Chest vs. Upright Freezer: Which is Best?

When it's time to buy a freezer, you'll have two basic choices: an upright freezer or a chest deep freezer. There are some key differences between these two types of freezers beyond their vertical and horizontal setup. Get to know the pros and cons to decide which type of freezer is better for you.

The Difference Between Upright Freezers vs. Chest Freezers

The main difference between upright and chest freezers is orientation. Upright freezers are sometimes called stand up freezers because they are more vertical. This gives you a tall storage space usually featuring shelves for easy organization. Chest freezers lay horizontally and are great for extra large items or deep freezer storage but can be more difficult to access. 


Which one is right for you depends on your needs such as where it will be located, what you plan to store and a few other considerations. Read on to decide whether you should bring home a chest vs. an upright freezer.

Open upright freezer full of food

An Upright Freezer Might Be Better than a Chest Freezer If You:

  • Have limited space: These standing freezers require less floor space making them best for areas that require a smaller footprint or finished living spaces such as a basement rec room or kitchen. 

  • Store smaller items: Upright freezers usually come with shelves, drawers, racks or door compartments. If you freeze small items like frozen dinners, packaged meats or produce, these interior features can help you stay organized instead of piling food up and losing track of what’s on the bottom.

  • Want fridge-like access: Vertical freezers let you keep some items at eye-level and within reach for easier access. You also won’t need to bend over this type of freezer to get at what you need or when cleaning it out. 

  • Want LED lighting: Select stand-up freezers feature energy-efficient LED lighting throughout to help you find just what you’re looking for when you need it.

  • Need flexible installation: Some standing freezers come with a reversible door so you can open it from the right or the left. If you need a flexible setup, this is an option to look out for.

  • Want automatic defrost: Some models, like upright freezer options from Maytag brand, feature automatic defrosting. This helps prevent icy build-up and also helps you avoid the slushy mess of manual defrosting. 

  • Have steady power: Due to small gaps in the door mechanism, upright freezer do not have quite as tight a seal vs chest freezers and may not keep food frozen as long without power.

Shop Upright Freezers From Maytag


Help keep your frozen favorites at their best with an upright freezer from Maytag. Interior shelves help you organize food and bright LED lighting helps you quickly find it when you need it. The FastFreeze option on select models drops the freezer to its coldest temperature for 24 hours to lock in flavor and freshness. Select Maytag® upright freezers automatically defrost to help prevent icy build-up on freezer walls.


Open chest freezer full of food

You Might Prefer a Chest Freezer over a Standing Freezer If You:

  • Have plenty of floorspace: Chest freezers are short and wide, occupying more horizontal space than vertical. Chest freezers are ideal if you plan to keep it in a garage or basement with plenty of room. If you prefer this style but don’t have a lot of extra room, you can find small deep freezers to help minimize the footprint.

  • Buy and store in bulk: Chest freezers can maximize your deep freezer capacity due to the lack of shelves, drawers and dividers. If you buy in bulk or want to stock up on your favorite frozen items, even a small chest freezer makes the most of usable space.

  • Are a hunter: Chest freezers provide you with one, big open space perfect for larger items like sides of meat, whole turkeys, and oversized boxes. Though some models come with optional baskets or drawers, they can usually be removed.

  • Want to lock it: Chest freezers sometimes come with a lock for added security. 

  • Frequently lose power: Chest freezers tend to have a tighter door seal and can sometimes keep items frozen for around 2-3 days without power.

Shop Chest and Deep Freezers from Maytag


Maximize your deep freezer storage with a chest freezer from Maytag. Shop small chest freezers for tight spaces, or large deep freezers for bulk storage. Incandescent lighting helps you find everything in your freezer from popsicles to prime rib. A keyed door lock gives you extra security and peace of mind while a built-in drain makes defrosting or cleaning a snap.


How to Decide What Size Chest or Upright Freezer You Need

Freezer capacity might be the most important consideration when buying a freezer. Consider the size of your household and what kind of storage you need. If you have a small household and will use the freezer for overflow from your refrigerator freezer, you might only need a small chest or upright freezer. If you have more people at home and want a deep freezer for bulk buying or long-term storage, a large chest freezer might be best for you. 


Both upright and chest freezer sizes can be found with capacities ranging from around 3 to 25 cubic feet. As a general rule of thumb, each cubic foot can hold approximately 25 lbs of food. Here are some general ranges to help you choose whether a small, medium or large freezer is best.


Compact and small freezers: Compact upright or chest freezers are usually available with 3-5 cubic feet of space inside and small freezers offer around 5-9 cubic feet.


Medium to large freezers: Medium upright or chest freezers typically offer 10-16 cubic feet of storage capacity while large freezers start with around 17 cubic feet inside. 


Maytag offers large upright freezers with up to 20 cubic feet of space and large chest freezers with capacities up to 22 cubic feet.


Learn more about freezer sizes and dimensions to make sure you bring home the right one. Lastly, explore our freezer sales to find current discounts and savings on Maytag® chest and upright freezers.


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