Deep freezers, also known as chest freezers, used to be a common feature in American homes. Popular in the 1940s and 50s, the appliance fell out of favor as more advanced refrigerators, with greater capabilities, became available. Today, the deep freezer is making a comeback for more than a few good reasons.
Benefits of a Chest Freezer
Most standard, moderately priced refrigerators have only one evaporator—the thing that cools
it—and one exhaust system. If you have something smelly in the fridge, a large jar of poorly sealed garlic, for example, that smell is highly likely to permeate everything in your freezer, including your ice cream and ice cubes. With a deep freezer, that kind of cross-smell contamination can’t happen. Deep freezers achieve lower temperatures than standard freezers, allowing you to store food longer. Less capacity for air circulation around food means less freezer burn. Larger and odd-sized items fit in a deep freezer more easily. Having such a freezer allows you to take advantage of bulk sales on food, or to easily store food you grow yourself. Deep freezers are less expensive than upright models and generally require less energy to operate.
The Down Side
Although you can store more food in a deep freezer, you have to stack it. If you want that turkey breast at the bottom of the pile, everything above it has to come out. Deep freezers use less power to run because most don’t have an automatic defrost feature, which means that, about once a year or so, you have to empty out the chest, let it defrost and drain the resulting water. Deep freezers also take up a lot of room, depending on the size of the space in which you keep it.
Selecting a Deep Freezer
Many current deep freezer models come with Energy Star certification. Look for that designation to cut down on power consumption and operating costs. Some models are equipped with automatic defrosters and temperature controls, making operation and maintenance a breeze. Look for a seamless interior surface—as this aids in cleaning—and a textured exterior for durability. Choose a model with heavy duty, rust-proof hinges for longer life and less hassle. Locking models are available, as are those with ice makers and a fast-freeze compartment. Finally, look for a chest freezer with a defrost drain or hose. This makes the annual defrosting clean up a lot easier.