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Let’s face it: Outside of a couple ice cube trays, a carton of ice cream and maybe a bag of frozen peas, you’re not fitting a lot in your refrigerator’s freezer. However, if you have room for one in your garage or basement, a chest freezer can increase your frozen-food capacity by a considerable amount. Here’s how to choose the right one for you.

This model has just enough storage space for a young family. Generic

The capacity of a chest freezer is measured in cubic feet, and freezers typically fall into one of three categories. Small chest freezers (up to 10 cubic feet) are great for couples or couples with a small child. Families with multiple school-age kids might consider moving up to a medium chest freezer (12 to 18 cubic feet). Large families and those needing to store a lot of wild game meat or, say, half a beef, should be in the market for a large chest freezer (greater than 18 cubic feet).

Go Bigger

This model is easy to defrost and clean. Koolatron

All freezers will need to be defrosted from time to time. Look for one that has an easy-access defrost drain, preferably located on the front of the unit. Smooth interior walls are easier to clean than those with texture.

This unit is energy efficient. Northair

Be sure to choose a freezer that has a good energy rating or run the risk of seeing a considerable spike in your electric bill. In particular, look for a chest freezer with an Energy Star label. If you have the choice of keeping your chest freezer in either your basement or garage, you’ll probably want to opt for the cooler, more climate-controlled environment of the basement, as the freezer will run more efficiently there.