March 6

7 Best Small Chest Freezers – Little Footprint, Lots of Storage

Written by: Michael

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Looking for a small chest freezer to store extra food?

Chest freezers are a great option for those looking for a little more cooling space.

However, there is a HUGE range of sizes (between 3-25 cubic ft) which can make choosing a size a little daunting.

So how big do you need?

For those who are looking for a "small" chest freezer, we recommend somewhere between 3.5 - 7 cu ft.

If you're looking for a more specific number, we've also created a simple guide to help you decide. 

Below you'll find the 7 most highly rated mini chest freezers that fall in the size range above. Leave a comment at the bottom if you have any questions.


Table of Contents
Chest Freezer Capacity Comparison Infographic
freezer-chest

The Best Small Chest Freezers


1) Hotpoint 3.6 Cu Ft Chest Freezer

hotpoint chest freezer
Hotpoint Chest Freezer | 3.6 Cubic Ft. (inside view)

Specs: 

Dimensions: 33 1/4 H x 22 1/2 W x 21 5/8 D (more about dimensions)
Weight: ‎58 pounds
Storage Capacity: 3.6 Cu Ft

The internal dimensions are 11-17/64" W x 15-25/64" L x 27-1/64" H and the unit requires at least 3" on each side to function effectively. 


Electrical Cord Length: 5Ft

The electrical cord is 5 feet long, but if that isn't sufficient, you can always invest in an extension cord. Most refrigerator and freezers do fine with a 14 gauge extension cord.

Energy Efficiency:

194 kWh or estimated $23 per year . Not energy star rated but a very energy efficient model nonetheless. This unit has the second lowest energy requirements on our list (2nd to the CoolHome model below).


Manual Defrost:

This model requires manual defrost, but the front access drain offers an easy process. It usually only requires to be drained a few times a year.


Thermostat Control:

There are 7 increments of temperature control. It does not tell you which number resembles which temperature, but the manufacturer says to start at 4 and test with a thermometer. Then you can adjust as you go. 

Generally speaking, the temperature range throughout all seven settings is -5°-5°F.


Baskets:

Comes with 1 removable basket that takes up half the diameter of the freezer. You can order a second basket from Amazon if you wish. It's part #WR21X10208.


Warranty:

1 Year limited warranty (make sure to check your online store before buying).


Unique features:

  • Power "On" indicator light
  • Easy access front defrost drain
  • Can order additional baskets through Home Depot


Pros:

  • People generally loved the small footprint and the lower price of this model
  • People were unanimously happy with the operation of this unit
  • It holds temperature nicely
  • People repeatedly commented on the quietness of the machine
  • Great for storage needs of 1-2 people
  • Front, easy access defrost drain


Cons: 

  • No auto defrost (usually needs to be manually defrosted twice a year)
  • Some random defective units
  • Some thought it was a bit expensive
  • Not a lot of bells and whistles
  • Not enough baskets (only comes with 1, but you can order more through Amazon)

2) COOLHOME Black 3.5 Cubic Feet Chest Freezer with Removable Basket

cool-home-freezer
cool-home-freezer-2

Specs:

Dimensions: 21.18”(W)*21.77”(D)*30.94”(H)
Weight: 51.9 Lbs
Storage Capacity: 3.5 Cu Ft

3.5 cubic feet can usually store around 100 Lbs of food and tends to work best with the needs of one person. 


Energy Efficiency:

Approximately 0.4 kWh per day, so 164.25 kWh per year, making this model the most energy efficient on our list. If you're looking for a low energy bill, this is the unit to go with.


Manual or Auto Defrost:

The CoolHome chest freezer requires manual defrosting using the drain plug (awaiting Amazon's response on drain plug location).


Cord Length:

Approximately 6 ft long (more like 5.9ft) which should offer plenty of length if you're relatively close to an outlet.


Thermostat Control:

Adjustable thermostat with 7 Increments on bottom right front panel (not temperature designations). The advertised temperature range is -4°- 6.8°F.


Baskets:

2 removable baskets to help with your chest freezer organization.


Lid Prop:

Lid stays open when at 45-90° angle which is a lifesaver for those who've ever experienced a chest freezer without a "stay-open" function.


Warranty:

1 Year limited warranty on the Amazon website.


Unique features:

  • Uses R600a refrigerant (the environmentally friendly option)
  • Comes with ice scraper to help shave the ice off the walls during your manual defrost
  • Has a "Power ON" Light and "Compressor Power" light on front panel to help you know the freezer is functioning and how often the compressor is kicking on


Pros:

  • Great for spillover in the fridge
  • Low noise (advertised below 40 decibels)
  • Sleek black design
  • Compressor and power light to see how often freezer compressor has to run
  • 2 wire baskets to optimize space


Cons:

  • Some complaints about dents (shipping issues)
  • Pretty standard, nothing fancy

3) Arctic King 3.5 cu ft White Chest Freezer

arctic-king-freezer

Specs:

Dimensions:  L 22.2 x W 20.6 x H 33.5
Weight: 59 Lbs
Storage Capacity: 3.5 Cu Ft

Again, 3.5 Cu ft tends to hold about 100 Lbs of food and is great for a single person household.


Energy Efficiency:

No energy rating but buyers say efficient. Arctic King does not offer a whole lot of information about their products. Their reviews, however, speak for themselves as far as quality.


Manual or Auto Defrost:

Manual defrost with a color matching plug on the left bottom of the front panel.


Baskets:

1 removable basket that takes up about half the diameter of the freezer. A lot of people complained about not having 2 baskets included with the freezer.


Door Prop:

Door remains open from 45 to 75 degrees. A convenient feature when loading and unloading large amounts of food at the same time.


Thermostat Control:

Thermostat does not have temperature increments but has a knob that progressively makes the freezer colder as you turn it. We recommend turning the knob halfway, taking a temperature reading after several hours, and adjusting as needed.


Warranty:

The warranty is unclear, which is disheartening, but again, the positive reviews speak for themself.


Unique features:

  • No unique features. A pretty standard chest freezer


Pros:

  • Unanimously positive response to the price
  • People loved how it made very little noise
  • Gets cold quickly and maintains temperature
  • If you're looking for a baseline mini chest freezer without all the bells and whistles, this is the model for you


Cons:

  • A lot of positive reviews but the company does not give a lot of details of the chest freezer
  • No "power ON" light
  • No rollers
  • Complaints of damage during shipping

4) GE 5.0 Cu Ft White Chest Freezer

GE-freezer
GE-food-freezer

Specs:

Dimensions: 33 1/2 H x 28 3/4 W x 21 1/4 D
Weight: 63 Lbs
Storage Capacity: 5.0 Cu Ft

5 Cubic feet can hold around 150 Lbs of food and is perfect for families of 1-2.


Energy Efficiency:

218 kWh per year (approximately $26 a year) which makes this unit the lowest energy consumer of our 5 Cu Ft picks (just 1kWh year less than the Kismile below).


Manual or Auto Defrost:

Manual defrost with defrost drain in the front for easy draining.


Thermostat Control:

There are 9 Increments on the thermostat. GE recommends starting at the 4th increment and adjusting for preference from there.


Baskets:

2 Removable plastic baskets that take up the entirety of the freezers' diameter. You can order replacement baskets here.


Lid Prop:

Awaiting response from GE to see if the lid stays propped open.


Warranty:

Limited 1 year warranty (From GE website. Check with the online store you choose beforehand).


Unique features:

  • Garage Ready (Can handle outside temperatures of up to 110°F and down to 0°F)
  • Comes with Wheels
  • Power Outage Promise (48 hours without power and food will remain frozen)
  • Exterior Power On Light


Pros: 

  • People were generally very happy with the size of the unit (saying it's not too big, not too small)
  • Has wheels and height adjustment
  • Light-weight and easy to move around for the size
  • One of the most highly reviewed chest freezers of the bunch


Cons: 

  • Complaints about some lids not sealing all the way (this can cause frost build up)
  • Complaints about shipping damage (infrequent)
  • Some people were upset there is no auto defrost
  • Adjustment leveling screws are only on one side

5) Kismile 5 Cu Ft Black Chest Freezer

kismile-freezer
kismile-freezer-2

Specs:

Dimensions: 35.63”(W)*21.65”(D)*33.46”(H)
Weight: Unknown (one customer said around 80 lbs)
Storage Capacity: 5 Cu Ft

Again, 5 cubic feet can handle approximately 150 Lbs of food and is best for households of 1-2 people.


Energy Efficiency:

0.6 kWh per day or 219 kWh per year which is a very efficient freezer.


Manual or Auto Defrost:

Manual defrost with concealed black plug on the front left bottom of chest freezer which makes for easy draining when the time comes.


Thermostat Control:

There are 7 increment thermostat with temperature range advertised between 6.8°F to -7.6°F (no temperature readings on the dial, must rely on trial and error).


Lid Prop:

Lid stays open from 45 to 90 degree door angle which allows you the freedom to use both your hands to put in and take food out of the freezer.


Cord Length:

Approximately 5.9" (said one Amazon customer). Cord weirdly comes out of the side of the unit instead of the back.


Warranty:

1 Year limited warranty and optional 5 year protection plan


Unique features:

  • Noise below 40 decibels (advertised)
  • "Power on" light (red) & "Run" light or "Compressor On" light (green) on front panel
  • Uses R600A refrigerant (environmentally friendly option)


Pros:

  • Made in the U.S.
  • Very high reviews on Amazon
  • Good remarks with company integrity and shipping
  • Solid response to the insulation
  • Fairly quiet compressor (some said it was very quiet, some said they could hear a slight hum noise)


Cons:

  • No wheels
  • Not garage-ready (designed for environments that don't go below 32°F or above 100°F)
  • Some complaints of the lid not sealing, causing over-icing
  • Some complained of the price

6) Magic Chef 5 Cu Ft White Chest Freezer

Magic-chef-5-cu-ft-chest
magic-chef-5-cu-ft-chest

Specs: 

Size:21.8 in Depth, 27.3 in Width, 32.9 in Height
Weight: 59.5 Lbs
Storage Capacity: 5 Cu Ft


Energy Efficiency:

218 kWh per years or $26 a year


Baskets:

2 Removable basket that takes up approximately 1/4 the length of the freezer


Manual or Auto Defrost:

Manual defrost with easy front water drain


Thermostat Control:

Temperature control has 6 increments


Warranty:

1 Year limited, 5 year Compressor (at Home Depot)


Unique features:

  • Leveling Legs
  • Removable interior divider
  • "Power ON" light and "compressor ON" light (apparently the newer version has a compressor light)
  • Internal Light


Pros:

  • People were pleased with the interior light and how it illuminates the food inside
  • Very quiet compressor
  • Overall a nice price point compared to competitors
  • People overall pleased with the freezers ability to get cold quickly and maintain temperature
  • Conveniently removable baskets and a divider for organization


Cons:

  • Recommended to not install the freezer where the temperature will go below 32°F or above 110°F (not garage-ready)
  • Some typical complaints with shipping damage
  • Some say the compressor kicks on too frequently

7) GE 7 Cu Ft White Chest Freezer

GE-7-foot-freezer
GE-7-ft-freezer

Specs:

Size: 33 1/2 H x 37 1/4 W x 21 1/4 D
Weight: 75.0 lb
Storage Capacity: 7.0 Cu Ft


Energy Efficiency:

250 kWh per year or $30 per year


Manual or Auto Defrost:

Manual defrost with upfront defrost drain


Baskets:

2 Removable plastic baskets


Thermostat Control:

Thermostat with 9 increments


Warranty:

1 Year limited (through GE Appliances)


Unique features:

  • Garage-Ready
  • Power outage promise
  • Power ON light


Pros:

  • Over 1,500 reviews on the GE website and it still maintains a 4.7 / 5 star rating (as of 03/04/22)
  • People very happy with the speed at which it can freeze food
  • People also loved the price compared to competitors
  • The perfect size for a small family of 3-4


Cons:

  • No internal light
  • Powerful spring loaded door catches people off-guard
  • Correct temperature can take a while to perfect
  • Some complaints about it being slightly loud

Frequently Asked Questions:


-What does "garage ready" mean?

This means that the freezer is capable of still doing it's job even when ambient temperatures are between 0°F and 110°F.

We wrote a whole article on garage ready freezers. You can check it out here


-How much food can a 3.5 Cu Ft chest freezer hold?

3.5 cubic ft can hold approximately 100 Lbs of food and is best for 1-2 people.


-How much food can a 5 Cu Ft chest freezer hold?

A 5 cubic ft chest freezer can hold approximately 150 Lbs of food and is best for families of 1-4 people.


-How much food can a 7 cu ft chest freezer hold?

A 7 cu ft chest freezer can hold approximately 200 Lbs of food and is best for families of 1-6 people. Obviously this depends on the nature (weight) of the food but it is a useful average.


-How much freezer space do I need for a ¼ cow?

A 3.5 Cu Ft chest freezer will hold a ¼ cow but it will be a little tight. You may want to play it safe and go with the average 5 Cu ft chest freezer.


-Which is better? A chest freezer or an upright freezer?

Generally speaking (per cubic foot) chest freezers are more energy efficient and less expensive. Upright Freezers, however, take up less floor real-estate and allow easier access to food.

Upright freezers also have a common auto-defrost function which can come in handy. There are pros and cons to each, it's just about finding what's right for you. 

Conclusion


If you're tight on space, a small chest freezer is definitely the way to go. You can find some great options with lots of features and in different price ranges. And if you need an auto defrost freezer, be sure to check out the upright freezers - they offer that option!

Thanks for reading, and happy freezer shopping!

Michael

Founder of Robust Kitchen 


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About the author

Michael spends his days eating, drinking and studying the fascinating world of food. He received his Bachelors Degree in Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis and spent much of his time at the school brewery. While school proved to be an invaluable experience, his true passion lies in exposing the hidden crannies of food for the cooking laymen.

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