Chest Freezer

freedomeagleMay 4, 2013

Hello All:

We are in the market for a 17-21 cu.ft. chest freezer but aren't finding too many educational reviews online. Most of the reviews I have seen are for uprights. For a variety of reasons, we are only interested in a chest freezer. Anyone have any advice/experiences/recommendations they can share for the best chest freezers?

Many thanks in advance for your replies.

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Sophie Wheeler

People that want to find what they've frozen prefer an upright. Chest freezers have become the province of serial killers and other hunters. Better for long term storage of a whole cow, but you can't find anything in them. And if you're short, you always feel like you're going to become the next victim in the freezer by toppling over the side and into it's depths as you search for what you want---which is on the bottom under everything else.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 11:25PM
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I've had chest freezers for years and went to an upright because I needed more storage space with a small footprint. There really is not much to say about chest freezers. They are so mechanically simple that they are inherently durable, reliable and inexpensive. That is why there is not much to be said about them. You do have to manually defrost them. I defrosted mine every year or so but I know people who go many years between defrosts.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Sun, May 5, 13 at 6:43

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 11:28PM
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Thanks Holly and JW.

Holly, I hear what you are saying. We have an upright but need the chest for a reason. We are well aware of the pros and cons.

Just looking for any input on brands, etc. Thanks all.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 11:35PM
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Freedom - I am with you. Chest freezers keep food better than upright freezers - we have a lot of power failures and very little food loss with the chest freezer.

Have I ever lost something - yes - but I do compartmentalize the freezer to help. I use square milk crates to hold similar items but only have room for 2 in my smaller freezer. Veggies in one and meats in the other.

I also have a stacked bin set in the freezer as well - holds most of my frozen share of food.

Unless something has changed, I think most are made by the same manufacturer, so not a lot of differences, just the facade.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 9:00AM
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Gemini, thanks for your input. We saw a Frigidaire last night that already had the bottom compartmentalized with something akin to large milk crates without the bottoms...and they were adjustable. Never been a big fan of Frigidaire appliances but may consider them for this purchase

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 9:23AM
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Several years ago I saw Kenmore chest freezers that were frost-free. They appeared to be akin to an upright turned on the side, with a circulation fan and self-defrosting mechanism.

I recall some units years ago that had a "Flash Defrost" switch, which possibly switched the refrigeration system into "heat pump" mode to warm the interior walls to aid defrosting.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 10:14AM
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As JWV said, chest freezers are simple and reliable by design. The one in our garage is over 30 yrs old, and the one I had to remove from my late parents' house was over 50.

You need an organizational system to use chests effectively - I'm still trying train DH 30 yrs on, but he's finally learning. They work most efficiently it you keep them rather full. This will also cut down on the frequency they need defrosting. I haven't defrosted ours since the furnace repair guy played with the switches in our electrical box and cut power to it. It was 3 days before we noticed, and the stuff in the bottom half was still frozen solid - in July.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 1:40PM
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There are a lot fewer than you might think. Basically, three companies make almost all of the chest freezers sold in North America. These are:

Frigidaire which owns a variety of brands (like Kelvinator, White Westinghouse) and also makes freezers for big-box store house brands plus some of the freezers sold under GE and Kenmore brands. I've been told by Sears salepeople that Frigidaire makes the large capacity chest freezers sold as Kenmores.

Whirlpool: bought the WC Woods factory in Canada out of a bankruptcy liquidation in 2009, and has continued production. Sold under Whirlpool's various brand names (Amana, Kitchenaid, Maytag) plus some odd brands it owns (Admiral) plus some brands like Danby, Crosley, etc.

Haier: selling under its own name plus a variety of brands for big box stores plus the rest of what GE and Kenmore sell.
Haier has had some intermittent quality control and warranty service issues on some products but a scan of ConsumerAffairs.Com did not turn up any complaints about their chest feezers. Some of them apparently are assembled in North or South Carolina.

Consumer Reports membership survey results do not report on long term reliability and problem rates for chest freezers. CR's product performance ratings favor Whirlpool and Frigidaire branded chest freezers. The buying advice is pretty much look for features (like lights) and energy consumption, and buy whatever has the best price.

I bought a small (5 cu ft) Firgidaire about 16 years ago (from Costco, IIRC). Near as I can tell, it is essentially the same small model that Frigidaire is still selling. According to the Kill-a-Watt meter, the old one consumes about 2% more power than the current models are supposed to use, at least according to the DOE tags in the store models. (Consumer Reports cautions that their testing has shown that the ratings are an average of 17% low. Maybe they test the freezers differently than I do or maybe the current sealed sysmes and motors aren't so good.) Never had a hint of problem with Firigidare chest unit and it is still going strong for a friend of mine. We had a 9 hour power outage a couple of years back. When the power came back, my friend dropped in a probe thermometer and found internal temps were still -4F. I'm told they'll go for days without power.

I'd still be using that Frigidaire except that I needed larger capacity and only had room to get it in the basement by going taller. That's how I wound up with 14 cu ft Firgidaire upright. I find it a lot more convenient to get at things in the upright but at the price of a lot more noise (which I did not expect) and power consumption (which I did expect.) The Kill-a-Watt meter tells me the upright is using about three times the power of the old chest freezer.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Sun, May 5, 13 at 19:53

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 6:53PM
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I have had 3 chest freezers...the first I don't remember much of since I was in my late 20s and about to be married (didn't work out). Second one was a GE (even though I get GE employee discounts, I shy away from GE appliances, but it was cheap)...we moved and it is still going strong...almost 20 years.
When we moved, we had very limited space and a detached garage so I needed it to fit in the laundry room. I got whatever costco was fit PERFECTLY in the only spot we had for it a glove! It is an Haeir. It's been over a year and still going strong.
As an aside, I purchased plastic bins/baskets in this case and in my other home, wire baskets from closet organizing section of home depot. I had a basket for veggies, meats, grains, etc...and it worked very well.
Chest freezers are cheaper to run and less temp fluctuation...they are also cheaper. If we had the space, not sure I would have gone with an upright and never an automatic defrost.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:34PM
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Dear All:

Thanks to all of you for your responses. They have been most helpful. We went with the GE 23 cu. ft from HD.

Again, thanks to all for your input.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:19PM
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Chest or upright?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 7:58PM
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