Today, we’re going to talk about standalone freezers. By the end of this article, you should be more familiar with the different types of freezers and styles of freezers as well as understand the different pros and cons of each type. The first step in buying a standalone freezer is to know whether or not you really need one.
The top reasons to purchase a standalone freezer are:
– you like to save money by buying in bulk
– you need to store larger items, like sheet cakes and large cuts of meat
– you like to cook larger portions to store them as prepackaged meals for later
– you’re an avid hunter, fisherman, or gardener who needs extra space for your added food supply
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Any of these scenarios are excellent reasons to purchase a standalone freezer. Now that you’ve determined it’s a worthwhile investment, the next step is to choose where you’ll install the freezer, like the basement or garage, and how much available space you have. It’s important to measure the height, width, and depth of the space where you’re going to be putting the freezer as well as any doorways, entryways, and stairways needed to get the freezer to its final spot.
When you’re choosing a location to install, remember it’s best to have it in a room-temperature area that doesn’t get a lot of humidity. Areas that are very humid or get a lot of direct sunlight are best to avoid as they can affect the way your freezer performs.
Once you know what kind of space you’re working with, the next thing to consider is the capacity of your new freezer. A good way to determine how much capacity you’ll need is to multiply the number of people in your family by one and a half to two and a half cubic feet.
This will give you a good idea of how much storage you’ll need. However, if you have the added space, it’s always better to buy a few cubic feet larger, especially if you prefer to buy in bulk. It’s hard to believe, but just one cubic foot of freezer space is equal to approximately 34 to 36 pounds of food.
Now that you’ve figured out the location for your new freezer, you’ll be able to decide whether a frost free or manual defrost model will work best. Frost free freezers are low maintenance because they don’t require defrosting and they’re easy to clean with just a cloth, warm water, and soap.
Remember to keep in mind, though; they’ll be more expensive to buy and possibly operate due to the automatic defrosting feature which requires a fan, heater, and sensors. However, these same features are what prevent frost build-up because the auto defrost doesn’t allow ice crystals to form within the freezer. If you improperly store or overload your frost free freezer, the unit will overwork itself and not cool properly. Frost free freezers need proper air circulation. Improper storage and sealing and a frost free freezer will quickly contribute to freezer burn.
The second type is manual defrost. These are a bit higher maintenance because they require yearly defrosting to work correctly. This defrosting time can take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours depending on the size of your freezer, and in the meantime, you’ll need to store your frozen items elsewhere until thawing and draining are complete. Manual defrost freezers are less expensive to buy and have fewer moving parts making them less likely to break down and foods are kept longer because the unit isn’t cycling on and off which can cause freezer burn, especially if foods aren’t stored and sealed properly.
With that in mind, we can now discuss the five styles of freezers: upright, chest, under the counter, mini, and drawer. Upright freezers allow for easy viewing and access to all items inside. They’re easy to organize and usually have adjustable shelves.
They have indoor storage for smaller items and can have the option to be purchased as a frost-free or manual unit. They’ll range in size from 8 to 21 cubic feet. They have a smaller footprint allowing you to get the maximum capacity without taking up a lot of space. And some can be built into a custom cabinet or space as well as accept a custom panel and hardware.
Chest freezers will run quieter than most uprights and are available in manual defrost only. They range in size from 2 to 22 cubic feet. They’ll cost less than comparable upright models, and they have the ability to stay cool longer after a power outage.
However, if you’re not organized with your chest freezer, stored foods tend to get lost, and they can be difficult to get into. Not only that, but they can take up more space depending on the size due to a larger footprint.
Now we move on to under counter, mini, and freezer drawers have many of the same benefits of a chest or upright freezer, except they’re smaller and can be installed under the counter. Some can be set unto a high surface, and they range in sizes from 1.4 to almost five cubic feet. Today’s freezers come with all types of features like interior lighting, temperature alarms, freezer locks, storage bins, and for some and ice maker.