Although most homeowners just use the freezer
into their fridge,
many also choose to add a second standalone freezer appliance for
supplemental use, often in the garage, basement or pantry. Large
households, hunters and fishermen may need a separate freezer just to
hold surplus food, whether it is prepackaged or freshly caught.
This guide will help explains the major freezer types
and features to help you make an informed buying decision.
Of the two basic types of freezers available for the home,
chest freezers are great for bulk storage. Chest freezers are
horizontally oriented and commonly feature a lift-up, solid-top lid.
They contain a single spacious freezer compartment ideally suited to
storing large cuts of meat or other big items that cannot fit in the
kitchen freezer. Chest freezers in the home usually possess between 4.0
and 25.0 cubic feet in capacity, although smaller units are available.
Consisting of a durable acrylic or vinyl laminate shell, chest freezers
are insulated with high-density polyurethane foam and commonly feature
a one-piece lining for easy cleaning.
Chest Freezer Features
Chest freezers are typically manual defrost appliances with a
drain plug provided for that purpose. They often feature an adjustable
mechanical thermostatic control, a power-on indicator light and a
safety lock. An interior light may be included. Regardless of their
size, chest freezers include one or more removable freezer baskets for
convenient loading and unloading. Some units feature counterbalanced
hinges so that the lift-up lid stays put when opened.
Commercial Chest Freezers
Commercial chest freezers are nearly identical to residential
units in design, specifications and features. The biggest difference is
that commercial units are primarily designed for displaying wares, so
they feature sliding glass doors instead of solid lids. The glass may
be curved or flat, is tempered for strength and is heat reflective.
Other commercial chest freezers include ice cream dipping cabinets.
These spacious units are designed to hold a dozen or more 3-gallon ice
cream tubs. They feature a heavy-duty straight glass top with a sneeze
guard for easy customer viewing on one side and quick clerk access on
the other. Commercial chest freezers also include heavy-duty casters
for easy moving.
The other primary freezer type is an upright freezer. From
ultra-small, 1.3-cubic-foot units to medium- and full-size models,
upright freezers more closely resemble traditional refrigerators in
design. While refrigerators typically feature one door enclosing
separate compartments, upright freezers feature a single door with home
units. Commercial upright freezers are an exception to this, though.
Many of the same structural components and design features of chest
freezers are found on upright freezers. These include adjustable
temperature controls, high-density foam insulation and a one-piece
interior liner for easy cleaning. Upright freezers commonly come with
automatic defrost and with leveling legs for orientation on uneven
surfaces. They are readily available in a stainless steel as well as a
vinyl laminate or acrylic finish.
Upright features range in size from 1.3 cubic feet to about 20
cubic feet. Medium- and full-size freezers as well as some compact
units feature ample door storage, multiple adjustable interior shelves
and storage drawers. An interior light and power-on light are nearly
standard. Some upright freezers have a field reversible door for
desired orientation. Lock and key sets are included with many models,
and door handles are either recessed or reach-through. Full-size
upright freezers are capable of holding 700 pounds or more of frozen
goods, meaning they are capable of storing months' worth of supplies.
Commercial Upright Freezers
Upright freezers used in commercial applications are for
either storage or display. Commercial storage freezers come in a
variety of shapes and sizes, including rollable under-counter units,
combination worktop freezers, single and multi-section reach-in
freezers and countertop display freezers. Rollable under-counter and
worktop freezers are about 3 feet high, feature heavy-duty casters and
commonly include dual side-swing doors. Worktop combos include a
backsplash to hold a cutting board or other utensils. Straight
under-counter freezers are sized to stow neatly away where space is
otherwise tight. Full-size reach-in freezers come in single- and
multi-door designs with up to 72 cubic feet in capacity. Commercial
units often feature digital temperature controls, an automatic
evaporating condenser and self-closing doors. Upright merchandise
freezers include see-though triple pane windows for maximum product
visibility. Fluorescent lights, a stainless steel floor and custom
panel acceptability are typical.
Commercial freezers are almost always finished in stainless
steel and may feature galvanized steel or anodized aluminum components.
Merchandisers are often finished in rugged acrylic or vinyl. All types
are foamed-in-place with dense polyurethane insulation. Heavy-duty
swivel casters and magnetic door gaskets are also common attributes of
commercial upright freezers.
Brands and Prices
A wide number of appliance makers produce freezers of either
the residential or commercial kind at an equally wide variety of
prices. Chest freezers found in homes and food service establishments
are made by Frigidaire, Kenmore, Haier, GE, Avanti, Maytag, Fricon,
Summit, Arctic Air and Danby. Many of these same brands produce home
upright freezers, as do Whirlpool, Sunpentown and Electrolux. Other
brands specialize almost exclusively in the commercial freezer market.
Appliance makers such as Tor-Rey, Caravell, Turbo Air, Beverage Air,
Excellence and True produce a wide assortment of upright, chest and
merchandising freezers for commercial application.
As for price, you can spend from $150 to $2,000 or more for a
chest or upright freezer to install in your home. Commercial freezers
are priced differently. Commercial chest freezers start at around $500,
while high-end commercial reach-in units have prices that vary widely
between $1,000 and $5,000. Basically, there is no such thing as a
narrow price range with residential and commercial freezers. Whatever
you need can be found, and whatever your budget, it can be met. Whether
for display or storage, in the home or at a commercial establishment, a
freezer is the only way to preserve foods safely for a long period.