Person placing frozen goods into refrigerator freezer

Freezer Buying Guide

From meal prep to holiday fixings, the right freezer can help keep your favorite foods fresh, frozen and ready to heat. Read through the guide below to discover different types of freezers and what features to consider during your search for the best freezer to buy for your needs.

Open kitchen with white cabinetry and stainless steel French door refrigerator Open kitchen with white cabinetry and stainless steel French door refrigerator

What Are the Different Types of Freezers

You can choose from standalone freezers—like these deep freezers from Maytag brand—or a refrigerator freezer combination like Maytag® French door refrigerators to find the best fit for your family. Types of freezers to choose from include:

  • Chest freezer
  • Upright freezer
  • French door refrigerator freezer
  • Side-by-side refrigerator freezer

  • Top-freezer refrigerator

  • Bottom-freezer refrigerator

Person placing popsicles in the storage basket of a chest freezer Person placing popsicles in the storage basket of a chest freezer

What Should I Look For When Buying a Freezer?

The layout of your home and existing suite of appliances can influence which freezer you choose, but digging deeper into a handful of other factors can help you find a freezer that stands up to your family’s daily routines. Consider the freezer size and capacity you’ll need as you choose between a deep freezer or refrigerator freezer combination. Also be sure to take various configurations, feature sets, styles and energy efficiency ratings into account.

1. What Size or Capacity of Freezer Do You Need?

Ensuring you have enough capacity for your family’s food habits may be the first box you check when buying a freezer. You can determine the minimum cubic foot capacity you’ll need in the freezer by multiplying the number of people in your household by 2.5. For example, a freezer with at least 10 cu. ft. should comfortably accommodate the storage needs of a family of four.

If your family is large or you prefer to shop sales, buy in bulk, hunt and store game or need long-term storage options, consider buying a deep freezer. These standalone upright and chest freezers range from 3 to 25 cubic feet and are ideal for storing bulky items or a surplus of frozen foods from your refrigerator freezer unit. Chest freezers are short but wide and require more floor space than their upright counterparts, making them best suited to set up in the basement or in the garage (if you opt for a garage-ready freezer). Keep in mind that as capacity increases, chest freezers tend to get wider—and upright freezers tend to get taller—rather than deeper.  

Standard refrigerator freezer combinations range in size from about 21 to 28 total cubic feet, but designated freezer space varies by configuration and model. Side-by-side refrigerators tend to feature more freezer space than French door, top-freezer or bottom-freezer models.

2. What Freezer Configuration Options Are Available?

Whether you opt for a deep freezer or refrigerator freezer combination, each type features unique ways to store frozen goods. Configurations include: 

Chest freezer with snowflake icon

Chest Freezers

These short and wide deep freezers feature a lid that opens upward and tend to have plenty of open space for large or bulky frozen items.

Upright freezer with snowflake icon

Upright Freezers

These standalone deep freezers resemble the height and width of a standard refrigerator with built-in shelving that makes it easy to organize frozen foods. 


French door refrigerator freezer icon

French Door Refrigerator Freezers

This refrigerator freezer combination positions the freezer drawer on the bottom and features wide compartments for large items like frozen pizzas. 

Side-by-side refrigerator freezer icon

side-by-side refrigerator freezers

A side-by-side refrigerator freezer has two doors that open from the center with the freezer on one side. These models feature slightly more freezer space than other refrigerator freezer configurations and typically include adjustable shelves and bins for easy organization

Top freezer refrigerator icon

top-freezer refrigerators

With the freezer above the refrigerator, this configuration keeps frozen foods at eye level with basic shelving and door bins. These models are often available at entry-level price points. 

Bottom freezer refrigerator icon

bottom-freezer refrigerators

A bottom-freezer is similar to a top-freezer configuration but swaps the placement of the refrigerator and freezer, with both the freezer and refrigerator doors opening from the side. This configuration is usually available at entry-level pricing. 

3. What Type of Freezer is Most Energy Efficient?

The right freezer can deliver more than convenient organization and capacity. Some energy-efficient refrigerator freezer combinations feature an ENERGY STAR label certifying that a refrigerator model is about 9 percent more energy efficient than models that meet the federal minimum energy efficiency standard.1 ENERGY STAR® certified appliances can help lower utility bills and even help protect the environment. Pay close attention to each appliance’s Energy Guide label as you shop around for the right freezer. You’ll find this yellow label on or inside of an appliance with information about the appliance’s energy use and expected cost of operation. 

4. What Freezer Features Do You Need?

Find the right freezer by considering the following features available on select models:

Temperature icon

Temperature alarm

An alarm that notifies you of a rise in temperature

House icon


A type of freezer that’s designed to maintain the proper temperature in a non-temperature controlled environment


Learn more about garage ready freezers.

Moving snowflake icon

fast freeze

An option that can be activated to drop the freezer temperature quickly, rapidly cooling the food inside

Shining light icon


Bright, white lighting that’s more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs

Screwdriver icon

flexible installation

Deep freezers with reversible doors so they can open from the right or left

Lock icon


A key-locked door or lid that keeps food secure

Snowflake icon

Automatic defrost

A feature designed to help prevent ice build-up so you can avoid manual defrosting

Two baskets icon


Baskets, shelves, racks, drawers or compartments to store the items you keep on hand

Clean sparkle icon


Refrigerator freezers are available in a number of finishes—from black and white to stainless steel in a variety of shades—while deep freezers offer fewer finishes to choose from

Shop Maytag® Upright Freezers

Person putting frozen turkey into a chest freezer Person putting frozen turkey into a chest freezer

Which is Better, a Frost or No Frost Freezer?

Frost-free freezers can save you the hassle and mess of manual defrosting as they automatically help reduce the frost build up on freezer walls. Freezers without this feature typically require a manual defrost at least once per year or once the ice on the walls is more than ¼ inch thick. Manual defrosting requires you to turn off and unload your freezer, allow ice to melt, then clean up the melted ice, turn on the freezer and return frozen foods. However, no frost freezers can cost slightly more to operate as they work to monitor and automatically get rid of frost build-up.

Which Type of Freezer Has the Fastest Freezing Rate?

Most freezers can keep food frozen at or below 0°F (-18°C), but some freezers include features designed for rapid cooling. For instance, upright deep freezers from Maytag brand include the FastFreeze option that drops the freezer to its coldest temperature for 24 hours to lock in the flavor and freshness of frozen foods.

What is the Longest Lasting Freezer?

Preventative maintenance can help keep any deep or refrigerator freezer running smoothly for its intended lifespan. Perform regular maintenance like defrosting, cleaning the condenser (if applicable), cleaning door gaskets and seals and ensuring your freezer stays level from front to back and side to side.

Discover Maytag® Freezers

Whether you plan to deep freeze for the long haul or store everyone’s frozen favorites right in the kitchen, upright, chest and refrigerator freezers from Maytag brand deliver dependable performance day after day. Shop for Maytag® upright freezers with select models featuring the Frost Free feature that helps prevent icy build-up, or opt for select Maytag® side-by-side refrigerator freezer combinations that offer lots of freezer capacity with extra shelves and door bins to organize every item.

Learn More About Freezers with Maytag Brand

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