The Best Upright Freezers of 2024, Tested by the Taste of Home Kitchen

Updated: May 23, 2024

On a budget? Short on space? No matter your needs, we found the best upright freezer for you!

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The Best Upright Freezers Of 2024 Tested By Our Pro TeamTASTE OF HOME

An upright freezer can be a total lifestyle game changer. Imagine being able to lounge around on weeknights, thanks to a freezer stuffed with make-ahead dinners. Think of the money you can save by purchasing meat and other groceries in bulk. And don’t forget all the homemade ice cream you can keep on hand!

Adding an extra freezer to your home is a smart investment, but just like purchasing any other major appliance, there are things to consider to ensure you buy the best upright freezer for your needs. Maybe you require a ton of storage but have a very tiny kitchen. Perhaps feeding a large family tops your concerns, and you need as much space as possible. Unlike traditional stand-alone freezers, upright freezers offer tons of storage space without requiring a large footprint.

But with so many options, finding the best upright freezer takes a little research and planning — especially since they’re often as pricey as a new refrigerator, if not more so. That’s why our Test Kitchen tested six different models to see which option offers the best bang for your buck.

“Vertical freezers offer a more compact design while providing the same storage capacity as chest freezers,” says Executive Culinary Director Sarah Farmer, who tested each model. She notes that upright freezers come in three basic sizes: compact/small (five to nine cubic feet, similar in size to a mini fridge), medium (12 to 18 cubic feet) and large (more than 18 cubic feet). It’s always best to snag the size that best fits your household, especially since more circulating air means a greater risk of freezer burn.

When shopping for an upright freezer, Sarah’s best advice is to focus on size and features to find the right freezer, rather than investing in an option that offers bells and whistles you won’t use. However, if you can afford it, the bells and whistles sometimes add unexpected value by streamlining meal time. Some features, like locking doors, self-defrosting and temperature alarms also help save money in the long term.

Whatever your reasons for buying one, we found the best upright freezer for your lifestyle. To narrow down our list, we tested six different upright freezers from the most popular brands on the market. These options impressed us with their value, setup and overall performance.

Pros:

  • Very high quality
  • Hands-free foot pedal door opener
  • Locking caster wheels
  • Self-defrost
  • Three easy-to-read temperature settings
  • Full and half-gallon width door bins
  • Interior LED lighting
  • Heavy gauge wire shelves

Cons:

  • Pricier than other options
  • No temperature alarm or lock

Looking for an upright freezer built for years of regular use? The Gladiator 17.8-cubic-foot, frost-free model is our Test Kitchen’s top pick for the best upright freezer overall. It combines high-quality materials, attention-getting good looks and a handful of useful extras. These features help it adapt to almost any application. Whether you’re deep-freezing extra meat or seeking surplus storage for frozen meals, Executive Culinary Director Sarah Farmer says this is one model worth splurging on.

From the outside inward, it’s easy to see why this freezer receives top marks in aesthetics. Besides the sleek and striking look, the Gladiator freezer offers a useful foot pedal for hand-free opening. This makes it perfect for those times when you have an armful of groceries! A set of four locking caster wheels also allows for free movement. It’s a good pick for folks who frequently reorganize their space.

Inside, the freezer boasts LED lighting for extra visibility in dark spaces like basements. The self-defrost setting promotes a dry environment with less tendency to develop freezer burn. Unlike some of the options we tested that use confusing visuals to indicate chill level, the Gladiator freezer also has a menu of easy-to-read pre-set temperatures. Options are indicated by a snowflake graphic and accompanying text descriptor. The options include Soft Serve (the perfect ice cream temp!), Assorted (a multi-purpose setting) and DeepFreeze (for long-term storage).

Gladiator Upright Freezer
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Despite not offering a temperature alarm or lock (two things we’d prefer to see at this price point), the heavy gauge wire shelving gives it an advantage against competitors. Plus, the modular full and half-gallon door bins make it easy to organize the freezer with frozen treats, leftovers and bulk groceries. Other “cool” features (get it?) include a gated pizza zone for storing packaged pizzas upright in the door, door bins that are almost seven inches wide (big enough for a full gallon tub of ice cream) and a door that opens easily while still sealing in the chill.

We also appreciate the inclusion of “Max Cool,” a setting recommended for putting frozen foods away from a grocery shopping trip. Once the max low temp is reached, the freezer will stay at that temp for 24 hours before returning to the previous temperature setting. Overall, it’s an excellent larger choice for families looking to maximize their storage space.

Dimensions: H 72.25″ x W 30.25″ x D 32.38″ | Capacity: 17.8 cu. ft. | Defrost Type: Frost-free | | Garage-friendly: Yes, with caveats | Warranty: 1-year limited

Whirlpool Upright Freezer
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Best Locking Upright Freezer

Whirlpool Upright Freezer

Pros:

  • Offers a locking mechanism
  • Leveling legs included
  • 5 adjustable shelves and 3 non-adjustable
  • Temperature drop alarm
  • Good seal on the door
  • Interior LED lighting

Cons:

  • Vague temperature controls
  • Not garage-ready

If you want to prevent other folks (or yourself) from snagging ice cream at ungodly hours of the night, a freezer with a door lock may be the perfect move. Whirlpool is a trusted, reliable name in appliances. But that’s only part of why we recommend the Whirlpool 15.7-cubic-f00t, frost-free model as the best upright freezer with a lock.

While it doesn’t offer visual bells and whistles like our top pick, the Whirlpool upright freezer does contain a generous 15.7 square inches of storage. That means plenty of space for soup containers, chilling cookie dough and storing frozen meals. The minimalistic white body also fits well into most interior spaces like basements and rec rooms. That said, it’s worth noting that the unit isn’t garage-ready since it’s not meant for temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whirlpool Upright Freezer
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Like most upright freezers, it has interior LED lighting that offers extra visibility in dim conditions. A “Fast Freeze” temperature setting makes quick work of newly-added groceries and protects them from freezer burn. This, combined with a good door seal, helps the frozen foods on the seven shelves stay ice cold. Adjustable leveling legs mean less wobbling on uneven surfaces.

We also love the inclusion of an alarm that rings when the temperature drops below a certain threshold. This feature alerts you of accidental unplugging or temperature malfunctions caused by power shutoffs. Note that it is a bit smaller than our top picks. That said, this is an excellent choice for a locking upright freezer with a few extra features and a good amount of storage.

Dimensions: H 60.75″ x W 30.25″ x D 25.63″ | Capacity: 15.7 cu. ft. | Defrost Type: Frost-free | Garage-friendly: No | Warranty: 1-year limited

Maytag Upright Freezer
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Best Upright Freezer with Bottom Storage

Maytag Upright Freezer

Pros:

  • Unique bottom storage area
  • 5 non-adjustable shelves
  • 3 coated wire shelves
  • Simple, clean and white design
  • 16 cubic feet of storage space
  • Reversible door

Cons:

  • Bottom storage bin may be too open for some folks

When it comes to finding an upright freezer that offers a no-nonsense design and abundant space for food, turn to the Maytag frost-free upright freezer. Perfect for families thanks to a generous 15.68 cubic feet of storage, this upright freezer utilizes handy features like a reversible door, interior LED lighting and a simple, clean design that disappears into most decor styles.

Three wire shelves and five coated door shelves provide ample storage space, especially for families of three or more. Stow away everything from ice trays to ice cream sandwiches, quick meals, extra proteins and popsicles. Despite the rather bland look on the outside, inside the upright freezer is a bright LED. The bright light illuminates the shelving better than the others we tested.

Maytag Upright Freezer
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In addition to the generous door and body shelving, the bottom of the freezer also offers ample storage room. Rather than drawers, it utilizes a lowered cavity with a plastic guard rail that prevents larger items from falling out when the door opens. Use the extra space for freezer meals, frozen pizzas or anything else that requires its own special area. While some folks may prefer drawers or an extra shelf here, we appreciate the bin’s flexibility since it works for almost anything in a freezer bag.

Rounding out this utilitarian pick is a reversible door that doesn’t stick while still offering a nice, airtight seal. Unfortunately, this isn’t the best option for garages since the manual advises storing the unit in temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. However, for families that need extra freezer storage in the basement or kitchen, this is an excellent choice that costs substantially less than our top pick.

Dimensions: H 60.25″ x W 30.75″ x D 29.12″ | Capacity: 15.68 cu. ft. | Defrost Type: Frost-free | Garage-Friendly: No | Warranty: 10-year limited parts

Best Upright Freezer for Garages

Hamilton Beach Upright Freezer

Pros:

  • Functions as either a freezer or refrigerator
  • Front panel with adjustable temperature
  • Safe for use in garage
  • Solid, sturdy shelves
  • Three-minute door alarm
  • LED interior lighting

Cons:

  • Manual defrost rather than frost-free
  • Door difficult to open

Many folks searching for the best upright freezer plan to put it in their garage, but many of the more inexpensive options simply aren’t equipped to handle outdoor temperatures. Not so with this Hamilton Beach model, which offers a garage-safe temperature rating, an adjustable temperature panel on the front and solid, sturdy shelving. It also converts to either a refrigerator or freezer, depending on your needs!

The unit is fully garage-ready and operates in temperatures from 0-110 degrees Fahrenheit.  While it’s a bit smaller than other options at only 14 cubic feet of storage, you can always add a few freezer storage containers for additional space. In our opinion, the fact that this unit functions in extreme temperatures far outweighs the slightly smaller storage space. Plus, fewer cubic feet of storage means a lower energy bill!

Hamilton Beach Upright Freezer
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Sarah’s favorite feature is the temperature control panel on the front door, which makes it easy to set the unit’s climate using the arrow buttons. It also displays the current temperature and lets you choose between fridge and freezer modes quickly without opening the doors. Sure, the unit’s manual defrost mode means more overall maintenance, but it also reduces energy usage. In addition, the door is a bit sticky and takes a good tug to get it free. However, that also shows how well the freezer insulates frozen food.

Additional features include a three-minute alarm that triggers when the door is open for too long and bright LED lighting that makes it easy to see in low-light conditions. While not as fancy as the pricier options on this list, the Hamilton Beach upright freezer is an excellent value, especially given its sub-$1000 price tag.

Dimensions: H 68.03″ x W 27.89″ x D 27.95″ | Capacity: 14 cu. ft. | Defrost Type: Manual |  Garage-friendly: Yes | Warranty: 1-year

Best Budget Upright Freezer

Hotpoint Upright Freezer

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Basic, simple operation
  • Alarms for temperature changes and open doors
  • Mixture of wire and glass shelves

Cons:

  • No garage-ready
  • Difficult door

Want a basic, no-frills appliance that’s simple to operate? The Hotpoint frost-free freezer is our favorite budget option and offers the best bang for your buck. Apart from the basic design that’s easy to use, it’s available at nearly half the price of our top pick. This makes it the most affordable of the best upright freezer options on this list.

Two full-depth and two partial-depth shelves (three wire, one glass) offer sufficient space for ice cream and microwave meals. A removable drawer adds additional space. Take a page from our favorite refrigerator storage ideas and grab a few storage bins to keep everything organized inside. While the overall construction of the appliance leaves a little to be desired, it also isn’t cheap or chintzy. Plus, a built-in alarm that sounds when there’s a temperature change or an open door adds a little extra security that balances things out.

Hotpoint Upright Freezer
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Despite the overwhelming pros of this austere freezer, the lower price point comes with a few drawbacks. Primarily, the Hotpoint freezer isn’t a garage-ready option. Sarah recommends avoiding placing the freezer in locations where temperatures fall below 32F or rise above 110F. This can compromise the freezer’s ability to maintain optimal temperatures. In addition, it also doesn’t offer very many accouterments or special features and the door is a bit difficult to open. However, even given these cons, we find it a good overall value for the price.

Dimensions: H 65″ x W 27.8″ x D 26.5″ | Capacity: 13 cu. ft. | Defrost Type: Frost-free | Garage-friendly: No | Warranty: 1-year limited


The Best Upright Freezers Of 2024 Tested By Our Pro Team
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How We Tested the Best Upright Freezers

To find the best upright freezers for garages, basements and rec rooms, we identified top-selling models from the most popular brands including Whirlpool, GE, Hotpoint, Hamilton Beach, Maytag and Gladiator. From there, we gathered six models to test, focusing on the best-reviewed picks. We looked at temperature settings, capacity and storage, noise level, durability, build quality and design. We also noted whether it’s garage-ready and if there are any additional features, like self-defrost, reversible doors, alarms, interior lighting and adjustable leveling legs.

After thoroughly testing each potential inclusion and noting over 65 data points across all six freezers, our Test Kitchen pinpointed three top performers and two other solid options worth considering.

Meet the Tester

Sarah Farmer is the heart of the Taste of Home Test KitchenOn top of leading the culinary team, she develops, tests and food styles recipes, balances budgets, connects with vendors and oversees the product testing process for pantry foods and cooking gear. You might spot her in our videos on social media and TV, gushing about the latest food trends or must-have kitchen gadgets.  

Sarah joined Taste of Home in 2004 as a food stylist. She’s still head over heels for her job, and loves spending every day surrounded by people who share her enthusiasm for food, cooking and the Taste of Home community. Sarah and her husband live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

What to Look for When Buying an Upright Freezer

It’s important to keep in mind the following criteria when looking for the best upright freezer:

  • Size: Before buying any big appliance or furniture item, measure the area. This ensures it will fit in your kitchen, basement or garage.
  • Storage: Does the upright freezer have door storage? What about pull-out freezer baskets or ample shelving? Keep in mind what you’ll be storing in it and consider whether these features are important for your lifestyle.
  • Special features: Does the freezer have a light that turns on when opened? Is it safe to store in humid areas? Better yet, is it frost-free? These special features could determine which one you go with.

FAQ

Is a deep freezer or an upright freezer better?

An upright freezer offers vertical storage space whereas a deep freezer is more horizontal. Upright freezers open just like refrigerators, making them easier to access. Plus, they have door storage.

What is the disadvantage of an upright freezer?

There are many benefits to an upright freezer, the biggest being that food is easier to access. Instead of bending over to reach goods in a deep freezer, open an upright freezer’s door and grab what you need. They’re also easier to clean and typically have an auto-defrost feature. One downside, however, is that they take up more vertical space (but less floor space!).

What’s the difference between a garage-ready freezer and a regular freezer?

Garage-ready freezers can handle a large temperature change, ranging from 0 to 110 degrees. On the other hand, regular freezers are only designed to operate in areas of the home with small temperature changes, like the kitchen or a well-insulated basement.

Why to Trust Our Test Kitchen

At Taste of Home, we’re serious about good food. That’s why every single recipe that our readers submit gets reviewed, made and sampled by our team of culinary experts. We want to make sure that everything from our kitchens deserves the label Test Kitchen-Approved. 

The same goes for products. Our pros want to know what foods, gadgets and cleaning supplies are the best to fill your pantry and home. We put every product through a thorough testing process. Then our Test Kitchen team chooses the winners. Those best-tasting and top-performing products get our stamp of approval: to be called Test Kitchen-Preferred.