If you’re in the market for a new freezer and are unsure whether to get an upright freezer or a chest freezer, this brief guide should set things straight. Here, we’ll go over their key features and help you decide which of the two you would benefit from more.

Upright vs Chest Freezer

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Comparing Uprights to Chests

Let’s take a look at what upright freezers and chest freezers offer in terms of appearance, storage size, maintenance, and noise output.


Upright Freezers

Upright freezers have a lot more in common with refrigerators than chest freezers. They’re about as tall as the average refrigerator, have a front swinging door like a refrigerator, and come in a wide range of different color options… like a refrigerator. Uprights also have smaller footprints so are the better option for kitchens with limited floorspace.

Chest Freezers

Chest freezers, on the other hand, have a single top-swinging door that lifts to open. They’re a lot shorter than uprights and, therefore, take up very little air space, but they require more dedicated floorspace. Many chest freezers sit atop caster wheels for quick movability.

Chest Freezer


Upright Freezers

Both upright and chest freezers have the same amount of storage space—up to 25 cubic feet—but they differ by how food is stored. Uprights come with shallow racks that make storing and accessing food near the back easy to do.

Chest Freezers

As for chest freezers, it’s a lot easier to toss food inside but much more difficult to fish it out. You may need to dig through several layers of meat and frozen vegetables before finding whatever you were looking for.

Upright Chest Freezer


Upright Freezers

Uprights have a higher upfront cost compared to their chest-style counterparts, but this is mainly due to their internal defrosting system. Most uprights have a series of tubes, pipes, and collection trays to inhibit crystal ice growth along the inner lining. In short, uprights require fewer visits from the maintenance man and less manual scraping.

Chest Freezers

The same can’t be said for chest freezers, though there are several exceptions. Generally speaking, chest freezers have cheaper price tags and no built-in auto-defrosting components. The overall size and design of the chest freezer make scraping the walls easy to do, but it’s a job that needs to be done frequently. The silver lining is that there are components inside of a chest freezer, meaning a reduce likelihood of the appliance failing down the line.


Noise Output

Upright Freezers

Self-defrosting freezers, regardless of whether they are uprights or chests, tend to generate more noise than non-auto-defrosting models. Whenever the defrosting cycle begins, you’ll hear a constant humming sound emanating from behind the upright. This sound is by no means deafening, but the compressor can kick on add odd times during the day or night.

Chest Freezers

Since most chest freezers do not feature a self-defrosting system, they are regarded as being the quieter of the two types of freezers. At most, the compressor will emit a low droning sound for several minutes at a time, and you may also hear the expanding and contracting of the chest’s inner walls from time to time. These are nothing to worry about.

Upright vs Chest Freezer: What to Pick?

Upright vs. Chest Freezer: What to Pick?

As you can see, upright freezers and chest freezers differ in many ways. The most important consideration you need to make is deciding how much floorspace in your kitchen or garage you can dedicate to your new freezer, and everything else is secondary.

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