UPDATED: February 2020NEWS
Can Chest Freezers Be Frost-Free?
You've probably been searching high and low for a chest freezer that is also frost-free (just like your fridge freezer is). Sorry to disappoint you, but there aren't any.
First let's get an overview of the problem and then we'll look at some ways to make defrosting less of a chore.
Why Ice Builds Up in the first Place
Condensation from (non-frozen) food you've just put in there or from warm air entering when you open the door, introduces moisture which will freeze and create frost.
The moisture generally finds its way to the coldest area, which after a while is going to be the ice already formed. Hence the build-up gets bigger.
How Frost-Free Appliances Work
A frost-free appliance uses heating elements to melt ice build-up every so often. This means the internal temperature will rise during this process, though it should never get warm enough to totally thaw any food.
A chest freezer needs to keep food at a constant -18 degrees Celsius so this heating method is not suitable.
We have also in the past seen chest freezers that have fans inside to remove the warm air and moisture but they only reduce frost build-up, not eliminate it. They are also noisier and use more energy.
First, some simple tips on using the freezer properly to prevent frost build up as much as possible.
- Looking for a chest freezer that has a front drain port - when you come to defrost, it will be a lot easier to remove the water when the drain port is easily accessible
- To limit moisture build up, when using the freezer don't keep the lid open for too long or keep opening and closing it
- When placing new food in the freezer, ensure it is cool and properly wrapped or stored in suitable containers to keep moisture from escaping to the freezer compartment. It will also keep food fresher
- Don't overfill the freezer so as to restrict air flow
Manufacturers recommend defrosting twice a year. Here are some tips to make that process less painful.
- Try and plan some time in advance so that you have as little food as possible in there - it will of course need to be removed and will thaw
- Remove any frozen food, wrap in newspaper and store safely in a fridge, another freezer or a cool larder - it will need to be out for a few hours
- If you don't have another fridge or freezer to keep the food in, a few hours before defrosting set the cooling to MAX if possible so that the food is as cold as possible
- Place containers of warm water inside the freezer to speed up the melting process
- Don't scrape any ice off with anything other than a dedicated freezer ice scraper
- When defrosted, run the freezer for a couple of hours before putting the food back in
Search for Freezers with a Front Drain
If you are looking for a new chest freezer, pick one with a front drain port to make defrosting as hassle-free as possible.