Updated: July 2013
An often asked question is "Can I use a chest freezer in a garage or other outdoor area?" The answer, according to most manufacturers is actually no. They usually only design their refrigeration appliances to operate within a temperature range defined by a climate class.
The climate class for a freezer should be listed along with the energy consumption rating. There are several climate classes that cover different temperature ranges - with Class SN having the lowest operating temperature: 10 Deg C. This is fine most of the year but of course temperatures can dip below this in winter.
There is a lot of debate on the internet about this, with some people claiming to have used a freezer in the garage for years with no problems, and some appliance repair specialists saying it's a definite no-no and that manufacturers are unrealistic when they say that their freezers are ok to be kept in an unheated space.
We all know that many people do keep their fridges and freezers in garages and experience no problems at all. In some cases this could just be down to luck or maybe their outside space doesn't actually dip too far below the recommended level. You do have to remember though that if your freezer does develops a fault, the warranty may not be valid if the product was kept in an area where there temperature was outside the range it was designed for.
Also, while a standalone chest freezer is designed to continually maintain a very low temperature, you should be aware that a combined fridge/freezer only has one refrigeration unit - therefore if the room temperature is too cold then you may find the freezer compartment starts to defrost because the fridge compartment hasn't got "warm" enough to cause the compressor to run.
Some manufacturers know that many people have limited indoor space and have specifically made their chest freezers suitable for the garage and some other types of outbuilding. This is often achieved with a 'concealed condenser' which is specially located inside the freezer to be better protected from the elements.
Zanussi and Ice King confirm that their products can be used in a garage or shed while Beko go a stage further and say that some of their products can operate down to -15C. Condensation may appear on the outside cabinet - it is nothing to worry about and can be wiped away with a dry cloth.
Whatever the case, it is important to ensure that the location for the freezer does meet some basic requirements. It should be dry, free from damp and extreme high and low temperatures and the surface should be level (some units may have adjustable feet to help here). It is vitally important to allow enough room around the unit (especially the back) for good airflow.
There doesn't seem to be a definitive answer to this question as some manufacturers are quite adamant that it is fine, while others may only quote a climate class of N - that's a minimum temperature of 16 degrees. But if you are concerned that the ambient temperature in your desired location will fall below freezing, it is worth seeking out a product from a manufacturer that specifically approves that their product is suitable for such environments.
For the latest models where the manufacturer has designed their freezer specifically for really cold conditions, click here
See the latest chest freezers that can be used in a garage: click here