A great freezer will help you make the most of your grocery purchases and reducefood waste. A freezer is very useful for those who end up cooking more thanthey can eat or who want to have homemade dinners for the week safely storedaway. Freezers also come into their own for those who like to bulk buy fooditems or avail of discounts and who will not be able to consume all theirpurchases at once.
so, although not cheap tobuy, freezers can be a great investment and can help you save money and time.In our tests, we look for freezers that will freeze food fast to preservenutrients and quality, that will maintain a stable temperature regardless ofwhether the surrounding room heats up or cools down, and that will keep foodsafely frozen in the event that the power is cut off for a period. We also notefeatures that will make life easier for users and that will increase theefficiency and utility of the appliance.
Our five Choice Buys excel in all areas and include chest, upright, tall and under-counter models.
Chest Freezers versus upright models
The available space you have at your disposal to house a freezerwill largely determine the type of appliance you opt for. The choices are,essentially, a chest freezer or an upright model, which both have theiradvantages. Here are some factors you might like to consider: Storage: Chest freezers are essentially wide open boxes, sometimes with a couple of hanging wires baskets or vertical dividers, and - compared with upright models - they are better able to fit bulky items like a leg of lamb or a turkey. Uprightmodels, which take up less floor space than chest freezers and which open likea fridge, have removable drawers that fit on fixed shelves and that may not bedeep enough to accommodate anything very large or awkwardly shaped.
Ease of use:
Even with one or two hanging baskets, chest freezers can be cavernous containers in which food is hard to organise and you may need to be reasonably fit and nimble to reach down to an item at the bottom of the appliance. Incontrast, upright freezers have the advantage that food items can be sortedinto different drawers that are easily accessed, making loading and retrievingyour frozen assets a breeze. This added convenience comes at a price though, as upright freezers tend to be more expensive than chest models.
Chest freezers tend to be simple appliances with few bells and whistles. Incontrast, if you opt for an upright freezer, you may be able to avail of anumber of handy features, including a fast-freeze function to provide an addedboost of cooling power when needed. Alarms or warning lights can be useful tolet owners know if the door has not closed properly or if the temperaturebegins to rise. If you dread the thought of periodically defrosting yourfreezer, it might be worth seeking out a model with a frost-free feature thatprevents ice from building up in your freezer in the first place.
As well as being cheaper to buy, chest freezers tend to be less expensive torun. Due to their design, they are generally slightly more energy efficientthan upright appliances and the fact that they have a lid on top means that notas much cold air escapes when you open them up.
Chest freezers are better at keeping food frozen in the event of aprolonged power cut and could be worth considering if you live in an area wherepower outages are common.
Like all refrigeration appliances, freezers are always-on machines that can significantly push up energy bills. To minimise running costs, choosing a more energy-efficient model when buying a freezer is key.
There are also other ways to cut down on energy costs.
• As we have seen,appliances with a frost-free function will push up energy bills more than afreezer that has to be defrosted manually. However, freezers that have a lot ofice build-up use more energy so, to keep a manual-defrost freezer running atmaximum energy efficiency, you will need to defrost it regularly.
•Food is safely frozen at -18°C, so the freezer does not need to be any colderthan this. Keeping your freezer colder than -18°C is a waste of energy. You canuse a freezer thermometer to check the temperature of the appliance and adjustaccordingly.
•Don't leave the door open longer than necessary as warm air enters and thefreezer has to put in extra effort to lower the temperature again. Awell-organised freezer cuts down on the time spent rummaging around with thedoor open and transparent drawers let you see what is inside without having topull out each drawer.
•Similarly, the door seal needs to be making good contact and be free from frostto keep warm air out and to avoid added running costs.
•Features like door alarms or warning lights are useful as they alert you whenthe door is not properly closed, enabling you to rectify the problem quickly -thereby stopping the freezer from having to use additional energy in the effortto keep food frozen, as well as preventing your frozen food from thawingunexpectedly and ending up in the bin.
• Donot put freshly cooked food straight into the freezer, as this will warm theappliance up and it will have to work harder to reduce the temperature again.Cooked foods should be cooled before being popped into the freezer and you canspeed the cooling process up by dividing the food into smaller portions - whichcould also be handy when it comes to defrosting, as it may save you from havingto defrost a far larger portion than you need.
• Donot overfill your freezer, as cold air needs to be able to circulate around theappliance to work properly.