View Full Version : Freezers

August 17, 2009, 06:51 PM
I am so pumped up about the coming hunting seasons! Having just moved here has me with one big item to buy that doesn't get talked about too often in the grand scheme of things but is crucial: a deep freezer. If you shoot a couple of deer, you've gotta have a place to put them! Now the question is where has the best deal on them? Anyone bought one recently to know much about them? I'm thinking probably 7 cubic feet or bigger in case I get several deer and/or a bear. Of course there will be other stuff in there like fish and veggies, but ya just can't beat having top quality roasts and steaks at $1.50 a pound or less. Eating for cheap makes living good!

Your thoughts?

August 17, 2009, 06:57 PM
I know everyone thinks 'deep freezer' when considering large game(deer or hog) and also if you get a good deal on beef. But anyway, consider checking out a restaurant / grocery store appliance outlet near you.

Those great big uprights can sometimes be had used for surprisingly little. And much easier on the back loading and unloading. Course you'd need a basement or garage as these things are much bigger in a house than in a store.

August 17, 2009, 06:58 PM
For less than a large family that maintains a full freezer, I suggest 2 smaller ones. A full freezer is far more efficient than one a quarter full. Also, each time you open a small door less cold escapes. Uprights are super expensive and lose far more cold when opened. When low they can be consolidated and one shut off...
Another plus with 2 is one can be full of meat and the other can contain produce and ice cream. Meats on the outer layer of a frequently opened freezer cannot possibly as good as those in a freezer only opened every couple days... Final bonus is redundancy should one fail...
Happy hunting!

August 17, 2009, 07:15 PM
+1 Brent, I have two smallish (about 8 cubic feet) chest freezers for the same exact reasons that Hogdogs outlined. If you don't have critters as big as Moose and Salmon where you live you could prolly go with even smaller ones and be even more efficient.

August 17, 2009, 07:39 PM
Hmmmph,, mine's 21 cu ft...... I guess elk are bigger....LOL

Dr. Strangelove
August 17, 2009, 08:13 PM
Hogdogs is right about the chest freezers being super efficient and much less expensive. I received a FoodSaver a few years ago as a Christmas gift, most expensive gift I ever received, as I soon had to purchase a freezer to keep up with my ever-increasing freezing of leftovers, game, and bulk meat purchases. I couldn't be happier with either one in the long run. If you don't have a vacuum sealer and are buying a freezer, get one.

I researched all this in depth and ended up buying a Frigidaire commercial upright frost-free for about $295.00. I think it's the 14cf model, but I'm too lazy to go see at the moment. You will get more food into a chest freezer, and spend a heap less money, but from experience as a child, everything you want will be on the bottom. Always. No exception. I can vividly remember going into the basement after whatever my mother sent me after and having to do spelunking expeditions into the huge chest freezer, sometimes having to almost climb into that thing to get something off the bottom. Unloading 20 or 30 frozen packs of meat to get to what I want (I'm not a good organizer:)) isn't my idea of fun. Then you have to defrost that beast once or twice a year depending on how much you open it. Where does all that meat go while you are defrosting?

Chest freezers are a better deal, but for convenience, go for the upright. When I bought mine about four years ago, no chest freezers offered "frost-free" and few uprights did. I got a deal on a floor model at Lowe's that had a crease from a forklift blade and got about $100.00 bucks off. I had to ask for the discount, but I got it.

Do think about a FoodSaver, I've eaten meat frozen three years before with no freezer burn or any taste or visual indication it wasn't frozen last week.

August 17, 2009, 08:35 PM

Get a power sensor alarm installed, (about $20) if the electric goes out this will let you know before all the contents spoil. Believe me, nothing worse than rotten meat in your freezer because the power went off. I've had it happen twice.

August 17, 2009, 08:55 PM
If you're a member of Costco or Sam's club, try their on-line stores - good prices and delivery is usually included. Otherwise, find someplace like Appliance Direct that sells overruns, last year's model, scratch and dent, etc.....

I had a chest type- for 20 years (Sears Kenmore). My dog actually broke it, (long story involving thunder). Long story short, getting stuff out of it from the bottom was a major PITA, I had to chop off the frost buildup, and it took up a bigger footprint in my garage.

August 17, 2009, 09:15 PM
i know that I need to buy another myself... too many catfish and turtle this year... no room for deer n squirrel

August 17, 2009, 09:55 PM
IMHO Try and get the non-frost-free variety of freezer (old-fashioned kind). Frost-free freezers cycle on and off to reduce ice/frost - more likely to get freezer burn with these types of freezers - esp bad with delicately flavored game/fish. Food-saver vacuum systems also work good. More people have bad experiences with funky tasting venison because of poor storage techniques and/or over-cooking!!:D

August 17, 2009, 10:34 PM
Another redneck tip from ye' ol' hogdogs... A baggie with a half dozen full size ice cubes placed here and there in the freezer is a sure fire way to tell if the internal temp ever exceeded 32* for long enough to thaw the cubes... if you are away on vaction and return to a baggie with an ice block, consider the contents to be dog food at best, hog/bear bait at worst.

August 18, 2009, 08:47 AM
The problem with chest freezers is that the item you want to eat is always going to be at the bottom of the pile.

If you want a good deal on a freezer and you are willing to buy a used one, check Craigslist. There isn't a week that goes by that I don't see at least 2 or 3 good deals on freezers. With all the house foreclosures, that is now especially true. I see them for less than $200 all the time.

August 18, 2009, 09:16 AM
Sectors and vectors....:D
separate by types makes it easier and using the baskets to organize 10-15 days of meals is easy. Sausage types, then ground type, steaks then roasts. When you make your menu go out and pre-load all the cuts into the top baskets.

If you are not a menu pre-planner... every couple weeks just go put an assortment into the baskets and when you want to cook just open lid and you have a variety on top. We didn't even have baskets in our ol' "round top" freezer and momma could send my little short legged butt out and grab her food order real quick.

Another energy saver idea if fashion isn't a concern...
Buy the water heater blanket material (white vinyl on yellow fiberglass) and make a lid piece as well as around the 3 outer sides... the aluminum ducting tape is best for this.

August 18, 2009, 09:16 AM
I wouldn't have an upright. There's too much unusable space and you can never truly fill them to capacity. Chests are the way to go.

The problem with chest freezers is that the item you want to eat is always going to be at the bottom of the pile.

Not a problem if you're not too broken down and lazy to bend over and dig a little bit. I work my ass off to put the moose, halibut, salmon and furs I haven't detailed yet in it. Digging out dinner isn't a problem.

August 18, 2009, 09:47 AM
Hmmmph,, mine's 21 cu ft...... I guess elk are bigger....LOL

Yeah, 16 cubic feet (total) is a little on the small side for salmon and moose, but my garage is a little on the small side. It works out though, I'll just give the extra to my moose hunting friend that didn't score, then when I don't get one and he does I can expect him to return the favor. My solution to the thing you want is at the bottom problem is to just put layers of variety in the freezer, a little bit of everything in every layer. Oh, and I have a vacuum packer, love it. If you very lightly freeze everything (just enough to freeze the outside a little) before sealing you'll eliminate the #1 problem I have, water bieng sucked to the heat thingamajig and ruining the seal integrity.

August 18, 2009, 10:09 AM
I have a big upright freezer and it works well for me - despite the down sides listed above. I keep it organized with cardboard boxes on the shelves, so all the space is usable. I am going to add a chest freezer as well, but we are house hunting and there is no reason to buy one right now just to have something else to move!

Hardest part of any freezer set up for me is "rotating stock". It is easy for that last loaf of bread to get left there and the new stock just gets thrown on top of it...

Big +1 to Craigslist and buying used. The life cycle of a freezer is what, 30 years?

August 18, 2009, 10:15 AM
The life cycle of a freezer is what, 30 years?
Do not rely on more than 10 years! They have really mastered "engineered obsolescence". Washers with plastic gears and dryers with sensitive control panels and sensors, refrigerators are also not known to last long. The electronic "timer" on a washer or dryer is going to cost near or above $300 if it is even available.

August 18, 2009, 10:20 AM
Brent, I guess that could be one upside of buying used - buy one built before everything turned to "disposable". My mom's deep freeze has been chuggin steadly along for 40 years. Even my upright, despite being drug around the country in the Army, is 19 years old and never had a problem.

But, as always, YMMV.

August 19, 2009, 12:11 PM
I would definitely recommend an upright freezer over a chest freezer.I would also suggest a good vacuum packer to preserve the freshness of your meats.

wild willy
August 19, 2009, 12:31 PM
I had a small 10 or 12 cubic foot chest freezer thought i wanted a upright got a 21 cubic foot one. I could get more in the small chest than the big upright If you dont box the stuff everthing wants to fall out when you open the door

August 19, 2009, 01:18 PM
To solve the issues with the upright, order a few extra shelves - tha way, you're not piling things up to have them fall out

August 19, 2009, 03:44 PM
Sears here has the medium size chest freezer for $208. However they will charge $35 to deliver it across town, which for me, is 3 miles. Don't know if this is true in bigger cities. I have to get a second freezer this year, soon, as my garden runnith over with bumper crops.

August 27, 2009, 08:42 PM
I use 4 small chest freezers. 1 for Salmon/Halibut/lingcod, one for venison, one for crab, and one for berries/vegetables. As one will get empty, I condense into another and unplug the empty. It is easy to organize when the whole freezer is filled with the same thing. When I want crab, I go to the crab freezer. When I want steak, venison freezer. These are 5.5 cubic feet freezers and hold about 160lbs in each.

Jack O'Conner
August 27, 2009, 08:53 PM
Whirlpool is the brand to buy. They're still built right.

Upright model takes less floor space and shelves are easier to access. But every time you open the door, all the cold air "falls out".

Chest models probably hold more and they don't lose cold air opening the hatch door. But you might have to dig sometimes to find that one special package.

We bought our freezer slightly dented at a reduced price even though it was new. The dent has never bothered us at all.


August 27, 2009, 10:17 PM
Still no moose in mine yet:( but I got my years worth of Halibut the other day:).

August 28, 2009, 11:36 PM
I bought a big commercial upright with glass doors from an auction for a grocery store that went out of business. Holds a ton of stuff - no idea of cubic feet, but it's a lot. Total cost $400. It's a 220v unit though and had to get an electrician out to install an outlet for it in the garage. (add another $100 for that).

I like that it's frost free and easy to find stuff. The 220v compressor brings the temp down fast after a door has been opened. (It's designed to be opened as often as possible after all in the store.) Added a digital thermometer with memory for high/low temp. In addition to the game and fish I add to it, it gets half a side of beef twice a year.

Used commercial stuff is the way to go if you can find it cheap. Way better engineered than anything now made for consumer purchase.

Old Grump
August 29, 2009, 12:51 AM
Old and bad back so chest freezer has become a pain in the.......well it is a pain. One way to reduce risk is to learn to can. Canned game lasts as long and tastes as good and fits in your roasting pan or crockpot right away without having to wait for defrost. I keep my ground meat, brats and sausages in the freezer.

If I have a big power outage which I have had 3 times I only lose whats in the freezer and the canned stuff stays in the pantry still usable. just 2 little copper centavos from an old dinosaur who learned the hard way.

One last word of advice, when you get a refrigerator get one with the freezer on the bottom, pain in the tookus but a lot more energy efficient and less cold loss. Do without the automatic icemaker and ice water dispenser. They take power and are high maintenance. Make ice in trays and keep a pitcher of water in the fridge if you don't like it from the tap.