If you store a lot of frozen foods, a chest freezer is an essential appliance. Whether you choose a mini chest freezer, small chest freezer, slimline chest freezer, large chest freezer, or commercial chest freezer depends on how much room you have to spare and how much food you need to store. Popular colour choices include a white chest freezer or a stainless steel chest freezer.
Chest freezers are used both in homes and in industrial settings. Most chest freezers maintain a temperature around -18 degrees C. Fridges and freezers replaced the iceboxes that were popular for more than a century before the introduction of the freezer. A chest freezer uses a heat pump that removes the heat from the insulated freezer, maintaining a temperature below freezing.
Today chest freezers come in a wide variety of sizes and available features. Sizes range from 5 cubic feet, perfect for students or small families, to ones as large as 25 cubic feet.
Whatever style of chest freezer you want, you may have questions about which model will be your best option. Price Inspector has the most popular brands, and we shop the UK stores to find you the best prices. Our buying guide can answer your questions, making your shopping experience easy.
Things to consider before buying
When you are deciding what chest freezer to buy, the first things to consider are how much room you have, how much frozen food you need to store, and how much you want to spend. You’ll also want to consider how energy efficient it is, as a chest freezer operates constantly to maintain its temperature.
- Most chest freezers require manual defrosting. These will use less energy than a frost-free model, and it also helps reduce freezer burn. Frost will not build up quickly, however, because freezers are not opened as often as a fridge.
- Capacity: Consider how much food you need to store. Do you buy food in bulk? Is this your only freezer, or do you have a fridge freezer? While you might want to buy a larger chest freezer “just in case,” it will cost more to operate than a smaller model.
- Space: How much room do you have for the chest freezer? Make sure to allow enough clearance around the freezer, several centimetres on either side and at the back. If installing under a shelf or other overhang, make sure you have enough room to comfortably lift the lid.
- Look for heavy duty hinges and high-quality seals.
- Consider the materials. If the exterior is textured, it will be easier to keep clean, while a seamless interior surface will be easier to clean.
- Look for freezer coils that extend to all the side walls. This will help the temperature remain constant.
- Review the guarantee to see what is covered. You can usually purchase an extended guarantee, but the factory guarantee should be at least six to twelve months.
While the smallest chest freezers usually do not have advanced features, the medium and large chest freezers offer many different features that you will want to consider when selecting your model.
- Power indicator lights: This will let you know at a glance that your chest freezer is working correctly; making sure that it hasn’t accidentally come unplugged or experienced a power failure.
- Temperature controls: Some models offer a dial, while others offer an electronic control. Either will let you set the chest freezer temperature, but electronic controls offer more precision.
- Temperature alarms: If your chest freezer’s temperature rises above a safe level, an alarm will let you take steps to avoid losing all your expensive food.
- Locks: Some chest freezers offer a locking system to keep children out of the freezer. This is good for safety and to keep them away from the ice lollies!
- Baskets and food organization: A chest freezer can easily become an unorganized mess, with expensive meats buried at the bottom and eventually going to waste. With lift-out baskets, labels, and dividers, you will be able to more easily locate the food you want.
- Interior lights: This is especially helpful if the chest freezer is located in a dimly lit room such as a basement or garage.
- Oil cooler: Some models offer an oil cooler, which cools the compressor oil to freeze fresh food more quickly. This helps foods retain their texture better upon thawing.
Popular chest freezer brands
There are numerous brands to choose from, each offering different sizes and features.
- Whirlpool chest freezer, including Whirlpool AFG5496-C white chest freezer: Whirlpool’s AFG5496-C chest freezer offers a large storage capacity of 500L. It has a fast freeze feature with deep door storage. It also has a manual thermostat with external controls
- Norfrost chest freezer, including Norfrost C6BEW white chest freezer and Norfrost c6aAEW chest freezer. The C6BEW has a capacity of 6.2 cubic feet and is A-Rated for energy efficiency. The C6AEW is 6.19 cubic feet, or 175 litres, and can safely maintain food for 24 hours in the event of a power failure.
- Foster chest freezer: Foster manufactures four different chest freezers, ranging in capacity from 75kg to 250kg.
- Lec chest freezer: Lec has been one of the top brands in Britain for chest freezers for more than 60 years.
- Bosch chest freezer, including the Bosch GTA20902 chest freezer and Bosch GTA26902 chest freezer. The GTA20902 model offers 189 litres of storage, while the GTA26902 provides 247 litres.
- Magic Chef chest freezer: Magic Chef offers several different chest freezers to choose from, in sizes ranging from 5 cubic feet to 19.6 cubic feet.
- Miele chest freezer, including Miele GT263ES chest freezer: The GT263ES provides 238 litres of frozen storage space and has a 4-star energy rating.
- Electrolux chest freezer: Electrolux’s newest model, the ECS3070, provides automatic defrosting and a fast freeze feature. It has two ice containers in the lid, with large baskets for organization. Its lid is balanced to lift easily and stay open securely while you are adding or removing food. The lid can be locked for safety, and the chest freezer has a temperature alarm.
- Hotpoint chest freezer, including Hotpoint RCNAA33P chest freezer and Hotpoint RC32 chest freezer: The RCNAA33P offers 223 litres of capacity, manual defrost, and fast freeze. The RC32 is 6.67 cubic feet or 189 litres.
Frozen food safety
Once you’ve bought your chest freezer, you may have questions about how to safely store food. You can safely freeze practically any foods, with the exception of foods in a can and eggs in their shells. However, some foods will not provide good quality upon thawing, such as mayonnaise, lettuce, and cream sauces. Raw meats and poultry last longer than cooked ones.
With lengthy freezer storage, foods will lose quality but still be safe. Freezing inactivates bacteria, but they can become active once the food is thawed. Parasites such as trichina can be destroyed, but thorough cooking is still recommended instead of relying solely on your home freezer.
The quality and freshness of the food when it is frozen will affect the condition. If it’s frozen at its peak quality, it will taste better than if you freeze it when it’s nearing the end of its freshness. Freeze items as soon as possible if you won’t be using it right away.
Properly packaging foods will help them maintain their quality and prevent freezer burn. You can safely freeze meats in their grocery wrapping, but air can permeate the wrap. If you won’t be using the food within a month, over-wrap the package with foil, freezer plastic wrap, a freezer bag, or freezer paper. If the wrap becomes torn in the freezer, it will still be safe. Just rewrap it or over-wrap it to prevent freezer burn.
Frozen foods can experience colour changes. A bright red meat may turn pale or dark brown due to freezer burn or long storage. Freezer burn doesn’t make food unsafe, just dry in places. Cut away any freezer-burned areas before cooking. If the food is heavily freezer-burned, you may want to discard it because of quality.
Make sure you defrost items safely, either in the fridge, the microwave, or cold water. If possible, plan ahead for slow thawing in the fridge. Smaller items might defrost overnight, while larger ones will require a day or so. Largest items like a frozen turkey take even longer. For quicker defrosting, place the food in a leak-proof plastic bag and submerge it in cold water. Change the water about every 30 minutes to make sure it stays cold. Once it’s thawed, cook it immediately. This is also true for microwave defrosting.