The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

chest freezer? Upright freezer?

berryblondeboys's picture

chest freezer? Upright freezer?

What happens when you do a lot of cooking and baking? You run out of room in that dinky refrigerator freezer!  So, I need to get a deep freezer.

One thing I want to store is flour. Like right now in my area the local grocery store is selling KA flours for $3.35 (normally 4.99). I want to stock up on those. Then, I want to be able to freeze breads so that when I run out (like I will today), I can pull a loaf out of the freezer. Right now, I have room for maybe one or two loaves of bread, but no room for flours. And can I store other things? Seeds for baking?

Then, of course, frozen meals. I home cook everything (start to finish scratch) and I would like to freeze some meals too so that on those nights I dont' want to cook or we're in a hurry, I can pull something out.

My gut tells me to get a chest freezer as they are more efficient and  store more (typically). But, uprights take up a smaller footprint so then maybe I would have room upstairs in the mudroom instead of down in the basement (convenient).

But, if a chest freezer is good - what size? Bigger is not necessarily better. Going too big is inefficient in cooling - more dead air space to keep cool instead of the frozen foods helping it stay cold (cycling the machine less often).

We're a family of 5 - Grandma, mom, dad, a 14 year old boy, and a 5 year old boy. Suggestions? We've never had room for a freezer before.

Marni's picture

I vote for the upright.  I have had a second freezer for over 20 years  (the first was a hand-me-down from and aunt) and would always pick an upright.  Of course, that's what I'm used to, but here are the other reasons, some you already mentioned. 

Smaller footprint, more effecient storage and access.  I don't want to have to constantly slide bins and dig around to find my stuff.

No bending down into the chest freezer to retrieve heavy packages like turkeys.  An upright allows me to see almost everything at a quick glance.

I like the storage on the door too.  Keeps things organized.  It's a good spot for small bags of flour and items that might get lost in the larger space.

Chest freezers are generally more energy efficient, but look around and maybe you can find an upright that's close.  Whichever you get, keep it at least half full for the most efficiency. I keep milk cartons filled with water in the there.  I live in earthquake territory and figure they could come in handy.  They're also good for camping coolers and power outages.

If you want regular, easy access, I'd go for the upright.  I'd also choose self defrosting, just check how that works, as mine tends to drain on the floor, (I think it is designed that way!!) which is fine for the garage, but not in the house.

I hope this helps,


swtgran's picture

I'm with Marni.  I have both and if you are like me, it won't save you any money to have an effecient chest freezer that food gets lost in.  I have thrown expensive meat out, because I was not organized enough with a chest freezer and it got too old. 

As for keeping it  filled.  No problem!

davidg618's picture

I've owned and regularly used both. I abandoned chest freezers for all the reasons mentioned above twenty or more years ago. My current upright sits in the utility room, fifteen feet from my stove, and is home to all my stored bread, and most of my flours. (Reserve flour is in the freezer in the barn.)

David G

Crider's picture

they use far less energy than uprights. When you open an upright, all the cold air pours out. Not so with a chest.

mkelly27's picture

Freezer Fossils.

the accessability of an upright is the main point.  I hated finding 4 yr old roast beef in the old chest type.

Marni's picture

After commenting above, I came across this comment on a blog I enjoy: The qcreport. It's written by Quinn Cummings and she's got a great sense of humor.

She asked what was the most adult thing you've said.  I had to share this one from one of her readers:

My Mom: "What do you want for Christmas this year?"

Me: "OOOOOOO!!! An upright freezer to store all the meat I get on sale at the grocery store!! I've wanted one of those for SO long!!!"



BettyR's picture

I have an upright in my kitchen where I put things that I will use up in a short period of time and a chest type in the garage for long term storage like the side of beef I buy at least once, sometimes twice a year.

I put my like cuts of meats in a doubled Walmart bag and tie the handles in a half knot for easy access and place a looped piece of masking tape on the handle and write what's in the bag. So all my steaks, roasts, cutlets and so on are all together. Nothing is floating around loose on it's own. That way nothing gets lost. Also never buy a frost free freezer for long term storage. You get freezer burn with the constant thawing and refreezing of a frost free freezer.

Leolady's picture

Chest freezer!  I have owned both, and since I have never had space in the kitchen itself, I have always stored my freezer in the garage or basement.

With spiraling electric bills, I prefer an economical chest freezer every time.  As a matter of fact, I just bought two to replace the upright freezer I was given.


curvesarein's picture

Not sure what your budget is. I had a chest freezer and also found digging around hard. I would go with upright if I had room for one. If you cant afford one go to and look for your city and join. I have seen many given away in my small town. Also look on Craig's list. 

berryblondeboys's picture

WHile we buy used a lot, we aren't comfortable buying a used freezer  (or any major appliance). You just can't know it's history.


And after looking, price is definitely a big consideration.

berryblondeboys's picture

I went looking at freezers today at Sears - I'm getting a chest freezer for a couple reasons. One, they are almost half the cost of uprights and cost about half as much to run a year  About $70 to $35 for the same size storage capacity. I like this one because it has it divided into sections - which means NOTHING LOST, swimming around. Plus, will help if my mother in law every wants to store stuff - she's terrible about adapting any more.


Thinking of a kenmore 13.X or 14.x


dscheidt's picture

Keep an inventory.  Put something in, write it down.  Take something out, cross it out.  Keep the list,( and a pen!, one less excuse)  on the freezer, so you don't lose it.  If you don't have the discipline to do that, you can do it when you defrost, but you're likely to lose things, and you'll buy duplicates.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm tall with long legs and have no trouble bending over into a chest type and reaching the bottom.  MIL on the otherhand is petit and can not reach the bottom, so the last freezer is standing with drawers.  She has her two drawers, I have the rest.  I think you should take into consideration that you can reach every inch of the freezer easily.  

The drawers make it convienent to separate and organize--no dispute there.  The drawers also keep the cold air from rushing out when the door is open as the elements are above each drawer and not all of them are open, just one at a time.  I will often remove a whole drawer and close the freezer and dig thru to find the spice I need under better light, replacing the drawer takes only a second.  Drawers are also easier to clean, anytime one drawer at a time.  In cold winter, the drawers can be set outside while the freezer thaws.  My freezer door has no storage space.  It takes up a small square in the utility room and sends off a little heat to help dry any clothes hanging in there.  (mud room?)

There are also half sizes in the stand ups that easily fit under the counter if you have room for it or need to hang jackets above it.

berryblondeboys's picture

Draws would be lovely, but I can get a 14.8 square foot chest freezer with 6 divided bins for $375. To get 5 square feet of drawers (just two) it costs over $1800. That will just never happen.

EvaB's picture

chest freezers, and a fridge with a bottom drawer freezer section, and don't reccomend a frost free anything.

I had a side by side fridge freezer, which was the biggest pain on the face of the earth, multiply a tiny upright fridge freezer by the space down the side of a side by side, and you have wasted totally wasted space, nothing round fits on the shelf with anything else, and bags slide off on your feet when you open the door (this happens even when you've carefully placed them as they move as soon as you close the door, to jump gleefully on your feet) I had to move everything to find things at the back of the shelf (did I mention narrow by as deep as the fridge) which meant holding anything while trying to find what I wanted as there was no counter space near the fridge (you can't count a counter space less than 2 feet long that has other things living on it) I hated that fridge and am going to turn it into aflower box!

I now have a student fridge on a counter cupboard with drawers, that has a tiny freezer and if I could have gotten it without a freezer it would be better. The big fridge is downstairs in the garage, with two of the chest freezers. The only thing I would say, is make sure that NO ONE uses the top of your freezer for "I'll just put it here for right now" storage, as right now turns into years and years, and you have to either give up getting into the freezer or take everything off and put it back on, and suffer from the screams at not being able to find whatever it was you didn't put back in the exact spot! Personally, I want a separate room for my fridge, freezers, and some shelving for storing stuff on. An old fashioned cold room, the freezers run less when kept cooler, and you have no one putting things down on top of them.


rayel's picture

I think youv'e decided on a chest freezer, and for the same reasons I purchased mine nearly 40 years ago. Manual defrost is fine with a chest freezer, as it rarely needs to be defrosted. The lid can be left open for as long as you need and hardly any warm moist air will get in to cause frequent defrositig. Frostless freezers require a warm up phase to keep the frost from forming,  and fans, making it more expesive to operate. The chest freezer just stays at 0 degrees or lower, and the temp is constant. A drain is a nice thing to have as it makes clean up a bit easier. There usually is a drain plug on the outside as well as inside. Either way, if no drain, it is really easy to deal with cleanup. Nice and cheap to run also. Mine is a Sears, made by Whirpool at the time. Today the manufacturing source might be Fridgidaire, and they are still pretty good. Good luck, I think you'll like the chest freezer.  Ray