Should You Put a Freezer in the Garage?

The appliance will be out of the way, but there are factors to consider before you decide to place it there

By Mary H.J. Farrell

If you recently bought a freezer to stock up on groceries, it might have ended up in the garage. It’s a common place for freezers, and often it’s easier to find space there than in a cramped kitchen. But if you live in a region with temperatures swings, you might not want to leave it there.

Changes in temperature in an unheated garage can be hard on these appliances. "You need to make sure that the unit is not exposed to temperatures above 110° F or below 0° F, because that may damage the freezer," says Larry Ciufo, who oversees the ratings for Consumer Reports’ freezer tests.

Wendy Treinen, director of brand and product communications at GE Appliances, agrees. “In hot weather the freezer has to work overtime, and in very cold temperatures, the freezer ‘gets confused’ and shuts off, failing to keep a freezing temperature because it ‘thinks’ it is already maintaining a temperature of 0° F,” she says.

If your freezer’s compressor has to work overtime to maintain its interior temperature when it’s very hot in your garage, it costs you more money to run the appliance. If it’s too cold and the compressor shuts off, your food could thaw.

But not every part of the country experiences such temperature extremes. And if your garage is insulated and climate-controlled, it’s fine to put a freezer there. You just want to make sure the space is dry. Keep the freezer away from windows and out of direct sunlight, because that makes it work harder to maintain the right interior temperature. For safety reasons, you shouldn’t use an extension cord for a major appliance, so place the freezer close to an outlet. And make sure there’s plenty of space for air to circulate around the freezer so that it operates at its best.

Consumer Reports tests freezer performance at three different ambient temperatures: 55° F, 70° F, and 110° F. Our tests show which freezers keep the internal temperature consistently cold with a minimum of warmer or cooler spots, as well as how long they keep food frozen during a simulated 9-hour power outage.

A number of freezers in our tests of upright and chest models are marketed as “garage-ready,” meaning they are designed to perform well in a wider range of ambient temperatures than a typical freezer. (Our tests reveal that some do, and some don’t.) The six models listed below excelled in our thermostat control and temperature uniformity tests, making them worth considering for garage use. Some are marketed as garage-ready, others are not. The final model listed performed poorly, despite its designation as garage-ready. For more information on freezers and our full test results, see our freezer buying guide and ratings.

Upright Freezers

Chest Freezers

One 'Garage' Freezer to Avoid

The Midea MRC09M4AWW freezer comes emblazoned with a big “garage-ready” sticker. But it leaves a lot to be desired, earning only a 37 out of a possible 100 Overall Score in our tests. While this Midea freezer was able to hit and keep our set temperature, sections of the freezer were too warm or too cool. It also gets our lowest rating of Poor in the power outage test, so you risk losing a lot of food if you live in an area where blackouts or brownouts are common. This freezer doesn’t offer much in terms of features, either.

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