Best freezer 2018: the best chest, upright and under-counter freezers

We say, "Ice to see you," to the best premium and affordable freezers

TODO alt text

Freezers were hugely popular after rationing ended after World War II. Even given the general 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: tall 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. However, do bear in mind that the larger the freezer, the more likely you’ll forget about what you actually put in it. ‘Mary, what’s this large lump of frozen red stuff I’ve just found at the back of the freezer?’ ‘Oh, that must be the rump steak I put in there two years ago’.

Our favourite freezers right now are the tall-standing, frost-free Samsung RZ32M71207F, the decently priced John Lewis JLUCFZW614 and the titchy Russell Hobbs RHTTFZ1B.

 

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

SAMSUNG RZ32M71207F

1. SAMSUNG RZ32M71207F

Best tall freezer for small battalions

Specifications
Type: Tall
Net capacity: 315 litres
Energy rating: A+
Height: 1,853mm
Width: 595mm
Reasons to buy
+Enough space for an entire cow+Great frost-free feature+Manual ice maker+Good price
Reasons to avoid
-Tall ceiling required

Let’s face it, defrosting a freezer is an expensive pain in the butt. Aside from having to throw away most of the foodstuffs, you then have to wait for hours for the damn thing to defrost before you can even begin to face the tedious job of shovelling ice floes and water into a bucket. Oh, and did I mention the surfeit of towels required to soak up all the extra water? 

Samsung’s True NoFrost feature is said to totally eliminate all frost and ice by circulating chilled air around the interior. This not only keeps internal temperatures consistent – and frost free – but it also helps keep food fresh, especially short-life veg like lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. 

The Samsung’s digital inverter compressor, meanwhile, runs continuously which is said to be more economical – and quieter – than standard compressors that switch on and off at various intervals. 

This humongous 315-litre model is clad in brushed steel which makes it look even more expensive than it is. Inside it has four huge drawers, a small flapped top shelf, two open shelves plus a Slim Ice Maker and a couple of narrow door-mounted trays for smaller items. Buy the matching fridge version and you can put them side-by-side to create one monster American-style fridge-freezer combo.

RUSSELL HOBBS RHTTFZ1B

2. RUSSELL HOBBS RHTTFZ1B

Best micro freezer for bare essentials

Specifications
Type: Table top
Net capacity: 32 litres
Energy rating: A+
Height: 492mm
Width: 472mm
Reasons to buy
+Just the ticket for small quantities+Takes up very little space
Reasons to avoid
-Bog-standard feature set

Unless you have a big family to feed, this little bargain freezer is pretty much all you need. At just 492mm tall and 472mm wide, it’s arguably the smallest household freezer on the market so you should easily find somewhere to locate it.

A smidgeon under £105 buys you 32 litres of storage space which is perfect for two or three tubs of Häagen-Dazs, some frozen fries, a packet of frozen peas and fruit and a couple of bags of ice. The bare essentials, in other words. And if you remove the single shelf, you can store even bigger items. 

This dinky Russell Hobbs doesn’t have any mind-blowing tech on board because it doesn’t need any. It just freezes stuff, effectively.

So, 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 without taking up half the kitchen, then this micro chiller is simply perfect.

JOHN LEWIS JLUCFZW614

3. JOHN LEWIS JLUCFZW614

Best under-counter freezer under £300

Specifications
Type: Under counter
Net capacity: 78 litres
Energy rating: A+
Height: 850mm
Width: 600mm
Reasons to buy
+Great price+No need to defrost
Reasons to avoid
-There are many cheaper options

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 to perform as well as the day you bought it, a notion borne out by the assemblage of glowing reviews it gets from its large band of happy owners.

BOSCH SERIE 4 GSN33VW3PG

4. Bosch Serie 4 GSN33VW3PG

Second best large-capacity freezer

Specifications
Type: Tall
Net capacity: 225 litres
Energy rating: A++
Height: 1,760mm
Width: 600mm
Reasons to buy
+Frost-free freezing+Rapid 'SuperFreezing' function+Bigly 220-litre capacity
Reasons to avoid
-Is the size of The Hulk

This statuesque 225-litre freezer has seven compartments, one of them large enough for storing big-ticket items such as turkeys and gateaux. 

The A++ Serie 4 is a NoFrost model and that 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 SuperFreeze 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.

Beko CF374

5. Beko CF374

Turkish delight that’s happy in the cold

Specifications
Type: Chest
Net capacity: 104 litres
Energy rating: A+
Height: 860mm
Width: 540mm
Reasons to buy
+Operates in sub-zero temperatures+Cheap
Reasons to avoid
-You have to bend over to get stuff out-Defrosting is a pain

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; 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.

Smeg CVB20RP1

6. Smeg CVB20RP1

Best, and indeed only, stylish freezer option

Specifications
Type: Tall
Net capacity: 170 litres
Energy rating: A+
Height: 1,510mm
Width: 600mm
Reasons to buy
+Pleasing, 1950s-style design+Huge capacity
Reasons to avoid
-Not necessarily easy to accommodate-Needs the right accompanying decor

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, ‘a gap of 175mm must be left on the hinged side of the product to allow the door to open’.

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?

SIEMENS IQ500 (GU15DA50GB)

7. SIEMENS IQ500 GU15DA50GB

Excellent build quality from a trusty brand

Specifications
Type: Under counter
Net capacity: 98 litres
Energy rating: A+
Height: 820mm
Width: 598mm
Reasons to buy
+Large capacity for its size
Reasons to avoid
-Not cheap

A fridge is used far more commonly than a freezer, so if you have the space you’d be better off having a tall-standing fridge and a small under-counter freezer for those little-used but undeniably handy items like ice cream, frozen chips, frozen veg, spare cuts of meat, the odd bag of ice and the surplus bolognaise sauce you made for last night’s Italian bash.

This built-in 98-litre Siemens model has just the right dimensions to fit under the kitchen worktop and between the cabinets. It has three pull-out drawers and a superFreeze function that quickly reduces the temperature when adding new shopping loads. Being of Germanic origin, you can bet it performs admirably well. However, cheap it isn’t.