Editor's Note: This article last updated September 14, 2015.
If you like to have extra food in storage, a freezer is an excellent option for preserving large amounts of meat, vegetables or other food products for long periods of time. The extremely cold temperature of a freezer slows down the rate of bacterial growth in food and allows you to store items like meat for months, even years. You tend to open these freezers less often than the freezer on your refrigerator; therefore, the food in the stand-alone freezer stays in its preserved state longer.
Stand-alone freezers come in two styles: upright and chest. There are advantages and disadvantages to both styles. You should consider all the factors below when making your freezer purchase so that you buy the best food storage option for your needs.
If you are looking for the most budget-friendly option, a chest freezer is less expensive than an upright freezer with the same cubic feet of interior space. A chest freezer is also more energy efficient than an upright model, so you save money on your electric bill.
Chest freezers have a reputation for being disorganized, forcing you to dig through food to find what you need. However, the newest models include bins and drawers that are sometimes even color coded, so you can neatly arrange your food inside. The best models include interior LED lighting to help illuminate your storage space brightly and evenly. This makes your food easy to find in a full freezer.
This type of freezer is shorter and wider than an upright model and takes up more floor space. You need to bend down in order to put food in and take it out. Chest freezers also need to be manually defrosted, while upright models have auto defrost options. Be prepared to squat and hunch over to clean your chest freezer out.
Chest freezers are also easier for children to get in to than upright freezers. Both upright and chest freezers can come with a lock and key. If you have small children and you are thinking about purchasing a chest freezer, then this feature is especially important.
Because an upright freezer stores food vertically, it takes up less floor space in your home than the horizontal chest freezer. Because of this, if you live in a small apartment or have limited storage space, an upright freezer is a good choice.
The vertical shelves, baskets and door bins make organizing and finding food in your upright freezer easy. These freezers also typically have LED lights that illuminate the interior for visibility.
Upright freezers come with features that are helpful when you freeze a variety of food. Some upright freezers come with a soft freeze zone, which is warmer than the rest of the freezer and allows you to thaw meat or soften ice cream. The best model can even be converted to refrigerators and have LCD display screens that control the interior temperature.
The economical chest freezer is a good option if floor space is available and you will mostly be storing one type of food. With an upright freezer, you can regulate temperature with more finesse in less space, but you will spend more on the appliance and your electric bill. There are many different models available in both upright and chest freezers, and by considering your food storage needs, budget and space, you can easily find the right one for your home.