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Upright vs Chest Freezer: Which is Better?

by Pam Silvia

Table of Contents

  1. Upright vs Chest Freezers [Comparison Table]
  2. Upright Freezers Pros and Cons
  3. Chest Freezers Pros and Cons
  4. What’s the difference between an upright freezer and a chest freezer?
  5. Best Upright Freezers
  6. Best Chest Freezers
  7. FAQs

As you can probably imagine, there are generous advantages to owning a freestanding freezer. While this purchase may occupy considerable square footage in your garage, basement, or spare room, this cost is outweighed by the fact that an upright or chest freezer can provide your family sufficient storage space to keep wholesale groceries or stockpile foods fresher for longer.

So, in the case of upright vs chest freezers, which appliance is the better investment for you? Read on as we tackle this very question.

NOTE: For any featured products, please contact our experts to verify availability and estimated delivery.

smiling mother retrieves frozen meals from Frigidaire Gallery upright freezer

Upright vs Chest Freezers: An Overview

Before delving into the pros and cons of upright freezers vs chest freezers, it might help to first understand how upright freezers and chest freezers compete from a market-position standpoint.

From initial costs to product dimensions, our Aztec Appliance experts compiled a list of decisive information related to the purchase and installation of upright and chest freezers. Check it out below!

Product Attributes Upright Freezers Chest Freezers
MSRP (14 cu. ft.) $600–$800 $500–$700
Installation Costs $100–$300 $100–$250
Capacity 3.0–22.0 cu. ft. 5.0–22.0 cu. ft.
Width 19.5–33” 32–36”
Height 33–72” 28–74”
Depth 20–29” 21–33”
Leading Manufacturers Frigidaire, GE, Maytag, Kenmore Amana, GE, Danby, Whirlpool

Upright Freezers Pros and Cons

When it comes to purchasing an upright freezer, there are critical factors to consider beyond just the price tag. Overall, upright freezers are favored for their efficient and convenient design—it not only enables easy access to your family’s inventory of foods, but the configuration of an upright freezer also makes these models easier to clean and maintain.

Check out other pros—and some cons—related to upright freezers:

Upright Freezer Pros

✓ More organization accessories than chest freezers
✓ Foods are easier to access
✓ Configuration is easier to clean
✓ Takes up less floor space
✓ Auto-defrost feature is available

Upright Freezer Cons

☒ Large items are harder to fit and organize
☒ More expensive than chest freezers upon initial purchase
☒ Less energy-efficient than chest freezers
☒ Faster food spoilage in the event of a power outage
☒ Shorter lifespan compared to chest freezers (10–15 years)

father organizes groceries with daughter in Frigidaire upright freezer

Chest Freezers Pros and Cons

Not to be outdone, chest freezers come with their own unique benefits. As you might notice, most of the pros of chest freezers are antithetical to the cons of upright freezers—and the trend continues with chest freezer cons and upright freezer pros:

Chest Freezer Pros

✓ More storage space than upright freezers
✓ More affordable than upright freezers upon initial purchase
✓ More energy-efficient (and cheaper to maintain) than upright freezers
✓ Keeps food fresher for longer in the event of a power outage
✓ Longer lifespan compared to upright freezers (15–20 years)

Chest Freezer Cons

☒ Fewer organization accessories than upright freezers
☒ Foods may be harder to access
☒ Configuration may be harder to clean
☒ Takes up more floor space
☒ Auto-defrost feature is unavailable

smiling mother helps daughter retrieve food from Frigidaire chest freezer

Upright vs Chest Freezer: How They Differ

To help guide your purchase, we’re taking a moment to expand upon the pros and cons of upright freezers vs chest freezers.

Appearance

From the jump, it’s not difficult to tell both freezer types apart. An upright freezer, as its name implies, stands vertically, possessing a front-opening door and interior shelving for food storage—much like full-sized refrigerators.

By contrast, a chest freezer typically sits lower to the ground, and it stores much more food along the width of the appliance, not the height. In addition, chest freezers also have a lift-up door and baskets (not shelves) for food storage.

Energy Efficiency

As referenced in our pros and cons lists, the energy efficiency of upright vs chest freezers is not equivocal: Chest freezers use up less energy than upright freezers, providing some relief to the planet (and your wallet). This is largely because chest freezers have an airtight seal at the top to keep the food inside fresh. Ultimately, the airtight locking seal means that less energy is required to keep the container cool.

More often than chest freezers, upright freezers are prone to having slight gaps around the vertical door frame, which results in more energy being used to keep your foods frozen.

Storage

In terms of storage capacity, both types of freezers are typically capped at 25 cubic feet; however, there are more 25-cubic-foot chest freezers than there are larger upright freezers in the market, so it could be generally said that chest freezers boast more storage space.

Not only that, but compared to their upright counterparts, chest freezers are also able to accommodate wider and more oddly shaped items. According to Consumer Reports, chest freezers have around 20 percent more usable space than upright freezers.

Installation

For chest freezers, you will also need to consider headroom above the appliance to lift the top. Similarly, the door of an upright freezer must have enough room to swing open without obstruction.

Across the board, your freestanding freezer needs an electrical plug nearby along with one inch of ventilation space behind the appliance to accommodate airflow and prevent issues like frozen coils. For similar reasons inch of width will also need to be added to the width, so be sure to factor in these minimum clearances when you take, check, and double-check your measurements.

Costs

Because chest freezers are more energy-efficient, they cost less money to run. They are also, on average, less expensive upon initial purchase.

Professional installation costs for upright freezers and chest freezers range from $100 to $300 and from $100 to $250, respectively.

Lifespan

Product experts assess that chest freezers outlast upright freezers by about 5 years, which is probably owed to their construction, as they do not overheat and do not have leakage issues. For reference, chest freezers are expected to last between 15 and 12 years whereas upright freezers have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years.

Our Top Picks: Upright Freezers

Now, onto product recommendations! Here is our list of the best upright freezers:

Best Overall

Our top pick goes to the Crosley® 14.1 Cu. Ft. White Upright Freezer (XUF14SMRWW), and it’s not hard to see why! With an exterior electronic temperature control that allows you to easily adjust the temperature and an audible temperature alarm that alerts you when the door is left open for too long, you can rest assured this Crosley freezer will preserve what matters most.

Additional amenities include a lock with key, LED interior lighting, and a Turbo Freeze setting that provides an extra boost of cold air for optimum food freshness.

Best Value

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly upright model, the Frigidaire® 13.0 Cu. Ft. White Upright Freezer (FFFU13F2VW) may fit the bill. With this upright freezer, you never have to waste time chipping away ice thanks to its frost-free design that does the work for you. To account for these models’ inability to keep foods frozen during a power outage, this Frigidaire freezer is specifically engineered with a tighter seal to lock in cold air for two days after a blackout.

This freezer also has a floor-projected power-on indicator so you know at a glance that your freezer is keeping your favorites safely frozen and fresh.

Best Luxury

Our best upright freezer in the luxury tier is the Monogram® 8.34 Cu. Ft. Custom Panel Smart Integrated Column Freezer (ZIF181NPNII). This upright freezer is gorgeous, as the fully integrated column design with a concealed hinge offers a look of seamless perfection that installs flush with surrounding cabinetry. In terms of capabilities, this Monogram freezer boasts a water filtration system, remote connectivity via WiFi, adjustable glass shelves, removable ice storage, and multiple slide-out bins.

product image of Frigidaire FFFU17M1QW upright freezer

Pictured: Frigidaire 17.4 Cu. Ft. Upright Freezer (FFFU17M1QW)

Our Top Picks: Chest Freezers

Our best chest freezers come courtesy of Whirlpool, Danby, and Samsung:

Best Overall

If you ask us, the best chest freezer is the Whirlpool® 22 Cu. Ft. Chest Freezer - White (WZC3122DW). There's always room for your frozen favorites inside this 22-cubic-foot capacity chest freezer. Spills are a snap to wipe up with smooth, rounded Easy Clean Corners, and you'll be able to keep food safe in this chest freezer with the secure key lock. Plus, three large storage baskets give you more options to organize your frozen favorites.

Most conveniently, this Whirlpool freezer has a defrost drain with a hose adapter so you can defrost your freezer with ease—just attach the hose adapter to the defrost drain to easily remove water when preparing to defrost and clean your chest freezer.

Best Value

The Danby® Diplomat® 7.0 Cu. Ft. White Chest Freezer (DCF070B1WM) is one of the most popular freestanding freezers on the market due to its excellent energy efficiency and superb temperature quality. This chic unit comes with 7 cubic feet of storage space, making it the ideal freezer for families. Keeping your most popular food items together and well organized is a breeze with the adjustable wire basket.

This dependable appliance features a manual defrost function and defrost drain along with a front-mounted, state-of-the-art mechanical thermostat. The smart interior liner is designed for quick and easy cleaning, and moving the appliance is almost effortless due to the two rear rollers—but best of all, this Danby chest freezer won’t cost you a pretty penny.

Best Luxury

If there’s one thing that is known about Samsung, it’s that the brand breeds innovation. And the Samsung 7.6 Cu. Ft. Silver Kimchi & Specialty Chest Refrigerator/Freezer (RP22T31137Z) is no exception. Essentially a spacious chest with different temperature settings that you can adjust with the push of a button to convert from a fridge to a freezer, this Samsung appliance is equipped to store, preserve, and ferment specialty foods at their optimal temperatures.

product image of Whirlpool WZC3122DW chest freezer

Pictured: Whirlpool® 22 Cu. Ft. Chest Freezer - White (WZC3122DW)

Freestanding Freezers FAQs

Q1. Is a chest freezer better than upright?

Many product experts would open that, yes, the benefits of chest freezers may overtake those of upright freezers. Compared to their upright counterparts, chest freezers are more energy-efficient, have a longer life expectancy, are less expensive to purchase and maintain, have more usable storage space, and keep food fresher for longer in the event of a power outage.

Q2. What is the best type of freezer to buy?

It depends on your needs. Upright freezers occupy less floor space, which bodes well for smaller living spaces, and are more accessible and easier to clean for seniors and people with disabilities. By contrast, a chest freezer has more storage space, making it a more conducive option for larger families, and has lower freezer costs, if budget is normally a constraint.

Q3. What freezers are suitable for the garage?

Both upright and chest freezers are suitable for garages. That said, your freezer’s compressor has to work overtime to maintain its interior temperature when it is very hot in your garage, and conversely, when it is too cold, the compressor may shut off, causing your food to thaw. So, keep an eye out for freezer models that are marketed as “garage-ready” or premium versions that have a “turbo” or “boost” setting.

Shop for Freezers at Aztec Appliance!

At Aztec Appliance, our mission is not only to help you achieve your appliance dreams, but we also want to bring value to your home beyond materialistic amenities. Our hope is to give you the opportunity to bring purpose back to dinner time.

If you have any questions regarding our upright or chest freezers, feel free to contact our Aztec Appliance team at (858) 987-5777 or visit us at our San Diego, CA location. More accessible than ever, our experts can also be reached via chat!