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Looking to purchase upright freezer--your experiences?

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I've got a milestone b-day in a couple of months and I'd like to treat myself to something big! I am looking to buy a freezer, probably upright because of the ease of access to food and the smaller floor footprint. Also, the freezer at the bottom of my fridge is getting jam-packed! I do store a lot of flours and grains in there, especially during the warmer months. Anyway, it'll go in my unheated garage. The size will probably be approximately 16 - 18 cu. ft. Anybody here have experiences they'd like to share with me? Any that you liked (or that you'd steer clear of?) I assume I'd get an auto-defrost, but would there be any reason for me to consider a manual defrost (does the defrosting take a lot of time and effort?) Any observations or experiences you'd like to share would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. I think manual defrost is best avoided at all costs. If you have a freezer full of stuff, there's no way defrosting a freezer manually is convenient or easy. With that said, a manual defrost will force you to use up the ingredients in your freezer, because when the time comes, you don't want to have 16 cubic feet of ingredients sitting on your kitchen counter top, and floor, and kitchen sink, etc.

    1. I'm going to disagree with Shaw Oliver and recommend you look for a manual defrost. The reason for that is a frost free freezer goes through a cycle of heating to remove frost from the interior walls. This cycle is what exacerbates freezer burn. You probably notice small ice crystals building up on stuff in your bottom freezer. This is caused by that frost free cycle.

      Manual defrost freezers allow you to retain food for a longer period of time because it doesn't go through that cycle. The temperature is more consistently maintained, allowing for the longer storage. I have a manual defrost chest freezer (20+ years) and defrost about once every 24 months. It's not a big deal provided you keep your space organized.

      Congrats on the milestone b-day. Treat yourself!!!!!

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      1. Just this past May we got a 16.6 cf Frigidaire freezer from Lowe's - model LFFH17F7HW. It's a fairly straightforward upright, self-defrosting model. I think what really sold me on this model was that it has the controls on the outside of the door, and there is an LED display of the internal temperature on the control panel. I've been very happy with it so far.

        I checked Consumer Reports for recommendations and reliability ratings. Whirlpool reliability was tops, but the Frigidaire came in second. And a same-sized Whirlpool was going to cost $100 more *without* the outside control panel I wanted.

        We got two rebates on the new freezer because it was Energy Star certified. Those two rebates were local programs (one sponsored by my state, one by my local utility), but I suggest checking in your area to see if similar rebates are available. And by upgrading from a 1970s energy hog freezer to the new freezer, my electric bill seems to be down by about $10 / month.

        The old freezer was a manual defrost model, and I don't miss defrosting AT ALL, even though it was only an annual task.

        1. I had a Sears auto-defrost 21 cf upright freezer for more than 20 years with nary a single maintenence problem. Because we moved frequently, it lived in many different places - outdoors in San Diego, in the garage in VA & AZ, in a basement in MD, etc. It was a trooper in every sense of the word. It died when someone severed the cord unknowlingly while we were OOT for 3 weeks. The resulting mess was too much to contemplate and the freezer was unceremoniously hauled off to the dump.

          Because I have owned large freezers for more than 40 years, I cannot (nor do I wish to) think about life without one. I keep flour, grains, nuts, coffee, lots of ice, prepared meals as well as the "normal" foodstuffs like meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables. Today, I have two full-sized upright frostfree freezers which is a lot of real estate for two people..........

          1. Hi, I am a freezer needer, could never imagine life without one. I currently have about twenty pounds of top sirloin steaks, 15 lbs of skirt, multiple pounds of vac sealed fish - just brough home 10 lbs of fish from my smoker guy yesterday! 40 lbs of strawberries for a future jam making weekend, 20 lbs of blueberries, Eggo waffles were on sale for 89 cents a box a few weeks ago, and I had 50 cent off coupons, think I bought ten boxes, when butter goes on sale around the holidays, I will stock up for the rest of the year, a bunch of venison that I will probably never use, and a whole bunch of other stuff. my freezer is essential, one of the first things I bought when I bought my first house.

            My advice? Get a model with a VERY LOUD "door open signal / alarm" of some sort.
            If I ever get another one, you can be absolutely SURE I will get one with an alarm.

            It's only happened twice in 6 years, but if you leave the door open, and it's in the basement, who knows how long it will be open until you notice it. And if it's a few days, not only do you lose your food, but you also gotta defrost it.

            GET AN ALARM!

            P.S - my standard upright middle priced, auto defrost Kenmore has run like a champ for 6 years now. Just wish I'd gotten an ALARM!

            1 Reply
            1. re: gordeaux

              I don't have an alarm on one of them (the other one does) but it does have a lock, which I insist on using each and every time the freezer is opened and closed. It MUST be locked. Period. So far, so good.

              But I agree with you, gordeaux, only one mishap is enough to make one a believer.