Chest Freezer

While buying in bulk is the cheapest way to shop for food, storing it all can sometimes be a problem.  Most fridge freezer combinations just don’t have enough freezer space to allow you to keep a large number of items, or ones that happen to be bigger in size.  A chest freezer is more often than not the best solution.

What Is A Chest Freezer?

A chest freezer is a stand alone unit that functions only as freezer.  As opposed to the freezer section of your refrigerator which opens outwards these open from upwards like a chest. They come in various sizes and capacities to fit your space and food storage requirements.

Advantages Of Using A Chest Freezer    

Buy in Bulk And Save $$$

With the best deals today available when you buy in bulk you really need to have the storage space to benefit from doing so.  And chest freezers can store a lot of food which can add up to serious savings over time, particularly for people with quite a few members in their family.  But, they can also work just as well for students and people living alone helping them get in on the savings as well.

Inexpensive For What They Provide

For the size and storage capacity and you get for your money, chest freezers are a relatively inexpensive investment that will help you to save more money on food.

Chest Freezer

Save Time

Savings can be measured in more than cash.  Time is the one thing we all have a limited amount of and not having to shop on a weekly basis or run out of the house to purchase ingredients at the last minute will save you a ton of it.  Add in the time and stress wasted sitting in traffic, getting to the supermarket itself, and actually finding parking, and it becomes crystal clear why being able to buy large quantities at a time is a smarter idea.  For people who live far away from where they shopping buying in bulk lets them save on gasoline as well since they won’t have to go nearly as often.

Extra Convenient

Since they are much bigger than standard fridge freezer boxes or upright freezers they are also more convenient.  You won’t have worry about not being able to fit very large items like meats or oddly shaped ones inside. Having no vertical shelving units lets you organize your foods much more easily and you can place them right on top of one another to save space. There are also many sizes too choose from which let even people who live in small spaces enjoy big savings or those who have the space for a larger freezer to save even more. And of course there are a wide array helpful features and options too.

Chest Freezer

 

Choosing The Best Chest Freezer

Considering a few things first will help to make the process of choosing the best chest freezer for your needs easy.  Such as:

Size And Capacity

How much food you will be using your freezer to store is probably the most important consideration of all since this will be the main function of your appliance and help you to determine which size to choose.  The more food you will be keeping the larger the freezer you will need.

Where you will be keeping the unit may influence the size you choose as well.  Someone who will be keeping their chest freezer in an attached garage for example will most likely be able to purchase a larger unit than someone living in a dorm or studio apartment.  So be aware of any space restraints you may have.

Chest Freezer

Be sure to measure your space before you buy so you know just how much room you have to work with.  Your chest freezer will also need to be placed a few inches away from the wall on all sides for the best air clearance so take that into consideration as well. And remember because the lid opens upwards, it would be a smart idea to know the height of the unit you are considering plus the height of the lid when fully opened, if you do have any overhead space restrictions.

So What Are Common Chest Freezer Sizes?

These appliances can really range in size.   Their size is determined by how many cubic feet of storage they can hold. Typically that means anywhere from about 3.5 up to 24 cubic feet at the largest.  Small narrow chest freezers generally are from 3.5 to 6 cubic feet.  They are ideal for singles, college students, or anyone living in an apartment or smaller space. A small chest freezer could also work for two people if they don’t need too much storage and is a great way to keep extra items that are too big to fit in the fridge freezer.   On average expect to pay somewhere around $250 for one of these.

Chest Freezer

Medium chest freezers run from about 7 to 14 cubic feet and are considered big enough to serve two or three people. However they could be great for larger families also, if they are buying in bulk and restocking every month or so.  While these are bigger many are still light enough to move around without a hassle.  Medium size units cost about $400.

Large chest freezers range from 15 to 24 cubic feet and will be able to store everything a family of four to a family of six needs.  For outdoorsmen who are storing a large quantity of meat and fish they are a must-have item.  Since chest freezer prices are relative to their size you’ll have to pay more for one, somewhere around $700 depending on the brand, features, etc.

Common Chest Freezer Features

Some consumers prefer their chest freezer to have certain features the more features you have the more the unit will usually cost.  Depending on what you are using it for and personal preferences certain features may or may not be important to you.  Having a lock for example will keep other family members from getting their hands on your favorite ice cream.  Chest freezer locks are also a smart idea for safety reasons if you have children, grandchildren, or will be having guests that do.

Chest Freezer

Of course a chest freezer basket for ice and other small lightweight items can be very helpful as can compartment dividers for easy organizing.  Some units particularly the larger ones, may offer a light inside to help you see the contents, which may be a nice extra if you are keeping it in a dimly lit room or looking for something very deep down.

Another feature which many consumers often like is a freezer alarm, also sometimes called a temperature alarm.  These are set to automatically trigger an audible alarm to let you know if the temperature in your freezer is above a certain amount of degrees which could mean food spoilage if not corrected.  These can also be bought separately if your unit does not come with one.

A “power on” indicator light will let you know just by taking a quick glance at your unit that it is on, without having to open it up and check.  Adjustable legs will help to keep it level on an uneven floor and can help with air circulation too.  Having casters (wheels) will help to move your freezer with minimal effort although many, but not all, chest freezers are fairly light in weight for their size. Some even have two adjustable legs while the other two are casters, it depends on the model.

Chest Freezer

Many consumers actually ask about frost free chest freezers after having owned a frost free refrigerator.  The frost free feature simply means that the unit will defrost itself.  Frost free chest freezers are more expensive, use more energy, and cause more freezer burn. For these reasons the   the vast majority of chest freezers are “manual” units which means they will eventually have be defrosted manually.  Defrosting is not a big deal and does not have to be done often. It simply means thawing the unit out, cleaning it, removing the excess water, and re-adding your food to be frozen.  Having a unit that has a plug and drain will make this process a snap.

Energy Consumption

Picking a freezer which uses less energy will add up to savings on your electric bill that can be quite substantial on a yearly basis.  Buying a cheap chest freezer that is expensive to run will cost you more over time.  Many of the best options are Energy Star certified which means they work voluntarily in conjunction with the EPA(Environmental Protection Agency) and DOE ‘s (Department of Energy) energy efficiency program.  If they are certified they will have a yellow sticker telling you the estimated cost of their annual electricity usage. While this is a program in the United States since it has saved so much money and energy, many other countries use the same system, such as: Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union.  Homeowners who have a solar panel setup already, are interested in living “off the grid,” or live in very rural areas, may choose to use a solar powered chest freezer like the one shown below.

Chest Freezer

Color

Color can be an important factor for some people since they may be looking for their appliance to brighten up a dull room or match their fridge, microwave, or oven. However with these you won’t find a ton of bright and bold color options like with compact refrigerators or some other appliances.  Other than white, there is not too much to choose from.  Black chest freezers can be an attractive option that’s a little different from the norm.  If you have other black appliances or even a black kitchen sink or countertop choosing one can be a great idea.   Most stainless steel chest freezers units are actually made for commercial use.  However for those who love the look of silver or have stainless steel appliances, some manufacturers offer white freezers with a stainless steel silver top.  Or you may even be able to find a silver chest freezer; these usually have a body which is silver or platinum colored and a matching stainless steel top as well.

Should You Buy A New Or Used Chest Freezer?

Buying New

This depends on your budget and again personal preference.  When buying new you often have the advantage a warranty on both the freezer itself and the compressor.  Many times this can be for up to two years depending on the manufacturer.  Locally you can wait for a chest freezer sale or simply buy online.

Chest Freezer

Purchasing online is usually the best choice since you’ll have much more to choose from and the majority of the time better deals.  A bonus is that free shipping is usually standard for heavier items and appliances like freezers.  Most sites that sell them will also have chest freezer reviews from consumers who have already purchased the exact model so you can quickly find out its pro’s and con’s.  The majority of the time prices on the internet for new units are actually often actually cheaper than buying second hand privately.

Buying Used

If you do decide to buy a second hand chest freezer the best option is first to ask around. You never know you may get lucky and have friends or family members who own a barely used unit they’ll give you for a very fair price. Checking the local newspaper for a “chest freezer for sale,” advertisement is also a smart idea as is checking ads online.  A local restaurant that is going out of business might be an opportunity for a steal.

And of course homeowners who are moving many times will give larger appliances away for pennies on the dollar which could be mean phenomenal chest freezer deal particularly if they will be relocating far away or to a smaller place of living and can’t bring it with them.  However these may be rare opportunities and you may need to hire someone to both pick it up and deliver it to your home.

Chest Freezer

Checking that the freezer and all of its components are in good working order before purchasing a used unit, is a must.  Be sure to check for rust and leaks which could be a sign of problems to come or an already existing one.  Ask for any paperwork that came with freezer so you’ll know how old it really is, the exact model, and any other relevant information.  Don’t just go for any deal you find though, it has to be one which still fits in your space and has the capacity you need.  You may have to pass on some of the features and color you prefer as well, since finding a used chest freezer that fits your criteria exactly could be a challenge.

Best Chest Freezer Brands

Like with every appliance purchase it is always smart to purchase from a reputable and well-known manufacturer.  Luckily this is one type of appliance that has many excellent brands to choose from.  That’s because most of them also are top manufacturers of refrigerators, fridge freezers,  air conditioners, and even other appliance like washing machines.  Midea, GE, and Frigidaire chest freezers are all top rated and excellent quality.  Igloo, Haeir, and Danby chest freezers also make a fantastic buy.  And don’t overlook Kelvinator and Norfrost either.  For solar powered units Sundanzer is a winner.

Chest Freezer

Be sure to keep the above tips and information in mind when purchasing a chest freezer.  If you do, you’ll be sure to end up with a unit that fits your space, needs, and will save you cash.  And of course don’t forget to read the extra tips below to save more space, energy, money, and the flavor of your food!

Extra Tips

Organizing Your Chest Freezer Like A Pro

While organizing a chest freezer is much easier than with other types of freezers there are a few tricks many people use to do so.  While, none of these are a “must,” they may make your life easier.

 Bins For Order

A very simple yet helpful method of organizing is to use bins.  Stackable recycling bins to be exact, like the ones shown in the image below.  And if possible use ones that have handles for easy lifting.  These can really make finding items you need quickly a cinch, particularly ones which may be located on the bottom of the freezer. All you need to do is purchase a few bins that can easily fit in your freezer and separate your foods into types depending on what you’ve got.  For example you could use “poultry,” “red meat,” “fish” and “vegetables”.   Label each bin with one type.  Place each item into the appropriate bin, stack the bins inside your freezer and you’re done! Just make sure you leave a little space in-between the edge of your freezer walls and the baskets, and place heavier foods on the bottom such as meats.

Chest Freezer

 

Color Coded Containers

For keeping smaller items organized many people use plastic containers.  And instead of labeling they go with a simple color coded system. So meats could be red while seafood is pink, it’s up to you!   Of course you could also use containers in conjunction with bins.

Reusable Shopping Bags

Another easy way to go is to use an item many people wouldn’t think to use in a freezer. Reusable shopping bags can work too. And since they have long handles for carrying they are easy to pull out from even the deepest part of your chest freezer.  While they might not be as attractive as bins or containers, they are dirt cheap.

 Making Food Last Longer and Taste Better

A little pre-freezing preparation can often go a long way when trying to preserve your food for the longest amount of time possible. There are two tools that greatly increase both the shelf life of the items you are planning to freeze but also the taste, freshness, and texture.   A vacuum sealer lets you store your foods without any oxygen in the bag which can allow for many foods to be kept up to five times longer when frozen.  Since vacuum sealed foods are neatly packaged and less bulky they also save a lot of space in the freezer.  A blast freezer can also be used to blast freeze foods(freeze very quickly at very low temperatures) stopping bacteria in its tracks, and sealing in the flavor, natural juices, and allow it to be keep its nutritional value.  Using one or both of these before placing food in your chest cooler will make a huge difference.Chest Freezer

Use Less Energy

By adding a few used milk, juice, or water jugs filled with frozen water to your chest freezer you will help to keep your unit at a level temperature.  This will equal your appliance needing less energy to maintain that temperature. This can also help to keep the temperature cool inside your freezer if your lose electricity for an extended period of time. Freezers that are full of frozen items will also help to keep the temperature constant and require less energy to regulate.  Many people don’t realize that an empty chest freezer will use more electricity than a full one because of this.

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