What to Look for When Buying a Chest Freezer
Unlock the secrets to smart chest freezer shopping with our exclusive buyer's guide! Everything you need to consider when purchasing a chest freezer.
A chest freezer differs from an upright freezer in that it opens from the top rather than the side. This has the advantage of being able to provide more storage, especially for oversized items - think Christmas turkey!
Why Buy a Chest Freezer?
Simply put, 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 leftovers for use later on
Read on for our top tips and jargon busting buyers guide!
Chest Freezer Sizes
A chest freezer is roughly the same height and depth as a kitchen worktop. The width will vary depending on the capacity. A 100 litre freezer is about 60cm wide, while a 300 litre one is about 112cm wide
The Important Bits
Chest Freezer capacity is measured in litres (and sometimes cubic feet). There are generally two measurements - gross and net.
The net figure is the important one as this is the actual total space that you can use to store food.
A counterbalanced lid means it will stay open at a set angle and won't slam shut on you - great for loading up a big shop.
Energy Consumption, Rating
Every electrical appliance is now rated on a scale from A to G for it's energy use. A is the best while G is the worst. Most chest freezers are rated as F. The rating scale for appliances changed in March 2021.
In addition to the rating, most manufacturers quote the average annual electricity usage, measured in kilowatt hours (kWh).
One kWh = one unit of electricity
Therefore, a freezer quoted as using 200 kWh per year will use 200 units. That's an annual cost of around £60 given an average electricity unit cost of 30p.
Many chest freezers, even the budget models, have fast freeze which freezes food quickly but still retains freshness and texture.
This is especially useful when you fill the freezer up with a lot of items that have been at room temperature, or if you have just done a big shop.
Budget models usually have a switch that you operate manually to switch onto fast freeze, while more expensive models will automatically sense the temperature and adjust accordingly.
Food Safe Time
The length of time that a freezer can keep food safe to eat in the event of a power failure. Most chest freezers can manage at least 12 hours - this should be plenty of time in most powercut situations.
Did you Know?
Food that is frozen straight after picking or preparing is as good as fresh food
Frost Free Chest Freezers
It is unusual to find a completely frost free freezer (that is one that does not need to be defrosted regularly to remove the large deposits of ice that can build up inside) due to the very low temperatures.
Front Drain Port
All freezers can be manually defrosted and we recommend you do this according to the manufacturers instructions.
Look for those that have drain ports located at the front of the cabinet (as opposed to round the back) that make it much easier to collect the water as the ice inside melts.
Ideal to keep the kids away from the ice creams, and to deter casual thieves who might be looking for easy pickings in more insecure outbuildings.
Noise output is measured in decibels (dB). More expensive models will dampen the vibration of the compressor, and so operates more quietly.
Lower noise output is more desirable if the freezer will be kept in the home such as in a kitchen or hallway, but it won't really matter if you are keeping it outside somewhere.
It is also important to consider the effect of heat too. There should be good ventilation in the location you have chosen for your freezer and should generally not exceed 32 - 40 degrees Celcius.
You should also ensure that there is space around the freezer, particularly the back where the heat is expelled, so that your freezer is always at peak efficiency.
Where to Keep Your Chest Freezer
You need to consider where you are going to put such a bulky appliance. Many people decide to keep their freezer in a garage or outbuilding.
These places can get close to freezing during the winter - funnily enough some freezers don't like this, and are designed to work down to a minimum temperature of around +10 degrees Celsius.
You could risk it and probably suffer no consequences - just remember that if a fault does develop that the manufacturer may not honour the warranty.
Some manufacturers have specifically designed and tested their products for use in unheated outbuildings - look for winter guard or winter security features.
Other useful features to look out for:
- Roller feet for easy movement
- More than one basket supplied
- Interior light
Find the Best Chest Freezer for Your Needs
Now that you're an expert on chest freezers, see all currently available Chest Freezers and start stocking up on that cheap frozen food!