The Haier HCM050EC is a 5-cubic-foot chest freezer suitable for smaller homes or smaller families. It isn't big on either space or features, but many users find its compact size a plus. It's quiet and gets good scores in professional tests for temperature control, but like most mini freezers, it's not very efficient. It also requires manual defrosting, and users say frost can build up fast. However, we saw virtually no complaints about reliability.
Just the basics. The Haier HCM050EC doesn't have a lot of features. It has a power-on light, but there's no interior light, no lock, and only a single storage basket. Owners say the interior could be better organized; some would like to see more or larger baskets, and one complains that the shape of the compartment takes away some of the usable space. Still, owners say it can accommodate larger items. One uses it to store pizzas and other items that won't fit in the narrow freezer of a side-by-side fridge, and another says it's "the perfect size to store my 1/4 cut of beef every year."
Not very efficient. In professional tests, the Haier HCM050EC freezer does an excellent job of maintaining a constant temperature. However, like most smaller freezers, it's not very efficient. Professional reviewers estimate that it will use about 80 percent as much energy each year as our top-rated chest freezer, the GE FCM15PUWW (Est. $350) , which is three times the Haier's size. On the plus side, the Haier is very quiet: One user at HHGregg.com says you can hardly hear it running. Owners also say its smaller size makes it easy to install and clean. Like other chest freezers, the Haier defrosts manually, but it does have a drain to simplify the process.
Keeps on ticking. In over 300 user-written reviews of Haier HCM050EC freezer, we didn't read a single complaint about an actual mechanical failure. The main problem owners report with it is that it tends to frost up quickly. The top gasket is particularly prone to frost, leading one user to wonder if the seal is weak. However, owners say an ice scraper or a little warm water can keep the frost buildup at bay. We did find one complaint that food stored in the Haier develops freezer burn within three to four weeks, but this problem appears to be rare. The Haier has a standard one-year warranty.
ConsumerReports.org evaluates about 20 chest freezers on its website, including the Haier HCM050EC. Each freezer is rated for temperature performance, energy efficiency and noise level. Editors also compare each freezer's claimed capacity to its actual, usable space.
Review: Freezers, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
We found over 300 reviews for the Haier HCM050EC at this retail site. Users award the freezer 4.7 stars out of 5 overall, and an overwhelming 99 percent say they would recommend it. They praise its quietness, organization and tight door seal, but there are a few complaints about performance.
Review: Haier 5 Cu. Ft. Chest Freezer with Adjustable Thermostat Control, Contributors to HHGregg.com, As of November 2013
The Haier HCM050EC has over 175 reviews at HomeDepot.com, most of them picked up from the Haier website. The freezer has an overall rating of 4.7 stars, with 4.5 stars for features and efficiency and 4 stars for quality and value. Fully 98 percent of owners say they would recommend it.
Review: Haier 28.34 in. W 5.0 cu. ft. Chest Freezer in White, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of November 2013