The choice is between a chest freezer, an upright freezer and a combined fridge freezer so we’ve looked at each in turn.
Do consider power cuts and running costs. Check how long your freezer will maintain temperature without power. We’ve seen as little as 5 hours but you can get 24 or even 48 or more hours safe period.
The advantages of a chest freezer are:
- They’re simple – the more ‘bells & whistles’ the more there is to go wrong
- You get more into a chest freezer because drawer freezers always have wasted space.
- Chest freezers are efficient in that if you open the lid the cold stays in the box rather than flowing out.
- Chest freezers are generally cheaper to buy than equivalent upright models.
- You can get chest freezers in large sizes, great for home food producers.
The disadvantages of a chest freezer:
- They can be difficult to fit into kitchens neatly as the lid is on the top, so you can’t fit them under a worktop.
- Things can be hidden at the bottom and forgotten.
- Generally they’re a manual defrost, but that’s only a ten minute job every six months or so.
If you can not fit a chest freezer in, then an upright freezer. The drawers should help to stop you exchanging room temperature air for cold air from the freezer. You’ll pay more size for size and the running costs are more. Our best buy for a small under-counter freezer would be the Candy CFZE5485W which is A+ rated.
- You may want a large fridge and smaller freezer or the other way around, so the factors in your choice are more complex.
- Our advice is to keep it simple, the fancier the machine, the more chance of something going wrong and half the gizmos that seem so appealing in the shop never get used in the house anyway!
- If you can get a simple machine with separate thermostats for fridge and freezer, do so.
Efficiency Saves Money!
Check the energy efficiency rating. You will pay a bit more initially but you’ll get your money back quite quickly through the savings.
We looked at a small chest freezer, about the size of a washing machine with just under 4 cubic foot capacity and the best buy we could find was the Norfrost C4AEW. It’s A rated and uses around 152 KWh a year.
There is a £30.00 cheaper model, the C4CFW, but that’s C rated and uses 350 KWh a year so you’d save the difference in electricity costs in about 14 months although it looks the same.
Moving up the size to 6.19 cubic feet we thought the Norfrost C6AEW looked good value, although it uses 252 KWh a year. However, the larger Zanussi ZFC622WA with 7.8 cubic feet of storage being A+ rated uses just 212 KWh/year and will safely store food for 48 hours in the event of a power cut. It’s £80 more but well worth the extra.
More Information on Freezing Produce
- Freezers and Freezing Food
- Freezers – Chest or Upright Freezer?
- How to Freeze Food – General Information, Blanching etc.
- Freezing Vegetables – Preparation & Blanching Times Part 1
- Freezing Vegetables – Preparation & Blanching Times Part 2
- Freezing Herbs – How to Freeze Herbs
- Freezing Fruit – How to Freeze Fruits
- Freezer Running Costs – How Much do Freezers Cost to Run
- Freezer Running Costs – Test Results How Much our Freezers Cost
- Running Costs for Freezers Conclusions