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It’s almost painful when you have to pass up a big sale at your local grocery store. When your favorite supermarket or meat market offers deep discounts for a limited time, though, a small chest freezer will allow you to take advantage of those sales. Imagine being able to save money on your grocery bills when you can purchase in bulk, knowing you can store it properly for future meals.
A small chest freezer can fit in nearly any home, even an apartment. Many take no more room than a washing machine. If you can find space in a laundry room or garage, you’ll be delighted with the money you can save by stocking up when there’s a sale.
Benefits of a Small Chest Freezer
Although any extra freezer space is a good thing, a chest freezer has several distinct advantages you won’t find in an upright model. The first is that they tend to be much less expensive than upright models. Because of their simple design, there really isn’t much room to add extra costs for the buyer. While an upright freezer can run you from $800 to $1,500, you can purchase a chest freezer for as little as $150 to $900. A small chest freezer can run as little as $150 to $200, and pay for itself in less than a year.
Chest freezers are more energy efficient than an upright model because their design favors a more stable temperature. The flip top lid and well-insulated box provide safer and colder storage than an upright with its massive front-opening doors. They’re also a better choice for storing food when a brownout or power failure occurs.
How Big is a Small Chest Freezer?
You’ll find a number of sizes listed when you start to shop for a chest freezer. Manufacturers list them by size using small, medium, or large to designate their capacity. A small model is about five to nine cubic feet. A medium chest freezer holds 12 to 18 cubic feet, and a large model holds more than 18 cubic feet.
You can also break down small chest freezers even further. Some refer to those under five cubic feet capacity as “mini” chest freezers. Often, these can be small enough to fit on or under a counter. If you really have no extra floor space but need more room to store frozen foods, one of these mini freezers might be just the thing you need.
Choosing the Best Small Chest Freezer
When selecting a small chest freezer for your pantry, you’ll find a few factors that limit your selection. The first is obviously your budget, and the next is space. Hopefully, we can provide you with a variety of the best small chest freezers that fit both parameters.
How we reviewed
Finding an excellent small chest freezer means researching a number of factors. Along with our own experience, we’ve examined the results of several test agencies and consumer advocacy groups like Consumer Reports. We’ve collated data on the models available and compared features, size, efficiency, and upgrades, as well as performing an analysis of consumer reviews available from a variety of retailers.
The Best Small Freezer Models
After performing our data collection and analysis, the following models stood out from the rest for a variety of reasons. We’ve listed them in no particular order since they all performed well in their specific niches.
4.5 out of 5 stars
With 7 cubic feet of interior space, the Frigidaire FFFCO7M1TW features a small footprint and high efficiency. You’ll find the controls conveniently mounted on the front, along with a power indicator light, so you know its running.
Consumer Reports rated it an 82 out of 100, with superior thermostat control and temperature uniformity, it's also highly energy efficient. Consumer Report testing rated this model as particularly quiet and good for keeping food insulated and cold during a power outage.
One of the more impressive features on the Frigidaire FFFC07M1TW is the defrost water drain. While defrosting is manual, the drain helps you control and remove any water during the process. The removable basket lets you store small items without losing them to the bottom of the freezer, which is a bonus.
Frigidaire customer online reviews rated it 4.5 out 5 stars with a total of 99 reviews, with many customers citing the value for the dollar. Home Depot customers were also pleased with their purchase, rating this model 4.4 out of 5 stars, with an 88 percent recommendation rate. Target customers were less impressed, rating it an average of 3.9 stars out of 5. However, many of them seem to have received damaged units, so this may be a Target problem rather than an issue with the product itself. One Amazon buyer provided a 3-star review, based on the company’s insistence on replacing the unit rather than repairing a damaged seal.
4.6 out of 5 stars
Slightly smaller than the 7-cubic foot model, the Frigidaire FFFC05M2UW has many of the same features and efficiency. The front mounted dial control allows you to choose the correct temperature for your food. The power indicator lets you know that everything is in order.
Consumer Reports also rated this Frigidaire model with an 82 out of 100, which we can expect from this trusted brand. They rated the thermostat control and temperature uniformity both excellent and lauded the unit’s efficiency. It also stood up as a good unit when the power goes out and provided minimal noise when running. This smaller model also has the convenient defrost water drain and the removable storage basket.
Customers rating the FFFC05M2UW on the Frigidaire site gave this model 4.7 out of 5 stars with a total of 63 reviews. Most customers were pleased with the storage capacity for the small footprint, stating it was just the right size for a couple. Lowes Canada customers also gave this model high ratings, with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars with 57 total reviews. Target customers gave it 4 out of 5 stars, but again many received items that were damaged during shipping, requiring a return to the store. With only one review on Amazon, this freezer received 5 stars.
4.7 out of 5 stars
Another small chest freezer with high rankings from Consumer Reports, the Insignia NS-CZ70WH6 provides superior temperature uniformity and temperature control with excellent energy efficiency ratings. Consumer Reports awarded the Insignia model 82 out of 100 points based on testing this model for, rating its insulating qualities during a power outage as good. It’s also quiet when compared to other models of its size.
As a Best Buy exclusive, Insignia is a relatively new name in the home appliance market, and it’s reassuring that they’re earning a reputation for quality. The model features front manual control, a power-on light, a defrost drain, and a storage basket.
As an exclusive product and an in-house brand, there are few retail outlets for unbiased customer reviews for this Best Buy freezer. Consumer Reports subscribers offer one review, which was 5 stars. The organization itself gave the Insignia a rating of 82 out of 100. Best Buy customers rate it an average of 4.7 out 5 stars, with a total of 1,255 reviews. Along with reliability, its one outstanding feature may be the low cost of the unit.
4.1 out of 5 stars
- 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
This unfamiliar name has certainly addressed some very familiar problems when it comes to a small chest freezer. Along with a simple-to-use adjustable dial thermostat, the Midea 7 cubic foot freezer has a removable gasket for ease of cleaning. Keeping your gasket clean is one of the best ways to ensure its energy efficiency.
Another convenient feature is the multi-angle door hinge. Its design holds the freezer door open between 45 and 75 degrees. If you’ve ever been bonked on the head by your chest freezer door, you’ll appreciate this feature when loading and rearranged your foods.
Midea has also manufactured this model with an anodized aluminum interior surface, which they say is much easier to clean than the more traditional silicone-lined interiors. Consumer Reports testing rated the Midea 7-cubic foot model 80 out of 100 points, citing its superior controls and temperature uniformity. They were less impressed with its ability to stay cold during a power outage, which can be a concern for those in hot regions or with poor electrical service. Also missing is a power indicator light on the exterior.
Walmart shoppers rated this Midea freezer model an average 4.1 out of 5 stars, with a total of 7 reviews. Positive reviews noted that units were delivered in good working order, performed well, and that the company customer service for additional parts was helpful. Amazon buyers gave this unit 3.9 stars out of 5 with a total of 657 reviews. Again, the majority of the pleased customers noted that the freezer delivered was undamaged and worked well.
4.5 out of 5 stars
This mini freezer is a favorite with customers. With a capacity of 3.8 cubic feet, this small chest freezer is the right size for countertops. Consumer Reports testing revealed excellent thermostat control and uniformity of temperature, but it wasn’t as energy efficient as they’d hoped.
Features include a defrost water line, power on light, and insulated cabinet to protect the contents of the freezer. Even with its tiny size, it includes an adjustable wire basket.
Danby customers give this mini-model 4.5 out of 5 stars, with a total of 11 reviews and a 100 percent recommendation rate. Walmart shoppers also love this little model, rating it 4.8 out of 5 stars with a total of 60 reviews. Amazon buyers rated it 4.1 out of 5, with a total of 456 reviews. While positive reviews cite quick cooling to temperature, complaints about shipping damage made an impact on its overall rating.
4.3 out of 5 stars
While not enjoying any recommendations or ratings from Consumer Reports, this Magic Chef small chest freezer offers value for the dollar. Popular with consumers, it provides 6.9 cubic feet capacity. With front panel dial controls and both power and “running” lights, it offers extra assurance to users that its operating as advertised.
Like other small chest freezers, it only has manual defrost, but the front drain provides an exit for any water buildup. This Magic Chef model includes a coated wire basket for small items. One nice upgrade is the adjustable legs that allow you to level the unit. With many people keeping their chest freezers in basements, sheds, and garages, it’s a nice feature that accommodates uneven flooring.
Home Depot customers rated this model 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 1,500 reviews. Most positive reviews cited the value for the dollar and its energy efficiency.
Tips for Getting the Most out of your small chest freezer
As you can see, none of these freezers met the requirements for Energy Star rating, perhaps because $25 to $35 per year was considered low enough that the cost of re-engineering would outstrip any additional benefit.
Whichever model you choose, the right placement and care can mean the difference between an energy efficient model and a power hog. Many manufacturers claim you can keep your small chest freezer in an unconditioned space that reaches up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit without losing efficiency. But it pays to be skeptical. Note that it may increase your power usage to maintain that temperature if kept in a hot location.
Whenever possible, place your small chest freezer in a cool part of your home, optimally an air-conditioned space. Basements are also cooler than the first or second floors.
To minimize energy usage, as well as frost buildup, keep an inventory of what you have stored in your small chest freezer so you won’t have to keep opening the door.
When it comes to power outages, chest freezers win hands down over uprights, which gain temperature quickly without power. Remember to keep your chest free freezer door shut in the case of a brownout or loss of power to retain the until’s integrity and to your preserve food as long as possible.
Choosing Your Small Chest Freezer
When looking at a list of the best small chest freezers, they all seem to have common elements with very little variety between them. Most freezers of this size offer few extra upgrades. However, most are very affordable and convenient to use. While we hope this list has given you an idea of what to expect, check your local retailers and look for seasonal sales. While the MSRP may indicate a price outside your budget, many local stores run incentives and discounts to reduce inventory.
After looking at your budget and locating a suitable space for your new small chest freezer, use this list to find the most recommended models within those parameters. Extra storage for food allows you to stock up, take advantage of sales, and even preserve leftovers that would otherwise get discarded. You’ll quickly find that these benefits pay for themselves in no time at all.