The Money Mustache Community
Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: HarbingerofBunnies on January 05, 2015, 07:20:02 AM
So at some point in the next gardening season I'm going to be hard up for freezer space between produce and meat purchases. I've never bought a standalone freezer, let alone a used one. Any advice to offer so I don't end up with something that's garbage?
Spacewise, an upright would be more ideal, but I know they cost a lot more to run than a chest model.
Not sure how much capacity I "need" but something decently large would be great.
Or am I better off buying a new one at, say, Costco because of their unbeatable return policy?
I just purchased a chest freezer. I believe if you are buying used you need to be patient...like anything you buy on craigslist. After some waiting and searching I decided to buy a new chest freezer. I was searching a 7-9 cuft chest freezer. The price difference for the size I wanted was about 50$ from most comparable used models. I think the spread for a new vs used gets wider the bigger you go. Some large chest freezers run 500+ new, whereas those sizes were 200ish on craigslist.
Home depot was having a sale around Christmas, which included free delivery. I decided the 50$ was worth the free delivery and hassle that I might deal with on craigslist. Bonus, it showed up with a minor cosmetic ding, and I got 50$ off.
Do you have an idea on how much you have to store? I found somewhere on the web that 7cuft was the space roughly need to store half a cow, or around 160lbs of packaged meat.
I bought my chest freezer new from Sears Outlet because it was hardly any more expensive than used ones on Craigslist. (I think it was less than $150 for a 7 ft^3. It was supposedly a scratch-and-dent, I think, but I never found any scratches or dents.)
They say new refrigerators are much more efficient than old ones. I'm not sure how much that applies to chest freezers, but it could be a reason to prefer new. Either way, make sure the one you get is Energy Star certified.
By the way, if anybody in Atlanta needs one, I have an extra that was given to me by in-laws when they moved (after I'd bought my own, unfortunately).
I'll second the Sears Outlet suggestion. You can also bargain with them in-store, I found out when I took my mother-in-law there because she needed a new dishwasher. She wasn't even intending to get the price lowered, but managed it anyways by visibly thinking about the price.
I'd check your local craigslist and see what the differential is compared to buying at a store/outlet.
I found a 9 (I think) cubic feet Kenmore chest freezer on my local craigslist two years ago for $100 and it's been great. Energy consumption was rated at $31/year I believe.
We also got a 7.2 cu ft chest freezer new for a low enough price ($158 delivered) that I see no reason worrying about getting a used less efficient model. Ours came from Home Depot, but Sears and Best Buy also have good sales. If you've got time to wait I'd suggest setting a deal alert on slickdeals - if nothing else you could research past prices there.
Also, if you have kiddos the boxes can be turned into an excellent fort.
When we bought our small chest freezer 7 years ago, we found there was a tiny swing in efficiency between the best and worst. They use so much less electricity to start with that there just isn't much room to play with. We found the added cost of a more energy efficient one was not worth it.
One idea, our old Mpls grocery store (Cub) ran a sale once a year where you bought the chest freezer for 150$ and got 150$ worth of food coupons with it. You might only use half the coupons (I don't know what kind of junk it all was) but still, it was a pretty good deal. We actually found the best price for ours at HD, not knowing about the Cub deal. I didn't look used at the time, so I can't speak to that. My mom lives in Iowa and would likely to be willing to sell hers if anyone in the Ames area wants a used one.
We got a fairly small chest freezer, the second from the absolute smallest. It has been more than enough for garden produce, and I freeze a lot of stuff. But, big but, we don't do many meat, so that doesn't account for freezing meat. What we do do, is try to eat all the frozen garden stuff by this time of year, and turn the deep freeze off until July when I am freezing like crazy again. I am getting close to turning it off, a few more bags of corn and kale to go!
I got six good years of service out of an ancient 24 ft.³ Whirlpool I got for $50. If you're looking for a really big freezer, used is going to be an order of magnitude cheaper, maybe more.
The used Whirlpool did finally die on me (after a move), so that's a consideration. If I had been wiser, I would've bought a cheap temperature alarm to put on the thing - it was too old to have one built in.
Get a manual defrost and you won't really notice any significant power difference between old and new.
Space wise an upright is more efficient in terms of ease of use as well (easier to keep organized and easier to find things in). If you want the most efficient for the money do NOT get a "frost-free" model. My 17 cu.ft. upright regular freezer did not affect my utility bill in an measurable way (our usage did not go up enough to be actually measurable. I just checked and the yellow tag that came on it says $51 per year). With 3 growing kids I'd say the bigger the better based on space available and going with new, unless you find a late model used from someone downsizing, is money well spent in terms of efficiency and length of service. Mine is now about 5 years old and has paid for itself many times over!! We buy beef and pork by the 1/2 (grass-fed/organic for both) and I can stock up on all kinds of things when they are on deep discount. Also, I put a lot of produce in there each summer.