The 6 Best Chest Freezers to Store Extra Frozen Food

Your future self will thank you for investing in this appliance, like our favorite, the Midea Chest Freezer.

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Whynter FM-85G 85 Quart Portable Fridge
Photo: Amazon

If your freezer doesn't seem too small, you may be using it wrong. Frozen foods are weeknight meal workhorses, ideal for preserving seasonal produce and pulling meals together quickly. Unlike upright freezers, like the kind you likely have attached to your fridge, a chest freezer opens from the top. In general, a chest freezer offers more usable space and saves more energy than an upright freezer. This type also maintains its temperature better even when open, as cold air sinks to the bottom of the unit.

Vincent Finazzo, owner of Riverwards Produce, a specialty grocer with two locations in Philadelphia, advocates for chest freezers as a tool for eating seasonally without giving up variety. In fact, he relies on freezing for much of his cooking throughout the year. Whether you're batch cooking lasagna, soup, or grains, or processing produce at its freshest, a chest freezer can make mealtime easier for you, too. Factors to consider in shopping for this appliance include size, storage, and upkeep, says Finazzo, whose expertise guided our research. We named the Midea Chest Freezer our top choice, but you will also find the best chest freezers for garages, transporting, energy efficiency, and more here.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Midea Chest Freezer

Chest Freezer
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Costco.

Pros: This chest freezer is a good size for those just starting out with freezing, and its features make it easy to use.

Cons: It doesn't have an outside power light to indicate whether the unit is on, and there's no temperature indicator.

Those simply looking for a little extra freezer space should consider the mid-sized Midea Chest Freezer for its user-friendly design. Two removable storage baskets make organization easy, and an LED light, which turns on when you open the lid, allows you to see what you're looking for. The door also locks open, so you don't have to hold it open with one hands while you organize the freezer's contents.

It has multiple freezer settings, which allow you to change the units temperature, even converting it to a refrigerator if your needs change. It's on casters, which make it easy to move, should you need to, and a drainage hole on the bottom of the unit means easy manual defrosting.

  • Footprint: 22.1 x 32 x 33.5 inches
  • Garage Ready: Yes
  • Capacity: 7 cubic feet
  • Price at time of publish: $399

Best for Garages: GE Energy Star Garage Ready Chest Freezer

Chest Freezer
Courtesy of Lowe's

Also available at Home Depot.

Pros: This unit is not only large but also has all the bells and whistles.

Cons: Because of its size and features, this freezer is relatively expensive, and the lack of wheels can make it unwieldy when draining.

This is probably what you think of when you imagine a chest freezer. It's large, with an internal capacity of 15.7 cubic feet, and has basically every additional feature. It comes with GE's power outage promise, which guarantees the unit will stay below freezing for at least 48 hours in the event of a power outage. It has a temperature alarm, which sounds if the unit's internal temperature stats to rise, and a high temperature indicator on the outside of the unit, plus a power light to indicate that the freezer is on and functioning.

Because of its size, organization is a factor, and the unit has two levels of rails, which allow you to access multiple baskets of frozen items at a time. An LED interior light ensures visibility, and a lock keeps children safe.

  • Footprint: 33.4 x 65 x 28.5 inches
  • Garage Ready: Yes
  • Capacity: 15.7 cubic feet
  • Price at time of publish: $979

Best Small for Garages: Danby Chest Freezer

Chest Freezer
Courtesy of Target

Also available at Best Buy and Wayfair.

Pros: It's ideal those with limited space, and it comes with a five-year warranty.

Cons: Users may quickly outgrow this unit's capacity, and larger containers may not fit inside the unit.

For smaller families or those who need a little extra freezer space, the Danby 3.8 Cubic Foot Chest Freezer is an excellent option. It runs quietly and efficiently, with foam insulation that keeps it cold even during power outages. Danby offers a five-year warranty on this unit, which is relatively rare among chest freezers, so you're covered if something goes wrong.

The unit has wheels on the rear casters, which makes moving it pretty manageable, and the spout on the bottom of the unit makes defrosting simple. The unit temperature ranges from about 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit to about -11.2. The inside temperature can fluctuate based on ambient temperature, but this unit is designed to function between 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Footprint: 24.9 x 22.2 x 33.1 inches
  • Garage Ready: Yes
  • Capacity: 3.8 cubic feet
  • Price at time of publish: $470

Best Portable: Whynter 85-Quart Portable Fridge and Freezer

Chest Freezer
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Home Depot.

Pros: This portable freezer is easy to move, and it works on both AC and DV power.

Cons: For its size, this unit is expensive, and the space may feel limited compared to a regular-sized fridge or freezer.

For those often on the go, Whyner portable fridge and freezer will keep food frozen on camping trips, boats, and RVs. It comes with two power cords, one for DC, which can be plugged into a car lighter socket, and one for AC, which runs 110 voltage. For better consistent power, you can plug in both at the same time to protect against power loss. The unit has an adjustable temperature setting, which allows you to adjust it from refrigerator to freezer at the touch of a button. For organization, it has two baskets that you can remove for easy access.

  • Footprint: 18.3 x 28.1 x 23.5 inches
  • Garage Ready: Yes
  • Capacity: 2.83 cubic feet
  • Price at time of publish: $760

Best Small Capacity: Avanti Chest Freezer

Chest Freezer
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Target and Walmart.

Pros: This super slim design is great for small spaces, and it offers lots of temperature control.

Cons: The slim design means bulkier items may not fit inside, plus there's no outside power light to indicate that it's working correctly.

At only 16.5 inches wide, this slim chest freezer is small enough to fit into your kitchen, saving you the hassle of going to a basement or garage to access your freezer items. With a 7-setting temperature control and power indicators for the unit and the compressor, this is a user-friendly freezer ideal for smaller families or couples. Smoothie lovers or people who love to batch cook will get tons of use out of this freezer, while those looking to store bulkier items, like whole lasagna or large pieces of meat may struggle with space.

The small size makes it easy to organize, and a removable basket gives you better access. Avanti offers a one year warranty on this unit, which is also Energy Star certified.

  • Footprint: 32.8 x 16.5 x 24 inches
  • Garage Ready: No
  • Capacity: 2.5 cubic units
  • Price at time of publish: $239

Best Large Capacity: Frigidaire Chest Freezer

Chest Freezer
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Best Buy.

Pros: This spacious unit has room for just about anything you could want to freeze, plus it comes with wheels so you can move it more easily.

Cons: Even for its size, this unit is relatively expensive, and its size makes it easy to lose things in its interior.

For hunters or big families, this spacious freezer is the best option. 24.8 cubic ft means there's storage for all kinds of items, and with two sliding baskets, it's relatively easy to organize. You can also buy additional baskets if necessary.

This Frigidaire freezer has optional casters, which makes its size a little more manageable. Because it's so large, parents can take advantage of the safety lock, which prevents children from falling in. A power light shows that the unit is functioning correctly, and an internal LED makes it easy to find what you're looking for. A drain makes defrosting easy.

  • Footprint: 31.5 x 31.8 x 83.1 inches
  • Garage Ready: Yes
  • Capacity: 24.8 cubic feet
  • Price at time of publish: $1,399

Conclusion

A chest freezer gives you flexibility in food storage, whether you want to put away seasonal produce for use later in the year, reduce trips to the grocery store, or batch cook foods for a family. If you have the space, even a small chest freezer can give you significantly increased food storage, and there are options at every price point.

Factors to Consider

Size

Because they are designed to be opened from the top, chest freezers have a large footprint than a typical refrigerator. When selecting what size you need, think about what you'll be using your freezer for and where you plan to put it. Keep in mind that inside capacity will likely be larger than your regular freezer, so you may need less space than you think.

If you're a hunter and plan to freeze what you kill, you might need a slightly larger freezer. If you're more interested in freezing components of meals or whole ingredients, less space may be just fine for your purposes.

Location

"You don't really want to jam a chest freezer into a corner or up against a wall," explains Finazzo. "You want some breathing room, especially where the intake is where the compressor lives."

Chest freezers are often relegated to a corner of the basement or garage, but it's important to consider what the temperature range of the freezer's location will be. Garages, for example, can get extremely hot, and not every freezer is equipped to keep up with that temperature. If you plan to put your freezer in an area that gets warm, make sure to buy a unit that is garage-ready, which means it can handle warmer temperatures.

Organization

It's easy for a chest freezer to become a bit of a dumping ground, full of unlabeled bags and containers. Finazzo recommends labeling everything you put in the freezer and using the included baskets to keep things manageable.

"Try to avoid putting anything warm in your chest freezer," Finazzo says. "If, say, you're making soup and you want to freeze it, you're better off putting it into your refrigerator for a couple of hours, then transferring it to the freezer." Placing warm things into a freezer creates condensation and changed the temperature of the surrounding foods, which can impact quality.

For room temperature items like blueberries, Finazzo recommends placing them on a tray and creating as much airflow around them as possible. Once they're frozen solid, pack them into a bag or container and store them. This is better for the freezer and avoids creating a solid block of blueberries or other items that are all stuck together.

Upkeep

Pretty much all chest freezers need to be regularly defrosted (think like once a year) to prevent the build-up of ice inside the unit. All chest freezers require that you do this manually by unplugging the unit, opening the door, and letting the ice melt. Some units offer spouts at their base to drain off the water, while others are on wheels, making them easier to move around. Finazzo also recommends checking the compressor every year or so to make sure it's clear of dust, pet hair, and other debris that can block the flow of air.

Our Expertise

Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé is a professional home cook, restaurant reporter, and food writer based in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Eater, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and more.

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