How to Calculate Freezer Size

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Depending on what you use it for, depends on what size freezer is best for you.
Image Credit: dimarik/iStock/GettyImages

If you like to purchase food in bulk, freeze fresh produce when it's in season or double your recipes to cut down on days that you cook, you've probably faced the struggle of finding room for everything in your freezer. A great solution to this problem is a stand-alone freezer. You can purchase a chest freezer or an upright model in a variety of sizes. Here's how you determine the right freezer size for your needs and space.


Video of the Day

The Different Freezer Sizes and Types

There are four different freezer sizes:

  • Compact – 5 cubic feet.
  • Small ­– 6 to 9 cubic feet.
  • Medium – 12 to 18 cubic feet.
  • Large – 18+ cubic feet.

One cubic foot of freezer space will hold approximately 35 pounds of food. A good way to determine how much food storage space you need is to multiply the number of people in your household by 2.5 cubic feet.


Freezers come in two styles: upright and chest. Upright freezers feature doors that open horizontally, just like a refrigerator. These freezers provide easy access to your food with adjustable shelves throughout the freezer and on the door. Chest freezers hold more food per square foot than upright freezers and the cold air doesn't escape as quickly, which means they're less likely to cause freezer burn. It can be harder to access your food in a chest freezer, and they take up more floor space than uprights.

How to Calculate Freezer Size

Before you purchase a freezer, make sure you have enough room by measuring your space and then measuring the freezer. Measure the freezer depth with the door completely open to make sure there's enough room for the door to open completely and you to stand in front of it as it opens. You should include an extra inch behind and above your freezer to ensure proper ventilation.


To calculate the cubic feet of the freezer, there are three basic steps:

  1. Open the door and, from the outside of the freezer, measure from the front edge of the freezer opening (not the door) to the back wall. Use feet, not inches.
  2. Measure the height and the width of your freezer's opening.
  3. Multiply the depth, height and width together to determine the cubic feet.

Determine Freezer’s Location

Select a space that's convenient and far from heat sources and windows that get a lot of sun so it can operate efficiently. You should also measure the width of the doorways the freezer will need to pass through as that may restrict the size of the freezer you're able to buy.


Freezers are noisy, so placing one in a living area may become a nuisance. It's best to place your freezer somewhere cool, such as your basement. If you'd like to keep a freezer in your garage, consider how hot the garage can become during the summer. Most freezers can work in a location that reaches up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, but searching for the best chest freezer for a garage, for example, will help you find the most efficient one for your space.

Helpful Freezer Tips

Determining what size freezer to purchase is important. Consider how much food you'll store regularly, as well as the space you have available. When there's empty space in a freezer, there's more room for warm air, which forces the freezer to use more energy to maintain the proper temperature.


To minimize frost, open your freezer as infrequently as you can. Clearly labeling your food and keeping an inventory of what's inside will help. Storing your food correctly will also minimize frost. Vacuum seal your food if you can or repack it in several layers of plastic wrap — both methods will also help reduce moisture loss.



Gia Miller received her journalism degree from The University of Georgia and began her career as an intern at O, The Oprah Magazine. She then spent several years at Elle DECOR magazine where she immersed herself in the world of interior design. Several apartments and homes later, she’s now mastered the art of DIY. Gia enjoys writing stories that both educate and encourage others to take a chance and try something new. To learn more, visit her website -