So you're looking for a garage ready upright freezer. Options are limited, and it can get confusing when you're trying to research your options online - a freezer may get tagged as a "garage ready" model by a website or search engine simply because people have left reviews stating that they have installed it in a garage. In mild climates where the temperature never drops below 40 °F or rises above 90 °F or so, it's possible to grab any old freezer and stick it in the garage (although this tends to void the manufacturer's warranty). However, if you're contending with freezing winters, it's not so easy.
We'll review which major appliance brands offer upright freezers that can be installed in your garage to help you choose the right model for your needs! One great resource on why you should choose a garage ready model and what options are available can be found here. They describe the problems garage installations face and what can happen if a non garage ready model is used.
For more information on choosing a new freezer, check out our freezer buying guide.
Table of Contents
- Brands That DON'T Make Upright Garage Freezers
- Brands That DO Make Garage Ready Upright Freezers
- Product Reviews:
- Other Things You Should Know
Brands That DON'T Make Upright Garage Freezers
We'd like to help you narrow your search by pointing out which brands make freezers but do not offer garage ready upright freezers as of this writing. These include:
Whirlpool - The owner's manuals for their upright freezers (both frost free and manual defrost) state that they perform best in temperatures above 40 degrees.
Maytag (owned by Whirlpool) - Their owner's manuals state that they perform best in temperatures above 40 degrees.
Amana (also owned by Whirlpool) - Same as above.
So, although you can install an upright freezer from one of these brands in a garage, and no one can stop you, they're not technically made for it. The product could fail prematurely, and it may impact warranty coverage.
What's left? Well...
Brands That DO Make Garage Ready Upright Freezers
The main stars here are GE Appliances, Danby, and Frigidaire.
Frigidaire is a mixed bag. In spring of 2020, their new upright freezer models did not mention ambient temperature ranges at all and make no reference to garage installations, and they were discontinuing a series of models that did explicitly mention they could handle temperatures from 0-110 degrees. However, as of this writing, there are now several models that are either mentioned as being explicitly garage ready, or the owner's manual states the freezer can operate in temperatures from 0-110 degrees. Including:
Frigidaire FFFU20F2VW - 20 cu ft - $899 (Explicitly noted as garage ready)
Frigidaire FFFU16F2VW - 16 cu ft - $769 (Manual states 0-110 degrees tolerance)
Frigidaire FFFU13F2VW - 13 cu ft - $669 (Manual states 0-110 degrees tolerance)
These are all automatic defrost models with wire shelves.
Danby is mainly known for their mini fridges, and they've come out with some new garage ready models in 2020 that also come with 5-year parts and labor warranties. This is super impressive when the industry standard is one year! For example:
Danby DUF140E1WDD - 14 cu ft - Convertible to freezer/refrigerator - $749
Danby DUFM085A4BSLDD - 8.5 cu ft - Freezer - $579
- Danby DUFM059C1WDD - 5.9 cu ft - Freezer - $449
These are automatic defrost models with "quick freeze" cold shelves.
Note that not all of Danby's freezers are garage ready. For example, the 16.7 cu ft Danby DUF167A3WDD is NOT garage ready.
GE Appliances claims it has "the highest rated upright freezer lineup in the industry" based on aggregated ratings and review data from their own website and "leading retail websites." All of their upright freezers are garage ready and can tolerate temperatures from 0-110 °F. For example:
GE FUF14DLRWW - 14.1 cu ft - $799
GE FUF17SMRWW - 17.3 cu ft - $879
GE FUF21SMRWW - 21.3 cu ft - $1,029
In each size, there are two different models at slightly different price points. The cheaper models have wire bins and shelving and fixed white plastic door shelves. For $20 more, the models come with glass shelves, clear freezer bins, and clear door bins. All of the models are frost free, so no manual defrost required.
Side note: There's also the Gladiator brand, owned by Whirlpool. They tend to be on the pricey side (around $1,199+) but comes with a rugged aesthetic and helpful features like a step-to-open door.
Which brand should you choose?
When it comes to capacity, Frigidaire and GE win with 20-21 cubic foot models.
Danby wins by a long shot when it comes to warranty since they offer a stunning five year warranty.
GE claims they are the highest rated in the industry, but all of these brands are well-established with broad service networks.
As for price, this varies somewhat, but Frigidaire tends to be somewhat cheaper than GE. I don't think it's fair to compare Danby's pricing due to the 5-year warranty baked in, but their 14.1 cubic foot model is definitely competitive with GE and Frigidaire options.
If you're still not sure which brand is right for you, check out our reviews below!
Review: The GE FUF14DLRWW Upright Freezer - 14.1 cu ft - $799 MSRP
The GE FUF14DLRWW comes with all of the features you need in a freezer, plus a little extra: this is the "upgrade" model with clear shelving and bins. There's also a lock and key included, which the other models on our list don't offer.
The LED interior lighting is bright and energy efficient. Inside, there are four glass shelves, two clear slide-out bins, and four clear plastic door bins. Having the two bins makes it easier to store small loose items, and clear storage all around ensures that you can find what you're looking for easily.
Exterior electronic temperature controls let you adjust the temperature without opening the door, or use the Turbo Freeze option for those times when you've loaded a bunch of fresh food into the freezer. There's also an audible temperature alarm if the interior gets too warm as well as a door open alarm.
This freezer has all of the "Oh! That's nice!" features you could want, and at a great price. Bonus: it's Energy Star rated, so it will cost you 10% less to run than similar non Energy Star models. The Energy Guide estimates that this model will use 397 kWh per year. By comparison, the 13 cubic foot Frigidaire FFFU13F2VW, which is not Energy Star rated, uses an estimated 424 kWh per year. If you're looking for a freezer with optimized storage flexibility, this model could be a great option. It comes with a one year parts and labor warranty.
Click here to read over 790 real customer reviews of this product!
Review: The Frigidaire FFFU16F2VW Upright Freezer - 16 cu ft - $769 MSRP
This frost free upright freezer from Frigidaire comes with a lot of great features. For peace of mind, there's a door ajar and high temp alarm, and you can easily check on your freezer via the floor-projected power-on indicator light. In the event of a power outage, Frigidaire claims that it can keep food frozen for two days, thanks to a tight door seal.
Inside you'll find three wire shelves, a wire bin, and five door storage bins. The wire shelves are adjustable, and the bin at the bottom is deep, making it perfect for storing small loose items like popsicles or wrapped meats. LED interior lighting is bright and energy efficient.
This model comes with a one year parts and labor warranty. The Energy Guide estimates that this model will use 461 kWh per year, although this is based on an indoor installation. The freezer will likely use more energy in a garage during the summer.
Click here to read over 1,460 real customer reviews of this product!
Review: The Danby DUF140E1WDD Convertible Freezer/Refrigerator - 14.1 cu ft - $749 MSRP
The family size 13.8 cubic foot Danby DUF140E1WDD is impressive in a lot of ways. First of all, it's price-competitive with Frigidaire and GE while also offering a staggering five year parts and labor warranty with in-home service! This model is also convertible to a freezer or an all-refrigerator. The external temperature controls are easy to access and include a quick freeze button, a button to lock the control panel, and a button to switch to freezer/refrigerator.
The LED-lit interior includes four wire shelves (two of which are adjustable) and a wire bin at the bottom. There are four door storage bins. It also comes with the expected peace-of-mind features: a high temperature alarm and an open door alarm. It's also Energy Star rated (we couldn't find the Energy Guide online as of this writing).
This model offers a combination of features that could be ideal if you value flexibility and have been debating about garage ready refrigerators (which typically aren't built to handle temperatures below freezing, so a convertible option like this is ideal for cold winters).
Other Things You Should Know
Should you bother getting an Energy Star rated freezer? We can thank the Energy Star program for incentivizing energy efficient appliances, but will you have to pay more for it up-front? Well, in some cases, the price difference is so minor that it's almost a non-issue. Let's compare 13-14 cubic foot models from the three brands above.
|Danby DUF140E1WDD||Frigidaire FFFU13F2VW||GE FUF14DLRWW|
|Energy Star Rated||Yes||No||Yes|
Although the price difference is obious, these comparisons aren't quite fair. The Danby model is convertible to a refrigerator and has a 5-year warranty, while the GE model has easy-access external temperature controls, a lock, and more flexible interior storage.
Energy Star rated freezers use at least 10% less energy than comparable non Energy Star models. For example, the non Energy Star FFFU13F2VW model uses 424 kWh/year (in an indoor setting). The Energy Star rated GE FUF14DLRWW model (about the same size) uses 397 kWh/year. At 12 cents per kWh, the difference is $3/year. The differences are more significant when you compare manual vs frost free defrost: a manual defrost chest freezer takes a lot less energy. For example, the 14.5 cubic foot Danby DCF145A3WDB garage ready chest freezer (not Energy Star rated) uses just 292 kWh/year, costing you $35.
So, an Energy Star rated freezer probably won't make a huge difference in your utility costs, but if you really want to conserve energy, then a manual defrost model is your best bet.
Plug the freezer directly into a grounded outlet unless you want to void the warranty. Using an extension cord tends to void the warranty in most cases. Another thing worth noting, in case the worse happens, is that warranties typically don't cover food spoilage. I thought this was worth mentioning since I've read product reviews where people are upset to discover this.
We hope this helps you choose a new freezer. Leave us a comment below - We'd love to hear from you!
Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in May of 2020 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy as of the publication date noted above.