Do you like playing Tetris? How about putting jigsaw puzzles together? It’s a good bet that when you’re playing Tetris and putting jigsaw puzzles together in your freezer, you get a little annoyed. Nobody likes trying to fit everything they can in the small freezer that’s part of a refrigerator-freezer combo. That’s where an upright freezer can come in handy.
However, what do you know about upright freezers? How do you decide which one will best fit your needs? You may not even know where to begin looking to find the best upright freezer for your situation.
FAQs About Upright Freezers
Everyone knows what refrigerator-freezers are. We all have them. Most of us probably also know what a chest freezer is, too. People know what an upright freezer is, also, but may still have a lot of questions before deciding whether to buy one. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about upright freezers.
What Is an Upright Freezer?
An upright freezer stands upright the same way a refrigerator-freezer does. Unlike a chest freezer, it has a small footprint and thus takes up less floor space. It also has considerably more room inside than the typical freezer that comes with a fridge-freezer combo.
How Does an Upright Freezer Work?
Freezers don’t really blow freezing air onto your food to make it cold. Instead, they use vapor compression to absorb the warm air in your food and inside the freezer. There’s a cycle there that’s crucial to freezing your food and keeping it frozen.
The freezer’s refrigerant (the substance that makes the vapor) starts its cycle under low pressure. When it enters the compressor, its particles get “squeezed,” which creates higher pressure. That, in turn, makes the vapor hot. From there, it goes through condenser coils, which remove some of the heat but maintain the vapor’s pressure.
At this point, the refrigerant becomes a liquid and travels to a metering tube, which regulates the pressure so it can continue moving through its cycle. Once the refrigerant leaves the metering tube, it goes into an evaporator where it’s pressure drops suddenly and dramatically. The evaporator absorbs the heat from the refrigerant, and what's left is a cold vapor that freezes your food.
Where Can You Buy an Upright Freezer?
It’s not hard to find an upright freezer. You can get them pretty much anywhere you can buy any other major appliance. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Best Buy, and your local appliance store all carry at least a couple of upright freezer models. However, you may have to order through these stores’ websites.
Overall Price Range
Upright freezers come in a wide variety of sizes, so they also come with a massive price range. You can buy the smallest ones for anywhere between $180 and $500. These small freezers have less than five cubic feet of space and are suitable for small apartments, offices, and dorm rooms.
Mid-size upright freezers (six to 16 cubic feet) run from $450 to $900, and large upright freezers (more than 15 cubic feet) cost anywhere between $600 and $1,400.
How We Reviewed
We used information from Amazon as well as reviews on sites like Home Depot and Lowe’s to draw our conclusions. Visiting the sites of each brand of upright freezer for information on specs and additional customer reviews helped create a better picture. Then, we created our review by comparing customer satisfaction to features and price.
The Best Upright Freezers on the Market
The upright freezer that’s best for you ultimately depends on your needs. Are you looking for something for a dorm room or a small office? Do you hunt and need to freeze large quantities of meat? Are you looking for a way to store pre-made meals each week? What can you afford? Before you consider buying an upright freezer, think about your needs and your budget. That way, you can make the best decision possible.
Not everyone has the space for a large upright freezer. You might live in a small apartment, or maybe you want something extra for your RV. That's where small upright freezers come in, and below are the three best small freezers that we can find.
Danby 3.2 Cubic Foot Upright Freezer
- 3.2-cu. ft. capacity upright freezer with manual defrost; Integrated door handle for streamline look; Smooth back design...
- Easy-to-use mechanical thermostat
- Maintains optimum freezing temperature
This is a small freezer that’s good for small spaces, and when you have limited storage needs. It comes with two quick-freeze shelves for easy organization, and also comes with a space at the bottom with its door. Its compact design allows you to install it within two inches of a wall.
Customers like this freezer because it stores more food than they thought possible for such a tiny freezer. However, some customers mention problems with leaking refrigerant and with its durability. Some also complain that it takes forever for food to get cold inside of it. Generally, people are satisfied with this freezer, giving it 4.2 stars out of 5 on Amazon.
Whynter 2.1 Cubic Foot Upright Freezer
- Measures: 20" Long x 17.5" Wide x 27.5" High. The noise level is <45 dB and the voltage is 115 volts /60Hz
- Freestanding setup (clearance around the unit is needed).Refrigerant type: R600a.
- Sleek stainless steel reversible-swing door and black cabinet with cylinder lock and two keys
This freezer comes with two removable shelves for organization and a lock, so if you’re looking for something into which your kids can’t get, this freezer may be for you. Like the Danby freezer, this one requires you to defrost it manually. It also has a smooth rear wall so you can install it within just a couple of inches of a wall.
People who have bought this freezer love its compact size and the fact that it's quiet. However, some complain that this freezer gets things cold, but doesn't actually freeze them. It may also be prone to early failure. Customers give this freezer 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Summit 5 Cubic Foot Upright Freezer
Summit’s five cubic foot upright freezer is a little taller than its counterparts above, but it's also slimmer, giving it a smaller footprint. It comes with two interior shelves and three door bins for organization. Like the other small freezers, this one requires manual defrosting, which is something that some people might consider a drawback to these little freezers.
This freezer has 4.8 out of 5 stars on Home Depot's website with 11 reviews. The primary complaint with this freezer seems to be that the shelves don't hold very much weight. Since it's a small freezer, that's not really surprising, but it is something potential buyers ought to be aware of if they're looking for a small freezer.
What if small freezers aren't your thing? Maybe you need more space than what the little freezers above can offer but don't have enough room for something big. Take heart; there is a mid-size upright freezer that may work out well for you.
Danby 13.8 Cubic Foot Upright Freezer
- Height 0; Operating System; Batteries Included; Batteries Required; Number of Batteries; Battery Type; Language;...
- Width: 27.94"
- Depth: 29.50"
Danby advertises their 13.8 cubic foot model as one that works well for families, which means that if you like preparing your week's meals ahead of time and freezing them, this model may work very well for you. It also has a “quick-freeze” function and a temperature alarm, so your food will freeze quickly and evenly, and you'll know whether the freezer has failed before your food goes bad. It comes with adjustable wire shelves and a slide-out wire basket, making organization easy no matter what you're storing.
People who've bought this freezer love its organization system and the fact that it freezes their food quickly. A major complaint, though, is that these freezers can be a little noisy. Also, some customers report problems with the door seal, which makes the freezer work harder and use more energy to keep your food frozen. On Home Depot's website, it gets 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Frigidaire 13.8 Cubic Foot Upright Freezer
Frigidaire's 13.8 cubic foot upright freezer is the same size as the Danby freezer listed above. It comes with three adjustable wire shelves that make organizing your frozen foods easy. Unlike the Danby version, though, it doesn't come with a high-temperature or door-ajar alarm. If something goes wrong, you may not notice it before your food thaws.
One of the chief problems that customers report with this freezer is that it's loud. If you're keeping your freezer in a garage or your basement, that's not really an issue. If you're keeping it anywhere else, that may be a problem. On Home Depot, this freezer gets 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Amana 16 Cubic Foot Upright Freezer
Amana is another name that's synonymous with quality, and their freezers are no exception. If a mid-size freezer is what you're looking for, then you might want to consider Amana. Their 13.8 cubic foot freezer comes with “fast-freeze” technology, meaning it will freeze food very quickly, preserving their taste and texture. It also comes with built-in shelves and door racks, making food organization easy. That's necessary if you're freezing large quantities of food, particularly different types of meals or meat.
Some customers complain that this upright freezer fails after less than a year, which means you don't get much value for your dollar if you happen to buy a “lemon.” On Home Depot's website, this freezer still gets 4.7 out of 5 stars, meaning people do think it's still a quality upright freezer.
What if you want a large upright freezer with storage capacity like that of your refrigerator-freezer? Here are the best freezers with comparable sizes to your standard refrigerator-freezer.
Ge 17.3 Cubic Foot Upright Freezer
- Interior LED lighting lets you see everything clearly so it's easier to find
- Electronic external temperature control make adjusting the settings quick and simple
- Lock and key deter thieves or unauthorized persons from accessing your frozen food
GE's 17.3 cubic foot freezer is perfect for both families and hunters who need to store meat, and one thing that they advertise that other appliance manufacturers don't is that their freezers are “garage-ready.” That means they build their freezers to withstand summer heat in your garage. It has exterior temperature controls and LED lighting so you can see what you're looking for. It comes with two adjustable shelves and four fixed shelves, along with three drawers and four door bins so you can customize your organization.
Many customers complain that this freezer doesn't work as intended. Some are getting error codes on the temperature control, and a few say that the beeps and alarms never seem to stop. To correct that, they have to reset things every time, which gets tedious and just plain annoying. Even so, it gets 4.6 stars out of 5 on Home Depot's website.
Kenmore Elite 20.5 Cubic Foot Upright Freezer
Kenmore makes a big upright freezer capable of storing over 700 pounds of food. This freezer comes with adjustable door bins and shelves, and three interior LED lights so you can find what you need even in the darkest places. It cools down to -30 degrees, locking in freshness and freezing your food quickly. It's also capable of holding that temperature for up to 72 hours, so even if you do have 700 pounds of food in there, it will all be frozen within a short amount of time.
People who have bought this freezer seem to be very satisfied with it. They like the exterior temperature display and the LED lighting inside. The main complaint is that you might get a lemon when you order it, but that's a risk with anything. Customers give this freezer 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.
Frigidaire 20.5 Cubic Foot Upright Freezer
Not many people are unfamiliar with Frigidaire. Its quality appliances and service agreements make it a household name. This particular freezer comes with shallow, adjustable baskets that not only make storage easy, but also make it easier to get to what you want, even if it's all the way at the back. Like their other freezers, this one has Arctic Lock walls, which help keep your food frozen for up to two days in the event of a power failure.
People who bought this freezer love its interior lighting and its organization system. However, it only comes with three door bins, which many feel is a waste of perfectly good door space. Others say that the temperature alarm is too soft to hear, especially if you're keeping this freezer in your basement or garage. Overall, customers are satisfied with it, giving it 4.3 stars out of 5 on Amazon.
Our Verdict on the Best Upright Freezer in 2018
Ultimately, the best upright freezer is the one that works best for your needs. When shopping for an upright freezer, keep in mind how much food you need to freeze and why, along with how much space you have and whether or not energy savings are an essential factor. If you're looking for a small freezer, then we recommend Summit's five cubic foot freezer. For a mid-sized freezer, it appears that your best bet is with Frigidaire's 13.8 cubic foot freezer. If you're looking for a large (or full-sized) freezer, then Kenmore's Elite 20.5 cubic foot freezer is your best bet.