Kitchens are where we usually enjoy our meals and drinks alone or in company with others. Good appliances are important for easy preparation and serving of food and drinks, and one of the more useful is the standalone freezer.
A second stand-alone freezer makes it easy to stock up items from sales and bulk buys, and a well-stocked one gives you more options for last-minute meals. Standalones come in variety of sizes, from a compact 5 cubic feet or so, to small from 6 to 9 cubic feet, to midsize from 10 to 18 cubic feet, and to large from 19 cubic feet up. Bigger units cost more to run, so buy only the capacity you need. A small freezer will provide lots of space for storing just ice for the occasional party. Midsize models which can store large cuts of meat are popular options.
- Upright freezers are a great choice as a second freezer for storing extra food picked up from sales. These are tall and narrow units similar to small refrigerators, with a front-opening door. These are more popular than chest types because it’s easier to organize the insides. But uprights can’t store as much for their size as interior shelves and bins take up much usable space. Most have an auto-defrost feature which is better at maintaining consistent temperatures but isn’t as efficient as regular types.
- Chest freezers have lids which open from the top and are great for storing food bought in bulk for long periods. These occupy more space than uprights, so many are located in basements or garages. Frost-free versions are rare, and most need to be manually defrosted. These are more energy efficient and can keep contents frozen for longer during power outages, while food is less prone to freezer burn. These usually run more quietly but are also harder to organize as it can be difficult to see all contents. The low height also forces users to bend down to reach lower items.
- Compact or mini freezers are found in both upright and chest versions and are a smart choice for those in small apartments or with small families. Many are used to supplement a regular freezer that’s too small or narrow, while others are dedicated to specific items like meats in bulk or ice for parties. These are less energy efficient than full-size models and generally have only basic features.
- Interior conveniences. The features most appreciated by users are interior and power lights, locking doors, and alarms signaling that the interior is becoming warm.
- Organized storage. Versatile shelves in an upright and hanging baskets in a chest type help make food more accessible in less space.
- Temperature consistency. Better models maintain more even temperatures throughout the compartment, even if outside temperatures varies. In general, most freezers can handle room temperatures of between 32F and 110F.
- Quiet operation. Manual-defrost modes run the compressor less frequently and so tend to be quieter than auto-defrost types.
- Easy defrosting. For manual-defrost models, a drainage hose to quickly empty water can be very convenient.
- A good model should keep food frozen for at least a day if the power goes out, so long as the door or lid stays firmly sealed.
- Customer service. Getting a malfunctioning unit repaired or replaced quickly is important for such a basic appliance.
Certain features like safety locks help prevent small children from leaving the freezer open. Quick-freeze options which immediately freeze large amounts of food are good for locking in the freshness of garden greens. Soft-freeze chambers can help keep ice cream easy to scoop.
Leave some inches of space around the freezer for air to circulate, and enough room at the front for opening doors. Check the path to the intended location in the kitchen, to make sure the unit can get through the doors.