Guide to chest freezers, upright and combination refrigerator-freezers.
As mentioned in our other freezer article
, there are three main types of freezer, each of which are detailed below. Including chest freezers, upright and combination freezers.
Chest freezers are large square or rectangular shaped models that are more suitable for large families who often buy in bulk or for people who have many items to freeze.
They are available in sizes ranging from about 4 cubic ft - over 20 cubic ft. Unless you have a very large kitchen area, this type of freezer is often stored in the garage or basement, due to its size.
This type of freezer opens from the top, which means that cold air is retained well, due to the fact that cold air falls downwards rather than upwards. Therefore this machine is cheaper to run, as less cold air is lost when the freezer door is opened.
On the downside, due to the shape and size, it is slightly more difficult to organise the contents, see what is inside and reach inside to clean or remove items, especially if you are short. For this type of freezer that is able to hold much more, an inventory and some kind of organisation is essential.
Chest freezers are supplied with removable baskets, which are useful to store smaller products and to separate different types of foods. It is also possible to buy extra baskets, which would improve organisation further.
Chest freezers must be manually defrosted, as they are not available in a frost-free model. Although defrosting must be done manually and takes more of an effort, it is required less frequently and it is more cost-effective.
Chest freezers maintain the quality of the frozen food better and for longer and although the size and shape may be a disadvantage, they are cheaper to buy and more economical to run. Newer models are equipped with a fast-freeze option, high temperature warning system and the best models are of the highest energy efficiency grade (A++).
Before buying a freezer or any electrical appliance, check the energy efficiency grade, as a lower grade uses up more electricity to run and could end up being an expensive piece of equipment in the long run.
Upright freezers are single unit stand-up freezers, ranging in size from 2 cubic ft to 20 cubic ft. They take up much less floor space than a chest freezer and therefore for the majority of people are ideal to have in their kitchen.
Upright freezers will have either one or two doors that open from the front rather than from the top. The advantages are that contents are easier to pack, get at and organize, however, this type of freezer is more expensive to run, as cold air is lost much more easily and warm air is able to enter also.
Upright freezers are ideal for small families or for people who do not freeze a very large number of items. The freezer is divided into slide-out baskets and may also contain shelves and compartments, depending on the model. They also come in a range of sizes and heights, which means that smaller models can be placed on top of other appliances or worktops if space is lacking.
Unlike the chest freezers, upright freezers are available as manual-defrost or frost-free. Manual-defrost freezers are cheaper to run but you will have to defrost them once a year.
This type of freezer is perhaps the most popular, particularly for those who lack space in their kitchen.
Combination refrigerator-freezers are made up of two separate units that are built into the same machine. The freezer may be situated above, below or to the side.
The freezer part is insulated from the refrigerator and a thermostat controls the temperature of both sections independently without affecting the other. It is therefore possible to defrost the fridge or freezer without disrupting the functioning of the other.
This type of freezer is available as manual-defrost, frost-free or automatic defrost.
It is important to check that the freezer part is a proper freezer rather than just a freezing compartment, ideal for the storage of commercially frozen products only. A freezing compartment does not have the capacity to produce sufficiently low temperatures to freeze foods, although they are able to store frozen foods for a certain amount of time.
When choosing a freezer to buy, it is vital that you know exactly what you need and what there is on offer in the market and if you are unsure, to ask for advice from personnel in the store or to carry out some previous research beforehand. A freezer is an important piece of equipment that should last you and your family a number of years.