Due to an abundant crop of various berries, and recent switch to raw cat food for our feline companion, I'm looking to pick up a chest freezer. Does anyone here have any tips on what to look for in one? Are there brands to avoid? Any specific recommendations? All I know right now is that I want one that is efficient (hence the chest freezer over the upright) and that it can probably be on the smaller side (5 to 7 cubic feet, or so)
The smaller ones are usually not too efficient..and they are damned difficult to dig through..unless you just to not have room..ge a larger model..read the spec sheets to see how much energy it is projected to use over time...
It is easy to make a freezer smaller...not so much in the other direction. one can freeze gallon jugs of water to increase thermal mass and make the freezer smaller, effectively...plus the jugs are great for hot summer days...toss a couple in to your livestock water, so thaey can have cool fresh water...pretty much anything on four legs appreciates that...
I know people who use those plastic crates (like dairies use to ship milk to market) as a way to separate peas from corn from venison, etc. It makes it so much easier to get to the bottom if you don't need to pull dozens of individual packets out. Each item is more or less in one place.
Get the biggest one you have room for. Once you have a freezer you will use it constantly and then find you don't have room, and the larger ones don't use much more electricity than the small ones. I have a 15 cu ft (4' long) and wish I had room for the 5' size. Mine came with dividers that you can use to section in 4 parts and then 2 baskets that slide back and forth. VERY useful. (Actually, mine was on backorder and I got a free upgrade with the organizer goodies. Mom uses large pieces of cardboard to section hers up; same principle.) So I have a section for beef & bison, poultry & fish, pork and bread and then other non-meat in containers, then I use the baskets for bags of vegetables, boxes of butter, etc. There's another shelf (over the compressor) that usually has the jugs of water I use to fill up any empty space.
Either Frigidaire or GE is good. GE doesn't make their own freezers; they outsource it. (Haier, I think). Frigidaire makes most of the house brands like Kenmore, so as long as you don't go for a bargain basement knockoff you are probably okay to shop on price.
In the olden days refrigerators were designed to last forever. Now a days they are designed to last one day longer than their two year warranty. Despite them being more energy efficient I would not get a chest freezer because they are so difficult. I would not get small because they can be filled with jugs of water to keep the contents cold during power outrages. Each freezer should have a huge yellow sticker on it telling how energy efficient it is. I would read consumer reports. I would go for the most energy efficient one. This is a freezer. It is a tool for use. It is not art. I would feel comfortable getting one for hundreds less that had a cosmetic scratch or dent. Freezing destroys B vitamins. Many people that eat only raw food would never ever eat frozen food.
Edit: If you are determined to get a chest freezer, get larger and fill the bottom with jugs of water to keep it cold during power outages. That solves part of the difficulty of a chest freezer if the bottom half never needs to be reached.
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