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Thursday 28 May 2020
Stock Update May 2020
MANY people have been rushing to buy freezers in the last few weeks as they realise that having a good supply of frozen food is a great way to get through these tough times.
Unfortunately, many retailers have been taken by surprise as freezers aren't generally that popular at this time of year.
As a result, supply is very limited at all retailers and there are often lead times of up to 2-3 weeks or even longer.
CHEST freezer makers are notoriously stingy when it comes to providing a decent amount of baskets with their products, so many people ask us where they can easily obtain extra baskets from.
We've found a number of places online that have a good range of chest freezer baskets for popular makes, as well as some more obscure ones.
YOU'VE probably been searching high and low for a chest freezer that is also frost-free (just like your fridge freezer is) which can prevent that thick ice build-up.
Sorry to disappoint you, but there aren't any. Here's why - and what to do about it.
A small chest freezer can be extremely useful as a backup to your main freezer, or if you simply don't have the space or budget for anything more substantial.
In this updated article, we take a look at some of the smallest chest freezers on the market (less than 150 litres) that are great value for money and all offer something different in their own little way!
KENWOOD are famous for their Kenwood Chef appliance and other handy kitchen gadgets so maybe it's natural that they would make a move into larger appliances.
Except - this freezer is actually made and sold by Currys under a licensing agreement with Kenwood making it a Kenwood in name only.
That shouldn't detract from the product itself however, as the specification is very high and we know that Curry's other own brands - Logik and Essentials have a reputation for being good products at a low price.
JOHN Lewis have recently refreshed their own-brand chest freezer line-up.
They range in size from 140 litres right up to 404 litres so there's one for every situation, and most come with a control panel handily mounted on the lid rather than hidden away at the bottom.
All their own brand freezers come with a 3 year warranty as standard, and this can be extended to 5 years for an extra charge. For a further £20 they'll safely dispose of your old freezer safely.
THIS freezer is from Curry's own value-for-money 'Essentials' range, and packs 95 litres of usable space within it's compact dimensions and is pretty economical to run.
It's reasonably quiet too but if you don't want it in the house it'll work great in the garage - down to -15 degrees Celsius in fact! It also has a handy front drain port though on the downside only one basket is supplied.
WITH so many chest freezers on the market it can be difficult selecting the right one, particularly if you are on a tight budget.
In this updated article, we've researched the latest models and found the best affordable chest freezers in each size category.
So there's bound to be one to meet your needs whether it's an additional overflow freezer to your main one, or a big deep freeze for the whole family.
NEW from Haier is this HCE-519R - an update to their popular BD-519 model. This version has the same large capacity but now has a handy LCD readout of the inside temperature.
This monster freezer has a whopping 519 litres of space - apparently that's 28 bags of shopping!
Haier is a Chinese make that has a long standing partnership with premium German brand Liebherr, so the quality should be pretty good.
It's reasonably priced considering its capacity, and is an ideal freezer for a large household.
JUST when you thought there were no more innovations in chest freezers, Haier bring out one with an ingenious idea that we've not seen before!
This new compact Haier unit is basically divided into two with a conventional lid for the top section and a handy pull out drawer for the lower section, making it so much easier to reach the food stored at the bottom!
Currently only available on this 110 litre unit, we would hope and expect to see more of this in the future.
Get The Most From Your New Chest Freezer
HERE are some simple and straightforward tips to make sure that you get the most out of your new appliance - it's not always a case of just chucking all your shopping into it!
- There is a limit to how much can be frozen within a 24 hour period. Don't exceed this as it can raise the temperature possibly leading to a partial thaw
- Only freeze top quality, fresh clean food
- Try to prepare food in small portions so that is can freeze more rapidly; this will also help when thawing out as you only need to thaw the amount required
- Wrap food to be frozen in cling film or foil, and make sure that the package is as airtight as possible
- Transfer your shop bought frozen food into your freezer as quickly as possible to prevent partial thawing
- When filling your freezer, try not to keep the lid open too long.
- Don't put fizzy drink cans or bottles into the freezer as the containers will explode and possible damage the appliance
- Frozen liquids like ice lollies and ice cubes can cause skin damage if you handle them too quickly after removing from the freezer. Allow a couple of minutes before touching or consuming them.
- When positioning your freezer, make sure the plug socket is easily accessible in case of an emergency and you need to switch the unit off
Quality Frozen Meals with Free Delivery to Your Door
IF you are looking for quality frozen meals that you can simply microwave or oven cook straight from the freezer, then consider Wiltshire Farm Foods.
Established in 1991, they are the UK's leading frozen meals home delivery service with a range of over 300 meals, all produced at their Wiltshire kitchens.
They offer meals to suit all dietary requirements including gluten free and vegetarian, as well as soft and pureed options. They support British food & farming and use sustainable ingredients whenever possible.
Your order will be delivered for free in most areas, by their own friendly drivers who can even help you pack the food away. There's no contract - just order when you need to.
Why not browse their range now and start enjoying delicious frozen meals.
THERE was a time when you'd pay a lot extra for a black freezer over the white version, but this one is around the same price (or sometimes even less).
It's from Logik, which is Curry's own brand and it is extremely good value with 200 litres of usable space (it's just about the cheapest freezer at this size) and can work right down to -15 degrees Celsius so perfectly happy in the garage!
It is a very popular model and ideal for keeping outside if you're short of space indoors.
DO you know how much it costs to run a chest freezer? Although they draw relatively little power overall, there are some big variations between freezers.
Bearing in mind the ever rising cost of electricity, here is our comparison graph that shows all current chest freezer power ratings and energy usage.
Is Your Food Safe in a Powercut?
THANKFULLY powercuts are a rare occurrence these days, but have you stopped to think how safe the food in your freezer would be during a powercut? You need to look for something called the "rising time".
Food Starts Thawing at -10c
Manufacturers and retailers might also call this the "powersafe time" or "food safe time". In any case, this is the length of time that the temperature of frozen food takes to rise from the normal -18 degrees Celsius to -10 degrees Celsius at which it will start to thaw and spoil.
Average Rising Time Over 18 hours
The rising time does vary from freezer to freezer. A lot of freezers can keep food safe for well over 18 hours which is good news as most power cuts rarely last this long. However we are disappointed to see LEC freezers have a rising time of only 5 hours.
Premium Brands Offer Better Times
At the other end of the scale, some brands like Bosch and Miele with their thicker insulation and better build quality have rising times of 48 hours or more. Some cheaper brands like Beko and Logik also have impressive rising times.
Helping You Decide
When we can get that information from the manufacturer, we are now starting to show the rising times on our products pages to help you choose the right freezer for your needs.
If food has started to thaw, you should use it promptly or dispose of it if you are really not sure. Do not re-freeze without cooking, especially meat and chicken. Only bread is safe to re-freeze once defrosted.
Chest Freezer Questions and Answers
WE are often being asked freezer related questions, some of which are already answered in our buyers guide or some of our other news items below.
However, to help you out, here is a quick rundown of some of the most frequently asked queries - hope it helps!
Think of it as a freezer on its back with the door opening at the top. This allows for easier storage of bulky items and less cold air is released when the door is open.
At the very low temperatures that these units work at, frost will inevitably build up, so no freezer is completely frost free. Some of the more expensive ones do have valves or fans to circulate the cold air more, but even these will need defrosting at some point.
We've written a whole article on this! In summary though, the rule of thumb has been that a chest freezer cannot be reliably used in an unheated outside space (garage, shed, outbuilding) where the ambient air temperature will be below 10 degrees Celsius. However, more manufacturers these days are making freezers that can safely withstand much colder temperatures. You can find them on this page.
It's quite straightforward. You need to remove any food inside and switch the freezer off. As the ice melts it will run out of the drain port if fitted. It's easier if this port is located at the front rather than the side or rear. Some cheap freezers may not have a drain - then you'll need to scoop or mop out the water!
This depends on its energy use and that depends on its size. Typically though a chest freezer will cost £30 to £40 per year in electricity use so much less than £1 per week. Bigger freezers tend to be more efficient than smaller ones per litre of storage. Check our Chest Freezer Energy Consumption comparison page.
Which freezer is best?
This is primarily going to depend on what space you have available - they do take up quite a bit of floor space especially width wise. Also, how much are you going to use it? 100 litre freezers are quite small and ideal for flats or as an overflow to your main freezer but may be too small as a main freezer for a family.
A question we are often asked is "Can I use a chest freezer in a garage or other unheated outbuilding?"
The answer, according to most manufacturers is actually no. They usually only design their refrigeration appliances to operate down to about 10 degrees Celsius. This is fine most of the year but of course temperatures can dip below this in winter.
We all know that many people do keep their fridges and freezers in garages and experience no problems at all - sometimes this may just be down to luck!
Some manufacturers know that many people have limited indoor space and claim that their chest freezers suitable are for the garage or indeed any other type of outbuilding.
Zanussi and Logik confirm that their products can be used in a garage or shed while Beko go a stage further and claim their products are designed to work down to -15 degrees Celsius.
Disposing of Your Old Chest Freezer
IF you are purchasing a new chest freezer you may be wondering how on earth to dispose of the old one, particularly if it's no longer in working order (even the best chest freezer will give up eventually).
Well, a number of retailers have an optional recycling service that can take the old one away when they deliver your new model - expect to pay around £20 as an additional cost.
Some (but not all) local councils will collect bulky items (including old appliances) for free - it's worth checking their website for details.
It's important to prepare for this though: make sure the old freezer is unplugged, emptied and defrosted before collection. Also ensure there is a clear path so both the new freezer and the old one can be moved with the minimum of fuss.
If you need to dispose of the freezer yourself, then visit this handy website:
Just enter your postcode and it will highlight on a map the location of your nearest recycling depot that will accept old freezers.
Register Your Appliances!
IT is important to register any new household appliances that you purchase for 2 very good reasons:
- You may receive an extension to the warranty or guarantee period
- You can be advised of any recalls that the manufacturer makes to a product if they have identified any potential problems with it
You can now do this easily through the website, Register my Appliance, and you'll also some useful household safety tips. It's run by AMDEA, who are an independent UK trade association for the manufacturers of small and large domestic appliances.
The Magic of Refrigeration
HAVE you often wondered how your chest freezer works? Just how can it maintain temperatures as low as -18 degrees for an average running cost of around 10p per day?
We realised the need for refrigeration back in prehistoric times when people would gather ice in winter and store it in cool, dark caves or insulated dugouts for when the warmer weather arrived.
Luckily things have advanced a bit since then, although the basic principle of keeping items cool in an insulated container remains. Read more about the history and workings of refrigeration on this very informative Wikipedia page:
Chest Freezers: all you need to know
Here is a quick summary version of our exclusive buyers guide - read the full version here
Why Buy a Chest Freezer?
In short, you can save money and have more choice.
- Bulk buy food cheaply to use over several months
- Have a wider range of food options at meal time
- Reduce waste by freezing some leftovers for later
- Food that is frozen straight after picking or preparing is as good as fresh food
A Freezer in the Garage?
If you're looking for a freezer suitable for the garage, look out for models specifically designed for use in unheated outbuildings - more and more manufacturers are producing such freezers these days.
Measured in litres, the Net Capacity is the total usable space available inside for your frozen food.
The energy rating (A - G) and consumption (kWh) give an idea of how economical the freezer is to run (it's running 24/7 remember). The best appliances are rated A+ or even A++.
Measured in decibels (dB), this tells you how noisy the freezer is - useful if you will be keeping it indoors.
Food Safe Time
(Also known as rising time). How long frozen food in the freezer is safe for in the event of a power cut.
This system freezes food quicker while still retaining flavour and texture. Can be a manual switch or an automatic system (in more expensive models).
A lockable lid is a useful security feature if the freezer will be kept in the garage or other outbuilding.
A counterbalanced lid means it will stay open at a set angle and won't slam shut.
A front drain is more accessible and makes manual defrosting easier. Some also use special crystal bags to absorb moisure or fans to keep air flowing and limit frost build up.
Read the Full Buyers Guide