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question about upright freezers (vs chest freezers)


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I'm asking my parents for a deemp freeze for Christmas. But hoping to get it early, to take advantage of turkey/ham sales around the holidas. So....I keep hearing how much easier an upright  is to organize, but that they are not good for large items like turkeys. Is that true? I want to stock up on several  as we like turkey and I am making a lot of my own dog food now so cheap meat is always a good thing. As it is my one in the refrigerator is stocked to the gills. 

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We got a chest freezer earlier this year.  I looked at both.  Chest freezers are a lot more efficient, and you don't have to worry about losing a freezer full of meat to someone leaving the door open.  OTOH, I have trouble reaching all the way down to the bottom of one (I'm 5'4").  And I hear that it's easier to 'lose' things toward the bottom of a chest freezer.  My folks have an upright, and they have everything so much better organized in it because they can, say, put a stack of ground beef packages on a shelf and pull from it and add to it from time to time, ditto with frozen dinners and other stackable rectangular items.  But for big, randomly shaped things like turkeys or large amounts of bagged, frozen fruit, or other largish and oddly shaped things, you can nestle them around each other and fit a lot more into a chest freezer.  And we do a lot more produce freezing than TV dinners, LOL, so the chest freezer fits our life style a lot better.  I wear my Dansko sandals when I use it, generally, so I can reach the bottom that way, and also we have a couple of hanging baskets just inside the top that is where I keep most of the stuff that I go in and out for every day. 

I absolutely love having more freezer space in general.  I never have  to hunt for a spot for my ice cream maker bucket, or anything else, anymore.  And I'm a lot more willing to freeze fruit off our many fruit trees because I know I have room for it without depriving myself of other things.  This year we froze a lot of apricots and pomegranate seeds, and next year because we have the chest freezer now I'm planning to plant tomato plants, something I have not done in 10 years, and probably buy and freeze a few flats of strawberries, too.  And I never have to worry about running out of ice anymore.

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We’ve had an upright for about 20 years. I used to bake cakes from home and upright was way better for storing cakes after baking, before frosting.  It’s a lot easier to organize, and I have stored lots of food like hams and turkeys without issue.  As for the door- mine has a lock and alarm built in. I used the key to lock it when the kids were really little but the alarm will sound if it ever gets too warm inside. I’ve never had the alarm go off. 

 

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Personally I'd never buy a chest freezer, just way too frustrating to deal with digging around trying to find stuff.  I have a large upright and second small apartment sized upright (just because I got it when we lived in an apartment 20 years ago and it hasn't died yet). But between the two I have no problem storing half a beef, half a pig, 3-4 22 pound turkeys, several whole chickens, plus lots of other random chicken and seafood plus my years supply of blueberries (50-60 pounds), peaches(2 bushels), homemade pesto (2 whole door shelves worth), red peppers (I've got about 100 frozen whole for stuffed peppers and another 50 or so quart bags chopped up) plus at least a dozen frozen pizzas.  Of course there is all the random things too but those are my biggest space hogs. So my point is you really can fit a lot in an upright.

I've had the freezer door left open a few times but we are in there every day or every other day.  We had thawed food but never warm food so I have thankfully never lost anything.  But we are pretty religious about checking doors now and the under 10 crowd simply isn't allowed to open them.

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I have a chest freezer, my mom has an upright.  We both stock up on meats often.  In fact, we split a half a cow and a whole pig of freezer meat.  We are currently stocking up on turkeys.  

I think my chest freezer holds more when it's organized.  But mom's is easier to organize.  I do have a problem reaching inside of mine to get to the very bottom.  One positive with mine, it's SO much easier to freeze trays of stuff.  So like if I make a bunch of meatballs, I can lay them on a sheet tray and set that on top of my crates to freeze individually, then toss them in a bag.  That way they don't all stick together in a giant meatball mess.  My mom has a problem with this.

 

Bonus, my chest freezer was totally free.  A neighbor was getting rid of it because they got an upright.  It's been with us 17 years, and through 2 moves and it's still going strong.  I have no idea how long the neighbor had it.

 

I can't comment on the longevity of my mom's upright.  

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30 minutes ago, texasmom33 said:

If you get a big enough chest freezer you can use colored plastic milk crates to sort things by meat type, etc. by color and it makes it almost as easy as having a designated shelf. You just pull out the crates and can rearrange or whatever. That's the easiest way I've found to it to work.

This is how I have mine organized.  It's not perfectly what I want, but it has kept it fairly organized, especially now that we have our freezer meat in there (I have 2 turkeys in there so far too, planning to put 4 more. )

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19 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I have a chest freezer, my mom has an upright.  We both stock up on meats often.  In fact, we split a half a cow and a whole pig of freezer meat.  We are currently stocking up on turkeys.  

I think my chest freezer holds more when it's organized.  But mom's is easier to organize.  I do have a problem reaching inside of mine to get to the very bottom.  One positive with mine, it's SO much easier to freeze trays of stuff.  So like if I make a bunch of meatballs, I can lay them on a sheet tray and set that on top of my crates to freeze individually, then toss them in a bag.  That way they don't all stick together in a giant meatball mess.  My mom has a problem with this.

 

Bonus, my chest freezer was totally free.  A neighbor was getting rid of it because they got an upright.  It's been with us 17 years, and through 2 moves and it's still going strong.  I have no idea how long the neighbor had it.

 

I can't comment on the longevity of my mom's upright.  

Sold!

That's a HUGE issue for me with my normal, side by side freezer/fridge. I make patties of meat, or meatballs, or even pancakes or cookie dough or whatever and like to flash freeze it like that. Same with fruit, and cannot fit a decent sized pan or tray in my freezer. That is a big plus!

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12 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Sold!

That's a HUGE issue for me with my normal, side by side freezer/fridge. I make patties of meat, or meatballs, or even pancakes or cookie dough or whatever and like to flash freeze it like that. Same with fruit, and cannot fit a decent sized pan or tray in my freezer. That is a big plus!

Now I will say, if my mom has a whole shelf free, she can fit a tray in.  But, she never has a whole shelf free.  Her freezer is always pretty full. 

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I had a chest freezer, and switched to an upright. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the upright. 

Mine has pretty wide shelves, so I could easily place a tray of meatballs to freeze, if I were doing that. It could go on top of any food already there, if needed, no problem. 

Mine has a basket in the bottom, so I can put bulky/weird items in there (and it's big enough to fit 2 turkeys there, or 2 hams, or one of each, or whatever). In the door, I can fit loaves of bread, bags of frozen veggies, extra frozen waffles, etc. (mine has shelves in the door). On the shelves, I can fit all the meat. Ground beef in one section, chicken, arranged by cut, in another. Pork chops/"steaks that I cook" in another.  "Weird stuff DH likes to BBQ" in another. Briskets, because DH always has me buy them when they go on sale (right now we have three...plus two turkeys and two hams, and dh wants one more pair of ham/turkey). Etc....

The wire shelves hold a LOT, not just size but weight. 

And I've had meat thaw in an unclosed chest freezer (when someone grabbed something and it didn't close all the way, not left totally open) as well......not just in an upright. So, the chest freezer, maybe less likely, but not impossible. And I *hated* digging around for stuff way down in the bottom (and I'm tall). 

Anyway....having had both, I definitely prefer the upright. I *feel* like I can fit more, too, because it's better organized. 

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we've had both - currently we have a chest freezer.   it's a pain to find things as you have to move so much to dig around.  - and even with a chest freezer there are issues, ours has an ice build up where the "lock" would be, so we have to knock it down periodically so it will close properly.

  we are replacing it soon with an upright.

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We are hoping to move next year (waiting for the developer to open new roads to building), and our new house will have room for a freezer in the garage. The garage will be detached and I was thinking we would need a lock on the freezer for safety reasons - so kids don't get in it. Do any of you have locks on your freezers? Chest or upright? Do you use the locks?

Costco had a good deal on a chest freezer not long ago, but it didn't have a lock. I remember the upright we had as kids having a lock, but I don't remember my parents ever using it. It could be they did and I just don't remember. Now I'm thinking upright might be better for us based on things people are saying here about organization and reaching everything.

This looks like a good one:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Frigidaire-20-2-cu-ft-Frost-Free-Upright-Freezer-White-ENERGY-STAR/50315157

 

Edited by TechWife
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1 minute ago, TechWife said:

We are hoping to move next year (waiting for the developer to open new roads to building), and our new house will have room for a freezer in the garage. The garage will be detached and I was thinking we would need a lock on the freezer for safety reasons - so kids don't get in it. Do any of you have locks on your freezers? Chest or upright? Do you use the locks?

Costco had a good deal on a chest freezer not long ago, but it didn't have a lock. I remember the upright we had as kids having a lock, but I don't remember my parents ever using it. It could be they did and I just don't remember. Now I'm thinking upright might be better for us based on things people are saying here about organization and reaching everything.

 

Ours has a lock, but it’s an upright and about 20 years old. But I recently saw some chest freezers with a lock. They were not the lowest price ones, though.

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11 minutes ago, Annie G said:

Ours has a lock, but it’s an upright and about 20 years old. But I recently saw some chest freezers with a lock. They were not the lowest price ones, though.

I was going to advise @Ktgrok to get a lock, especially for a chest. 

I personally don’t like a chest, only upright. My MIL had both. I have enough of a problem with my freezer turning into a black hole of forgotten food. I can only imagine how much worse a chest would be. 

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I've flash frozen things in my upright freezer many times.  I use a half of a sheet pan (so something like 11x15 if I remember correctly but I could easily use a bigger pan if I had one since it would still fit).  I never have an empty shelf so I just slide it on top of the food.  I'm not really seeing how that would be any different than setting it on top of the food in a chest freezer.

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I have an upright Kenmore Energy Star. It has a lock. I bought it eight years ago. 

I have no storage issues at all. Turkeys amd other odd shaped meats, lots of bagged items. Very few nicely shaped items. 

Bottom is solid surface rather than the upper wire shelves and less clearance so that's where I lay my zipper bags of soup, sauce, ground beef, etc. to freeze before moving to boxes on upper shelves. I also flash freeze everything on trays on that shelf too, so I force myself to keep it clear of regular storage. 

The door shelves are deep and hold a lot of bagged items. 

The whole family is in it every day since our kitchen freezer is so small. The door won't stay open at all. You have to prop it open with something if you are needing it to stay open. When you step away from it, it naturally swings shut and makes a suction noise when it closes like its sealing itself or something. If we don't hear the noise, we double back to make sure its closed. 

I have never once in eight years of owning this freezer thought, "man, I wish I had a chest freezer instead." Does that help at all? ?

 

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I went with the chest and haven't regretted it... but the upright is definitely easier to organize.

I remember the hilarity of my grandmother's deep freeze. It was one of those monster size chest freezers. Curved like a 50's fridge. Tall and as long as a bed. Packed to the brim. I remember going hunting in there for peas and various meat. And then, in college, one year I went to her house... and it was gone. And there was an upright. And all the peas and squash and fish from her brother were stacked so neatly! It was so weird.

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5 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Sold!

That's a HUGE issue for me with my normal, side by side freezer/fridge. I make patties of meat, or meatballs, or even pancakes or cookie dough or whatever and like to flash freeze it like that. Same with fruit, and cannot fit a decent sized pan or tray in my freezer. That is a big plus!

 

I do this in my upright with no problem. You can't do it easily with a side-by-side because, well, the freezer is obviously about half the size! I think it's likely easier in an upright than in a chest, because there are several shelves that can each potentially hold a tray (depending on how stuffed your freezer is with what items). I can generally do two easily and I've done three with a bit of rearranging. 

ETA: aren't most chest freezers manual defrost, maybe all of the standard consumer ones? That's a big nope for me. 

 

Edited by katilac
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It's easy to solve the door closing on an upright with a $4 baby-proof fridge lock.  Both ends fasten with sticky foam tape, one to the side and one to the door, and there's a slightly stretchy plastic strap that clips into place, wrapping around from the front to the side.  Easy-peasy. No more questions about whether the door was left ajar.

My fridge-sized upright holds about three big turkeys in the bottom basket alone.  If I filled it with nothing but turkeys, I could probably fit in at least 15.  Zero problems. 

Edited by Halftime Hope
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I have 2 uprights and they’re packed with meat right now. Oddly shaped meat too. I flash freeze things on trays all the time. Like pps posted, you can slide things on top of the contents. We have the biggest models that Lowe’s sells, since we raise beef and pork. I can fit an entire beef in one freezer . We have a lock on the door that we keep locked. It’s located in our detatched garage. When you have a whole pig in a freeZer you really need to be able to find all your  meat or you get down to the second half of the year and all the chops and bacon are gone and you’re left with chitlins and pork necks. So the upright helps me keep things sorted. Ours has enough shelves and drawers along with the door storage that I have no problem finding what’s needed. 

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11 hours ago, katilac said:

 

ETA: aren't most chest freezers manual defrost, maybe all of the standard consumer ones? That's a big nope for me. 

 

Yes, most chest freezers are manual defrost, they build up frost on the inside of the wall and should be emptied and thawed once a year ideally  (maybe more often in humid climates or with frequent opening?).  In the real world that probably doesn't happen.  There are uprights that are manual defrost also, you'll notice that the shelves are made of steel tubing with wires welded to form the shelf, that shelf will build up frost just like a chest freezer wall.  There are also automatic defrost chest freezers, they're much less common than frost free uprights.  

 

Another factor that hasn't been mentioned is manual defrost causes less freezer burn, and a chest freezer causes less freezer burn. 

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We have both, the chest freezer is currently unused because the upright is SO MUCH EASIER to find whatever you want.  We did have both plugged in when we got in on a good deal with our butcher for a pig, half a cow, and a dozen chickens at the same time.

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3 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

Oh and you can store things on top of the upright , but a chest won’t work that way for long term storage.

I’m buying a new freezer this week, and I think you just tipped me over to to the “upright” side.  I can finally get the dehydrator out of the kitchen cabinet!  That and remembering that acid reflux and getting spilled blueberries out of a chest freezer don’t mix...

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51 minutes ago, BarbecueMom said:

I’m buying a new freezer this week, and I think you just tipped me over to to the “upright” side.  I can finally get the dehydrator out of the kitchen cabinet!  That and remembering that acid reflux and getting spilled blueberries out of a chest freezer don’t mix...

Yeah. It's a perfect spot for large awkward, seldom used but needed kitchen gadgets and appliances.

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I have a chest freezer and as soon as it goes out I will buy an upright freezer. I am a petite person and it is impossible for me to get things towards the bottom and even the middle sometimes. My MIL has an upright freezer and it is so much easier to use.  

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I WANTED manual defrost, because of reduction in freezer burn and also so that ice cubes last longer.  It's so nice to look for ice and not find empty trays because of the continuously cycling frost free cycle.  My chest freezer actually has a screw in spot near the bottom of the front wall to put in a hose.  So basically you turn it off, screw in the hose to the outside, take out the food, pour in hot water, and the ice melts and runs through the hose outside.  It happens that there is a downhill path out the nearest outside door, so this is really easy and pretty quick and not messy.  

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If you get an upright freezer, get a key to lock the door!!!

We have one of each. Sometimes we use one, sometimes the other, and sometimes we use both. I like the ability to organize the upright, but I do my best to keep the chest freezer organized too. We can fit a turkey and/or ham in our upright, but it's pretty big. 

Hope you get a good one, whichever you decide on, and that you can fill it up w/ good sales!

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I have an upright with drawers.  I don't think it would take an American size turkey but it fits everything I have.  It is badly in need of defrosting though. Two things - upright need clearance in front but you can store but you need clearance in front and chest is the opposite.  If you don't go in your freezer much you can use it as bench space. 

 

Uprights with drawers are more energy efficient than uprights with shelves  but still less than chests 

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3 hours ago, kiwik said:

I have an upright with drawers.  I don't think it would take an American size turkey but it fits everything I have.  It is badly in need of defrosting though. Two things - upright need clearance in front but you can store but you need clearance in front and chest is the opposite.  If you don't go in your freezer much you can use it as bench space. 

 

Uprights with drawers are more energy efficient than uprights with shelves  but still less than chests 

What is the difference between an “American sized turkey” and a turkey from somewhere else? Is it a different type of turkey? Not overgrown like some of our poultry can be? Does it not fear for its life in the month of November? Inquiring minds want to know about these turkeys from other nations. Do they gobble with the same or a different accent? Wear shoes? Do tell, I’m all ears ( and apparently so tired I’m a little slap happy). Commence with the turkey tales...

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On 11/12/2018 at 7:30 PM, Ktgrok said:

So, what I'm thinking is I need to take my big pan that I want to use to freeze things on and head to the store to check out the space issues. And maybe bring a frozen turkey with me, lol. 

I totally would. I’ve brought specific dishes to the store with me while looking at dishwashers. 

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Upright is a bazillion times handier. If you only have one, that's THE one to get, IMHO.

They have wire shelves like an older/cheaper fridge. I think they're tall enough for turkeys and hams, but you could easily remove one wire shelf and make that one remaining shelf double high if you want to for tons of big hams/turkeys. I'd go look at models and measure them and see what you think.

I have one of each, and I MUCH, MUCH prefer the upright. 

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On 11/12/2018 at 6:30 PM, Ktgrok said:

So, what I'm thinking is I need to take my big pan that I want to use to freeze things on and head to the store to check out the space issues. And maybe bring a frozen turkey with me, lol. 

 

 

You should!  When i purchased a new washing machine, I brought my largest king size comforter to the store to  check that it would fit. lol   

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This is my opinion, FWIW --

I've had an upright freezer in the past. My mom had a chest freezer. If I were buying one today (and I am thinking about it, just not today) it would be an easy decision -- I'd get a chest.

I think they're so much more efficient, both in terms of usage and energy usage, than uprights. I kind of hated the upright because there was always so much empty space in it and nothing really seemed to pack well compared to how snugly and efficiently everything fit in my mom's chest freezer. Plus the occasional raising of the temperature to defrost seemed to degrade the quality of food over time compared to how my mom's chest freezer kept things. Defrosting never seemed like a big deal to me. Hers didn't usually need it more than every couple of years, but it was in a climate controlled space and it was just her and my dad, so they probably didn't open it as much as a bigger family would have.

I'm less than five feet tall and I had little/no difficulty reaching things in it. And my mom was elderly and shorter than me and had no problem. I mean I guess if a frozen dinner was flat on the bottom it would have presented a problem, but she didn't have things like that.

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On 11/14/2018 at 6:06 PM, TechWife said:

What is the difference between an “American sized turkey” and a turkey from somewhere else? Is it a different type of turkey? Not overgrown like some of our poultry can be? Does it not fear for its life in the month of November? Inquiring minds want to know about these turkeys from other nations. Do they gobble with the same or a different accent? Wear shoes? Do tell, I’m all ears ( and apparently so tired I’m a little slap happy). Commence with the turkey tales...

We don't do turkey much here so we don't really have to fit in something quite such and awkward size and shape.  It wouldn't surprise me if our turkeys were smaller when we do have them but you will have to ask Lewlma or someone about that.

I guess ours wouldn't fear for their lives until December but like I said Turkey native to your part of the world. The ones I saw as a kid didn't wear shoes.

 

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9 hours ago, Patty Joanna said:

I am sorry but I just have to say that for 3 days now, I have read this as "uptight freezers."  Like, who needs it?  

 

Would an uptight freezer be considered "frigid"? ???

I don't have an update on this because my husband came down with something..possibly my daughter's strep throat, and then she relapsed with strep, and then the toddler broke the television, and then the husband flew out to Austin for business, so I haven't had a chance to go snoop around a store and look! I did make it to Sams Club briefly, but they didn't have any on display ?  When DD feels better we will go to Lowes or something to look. 

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