Upright vs Chest Freezers – Which One Should You Buy?

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girl pulling frozen waffles out of a white deep freezer inside of garage

It’s time to stock up with a new deep freezer!

We’re sharing the highest-rated & best chest and upright freezers on the market, plus the pros and cons of each. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, tons of people were after a deep freezer to stash all their meat, freezer meals, homemade otter pops (thanks to kiddos being home!), and yes, even all of their dairy.

Now that stores seem to have plenty of freezers back in stock again, we set out to help you find the best one to suit your home and family. Our team is even sharing which ones we prefer, so let’s get to it!

Pros and cons of chest & deep freezers:

white chest deep freezer sitting in garage


    • Comes with removable hanging baskets or dividers
    • Offer more usable space
    • More energy efficient
    • Less likely to cause freezer burn on food since they don’t self-defrost like uprights
    • Cold temperatures stay consistently lower
    • Keep food colder for longer if the power goes out
    • Quieter than self-defrosting uprights


    • More difficult to organize
    • Harder to retrieve items from the bottom
    • Larger footprint than upright models
    • Manual defrost is the only option that can be time-consuming

Pros and cons of stand up & upright freezers:

white stand up freezer in garage with various types of meat and food


    • Smaller footprint than its equivalent size in the chest freezer.
    • Easier to organize
    • Shelves and bins in the door can often be adjusted
    • Option to use manual or self-defrost
    • Come in different finishes such as slate or stainless steel


    • The door doesn’t stay as cold as the rest of the freezer
    • Noisier than chest freezers
    • Allow more air to circulate around food (i.e. higher odds of freezer burn)
    • Shelves & bins take up more space (up to 20%) than in chest freezers allowing for less food storage
    • Easy to leave open by accident (not as kid-friendly)

Here are the 5 top-rated freezers based on Consumer Reports testing:

1. Get the most space with the top-rated GE FCM22DLWW Chest Deep Freezer.

girl holding frozen box of food over stocked open deep freezer

Go big or go home! This stunner can pack on some pounds but you better have space (and the budget) for it. With this freezer, you’ll have 21.7 cubic feet of space to store all the food your heart and bellies desire.

deep freezer sitting on black hexagon tile floor

Plus, you can assure you’ll have the ultimate organization and presentation each time you open the freezer door with its included 2-level basket system and game-changing LED interior lighting. You’ll never forget about food again!

2. Get the most bang for your buck with the GE FCM11PHWW Chest Deep Freezer.

white chest freezer sitting in garage with lid open

Ranking as the second-best deep freezer, this one offers the best price among the top-ranking chest freezers. You’ll surely get the best bang for your buck – it’s no wonder our very own recipe blogger, Lina, has this one!

Plus, it still has luxury features like the one above for almost twice the cost with its 3 lift-out sliding bulk storage baskets, 10.6 cubic feet of space, and interior lighting to see any time of day.

Hip Tip from Stacy: Once you have the extra freezer space, you’re going to want to start buying those big family packs of meat that cost less per pound so you either need to be watching for great Amazon deals on Ziploc freezer bags or grab a FoodSaver. Then, make sure to date what you put in your freezer.

3. The GE FCM16DLWW Chest Freezer can store up to a year’s worth of meat.

upright freezer with door open

GE does it again! And not only did they take the top 3 ranks on Consumer Reports in best overall freezers, but they’re also all deep freezers! So if you’re in the market for a great one, you’ll know just where to look since they offer an option for every budget and space in mind.

Easily store a year’s worth of meat in this 15.7 cubic feet deep freezer. Like all the other models, this one still boasts all the same bells and whistles to give you the top-of-the-line experience such as bright LED lighting, 4 sliding bulk storage baskets, and an exterior lock to keep all your goods safe and secure.

4. The GE FUF14DLRWW Freezer is the highest-rated stand-up deep freezer.

freezer sitting in garage with door open stocked full of food

Ranking in at #4, this stand-up freezer is the first to make it to the list and is also the only self defrost to make the top 5 best overall freezers. It also tied with the almost identical GE (model # FUF17DLRWW) freezer that costs slightly more but is unavailable.

Nonetheless, its performance is just that of a chest freezer, although it could have performed better in the noise and power outage department. Of course, if it’s going in the garage, the noise may not be an issue anyways.

5. The GE FCM5SKWW Freezer is the most affordable & compact choice.

small white deep freezer sitting on floor with lid open

It probably comes as no surprise, but GE swept the 5th best overall freezer spot making them the absolute best in the industry no matter which style of deep freezer you’re shopping for! Best of all, this 5th highest-rated choice is the most compact and the most affordable of them all at just under 300 bucks!

With 5 cubic feet of interior space, this compact deep freezer can even easily fit inside your basement for some added extra storage. Plus, it has sleek recessed handles to make it fit sleek and seamlessly in any nook you have in mind. If you’re just looking for the perfect compact, reliable, and quiet deep freezer that’s also budget-friendly, this one will check off all the marks.

So what’s the Hip2Save team verdict on our Deep Freezers Debate?

open deep freezer with food inside

Two of my Hip sidekicks love their chest freezers!

“We had a small chest from Costco and just needed a bigger option and recently upgraded to a highly-rated GE deep freezer. I wanted a stand-up but my husband is a research guru and read that the doors don’t get as cold as a chest? 💁‍♀️

We were also already using the space above our old deep freezer to hang ladders so it just made sense to get a chest freezer again. Plus, it was a little less expensive. I’m for either though! Such a great way to stock up on meat and frozen items… like during a pandemic. 😅

If you’re ditching an old freezer too, we sold our smaller one on Facebook in about two seconds since they’re so popular right now!” – Lina

“I have both types of deep freezers and love them, but ultimately favor the chest deep freezer more. I feel like things get lost in both of them from time to time so organization is key. I do like that the upright is easier to sift through BUT I also love that I can pile stuff into the deep freezer in bulk. When I dig through my upright one, it often feels like an avalanche in there so rooting through the chest freezer is so much easier for me.” – Lisanne

These Hip team members love their stand-up freezers!

“We are a stand-up freezer family all the way! 🙌 We actually used to have a deep freezer and just recently switched as we felt we were missing items at the bottom of our chest freezer. My husband helps to butcher each year and so we have tons of meat at the beginning of the year.

We keep it all organized in bins which we splurged on from The Container Store because we were tired of cheapy ones breaking on us all the time. I love knowing what we have on hand, all beautifully organized, and it really helps me to save on our grocery bill in the long run!” – Amber

“I have always had and loved chest freezers. I’m not short so reaching to the bottom is not a problem and when I started getting hot flashes it was great to lean into it (totally serious!). I was so sad when we moved from Oregon to Oklahoma and couldn’t bring it and when we went to buy a new one this year, it was hard finding any due to the pandemic.

I stalked websites daily and finally found another one, except it was a stand-up freezer. I figured it was better than nothing so I gave it a shot. We’ve had it for 3 months now and I have to say I absolutely love it!

To top it off, I think it’s even better than the deep freezer I loved for so long! It’s so much easier to organize and see everything. I crossed over to the dark side or should I say the ‘upright’ side.” – Jennifer

“We have a stand-up freezer. It’s so old, it’s not even frost-free, but it’s a solidly built freezer. I did not want to be digging so the upright is definitely my preference. We use the iDesign bins to organize the meats we get from co-op buys and from my husband’s hunting trips. I feel like a FoodSaver and freezer are purchases that go hand in hand.” – Stacy 

“We have an upright freezer and I love having it! We originally bought it when we were getting a quarter cow, but that’s all gone now and we still love having it for all of the extra meat, food items, and bags of ice. I prefer the upright so you can actually see what is in your freezer without having to dig.” – Angie

Which model do you prefer to freeze your food in?

It’s pretty clear our team loves their stand-up freezers! They proved to be the easiest to organize, but Lina and Lisanne’s votes for a chest freezer proved that stashing bulk food in the deep freezers is easier and overall they can be more affordable and better at keeping foods cold.

Which do you prefer?!

Speaking of deep freezers, have you made these frozen chocolate-dipped peanut butter banana bites?! 😋🍌

Sara is a self-taught blogger and photographer with 5 years of experience having work featured in various building, travel, and fashion publications, most notably Bassett Furniture and Fossil.

Join The Discussion

Comments 76

  1. Kay

    I also have both. Use the chest, it’s half-size, inside as my fridge doesn’t have a freezer, ice and whatever sounds good goes in there, got it off craigslist for like $75 works perfectly. Upright is in garage and holds overflow. Because of the energy savings I prefer the chest. It’s colder, and lid will auto close. I put velcro on chest the first time a kid left door open. I can’t afford to replace that much food. I tend to overstock lol, sales and whatnot. I rarely get freezer burn as I use my food saver all the time.

  2. Carol

    I have 2 uprights, one frost-free and one not frost free. Those are may favorite. I also have an old Montgomery Wards chest freezer from around 1980 and one of the uprights is around 35 years old. When I need to defrost the upright or the chest freezer I put an electric heater a good distance away (for safety reasons) and let it run for a while making the defrosting easier. I also use my shop vac to suck up all the water out of both freezers. Makes the chest freezer much easier to defrost. My daughter and I live together and she saw me trying to get something out of the bottom of the chest freezer. I’m 5’3″ tall. She was afraid of me leaning over and getting overbalanced and falling in. We don’t keep it completely full. Her solution was to put 2 layers of bagged ice in the bottom and it solved the problem of any accidents. Our Ice maker went out and we used most of the ice and then just replaced it when the ice maker was fixed.

  3. Evie

    I hope, in addition to the freezers,all have generators too!

  4. AnneS

    When our house was built 18 years ago I planned to install an upright freezer in the garage. A friend remodeled, went stainless and handed down her top of the line, white GE chest freezer. It has both a power light and an alarm. I break down packages of meat into meal sized portions, wrap in freezer paper and put in a baggie or use my vacuum sealer. I do the same with seasonal fruits and veggies since I do not can. I like being able to fits trays in the freezer so I can freeze items individually and flat. I use shopping bags to organize and close them as added protection against freezer burn. I also keep ice (frozen water bottles) and artificial ice in the freezer. According to my grandparents the ice will increase the time food will keep when the power or freezer fails and in a hurricane you have extra drinking water. Another forgotten trick is to freeze a small container of water, place a coin on top of the ice. If the coin is ever below the surface of the ice you know the power has been off.

    Once a year, in preparation to defrost the freezer I cook from the freezer until it is all but empty. Anything left goes into the refrigerator’s freezer where we keep ice cream, frozen pizza, bread, milk, items I’m going to use right away, etc. Although I did not want a manual defrost or a chest freezer it is OK to manage when not full and there is room to maneuver. My biggest problem is taking frozen food out, setting it on the floor when looking for something then forgetting to put the bag of food back in the freezer. It would help if I had room for a landing place. A shelf or counter, to keep items off the floor would make things easier to see and less likely to be left out to accidentally defrost.

    Just before Thanksgiving 2020 my refrigerator’s freezer, although cold, stopped freezing. Appliances in general are in short supply and hard to find. Since the refrigerator and its freezer maintain safe cold temps (33F to 38F) I gave up finding a replacement for now. What is available is stainless or white and I have black appliances. My hand-me-down, manual defrost, chest freezer is now stuffed to the brim. I live in fear it will quit since it is 20+ years-old. Now that it is totally full it is hard to get to stuff at the bottom. It is a major operation to find anything. Nothing can be moved over. To get to the bottom I have to unpack the entire top layer. It is so cold I wear mittens, fill up the floor around me and often give up before I find what I’m looking for.

    My hand-me-down chest freezer has served me well without issues. It gets colder than a refrigerator freezer. It’s not fancy, freezes food quickly and keeps it hard frozen. My grandparents had chest freezers, my parents upright. I’ve lived with both. I’ve always known when it is time for a replacement, I will get an upright. Uprights are easier to organize, easier to see in and reach items, just easier in general to use and my first choice.

  5. VB Vee

    So….I’m phasing into a freezer downsize. Best Buy has the 3.5 cu ft chest freezer for $114.99. I’ve been emptying out the larger chest freezer and will be able to manage with a 3.5 along with the top of the kitchen fridge/freezer.
    If I can’t take it with me to the new apt….then I haven’t put too much $$ into it. If I can take it, it’ll be small enough to fit into an apartment easily. Thinking about straddling the microwave cart over top of this smaller freezer to save floor space.
    I won’t have the problem of buying too much stuff for long term storage. Buying and storing food for 4-6 weeks is my new goal.

  6. Gary

    We replaced a 38 yo Kenmore upright freezer because the door corroded and began to sag, causing ceiling frost buildup. It still ran perfectly. The new unit is also upright. We lose power frequently and have a generator. We use half gallon milk jugs filled with water in the freezer as “ballast” as space permits, which helps during power outages. A very helpful tip: buy an indoor/outdoor thermometer to monitor your freezer temp. When power goes out never open the freezer and as 48 hours approaches monitor the temp closely and run generator as needed. We’ve never wasted thawed food doing this.

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