If you want to store a lot of food for a long time, a chest freezer is your best bet. The GE FCM15PUWW (Est. $1,250) , a 14.9-cubic-foot chest freezer, earns high marks from both professional and owner reviewers. This Energy Star-rated freezer includes basic features such as an interior light, a keyed lock, a drain for defrosting and a power-indicator light. It also has four baskets that can be lifted out or slid from side to side to help with organization. It is backed by a one-year warranty.
In professional tests, the GE FCM15PUWW gets high scores for temperature control and efficiency. Testers say it's a bit noisy for a chest freezer, but most users at HomeDepot.com find it quiet, as well as spacious and efficient. The sliding baskets are a much-appreciated feature. We saw a few complaints that the freezer lid does not seal well and, possibly as a result, the freezer tends to frost up quickly. We also saw a couple of reports of mechanical problems, though not that many considering the volume of user reviews. Overall, 95 percent of all users say they would recommend this freezer.
For those with more modest freezing needs, we found some good recommendations for the 8.8-cubic-foot Kenmore 16922 (Est. $325) . Like the GE FCM15PUWW, this Kenmore has interior and power-on lights, a defrost drain and a keyed lock. There's also a blue defrost indicator to let you know when it's time to defrost the freezer. It has only two storage baskets, however, and some users say it would be nice to have more. The Kenmore isn't Energy Star-rated, but it uses about the same amount of electricity as the GE because of its smaller size. It's also a bit quieter.
In one professional test, the Kenmore 16922 receives high marks for temperature control and efficiency, and owners posting reviews to Sears.com rate it very highly (4.5 out of 5 stars overall from roughly 140 reviewers). Owners like its smaller size, quietness and storage baskets, and they consider it a great value. However, we did see more reliability complaints for the Kenmore than for the GE. Several reviewers say their freezers broke down during the warranty period, costing them hundreds of dollars in lost food. As a result, we recommend the GE overall, but the Kenmore is a worthy alternative if you need a smaller unit.