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. View our range of freezers.

Watch our videos on John Lewis and Hotpoint refrigeration.

What type?

The first point to consider is the amount of freezing capacity you will need and therefore whether to buy an upright or chest freezer.

Chest freezers

are usually installed in a garage or utility room because of their size and their top opening lids. They work best for large households wanting to freeze food in bulk. Remember, however, that often where you site them may not be convenient; and although they sometimes have wire baskets, they have no internal shelves, so it can be awkward to sort out your food.

Upright freezers

are much narrower than chest freezers and can normally live with the rest of your kitchen appliances. As a result, most people opt for these. 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.

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

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

Freezer features

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 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 ranging 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 by multiplying the number of kW used by the average national cost of electricity + VAT, 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.

Please remember that in your home energy consumption may vary from the figure quoted, owing to factors such as how well stocked the appliance is, its location and how well ventilated it is. Make sure your freezer stays airtight by keeping door seals clean.

All refrigeration appliances stocked by John Lewis 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 be delivered by one of our 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 is deemed of no value and we will be unable to return it to you.

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, then your new appliance will be delivered by one of our couriers who are unable to collect, so you will need to take your old appliance to a local recycling centre.

Installation

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. (This does not apply to built-in appliances.) Please ensure you measure the space available and access areas before ordering.

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 is best left overnight to reach the correct temperature before being loaded with food.

Note: manufacturers do not 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. 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 are 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 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.

Neff K5930D0GB American Style Fridge Freezer