Best and Worst Small Freezers

CR-tested space-saving models for smaller households

When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions. 100% of the fees we collect are used to support our nonprofit mission. Learn more.

On most days you may 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, as well as for maintaining internal temperatures during a simulated blackout. 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. And remember that manufacturers recommend leaving a clearance of about 3 inches around any freezer so 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 One 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. (Usable capacity is 5 cubic feet and the footprint is 56H by 22W by 22D.) 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 degrees 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 nine 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 weren’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.