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Spring Cleaning Freezer Edition: Tips, Tricks, and Timetables

An organized freezer after spring cleaning freezer tasks have been completed

Having a deep freezer or chest freezer is incredibly nice to save food items longer while not filling up the freezer in your refrigerator. It is an ideal appliance if you want to stock up on food or save what you grow in your garden for use throughout the year.

As with any appliance, you do need to clean your freezer regularly. Depending on the model you have, this may involve removing and reorganizing your food stock or removing ice and frost build-up.

Since you need to do it routinely, add a spring cleaning freezer task to your list.

Reasons to Clean Your Freezer

Freezer after all the spring cleaning freezer tasks are finished.

If you aren’t entirely convinced that you need to clean your freezer often, it may help to consider the reasoning behind the task. The most important part of the cleaning process is going through your food items.

Food has storage limits for safety that you need to adhere to. You should make sure you don’t keep food items too long, and regular cleaning enables you to stay on top of expiring food.

Also, getting rid of food that is no longer good or you won’t eat frees up space for additional storage.

Cleaning also ensures that you get rid of ice or frost build-up that can impact the freezer’s operation. Too much build-up can reduce the effectiveness of the unit and lead to early food spoilage. It could also shorten the life of the freezer.

Recommended Read: How Does a Freezer Work: What You Need to Know

As with anything, you need to clean it because it just makes common sense. You will find your freezer is more efficient and effective if you regularly give it some attention.

When to Clean Your Freezer

Northair Chest Freezer - 5 Cu Ft with 3 Removable Baskets - Reach In...
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You should aim to clean your chest or deep freezer at least two times per year. Cleaning in the spring and fall is often an excellent timetable to use.

You may want to clean more often if you use your freezer a lot. For example, if you put up your harvest from your garden each year, you may want to clean it out every time you add new food.

You don’t always have to do a full cleaning. You may do an abbreviated version as often as needed to remove old food and organize the contents.

Your goal should be to keep it working efficiently and ensure that it does not get into a state where it is not keeping food cool or where you cannot find anything in it because it is such a mess.

Steps to Clean Your Freezer

You can break a spring cleaning freezer task down into simple steps. The whole process is not too complicated, and you should be able to complete it in about an hour, depending on the size of your freezer.

Step 1: Turn off and unplug

Food Network states you should turn off the unit and unplug it before you begin.

Doing this protects you against electrical shock since you will be draining water from it. It will also ensure that the freezer can warm up to the right temperature to begin defrosting.

Step 2: Remove food

You need to remove everything from within the freezer. It is a good idea as you remove items, to organize them. Check dates and contents as you go.

Have a trash can handy to dispose of spoiled or outdated items. You can put the food you will keep in a camping cooler or tote to keep it from thawing as you finish up.

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  • High-capacity, heavy-duty cooler features a charming retro design
  • 54-quart capacity accommodates up to 85 cans
  • Keeps the Ice! insulation offers 4-day ice retention in temperatures as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states it is a good idea to keep a chart handy that lists expiration dates for common food items. You can tape it to your freezer or keep it nearby for when you do a cleaning.

Here is a chart for reference:

Food ItemSafe to Freeze For Time Limit
Egg yolks or whites1 year
Ground meat and stew meat3 to 4 months
Whole ham1 to 2 months
Hot dogs1 to 2 months
Lunchmeat1 to 2 months
Bacon1 month
Sausage1 to 2 months
Steak6 to 12 months
Pork chops4 to 6 months
Roast4 to 12 months
While chicken or turkey1 year
Lean fish6 to 8 months
Fatty fish2 to 3 months
Shrimp3 to 6 months
Chicken pieces9 months
Soup2 to 3 months
Baked pies1 to 2 months

Information in the table comes from the FDA and FoodSafety.gov.  

Watch for signs of spoilage as you organize your food items. It is possible for something to go bad before it reaches its expiration date. Signs might include:

  • Discoloration
  • Odd smells
  • Frost directly on the food

You should toss anything you cannot identify or that you did not label with a date if you do not know how old it is. Keep a marker handy to label items you want to keep that don’t already have a label.

Step 3: Defrost

Once the freezer is empty, you can start to thaw any ice or frost. Keep in mind that you will need to let the freezer drain, so you need a bucket to catch the water unless you are fine with it draining on the floor.

Also, don’t forget to open the drain or remove the plug, or else you will have standing water in the bottom.

To defrost, you can leave the lid open and let nature take its course, or you can speed up the process using a couple of methods. The first option is to use a hairdryer to melt any ice and frost. The second option is to set a bowl of hot water inside and close the lid.

You may need to help along the process regardless of which defrost method you use. Some freezers come with a tool to help chip off stubborn ice or frost that you can use.

You can also use something plastic, like a spatula, but use caution. Do not go at it too roughly, or you could cause damage.

You may ask, “do you have to defrost a deep freezer?” You are smart to ask because many newer freezers have a function that makes it so that you do not have to defrost them.

However, it is always a good idea to make sure there is no frost build-up. Plus, you should do the other steps in the cleaning process even if you don’t need to defrost.

Recommended Read: The Best Chest Freezers on the Market

Step 4: Clean

Once the chest freezer properly defrosts, and all ice and frost are gone, you can clean. The safest and easiest option is to mix one part of water with one part of vinegar.

Wipe down the walls and areas inside the freezer. Also, clean the outside and any removable parts, such as shelves or baskets. Once clean, dry all surfaces with a cloth.

If you have mildew issues, you will need something stronger. Mix one cup of bleach with one gallon of water and use that to wipe the mildew away. Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes before wiping it away. Do not close the lid while you let it sit.

If there is stubborn mildew, you can scrub it out with an old toothbrush. Make sure you complete the cleaning with a vinegar and water mix to ensure all bleach is gone.

For lingering bad smells, you can put an open box of baking soda in the bottom. Change it every three months.

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Step 5: Return food

You can finish your spring cleaning freezer task by organizing your food items and returning them to the freezer. Be sure to plug it back in and turn it on. Make sure the freezer temperature is back to zero or below before putting the food back in.

Recommended Read: Freezer Temperature: A Guide that Will Help You Understand the Basics

When putting food back in, do not pack it too tightly so you can allow for airflow in and around items. This helps them to freeze correctly and reduces freezer burn.

Every item you put back in the freezer should have a freezer-friendly label with a description and date. This is essential to ensure that you know when food items expire.

It also makes it easier to use food from the freezer and to clean it out in the future. If you do not label items, you will have to make guesses that could endanger your health.  

When putting your food back in the freezer, you should arrange it so that the items expiring sooner are on top or in front. Proper organization makes a world of difference. It will significantly impact how easy it is to get food when you need it and as you clean out old food items.

Another trick to better freezer organization is to use similar containers or freezer bags for foods. If you do this, it makes it easier to stack items and fit them inside the freezer.

Once you have everything back in, take note of the free space you have. It is a good time to assess your freezer needs. If it is packed, you may want to consider buying another freezer so that you have more storage space.

Wrapping Up

It may seem like a huge job to do a spring cleaning freezer task, but it doesn’t have to be. The more you clean out old foods and keep it tidy, the less work you’ll have when you do a deep clean.

Make sure that you tackle this task at least twice a year to minimize the hassle. The key is ensuring you organize and label food properly. Once you do that, cleaning is a snap.

Do you clean your freezer regularly? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.

The Best Chest Freezers on the Market

best chest freezers

If you can’t find anything in your freezer without digging through piles of tater tots and popsicles, you need help. Chest freezers can be a handy storage solution, especially if you buy food in bulk or you hunt. They are inexpensive, energy-efficient, and, as you’ll see from our list, can fit in any space.

Chest Freezer FAQ

1. What Are Chest Freezers?

A chest freezer is a freezer that’s freestanding and opens with a hinged lid at the top. Its design keeps cold air in so items stay frozen solid. Chest freezers have an open design, so you can store larger cuts of meat and boxes that you can’t fit in a side-by-side freezer. It also holds more food per cubic foot — about 35 pounds per cubic foot — than a traditional fridge freezer combo.

2. What Size Chest Freezer Should I Buy?

Chest freezers can be placed into four sizes: large, medium, small and compact.

Compact models are about 5 cubic feet, while small chest freezers are between 6 and 9 cubic feet. Medium chest freezers are 12 to 18 cubic feet. Large ones have a capacity of 18 cubic square feet and above.

The easiest way to calculate the size of freezer you need is to multiply the number of people in your family by 1.5. For example, a family of 5 would need at least 7.5 cubic feet of food storage or a small chest freezer.

Midea MRC04M3AWW Single Door Chest Freezer, 3.5 Cubic Feet, White

3. What Choices Do I Have When Considering Freezers?

Defrost Type — Automatic or Manual

Frost may seem like a problem from the olden days since your fridge defrosts itself. But chest freezers get frost buildup that can hinder the energy efficiency and keep the door from closing. A thick layer of ice can take up valuable storage space.

Most of the inexpensive chest freezers have to be manually defrosted. This is a pain. You have to take all of the food out of the freezer, turn the freezer off, and wait for the ice to melt. Then you have to clean the freezer because, why not?

The real kicker is that you have to store your food somewhere else while the ice melts. Auto defrost freezers solve this issue. The good news is these chest freezers don’t get an ice layer. They defrost themselves once a day, and you just set it and forget it. The bad news is you’ll pay more for them, they make more noise, and they can cause freezer burn.

RECOMMENDED READ: How To Defrost A Freezer the Right Way

An Adjustable Thermostat

Basic chest freezers will have a high and low cooling setting. If you need to keep food at a certain temperature, this type of temperature control can be vague. An adjustable thermostat lets you have more control over the temperature. The more sophisticated and expensive models will have up to seven settings.

Commercial Top Chest Freezer - KITMA 9.6 Cu. Ft. Deep Ice Cream...

Shelves, Baskets, and Dividers

These items can help keep foods organized. This makes it easier to find items, and you can change the arrangement as you change the food in your freezer.

Lights

A power light is essential to indicate the freezer is working. You wouldn’t want to plug it in and realize days later that it isn’t on. Interior lights are helpful, especially if the freezer is stored in a garage or basement.

A Freezer Lock

Families with small children want to consider getting a model with a freezer lock. A chest freezer is big enough for the child to climb into and be trapped. If trapped in a freezer for too long, the child can suffocate. Some chest freezers come with locks that prevent the freezer from being opened.

4. Should I Purchase a Larger Chest Freezer Than What I Need?

No. Having a chest freezer that’s too large means it’s not full. When a freezer is not full, the air inside it warms easily, which means the freezer has to use more energy to keep cool

5. Where Do I Put a Chest Freezer?

You can put a chest freezer anywhere you want, but be sure getting to it is convenient.

6. Why Get a Chest Freezer?

There are benefits to getting a chest freezer. Even if you think you don’t need one, you would be surprised how handy it is to have one. Here are some of the big benefits of adding one to your household.

Chest freezers Can Store More

If you have a side-by-side refrigerator circa 2006, you may know the pain of trying to put a jumbo frozen pizza or an economy-sized box of ice cream sandwiches into the space. Things just don’t fit. Add food for a big family or a Costco membership and freezer space is really scarce.

As you’ll see from our reviews, even a 5-cubic foot chest freezer can hold 175 pounds of food.

Danby DCF072A2WDB1 Chest Freezer, 7.2 Cubic Feet, White

Chest Freezers Are Efficient

You might think that having another appliance will send your energy bill through the roof. In reality, chest freezers are energy-efficient and won’t cost you a lot more on your energy bill. Besides. you can really stock up when items go on sale.

7. Do Chest Freezers Have Downsides?

We want to present all sides of owning a chest freezer. The appliance has many benefits, but there are a few drawbacks. They may not be the right solution for you.

Size

The chest freezers on our list are not that large, but chest freezers in general are not known for their small footprint. A chest freezer can take up quite a bit of space. If you live in a place where space is already at a premium, adding another item that sits on the floor may not be a good idea.

Door Clearance

Even though you’ll be tempted to store items on top of the freezer, remember that the door to the freezer is on top. If you pile a bunch of junk on it, you won’t be able to get to the items in your freezer.

Organizing

Chest freezers can be a pain to organize. If you don’t have bins or dividers, the chest freezer is a big, cold box. It can become a junk drawer of food if you let it. Luckily many of the options on our list have baskets and dividers. Of course, you can add your own divider or basket system.

Looks

A chest freezer is also just plain ugly. That may be why they are frequently sent to the basement or garage. Do you really want to go to the dark, dank garage every time you are preparing a meal? Think about it.

How We Reviewed

When you need a chest freezer, you want one that’s going to not have much effect on your energy bill and will hold enough food so you can save money when there’s a sale. Too many times people inherit a freezer that doesn’t fit their needs or they buy one based on price, not on need. This list of chest freezers has solid options in compact, small, medium, and large sizes. It also includes inexpensive models that are quality.

Other parameters we considered were features, how easy it is to move it, and any warranty offered. We chose our ultimate favorite chest freezer at the end of this article.

Midea WHS-129C1 Single Door Chest Freezer

Midea MRC04M3AWW Single Door Chest Freezer, 3.5 Cubic Feet, White
  • Mechanical Control with Adjustable Thermostat from -12 to -28 Degrees (Great for Storing Frozen Food, Ice Cream, Ice,...
  • Contains 1 Hanging Wire Storage Basket
  • Hinge-Style Door Remains Open from 45 to 75 Degree Angles

If you want a space-saver, this Midea model is 3.5-cubic feet: about the size of a dorm-room refrigerator. It comes with two wire shelves along with a wire basket so you can organize the food. It’s whisper-quiet and has a reversible door, which means the freezer will fit just about anywhere. It is a manual defrost unit, but it has a drain to make the process easier.

The compact freezer measures 33.5 inches long by 22.2 inches wide and 20.59 inches high. It weighs about 60 pounds.

Pros

  • Reversible door
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Perfect for apartments

Cons

  • Too small for families
  • Pricey

Warranty

The Midea comes with a 1-year full warranty and a 2-year warranty for the compressor.

Atosa Commercial Top Chest Freezer

Commercial Top Chest Freezer - KITMA 9.6 Cu. Ft. Deep Ice Cream...
  • 【9.6 Cu. Ft Capacity】Size : 40.5''×26.5''×32.5'', 9.6 Cu.Ft chest freezer has a 1-year warranty, and it is perfect...
  • 【Two Interior Baskets】Thanks to the removable baskets, which helps you organize the interior and better merchandise...
  • 【Temperatu Control】This chest freezer foamed in place polyurethane insulation and environmentally friendly (R404A)...

The Atosa Commercial freezer has a 9.6 cubic foot capacity that is a good size for families. It is energy efficient and has a storage basket for easy access to smaller items.

The freezer measures 40.5 inches long by 26.5 inches wide by 32.5 inches high. The freezer has to be defrosted manually but has a drain to make it easier.

This medium-sized freezer has 3 inches of foam insulation so it can hold the contents at a safe temperature for up to 2 days without power. It also has a lock to keep children out of it. The Atosa can maintain a temperature range from -10 to -1 degree Fahrenheit. The unit weighs 106 pounds and comes with four casters.

Pros

  • Good size for a family
  • Child lock
  • Casters for easy rolling

Cons

  • Pricey
  • No auto defrost option available

Warranty

The Atosa comes with a 1-year warranty on parts and labor and a 5-year warranty on the compressor.

RCA RFRF452 Chest Freezer

RCA RFRF450-AMZ, 5.1 Cubic Foot Chest, Deep Freezer Cold Storage for...
  • Chest Freezer with 5.1 Inch Cubic Foot Capacity
  • Defrost Drain for Easy Cleaning
  • Shelf for Easy Organization

This is a small chest freezer with a 5.1 cubic foot capacity and a defrost drain for easier cleaning. The RCA has a shelf to keep food organized. The adjustable thermostat keeps food at the right temperature. The front panel has a power switch, so it’s easy to turn on and off.

The RCA RFRF452 measures 35 inches long by 22.8 inches wide by 30.1 inches high and weighs 72.8 pounds. It does not have an auto-defrost function, and it lacks an interior light. For the price, it is a good option if you have room in your kitchen. It comes in two color finishes: white and black.

Pros

  • Shelf for food organization
  • Adjustable temperature
  • Affordable
  • Front drain for easy cleaning

Cons

  • No interior light
  • No auto defrost option
  • Warranty not as good as some other units

Warranty

The RCA comes with a limited 1-year warranty.

Danby DCF072A2WDB-3 DCF072A2WDB1 Chest Freezer

Danby DCF072A2WDB1 Chest Freezer, 7.2 Cubic Feet, White
  • Environmentally friendly R600a refrigerant | Manual defrost
  • Product dimensions – 39.94” W x 22.19” D x 33.06” H | Internal capacity – 7.2 cu. Ft. or 204 liters | Energy...
  • Front mount mechanical thermostat | Front mount defrost drain

The Danby chest freezer offers 7.2 cubic feet of space and has a few more premium features than the other chest freezers on our list so far. It has an accessible front-mounted thermostat and a handy front mount drain for quick defrosting.

The cabinet and lid have energy-efficient foam insulation. The inside is constructed from rust-resistant aluminum that is easy to clean. You’ll get a wire storage basket to put frequently used items in. You’ll also get a compartment divider to make organizing the freezer a breeze.

The freezer is cooled by R600a refrigerant, which is environmentally friendly. The unit weighs 80 pounds and measures 22.2 inches by 39.9 inches by 33.1 inches high.

Pros

  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Front-mounted drain
  • Energy efficient
  • Divider and basket included

Cons

  • No auto defrost
  • No interior light

Warranty

The Danby comes with a 12-month warranty on parts and labor.

GE FCM11PHWW Chest Freezer

GE FCM11PHWW Chest Freezer
  • With a door that locks to help keep children out
  • Up-front temperature controls are easy to reach and operate
  • Lock with key allows you to protect your valuable food items from unintentional entry

This roomy chest freezer has 10.6 cubic feet of capacity, which is great for those Costco hauls. The door has a lock on it to keep children out of it. There are temperature controls up front where they are easy to access.

This unit is Energy Star-certified, has manual defrost and interior lighting. There are three lift-out sliding baskets that will keep everything organized. A power indicator light on the exterior gives you the reassurance that the freezer is working and your food is safe to eat.

The GE has a temperature range of -10 to 15 degrees. It has seven settings on its temperature gauge, so you’ll get the temp just right. The freezer weighs 114 pounds and measures 50.8 inches by 27.5 inches by 33.5 inches.

Pros

  • Seven temperature settings
  • Interior light
  • Energy efficient
  • Three bins for organization
  • Child lock

Cons

  • Auto defrost not available
  • Pricey

Warranty

The GE comes with a one-year warranty.

Haier HF50CM23NW Chest Freezer

Haier HF50CM23NW 5.0 cu. ft. Capacity Chest Freezer, White
  • Holds up to 175lbs of frozen food
  • Adjustable thermostat control
  • Easy-Access Defrost Drain

If your budget is on a serious shoestring, you can still get a quality stand-alone freezer in this 5 cubic foot chest freezer from Haier. It has a space-saving design that lays flat against the wall. You won’t even notice it’s there. Its price tag may be small, but this freezer can do a big job — it can hold an amazing 175 pounds of food.

This one has a removable basket for convenient storage of frequently used items. Although this model is a manual defrost, it has a handy drain to make the chore less of a chore.  The only downside is it could use more bins, but you can always add your own. The freezer is quiet and has an adjustable thermostat control. The Haier weighs 71 pounds and measures 22 inches by 28.5 inches by 33.2 inches.

Pros

  • Runs quiet
  • Good price
  • Adjustable thermostat

Cons

  • No auto defrost
  • No child lock

Warranty

There is a 1-year limited warranty on parts and labor and a 5-year warranty on sealed parts.

Midea MRC050S0AWW Chest Freezer

midea MRC050S0AWW Chest Freezer, 5.0 Cubic Feet, White
  • External Product Dimensions: 24.7" X 21.7" X 33.5"
  • Contains 1 Hanging Wire Storage Basket
  • Mechanical Control with Adjustable Thermostat from -12 to -28 Degrees (Great for Storing Frozen Food, Ice Cream, Ice,...

Midea makes a second appearance on our list of chest freezers and for good reason. This model is bigger than the other one at 5 cubic feet. It has an adjustable thermostat that reaches some of the coldest temps -12 to -28 degrees. You’ll also get a hanging basket to store items you need the most. The unit measures 24.7 inches by 21.7 inches by 33.5 inches high. It weighs 69 pounds. This beauty is energy efficient, using an estimated 218 kilowatt-hours a year. The Midea is really easy to clean.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Energy efficient

Cons

  • No auto defrost function

Warranty

The Midea comes with a full 1-year warranty and a 2-year warranty for the compressor.

COSTWAY Car Travel Freezer

COSTWAY Car Travel Freezer, 84 Quart Portable 2-door Compressor...
  • 【Large Capacity And Perfect Portability】With 80L large capacity, this refrigerator could hold a great amount of...
  • 【Multi-use Design】Deep chilling down performance, two separately controlled temperature zones, you can set either...
  • 【Fast Freeze】For the compressor cooling technology, this refrigerator could achieve fast cooling between -0.4°F to...

The Costway Travel Fridge has a 54-quart capacity that can act as a freezer and refrigerator. It can cool quickly. In just 30-minutes this unit can go from 90 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a durable ABS plastic shell, is compatible with 2/24VDC and 110/240VAC. This travel freezer is a breeze to use thanks to its LCD display with digital temperature gauge. You can use it as a camping fridge, car fridge, in the RV and while tailgating. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. The unit weighs 64 pounds and measures 34.5 inches by 21 inches by 20 inches.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Cools quickly
  • Easy to read LCD display

Cons

  • High price
  • Not a ton of space

Warranty

There is a simple 90-day warranty with this product.

The Verdict

We love the GE FCM11PHWW Chest Freezer. It has the safety of a door lock to keep children out. Its temperature controls are easy to access. We applaud the interior lighting and its three lift-out sliding baskets that keep everything organized. The power indicator light reassures us that the freezer is freezing stuff.

If you need a smaller model, either of the Midea models are your best bet. They are compact and affordably priced. They also have an incredible temperature range that will keep your food in the deep freeze. Whether you choose our winners or not, all of the products on our list will do a great job of preserving your food.

18 Awesome Ice Cube Trays, Molds, and Whiskey Stones to Gift This Year

ice cube trays

Staying close to home this holiday season doesn’t mean you can forget about creative gift ideas. Many people are already planning their own Zoom White Elephant parties, and novelty ice cube trays are a great, easy-to-ship gift for every demographic.

And if you think “novelty” in this context means shapes that will make your friends and family blush, think again.

There are tons of fun and unique ice-related gifts out there that we promise everyone will love (and that are appropriate for your boss or grandma).

18 Fun Ice Cube Trays, Molds, and Other Gifts for “Chilling” at Home

From unicorns to Star Trek and everything in-between, here are our favorite ice cube trays, molds, whiskey stones, and other gifts for the upcoming holiday season:

1. Glacio Clear Sphere Ice Duo

glacio Clear Sphere Ice Duo - Crystal Clear Ice Ball Maker - Clear...

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Even if just unwinding after a long day, you deserve to enjoy your favorite liquor in style. Ice spheres have been a big hit in craft bars for years, and now you can make your own at home.

The Glacio Clear Sphere Ice Duo is a self-contained ice mold that makes two spheres at a time. We like this version over all-silicone ones because there’s less fuss and fewer chances to spill water in your freezer.

While these ice spheres are intended for enjoyment alongside your favorite whiskey or cocktail, there’s no reason to save them for special occasions. From iced tea to plain old water, fancify your life with some round ice cubes.

2. TrueZoo Iced Out Diamond Ice Cube Tray

True Zoo Diamond Silicone Mold and Ice Cube Tray Candy, Soap, Toy,...

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If spherical ice isn’t fancy enough for you, try branching into silicone ice trays. The TrueZoo Iced Out Diamond Ice Cube Tray makes six jewelry-quality ice cubes.

These ice diamonds do the same job as a sphere or whiskey stone — they keep your beverage chilled without dilution. The flexible tray lets you make extra-large ice cubes without taking up too much space, even in a small freezer.

Use these cubes in cocktails, hard liquors, or as an extra treat in a glass of juice, tea, or water. Kids will get a big kick out of them, too.

3. Brotec Whiskey Stones Gift Set

Whiskey Stones Gift Set - 6 Granite Round Beverage Chilling Drinking...

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For those with a more refined taste, skip the ice cube trays and go straight for tried-and-true whiskey stones. The Brotec Whiskey Stones Gift Set is perfect for any whiskey, bourbon, or scotch lover.

Each gift set includes six granite stones. Unlike some other whiskey stones, these are small enough to fit into any glass. If you need extra chilling power, just add an extra stone to your drink.

The stones come with a wood display stand, two coasters, and a nice box to present them in.

4. TrueZoo Snowflake Silicone Ice Cube Tray

TrueZoo Snowflake Silicone Mold and Ice Cube Tray

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What better way to ring in the winter months than with snowflake-shaped ice? The TrueZoo Snowflake Silicone Ice Cube Tray lets you do just that.

With this tray, you can make 12 snowflake cubes at a time. Real snowflakes might all be unique, but these molds come in pairs (that still leaves you with six unique shapes, though!).

This silicone tray is oven- and dishwasher-safe, making it a super-versatile addition to any kitchen. And at less than six inches wide, it won’t hog freezer space.

5. Barbuzzo Ice Luge Double Track

Reusable Ice Luge (Double Track) - Just Add Water, Freeze and Enjoy...

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There are other fun ways to chill your drinks than with shaped ice cubes or whiskey stones. One of our favorite gift ideas this season is the Barbuzzo Ice Luge Double Track.

If you’ve ever visited a bar with an ice luge, you’re familiar with the concept. Just pour your drink at the top of the luge and let it flow down to the shot glass below. It will be perfectly chilled when it reaches the bottom.

This luge mold features two tracks, perfect if you want to pour multiple beverages at once. It does take about 24 hours to freeze, though, so be sure to plan ahead!

Recommended Read: Is COVID-19 Causing a Freezer Shortage in the U.S.?

6. What On Earth Unicorn Ice Cube Tray

WHAT ON EARTH - Unicorn Ice Cube Tray - Soft Silicone - 9.25' x 8.25'

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Know someone, young or old, who just can’t get enough unicorns? Or maybe you’re looking for the perfect joke gift for an overly macho group of guys?

The What On Earth Unicorn Ice Cube Tray is both shaped like a majestic fantasy creature and makes eight unicorn-shaped ice cubes.

This mold is larger than most ice cube trays, measuring just over eight-by-nine inches. But since it’s silicone, it’s not too hard to store.

7. WAWLIVING Star Trek Starfleet Silicone Ice Cube Tray

Star Trek Gifts Silicone Candy Chocolate Molds Small Ice Cube Trays...

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Despite first airing over 50 years ago, the Star Trek fandom is still going strong. The WAWLIVING Star Trek Starfleet Silicone Ice Cube Tray is the perfect gift for any self-proclaimed Trekkie in your life.

This set comes with two silicone ice cube trays that make 12 ice cubes in total. The two mold styles feature the original Starfleet insignia and the Combadge later unveiled in The Next Generation.

Since these trays are made of temperature-resistant silicone, you can also place them in the oven and dishwasher.

8. NIFTY5 Premium Gold Ice Cubes

Whiskey Stones Gold Edition Gift Set of 8 Stainless Steel Diamond...

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Ice cube trays and whiskey stones fall into three categories: Functional, novelty, and just really, really cool. The NIFTY5 Premium Gold Ice Cubes qualify for all three.

Despite the name, these aren’t actually ice cubes. They’re whiskey stones with a luxurious twist.

Each set comes with eight gold-finished whiskey stones (they’re actually made of food-grade stainless steel). You’ll also receive a set of tongs and a storage tray to match.

9. Tovolo Rose Ice Molds

Tovolo Rose Ice Cube Stackable with Tight Silicone Seal, Novelty Drink...

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Whether you’re trying to up the romance during a stay-at-home date night or know someone who loves gardening, the Tovolo Rose Ice Molds are certainly unique.

This set comes with two silicone molds to make extra-large, 2.5-ounce roses. The two-part design makes it easy to create highly detailed cubes with little practice.

While you can only make two cubes at a time with this set, the molds themselves are compact and nicely designed. Just stack them in a corner, and you won’t even notice the lost freezer space.

10. Paladone Nintendo Super Mario Bros Ice Cube Tray

Nintendo Super Mario Bros Reusable Silicone Ice Cube Tray for Fun...

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Nerds come in all types, and there’s a gift out there for every single one. The Paladone Nintendo Super Mario Bros Ice Cube Tray is a great gift for current gamers or anyone wanting to relive their childhood.

Each tray includes 12 molds featuring 6 iconic characters and items: Mario, Luigi, coins, mushrooms, mystery boxes, and stars.

The ice cubes from this tray measure about 1-inch tall, so these definitely aren’t meant for hard liquor or cocktails. For everyday drinks, though, they’re lots of fun.

11. TrueZoo U Ice of A Ice Blue Silicone Cube Tray

TrueZoo U Blue Silicone Cube Fun Tray for Freezer – Large Ice Mold...

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Does anyone need ice cubes shaped like the United States? Probably not, but the TrueZoo U Ice of A Ice Blue Silicone Cube Tray still looks like loads of fun.

Despite what you might guess, this tray only makes 38 individual cubes. Smaller states (like parts of New England) are combined, and Alaska and Hawaii are sadly missing. If you live anywhere else in the contiguous states, though, you’ll find your state intact.

Give this ice cube tray as part of a gag gift exchange or to someone who loves road-tripping. We also think this would make a great gift for a geography or U.S. history teacher!

12. W&P Limited Star Wars Collection Death Star Ice Mold

W&P Limited Star Wars Collection Sphere Silicone Ice Mold, Death Star,...

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If you enjoy drinking whiskey and engaging with the Stars Wars universe, the W&P Limited Stars Wars Collection Death Star Ice Mold is a must-have.

This mold makes a single spherical ice cube measuring 2.25 inches across. While it functions just like any other sphere cube, this one has details of the Imperial Death Star.

This isn’t the only Stars Wars ice mold available. You can also get a Darth Vader version.

Recommended Read: How To Flash Freeze

13. Stritra 3D Skull Ice Mold

Stritra - 3D Skull Ice Mold (Pack of 2) Easy Release Silicone Mold,8...

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What’s the best way to enjoy some Crystal Head Vodka on the rocks? With skull-shaped ice cubes.

There are tons of skull ice cube trays on the market, but the Stritra 3D Skull Ice Mold is our personal top pick. It makes four skulls measuring about 1.75 inches tall apiece.

Of course, you can serve these ice cubes with any drink you like. They’d be the perfect addition to a future pirate-themed or Halloween party.

14. Viski Lewis Ice Bag and Mallet

Viski Lewis Bag and Mallet Bartender Kit & Bar Tools Kitchen...

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Shopping for an amateur bartender can be a challenge. The Viski Lewis Ice Bag and Mallet is an excellent gift set for anyone who enjoys trying out new cocktail concoctions at home.

Whiskey stones have their place, but there are plenty of cocktails that benefit from crushed ice. This set has everything you need to make quick and easy crushed ice for daiquiris or Moscow mules.

The canvas bag prevents the type of slushy mess created by crushing ice in ziplock bags. It absorbs extra water as you go to maintain perfectly frozen ice.

15. WMA Gin & Titanic Ice Tray

WMA Gin And Titanic Ice Tray Ice Cube Tray Ice Mold Ice Maker

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Next on our list of awesome ice cube trays is another novelty set — complete with a punny name. The WMA Gin & Titanic Ice Tray lets you turn any drink into an ocean drama.

This silicone tray creates cubes shaped like ocean liners and icebergs. There are four of each mold for eight ice cubes total.

The Titanic-themed ice won’t be life-size, though. You’re better off using these cubes in regular drinks than in cocktails like a gin and tonic.

16. Fred & Friends Cat Ice Mold

Genuine Fred Cat Ice Mold, Standard, Grey

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We all know at least one cat lady (or dude). If you don’t, that person is most likely you. Either way, the Fred & Friends Cat Ice Mold is sure to make the cat lover in your life happy.

This food-grade silicone mold creates a large ice sphere shaped like an adorable cat head. You can easily use this to substitute for a whiskey stone or as a cute addition to your everyday beverages.

Because of the detail on this mold, it can be a bit tricky to remove the ice. Once you get the hang of it, though, you’ll never want to use regular ice cube trays again.

17. Fred Cool Jazz Ice Stirrers

Genuine Fred COOL JAZZ Guitar Ice Tray and Stirrers

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Fill the void left by canceled concerts and delayed album releases with a gift like the Fred Cool Jazz Ice Stirrers.

On top of being an ice tray, this silicone mold comes with built-in drink stirrers. After your guitars are completely frozen, just grab onto the plastic neck to stir your favorite cocktail. Even after the ice melts, the stir stick will remain.

Each tray makes three ice cubes with attached stirrers at a time. Just make sure to save the stir sticks for next time!

18. Sparq Home Whiskey Rocks Hockey Puck Chillers

Whiskey Stones Hockey Pucks Chiller Set of 3 - Whiskey Chilling Stones...

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Professional sports might look a little different recently, but nothing’s stopping you from celebrating your favorite pastime in other ways. The Sparq Living Whiskey Rocks Hockey Pucks Chiller set is great for you or any other hockey fan on your gift list.

This unique set comes with three pucks etched with hockey sticks. They’re dishwasher-safe but usually need little more than a quick rinse for clean up.

Thanks to the soapstone material, the pucks won’t absorb unwanted flavors or odors. The puck-inspired shape isn’t as slick as traditional whiskey stones, including not fitting some glasses. But we still love this sports-centric take on beverage chillers.

Break the Ice with the Perfect Holiday Gift

Whether you’re looking for a stocking stuffer or a gag gift that the recipient can actually use, ice cube trays and whiskey stones offer endless possibilities. After all, everyone can use a fun way to keep their favorite drinks cold.

What creative gift exchanges are you participating in this year? Share your ideas (and favorite gifts!) in the comments below.


How To Defrost A Freezer the Right Way

How to defrost a freezer? Ah, this is a domestic challenge that many of us face at home. Whether you live alone or with your own brood, defrosting is part of regular housekeeping. It is the only way to keep your precious freezer clean and functional.

Of course, you can always buy a freezer with an automatic defrost function. But that type is more expensive and consumes more electricity. If you are stuck with a normal freezer, you have to do the defrosting manually. There are many reasons ice builds up inside your freezer, but the fact remains you cannot leave it there. Doing so will ruin your appliance.

Defrosting a freezer is a chore that is not as cool as it sounds, especially if you don’t have the skills. But don’t fret, as this guide will help you face this challenge. With time and practice, you can soon entertain a guest in your home and proudly proclaim that you know how to defrost a freezer. Congrats! Now on to the guide.

What Is Defrosting A Freezer?

Before you learn how to defrost a freezer, you must first know how frost appears inside your freezer. Time for some cool freezer facts!

How Does A Freezer Work?

Consumer-level freezers are sold as separate units or installed inside refrigerators, which is the case in most American households. Whichever type it is, most freezers work the same way.

The cool secret lies in the substance called refrigerant. This chemical substance absorbs the heat inside the container (where you store your food), causing the temperature to drop to freezing degrees. The early refrigerants were flourocarbons/ hydroflourocarbons, but they have been phased out since the 20th century due to its harmful effects to the ozone layer. Modern refrigerants use more eco-friendly chemicals.

spring coil

Image via: Pixabay

Have you seen the coils behind the refrigerator? Inside is the refrigerant working its wonders. It begins as a vapor under low pressure then enters the compressor which squeezes its particles, causing it to increase its pressure and temperature.

This excited refrigerant continues its journey to the condenser coils where it loses its heat but keeps its high pressure. At this stage, the condensed vapor becomes a liquid. This high-pressure liquid enters a small tube, where it drops its pressure suddenly and returns to its gas form. This vapor absorbs the heat, causing the temperature inside to drop, freezing the food inside. The refrigerant then repeats its cycle.

What Is Frost And What Causes It To Form?

freezer

Image via: Pixab​​ay

Unfortunately, refrigeration is not a closed and foolproof system. The temperature inside is not tightly controlled, so fluctuations happen which causes frost to form.

Frost is the “ice” that builds up on the freezer walls and door. In a perfectly controlled environment, these would be ice-free. But each time the freezer door is opened, factors are introduced that affect the system and require users to learn how to defrost a freezer.

Air is obviously warmer outside the freezer. When you open the freezer doors, warm air seeps into the freezer. Because warm air contains more moisture,  it condenses when it hits the coils. The condensed water then freezes due to the temperature inside, resulting in frost.

This ice is not toxic as it is formed from water vapor in the air. However, it is not advisable to eat as food smell can seep into it. The crystalline texture is also different, so it does not feel good in the mouth. Some frost forms like ice shavings, while the rest become solid lumps of ice.

What About Auto Defrost?

Freezers with auto defrost options have fans that keep the warm air and moisture away. (Though this function takes a lot of electricity and makes the appliance more expensive).

This is why you should not open your freezer door wide like you would a window. It is also important to close the door tightly so no air will get inside. Only use the freezer when necessary; take out everything you need in one go.

Why You Should Defrost Your Freezer

One more thing before we learn how to defrost a freezer: a quick science lesson.

Why Do We Freeze Food?

Freezing food keeps it from becoming spoiled or rotten. Low temperature inhibits the growth of bacteria, molds, and fungus. Freezing also slows down the actions of enzymes, which causes food to undergo chemical transformation. Thus, the food keeps its quality and freshness.

This knowledge is an ancient one, as our ancestors made pre-electricity freezers–or cold storage boxes–using ice or snow from the mountains. Using the aforementioned principle of cold-warm air movement, our ancestors kept the warm air from reaching the food by insulating it with ice, which also helps drop the temperature.

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This ancient freezer was done by digging a hole in the ground or using a big earthenware pot. Then the food was placed inside and the container covered with hay, grass, or straw. Then ice taken from the mountains or snowfall was placed on top. The insulation kept the inside temperature low while keeping the warm air out at the same time.

What Happens If We Don’t Remove The Frost?

Woman opening a refrigerator

Image via: Pexe​​ls

Those huge slabs of ice are a nuisance in a lot of ways.

One, frost takes up space in your freezer that can otherwise be used for food. It also makes it harder to close the freezer doors, which will worsen the situation.

Second, it keeps your freezer from working properly. The frost affects the flow of the refrigerant in the coils (attached to the freezer walls). If this happens, despite the presence of ice, the freezer will actually not cool at all. If this continues unabated, the coils and the entire freezer is at risk of breaking down.

Frost King ACF19 Foam Coil Cleaner, 19Oz, 19 Ounce
  • Cleans coils, fan blades, and reusable air filters
  • Heavy-duty foam dissolves stains, removes grease & oil, and loosens dirt
  • Neutralizes odors from standing water in drain pans

Last, having a malfunctioning freezer will defeat the purpose of using a freezer. The food will not cool down. They are also at risk of contamination. The air inside will become warm and stale, thus turning your freezer into a virtual compost pit.

How To Defrost A Freezer

young woman wearing rubber gloves cleaning fridge

Image via: Free​​pik

Defrosting a freezer isn’t as daunting as it sound to be. Yes, it will take time and effort and it can get messy. But mastering this basic domestic skill will ensure that your precious freezer will keep working and not get frozen for life.

Learn how to defrost a freezer in these easy steps:

  • Empty the contents of the freezer.
  • Unplug the freezer.
  • Keep the freezer door open until the ice melts.
  • Catch the meltwater using a drain system or hose.
  • Wipe the freezer dry.
  • Keep the door open for a few more minutes.
  • Put the food back in.
  • Plug the freezer back in.
  • List Element

Other Tips

  • When emptying the contents, it is advisable to cook or eat them ASAP, as returning them to the freezer will affect their quality.
  • For the food you need to return, you can place them in the fridge or an ice-box to keep them fresh while the freezer defrosts.
  • Before you unplug the freezer, don’t forget to turn the switch off.
  • Some freezers have temperature regulator. Don’t turn it off completely; instead gradual lower the temperature using the dial.
  • If you can, move the freezer away from the socket to keep it away from any spills.
  • When you leave the freezer door open, use a wedge to stop the door from closing again.
  • To hasten the thawing process, you can put a bowl or a pot of hot water inside the freezer then close the door. Don’t use boiling water!
  • If there is a big buildup, you can use a wooden spatula or ceramic knife to chisel the frost. Don’t use metal as it will stick to the cold walls and scratch the interior.
  • For thin frost layers, you can use a hairdryer to melt the ice.
  • Place old towels at the base of the freezer in case the meltwater spills out and floods your floor.
  • If your freezer does not have a catch drain, you can use rags or sponges to soak up the meltwater. You can also use a hose and pump.
  • Gently wipe the sides of the freezer to remove any excess moisture before turning the power back on.
  • Melting the ice takes time, so do other stuff instead of waiting for the ice to melt.
  • Keep the door open for a few minutes after drying so the stale air will come out.
  • The meltwater is not toxic, so you can collect it and use it for other stuff like cleaning or washing.
  • Defrost only if the ice is already 1/4 inch thick.
  • If you can, time your defrost a few days before your food’s expiration date. It is always nice to start “fresh” after every defrost.

Conclusion

3D refrigerator

Image via: Fr​​eepik

Defrosting a freezer is not hard, but it takes patience and skill so it is important to keep your cool, so to speak. As mentioned, learning how to defrost a freezer is a valuable survival skill, at least when it comes to keeping your food fresh and your home clean and maintained.

Happy defrosting!

What is the Best Standalone Freezer You Need in Your Home?

When you need to store frozen goods in something more substantial than your fridge freezer, you’ll need to start looking at standalone freezers. But which standalone freezer should you buy? There are hundreds of brands of standalone freezers from all over the world. And while the most prominent names will be familiar to you, you need to also choose between an upright freezer or a chest freezer, interior lighting, exterior controls, and a host of other options.

Also, you will need to consider what your intended use of the standalone freezer will be. Are you storing meat in it, or prepared foods? Will be it be for the cottage or the home? With so many variables to choosing a standalone freezer, it’s impossible to find a one-size-fits-all solution. However, there are several features every freezer should have, and these are what you should look for.

Standalone Freezer FAQ

With all these options and choices, you might be wondering what the best standalone freezer for you is. Go for something that brings value to your life, whether that’s functionality or style or size, but it does have to work, and it has to work for a long time. Whether or not you prefer a white freezer or a metallic sheen is up to you, but you do want your freezer to work consistently.

What standalone freezers are you looking at?

Because style, size, and extra functionality are up to each shopper, the core quality of the standalone freezer is what you should first examine. For this reason, you should stick with freezers that have a reputation for excellence. Most of these freezers are from big brands, such as Whirlpool, Samsung, and Frigidaire. But there are a couple from smaller brands, such as Russell Hobbs.

What core features should every freezer have?

First, every freezer you look at should keep whatever you put in it frozen for as long as it’s plugged into a power source. That means that the freezer doesn’t break down or have random software or mechanical glitches which cause it to fail at its primary task.

Second, the freezer needs to be able to maintain an internal temperature regardless of outside conditions. Whether it’s hot or cold, dry or humid, the inside of the freezer should stay consistent.

How We Reviewed

If your head is spinning as you try to sort out the best way to choose a standalone freezer, you can relax a little. You now know that you need to be looking at freezers which first perform core functions of freezing food consistently and keeping it frozen.

To find the best standalone freezer, compare only the freezers that meet your strict requirements of core functionality. Then look at the extra options each freezer has to find the one that fits your individual needs. There are 10 reliable standalone freezers to consider.

Next, learn a little about where each freezer comes from, its pricing, and what kind of warranty the manufacturer includes. Finally, read some Home Depot customer reviews for each freezer to learn how it performs for real people in the real world.

Top 7 Standalone Freezers

With this in mind, the 7 standalone freezers listed below are the ones you should be considering. Of course, you can probably find a couple of others to add to the list as well, but the ones listed here are available at nearly every major retailer.

1. Frigidaire upright freezer

First up is the Frigidaire frost-free upright freezer. With 13.8 cubic feet of space and three wire shelves, you can store a lot of food in it. The Frigidaire FFFU14F2QW performs its core functions well and even includes “Arctic Lock” walls which keep food frozen for up to two days in a power outage. There is an adjustable temperature control knob and three LED lights inside the freezer.

2. Maytag chest freezer

Next is the Maytag MZC31T15DW chest freezer, which includes a door lock so is most likely intended for garage use. The Maytag chest freezer is fully assembled in the USA and has 14.8 cubic feet of space and two large slide-out baskets for easy organization. These baskets are big, and you can probably store a turkey in them.

This freezer includes advanced foam insulation which helps keep the internal temperature stable despite outside conditions, which is a key component in your freezer search. Also, it features exterior temperature controls, a manual defrost drain, and a 99.9-percent lower global warming potential than comparable models.

3. Danby upright freezer

Next is an upright freezer from appliance superstar Danby. This Canadian company based in Southern Ontario enjoys the largest home appliance market share in North America, and nearly everything they sell gets put together in Canada, the USA, or Mexico.

Which brings us to the Danby DUFM085A2WDD1 upright freezer with 8.5 cubic feet of storage space, three storage shelves and four door shelves, and a mechanical temperature control knob. Also, it has an Energy Star rating for efficient power usage, and scratch-resistant materials keep it looking new.

4. Magic Chef upright freezer

Next is the tiny portable Magic Chef upright freezer. Since the 1850s Magic Chef has been designing and manufacturing appliances, and they still work out of their 150-year old plant in St. Louis, Missouri. This tiny freezer, the Magic Chef MCUF3W2, has three cubic feet of storage space, making it perfect for small apartments or campers.

A reversible door makes it easy to customize to fit your space, and two wire shelves allow you to organize your food inside. The back is flush so that you can put it right up against the wall.

5. General Electric chest freezer

Next is General Electric’s automatic defrost chest freezer. Thomas Edison’s famous company started in 1889 and today is rated by Forbes as the thirteenth largest corporation on the planet. Their chest freezer, the GE FCM16DLWW, is considered garage-ready because of its massive size.

With 15.7 cubic feet of storage space, four large sliding storage bins, and deep-freeze capabilities, this monster is great for meat storage. Also, it includes interior LED lighting, a temperature alarm, a door lock, and an Energy Star rating.

6. Premium curved glass chest freezer

If you want to have that convenience-store look, then you may want to consider a curved glass chest freezer from Chinese conglomerate Precision Trading Corp, which sells appliances in the US under the brand “Premium.”

This 9.5 cubic foot chest standalone freezer features a curved-glass top that slides open, allowing easy access to three-wire storage bins. It keeps food frozen yet has a low energy rating.

Also, there’s an exterior temperature knob on the back of the unit. The Premium PFR950G chest freezer looks just like what you find in the corner store. Also, it comes with a one-year parts and labor warranty and is one of the highest-rated freezers on this list.

7. SPT stainless steel upright freezer

Finally, there’s the small space-saving freezer from SPT. This company is formally called Supentown, based in California. SPT has been around since 2015 and strives to make eco-friendly appliances, so if that’s your thing, then the SPT UF-304SS might be worth checking out.

This small freezer has three cubic feet of storage space with two top baskets and one bottom basket inside. It’s Energy Star rated and runs very quietly. The beautiful dark metallic sheen makes it a fine addition to any home.

Which Is The Best Standalone Freezer?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then so too are standalone freezers. All 10 of these freezers perform their core functions very well, although some do so better than others. The best all-around standalone freezer is the Maytag MZC31T15DW chest freezer. This freezer is spacious, well-built, has great reviews, and comes at a mid-range price point. It also has the best warranty in the business, protecting your freezer for up to 10 years.

If a chest freezer isn’t your thing, then the Frigidaire FFFU14F2QW is your best choice. Those in need of a small freezer won’t go wrong with the SPT UF-304SS.