What to look for when buying a standalone freezer.
Buying food in bulk can help save money, but you need a good freezer when it comes to storing your perishables long term.
Our test results will show you the top-performing models. Plus, we’ve covered the features you should consider when buying a freezer.
We’ve also tested freezers for temperature performance, warm-up and cool-down time, and much more. Learn about how we test freezers.
There are two types of freezers: upright/vertical, which looks similar to a standard fridge, and chest, which has a hinging lid on top. Choosing your ideal type requires more than considering if it’ll keep your food cold.
Vertical freezers are available with shelves or drawers which are easier to access. Shelves allow you to open the door and easily see what’s there. Some have extending telescopic runners, but check how easily they roll, their weight capacity and whether they have a lip at the front, sides and back to stop food falling out when you 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 might need to label what’s in them to make finding things easier.
Insulation thickness and the size and type of compressor can have a big effect on a freezer’s efficiency. When you’re comparing freezers, check the energy use figures on the labels. The annual running costs from our test or use claimed energy use on the Energy Rating website.
You can help your freezer manage temperature and save energy by placing it in an area with stable ambient temperatures (for example, out of the sun and away from draughts). It’s tempting to put a freezer in the garage, but large doors regularly opening and closing can result in large temperature changes occurring around it.
Like a fridge, a freezer is always running. This means a loud one can become a major annoyance.
We trawled through our test data and analysed noise readings for household appliances, including dishwashers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Fridges and freezers were the quietest, with an average running noise of 35dBA. That’s almost as quiet as a whisper.
The decibel scale is logarithmic, not linear, this means a 30dBA freezer can sound twice as loud as a 20dBA model. Most people will only notice a difference of 3dBA or greater.
The design and layout of your home also affects how noisy you’ll find a freezer. Sound waves are dispersed by objects, which will muffle the sound. This means open-plan areas do little to minimise a freezer’s noise.
Our members often ask why our noise readings don’t match those stated by the manufacturer. The answer is they are measured in different conditions. When we test noise, we want our results to be directly comparable to other models we’ve tested. This means they’re all tested in the same lab and under the same conditions. This won’t be the same as how manufacturers measure noise.
The Energy Rating Label has a scale of stars to show how energy efficient a model is, compared to other models the same size/capacity. More stars = more energy efficient.
The energy consumption figure is in kWh and can be used to compare with any other fridge or freezer. You can use this figure and the kWh cost from your latest power bill to calculate how much this model will cost to run. The average cost of power for a kWh in New Zealand is 25¢. Lower kWh = cheaper to run.
The product’s annual energy consumption in kilowatt-hours (kWh) is based on standards testing. Check the key assumptions used in this testing to make sure they match how you will use the product. Annual energy consumption for fridges, fridge-freezers and freezers assumes the appliance is on 24 hours a day. You should only compare star ratings of fridges or freezers with the same or similar capacities.
For information on energy ratings and how to use them, see our Energy Rating Labels explained article.