What is a Chest Freezer?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

Buying foods in bulk has always been considered a good way to save money, but storing all that excess food can be problematic. One appliance designed to address the problem of long-term storage of frozen foods is called a chest freezer. This is a free-standing kitchen appliance that features a significant amount of space for frozen food storage. Many homeowners consider purchasing a standalone freezer as an alternative to investing in a refrigerator with a larger freezer compartment. Bulkier food items can be stored there, leaving the refrigerator's freezer section available for frozen dinners and other convenience foods.

Chest freezers are more energy efficient than upright freezers.
Chest freezers are more energy efficient than upright freezers.

A chest freezer can be installed alongside the main refrigerator unit in a kitchen, or placed in a garage or utility room to accommodate its often significant dimensions. Many models contain storage racks of varying sizes to help keep different types of frozen foods separated. Bulkier items, such as whole meat slabs or turkeys, are often stored in the main chamber, while items such as bagged ice or frozen dinners are stored in baskets for easier access. Since cold air tends to sink, items placed in the lowest section of the freezer tend to become frozen solid and remain that way for months.

When shopping for a chest freezer, one of the main elements a consumer should consider is its overall size and capacity. Some brands are designed to augment dorm-sized refrigerators, which means they would only have the capacity of an average refrigerator's built-in freezer section. A smaller freezer would best suit the needs of a single working person or a college student looking to economize by purchasing frozen foods in bulk. A family of four may need to consider purchasing a mid-size freezer in order to meet their bulk frozen food needs. A large chest freezer may best be suited for those who need to store whole slabs of meat or need to buy in bulk on a regular basis.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular wiseGEEK contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

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Discussion Comments


How on earth do you defrost a chest freezer? I just inherited a Haier chest freezer from my parents, and the thing is coated in frost. Seriously, it's got to be at least five inches thick all around.

How do I get a frost free chest freezer?


Where could I find a used chest freezer? I've started working at a youth center and we need a place to keep the ice cream and stuff cold in the summer, so we're trying to look around for a cheap, yet working chest freezer.

Any suggestions?


My grandmother was one of those people who had lived through the depression, and then never threw anything away afterwards.

So when I came home to find that she had somehow acquired a Maytag commercial chest freezer in her garage, I wasn't too surprised.

You wouldn't think that an old lady living on her own could have so much use for a chest freezer, but let me tell you, she filled that thing up.

She would buy these huge packs of meat from Costco (one of her favorite stores) and freeze it for family barbecues that only happened once a year, and she would freeze the vegetables from her garden and anything else that came along.

I have to say, I had an abiding fear of that freezer as a child, since it was so heavy that I was always afraid I would somehow fall into it and get stuck. Of course that never happened, and even if I had somehow managed to open it, it was so full of stuff that I couldn't have fit in it anyway, but still -- it was definitely a defining piece of machinery in my childhood.

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