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If you’re like me and constantly running out of space in your freezer, then an upright freezer may be just what you need. Frozen fruit, veggies, and meals sound like a great idea at the grocery store until you are left with the task of stacking foods on top of each other like a game of Jenga. Or, you might want to vacuum seal your summer bounty to help with your winter baking. Either way, freezing food is perfect for long-term storage, and an upright freezer is a solution to stocking up on frozen goods without running out of precious freezer space.
You can set up your upright freezer directly in your kitchen for easy access or in your garage to maximize storage space. Upright freezers offer an advantage over chest models since you can find what you’re looking for with ease in the former. Both are reliable options, but upright freezers have the upper hand when it comes to practicality.
Once you've measured your space and have a good idea of what size freezer you need, it all comes down to which model suits you best. Here are the best upright freezers to have in your home.
Best Overall: Frigidaire FFFU16F2VW 15.5 Cu. Ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer
What We Love: Power outage assurance, smart sensing technology prevents warm spots, door alarm, LED lighting
What We Don't Love: Only comes in a white finish, pricey
Keeping food frozen and fresh is what this upright freezer was designed to do, even in your garage. The EvenTemp cooling system, which is located vertically along the back wall of the freezer, uses sensing technology to circulate cold air, preventing warm spots and unwanted freezing. In the case of a power outage, this freezer keeps your food frozen for up to two days with its tight seal that traps cold air.
If you're like me and have a tendency to worry that your freezer isn’t working, you’ll appreciate the floor-projected power-on indicator that lets you know your freezer is working as it should. Similarly, this freezer is equipped with an audible alarm that alerts you when the door has been open, or the temperature is warming. Overall, this upright freezer is perfect for guarding against emergency situations.
This is also spacious enough for most households with four freezer shelves, one basket, and five door shelves. Though the storage space is smaller than others in terms of cubic footage, the internal layout of this freezer makes it easy to organize, and the LED lighting helps you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Dimensions (DxWxH): 29 x 27.75 x 67.75 inches | Capacity: 15.5 cubic feet | Control Type: Electronic | Defrost Type: Frost-free
Best Budget: Insignia NS-UZ7WH0 7 Cu. Ft. Upright Freezer
What We Love: Budget-friendly, space-saving, reversible door to better fit your space
What We Don't Love: Small capacity, manual defrost
If you’re on a budget but still need the extra freezer space, opt for a more compact model. This one by Insignia has a small capacity, but it makes up for it with its thoughtful design. The door is reversible and can be opened on the left or right side depending on the layout of your space. It also has leveling feet to keep your freezer level on uneven surfaces and a long power cord for convenient positioning.
The inside of the freezer features four shelves for easy organization, though the inside of the door does not offer additional storage. When you need to adjust the temperature, simply turn the internal temperature control knob between -11.2 and 10.4 degrees. It can handle ambient temperatures between 5 and 109 degrees, which means it might not be the best garage freezer for very cold or very hot climates. To manually defrost, unplug the power cord.
Dimensions (DxWxH): 22.4 x 21.7 x 56.3 inches | Capacity: 7 cubic feet | Control Type: Mechanical | Defrost Type: Manual
Best for Garage: GE FUF17DLRWW Garage Ready 17.3 Cu. Ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer
What We Love: Safety lock, temperature alarm, internal LED lighting
What We Don't Love: Only comes in a white finish, high-temperature alarm may malfunction frequently
Many people opt to store an upright freezer in the garage, and that's when you need to make sure you account for how ambient temperatures affect standalone freezers. Some models, like this one by GE, are designed with garage spaces in mind. With the digital temperature control on the exterior of the unit, you won’t have to release cold air to adjust the temperature. However, it does regulate back to freezing temperature quickly when you do open the door.
While some upright freezers offer internal shelves, this model has four easy-to-clean glass shelves, three baskets, and four door shelves for maximum storage optimization. Some shelves are adjustable if you need more height for larger items like a stack of cakes. It also has a larger capacity than the average upright freezer. This freezer does have a lock to prevent entry, with a self-ejecting key to remind you to store it away.
Dimensions (DxWxH): 31.375 x 32.875 x 64.75 inches | Capacity: 17.3 cubic feet | Control Type: Digital | Defrost Type: Frost-free
Related: The Best Chest Freezers
Most Energy-Efficient: GE FUF21DLRWW Garage Ready 21.3 Cu. Ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer
What We Love: Large capacity, economical, locking door for safety, garage-ready
What We Don't Love: Pricey
Energy efficiency is an important factor to many people when making large purchases like an upright freezer. Since it will be plugged in 24/7, ensuring your model is energy efficient is not only environmentally friendly but also economical. This model by GE is certified by Energy Star, a label set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
This upright freezer can handle the ambient temperatures in your garage and is equipped with features like an audible temperature alarm, a lock with key, and clear slide-out freezer bins. For those that want to adjust the temperature without releasing the cool air inside, the electronic temperature control is on the exterior.
Dimensions (DxWxH): 31.4 x 32.9 x 76.5 inches | Capacity: 21.3 cubic feet | Control Type: Digital | Defrost Type: Frost-free
Related: The Best Food Vacuum Sealers
Best Convertible: Insignia NS-UZ17WH0 17 Cu. Ft. Frost-Free Upright Convertible Freezer/Refrigerator
What We Love: Energy Star certified, fast freeze keeps food fresh, converts between freezer and refrigerator
What We Don't Love: Only comes in a white finish
A few upright freezers have a wide enough range of temperatures that they can be converted into refrigerators when needed, like in the days around Thanksgiving. If you appreciate an appliance that serves multiple functions, consider this Insignia convertible model. It’s also energy-efficient and garage-ready, so it’s economical and versatile.
The temperature control has a touchpad for precision, and the model is equipped with a fast freeze feature to cool foods quickly. For visibility, the freezer has interior lighting. If you accidentally leave the door open or the temperature increases, the alarm will notify you. This is a freezer (or refrigerator) that you can pop in the garage for additional storage and take comfort in its reliability.
Dimensions (DxWxH): 28.9 x 32.8 x 65 inches | Capacity: 17 cubic feet | Control Type: Digital | Defrost Type: Automatic
Related: The Best Food Storage Containers
The Frigidaire FFFU16F2VW 15.5 Cu. Ft. Frost-Free Upright Freezer (view at Home Depot) checks a lot of boxes. It’s garage-ready and equipped with frost-free defrosting, power outage assurance, and electronic temperature control. If you sometimes need an extra fridge too, pick up the convertible Insignia NS-UZ17WH0 17 Cu. Ft. Frost-Free Upright Convertible Freezer/Refrigerator (view at Best Buy).
What to Look for in an Upright Freezer
An upright freezer between 15-60 cubic feet is considered medium-sized, and anything bigger is considered large-sized. When factoring in size and capacity, it depends on the size of your space and the volume of food you need to store. If you have the space and like to store large quantities of frozen food, a large-sized upright freezer may make the most sense for you. Smaller freezers have the advantage of being space-saving and budget-friendly, however.
Manual vs Automatic Defrosting
Your intended use of the freezer will influence whether you consider a model with manual or automatic defrosting. Manual defrosting could be a better choice if you want to deep freeze foods for long periods of time and defrost them as needed. An upright freezer with automatic defrosting (aka frost-free) may work for your needs if you open the freezer often and don’t want a buildup of frost on your frozen goods.
You would think the temperature on the outside of your upright freezer wouldn’t matter since freezers control the temperature on the inside, but you have to take ambient temperature into account if you plan on placing your freezer in your garage.
If that is your plan, look for garage-ready freezers. They are made with additional features that can withstand cold temperatures during the winter and warm temperatures during the summer without affecting your food. The last thing you want is for the temperature outside of the unit to affect the temperature inside.
How do upright freezers differ from chest freezers?
Upright freezers and chest freezers have a similar job: keep food fresh and frozen. However, they take up space differently. Upright freezers take up less floor space, but they require more vertical space. Chest freezers require more floor space, but they take up less vertical space. The floorplan of your kitchen, storage room, or garage may influence whether you consider an upright freezer or chest freezer.
Organization may also impact your decision. Upright freezers have more vertical shelves, bins, and drawers, so it’s easier to find what you’re looking for. Some people who have chest freezers find they are difficult to sift through.
How do you clean inside an upright freezer?
You should clean your upright freezer regularly. Fortunately, they are easy to clean. You can wipe down the exterior and shelves of the freezer on a weekly basis, though a deep clean may be necessary every few months. To do this, turn off the freezer and transfer its contents to another freezer or cooler. Wash each shelf and compartment with soap and water. Dry with a clean dish cloth and return the food to the freezer once it’s turned back on.
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Lacey Muinos is a health and wellness writer with a specialty in food-related topics and a passion for kitchen gadgets. She has an impressive collection of small kitchen appliances and tools, including a pressure cooker that she has used nearly every day for the past four years.
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