Upright Freezers: A Complete Buying Guide

Midea WHS-109FW1 Upright Freezer, 3.0 Cubic Feet, White

Upright freezers become a basic kitchen necessity when the need for more freezing space arises. For instance, you may already have a refrigerator/freezer combo appliance in your kitchen that does an excellent job already. But just maybe the freezer space is already grown too small for your freezing needs and you need extra freezing space. You’ll need a separate freezer in your space to get the job done.

One reason that some users pick upright freezers over other freezer types is that upright freezers provide a defined organization for your food items for easy accessibility.

What’s even more exciting about upright freezers is that they are quite easy to relocate and they take up only a small portion of your floor space. They also tend to get through standard-sized doorways and hallways easily.

Sounds like a list of exciting features already, right? We thought so too. However, all these features make upright freezers more expensive than other types of freezers.

So, we sat down and had to think about the fact that since upright freezers come at relatively higher prices, the last thing anyone wants is to get the wrong upright freezer. To avoid a double tragedy of the sort, we decided to carry out thorough research on upright freezers. This comprehensive buying guide is the product of that research.

Keep reading to learn more…

Reasons Why People Buy Upright Freezers

Upright freezers among other reasons are useful for individuals, households, and restaurants who tend to store large quantities of perishable foods frequently.

For instance, a hunter who goes hunting regularly and finds game easily will need some preservation for his meat. The same goes for a fisherman who catches fish regularly.

Those with medium to large households also need freezers to store foods like meat and fish in large quantities. This will reduce the number of trips made to the market, butcher’s shop, or grocery store. It will, in turn, help you save up on gas bills.

What’s more? You can rest assured that if you are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that there’s always food in the house, then there’ll always be food.

Unlike chest freezers with little to no flexibility in organization, upright freezers are better organized. They come with shelves and they eliminate the herculean task of having to empty the whole freezer because you want to get a particular item.

On the flip side, the shelves in an upright freezer also tend to reduce the storage capacity of the freezer.  But on the bright side, a good number of these shelves can be adjusted or removed to maximize the capacity.

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Whynter CUF-210SS Energy Star 2.1 cubic feet Upright Freezer Stainless Steel door with Security Lock with Reversible Door



Types of Upright Freezers

With the market swarming with different kinds of upright freezers, it was a bit difficult to sort upright freezers. However, what’s important to note is that the really good ones have a number of similarities.

Here are the 2 types of upright freezers:

Self-defrosting Upright Freezers

As the name suggests, self-defrosting upright freezers are designed to melt excess ice or an accumulation of ice in the freezer automatically.

A freezer of this sort can turn itself off to allow the accumulated ice to melt away. The water from the melting will then gather in a specially-designed drip tray that is often located at the back of the freezer.

The water that gathers at the back of the freezer is usually small and evaporates quickly. So, you won’t need to empty the tray manually. Sounds like some smart stuff, innit?

On the flip side, more electricity is often required to restore the temperature to a point below the freezing point after a melting cycle. As a result, self-defrosting upright freezers tend to be noisy.

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Manual Defrosting Upright Freezers 

With a manual defrosting upright freezer, you will be required to turn off the freezer once in six months to allow accumulated ice to melt away. In this case, the melted ice will be drained away through somewhere at the back.

Granted that it is more stressfully to defrost manually and they are not the best in maintaining a consistent temperature, all that stress is rewarded by the fact that models of the sort are usually relatively cheaper. Cheaper means lower initial cost and less energy consumption.

Danby DUFM085A4BSLDD Designer Storage Upright Stand Alone Reversible Deep Freezer Cooler, 8.5 cubic feet



How to Choose the Best Upright Freezer

We are right at the point where decisions will be discussed. What’s the best definition of perfect for you? We will help you define that as we explain the following factors that you should consider before you go for an upright freezer.

Size and Capacity

Even though upright freezers are popularly known as space-managing freezers, upright freezers come in a variety of sizes. And of course, the perfect size for you will depend on the layout in your kitchen and how much of the kitchen space you are willing to give up for the upright freezer.

According to some experts, the rule for shopping upright freezers by size is to bear in mind a measurement of 1.5 cubic feet in freezer space per person in the household. Based on this measurement, an upright freezer is considered compact if it has a capacity of 5 cubic feet or less.

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You may want to consider a compact upright freezer if you live in a small space or you stay in a dormitory. Hoteliers will also find this suitable for their guests.

Small-sized upright freezers measure 6 to 9 cubic feet in freezer space and will perfect in a home for a family of 5.

The mid-sized ones range between 10 and 18 feet and they can fit well into a home or apartment with 6 to 12 people. They usually offer ample storage space for foods, meat, and vegetables.

The large ones are usually about 19.5 cubic feet or even more. They are suitable for really large families. If you also run a restaurant or host parties and gatherings frequently, this will be very useful. Sadly, these models consume more floor space. 

Whynter UDF-139SS 13.8 cu.ft. Energy Star Digital Upright Convertible Deep Stainless Steel Freezer/Refrigerator, One Size





As we mentioned earlier, one of the perks of having a good upright freezer is that you get to organize your space properly. Thanks to the shelves, you can have access to your food items easily.

Now, as much as this is a given with upright freezers, it could get counterproductive.

How do we mean? The shelves could reduce the storage capacity by a considerable amount. This is particularly in upright freezers whose shelves are not movable.

So, for instance, if you do a lot of bulk buying like whole chicken and turkey, then you should go for a model that comes with adjustable shelves.

Space Management

It is also important to look out for features that help to save space. With the exception of the really large models, the idea of a good upright freezer is to save space in the most economical way. But you can get more with some features.

For instance, a freezer that has a recessed handled can go a long way to conserve space. It means the handle won’t be jutting out.

You may also want to look out for a freezer that has a flat panel at the back. This feature will help you conserve floor space as the freezer can now be placed close to the wall.

Temperature Alarm

The last thing that should be going on in your freezer is rising temperatures. If the internal temperature rises for any reason at all, you definitely want to be notified. This is why it is important to look for a feature like a temperature alarm.

The common culprit in a temperature change in a freezer is an open door. So, if you want to avoid leaving the door open sometimes, then an upright freezer with a temperature alarm will be a good choice.

Summit SCFF53BSS Under Counter Upright Freezer, Stainless-Steel




Some models have the feature known as soft-freeze in them. These features will keep your foods frozen at slightly higher than normal freezing temperatures. You will find this feature useful if you are an ice cream lover.

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An upright freezer with a quick-freeze feature is able to freeze large quantities or batches of food. If you are keen on getting your foods frozen in the shortest possible time, then you should look out for an upright freezer with a quick freeze feature.

Door Lock

Let’s tell you a scary story. Once upon a time, a child got to the kitchen in summer and wanted to try out everything. Out of curiosity, she walked into the freezer and the door shut behind her. Thankfully, someone wanted to get a tub of butter from the freezer almost immediately she entered. And that’s how she got saved.

Okay, that never happened. But with adventurous kids around, you definitely don’t want to take chances. An upright freezer with a lock feature will eliminate the chance of that happening.

To keep kids away from the freezer for their safety and to also prevent them from leaving the door open, get a freezer that comes with a door lock.

Whynter CUF-301BK Energy Star 3.0 cubic feet Upright Freezer Stainless Steel door with Security Lock with Reversible Door - Black




The price of upright freezers varies with a number of factors. For instance, at $300, you will be able to get a good compact upright freezer. Freezers of the sort usually come with manual defrosting.

The mid-sized models will cost more and even up to $800 with an average capacity of 22 cubic feet. A good number of these have the self-defrosting feature and some come with adjustable shelves.

The really high-end models usually come at a starting price of $800 and could rise up to about $1,500. The features of these models will often include temperature alarms, soft and quick freeze, and self-defrosting. The only challenge is that they come in large sizes and require ample space to fit in.

Professional stainless steel models are the most expensive. They cost more than $1,500. These freezers are usually full-sized models with self-defrosting, temperature alarms, soft and quick freeze. They also offer maximum storage.

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Upright Freezers — A few things to note…

  • You can minimize the build-up of frost inside your upright freezer if you limit the number of times that you open and close the freezer.
  • To avoid freezer burn and moisture loss, ensure you store your food items properly. Meat and fish, for instance, are better preserved when they are wrapped in foil or in plastic bags.
  • Ensure food items are cooled to room temperature and not hot before freezing them.

Now that you’ve read this buying guide and are now well-armed with the right information, you can go ahead and buy the best upright freezer for you.

Meanwhile, if you want more information about the different freezer types, check out this guide on how to buy freezers.