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How To Buy An Upright Freezer

May 8th, 2014 | 2 min. read

By Mark Bennett


Refrigerators today come in many different configurations, top freezer, bottom freezer, side by side, and French door. Capacities for most full size models will range from 16-31 cubic feet.

There is one area that some people would like some additional capacity, and that is in the freezer. Top and bottom freezer fridges (including French door models) can sometimes make it difficult to find things. Side by side models are more organized, but the freezer is narrow, making it hard to fit larger items.

Many people in this situation may purchase an additional freezer for the garage or basement. There are two types, chest and upright, let’s focus on how to buy an upright model.

Popular Upright Freezer Brands

There are really three manufacturers in this category, Whirlpool, Frigidaire, and GE. Capacities for uprights is anywhere from 12.5 to 21.9 cubic feet. The majority are white, there are a few in stainless and one available in black.

The biggest differences besides capacity will be defrosting type and interior components.

Types of Freezer Defrosting

The three types of defrosting will be manual, automatic, and frost free.

Manual defrost will probably be the less expensive but will require some maintenance from the homeowner. The freezers will develop a gradual buildup of ice in the interior, every once in a while the unit will need to be emptied and the ice buildup cleaned out. A few models will have a built in drain to make this task easier.

Automatic defrost may get a small amount of ice buildup as normal operation, but should never be enough to require a complete cleanout.

Frost free will not require any regular maintenance. Frost free is less energy efficient and involves heating the outside so the food is exposed to different temps

Upright Freezer Features to Consider

Interior appointments will differ slightly. Less expensive models will have wire shelves, which may be better for airflow throughout the unit. These are usually fixed shelves, and most of these will also have fixed door bins.

More expensive models will have glass shelves that will help contain the occasional leak or spill. The glass shelves may also offer some amount of adjustability. Both wire and glass shelf models may also have slide out baskets on the bottom.

If your frozen foods mean a lot to you, some manufacturers include a lock. If you will be putting the unit in a garage or are in a colder climate, some may need a heater accessory to keep the entire thing from freezing. Whirlpool and Frigidaire each offer a model with an icemaker.

Popular Upright Freezer Models

Frigidaire FFU13M3HW



  • Defrost : Manual
  • Ice Maker : No
  • Interior Light : Yes
  • Quick Freeze : No
  • Type of Shelves : Wire
  • Glass Shelves : No
  • Wire Shelves : Yes
  • Plastic Shelves : No
  • Stainless Steel Shelves : No
  • Number of Shelves : 3
  • Wire Baskets : 1

Whirlpool EV161NZTQ


  • Defrost : Frost-Free
  • Ice Maker : No
  • Interior Light : Yes
  • Quick Freeze : Yes
  • Type of Shelves : Wire
  • Number of Shelves : 3
  • Wire Baskets : 1

Frigidaire Professional FPUH19D7LF


  • Defrost : Automatic
  • Ice Maker : Yes
  • Interior Light : Yes
  • Quick Freeze : No
  • Type of Shelves :Glass
  • Glass Shelves : Yes
  • Wire Shelves : No
  • Plastic Shelves : No
  • Stainless Steel Shelves : No
  • Number of Shelves : 3
  • Wire Baskets : 2
  • Sabbath Mode : No

How to Choose an Upright Freezer

When choosing a model think about what is important to you. Do you like to clean? Will the freezer be used year round? Where is the unit going to live? Do you need adjustable shelves? If no, a manual defrost model may suit you. If you prefer low maintenance and flexibility, or it is going in a colder area or garage, the auto or frost free may be the better choice.

Additional Resources

Get our Refrigerator Buying Guide with terms, specs and features for all the popular brands. Over 60,000 people have already found answers in a Yale guide.

View our Refrigerator Buying Guide

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Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett has over 10 years of experience at Yale Appliance. Mark began working in the delivery and warehouse departments before transitioning to appliance sales.

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Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.