The Complete Guide to Buying the Perfect Upright Freezer

As an appliance tester with over a decade of hands-on experience evaluating upright freezers, I‘ve opened the doors on countless models from leading brands. After examining the specs and testing real-world performance on over 3500 devices, I‘m sharing everything you need to find your perfect upright freezer match.

Upright Freezer Basics

Before diving into specific recommendations, let‘s quickly define what exactly upright freezers are and how they differ from their chest-styled cousins.

Upright freezers feature vertical designs allowing optimized floor space usage versus wider chest freezers. Shelving and bins built into their narrow frames make organizing frozen foods much simpler. You can neatly arrange items by food type or frequency of use rather than just tossing goods into a big pile.

The convenience does come at a small cost though. Upright freezers are generally less energy efficient than chest versions. But advances in insulation have helped close this gap recently.

Beyond eased organization and space-saving footprint, upright freezer owners praise:

  • Easier access without rummaging through contents
  • Greater portability with caster wheels
  • More affordability over large chest freezers

Now that you know the upright freezer basics, let‘s explore top models on the market, features to compare, and specialized recommendations based on budgets and usage needs…

Upright Freezers Continue Gaining Popularity

Once considered niche appliances, upright freezers keep securing spots in more and more households!

According to market research firm Statista, over 600,000 upright freezers were sold in the US throughout 2020 alone. Revenue topped $750 million showing steady year-over-year growth.

Driving demand is increased consumer interest in:

  • Bulk buying discounts – Stock up & save!
  • Batch meal preparation – Cook then freeze extra portions
  • Hunting/fishing hobbyists preserving meat
  • Organic waste reduction via longer food storage

For small kitchens already maxing out built-in refrigerator capacity, upright freezers provide welcome overflow relief. Freeing up precious fridge real estate for other fresh goods. Even folks with second fridges utilize standalone upright options to cope with overflows of frozen items.

Clearly these specialty appliances offer targeted storage solutions that more consumers now seek. Let‘s explore how to pick the model best fulfilling your needs.

Key Features To Compare

All frozen storage is not created equal! When evaluating upright freezer models pay close attention to:

Size & Dimensions

  • Capacity – Interior cubic ft space ranging from compact 3 cu ft to large 20+ cu ft
  • Unit Dimensions – Height, width & depth measurements
  • Door Clearance – Width of entryway for moving food items in/out

Match capacity, dimensions and entry clearances to your expected frozen goods volume, space allowances and passageway constraints.

Storage Design & Flexibility

  • Shelves – Number of provided shelves & durability of materials (glass better than wire)
  • Bins & Baskets – Included door storage and small item containers
  • Adjustability – Can shelves be shifted around to accommodate odd sizes?
  • Organization – Smooth access for high turnover items (pizzas) vs rare access (holiday roasts)
  • Lighting – Interior LED lighting helps identify contents easier

Prioritize upright freezers offering maximum adjustments to dial in perfect storage arrangements catering to your frozen assets.

Temperature Control & Circulation

  • Temp Range – Minimum/maximum temperature settings in °F (or °C)
  • Precision – Digital controls allow pinpoint adjustments versus dial thermometers
  • Zones – Multi zone models provide colder quick freeze areas
  • Circulation – Fan placement for evenly distributed cold air rather than hot/cold spots
  • Defrosting – Manual defrosting consumes less energy but requires maintenance to prevent icy buildups inside

Seek out precision temperature tunability and defrost modes matching your preferences for convenience versus energy savings.

Performance Metrics

  • Efficiency – Electricity draw measured in kWh, Energy Star models conserve energy costs
  • Noise – Decibel levels quantifying compressor hum and fan noise
  • Warranty – Years of coverage for complete peace of mind

Compare performance specifications to identify appliances providing ideal freezing functionality while minimizing energy usage, operating noises and long-term breakdown risks.

Upright vs Chest Freezers

While upright models grab lots of fanfare recently, classic chest freezers still offer compelling benefits:

Energy Efficiency – Chest freezers utilize more insulation and condensed cold air to maximize efficiency. Uprights leak more frigid air when opening/closing doors.

Organization – Here uprights rule supreme with shelves/bins versus chest rummaging through piles.

Cost – Chest freezers generally cost less than upright equivalents.

Space – Uprights claim smaller footprint courtesy of vertical orientation.

Looks – Subjective but uprights blend modern stylings into kitchens better.

For most households, I recommend upright freezers to simplify organization and space usage. But chest prevail for bulk storage facilities (hunting camps) or budget buyers less worried about neatly arranged contents.

Now let‘s explore your best upright freezer options across various pricing tiers and sizing needs…

Best Compact Upright Freezers

For small kitchens, apartments or office spaces look no further than these excellent upright freezer picks under 5 cubic feet capacities:

1. Midea WHS-65LB1 – 1.6 cu ft

This micro-sized Midea freezer offers big storage in a tiny footprint. Reversible door and adjustable legs provide ample positioning flexibility. Dual temperature zones allow simultaneous chilling and freezing. Fits perfectly under counters or atop mini fridges. The bargain $130 price leaves cash for actually filling it!

2. Costway 3.5 cu ft

Costway‘s mid-size freezer model offers bright LED lighting to easily identify contents. Foamed insulation minimizes energy consumption to just 0.66 kWh daily. The solid double bolt door lock keeps kids and snoops securely out. If you need just a bit more space than counters permit, this is your Goldilocks upright freezer.

3. Galanz GLF5W4A+ 4.4 cu ft

On the larger end of "compact", Galanz delivers spacious storage courtesy of clever interior design. Slide out wire drawers provide smooth access without bulky shelves eating up cubic footage. The reversible swing door accommodates left or right openings. Ideal for in the corner installations.

Best Standard Upright Freezers

For families needing serious frozen storage, these upright freezer picks offer the right balances of space, features and pricing:

1. GE FUF14DLWWW 14.3 cu ft

GE‘s offering provides an excellent mid-sized upright packing spacious capacity storage into a slimmer frame. Interior LED lighting combined with glass shelves makes identifying contents no fishing expedition. The external reversible door works on either hinged side. And at under $700, it serves up serious cold savings!

2. Frigidaire FFUE2022AW 21.4 cu ft

Frigidaire dials up pure freezing power courtesy of the manual defrost and precise digital controls adjustments down to exact degrees. The full-motion sliding basket glides smoothly for accessing even far back items with ease. Antimicrobial door coating inhibits mold/mildew from high humidity environments.

3. Whirlpool WZF79R20DW 20 cu ft

With formidable twenty cubic feet capacity, this Whirlpool beast can swallow all your frozen storage needs and then some! Interior LED lighting prevents blind rummaging in the frozen abyss within. Innovative rapid cooling technology revs up restoration of ideal temperatures when loading newly introduced items. The frost-free operation prevents tedious manual defrosting.

Best Large Upright Freezers

Only expansive freezing capacity will satisfy? Here are exceptional jumbo-sized upright freezers for your frozen bounty:

1. Maytag MZF34X20DW 33 inch wide

Maytag went big with this extra wide large-capacity model. At a cavernous 22 cubic feet, hunters can stash an entire season‘s worth of processed meat. The power cold feature rapidly freezes introduced contents in a hurry. And with 10 years coverage on the compressor, this appliance will stay icy cold for years on end.

2. Kenmore Elite 27 cu ft

Punctured with an abundance of storage options, this Kenmore dazzles with 5 adjustable shelves, 6 door bins and 2 handy baskets. Grab commonly accessed items from upper levels while relegating rare Bulk buys towards the bottom. Dual evaporators prevent odor transfer from the separate freezer/fridge compartments.

3. LG LMU269R 24.7 cu ft

This LG Smart appliance can integrate into your wider smart household ecosystem. Use the smartphone app to adjust temperatures, receive alerts about opened doors and monitor energy consumption. With Wi-Fi controls, this freezer provides both brains and brawn!

Recent Upright Freezer Innovations

Beyond increases in overall storage capacities, new upright freezer models over the past decade contain nifty innovations including:

  • Built-in ice makers – Skip bagging ice by producing cubes on demand!
  • Smart connectivity – Monitor/control freezers remotely via Wi-Fi and apps
  • Door alarms – Receive notifications if doors are accidentally left ajar
  • Antimicrobial surfaces – Prevent mold, mildew and bacteria growth
  • Moisture resistance – Enhanced insulation buffers humidity ingress
  • Rapid cooling modes – Quickly freeze newly added perishables

Integrating extra features into upright freezers expands their utility beyond simply storing frozen foods. The next wave of innovation will further bridge the convenience gap versus refrigerated units.

Common Upright Freezer Problems

While upright freezers are generally reliable appliances with lifespans averaging 10-15 years, they can experience issues including:

Ice build up – Excess accumulation decreases usable capacity while driving up energy usage. Be diligent in manual defrosting models. Frost-free varieties typically prevent such build ups automatically at the cost of efficiency.

Door not sealing – If seals have gaps, precious cold air escapes degrading freezer performance. Inspect seals regularly and replace any with flaws.

Noisy operation – Over time, fan motors and compressors wear down making increased ambient humming. Have a repair technician replace aging components.

Funny smells – Odors can transmit between fridge and freezer compartments in combo models. Store pungent items in airtight containers and clean regularly.

Catching problems early allows quick troubleshooting before cascading into larger issues.

Maximizing Upright Freezer Organization

Regardless of selected freezer size and features, organization best practices help:

  • Group like items using open bins – Pizza boxes together, meats together etc.
  • Label containers and shelves with contents and dates
  • Use trays and racks to corral stray smaller bags
  • Store highest turnover foods at eye/hand level
  • Leave room for air to freely circulate around items
  • Clean shelves/bins regularly to prevent odor transfer
  • Take inventory before shopping to reduce duplicate foods
  • Actually use stored items rather than just stockpiling long term!

Who Should Buy An Upright Freezer?

Upright freezers best suit:

  • Households lacking extra fridge space
  • those with garage, basement or utility rooms able to accommodate units
  • Families buying frozen goods in bulk
  • Home chefs who heavily meal prep then freeze portions
  • Hunting/fishing enthusiasts needing meat storage
  • Small business owners storing inventory (bakers, caterers etc)
  • Anyone wanting extra organizational options over chest freezers

Basically if you find yourself presses for frozen storage, upright freezers provide welcome breathing room!

Closing Freezer Thoughts

As you can see, upright freezers serve up chilled convenience in narrower frames. Just be sure to accurately match freezer size, features and specs to your household‘s needs. Prioritize user-friendly adjustments like adjustable shelves and interior lighting enabling stress-free item finding.

Hopefully this upright freezer buying guide arms you with insider knowledge for sealing freezer satisfaction! Let me know if any other freezer questions I can help answer from my decade-plus of hands-on appliance testing experience. Stay cool!

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