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5 Best Prepper Freezers [Long-term Survival Food Storage]

In this article, we´re going to dig deep into the advantages of having a prepper freezer. We will also give you our recommendations for the best ones to store your food for long term survival.

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This past year has been a crazy one for humanity. Between a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, social unrest, and crazy weather, our preps have been put to the test. Never before have we had to think so seriously about bugging in and riding out the waves of upheaval from the safety of our own homes.

We have seen how compulsive shopping and the mob mentality have made simple products like toilet paper, alcohol, or hand sanitizer nearly impossible to purchase. We've seen the reality of bare grocery store shelves.

Having a stockpile of food has never been more necessary. As you think about your options for storing food, you may have wondered, is a freezer a good investment to store my long-term food supplies?

The simple answer is yes. A prepper´s freezer is one of their most valuable tools to help safely stockpile meat, vegetables, precooked survival meals, and even drinking water for uncertain times.

In this article, we´re going to dig deep into the advantages of having a prepper freezer and give you our recommendations for the best ones to invest in. We´re going to talk about what to look for when buying a freezer, how to keep and maintain your freezer, and what to expect in terms of efficiency and cost.

In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!

Last update on 2021-09-29 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Table Of Contents show

What is a Prepper Freezer?

When a prepper purchases a freezer, they are not just planning on throwing in the extra cutlets that they didn't cook for dinner last night. 

The freezer is a fundamental piece of prepper gear that will help guarantee the ability to bug in safely. As an instrumental part of any prepper´s food security strategy, the freezer will hold a significant amount of food from their survival food stockpile.

Freezers are also important for saving seeds, killing bugs or larvae in flour or grains, extending the life of batteries, and even helping a candle to burn longer. Heck, you can even convince a dead hard drive to give up its files after a few hours in a freezer. 

SHTF Freezer for Preppers - Is It Worth It?

It's easy to ask if it is worth it to invest in a freezer. As a prepper, we are always planning for the worst-case scenario. So why bother with a freezer if there are lots of ways to preserve your food without refrigeration?

To some of you, it might seem like an unnecessary investment. If SHTF and the grid goes down for days or weeks, you could potentially lose all of that valuable food, right?

And if you are off-grid or homesteading, you might not have the electrical supply necessary to even run a freezer. So why bother?

Just remember, a freezer is a valuable tool. When times are good, we need to work with what we have and take advantage of all of the options available to us. If you have a prepper freezer handy, we bet that you'll end up depending on it more than you might expect.

If you are planning on preserving your meat and storing it without refrigeration, a freezer will give you a place to safely store it while you go about processing it in other ways. It eliminates urgency and gives you peace of mind knowing that your food is safe from spoilage. This can be applied to a number of fruits and vegetables as well.

If the grid goes down, you should strive to have the knowledge and skill to save your food to prevent loss or waste.

As for short-term power outages, there are ways that you can prep your freezer so that your food will not thaw for several days. This may include having a generator handy or be as simple as freezing jugs of water to increase the thermal mass inside the unit.

The most important factor in whether your prepper freezer is an invaluable tool or a risky headache is making sure that you have the right one for your needs.

Whether you are off-grid, in an apartment, have a large family, or a bad back there is a freezer right for you.

We've scoured the internet and read countless reviews to find the best prepper freezers out there. Looking at factors such as reliability, energy efficiency, size options, and temperature controls, we came up with this list of the best prepper freezers available on the market today.

Best 5 Prepper Freezers For Long Term Food Storage

To be perfectly honest, there is no single best prepper freezer out there. Prepping is not a one size fits all formula, and likewise, the best freezer for you will depend on your individual circumstances. 

Here are some of the factors that you will need to consider when deciding which is the best freezer for you:

  1. The size. Factors that influence the best size of freezer for you include the size of your family, what kind of food you plan on freezing, and how big a role your freezer plays in your survival food stockpiling strategy.
  1. Your energy supply. If you are an off-grid prepper, you may be relying on solar panels or a generator and your energy supply might be limited or inconsistent. If you are connected to the grid, you might be more concerned about the cost of energy and how the freezer will cost to run.
  1. The location. Where you plan on placing your freezer has everything to do with how well your freezer will function. Do you plan on keeping it in a garage? Outside? In your kitchen? In the basement?

We´ll dig a little deeper into these themes (and more) a little later on, but for now, let´s just jump right into the best prepper freezers that we have found for your consideration.

Most Efficient Prepper Freezer: GE FCM11PHWW Chest Freezer

When it comes to finding the right freezer for your home, one of the most common concerns is energy efficiency. We think of energy efficiency in two ways.

First, we ask how much does the model cost to run? Will it drive up our electric bill? To find the most energy-efficient freezer, we recommend looking for a new Energy Star certified model.

The economics of energy efficiency also has a lot to do with the thermal efficiency of the freezer. What kind of insulation does the unit count on and how efficient is it at limiting heat exchange? This is why the most energy-efficient prepper freezers are chest freezers.

Our pick is the GE model FCM11PHWW.

Last update on 2021-09-29 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Here's what we love about the GE FCM11PHWW Chest Freezer:

  • Energy Star certified with an average use of 218 kWh a year - which is just about $28 a year!
  • Has 10.6 cubic feet of storage space.
  • Offers a locking mechanism to prevent poor closure of the lid.
  • Can be placed in locations that range from 0 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit without affecting its efficiency.
  • Adjustable temperature controls that include a refrigerator (non-freezing) setting.
  • Includes three lift-out storage baskets for easy organization.
  • Manual defrost

And what we don´t like about GE FCM11PHWW Chest Freezer:

  • It's pricey!

Best SHTF Freezer for Meat: Kelvinator Commercial KCCF210WH Chest Freezer

If you are a farmer, hunter, or just a serious bulk buyer you are probably looking for a prepper freezer that can hold A LOT of meat. If you want a freezer that can hold a whole cow, or maybe a pig or two, in addition to a year’s worth of fruits, veggies, and premade sauces then you will want to go big.

Our recommendation is the Kelvinator Commercial KCCF210WH 21 Cubic ft. Chest Freezer.

This unit is designed for commercial use and is, in fact, highly popular in the restaurant industry. This doesn´t make it incompatible with residential use, though. This prepper freezer will function fantastically in your garage and can plug into any standard outlet.

Last update on 2021-09-29 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Here's what we love about the Kelvinator Commercial KCCF210WH:

  • Energy Star certified and uses less than 600 kWh of electricity per year, approximately $70.
  • Made out of heavy-duty stainless steel.
  • Has a lock on the lid to guarantee proper closure every time.
  • Manual defrost.
  • An easy closing lid to avoid damaging it.
  • Can be placed in the garage with no problems.
  • Freezes up to -15 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The size is enormous.

The only downside that we can think of for this freezer is the size, which might not work for preppers who live in small apartments or homes without a garage. 

Best Prepper Chest Freezer: Danby DCF072A3WDB-6 Garage Ready Chest Freezer

If Energy Star certification is not your highest priority, the best chest freezer for preppers is the Danby DCF072A3WDB-6 7.2 cubic ft. Garage Ready Chest Freezer

This prepper freezer is spacious enough to store a substantial amount of food for your family yet small enough to fit comfortably into your home, basement, or garage. As a chest freezer, it is inherently efficient and will do a better job at keeping your food frozen during a power outage than any upright model.

As one of the most highly rated and recommended chest freezers available, it is hard to not call it the ¨best¨.

Last update on 2021-09-29 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is what everyone loves about the Danby DCF072A3WDB-6 Garage Ready Chest Freezer:

  • Functions in temperatures between 0 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Has an impressive 5-year manufacturer's warranty.
  • Manual Defrost
  • Remarkably efficient, costing only around $30 a year to run.
  • Economically, it's less pricey than other models.
  • Maintains temperatures well in power outages.

The major flaw of the Danby DCF072A3WDB-6 Garage Ready Chest Freezer:

  • Does not have a lock on the lid.

Best Prepper Upright Freezer: Danby DUFM059C1WDD Garage Ready Upright Freezer

There are many reasons why a prepper might not want a chest freezer. Upright freezers are more accessible for some people and are a lot easier to keep organized. They are also smaller and fit into narrow spaces a lot easier.

The best upright freezer for preppers is the Danby DUFM059C1WDD 5.9 cu. ft. Garage Ready Upright Freezer.

Last update on 2021-09-29 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What makes the Danby DUFM059C1WDD Garage Ready Upright Freezer so great?

  • Energy Star certified for guaranteed energy efficiency.
  • Five-year manufacturer's warranty.
  • Garage ready, and can withstand temps from 0 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Manual defrost.
  • Has a reversible door hinge.
  • Clear shelves and storage bins.
  • Mid-size capacity for ample food storage.

The cons of Danby DUFM059C1WDD Garage Ready Upright Freezer:

  • No shelves on the door.
  • Interior shelves are not adjustable.
  • No lock on the door.

Best Off Grid Prepper Freezer: SunDanzer 5.6CF Chest Freezer

If your prepping journey has taken you off-grid, then you may be wondering what the best prepper freezer is for you. Energy efficiency is the number one concern for those who rely on alternatives like solar or wind to generate their own power. 

There are some really great DC or solar-powered freezers available that are designed for use in RVs or boats. Unfortunately, most of them are pretty small, and they are not designed for people looking to stockpile food.

Luckily, there is a large capacity DC freezer that you can run off of 12 or 24 volts that is highly regarded in the off-grid community. 

The SunDanzer DCF165 5.6 cu. ft. Chest Freezer is, by far, the best off-grid prepper freezer available.

Here's why the SunDanzer 5.6CF Chest Freezer is good: 

  • Offers ample storage space for stockpiling food.
  • Can be hooked up directly to a battery system, no inverter needed.
  • Easily converted into a refrigerator with a thermostat kit.
  • Manual Defrost
  • Includes baskets for easy organization.
  • Interior light.
  • Is Garage Ready and operates well indoors or out.

The only thing we can consider a possible downside to this off-grid prepper freezer is the cost. It's on the high side, but it is worth it if you need a large-capacity freezer off-grid.

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Things to Look for When Buying a Prepper Freezer

When you are researching the best prepper freezer for you, there are certain things you are going to want to be specifically aware of.

  • How much electricity does it use?
  • What are the ambient temperature limitations?
  • Does it have an automatic or manual defrost?
  • Is it an upright model or a chest freezer?
  • Is it potentially convertible to a refrigerator?
  • Is there a manufacturer's warranty?

These are the factors that set aside one model freezer from another. It is important to know exactly what the features are on your prepper freezer to make sure that it operates efficiently and without mechanical failures.

Other prepper freezer features that you will want to pay attention to include:

  • Interior lights
  • Power indicator light
  • Locking lid
  • Wheels or coasters.
  • Included shelves, baskets, or bins.

These bells and whistles are optional features that will make your prepper freezer more convenient and easy to use. 

Just be aware that many brands of lesser quality will boast these features but may be unreliable, lack a warranty, or be expensive to run.

Upright Freezer vs. Chest Freezer for Preppers

The main difference that you will notice between one freezer and another is the fundamental design of how it opens. Upright freezers are those that open similarly to a typical refrigerator. Chest freezers open horizontally and are basically big boxes.

The difference in design is a very important consideration because it determines several fundamental aspects of how that freezer will work for you. 

Upright freezers are undeniably more accessible. You can easily organize your food, and with a quick glance see what you have in front of you. You will never have to bend uncomfortably to get a large and heavy piece of frozen meat from the bottom. 

They are, however, much less efficient. This has everything to do with how cold air moves.  When you open an upright freezer, the cold air literally falls out of it down to ground level and warm air will rush in. This change of temperature means that the freezer will have to work harder to bring the temp back down to its baseline. 

Chest freezers are more efficient. Cold air does not rise, so when you open a chest freezer, significantly less heat will enter your freezer and the cold air will stay put. 

They are also much more difficult to keep organized. Many of the models we feature include removable storage bins or baskets to help you keep track of what you have in the freezer. The simple reality is that you will never be able to see what you have on the bottom of the freezer and food may be forgotten about.

How Much Do Freezers Cost to Run?

Keeping a prepper freezer plugged in year after year is, surprisingly, not that expensive. There are a few factors that determine your exact costs:

  • The efficiency rating of the freezer model
  • Local energy prices
  • Ambient temperatures where the freezer is installed.

If your freezer is in a garage, for example, and it is freezing outside, the freezer will not kick on as much and will be cheaper to run. When it is hot out, it will be on more consistently resulting in more energy usage and a higher electric bill.

The most efficient prepper freezers cost as little as $30 a year to power. Larger models can run over $1000 a year. Expect upright freezers to be more expensive on your electric bill compared to a chest freezer.

Prepper Freezer Storage and Maintenance

When it comes to keeping your prepper freezer in proper working order, you need to keep in mind that everything starts with proper installation.

You should always respect the manufacturer's guidelines. If the unit is not designed to function with extreme ambient temperatures, do not put it in your garage or on the porch. 

Another important detail is to install your freezer with ample space between the wall and its backside. This allows for proper air circulation and optimal functioning of the motor and compressor.

As for basic maintenance, there are a few things you can do to prolong the life of your survival freezer.

  1. Clean the condenser coils at least twice a year. Accumulating dust means that the condenser has to work harder, which can lead to malfunctions. This is done quite easily with a shop vac.
  2. Clean out the drain. If you choose to invest in an upright prepper freezer with automatic defrost, this is especially important.
  3. Defrost and clean your manual defrosting freezer at least twice a year. This means temporarily rehousing all of your frozen food, which is undeniably inconvenient.  But just remember, it is more inconvenient when your freezer breaks down because of the lack of regular maintenance!
  4. Periodically check the seal on the door. If you see any physical signs of damage, take a piece of paper and close the door on it. If you can easily pull it out while the door is closed, you need to replace the gasket.

Best Places to Keep a Survival Freezer

As preppers, we are often concerned about hiding our survival food cache well so that when SHTF it is not an easy grab for any ill-meaning neighbors.

With a freezer, however, we are pretty limited to where we can store it based on factors like space and access to electricity. The climate of where you live also plays an important role in where you can keep your survival freezer.

The best places to keep a survival freezer include:

  • The basement
  • A garage or outbuilding
  • A mudroom
  • A storage closet
  • On a covered porch.
  • Inside the home or kitchen

No matter where you choose to store your freezer, make sure that it is protected from the elements. Respect the manufacturer's guidelines for ambient temperatures and never place the unit under direct sun. Protect your freezer from exposure to water or excessive moisture and humidity.

Prepper Freezer Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to Put a Freezer in the Garage?

Garages are excellent places to install a survival freezer. They are protected from the elements, close to the home, and accessible without being in the way.

Is it Better to Keep a Freezer Full or Empty?

The general rule of thumb is to keep your freezer full. Here's the deal. A full freezer has more thermal mass. This means that once everything is frozen, the freezer actually works less to maintain the temperature at freezing. 

It is also important that your freezer is full in the case of an unexpected power outage. Because of the increased thermal mass of a full prepper freezer, the contents will thaw more slowly. This means that if you take the proper precautions when the power is out, your food may never thaw at all.

If you find it difficult to keep your freezer full of food, consider filling it with jugs of water.  This is a great way to store emergency drinking water.

What is the Best Upright Deep Freezer?

First off, to answer this question, you need to know that a deep freezer is simply any kind of stand-alone freezer. The term ¨deep freeze'' originally comes from the use of industrial freezers to freeze foods to an internal temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour, instead of the 24 hours it typically takes in a home freezer.

Nowadays, people use it interchangeably with ¨chest freezer¨ or ¨freezer¨.  But really, it is not any special kind of freezer. Calling a freezer a ¨deep freezer¨ is really just more of a marketing gimmick. 

So, what is the best upright deep freezer? We recommend you check out our suggestion for the best prepper upright freezer to get our take on that one.

How Long Will a Deep Freezer Last?

The average life of a new freezer is about 15 years, though they can last well up to 20 and sometimes even longer.

To make sure that you get the most out of your prepper freezer, start by purchasing the best one that you can. Once you have it, maintain it. If it starts making odd sounds or not freezing properly, get it repaired immediately.

Buying the Best Prepper Freezer

If uncertain times have you reconsidering the benefits of owning a freezer, you now have all the information you need to make an educated decision about which is the best prepper freezer for you.

A prepper´s freezer is a valuable tool. Take advantage of the convenience and ease that a freezer allows you to build up your survival food cache. 

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
Russell M. Morgan
Telson Survival

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