How we test freezers

Here's how we test the latest freezers.

20feb how we test freezers hero

When testing freezers, we primarily look at their everyday temperature control. We also assess how long they take to cool to a safe temperature for food storage and how long they can go without power before they warm up and ruin food.

How we choose what we test

We aim to test brands and models you’re likely to see when you head to the shops, plus some you might not be aware of. Before we buy anything, we do our research: we visit stores, both online and physical; we talk to experts and consumers; and we ask manufacturers about their range of models. We want to capture new developments in the market and make sure the products we test will be available after we publish our results.

We then compile a list of models and head out to purchase them, just as any consumer would. Where it means we can publish on upcoming models not yet in stores, we will accept samples to test from distributors.

How we test

Overall score

Our overall score for freezers includes assessments for:

  • Temperature performance (55%)
  • Warm-up (30%)
  • Cool-down (15%)

Temperature performance

Our temperature performance assessment includes: How well a freezer maintains even temperatures, how it copes with changes in ambient temperature, whether it allows a good range of temperature choices and if its default setting results in an appropriate temperature.

Warm-up

This is how long it takes the freezer to warm up if power is cut. The freezer is switched off in a room with an ambient temperature of 32°C. We time how long it takes for the freezer to warm from -15°C to -5°C.

Cool down

We measure how long it takes to cool the air in an empty freezer from when it’s switched on until it reaches -13°C in a warm (42°C) temperature-controlled room. Cool-down times will be longer and more variable with food in the freezer.

Energy usage

We compare energy use to the manufacturer’s claim. A pass means energy measured was no more than 7.5% higher than claimed, anything over that is a fail. If a freezer fails our test, it’s not necessarily bad, just not as efficient as the manufacturer says it is.

Noise

Freezers can be a noisy appliance, so we test noise to help you find the quietest model. Our noise test is conducted while the freezer’s compressor is turning on and off, but not while it’s defrosting. Measurements are taken a metre away and up from the floor. While our noise measurements are objective (31dBA is 31dBA), how people perceive noise is subjective. This is why we don’t consider noise when scoring freezers.

Reliability and owner satisfaction

Each year, we ask our members if products are reliable and satisfying to own.

We only analyse results for brands with more than 30 responses in our survey. Reliability is the percent of products from a brand that have not had a fault, while satisfaction is the percent of owners who say they are “very satisfied” (scoring the product 8, 9 or 10 on a 0-10 scale).

We don’t include reliability or satisfaction in our overall score, but we won’t recommend a product that has below average reliability.

Ready to buy?

Find out how to choose the right model with our buying guide, or check out our test results to see which we recommend.