Freezers were hugely popular after rationing ended after World War II. Even given the parlous state of the world today, we doubt anyone still needs to stockpile that much food 'just in case', but who knows?
Freezers come in three main styles and sizes: long, standing, upright (like porn), under-the-counter (also like porn) and chest (yep).
For most folk, a small under-counter model is quite enough but if you run a B&B, have a dozen kids – hey, it can happen – or just love shopping for frozen or freezable bargains in supermarkets, a chest freezer or tall upright is for you.
Our favourite freezer right now is the John Lewis JLUCFZW6010 because it's at a decent price from a good brand. We've explained more about our reasoning below.
But Derek, what is the best freezer?
Let's be honest, a freezer is not a complex thing, and it shouldn't break down for years and years after you've bought one.
Just buy something that isn't too horrible to look at, from a reputable brand.
To my mind, there's no point splashing out on a Miele in this particular product category, so go for something like a John Lewis own brand freezer, which comes with a two-year warranty as standard, John Lewis' rightly celebrated customer services – not that you should ever need it once it's installed – and A+ energy rating.
The exception to that would be if you want to store your freezer outside in a shed or garage.
Ironically, the vast majority of freezers are not designed to be located in areas where winter ambient temperatures drop to less than 10ºC. However, one exception to that rule is the Beko CF374, which comes from Turkey, can store turkey, and go cold turkey, all at once.
Given a choice, I’d always advise buying a fridge-freezer combo or even a fridge with a small freezer compartment. But if practicality is your prime concern or you have a many mouths to fill, then a standalone freezer is undoubtedly the way to go. Here are T3.com's favourites.
The best freezers to buy today
1. John Lewis JLUCFZW6010
Best freezer under £300
With this John Lewis-branded model you can wave goodbye to digging out the ice pick in order to reach that frozen lump of steak you’re sure you put in there several months ago.
Not only is this keenly-priced under-the-counter unit frost free, it also has a ‘quick-freeze’ setting that reduces the temperature when you add extra groceries. Space wise, the JL’s 78-litre capacity is divided into four ample compartments, the bottom one being larger than the rest.
Given that most John Lewis gear is well made and functional, you can be sure it’ll continue perform as well as the day you bought it, a notion born out by the assemblage of glowing reviews it gets from its large band of happy owners.
2. Beko CF374
Turkish delight that’s happy in the cold
Many people put their freezers – especially those of the chest design – in their garage, outhouse, shed or gazebo.
However, these areas can become exceedingly cold in winter and as bizarre as it may seem, freezers don't like that, and their delicate compressors and electronics can start throwing a hissy fit accordingly.
Enter Beko with its Freezer Guard tech. Models that have it, like this Class A+, 104-litre chest freezer, can operate in temperatures as low as -15˚C.
Conversely, it’s just as happy keeping your food frozen in temperatures as high as 43ºC. That’s a pretty wide margin of operation and one that’s certainly worth considering if you plan on housing the freezer in an area with no insulation.
As with all chest freezers, this is an unappetising, white lump of metal with a hatch on the top. But, hey, if it's in your shed, who cares?
It freezes stuff efficiently, without using too much electricity, though you will need to defrost it from time to time.
The down side, as ever, is that finding items can entail having to bend over and rummage around at the bottom of a large box, though there is a sliding basket on top for your most-used items.
3. Bosch Serie 4 GSN33VW30G
Best large-capacity freezer
This statuesque 220-litre freezer has seven compartments, one of them large enough for storing big-ticket items such as turkeys and gateaux. The reversible door is replete with an air channel system that makes opening a breeze.
The A++ Serie 4 is a NoFrost model. This means warm, damp air is regularly removed from the interior so it doesn’t end up encasing the remnants of last month’s lasagne in a rugby ball-sized clump of impenetrable ice.
It also features a SuperFreezing function that temporarily lowers the internal temperature when adding extra groceries.
The Bosch is quite a deep unit (65cm) so make sure there are no obstacles like piping or protruding skirting behind it or it’ll stick out and ruin the symmetry of your otherwise carefully-considered kitchen.
4. Zanussi ZFX31400WA
Best smaller and cheaper freezer
If fridge space is your most important consideration but you’d still like the option to be able to freeze odd items from time to time, then this diminutive model, sub-£150 number is pretty much all you need.
At just 51cm tall and 44cm wide, the Zanussi is small enough to live on a worktop or another appliance, stashed under a desk, or locked away in the utility room, like a hostage.
You get a more-than-reasonable 32 litres of storage space, which is enough for several tubs of ice cream, a large packet of frozen fries and some veg, and if you remove the single shelf, you can store larger items.
This A+ rated freezer doesn’t have any mind-blowing tech on board but then it doesn’t need any. You bung in some stuff. It freezes it. Job done.
5. Miele F 12020 S-2
Best high-end freezer
This under-counter Miele is perfectly capable of holding a family’s worth of groceries. Because it's relatively compact, you’re also more likely eat all of its contents before they reach the end of their recommended storage period.
As you would expect from a company like Miele, this A++ rated, 103-litre under-counter model is well built and very energy efficient.
Granted, it doesn’t have frost-free tech on board so there will come a time when a defrost is required. However, it does have a fast-freeze mode for new loads, and an interior that can be re-arranged to accommodate larger items.
Sitting in the £400 ballpark, it's an undeniably expensive place to store your Iceland ready meals, mind you.
6. Smeg CVB20RNE1
Best, and indeed only, stylish freezer option
If you've already got Smeg’s retro fridge, you may as well complement it with this humongous freezer, available in cream, black or red – the exterior paint job is well chipper.
This mighty option houses three transparent drawers and two flapped containers, giving a prodigious 170 litres of storage space.
The Smeg is available in either right- or left-sided door hinge configurations, so bear that in mind when shopping for one.
Also, because the door itself has very deep dimensions, you'll need to allow the freezer to protrude at least 175mm beyond any cabinets or other obstacles or you won’t be able to open it.
Finally, bear in mind Smeg’s following advisory regarding colour: ‘Whereas every effort is made to ensure that colours are matched, those of two adjacent appliances may seem to alter under different lighting conditions.’ Surely that doesn’t apply to the colour black though, does it?