The Most Efficient Chest Freezers

In brief, these are the most efficient chest freezers:

  • The most efficient AC-powered chest freezers are by Whirlpool
  • The most efficient DC-powered freezer are by Sundanzer

When researching energy-efficient appliances, we often turn to the recommendations of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The ACEEE continues to publish helpful information about all sorts of appliances, including freezers.

The most efficient type of freezer is the chest freezer. This is because a chest freezer opens from the top, and cold air (which is heavier than warm air) does not escape easily from a chest freezer. The weight of the lid also helps to seal chest freezers tightly. Chest freezers are 10% to 25% more efficient than upright freezers.

In the United States freezers are almost all manufactured by three companies: Frigidaire (owned by Electrolux), W.C. Wood (based in Canada), and Haier (based in China). F

Frigidaire makes freezers under the Frigidaire and Gibson names and makes some freezers for Kenmore and GE. W.C. Wood makes freezers for Amana, Magic Chef, and some units for Maytag, Danby, and Whirlpool.

Haier makes freezers for GE, Kenmore, some units for Maytag, and Amana in addition to selling some models under its own name.

Because of the different branding, many times customers are paying a premium for a differently branded freezer. For example, Frigidaire freezers sometimes cost more than GE freezers and Maytag freezers may fetch a premium over a W.C. Wood freezer.

Here’s a look at the most efficient chest freezers currently available:

Whirlpool Chest Freezers

Whirlpool Chest Freezer: Energy Star Qualified

Whirlpool makes a very energy-efficient chest freezer, model number EH151FXR (similar models are EH151FXQ or EH150FXQ). This 14.8-cubic-foot freezer is rated at 354 kWhrs per year. The average cost to run this freezer for the year is $29, according to Energy Star.

Though it requires manual defrosting, it sports a number of other features including an interior light and a temperature alarm. Its key-eject lock means that the freezer can only be opened when the key is pushed in and turned — a safety feature helpful in homes with small children. Four baskets (two upper, two lower) make it easier to organize the contents — especially on the lower level.

Whirlpool freezers are available from Amazon.

Sundanzer DC-Powered Chest Freezers

Sundanzer DC Chest Freezer
Sundanzer DC Chest Freezer

The most efficient DC-powered chest freezer is the SunDanzer. This eight-cubic-foot capacity freezer has an exceptionally low energy consumption — it uses around 140 kWhr / year. It incorporates the highly efficient Danforst compressor. It also has a super-insulated cabinet that is wrapped in four inches of polyurethane. Because it runs on either 12 or 24 volts DC, the SunDanzer freezer is mostly used in off-grid homes or in remote locations, because a 75 watts solar panel and two six-volt golf cart batteries can power the freezer.

30 thoughts on “The Most Efficient Chest Freezers”

  1. I currently have a 21 cu ft upright freezer and it’s generally full. In looking at the chest type freezers I see that they tend to be smaller in cubic feet, which makes me think the cu ft are not measured the same in the 2 types of freezers. Can someone advise me as to what size chest freezer I should get to replace my 21 cu ft upright. the replacement must be energy efficient.

  2. Will be buying a chest freezer for my new house. None of the ones I see on display have energy star ratings or average energy costs. For organization I was thinking of different colored plastic milk crates and maybe a clipboard on top for when stuff is added and removed. That is one area I can imagine an (integrated?) tablet would be useful. Inventory app would allow you to add stuff and put a use by date on items. Then you could pull up listings of stuff that is getting old and needs to be used.

    1. youknowwho522

      Wow – impressive. But seriously, is this real life. Organizing and maintaining an electronic inventory for a residential freezer is literally the last thing I would make time in my life for. In fact, I’m more likely to start counting dots in my ceiling tiles than I am to take my frozen food inventory this seriously. But, more power to you! The truth is that my life is so busy, I only wish I had time to be this organized. If only there were more hours in a the day.

  3. Just so you are aware, anything frozen at 0 degrees for 30 days is also bacteria and parasite free, according to the usda info I have found. I would imagine that running a freezer at -120 will fubar the energy savings you might otherwise get. Besides, do you not cook your food to recommended temps?

  4. HI,

    I’m trying to get my chest freezer to reach -120 degrees. Right now, it is sitting on -115 degrees ever since I purchase it about 6 weeks ago. Keeping foods for at least 24 hours at -120 degrees removes all possible paracites and etc from your everything. Do you think a technician could rigg my freezer?

  5. The most efficient type of freezer is the chest freezer. This is because a chest freezer opens from the top, and cold air (which is heavier than warm air) does escape easily from a chest freezer

    … you meant “does NOT”, i presume?

  6. I have owned a 5 cubic foot chest freezer since 1986 that still works well, but will probably replace it soon with another 5 cubic foot “energy star” chest freezer. It is not such a big deal getting food out of the chest freezers (everyones main objection to this type of freezer) if you organize your food into tote bags. I have a yellow one for chicken, pink for pork, red for beef, you get the idea. You can buy totes everywhere now in different colors or just sew them up out of scrap materials. It is easy to lift these out by the handles to find what you need. Even the big turkey in the bottom is in a tote for easy lifting out. Also, I think two small freezers would be more efficient than one large. I know a lot of people that are always half empty, especially people that hunt. It would be easy to unplug the one until you shoot your elk or harvest your garden in the fall. Small freezers are more likely to keep you in control of what you purchase, also. Do you really NEED 6 turkeys at Thanksgiving when they are $5.00 each? Probably not!

    1. Brilliant Roni! We try to freeze leftovers as much as possible so we don’t resort to pizza on those nights we don’t feel like cooking so our freezer is always stuffed. We also have an issue because I’m a vegetarian and my boyfriend isn’t so when he buys meat in bulk it takes a long time to use. We are buying a chest freezer and this is a terrific idea for organizing it. I’m a freak about things being organized so this is perfect. The handles will also make it easier to reach the bottom items since I’m not very tall. Thanks for the tip!

    2. Two smaller freezer are Not as efficient as one twice the size with same total amount of food. Definitely use something like frozen gallon water jugs (at bottom) to fill the volume as much as possible as cooling air causes the compressor to cycle more often$$.

    1. re: chest freezer/fridge combo: mky grandmother had one of these–it was great. had it in the 60-70-80’s/
      apparently today’s freezers typically last only about 10 years–how energy ifficient is that?!

  7. If you get too big of a chest freezer, its really hard to use it because your food gets lost and forgotten about in the bottom of the freezer. Unless you are freezing large things like chickens and beef, a more modest size chest freezer is a more efficient use of space, and you are more likely to get better use of it.

  8. JMG,

    The Whirlpool freezer had the lowest power consumption for its size, according to the Energy Star data. But overall, chest freezers have only modest differences in their level of efficiency. Some of the larger freezers certainly rival the energy consumption of the Whirlpool.


  9. I would expect Metaefficient to rank them in kWh/yr-ft^3 — is the Whirlpool mentioned the most efficient on that metric, or simply low in absolute numbers because it’s pretty small. I’ve been looking at the Frigidaire 25 ft^3 model; not only do we freeze a lot, but I figure that once you’ve got the embedded energy in the compressor and the box, the best thing to do is get the biggest freezer that you’ll use (i.e., don’t buy more than you need, but definitely don’t buy less). I’d be interested in the thoughts of others on how to select a freezer.

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