The Best Chest Freezer for the Garage

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Garage-ready chest freezers are not only spacious and useful if you want to stock up on food while it’s on sale or in season, but also designed specifically to perform in extreme temperatures. A garage or outbuilding is often underutilized due to the lack of insulation or proper flooring, making it the perfect location for a chest freezer. You wouldn’t want to place a noisy, bulky chest freezer in your kitchen or near any bedrooms, so keeping it inside a garage or an outbuilding seems like the ideal location for multiple reasons.

If you’re shopping for the best chest freezer for your garage (or an outbuilding), this buying guide is for you. We’ve curated a list of the best models you can get, and you’ll find general buying advice as well as other important things to consider when purchasing a chest freezer.

Our top 6 picks

Below are the in-depth reviews of each chest freezer. We’ve also listed the most important features of each product, so you’ll get an easy overview of the performance, features, design, and useful data.

Best overall: GE FCM16SLWW

GE FCM16SLWW chest freezer
Editor’s choice

GE FCM16SLWW

  • Rich on features: Lights, lock, temperature alert, and more
  • Generous in size: 15.7 cu. ft. (also available in smaller sizes)
  • Works in any temperature between 0°F to 110°F

This chest freezer is very popular, and for a good reason. Being garage-ready and able to withstand temperatures between 0°F to 110°F, we believe this is the best choice for any garage. With a total capacity of 15.7 cubic feet, you’ll have plenty of space for even large food items.

Besides the big 15.7 cubic foot model, there’s also a couple of small options available with either a 5- or 7 cubic foot compartment. In other words, even if you’re in the market for a small chest freezer, this is a great choice.

Although it’s reasonably priced, you get plenty of features: The two biggest models have locks on their lids for added security, and the biggest model features a temperature alert too.

Features

  • Capacity: 15.7 cu. ft.
  • External dimensions: W65 x H33.375 x D28.5 inches
  • Ambient temperatures:  0°F to 110°F (according to instructions)
  • Energy Star: No
  • Defrost type: Manual
  • Built-in light: Yes
  • Temperature control: Yes
  • Built-in water drain: Yes
  • Weight: 190 lbs
  • Power source: 120 V

Best on a budget: Danby DCF072A3WDB-6

Danby DCF072A3WDB-6 Garage-Ready Chest Freezer
Best value

Danby DCF072A3WDB-6

  • 7.2 cubic feet capacity is enough for most people
  • Garage Ready: Performs well in temperatures from 0°F to 110°F
  • Most buyers agree that it’s very quiet

If you’re looking for a mid-sized, affordable chest freezer for your garage, the Danby DCF072A3WDB-6 is our number one budget pick. According to Danby, this chest freezer can perform in temperatures from 0 degrees Fahrenheit and all the way up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Danby DCF072A3WDB-6 has a spacious 7.2 cubic-foot freezer compartment with a single storage basket on top for small items. It doesn’t really have a lot of features, but a few things worth mentioning is the front drain which allows for easy drainage during the defrosting process, as well as a smooth back design so dust and debris won’t accumulate around any components at the back of the freezer.

Features

  • Capacity: 7.2 cu. ft.
  • External dimensions: W39.9 x H33.4 x D22.2 inches
  • Ambient temperatures:  0°F to 110°F (according to instructions)
  • Energy Star: No
  • Defrost type: Manual
  • Built-in light: No
  • Temperature control: Yes
  • Built-in water drain: Yes
  • Weight: 91.3 lbs
  • Power source: 120 V

Best Energy Star certified: GE FCM22DLWW

GE FCM16SLWW chest freezer

GE FCM22DLWW

  • Energy Star certified: 346 kWh/year (estimated)
  • Convenient sliding baskets in multiple levels
  • Built-in door alarm if lid isn’t properly closed

This chest freezer is the best choice for those in need of an eco friendly product with a lavish compartment, that is big enough to hold food for months.

With a freezer capacity of 21.6 cubic feet in your garage, you can keep very large food items with no issue, and still have plenty of space available for other things.

This GE chest freezer is of course garage ready and able to work properly in temperatures between 32°F and 110°F, while keeping the use of electricity to a minimum (hence the Energy Star certificate).

You’ll get sliding storage baskets in two levels with this chest freezer, that allow you to better organize smaller food items next to bigger ones.

There’s also a useful temperature alert and door alert, so you’ll clearly hear and see if something is wrong.

Features

  • Capacity: 21.6 cu. ft.
  • External dimensions: W74 x H33.375 x D33 inches
  • Ambient temperatures: 32°F to 110°F (according to instructions)
  • Energy Star: Yes
  • Defrost type: Manual
  • Built-in light: Yes
  • Temperature control: Yes
  • Built-in water drain: Yes
  • Weight: 190 lbs
  • Power source: 120 V

Best on wheels: Frigidaire FFFC15M4TW

Frigidaire FFFC15M4TW chest freezer
Best value

Frigidaire FFFC15M4TW

  • Useful features: Built-in light, power-on indicator on lid
  • Caster wheels included for easy moving
  • Spacious: 14.8 cubic foot capacity

This affordable chest freezer is a great pick for any garage, as it’s both spacious and practical. If necessary, simply put on the caster wheels included with the freezer, and you’ll be able to move it around easily without breaking a sweat.

The Frigidaire chest freezer comes with a generously sized compartment for large food items, and there’s a bright light built into the lid as well. We were also happy to find two sliding baskets inside the freezer, that enabled us to store and organize smaller items without the risk of having them crushed under larger items.

You can place this chest freezer in any garage with temperatures are between 32°F and 110°F, and whenever you’re not nearby you can easily lock it off for added security.

The Frigidaire chest freezer is available in three sizes: 14.8 cubic feet, 19.8 cubic feet, and 24.8 cubit feet.

Features

  • Capacity: 14.8 cu. ft.
  • External dimensions: W55.75 x H32.5 x D29.56 inches
  • Ambient temperatures: 32° to 110°F (according to instructions)
  • Energy Star: No
  • Defrost type: Manual
  • Built-in light: Yes
  • Temperature control: Yes
  • Built-in water drain: Yes
  • Weight: 137 lbs
  • Power source: 120 V

Best portable: Whynter FM-85G

Whynter FM-85G outdoor chest freezer

Whynter FM-85G

  • Portable outdoor chest freezer
  • Lid is locked in place when not used
  • Works as a refrigerator or freezer
  • Plugs into 110 V outlets or 12 V power sources

The Whynter FM-85G is not only a perfect chest freezer for the garage, but also for the boat, RV, or on a truck’s flatbed. Lift it on and off easily with the durable handles, and lock the lid in place with the metal latches for a secure ride.

While most chest freezers need a level surface to function properly, this model functions when tilted up to 30 degrees. This enables you to park your car anywhere and turn on a generator, while leaving your freezer on any uneven surfaces available.

There’s a practical LED display and buttons on the side to better control the exact temperature, and although it’s a compact and portable freezer, you still have the option to crank it all the way down to -8°F or all the way up to 50°F to make it function as a refrigerator if needed.

If you’re looking for the best chest freezer for your next camping trip, see our buying guide on the best 12 volt chest refrigerators.

Features

  • Capacity: 2.83 cu. ft.
  • External dimensions: W28 x H23.5 x D18 inches
  • Energy Star: No
  • Defrost type: Manual
  • Built-in light: No
  • Temperature control: Yes
  • Built-in water drain: Yes
  • Weight: 71 lbs
  • Power source: 120 V / 12 V

Best compact: Midea MRC04M3AWW

Midea MRC04M3AWW compact white chest freezer

Midea MRC04M3AWW

  • Compact size: 3.5, 5.0, or 7.0 cu.ft. capacity
  • Affordable chest freezer
  • Easy and simple to use

The Midea MRC04M3AWW is a surprisingly simple little chest freezer for the garage, but nonetheless very popular among thousands of buyers. Most of the critical reviews seem to address the frosting issue. If you’re in a very hot and humid area, you may have to battle regular frost build-ups on the outside of this freezer. Otherwise, it’s a great compact chest freezer.

You can get this freezer at a very low price, and the compact size makes it an attractive option for those with just a small space available. It could easily fit in a closet as well as a garage, or anywhere else for that matter.

We also like that the hinges lock the door in a 45-75-degree angle, making it easy to reach down and grab the food you’re looking without having to hold the door open at the same time.

Features

  • Capacity: 3.5, 5.0, or 7.0 cu. ft.
  • External dimensions: (3.5 cu.ft. unit) W22.2 x H33.5 x D20.6 inches
  • Energy Star: No
  • Defrost type: Manual
  • Built-in light: No
  • Temperature control: Yes (Min-Max knob)
  • Built-in water drain: Yes
  • Weight: (3.5 cu.ft. unit) 54.7 lbs
  • Power source: 120 V

Most important features to look for in a chest freezer for the garage

When you’re shopping for a new chest freezer and want to place it in your garage, there are a few things you want to consider before purchasing a new freezer.

Capacity

Chest freezers for the garage vary in size from only a few cupic feet of capacity and up to 30 cubic feet or more.

It isn’t always recommended to pick the biggest chest freezer you can afford, as you have to factor in the running costs too. A higher capacity will inevitably result in a higher energy consumption, which could end up costing you hundreds of dollars extra every year.

A general rule of thumb is to have at least 1.5 cubic feet of freezer space per person in your household. The minimum capacity requirements would be as follows:

  • 1 person: 1.5 cu.ft.
  • 2 persons: 3 cu.ft.
  • 3 persons: 4.5 cu.ft.
  • 4 persons: 6 cu.ft.
  • 5 persons: 7.5 cu.ft
  • 6 persons: 9 cu.ft.
  • Etc.

Have in mind that these are minimum requirements, and if you want to make sure that you can always stock up on extra frozen foods, we recommend at least doubling the numbers above and get 3 cubic feet of freezer space per person.

Performance

It matters whether you live in Florida or Washington, as your chest freezer performs differently depending on the ambient temperature and humidity.

All freezers perform best in a location where the ambient conditions are somewhat stable, but some chest freezers are built for more extreme conditions too.

The more extreme conditions you want your new chest freezer to put up with, for instance an uninsulated garage up north or an outbuilding down south, the more important is it to check with the specifications that it can actually handle those conditions.

Wheels vs. no wheels

Most chest freezers have a pair of small wheels, usually located at the two back feet, but some chest freezers have four large wheels.

The advantage of wheels is the obvious fact that your freezer is easily moved, which gives you the ability to always access the backside of your chest freezer whenever needed. For example, if you drop something behind the freezer or want to remove dust and debris, you don’t have to ask your family and friends for help moving the freezer. All you have to do is unlock the wheels, and you can easily move it around.

Location

We know this buying guide is focused on chest freezers for the garage, but location is still important. Whether you place it at the front or back of the garage matters, especially if it’s an uninsulated garage.

You want to place the chest freezer in the area of your garage where the temperature is as stable as possible, in order to prevent any performance issues. Fluctuations in the ambient temperature could trigger the compressor and cause your freezer to run for excessive periods of time while consuming large amounts of electricity.

Manual vs. automatic defrost system

Most chest freezers have a manual defrost system, which is okay for most people. All it requires is that you empty the freezer from time to time and switch it off, while keeping the door open. Open the drainage lid if you want the water to drain that way, or scoop it up with a bowl. Wipe off the interior of your freezer, and you’re done. The biggest advantage of this is that you’ll have to do it regularly, since frost build-ups will cause your freezer to use more electricity to keep the temperatures within the desired range.

With an automatic defrost system, you don’t have to do any of the above. Your freezer will automatically prevent frost build-ups by activating a regular defrosting program, and as a result you should never see any build-ups of frost inside your freezer. This is a convenient feature, but also relatively expensive.

Lights, locks, and other features

If your garage is poorly lit, we recommend a chest freezer with a built-in light. Usually the light is just a simple LED light built into the inside of the door, but it can actually be very useful. Most chest freezers have this feature, except the most affordable models on the market.

Another feature worth considering is a lock, which is useful if your freezer is located in an outbuilding with no lock on the door. A locked freezer door prevents curious neighbors and others to steal a peek inside, and you can have your foods to yourself without having to worry about other people accessing the freezer.

What is a “Garage Ready” freezer?

Garage-ready freezers is a term used by manufacturers to describe whether their products are suitable for the garage or not. They may also go by other names, such as “garage-optimized”, but generally it means that they can perform under the conditions of a garage which could be uninsulated and cold/hot.

A freezer labeled as garage-ready means that it can maintain the internal temperature although the ambient temperature could be anywhere between 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and high humidity wouldn’t be an issue either.

Although freezer manufacturers claim that their chest freezers are garage-ready, we strongly recommend that you do your research and confirm whether the unit you’re about to purchase is built for heat, cold, or both, so you will get a model suited for your specific climate conditions.

6 thoughts on “The Best Chest Freezer for the Garage”

  1. GREAT ARTICLE:
    Looking for a 3.5 Cubic Foot chest freezer for a detached west central Wisconsin garage. Needs to be able to perform down to -15. Know a cost effective one that would fill the bill? Thanks in advance !!!

    • Hi Fred,
      Thank you very much for your kind words!
      It sure gets cold up there in West Central Wisconsin. Most chest freezers are able to perform down to 0 degrees, but with temperatures down to -15 degrees there aren’t many models to choose from.
      Please rest assured that we are currently looking into the options, and will get back to you as soon as we find a proper, suitable chest freezer for your requirements.
      Until then, I wish you all the best and hope you’re staying safe up there.
      Best regards,
      Thomas / ConsumerJar

  2. Any recommendations for a garage freezer that can withstand the wide temperature variation from 0F to 120F in Central Texas?

    Thanks
    Kannan

    • Hi Kannan,

      That’s a great question. When a freezer has the “Garage Ready” mark it usually means that it can withstand temperatures between 0F to 110F. If you’ve measured temperatures above 120F inside your garage, you’d probably be better off placing your freezer in a location where it keeps below 110F (and preferably as stable and close to room temperature as possible).
      While Garage Ready freezer do withstand hot and cold temperatures, they’ll have to work much harder and unfortunately it’s going to cost you.
      However, I just did a search for a freezer that could withstand temperatures up to 120F, but with no luck. I’ll keep looking and update this comment thread if I find one that could work.

      Have a great weekend!

      Best regards
      Thomas / ConsumerJar

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