Should we get a chest or stand-up freezer?
November 9, 2008 3:56 PM   Subscribe

Looking at getting a freezer for a loft. What are the benefits of getting a chest freezer or stand-up freezer in a situation like this? How much of an issue are things like cost, floor space, counter space, efficiency?
posted by sirsteven to Shopping (6 answers total)
Upright freezers take up less floor space.
Chest type freezers are less expensive.
From experience I would suggest upright for convenience and also a frost free model. Defrosting is a pain.
posted by JayRwv at 4:04 PM on November 9, 2008

Very basically, cold air sinks, hot air rises. When you open a chest freezer the cold air will tend to stay in the freezer. When you open an upright freezer the cold air will tend to pour out of the freezer and be replaced with warm air that needs to be cooled down. Warm air getting in can be minimized by not holding the door open and keeping upright freezers well organized so you can find things quickly. Plus lots of dense foodstuffs in the top so that they act as a heat sink for the warm air that enters.

Chest freezers offer a huge flat space for temporary storage or workspace, but take up more floor space. Upright freezers use a lot less floor space, but the swing of their doors have to be accounted for. Also you can't play risk on top of them, easily.
posted by Science! at 4:05 PM on November 9, 2008

Consumer Reports did a review of freezers (unfortunately you have to be a subscriber to get to the site) and if I recall correctly, they found that chest freezers are more energy efficient. They also found more problems with uprights, including ones that didn't actually keep things at the right temperature. So, in terms of a well-made, efficient appliance, you'd be better off with a chest freezer. That said, they can be hard to keep organized and you're in danger of forgetting about the stuff on the bottom.
posted by cabingirl at 4:21 PM on November 9, 2008

Chest is better unless you don't like the idea of playing Towers of Hanoi with your frozen food (because you'll be stacking and restacking it to find stuff). Whichever you choose, right-size it. If you get a huge one and don't fill it up, you'd have been better off getting a medium-sized one instead. Frost-free models use more energy than comparable manual defrost units, so if you're comfortable with emptying it out and defrosting it every couple years go that route also.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:03 PM on November 9, 2008

The more you keep in your freezer, the more economical it will be. As long as you are using things up before they dry out.

We have an upright due to space. Whatever you get, you should fill it and use it. I think the chest is supposed to be better if you have a good turnover.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:47 PM on November 9, 2008

I have an upright because (a) I like to see what's there, and (b) we had a chest freezer when I was quite young and it attracted heavy storage things that had to be moved to get into the freezer.

Whatever you decide, I heartily recommend a small magneted whiteboard to stick on the front/top. Keep a running inventory of what's in there, and you'll have fewer "WTF - it sort of looks like a chicken" experiences. Other useful accessories include big plastic baskets to sort and to hold irregularly shaped items (like, say, chickens), a vacuum sealer like a Tilia FoodSaver, stackable reusable plastic containers (square ones give you more efficient space use), and a couple rolls of freezer tape and a Sharpie. Freezer tape glue adheres at zero degrees, and Sharpie ink will not disappear. Label everything - you may be certain you'll remember that package contains the filets mignon for your anniversary...but you won't.

And then you'll find them two years later behind the frozen milk you stuck in there when you were feeling frugal, and say "WTF - it LOOKS like a chicken, but I think it's beef."
posted by catlet at 9:20 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

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