Here are some things to consider when you’re choosing a stand-alone freezer.
Chest or vertical?
A chest freezer is best for maximum storage capacity as they are available in sizes up to 700 litres. But a 700 litre chest freezer occupies a lot of floor space.
Vertical freezers are usually more convenient to use because you don’t have to dig down through the layers of frozen food. Smaller chest freezers can be very awkward to use once packets get buried at the bottom.
Chest freezers are not frost-free so you have to defrost from time to time. If you don’t open the lid too much or leave it up for too long, ice build up is slow, and defrosting once a year is usually enough. Look for a model with a drain bung at the front, so you can easily drain off the melted water. Drain bungs with spouts help minimise spills. The drain should be high enough to fit a suitable container underneath. This makes defrosting easier.
Vertical freezers are available with shelves or drawers. Shelves allow you to open the door and immediately see what’s there. But check how movable they are, and whether they have lips to stop food falling out at the front, sides and back when you do move them.
Sliding drawers may take up more potential storage space than shelves, but they make it easier to access food: check they slide smoothly. Some have opaque fronts, so you’d probably need to label what’s in them to make finding things easier.
Baskets or partitions in a chest freezer help you organise the freezer for later retrieval of long-lost leftovers.
Controls: Check where they’re located and if they’re easy to understand and adjust. Some need a coin or small screwdriver to change the setting.
Liners: Some freezers come with soft, thin aluminium liners. Look for heavy-duty liners that won’t dent easily.
Interior light: A light under the lid of a chest freezer can make finding items easier.