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Best Freezers of 2023

Consumer Reports 1/17/2023 Mary H.J. Farrell

You can count on these chest and upright models from Consumer Reports' tests

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Joseph Pacella, a CR project leader, places temperature sensors inside a freezer in a test lab.

By Mary H.J. Farrell

When you buy your groceries in bulk or make large batches of food ahead of time, the freezer compartment of a standard refrigerator can be woefully inadequate. This became readily apparent at the beginning of the pandemic when folks were stocking up on groceries and, not surprisingly, sales of standalone freezers shot up.

With food prices inching up lately, you may still find yourself wanting more freezer space. How better to take full advantage of whatever sales you may find on chicken or meat, or stash those 4-pound bags of frozen berries from Costco for your morning smoothie? If you’re in the market for a standalone freezer, we can help.

How We Picked the Best Freezers

Buying a standalone freezer is a calculation. Do you want an upright or a chest freezer? Where will you put it and how much space do you have? To help you find the best model for your needs, Consumer Reports recently refined our freezer ratings to make it easier for you to compare them. We now group freezers by size and capacity (small, medium, and large) as well as by configuration (chest vs. upright). That way you’re not comparing the performance of a chest freezer as big as a couch to one the size of a dishwasher. 

“The overall result of the reorganization is ratings that are a good comparison of models in a way that consumers shop—by size,” says Maria Rerecich, who oversees product testing at Consumer Reports.

Data from our tests is folded into an Overall Score for each model and appears in our freezer ratings charts. Our freezer buying guide offers additional information on the pros and cons of each type, the features you’ll want to look for, and tips for helping your freezer operate efficiently.

How CR Tests Freezers

We test freezers under both normal and adverse conditions. That’s because if there’s ever a power outage, you want a model that keeps your food frozen for as long as possible.

We start by evaluating how well each freezer maintains food at a constant temperature on a day-to-day basis. To do this, we pack each one with boxes of frozen spinach and measure the internal temperature of the cavity in 15 different places over the course of six weeks.

To see how well a freezer fares under adverse conditions, we simulate a power outage by raising the temperature in the test chamber to 90° F and unplugging the loaded freezer for 9 hours. “We test them in a warm room because summer is often when the power goes out,” says Larry Ciufo, who analyzes our freezer test data. In the best freezers, the temp rises by just a few degrees. But the worst models show a temperature spike of 25° F or more, which means food can start to thaw.

In addition to these tests, we also calculate energy efficiency and measure noise output. This information is also included in our ratings.

Best Chest Freezers From CR's Tests

If you’re planning to put your freezer in a basement or another out-of-the-way place, consider a chest model. Chest freezers don’t come with a self-defrosting feature, which means you’ll have to take the food out periodically to defrost it manually. Also be aware that the deepest of these deep freezers can be difficult to organize.

Insignia NS-CZ70WH0

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Small Chest Freezer

CR’s take: The compact Insignia NS-CZ70WH0 comes from Best Buy’s house brand. It’s a champ at keeping a set temperature, and its thermostat is spot-on. Your food will survive a typical power outage, and this little number runs quietly. Energy efficiency is near the top, but some chest freezers rank even better on this score.

Insignia NS-CZ10WH6

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Midsized Chest Freezer

CR’s take: Another top pick from Best Buy, the Insignia NS-CZ10WH6 gets exemplary scores across the board. It’s an energy miser with an accurate thermostat, all while keeping the interior at a steady temperature. And your food will be safe during a power outage; this model aced that test too. It’s a tad noisy, but that shouldn’t be a concern because most folks place chest freezers outside living areas.


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Large Chest Freezer

CR’s take: The GE FCM16DLWW is a whopping 66 inches long, a bit longer than a loveseat. And you’ll love its performance. It aces our thermostat control and uniformity tests, and runs pretty efficiently. It’ll carry you through a power outage, too. It ranks in the middle for noise but at this size, you probably won’t place it anywhere near your living spaces.

Frigidaire FFCL2042AW

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Extra-Large Chest Freezer

CR’s take: While the Frigidaire FFCL2042AW didn’t make the cutoff for our recommended list, its impressive performance is worth considering if you want a super-sized chest freezer. And it doesn’t take much energy to run, comparatively speaking. The thermostat controls were accurate and the unit held its temperature steady with few warm spots. It withstood our simulated power outage, keeping food frozen. It’s a bit noisy but at this size, that’s not unexpected.

Best Upright Freezers From CR's Tests

Think about an upright model if you’re putting the freezer in your kitchen. Some are available in different finishes that you can match to your kitchen suite. (Chest freezers usually come in basic white.) Some upright freezers also come with a self-defrost feature, so you don’t have to take everything out to defrost it. In our tests, the self-defrosting models perform better than manual-defrost models. Keep in mind that uprights usually cost more to run than chest freezers.

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Small Upright Freezer

CR’s take: The self-defrosting GE FUF14DLRWW offers top performance at a good value. It aces both the thermostat control and temperature uniformity tests, and is very good (though not the best) at keeping food frozen during a power outage. It earns a middling score for noise. It’s impressive in energy efficiency and has a bonus quick-freeze feature, which at this price is a welcome addition.

Frigidaire FFFU16F2VW

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Midsized Upright Freezer

CR’s take: Like many uprights, the Frigidaire FFFU16F2VW is self-defrosting. It hits its set temperature with no problem and has good thermostat control. It’s also fairly quiet. But it’s not the most energy-efficient of the freezes we tested, and doesn’t hold up as well during a power outage as other models.


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Large Upright Freezer

CR’s take: Once the self-defrosting GE FUF21DLRWW hits its set temperature it keeps it there, scoring high on our temperature uniformity test. Thermostat control is also top-notch. It’s fairly quiet and holds its own during a simulated outage. It doesn’t get the best marks in energy efficiency but comes pretty close. And it has a quick-freeze feature, which is handy when you load it up after a big shopping trip.

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2023, Consumer Reports, Inc.

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