Your new freezer is likely to be around for a long time, so it’s worth investing in a model that is efficient and easy to maintain. Look out for the standard Energy Rating label on each freezer, which rates its overall energy efficiency and tells you how much energy it is likely to consume in a year. Labels that display more stars and lower kilowatt-hours (kWh) will cost less to run.
Because they have smaller, top-mounted doors, chest freezers are more efficient at trapping in cold air than upright models and also require less energy to run. They will keep food frozen longer without electricity, which can be handy during prolonged periods without power such as a blackout.
Make sure that the controls are in an easy to access location, and that they are easy to operate. Cleaning the inside of your freezer can be made a little easier with plastic shelves or baskets (as opposed to wire shelves and baskets, which are cumbersome to clean and can rust easily if scratched or chipped). Removable one-piece shelves/baskets will also help confine spills and can be easily wiped down.
Some freezers may make noticeable noise when the compressor stops and starts. If the freezer is going to be in an occupied area of the house, such as the kitchen, make sure any operational noise won’t irritate you and your family.
Side by side
If the space inside your house is limited, one option might be to buy a side-by-side refrigerator. As the name implies, these refrigerators divide the fridge and freezer vertically into two side-by-side sections, offering more freezer space than a traditional fridge. Side-by-side refrigerators are more expensive than ‘regular’ refrigerators, but they can be cheaper than buying both a fridge and a stand-alone freezer. If you’re shopping for both appliances at the same time, a side-by-side refrigerator can be quite cost-effective. (For more information about side-by-side fridges, check out our refrigerator basics buying guide.)
Additional features to look out for include auto fast-freeze (which automatically adjusts the temperature depending on how cold/warm the freezer is), an adjustable thermostat (for manually changing temperature), an interior freezer light, power indicators (which let you know the freezer is still operational), bacteria guard (an anti-bacterial coating on baskets and shelves), rollers (for easy manoeuvrability), reversible doors and child-safety locks. As you would expect, the more features a freezer has, the more expensive it will generally be.