7 Things to Know When Buying a Standalone Freezer

published Apr 2, 2017
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(Image credit: Aimée Mazzenga)

When you’ve got a family to feed — or just a serious Costco habit — the idea of having some more space in the freezer is incredibly appealing. You can just imagine the benefits: You’ll do less grocery shopping because you can buy so much meat at once and freeze it for the future, you’ll spend less money because you can take advantage of sales and stick the excess in the freezer, and you’ll avoid last-minute pizza by freezing more meals for future late nights. You can also make sure you never run out of ice (for cocktails!) or ice cream (both of which are very important!).

Of course, investing time, space, and money into a standalone freezer isn’t something you should do without adequate thought. Take this quiz to see if you really need one.

Then if you need one, consider these seven things before you take the plunge.

1. They don’t all offer the same amount of organization.

There are two kinds of standalone freezers: uprights and chest freezers. An upright has one swinging door and typically comes complete with shelves, drawers, and door storage. A chest is more like something you’d find in a butcher shop, or the garage of your grandparents’ house — an icy locker that tends to be one giant compartment, save for maybe a divider or hanging shelves. If you’re the type to keep things organized by date, type of food, or reheating time, you might be happiest with an upright. If you don’t mind sifting through your freezer like you would at the grocery store, a chest would work fine.

2. They can take up some sizable space.

Chest freezers tend to be less customizable and, at their largest, can take up a lot of floor space. An upright will take up less floor space, but needs a clear wall. You also have a major difference in capacity: Chest models start at five cubic feet (similar to a big cooler) and get much bigger, but upright versions are about 12 to 14 cubic feet at their smallest.

3. One is better if your home tends to lose power.

A chest freezer latches closed and tends to stay colder than its upright counterpart. If you’re looking to protect your food from the whims of electrical failures and brown and blackouts, a chest freezer tends to keep things cooler longer — about 48 hours without electricity.

4. Some are also refrigerators.

Some brands, like Frigidaire and Kenmore, make options that can be used as a fridge or a freezer, depending on your needs. This flexibility can come in handy when you’re hosting a party or a holiday and might need extra fridge space.

5. You’re going to use more electricity.

Okay, yes, this is obvious because you’re plugging in another appliance. But do you know just how much more electricity you’ll use? Research has found that five-cubic-feet-model chest freezers can use almost 500 kWh per year, and even bigger ones can use up to 1000 kWh per year. This could result in more than an extra $100 a year on your electric bill, as well as a strain on the environment.

6. You shouldn’t keep it in your garage.

Uprights have been found to be noisier, so many people instinctively stash these things in the garage, but that’s not really a good idea (for either style, actually!). A garage without air conditioning could cause the freezer to work overtime to chill during the summer. And during the winter, without heat, colder temps can mess with the compressor or cause frost to build up on the insulation. The best place for your bonus freezer is in the basement or laundry room.

7. It’s an investment.

A standalone freezer can run anywhere from $200 to $2,000. At their highest end, you might want to consider how much you actually, truly need to freeze.

Are you thinking about getting a standalone freezer? Let us know why in the comments!