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More Freezer Room Please! Chest Vs Upright Freezers

Should I buy a chest or an upright freezer?

Chest Freezer vs Upright Freezer

This is a common question we hear from our customers. Should I buy an upright freezer or a chest freezer? You might have a bigger family or buy in bulk to save money and time from going to the grocery store. If this is the case, you might need extra freezer space for frozen foods, meat, and other snacks besides the room that you currently have in your refrigerator unit in your kitchen.

Think about your options. Decide how much extra space you need. Do you need more refrigerator space too? If so, you might want to consider a second refrigerator unit to store in the garage or basement. You may find yourself coming to the conclusion that a second refrigerator still is not enough room for freezer space. If this is the case, your best option is to look at getting a freezer unit.

There are two main different types of freezers. There's the chest freezer that looks like a large box or chest with one top side having hinged pieces to open and close a lid upward. The other option is an upright freezer which looks a lot like a normal refrigerator where the doors open in the front, but just has a freezer compartment.

Take a look at these categories to evaluate the differences and determine which option is best for you: 

Area Space:

A chest freezer requires space above the unit to open and close the door. For easy access inside, you should not put or store anything on the top of the unit. With a chest freezer, you will want to consider not putting things in the front of the unit so that you have room to stand and dig around in the freezer. Some chest freezers have wheels on the bottom for easier movement. A upright freezer needs more space in the front as the door swings open and to the side. You could store just a few things on top of the unit as it won't interfere with accessing the interior.

Chest Freezer- food storage


If you need something bigger (20+ Cu. Ft.) and have bulky food items than a chest freezer might be best as it typically has bigger capacity space for storage. Most people will store their most bulky foods at the bottom to keep them frozen solid for longer periods of time. Most chest units have baskets on the top, so you can put smaller items like veggies and ice cream in for easier access. If you need a unit where you don't need tons of space for bigger sized meats, than you should consider an upright freezer.


Most chest freezers don’t have many dividers or bins, whereas most upright freezers have shelves, bins, and drawers. If you like to stay organized and see all of your food when opening the door you will probably lean more towards an upright freezer unit. Remember, the more time that you leave the door open the more energy it takes to keep all of the food cold.

Upright Freezer for food storage long term

Frost free or manual defrost?

One big difference is how the two styles defrost. Almost all chest freezers are manual defrost, meaning that a few times a year you would have to take all your food out and leave the freezer open and unplugged to allow all the frost build up to melt.  Most have a drain in the bottom that you can remove to let the water drain out. The benefit of this type of system is that food tends to last longer because it stays colder. The downside is they build up ice or frost. Most upright freezers are automatic defrost although there are some models that are manual. With an automatic defrost the way the freezer eliminates frost is by fluctuates the temperature a few degrees every so often to automatically to eliminate the frost. The trade off is that food tends to not last as long because the food gets exposed to warmer temperatures.

We hope that this guide made it a little easier to know what the differences are between a chest and an upright freezer. With a variety of shapes and sizes it is easier to find the perfect unit for your specific needs. Please contact our team today if you have any more questions about what is best for you.

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