Consumer Reports rates different freezers

LOS ANGELES Colleen Bachmann's had her freezer for 15 years and says it saves her lots of money.

"You can buy a lot of stuff on sale and store it," said Bachmann.

Consumer Reports just tested freezers and says they don't look all that different. There are still two types -- uprights and chests.

To see how much energy they use, testers turned the room temperature up to 90 degrees. Then they set the freezers to the optimum temperature for storing frozen food - zero degrees - and filled each freezer to capacity. The $750 Haier freezer had some problems. It couldn't quite make it to zero degrees in Consumer Reports' energy tests.

"We tested two of them and found they used much more energy than any of the other freezers we tested," said Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman from Consumer Reports.

Therefore, Consumer Reports says don't buy the Haier model HUF138EA. Another test showed many of the manual-defrost upright freezers don't cool all that evenly.

"We found temperatures up to 19 degrees higher on the door shelves than in the rest of the freezer," said Lehrman.

But the self-defrosting uprights aced Consumer Reports' temperature tests. The $600 Whirlpool is a Consumer Reports Best Buy. The Kenmore chest freezer is also good choice at $280, though you do have to defrost it.

Colleen says her freezer is the smartest purchase she's ever made.

"It's almost like your own grocery store in your basement," said Lehrman.

Consumer Reports says chest freezers have advantages. While you will have to manually defrost most of them, chest freezers cost less, use less energy, and stay colder longer in a power outage.

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