chest freezer outside?
A. Depending on your climate, the conditions where you intend to keep the freezer and manufacturer’s recommendations, it is possible to keep some chest freezers outdoors. However, extreme weather and outdoor moisture will likely result in a shorter lifespan for your appliance.
Chest freezer tips
- Keep a list: Maintaining an inventory of what is in the freezer will keep you from having to open it up to check if you need to stock up on items. Keep the list near the freezer or stick it on with a magnet.
- Pack food tightly and neatly: Tightly packed food will retain the cold, meaning your freezer won’t have to work as hard to maintain freezing temperatures. It is also easier to organize and find what you’re looking for when you can quickly identify packaging.
- Stock up: Chest freezers allow you to take advantage of good food sales. You can sometimes purchase off-season products at a deep discount. Buy holiday candy, popsicles and more in bulk after their target season ends and freeze it for later use.
What’s the best chest freezer to buy?
Top chest freezer
Midea MRC050S0AWW Chest Freezer
What you need to know: This chest freezer’s specialized, compact cooling system allows it to hold more food while taking up less space.
What you’ll love: This model features 5 cubic feet of internal space at a great price. It has a hinged door that allows you to have both hands free as you load or unload the freezer. Adjustable temperature settings give you more control than most other units.
What you should consider: No power indicator light means that you’ll have to listen for the freezer’s compressor to know it is on. It may be a challenge for some people to reach food at the bottom of this tall freezer.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top chest freezer for the money
Black+Decker Compact Upright Freezer
What you need to know: This small, light chest freezer can fit on a countertop for easy access.
What you’ll love: Energy Star certified for efficiency, this little unit is best for those in search of a small upgrade to their frozen food storage capacity.
What you should consider: The freezer opens from the front, which makes it difficult to access if it is kept at floor level. The interior storage space is small compared to the unit’s outer dimensions.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Frigidaire freezer With 12.8 cu ft. capacity
What you need to know: With its huge storage space, this chest freezer is best suited for farmers, hunters and others looking for a high-volume food storage solution.
What you’ll love: This freezer features more than 12.8 cubic feet of interior space, plus a basket to help with organization. It includes wheels to help with moving the appliance.
What you should consider: Measure your space to ensure this freezer will fit. If you don’t plan to fill this freezer, you may be dissatisfied with the energy it will use to keep food cold.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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