Upright freezers are pricier than chest freezers, 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 20.5-cubic-foot Frigidaire FFU21F5HW (Est. $600) . This self-defrosting freezer is also sold as the Kenmore 28052 (Est. $575) ; the two models are identical except for the brand name printed on the door. This freezer's features include an interior light, a door lock, an open-door alarm and exterior digital controls. Another plus for those who prefer to buy American: Frigidaire proudly notes that this freezer is "designed, built and engineered in the USA." On the downside, the freezer is not Energy Star-rated. It comes with a one-year limited warranty.
In professional tests, the freezer earns high marks for its temperature control and energy efficiency, but expert testers say it is noisier than most freezers. Some owners also complain about this freezer's noise level, but most do not seem to find it a problem; in fact, a majority of the reviewers at RJWilley.com specifically cite this model's quietness as a plus. Users also like this freezer's capacity, organization and appearance. A few earlier reviews complain that the door doesn't seal securely, causing condensation and frost buildup at the top of the door. However, that problem appears to have been fixed, as most reviews now say that the door seal is very tight.
We also found good reviews for the self-defrosting Kenmore Elite 28712 (Est. $700) . Although it is smaller than the Frigidaire FFU21F5HW at 16.7 cubic feet, it includes more features: glass shelves, adjustable door storage, a quick-freeze setting, a soft-freeze zone for ice cream and a retractable pizza shelf. Like the Frigidaire, it's backed by a one-year limited warranty. The Kenmore Elite freezer does an excellent job of maintaining a constant temperature in professional tests, but despite its Energy Star rating, its energy efficiency is only so-so. Users at Sears.com, the only site that sells Kenmore appliances, say that this freezer is easy to organize, and they appreciate its bonus features. They're divided over the noise level, however, with some saying it's very quiet and others saying it "sounds like a hulking monster had just entered the house." We also saw a few complaints about breakdowns and poor service from Sears.
For top performance, the Frigidaire FFU21F5HW is a best bet, but for great features in a slightly smaller package, the Kenmore Elite 28712 will suit most folks just fine.