The Most Efficient Chest Freezers

When researching energy efficient appliances, we often turn to the recommendations of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The ACEEE continues to publish helpful information about all sorts of appliances, including freezers. The ninth edition of their Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, published in fall 2007, contains helpful information about selecting a freezer.

The most efficient type of freezer is the chest freezer. This is because a chest freezer opens from the top, and cold air (which is heavier than warm air) does not escape easily from a chest freezer. The weight of the lid also helps to seal chest freezers tightly. Chest freezers are 10% to 25% more efficient than upright freezers.

A useful thing to know about U.S. freezers is they’re almost all manufactured by three companies: Frigidaire (owned by Electrolux), W.C. Wood (based in Canada) and Haier (based in China). Frigidaire makes freezers under the Frigidaire and Gibson names, and makes some freezers for Kenmore and GE. W.C. Wood makes freezers for Amana, Magic Chef, some units for Maytag, Danby and Whirlpool. Haier makes freezers for GE, Kenmore, some units for Maytag and Amana in addition to selling some models under its own name.

Because of the different branding, many times customer are paying a premium for a differently branded freezer. For example, Frigidaire freezers sometimes cost more than GE freezers and Maytag freezers may fetch a premium over a W.C. Wood freezer.

Recently, the US Department of Energy launched the Recycle My Old Fridge campaign that encourages Americans to recycle their old, inefficient refrigerators. The web site includes a calculator so users can determine how much energy their current refrigerator consumes, what they can save by replacing it with a new Energy Star model, and where they can take the old fridge to be recycled locally.

Here’s a look at the most efficient chest freezers currently available:

Whirlpool Chest Freezers

Whirlpool Chest Freezer: Energy Star Qualified

Whirlpool Chest Freezer: Energy Star Qualified

Whirlpools makes a very energy efficient chest freezer, model number EH151FXR (similar models are EH151FXQ or EH150FXQ). This 14.8-cubic-foot freezer is rated at 354 kWhrs per year. The average cost to run this freezer for year is $29, according to Energy Star.

Though it requires manual defrosting, it sport a number of other features including an interior light and a temperature alarm. Its key-eject lock means that the freezer can only be opened when the key is pushed in and turned — a safety feature helpful in homes with small children. Four baskets (two upper, two lower) make it easier to organize the contents — especially on the lower level.

It’s available from Amazon for $405.

Sundanzer DC-Powered Chest Freezers

Sundanzer DC Chest Freezer

Sundanzer DC Chest Freezer

The most efficient DC-powered chest freezer is the SunDanzer. This eight-cubic-foot capacity freezer has an exceptionally low energy consumption — it uses around 140 kWhr / year. It incorporates the highly efficient Danforst compressor. It also has a super-insulated cabinet that is wrapped in four inches of polyurethane. Because it runs on either 12 or 24 volts DC, the SunDanzer freezer is mostly used in off-grid homes or in remote locations, because a 75 watts solar panel and and two six-volt golf cart batteries can power the freezer.

It’s available from the Alternative Energy Store

Comments

  1. JMG says

    I would expect Metaefficient to rank them in kWh/yr-ft^3 — is the Whirlpool mentioned the most efficient on that metric, or simply low in absolute numbers because it’s pretty small. I’ve been looking at the Frigidaire 25 ft^3 model; not only do we freeze a lot, but I figure that once you’ve got the embedded energy in the compressor and the box, the best thing to do is get the biggest freezer that you’ll use (i.e., don’t buy more than you need, but definitely don’t buy less). I’d be interested in the thoughts of others on how to select a freezer.

  2. AtariJedi says

    I have heard of people using these top loading freezers as Fridges, and only using something crazy like 7% of the energy their fridge used.

  3. cephoe says

    JMG,

    The Whirlpool freezer had the lowest power consumption for its size, according to the Energy Star data. But overall, chest freezers have only modest differences in their level of efficiency. Some of the larger freezers certainly rival the energy consumption of the Whirlpool.

    Justin

  4. Angie says

    If you get too big of a chest freezer, its really hard to use it because your food gets lost and forgotten about in the bottom of the freezer. Unless you are freezing large things like chickens and beef, a more modest size chest freezer is a more efficient use of space, and you are more likely to get better use of it.

    • paula says

      re: chest freezer/fridge combo: mky grandmother had one of these–it was great. had it in the 60-70-80’s/
      apparently today’s freezers typically last only about 10 years–how energy ifficient is that?!

  5. roni says

    I have owned a 5 cubic foot chest freezer since 1986 that still works well, but will probably replace it soon with another 5 cubic foot “energy star” chest freezer. It is not such a big deal getting food out of the chest freezers (everyones main objection to this type of freezer) if you organize your food into tote bags. I have a yellow one for chicken, pink for pork, red for beef, you get the idea. You can buy totes everywhere now in different colors or just sew them up out of scrap materials. It is easy to lift these out by the handles to find what you need. Even the big turkey in the bottom is in a tote for easy lifting out. Also, I think two small freezers would be more efficient than one large. I know a lot of people that are always half empty, especially people that hunt. It would be easy to unplug the one until you shoot your elk or harvest your garden in the fall. Small freezers are more likely to keep you in control of what you purchase, also. Do you really NEED 6 turkeys at Thanksgiving when they are $5.00 each? Probably not!

    • Glim says

      Brilliant Roni! We try to freeze leftovers as much as possible so we don’t resort to pizza on those nights we don’t feel like cooking so our freezer is always stuffed. We also have an issue because I’m a vegetarian and my boyfriend isn’t so when he buys meat in bulk it takes a long time to use. We are buying a chest freezer and this is a terrific idea for organizing it. I’m a freak about things being organized so this is perfect. The handles will also make it easier to reach the bottom items since I’m not very tall. Thanks for the tip!

  6. Ruud says

    The most efficient type of freezer is the chest freezer. This is because a chest freezer opens from the top, and cold air (which is heavier than warm air) does escape easily from a chest freezer

    … you meant “does NOT”, i presume?

    • Pablo Cruise says

      Just keep it full, if you don’t have enough food, fill it up with jugs of water to freeze. Cooling air is very expensive!

  7. Taylor says

    HI,

    I’m trying to get my chest freezer to reach -120 degrees. Right now, it is sitting on -115 degrees ever since I purchase it about 6 weeks ago. Keeping foods for at least 24 hours at -120 degrees removes all possible paracites and etc from your everything. Do you think a technician could rigg my freezer?

  8. K says

    Just so you are aware, anything frozen at 0 degrees for 30 days is also bacteria and parasite free, according to the usda info I have found. I would imagine that running a freezer at -120 will fubar the energy savings you might otherwise get. Besides, do you not cook your food to recommended temps?

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