Author Topic: What size chest freezer?  (Read 8507 times)

I'm a red panda

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What size chest freezer?
« on: January 31, 2017, 06:38:39 AM »
We've never had a chest freezer before, but our current freezer is packed to the gills full (I hate the fridge that came with our house. Upright split...ugh. The bottom freezer we used to have was so much better.)  We buy beef and pork tenderloins on sale and freeze them; plus lots of frozen veggies and frozen fruits.

I recently found out SMALL chest freezers are a thing... I've only previously seen mammoth ones..

Anyhow- with a baby on the way, at the very least I need storage for breastmilk and babyfood. But we would also like to be able to better take advantage of meat sales (and possibly buy a share of a cow; in the past we've been limited to lamb because of the size); as well as frozen veggie sales.

Do you think a chest freezer is worth it? Is 5 cubic feet sufficient for a 3-person (well 2+ almost 1) household?  Do you have a model you recommend?
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 06:57:21 AM by iowajes »

Fishindude

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2017, 06:47:54 AM »
I'd get something around 15 cubic feet, if you have space for it.
I prefer chest type over upright, seems like I can get more stuff in it.

A handy tip is to put things in small cardboard boxes, then in the freezer, so you don't have a bunch of loose packages in there.  For instance, we will have a box full of packages of hamburger, and another full of fish.   Also, freeze a few milk jugs full of water then throw one in the cooler anytime you travel and need to keep some food cold, lasts much longer than bagged ice.

We go to places like Sams or Costco and buy a NY strip or pork tenderloin, cut them up and vac seal in individual packages when we get home, then pull out a steak or chop when you're in the mood.  Saves a few dollars over buying individually.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 06:50:00 AM by Fishindude »

lthenderson

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2017, 07:39:50 AM »
Back before we had kids, we bought our current 15 cu-ft chest freezer. I can put 1/2 a hog and a couple deer in it at one time. 1/4 beef might be pushing it depending on how you have it processed. Most lockers will rent you space until you go through enough at home to fit it all in your freezer. We now have two kids and a full time mother-in-law living with us and though we still get by with the 15 cu-ft freezer, I wish we had a larger one. However, we do a lot of storing bulk meet, mostly deer and also garden veggies in it. If you don't do a lot of either, then you could probably get by with a smaller one like 5 cu-ft if you are just wanting to store a few more tubs of ice cream and frozen pizzas.

ketchup

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2017, 08:19:38 AM »
We have three ~7 cu ft chest freezers.  Two are dedicated to meat for dogs (we scored a bunch of free venison carcasses a few months ago for them), one with stuff for us (household of two adults) in it.  We've had a quarter cow in it before.  I think the "rule of thumb" is that about 30lbs of meat will tend to fit in 1 cu ft of freezer space.

I'm content with 21 cu ft of total space right now.  Might double down next fall though if we can get more free vension for the dogs (we could have taken more if we had space).

One of ours is a Whirlpool model (bought four years ago for $100 on Craigslist) and the others are Magic Chef (from Home Depot, each bought on deals for about $150 I believe).  All have definitely paid for themselves.  They enable you to "stock up when the good shit is on sale" for so many more things (Kerrygold butter for <$2 each!?  I'll take 50.).

I'm a red panda

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2017, 08:32:42 AM »
  I think the "rule of thumb" is that about 30lbs of meat will tend to fit in 1 cu ft of freezer space.


That's really helpful.

I'm thinking 15cuft costs more money than I want to spend, so now I'm doubting the chest freezer plan...
Still not sure where the breastmilk will go though.

trollwithamustache

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2017, 08:37:21 AM »
we use a 15 cu ft freezer for 4 of us. Its pretty awesome. I like to get quarter cows from a semi local ranch, which cuts down the cost of grassfed meat considerably.

It also gives us a much longer time between running the Costco gauntlet.  We could do a better job of buying stuff on sale and freezing instead of just freezing everything to add a couple weeks between Costco trips. Even still, the freezer has more than paid for itself several times.

MsPeacock

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2017, 09:36:01 AM »
I used to have a chest freezer and now have a small upright freezer. It is a little smaller tha. An apartment fridge, stands about 4 feet high. I prefer it to the chest freezer because it has a smaller footprint and I can queasily see and organize the continents. With the chest freezer i was always losing things at the bottom.

swick

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2017, 09:45:39 AM »
I'm a fan of older second hand larger chest freezers. If you put out feelers you may be able to get one very cheap/free. The problems with the smaller ones is there is usually a built-in shelf to hide the motor, but it REALLY cuts down on usable space, it isn't so noticeable in the big ones if they have it.

Also, the newer smaller ones are not built to last. We bought one (Don't go with DANBY) and it konked out exactly one year and one week old (so out of warranty) Hubby cracked it open and could see the problem but the parts used in it were knock off, unlabeled resistors and capacitors from China. They had caused a fire inside the machine.

Luckily, we were home when it happen and were able to shift everything to our bigger, second-hand chest freezer and cook the rest, but it could have been very expensive above and beyond the cost of the freezer.

economista

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2017, 09:54:31 AM »
We are a 2 adult household and we have a 5 cu ft chest freezer and it works wonderfully.  We got it on sale at Home Depot for $70 right before Christmas.  We bought some plastic baskets that have holes (see image) and we stack them in the freezer so we can keep everything organized.  One is full of beef, then the one on top of that is full of chicken, the one on top of that is full of pork, etc.  The baskets are key to making the small freezer work, since we have to stack everything vertically.

Dave1442397

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2017, 11:10:30 AM »
We had a chest freezer that came with the house, but it was very inefficient. My wife hatred it, because, at 5' tall she had a hard time getting to things towards the bottom of the freezer.

We replaced it with an upright freezer, which we find a lot more useful.

Another Reader

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2017, 11:19:36 AM »
Upright freezers are generally automatic defrost.  You do not want that for food that is to be stored for long periods.  The freezer goes off and a heating element comes on long enough to melt and condense the surface ice.  Food is compromised over time with this cycle of warm and freeze.  Better to buy an old-style chest freezer that is manual defrost.  Defrost it twice a year when your inventory is low.

Old freezers use more electricity but are better built and should last 20 years with some care.  I would rather have one that performs its' intended function than one that does not but is "energy efficient."

charis

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2017, 11:28:53 AM »
We got a 9 cubic feet chest freezer for less than $300 seven years ago for the exact reasons that you are considering it - new baby/milk storage.  It's great size for our now-family of four.  We mainly use it has back up for our regular freezer, it's perfect for buying in bulk and saving.  I wouldn't want a smaller or a larger size.  But we don't use it to store large quantities of meat like some of the posters here.

ooeei

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2017, 12:36:51 PM »
4 adult household sharing the main freezer, then 2 of us use our 5.something cu ft chest freezer.  I think it's around the right size for us.  Not big enough to buy sides of beef, but big enough to occasionally put some sale stuff in there.  We freeze lots of leftovers, and tend to buy big bags of stuff like veggies, wings, and hash browns and it really helps.  Got it for <$100 on craigslist probably 4 years ago, still going strong.

I suspect with anything much bigger we'd end up throwing out a lot of stuff, we already tend to forget about the occasional thing in the current size.

Proud Foot

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2017, 11:19:43 AM »
We have a 7 cubic foot chest freezer as well.  It comes in very handy when buying meat in bulk on sale.  I second the others who have said to use cardboard boxes or baskets of some sort to help stack and organize what you put in there.  Cuts down on the capacity slightly but very beneficial when you want to get to something that is at the bottom.

With This Herring

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2017, 11:34:32 AM »
I'm a fan of older second hand larger chest freezers. If you put out feelers you may be able to get one very cheap/free. The problems with the smaller ones is there is usually a built-in shelf to hide the motor, but it REALLY cuts down on usable space, it isn't so noticeable in the big ones if they have it.
*snip*

Seconding this!  We have a 19 cubic foot chest freezer that I purchased secondhand from CraigsList in 2012 for $275.  It was the best price I could find for the size, and it was because it has rusted scrapes in the paint on top and had a rusty inside bottom (which we scrubbed out and sprayed with a plastic-like "spray lacquer," great stuff!).  We're not using all the space in it.  It's maybe 1/2 full at the moment, mostly with cooked beans, homemade applesauce, and day-old bread.

I should get some boxes to organize it a bit.  That's a good idea.

Goldielocks

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2017, 11:50:18 AM »
I used to have a chest freezer and now have a small upright freezer. It is a little smaller tha. An apartment fridge, stands about 4 feet high. I prefer it to the chest freezer because it has a smaller footprint and I can queasily see and organize the continents. With the chest freezer i was always losing things at the bottom.

I am the reverse.  I was gifted a nice upright freezer, just over 4 ft, but it frost up faster, the door can be left ajar when items push against it, and it holds a lot less per volume of space.   I had to add trays anyway to help sort out the contents.  I can't freeze the large 5 gallon water jug that I use for camping, (because of the fixed shelves), etc.  ETA -- I forgot about the year the large TURKEY would not fit into the shelves on my upright, too.   That day was a major freezer fail for me.

How I wish I had my 24" wide freezer back -- that size is nice because it fit in the closet (not far from the kitchen), and held just as much...   The key to a small chest freezer is that you don't have over 1 year of supplies in there, so you tend to rotate food every 6 months.  Perfect for 2 people.    Less electricity, too.

If you plan to freeze pre-packaged items (heat and eat) or bread, then a slightly wider version, around 30" wide is recommended, but for just your meats, home packed veggies, casseroles, fruits, freezer jam, and the occassional ice cream birthday cake, the small chest freezers are awesome.  Key is location and accessibility to your kitchen.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2017, 12:16:55 PM by Goldielocks »

Dicey

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2017, 12:00:10 PM »
Oh, I have to avert my eyes. I have a regular fridge/freezer plus an upright freezer in my garage. Both were hand-me-downs of new enough to be energy efficient for what they are age. I would love to have a chest freezer. I know it's more energy efficient, but it wouldn't be free and the temptation to pile shit on top of it would be constant. Posting to say I'd get the biggest one that would fit.

kina

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2017, 12:13:42 PM »
We had a large chest freezer for 20+ years. In spite of our best efforts, things disappeared to the bottom only to be resurrected  years (many many years) later. Keeping an inventory didn't fly. We replaced it with an upright.

Never going back. Nope. Un-uh. nononononono

Your mileage may vary.  ;-)

gardeningandgreen

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Re: What size chest freezer?
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2017, 12:30:16 PM »
Shortly after we bought our house we bought a massive (20 cu feet) Upright freezer. We have an unfinished basement that has room so it hangs out down there. Our family of 2 probably moving to 3 or 4 in the next few years loves it! We buy a quarter of a cow every year or year and a half and it allowed us to smoke and freeze all the meat that we wanted for our wedding. I also have a pretty big garden that I freeze lots of vegies from. I think if we tried and didn't care about having fresh stuff in the winter we could go a couple months with out buying things. We would be missing nutrients and it wouldn't be very tasty after a while but it could work if all else failed.