Freezers buying guide

 

A freezer is an important appliance in your home, especially if your busy lifestyle means you need to cook and shop ahead and have plenty of food in hygienic storage. This guide gives you some general points to consider when choosing a new one, and we can even
dispose of your old one for you.

What type of freezer should you choose?

How much freezing capacity you will need? That will determine whether you buy a chest or upright freezer

Chest freezers

are usually installed in a utility room because of their size and their top opening lids. They work best for large households wanting to freeze food in bulk. Remember what you gain in size you may lose in convenience because of where you need to locate the freezer. Although they sometimes have wire baskets, they have no internal shelves, so organising food can be more awkward.

Upright freezers

are much narrower than chest freezers and so can normally live with the rest of your kitchen appliances. Most people opt for these, and the size you choose will obviously depend on the size of your household and whether you'll do a lot of fresh food freezing or just need it for day-to-day convenience. 

If you don't do a lot of freezing in bulk, you may want to consider a fridge freezer instead

An integrated freezer

has a front panel that matches the rest of your kitchen units, so when the door is closed, the freezer will be completely hidden for a seamless appearance.

AEG AG918504I Tall Integrated Freezer
 
Hotpoint RCNAA53P Chest Freezer
 
John Lewis JLBIUCF01 Integrated Freezer

Freezer features to look out for

Temperature

Most freezers have a built-in thermometer so you can keep an eye on the temperature, and top of the range models will have this on the outside rather than inside.

Shelves and fixtures

Upright freezers are fitted with a set of shelves incorporating the evaporator tubes which create freezing conditions. Food is stored either directly on a shelf with a flap at the front to help it stay put, or in wire or bin-type drawers mounted on the shelves.

The solid bin-type 'buckets' generally make a freezer a little more expensive, but they help retain cold air when the freezer door is open and so help reduce running costs because the compressor motor doesn't have to work so hard to keep a constant temperature.

Fast freeze

All freezers have a fast freeze option to use when freezing freshly prepared or recently purchased food. This can be used to prevent the temperature in the freezer rising when warmer items are introduced into it, and to preserve the quality of the food.

Some more advanced models will have automatic fast freeze which cuts in if the temperature in the freezer becomes too warm, and turns off again when food is safely frozen.

Frost free

Frost free freezers enable fast freezing in all compartments so no defrosting is necessary. As food freezes, no ice crystals are formed inside, which ensures better taste and nutritional content too.

Energy and the environment

All freezers receive an energy efficiency grading from A - G, with A being the most efficient. Standardised tests, monitored by Trading Standards, are carried out by manufacturers, who are responsible for grading their appliances.

We also quote annual running costs; this is calculated:

  • Number of kW used x average national cost of electricity + VAT= costs

but please bear in mind these costs may vary according to how much you pay for your local electricity supply.

You'll often find that the more expensive the appliance, the better the running costs because energy-saving features such as thicker insulation, automatic door closing or 'door open' audible alerts will be included.

Home energy consumption may also vary because of these factors:

  • how well stocked the appliance is (it works best when it's full)
  • the freezer's location (how hard does it have to work to maintain temperature)
  • how well ventilated it is (again, the location may influence how hard the motor has to work)
  • how airtight it is (keep door seals clean)

All refrigerated appliances we stock are free of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons, potentially damaging to the ozone layer), and many are also free of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons, which may have an effect on global warming).

Delivery, recycling and disposal

If you live within the delivery area of a John Lewis shop (you can check your postcode on the specific product page), your new appliance will usually be delivered by one of our green vans. You will also be able to arrange for collection and recycling of your old appliance (at a cost of £9) so that we can dispose of it safely.

Disposal must be booked and paid for when you place your order, and we can only remove the old appliance if it has been disconnected. Once your old appliance has been removed, it's deemed to have no value and we won't be unable to return it to you. 

Find out more about collection and disposal

Alternatively, you can take your old appliance to a local recycling centre to be recycled free of charge.

Visit www.recycle-more.co.uk to find your nearest site (opens in a new window).

If you live outside a delivery area, or if you opt for a model delivered by one of our approved suppliers, then your new appliance will be delivered by a third-party courier. As they're unable to collect, you'll need to take your old appliance to a local recycling centre, or arrange for it be collected by your local council where offered.

Installing your freezer

If you're putting your freezer underneath a worktop, you must normally allow a gap of 25mm at the top, back and sides of the appliance so that the warm air produced by the condenser can be properly ventilated. Lack of ventilation will cause the compressor to work harder, resulting in faster frost build-up and wasting energy. 

This doesn't apply to built-in appliances, which are made differently to accommodate this; that's why they tend to be more expensive.

Please measure the space available before ordering, and check that your appliance will fit through doors and other access points when we deliver.

 

When installing your new freezer, keep it upright at all times and allow at least 6 hours for the gases inside to settle before switching on. It's best left overnight to reach the correct temperature before being loaded with food.

Manufacturers don't recommend you keep a freezer in the garage or any other outbuilding, as it may have to use much more energy. Most models require a minimum ambient temperature of 10°C (50°F) to operate efficiently, so it's safer to locate in a utility room indoors.

If the outside temperature is any lower, the freezer will struggle to keep your food chilled – it may even start to defrost. If it does break down, the appliance may not be covered by the guarantee. 

Fridge freezers

A fridge freezer is the ideal solution if you're short of floor space but have height to spare, and need more freezing capacity than the ice box offered by some conventional fridges.

Decide on the fridge and freezer capacities you need as the combination of these varies - all types are available but not all will have independent controls. Those that do have controls ensure that you're not relying on the fridge thermostat to also control the compressor for both appliances. There are also some models with a 0ºC compartment in the fridge which is particularly useful for the safe storage of chilled ready meals.

Large American-style fridge freezers are becoming increasingly fashionable, because of both their huge capacities and dynamic styling. They're tall and normally configured side by side with doors opening in opposite directions from the centre. They're frost free and may have several cool zones at different temperatures.

The freezer section usually has ice and chilled water dispensers, but in that case the appliance must usually be plumbed in within one metre of a water supply. Do bear in mind that the size of the evaporator in these large appliances often creates a slightly higher level of background hum.

When installing your new fridge (or freezer), keep it upright at all times and allow at least 6 hours for the gases inside to settle before switching on. It's best left overnight to reach the correct temperature before being loaded with food.

Manufacturers don't recommend you keep a fridge (or freezer) in the garage or any other outbuilding, as it may have to use much more energy. Most models require a minimum ambient temperature of 10°C (50°F) to operate efficiently, so it's safer to locate in a utility room indoors.

If the outside temperature is any lower, the fridge will struggle to keep your food chilled or frozen. If it does break down, the appliance may not be covered by the guarantee. 

Neff K5930D0GB American Style Fridge Freezer