Auto Defrost vs. Frost-Free Freezers: What's the Difference?
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Auto Defrost vs. Frost-Free Freezers: What's the Difference?

Frost inside your freezer is never a good thing. Not only does the frost take up valuable space inside your freezer, but it can also negatively affect the taste of your frozen food, create a bad odor, and further damage your appliance. Many modern refrigerators come with frost-fighting features, and they usually fall within two distinct categories: auto defrost vs. frost-free freezers. They may sound like the same thing, but their functions work differently. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between auto defrost freezers and frost-free freezers.

What are Auto Defrost Freezers?

Auto Defrost Freezers

Auto defrost freezers have a self-cleaning function that works automatically. You don't have to do anything to make it happen. This process heats up the coils inside your freezer to prevent them from frosting over. Most modern upright freezers that have direct or fan-assisted cooling systems will have the auto defrost feature. With this feature in place, you should never have to manually defrost your freezer.

What Does Frost-Free Mean?

What Does Frost-Free Mean?

If a freezer claims to be a frost-free freezer, that means it has an automatic fan designed to remove warm air from the freezer, preventing moisture from accumulating and freezing on the freezer walls. The fan circulates cold air inside the freezer interior, preventing any frost build-up. Frost-free freezers do not have to be manually defrosted.

Which is Better?

Auto defrost vs. frost-frost freezers: which one should you choose? They both do the job of keeping frost off the interior of your freezer walls, so why should you choose one over the other?

What Does Frost-Free Mean?


Frost-free freezers have more advanced technology which raises the overall price of the freezer. You can expect a frost-free freezer to cost more than an auto-defrost freezer.

What Does Frost-Free Mean?

Energy Efficiency

The cooling system of a frost-free freezer is usually more energy efficient than that of an auto-defrost freezer. If you're looking for kitchen appliances that will help save you money on your energy bills, go with the frost-free models.

Also note that keeping your freezer free of frost buildup using either method is more energy efficient that freezers that allow frost to build up. This is because the frost inside your freezer causes the freezer's motor to work harder. Upgrading to an auto defrost or frost-free freezer is better for the environment.

What Does Frost-Free Mean?

Overall Effectiveness

Both types of freezers will keep away frost build-up inside your freezer. One consideration to keep in mind is that frost-free freezers foster a very dry environment inside the freezer, which could affect food stored there for long periods of time. The dry air may cause freezer burn.

Another consideration to keep in mind is that frost-free freezers rely on a fan to circulate the air throughout the interior. If the fan is blocked by stacks of food, it may not work as well.

The appliance experts at Appliances Connection hope this helps you choose the right freezer for your home. Feel free to check out our wide selection of new freezers online.

Related Questions

Are chest freezers frost-free?

No, chest freezers are designed for very cold temperatures, which is not compatible with frost-free technology. Frost-free technology can be found mostly in upright freezers or upright freezer and refrigerator combos.

What happens if you don't defrost your freezer?

If you don't have an auto defrost or frost-free function on your freezer, then it is likely that frost will build up into thick layers inside your freezer. This can cause a number of problems, including reducing the amount of storage space inside your freezer. The frost can build up over the vents and temperature sensors, causing your freezer to malfunction or work too much. The frost can also build up on food that is stored in your freezer, creating freezer burn that affects the flavor of the food.