Best and Worst Small Freezers

CR-tested space-saving models for smaller households

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Frigidaire FFFU06M1TW seen in a home setting Photo: Frigidaire

On most days you might not need more freezer space than what’s in your refrigerator. But for those times when you’re stocking up for a family event or taking advantage of a sale on your favorite cut of meat, having a little extra freezer capacity comes in handy.

Below are five small chest and upright freezers (5 to 9 cubic feet) that perform well in CR’s tests for temperature uniformity and thermostat control, and that run efficiently. We also point out one small freezer from our tests that isn’t up to snuff.

If floor space is an issue, keep in mind that upright freezers have a smaller footprint for the equivalent storage space of a chest freezer (one reason fewer uprights fall into the small-capacity category). And remember that manufacturers recommend leaving a clearance of about 3 inches around any freezer so that it has the airflow it needs to run properly.

More on Freezers

Another consideration is the expense of operating an extra appliance. “The cost of running a small freezer can be as much as running a large one,” says Joseph Pacella, who oversees our freezer tests. To compare the operating costs of freezers as you shop, check the yellow Energy Guide labels on each model.

For more on freezers of any size, see our freezer ratings and buying guide.

Best Small Chest Freezers

Best Small Upright Freezer

And a Small Freezer That Doesn't Cut It

It’s too bad the slim Insignia NS-UZ7WHO performs so poorly in our tests—earning only a 37 out of a possible 100—because it’s a real space saver. (Its usable capacity is 5 cubic feet, and the footprint is 22 inches wide by 22 inches deep.) This manual-defrost upright earns impressive scores on our thermostat control test (in which we gauge how well a model hits and holds the set temperature of 0° F), and the temperature inside stays fairly consistent.

But this model’s downfall is its performance in the blackout test, in which we unplug it for 9 hours to simulate a power outage. The temperature inside rose quickly, so you would likely have to toss the contents after a real blackout. This Insignia’s impressive performance in the temperature tests aren’t enough to offset its Poor rating in the blackout test. Plus, it costs more to run than the others on this list—$43 a year.

Mary H.J. Farrell

Knowing that I wanted to be a journalist from a young age, I decided to spiff up my byline by adding the middle initials "H.J." A veteran of online and print journalism, I've worked at People, MSNBC, Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and an online Consumer Reports wannabe. But the real thing is so much better. Follow me on Twitter.