What every best Freezers has:
- Useful features.
- Well-organized storage.
- Consistent temperature.
Upright freezers are pricier than chest freezers, which we cover elsewhere in this report, but they're also more convenient to use. They give you better access to your food, and most don't require defrosting. Among upright freezers, we found the best reviews for the Energy Star-rated Frigidaire FFFH17F2QW (Est. $700). It's a fairly simple model without a lot of advanced bells and whistles, but it offers consistent, reliable freezing at a decent price.
At 16.6 cubic feet, this freezer offers plenty of storage space for most families. One user reports filling it with half a pig, a quarter of a cow and a 20-pound turkey, plus a bunch of veggies and fruit, with plenty of room still left. This freezer is the top overall pick from the experts at Reviewed.com, earning a perfect 10 score, and a larger version -- the 20 cubic foot Frigidaire FFFH20F2QW (Est. $800) gets Excellent ratings from ConsumerReports.org for temperature performance and energy efficiency. Users confirm that it freezes solidly and reliably, and that the door seals so well that you can't open it right away after you close it.
The Frigidaire FFFH17F2QW's basic features include an easy-to-see power-on indicator at the bottom front and a lock with a pop-out key -- an important safety feature if you have small children in the house. Users also love the frost-free operation, interior LED lighting, adjustable shelving and in-door storage, although they miss having a pull-out bin in the bottom.
Most users say they don't mind this freezer's operating noise, but it's not the quietest model; so if you are particularly sensitive to sound, you might want to give it a home in the basement or garage. The Frigidaire FFFH17F2QW has an estimated annual operating cost of $52 or 431 kWh/year, and a manufacturer promise to keep food frozen for over two days in case of a power outage. It's backed by a one-year warranty.
The 15.7-cubic-foot Maytag MZF34X16DW (Est. $560) also draws Excellent ratings for energy efficiency from ConsumerReports.org, with Very Good ratings for its temperature performance and noise levels. Users like its adjustable shelving, in-door storage, interior LED lighting and fast-freeze setting.
The Maytag MZF34X16DW also does a good job of insulating if the power goes out; one user says almost everything in the freezer was still frozen solid after more than 60 hours of no power. However, it receives a few too many complaints about sudden failures -- leaving users with a freezer full of thawed food -- to make it into our top spot. The addition of a power-on indicator light would help avoid such failures, because users would be able to see if power to the freezer suddenly fails.
This Maytag freezer has an estimated operating cost of $56 or 466 kWh/year and a one-year limited warranty. There is a 10-year limited parts warranty on the compressor, but some users report trouble getting the warranty fulfilled and questionable customer service in general.
If you're willing to pay a little more for high-end features, one model stands out from the rest: The 20.5-cubic-foot Kenmore Elite 27002 (Est. $1,000) is the top rated freezer at ConsumerReports.org. It's also a top pick at Reviewed.com, where author Matthew Zahnzinger gives it a score of 9.6, saying, "It's expensive, but you get everything you paid for." It's also Energy-Star rated and quite efficient for such a large appliance, with an estimated operating cost of $62 or 484 kWh per year. The 27002 is white, it also comes in stainless as the Kenmore Elite 27003 (Est. $1,100), or black as the Kenmore Elite 27009 (Est. $900).
The Kenmore Elite 27002 comes with a suite of features that users and experts love, including a digital temperature control on the outside (so you don't have to open the door to check or change the temperature), an alarm that lets you know if there's a problem with the temperature, and a soft-freeze compartment in the door. It can also hold a lot: One user says they were able to store an entire cut-up bison, with room to spare. If you have kids in the house, the freezer has both a physical lock on it and a digital lock to keep them from playing with the controls.
That said, we did find a few quirks with the Kenmore Elite 27002 that keep us from making it our top recommendation. A few users complain that more electronics means more things that can go wrong, especially since the computer that controls the temperature alarm also controls the auto-defrost mechanism -- and the freezer only comes with a one-year warranty. Service is also a sore point, with some owners saying they waited more than a week for a technician to come out. Finally, even though this freezer looks wonderful in your kitchen, it may end up banished to the garage because the auto-defrost motor is noisy and the catch pan for the condenser sometimes overflows. Last, but not least, probably because of its price, there simply aren't enough owner reviews for us to get a good read on durability and reliability.
If you're in the market for a compact upright freezer, the 13.83-cubic-foot Frigidaire FFFU14F2QW (Est. $600) gets excellent ratings from experts and users alike. ConsumerReports.org both recommends it and names it a Best Buy, with Excellent ratings for temperature performance and energy efficiency. There's also enough space inside to stock at least half a cow and half a pig, or store a lot of frozen goods bought on sale.
This freezer comes with the same basic features you'll find in our best-reviewed Frigidaire FFFH17F2QW: an easy-to-see power-on indicator at the front bottom, a lock that automatically ejects the key, adjustable shelving and an easy-to-operate exterior dial control. Users also like the bright LED lighting on the inside of the freezer and plenty of storage room in the door.
The only downside to the Frigidaire FFFU14F2QW is that its compressor motor is loud enough that most users agree it should be kept in the basement or garage, not put in the kitchen. Its estimated operating cost is $52 or 436 kWh/year.