How crammed is the freezer in your refrigerator? A separate freezer lets you take advantage of big sales on meat and frozen vegetables. Consumer Reports just tested dozens of chest freezers and uprights.
Chest freezers are generally cheaper. But they take up more floor space and they need to be defrosted manually to melt off the ice buildup. Many uprights are self-defrosting, but they tend to be less energy efficient.
Consumer Reports tests both types by filling them with frozen spinach and checking for temperature consistency throughout the compartment. Testers also measure energy usage and the ability to stay cold after a power outage.
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The Sears Kenmore 12702 earned low scores. The temperature performance is only fair, it’s noisy, and it did poorly in our power-outage test.
The top chest freezer is the $370 GE model GE FCM11PHWW. It maintains a steady temperature and is the quietest freezer tested. Consumer Reports also named a bargain chest-style freezer a Best Buy. It’s the Idylis ICM-070-LC. It’s noisier and doesn’t have an interior light or stay quite as cold in a power outage. But it’s just $190.
For uprights, Consumer Reports named the Sears Kenmore model 22442 a Best Buy. It costs $450.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars and trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.