Users with small families or small apartments often opt for compact freezers, also known as mini freezers, which range in size from just over 1 cubic foot to 5 cubic feet. Mini freezers can be either uprights or chests, but we found the best ratings overall for two chest models. Our top pick is the 5-cubic-foot Haier HCM050EC (Est. $250) . This compact freezer is short on features: It has no interior light, no open-door alarm and only a single storage basket. However, it does include a power-indicator light and a drain for manual defrosting. It's backed by a one-year warranty.
The Haier HCM050EC gets mediocre scores in professional tests. It does a good job of holding an even temperature and it's reasonably quiet, but like most small freezers, it falls short on energy efficiency. Nonetheless, we found hundreds of positive reviews from consumers for the Haier freezer at retail sites like HomeDepot.com and HHGregg.com. Owners love its compact size and quiet operation, and they say that its small size keeps power costs low. A few reviewers think the space inside could be better organized, and we also saw a few complaints that the freezer frosts up too quickly. However, most agree that this mini freezer is reliable and a good value.
The GE FCM5SUWW (Est. $175) , another 5-cubic-foot chest freezer, comes in a close second to the Haier. In fact, the two models are virtually identical in appearance and specs, except that the GE has a larger storage basket. The GE is not covered in any professional tests, but it has more than 600 reviews at retail sites, most of them positive. Users say this compact freezer is the perfect size, fitting easily into a small space but still providing plenty of storage. They also like its quietness and low price tag. However, the GE freezer has more complaints about its reliability. Some owners say it broke down anywhere from one month to three years after purchase, while others complain that it never worked properly at all. These problems were enough to tip the balance away from the GE and towards the more expensive Haier as our best-reviewed pick.