Freezers review

Edit: New readers to the topic can join at September 2023 by clicking here.

Upright, vertical or chest? We lab test the latest equipment to help you find the best freezers (member content) for your money. Plus, discover everything you need to know in our freezer buying guide.

Have a question about freezers? Ask us in the comments below.


Well I’m looking at buying a freezer but there are none recommended. What do I do now?


Choice still reviews freezers, even though none are recommended. Determine what you need (size, capacity, type (upright or chest etc) and then look at what Choice says in their reviews. If you click on the Manufacturer/model it gives more detailed information including what Choice thought were the freezers good and bad points.

Use this as well as looking in store to determine which freezer best meets for needs within your price bracket for the purchase.


Well said @phb. And just because none of the freezers we’ve reviewed scored highly enough to be recommended, doesn’t mean we didn’t score them at all - you can still compare the performance of the freezers in our reviews - we show which ones are good and which ones are bad, even if none of them were truly excellent.


What would they have to do to be recommended?


For us to recommend a freezer it must score 75% or higher overall, and at least 70% across all scores in our testing. It’s a challenging ask for freezers as they typically have about the same amounts of insulation as a fridge, but are expected to maintain much lower temperatures throughout the entire cabinet. Further, they’re a relatively niche product compared to a refrigerator, so they don’t get the same attention and investment when it comes to research and development.


Thanks for that explanation. It leads me to wonder why it is that manufacturers do not see the benefit in making better performing freezers. In my naivety I imagine there would be a market for more efficient freezers in this day of expensive power and star ratings and I cannot see that making the walls thicker would be a huge cost. It isn’t as if the insulation is terrifically expensive or that much more steel would be required. My impression is that with the advent of better synthetic insulation the thickness of walls may have decreased in the last few decades. The net capacity would be slightly reduced due to thicker walls but I for one would accept that and pay a bit more up front for a net saving of electricity over the life of the machine.

Am I making false assumptions here about the costs?


I too would rather sacrifice a little space for a more energy efficient freezer. I suspect as far as manufacturers are concerned, improving the performance of their freezers is important, but a much lower priority than improving performance in their much higher market share and more conspicuous in the home refrigerators.
We have seen some advancements in refrigerator insulation technology recently, which allows maintains performance for a thinner wall section though, so hopefully we’ll see technologies like this make their way into future freezer models.


Was having a look back at this review (currently last updated 12 July 2019) with a particular interest in how the freezers held up during a power outage.

Super pleased to see their performance in a power cut was indeed measured, but found the results a bit perplexing - the picture was one of the upright freezers performing a lot better than the chest freezers in this regard. Conventional wisdom has it that chest freezers, in principle, are the most efficient and would keep cool longer. Presumably, the test was done without the door being opened (in a way that would simulate someone accessing the freezer during the power cut), but even still, I’m surprised to see the upright freezers coming out on top in this test.

Any insights into what might explain the results?

I do have one complaint, which is that the percentage figures give little idea about what to actually expect from a freezer in a power cut - it’s an area where guidance is very lacking and we could really use some hard data. The “how we test freezers” article explained the warm-up test as follows:

This is a test of the freezer’s insulation, giving an indication of how it would perform in a power failure. They’re switched off in an ambient temperature of 32°C; the test starts when the freezer temperature is -15°C and ends at -5°C – the longer it takes, the better the insulation. It’s a comparative test and the actual times will be longer with food in the freezer.

I understand there may be caution about giving potentially misleading figures due to real world variables, so you’ve settled on a relative measure, but it leaves the reader with something that’s highly ambiguous when the scoring isn’t explained in more specific terms. For example, if one scored 40% and another 80%, did the latter take twice as long to reach -5°C? All we’re told is higher scores mean “better” and lower scores mean “worse”.


Hi @syrup, you’re asking some great questions.

You would think so, but we’ve found the pace of technological change is much higher for upright freezers than chest freezers (the latter still don’t have automatic defrost), so the uprights perform better because they’re more advanced - both in terms of design, but also insulation material.

Correct, and opening the door would skew performance in favor of the chest freezers, as the cold air stays put instead of falling out.

Also correct - we don’t quote actual times because that’s going to change on the basis of many variables - how full the freezer is and what it’s full of (thermal mass of contents), ambient temperature, is it in direct sunlight, and are you opening and closing it. So we give a percentage score not an absolute because your mileage may vary.
We can’t share the formula for the calculations as it’s proprietary, but I can give you a couple of examples - a score of 75% equates to just over 110 minutes to go from -15 to -5 in a 32 degree room. 50% equates to 50 minutes on the nose, and a shockingly quick 10 minutes would get you a score of 34%.
It’s also worth remembering that the contents of your freezer won’t thaw uniformly - some of the contents will thaw before others. Another thing to bear in mind is that if there’s been an extended power outage that you don’t know about - say, a two day blackout in the middle of a two week holiday - the contents of your freezer could have been dangerously warm for a while, but you wouldn’t know because it’s subsequently re-frozen (it’s easier to tell with your refrigerator because things will smell and the milk will be off). One trick we’ve heard of to give you peace of mind is to freeze a cup of water and put it in the freezer with a coin on top - if you come home and the coin’s on the bottom you know it’s completely thawed and refrozen while you’ve been gone.
One last tip - if your power has gone out and all the food in your freezer has spoiled, it may actually be covered by your house and contents insurance. Every policy’s different of course, so check your PDS, but it could save you hundreds of dollars.


I recently bought an [untested] Hisense HRVF170 upright. Maybe Choice will include this in the next freezer update so I’ll not steal too much of what may get published.

All purchases in Melbourne during hard lockdown have been online only so no chance to see or touch. It fit the space, was in stock, and reviews on the net were favourable. A modest size but good for we two to augment the fridge’s freezer compartment.

The cabinet has 1 shelf with a door and 4 bins. Cold air distribution includes a column on the rear that appears to dump cold air into the shelf and into each bin. It is almost like having 4 mini-chest freezers.

The temp control is digital and the fridge thermometer has read within a degree everywhere we checked it (thermometer is analogue). I’ll not go into the pluses and minuses excepting we are extremely pleased with it 7 weeks on.


I was looking at this model recently. Did you compare this to the Haier equivalent? And if so, what made you decide on this model instead? Thank you in advance.


Welcome to the community @quantum.

I presume your question was directed to my self re the Hisense HRVF170?

Hisense looked better on paper. The Haier HFZ-175 has 2 year warranty, Hisense 3. Haier appears to have an ‘old school’ temp control, Hisense digital. A deal breaker for the Haier was manual defrost, the Hisense is auto, Summary, the Hisense looked like a superior product to me, well worth the extra dollars. In stock availability and delivery sealed it.

Note: The user manual on the Hisense web site is for an older product, not for the HRVF170 and some features are different. I don’t know if the Haier web site has an accurate user manual linked for their product. Brochures and spec sheets seem accurate for both.


Thanks heaps @PhilT.
I’m new here so hadn’t realised that quoting a previous reply would not have ‘tagged’ you.

Thanks as well for the explanation. I’m check those details out. The auto defrost is one of functionality that was of interest. Will take a look further.


One reply button is to a post, the other to a topic. If you highlight some text (on a browser at least) it will show a ‘quote’ option you can click, and it will insert as I have done with your text here. You can also start a reply that way.

Replying to a post does ‘tag’ the poster, but so many users hit one or the other seemingly at random I always reconfirm. Scrolling back it appears mine was the first reference to a particular product, so obvious in retrospect. Glad my info might help.



I see that Choice did an updated review on upright and chest freezers in April 2023 and the only topic I can find on here relates to a 2018 review.

I am interested in buying an upright freezer but the ones I am looking at are not included in the review, CHiQ and Hisense Hybrid freezers. The smaller CHiQ one (311L) has a 4.5 star rating which is higher than anything in Choice’s review.

Does anyone have any experience with any of these?

A quirk of how Choice and the forum software work is that an original post link, such as the one @BrendanMays used at the start this topic, shows a preview and the then current date, but as Choice updates the review that link always points to the most current but the preview does not update. That applies to all Choice reviews so when one sees what appears to be an old one, it probably links to the most current one anyway. Both that link and the ones below link to the same review. I can however confirm neither of those freezers is included in the 2023 update.

We have a 3 year old Hisense upright – discontinued model – and we have been very happy with it. if that provides any feel for the brand.

Hopefully a member or two may have experience with the two you mentioned.