rnmomof2

Chest or upright freezer?

RNmomof2 zone 5
October 21, 2019

My one DD makes a lot of freezer meals. You know the kind where you prep a bunch of meals ahead, freeze them and make at a later date. She mentioned that she would like a freezer as her refrig has a small one.


Mom, ever on the look for goof presents, thought that would make a great Xmas present. This DD is single but does cook. Other DD is married, no kids, but I don't think they cook very often. I'm guessing they are more the buy bags of things from Sam's and reheat type people.


So what would you get for them? Chest? Upright? What size? Any other tips? Thanks all!

Comments (45)

  • dadoes

    Chest freezers are more efficient on operation being that cold air doesn't fall down out of them when open as it does with vertical freezers.

    Vertical units provide easier access being as one doesn't so much have to "dig down to the bottom" to grab an item.

    Vertical units are more likely to be self-defrosting. There are (or have been in the past) self-defrosting chest freezers but they aren't common.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked dadoes
  • chloebud

    I prefer the easier access of an upright. Good point from dadoes regarding the self-defrost. I'd want that, for sure.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked chloebud
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  • Jasdip

    I've always had a chest freezer. I know that all the food I have/buy wouldn't fit in an upright. I buy meat in quantity when on sale for a good price. Then I have the spaghetti sauces, soups, frozen veggies, muffins and homemade bread. A turkey would take up a lot of room in an upright not to mention a couple of roasts. Then I'd have to find room for everything else. It just wouldn't do for me.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked Jasdip
  • ritaweeda

    We had an upright freezer years ago and yes it's easier to get into than the chest one we have now. The one we have now is small (only the two of us) and it can be a hassle if something is at the bottom. I bought it mainly to buy meats on sale - so I wrap the meat in freezer wrap in amounts that will make one meal, then I pack as many of these packages into a jumbo zip-lock bag that will fit and label that. This way instead of moving a bunch of small packages around I can move a large bags instead. I tend not to keep it full in the Summer since that's hurricane season so I fill in the empty spaces with bags of ice. I don't do a lot of prepared meals for freezing, if I did I would probably prefer an upright.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked ritaweeda
  • chloebud

    RNmom, I think it depends on your DD"s freezer needs. Jasdip has some good points if she wants to buy/store in larger quantities. If not, an upright should be fine. I do freeze several things, but usually nothing that large. I always seem to manage for the few times I do need more freezer space. We have an extra fridge in the garage (freezer on top), so that does help.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked chloebud
  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

    The best is one that you can put in your unheated garage.


    You save 1/2 the money operating it.


    dcarch

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
  • WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

    I prefer an upright freezer.

    In the winter, a freezer in the unheated garage may operate at less cost, but in the summer it operates at maximum cost.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a
  • RNmomof2 zone 5

    Any thoughts on size? I feel that an upright may be best because you can see what is in there and use it more efficiently (Not buying something that you didn't realize was buried in the bottom).


    The uprights come from 5 cu ft up to 20 cu ft. I'm not wanting to spend the $$ for a larger one and I don;t think they would need that much space. Thoughts on a 7 cu ft? Agree that perhaps you could use a smaller upright over a chest?


  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

    Upright only, I hate chest types, they are a freezer junk drawer.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

    "---- In the winter, a freezer in the unheated garage may operate at less cost, but in the summer it operates at maximum cost. "


    By locating the freezer inside your house, in the summer time, the freezer compressor condenser coil generates heat, which will need to be cooled by your house air conditioner.


    dcarch


    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
  • sandk

    I’ve had a small chest freezer and currently have a large upright. The upright is hands down easier to use for varied items. Much easier to find things. I would only go back to a chest freezer if I needed it for large quantities of the same thing - like ice or ground beef - or a kegerator.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked sandk
  • Olychick

    "By locating the freezer inside your house, in the summer time, the
    freezer compressor condenser coil generates heat, which will need to be
    cooled by your house air conditioner" But that would work in reverse if you heat your home in the winter.

    All depends on where you live - whether you live somewhere that you HAVE air-conditioning - most in my area do not. I have an upright in an unheated room in my home. In the summer, it doesn't get too hot, but I keep a window open so it cools off the room at night. In winter, it provides just enough heat to keep the room from getting damp.

    I had chest freezer before and hated it. I hated digging through it while practically standing on my head and defrosting it was an awful chore that I detested. Frost free is the only way to go for me.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked Olychick
  • cd7733

    Upright!


    I dislike chest freezers. It's inconvenient to move frozen items out of the way in order to reach things beneath, especially if you are petite. For meal planning, an upright has more flexible storage organization for her meals.



    source


    source

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked cd7733
  • CA Kate z9

    Right now I have both. The big upright in the garage is suppose to be for the things that are waiting to be needed, whereas the small one inside is suppose to hold the parts of opened pkgs. and ice cream.

    Reality is: the one that's an upright works just fine, and , as Bumblebeez said about the chest one, "they are a freezer junk drawer." Everything shiffles to the bottom where you can only find it if you dig thru what is on top. Nope, I'll take an upright any day over a chest-type.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked CA Kate z9
  • WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

    I have a small 6 cu ft and sometimes wish I had one just a bit larger. But, honestly, it truly is enough for my needs. I will say that a short time ago, I was looking for one a little larger and, much to my surprise, the small ones were just as expensive as the larger ones. Maybe because less of them are sold?


    RNmomof2 zone 5Any thoughts on size? I feel that an upright may be best because you can see what is in there and use it more efficiently (Not buying something that you didn't realize was buried in the bottom).

    The uprights come from 5 cu ft up to 20 cu ft. I'm not wanting to spend the $$ for a larger one and I don;t think they would need that much space. Thoughts on a 7 cu ft? Agree that perhaps you could use a smaller upright over a chest?

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a
  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

    Keeping a chest freezer in the garage, I would go to Home Depot and get a sheet of rigid foam to clad around the freezer.

    Freezer manufacturer tries to make the freezer larger inside and smaller outside by making the insulation thinner.

    By adding more insulation yourself, you can save electricity and make your freezer food last much longer if there is a power outage.


    dcarch

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
  • ediej1209 AL Zn 7

    I have the smallest chest freezer they make. I would give anything for an upright but in a 4-room house real estate for large items just isn't there. Frost buildup is a real issue to think about as well as ease-of-use. JMHO if possible go with an upright.

  • annie1992

    Your choice depends on various factors. If you have floor space, a chest freezer is more of a possibility, but limited space calls for an upright.

    If you are going to freeze large quantities of meat or whatever for long periods of time, you don't want a self-defrost, the freeze/thaw cycle can adversely impact the quality of your frozen items.

    I have both. Because I raise beef, chickens and sometimes pork, plus my husband hunts, we keep large quantities of meat for a year, until next year's slaughter. A chest freezer holds more and it does not self defrost, causing that freeze/thaw cycle. However, things migrate to the bottom and I find them when I clean out the freezer. They do keep for several years, though, I recently made stew with a chuck steak from 2016 and it was fine.

    The upright is mostly used for items that are regularly accessed, like ice cream, yeast for bread, packages of frozen peppers or bread crumbs, etc.

    So, if floor space is a factor, if those meal prep items are going to be cycled out regularly and there is no long term storage, an upright with self-defrost is a good choice, as things can be more easily located. Especially if you're short, like I am, and have to stand on my head to get to the bottom of the chest freezer.

    If you want to store larger quantities for longer periods of time, a chest freezer is a good option, without self defrost.

    As for location, I have two chest freezers in our unheated and unattached pole barn, and a chest freezer and an upright in our unheated attached garage. They all work fine, the upright is over 10 years old, the chest freezer in the garage is older than that as it belonged to my Dad and he passed away in 2008, so hopefully your choice will last for a good long time.

    Good luck, I think it's a great gift idea!

    Annie

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked annie1992
  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    If she needs to store any dead bodies for any length of time, a chest freezer is the way to go!! Or so most murder mysteries would have you believe.......... :-)

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
  • Robbin Capers

    A hunter or someone buying half a steer at a time may prefer the open space and efficiency of a chest freezer, but I could live a happy life if I never had to hang over the side of one with frozen fingers trying to sort through all the lost stuff in the bottom of those things. We're planning space for potentially two upright freezers in the garage of our build.

  • nancyjane_gardener

    Upright for me! I found all the meats were getting mixed up, so I bought 4 see through storage bins and labeled them PORK< BEEF< POULTRY<FISH. Those probably waste a bit of space, but I know what have! 2 more shelves. One for fruit from our trees and Trader Joes sides. The bottom shelf and basket drawer are for pre-cooked meals, soups and sauces all frozen flat in slabs (foodsaver) and stacked or stored in the basket drawer filed so it's easy to flip through and see what I've got.

    Oh, the shelves on the door hold this and that. One shelf is for my muffin stuff (blueberries, walnuts) and cheeses leftover from a friend's sadly failed cheese making business! The top shelf is for "freezer trash"..any meat type containers/bags that might get smelly before trash day!

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked nancyjane_gardener
  • morz8

    I've had upright freezers for decades. Manual defrost only. The last I bought, the appliance clerk at Sears didn't know what I meant when I said I was shopping for other than self defrosting ;0) - she'd never heard of manual defrost. This last freezer is in a heated mudroom and located conveniently enough I'm using it more efficiently. I defrost it every 6 months compared to a larger upright needing only once a year that had been in a slightly heated (more like 60ish F) basement. With all my coolers and my garden wagon filled with food, a small space heater in front of the freezer, I can have it defrosted, wiped dry, refilled and running again in under an hour. It's 18 cu feet.

    I downsized from vintage upright of 23 cu feet that I left in the basement when we moved. I thought smaller and more energy efficient would suit our needs now. The 18 cu ft is barely big enough. (we are two adults who entertain somewhat often, have a large extended family)

    RN Mom, the freezer compartment to my french door KitchenAid refer is close to 7.5 cubic feet. Are you sure she would find that much (little) additional space to her advantage considering she will be running another appliance. Larger wouldn't require that much more of a footprint. If not full, she could reduce the running time to keep all cold by filling in unused space with water in milk or juice jugs.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked morz8
  • dadoes

    Regards to the comment above from dcarch about placing foam insulation around the outside of a chest freezer in a garage ... I strongly advise not to do that.

    Chest freezers (manual defrost) typically use the outer cabinet of the appliance as the condenser, to radiate away the collected heat from the refrigeration process.

    Foam insulation place around the exterior will insulate *against* that heat being dissipated and interfere with proper operation ... increasing run-time and operational costs, and possibly causing the compressor to overheat.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked dadoes
  • RNmomof2 zone 5

    We have a smaller chest freezer that is a 7 ft I believe (maybe 9 cu ft?). We rarely have it full and then the bottom half is no mans land.

    At this point I do not see either DD buying a cow or freezing veggies. They would use it for bags of chicken, maybe bread, frozen desserts, etc. Even if it were smaller than mine, I feel that with an upright you may not duplicate items as often since it will be easier to see what you have.

    The uprights seem to jump from 7 cu ft at ~~$250 to 14+ cu ft for over $600. I am just not sure they would be able to fill one that big.

    Morz, good point about the size of a 7 ft freezer. Perhaps that would be enough to stock with items on sale but not to have things that sit in it forever?

    Keep your thoughts coming!


  • RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked Islay Corbel
  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

    I have a manual defrost so no air blowing over the food and no ups and downs in temps. Food lasts a very long time with no freezer burn. but it's a hassle to defrost- I usually do it once or twice a year. But I will always have a manual.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

    Chest freezers are definitely less expensive per cubic foot. I have both an old 20 cu/ft upright Monkey Wards purchased by my parents in the late 1980s and a 17 cu/ft. chest freezer I purchased when we started buying sides of beef and pork. I use milk crates to organize the meat in the chest freezer...80% lean burger in one and 90% in another. Roasts in another and pork sausage in a 4th. I put all of the steaks, chops, and bacon in the upright. Frozen garden veggies are also organized in 2 printer paper boxes that slide into the bottom shelf of the upright freezer

    I'm always worried that the old upright will crap out any day now so it's comforting to have the chest freezer for backup.

    I would also opt for the manual defrost on either. I can defrost my upright in under 1.5 hours by running a fan into it to speed the melting.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
  • WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

    Forgot to mention that my small upright freezer is also a manual defrost, too. I have it on my schedule to defrost every 6 months.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a
  • RNmomof2 zone 5

    I saw a 6 cu ft upright today and I think it was much smaller than my side x side freezer. Lowes has a 13,8 cu ft on their floor. It did not look huge, guess you never really know until you start putting things into it.


    Asked my DD who did not mention wanting one if she had any ideas for a bigger present, She couldn't think of anything but she has mentioned a freezer in the past. If I get these the bulk of my shopping could be done!

  • 2ManyDiversions

    Add me to the upright fan club. Mine is, and it's in the garage. Last one I had lasted forever, which in my special language is 15 years, also kept in the garage but not frost free, which I disliked as there is no cleaning task I like less than defrosting. New one is frost free : ) Ages ago I bought a used chest style. No man's land in the bottom. So much wasted food. I wanted it to die... eventually I killed it myself just to get an upright. Shhhh, don't tell the appliance police ; )

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked 2ManyDiversions
  • AJ Kala

    I have chest freezer, and use it for storing/freezing all my extra home grown veggies. Yes, you can't see them readily, but i've somewhat compartment-ized it via partitions, so some for veggies, some for frozen dishes, some for ready made dishes etc. Chest freezers are typically cheaper than upright. Regardless, you need to know and see which ones you want to unfreeze and use, when you want to use.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked AJ Kala
  • agmss15

    I have a small chest freezer. It is really really difficult to keep organized. It is supposed to be more efficient to run but when I am digging through slippery frigid packages in the dark on my equally frigid porch on a winter night I want an upright.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked agmss15
  • annie1992

    Jack, great minds must think alike, I also use milk crates for organization in the freezer(s). They stack on each other and are plastic, so the cold doesn't impact them. They nicely contain those round tubes of ground beef, ground venison, breakfast sausage, etc.

    I also put quart bags of shelled beans, frozen corn, blueberries, raspberries, etc. in the milk crates. I can always lift the top crate full of beans to reach the sausage that is underneath, and whatever I use the most of goes into the top crate.

    Annie

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked annie1992
  • Jasdip

    Add me to using items to store food. I have square plastic buckets the I put meat in, being able to stack them.

    I defrost mine by putting large pots of very hot water in. The ice falls away from the sides in no time by using a plastic spatula, and scooping the resulting ice and water using my dustpan.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked Jasdip
  • Cheryl Smith

    We always had small chest freezers. Cheaper more efficient but always a pain to get things off the bottom. we now have an upright. No crawling in to get to something. Each shelf stores different foods. Chicken, pork, beef. Left overs, soup and vegetables in the door.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked Cheryl Smith
  • naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan

    I'd be absolutely sure your daughter wants a freezer before getting her one. And if she does, let her decide on the style. You can help with questions with all the info people here have shared. A freezer is a long term addition to the house that takes up space, adds to the utility bill, and needs upkeep. She may rather manage the space in her refrigerator/freezer efficiently - or she may think the freezer is a great idea. Best to know before surprising her with one.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan
  • Marilyn_Sue

    If you are short and have a hard time reaching down in a chest freezer like me, then the upright one. I had a big chest type one for many, many years. It was still working when we got rid of it but it was rusting though the lid. Now I have two big upright ones plus two refrigerators with the drawer freezers. I like those. Yes, I think you should ask your daughters if they would like a freezer. Sounds good to me though.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked Marilyn_Sue
  • Cheryl Smith

    I am amazed how large the freezer drawers are now on refrigerators. if she has a small one it may be better to get a new refrigerator. either a bottom freezer or a french door. I am looking at getting a new one and some are 7-8 cubic ft

  • RNmomof2 zone 5

    Yes, this will not be a surprise gift. They both have mentioned wanting one at different times. The out of town DD is coming up this weekend. There is an independent appliance store that has a 6 and 13 cu ft upright on their floor. I will take her to look at them and see what she thinks. Ironically, the price at this store is the same as 32% off sale at Lowes for the same freezer. Lowes does have free delivery though.


    FINAL THOUGHTS ON SIZE??

  • chloebud

    Regarding the size, it just depends on her needs and available space. See what you think when you look at them. It's very possible 6 cubic feet would work just fine. It's surprising how much you can fit in a fairly small space.

    Just wondered if this might be any help...

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2006-02-24-0602240246-story.html

  • annie1992

    As chloebud mentioned, the size depends on how much she wishes to store in it. If she buys food in bulk and does a lot of advance meal prep, she may want the bigger one. If she's doing meal prep for one and keeping the general household "frozen items", she may want the smaller one. A rule of thumb is that one cubic foot of freezer space will hold approximately 35 pounds of frozen food. Of course, meat is heavier than prepped meals, and if you have containers, that should be added to the equation. A pound of frozen peppers and onions will take more space than a pound of round steak, etc.

    So, that 6 cf freezer would hold approximately 210 pounds of frozen meat, less than that in bulkier items.

    Annie

  • RNmomof2 zone 5

    The 6 or 7 cu ft just looks so small but I'm not sure the 13 is too big. Sam's has a small one that may do for both of them starting out. Knowing the life span of appliances now, they could use a smaller one until their family grows (and the freezer dies) and then upgrade to a bigger upright.


    The 35 # per cu ft sounds reasonable if you are storing roasts, bulk items, etc. But if you have bags of chicken strips, fish, etc that seems a little heavy.


    We are all tall (5' 10" to 6'4") and have SxS fridges. The kids came with their houses and are regular depth with ice maker NOT in the door. Ours is counter depth with ice maker in the door and we have more storage space in the fridge than they do. The one DD mentioned that she can't even get a frozen pizza in hers. WE do not have that problem. Because of our height, I'm not sure any of us would like a bottom freezer.

  • chloebud

    "Because of our height, I'm not sure any of us would like a bottom freezer."

    You sound like us...5' 10" to 6' 5". A bottom freezer would not be great for us, either. I simply don't want to freezer dig. Our current fridge is a side by side and came with the house. It was new so we've kept it. It's large and the freezer can fit a frozen pizza. However, it's not counter depth and our next one will be. Fortunately the fridge/freezer in the garage I mentioned before is a big help. It's small...I think 18 cubic ft. but plenty for us.

    I think your thought regarding the life span of appliances makes sense. They could upgrade to larger when needed.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked chloebud
  • aliceinmd

    Years ago we had a ~20 cu ft chest freezer that had two rows of baskets inside that helped us organize things and rotate stock. We used it then but I wouldn't buy one again. I'd go with an upright with wire shelves (so I can look on the underside of a shelf to see what's hiding without unloading the shelf). Also, most companies design some models for garage use just because of the many temperature variables that can occur there, so if you are thinking of placing the unit in a garage, investigate those.

    RNmomof2 zone 5 thanked aliceinmd

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