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Chest Freezer vs Upright Freezer

Explore the differences and similarities of chest and upright freezers!

I personally think about buying a stand-alone freezer all the time just to store more frozen food. Every week, I have to limit my frozen food options in order to accommodate the smaller storage capacity of my side-by-side refrigerator. I also have to cut frozen pizzas in half, wrap each half in saran wrap and store it so it would fit. I also think about all the managers specials on whole slabs of pork ribs and ox tails I could have bought and stored away for later if I had a separate stand-alone freezer unit. The reason I dont have one is because I simply dont have the room to use one. I am unfortunately an apartment dweller in urban New York City. The stories about how cramped and small the living situation in NYC are true. The food storage benefit of a stand-alone freezer would be great.

Stand-alone freezers can save money on groceries. They are a great investment for storing and preserving an abundance of food for future use. Built-in freezers on refrigerators are good, but provide just the right amount of storage space for day-to-day use. Also, freezers on refrigerators are opened quite frequently throughout the day which can affect the overall temperature inside. Stand-alone freezers are perfect for storing food for a longer amount of time. They are meant to keep a larger quantity of meat, vegetables and other food items for extended amount of time for months and years. Stand-alone freezers are not opened as frequently or at all throughout the day and are really great as storage for surplus food. Take advantage of food specials in bulk from the supermarket, store homemade sauces and premade meals for later, and more. This article will compare the benefits and difference between a typical upright freezer freezer versus a typical chest freezer.

The best thing about stand-alone freezers besides ample food storage is their ability to keep organized. Stand-alone freezers should be able to provide an adequate amount of storage capacity, as well as, the appropriate size for the area in where you intend to keep it. Today, stand-alone freezer units are adept at keeping foods frozen for up to 24 hours or longer in the event of a power outage, provided you keep the door closed for the duration. Manual defrosting provides a distinct economic benefit because it requires no additional energy resources except your own manual labor. One important feature to consider is whether you require a freezer that requires manual defrosting or provides a frost free or similar feature.

Stand-alone freezers will generate a large amount of frost build up. Some frost build up can achieve up to half a foot in length around the perimeter, making it harder to store more food. Chest freezers, in this regard, only come in a manual defrost variety. Manual defrost requires you to physically clean and remove the frost from your freezer unit. This maintenance routine generally needs the process of turning off the freezer and removing all the food items. This allows the frost buildup to melt and is easier to remove and clean. A problem with this is that it is chore intensive and your food items need a temporary place to be stored, a cooler would suffice. It is recommended to do this at least once a year.

An upright freezer has an advantage of offering either manual defrost or frost free option. A frost free or automatic defrost feature removes frost buildup automatically, but this requires electricity. Automatic defrost requires a significant amount of energy compared to manual defrosting. The process involves an automatic timed operation about every six hours or so with a heating coil that melts frost and then the liquid is drained. The freezer will stop this process when it detects the temperature inside has gone above freezing. This is also done with your frozen food still inside the freezer. The problem with this is that the food stored inside the freezer will have slight temperature changes with this process, nothing too drastic, but enough to merit your consideration.

Energy Star

If you are concerned with energy bills from owning an extra major appliance as with a stand-alone freezer unit then opt for an Energy Star unit. Energy conservation is an important issue nowadays and a lot of major appliances with an Energy Star label need to adhere to strict regulations by the Department of Environmental Protection Agency. Now, to note, Energy Star label appliances are not necessarily better than appliances without them. It merely signifies that they meet the regulation in saving more energy than those without it.

There are two types of stand-alone freezers on the market: chest freezers and upright freezers. As always, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages for each category.

Chest Freezer



Chest freezers are generally more affordable when compared to upright freezers.

Energy Efficient

Chest freezers are all designed to only manually defrost which does not use any additional electricity to operate providing lower energy costs.


Chest freezers provide a deeper amount of storage space.



The design on chest freezers uses a wide, horizontal layout that requires more floor space than an upright freezer.

Not Ergonomic 

Because chest freezers are lower in height and provide a deep storage cavity, it requires a lot of bending and awkward rummaging to find food contents.

Manual Labor

As discussed, chest freezers only come in manual defrost which needs routine maintenance to remove frost buildup. This is chore intensive and will need a good amount of effort to complete.

Upright Freezer


Smaller Footprint

Upright freezers use less floor space compared to chest freezers and provide a quick visual inventory because of its vertical layout.

Easy to Organize

These units come equipped with shelving that's ergonomic to access and organize frozen food.

Auto Defrost

Some upright freezers offers an auto defrost or frost free feature. This feature comes in a variety of names, but offer the same operation. Typically, this feature will remove frost buildup automatically without any additional effort from the user.



Upright freezers are generally more expensive compared to similar chest freezers.

Not Energy Efficient

On the whole and especially with an auto defrost feature, upright freezers require more energy resources.

Less Capacity

The design of these units are not as deep compared to chest freezers. Upright freezers may not be able to accommodate larger and awkward shaped food items. Certain items like turkeys and similar will probably not fit.

Based on the information and comparisons provided, a chest freezer is a perfect choice for folks who require a large amount of storage space. Whereas, an upright freezer is easier to organize a lot of different frozen foods and is perfect for folks who have a smaller footprint of space available at home. Appliances Connection offers a wide array of stand-alone freezers. Their catalog carries over 140 different chest freezers and over 540 different upright freezers.

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