Buying a Freezer -- Frost-Free or Not ... Upright or Chest ... And other considerations
Examples of Freezers
Over the years I’ve purchased several freezers for the house, and the main decisions come down to whether to purchase a regular freezer or a Frost-Free model … or an Upright Freezer or a Chest Freezer. Awhile ago my older freezer was not working efficiently, and once again I had to examine pros and cons.
Frost-Free or Not
I have owned both types of freezers, and there are benefits to using a regular freezer versus a frost-free model.
Basically, a frost-free model periodically heats up the cooling coils of the freezer in order to melt any forming frost. A timer controls the heating action. This “extra” heating/cooling action uses more electricity, so a frost-free model is not as energy conservative. Also, the heating and cooling cycles may not be the best option for meat storage, since the outside of the meat might thaw a bit and refreeze. So if you are purchasing a freezer primarily to store meat, then you may not want to invest in a frost-free model.
On the other side of the decision is ease of care. A frost-free model automatically takes care of frost and ice build-up. This is a great convenience and time saver. I have manually defrosted many a freezer that did not have the frost-free option. Not only does it take a slice of the day to empty the freezer and let the frost melt, but then you have to remove the melting water from the freezer. Since my freezer is in the basement, it also means multiple trips up and down a flight of stairs (there is no sink in the basement). Plus, once the freezer has fully defrosted, I have to make sure all the interior walls are completely dry … or else the leftover moisture will freeze.
Another consideration is that a regular freezer tends to run quieter. Since my freezer is located in the basement, this is not a concern.
After having lived with both types of freezers, and needing to replace the old regular freezer, I bought a frost-free model. I love its ease of use. These days the freezer primarily holds vegetables, frozen pizza, French fries, pies that I have baked and frozen, some Lean Cuisine and other dinners, loaves of bread (homemade and store-bought), and one large turkey. I notice that with the frost-free model freezer, the bread keeps better than in the regular freezer. Also, the turkey is so large (and very frozen) that the heating/cooling cycle for defrosting has not bothered it.
Chest Freezer or Upright
For me, the decision was simple. I much prefer an upright freezer. The shelving and door bins make it much easier to store and select items. It can see just about everything at a glance. I hate digging through a chest freezer. It never fails that what I want has somehow migrated to the bottom of the pile.
However, during a power outage, a chest freezer holds the “cold” longer than an upright freezer. If you live in an area where the power fluctuates or is known for going out, then a chest freezer might be a better option. Particularly if you are freezing lots of meat, the longer a freezer stays cold, the better.
Another consideration is space. Going vertical is space-saving, whereas a chest freezer needs horizontal real estate.
Cubic Feet – How Large is Too Large?
A rule of thumb is to buy a freezer that you plan to keep at least two-thirds full. Otherwise, you will experience wasted energy. Also keep in mind what size family you have and your food freezing habits. For instance, I grow a large garden every year and freeze the produce. I also need room to store a large turkey and the breads and pies I bake. Years ago when more people lived in the house, we bought meat in bulk and froze it.
The more bells-and-whistles a freezer has, the more expensive it will cost. Some things to note: Does the freezer include a light? A door lock for safety (you want to make sure a freezer is childproof). Does the freezer have an alarm that sounds when the door is left open or if the temperature drops? What type of temperature control does the freezer have, and is it easily accessible? Also look at the Energy Star rating to compare energy cost between different freezer models.
I hope you found this guide to buying a freezer useful.
Enjoy the day,
Copyright 2010 Dawn L. Stewart
Joined:May 31, 2002
Dawn Lesley Stewart is the author of "Mist-Seer" and "Harriet's Horrible Hair Day". She is an avid writer, and enjoys sharing her experiences with others.
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