The 10 Best Upright Freezers
results are based on 7,898 reviews scanned
A Guide to the Best Upright Freezers
By Yehudah Posnick
If you buy meat or other perishable foods in bulk, you’ll need a place to put all that food so that it doesn’t spoil. (It’s also a common problem for people who go hunting or fishing--You’ll need a place to store the meat or fish that you prepared.) Refrigerators have limited freezer space--so the best alternative is a separate freezer that is dedicated to storing frozen food. You have a choice between chest freezers or upright freezers. The chest freezer takes up more floor space, but also allows you to utilize all of the space inside the appliance for storing food. It is best when you have to store a large quantity of the same type of food, such as chicken or meat, and you won't have to search very much for a particular item. On the other hand, an upright freezer will have shelves like a refrigerator, which will allow you to organize the food in the freezer in an optimal way. This way, you don’t have to empty out the freezer in order to find what you’re looking for. However, the shelves will cost you precious freezer space: it is estimated that 20% of the freezer’s capacity is lost to the shelves inside. So, you’ll have to make the tradeoff of what is best for you when looking for an upright or chest freezer. We'll see other advantages and disadvantages to the upright freezer, and whether it's what is best for you.
We’ve composed this buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision when selecting an upright freezer. It'll help you:
Choose the right type of upright freezer,
See useful tips about that type of upright freezer,
Read reviews of different brands of upright freezers, and what customers are saying,
Select the right brand of an upright freezer, and
Compare prices and find the best deals.
Types of Upright Freezers
Although upright freezers differ in many features, we can distinguish between the way they can defrost:
Self-Defrosting: A self-defrost freezer will turn itself off at times to melt any ice that accumulates on the inside. It will turn itself "off" at times, to let any accumulated ice melt away. The water from the melted ice accumulates in a drip tray in the back of the freezer. It requires more electricity to bring the freezer's temperature back to below freezing in such a cycle. It will also tend to be noisier. The consistency of the food can also be affected, when it defrosts and refreezes in this process.
Manual Defrosting: A manual defrost freezer will require you to turn off the appliance once every six months or so, to let the accumulated ice defrost. The melted ice water drains out through the back of the appliance. The inconvenience of having to defrost it manually is balanced off by the fact that such a model is usually significantly cheaper and less of an initial investment. It also uses less energy, in maintaining a uniform temperature for much longer.
What Reviewers Say
Here are some of the things reviewers mentioned about their upright freezer:
- The advantage of shelves: As opposed to a chest, an upright freezer gives you less space--but this is because the shelves take up 20% of the interior of an upright freezer. They allow you to organize your food more wisely so that it’s easier to access what you need. Some, such as the Danby 8.5 Cubic Feet Upright Freezer (Model No. DUFM085A2WDD1), also has substantial shelf space on the door to allow for even more organization.
- The number of thermostat settings: Freezers will allow for a range of temperatures. The Danby 8.5 Cubic Feet Upright Freezer can be set from 0 (Off) to 7 (maximum cold, usually reaching to -11 ℉). You’ll want to set the appliance in the middle, at around 4--but you’ll have to take into account the temperature of where your freezer is situated. If it’s in an area that cold, you can dial the thermostat up. And if it’s warm, you can dial the thermostat to a colder setting.
- Operates quietly: A major complaint about upright freezers is the loudness of the compressor. Check to see how loud the freezer is before making a purchase. Some are as low as 43 dB--that’s around the same noise level as the ambient sound in a city or noise in an average apartment. As mentioned before, the self-defrosting freezers will operate more loudly than the manually-defrosting units.
- Freezer burn: In self-defrosting freezers, a common occurrence is “freezer burn”, where the meat is damaged due to having lost moisture in the freezing process. Even though the meat is exposed only to extreme cold, it appears shriveled and “burned”. The best way to avoid this is to wrap the foods in plastic tightly so that the natural moisture in the food remains trapped inside. This is especially important when you remove the food in order to defrost your freezer.
- Power-off warning: If the power should happen to go off, you certainly want to be alerted before the food in your freezer goes bad. Look for an upright freezer that will alert you if the power goes off.
- Space-saving features: Since an upright freezer is meant for people who want to utilize their floor space as economically as possible, there are features that you should look for that are designed to conserve space. You can have a freezer with a recessed handle--this also conserves limited space, instead of having a handle that juts out. Another nice feature is an upright freezer having a flat back panel --that allows you to place it flush with the wall, which is especially useful when you don’t have a lot of floor space.
- Freezer volume: The size of the freezer will be measured by its internal dimensions. You measure the height, depth, and length of the freezer cavity in inches, and divide by 1728 in³. That will give you the number of cubic feet of space inside the freezer.
- Child-proof lock: There are freezers with child-proof locks on them, such as the Whynter 3.0 cubic feet Energy Star Upright Freezer, to prevent children from opening the freezer. (There have been instances of children playing a dangerous game of hide-and-seek inside refrigerators or freezers!)
- Type of coolant used: Since people want to avoid using coolants such as freon which can damage the ozone layer, you’ll see that upright freezers will advertise using R600a coolant (isobutane), which are more environmentally-friendly, and will not damage the earth’s atmosphere.
- Condenser-coil shelves: You’ll see many refrigerators and freezers with wire shelves. The space between the wires allows cold air to circulate better in the freezer’s cavity. But, there are also upright freezers where the shelves themselves actually do the freezing! The Whynter 3.0 cubic feet Energy Star Upright Freezer has shelves that are coils that start working to freeze the food as soon as you insert it.
Whynter Upright Freezer Shelves, which are essentially cooling coils
Danby started as a family-owned business in 1947 located in Montreal. They make a large assortments of appliances for the home and kitchen Their appliances include ice makers, wine coolers, keg coolers, air conditioners and dehumidifiers, refrigerators and freezers, and more. They make upright freezers ranging in size from 3.2 cubic feet to 13.8 cubic feet.
Magic Chef is one of the brands of MCA Corporation. Magic Chef is their brand of refrigerators, freezers, and microwave ovens, beverage coolers, and more. The Magic Chef brand has been producing appliances since 1929, when they started making stoves and ovens. Magic Chef became part of MCA Corporation in 2010, enabling MCA to expand its product line.
Whynter is a manufacturer of kitchen and home appliances in the areas of air conditioners, humidifiers, dishwashers, hair styling products, kitchen scales, refrigerators and freezers, and more. Their headquarters is in Brea, California, since their founding in 2008.
Koolatron are makers of a wide range of refrigerators and freezers, as well as a number of household, outdoors, and pet care products. Koolatron was founded in 1983, and have grown to manufacture over 200 unique products in 30 countries. They have their headquarters in Brantford, Ontario, and major offices in Quebec and New York.