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13 Nov 2020

Should you put a freezer in your garage this winter?

Find out whether storing your freezer in an unheated room or garage could affect its performance
A freezer in garage

With winter closing in, you might be considering buying an additional freezer so you can stock up and cut down on the number of times you need to head out for a food shop.

However, finding somewhere to store another freezer inside the house can be tricky. So you might be wondering if you could get away with keeping it in the garage or some other outbuilding.

But will a freezer continue to work as normal in really cold conditions and will you be covered if it develops a fault while in an outbuilding?

Which? takes a look to find out, so read on to see what our experts found.

Go to ourfreezer reviews to compare all of the models we've tested

Do freezers continue to work in low temperatures?

Some manufacturers claim their freezers will work as normal in sub-zero conditions, which is an important factor if you plan to put yours in an unheated room such as a garage or outbuilding.

The Beko FFG1545W freezer
The Beko FFG1545W freezer is guaranteed to work as normal in temperatures as low as -15°C

We wanted to check for ourselves whether freezers can continue working properly in very cold conditions, so we tested a mix of four chest and tall freestanding models that had all scored fairly well for temperature stability in our standard tests.

We tested two models that came with guarantees that they would continue working as normal in sub-zero conditions - the Beko FFG1545W freestanding tall freezer (£329) and the Haier HCE519R chest freezer.

We also tested two models that came with no such guarantees - the Samsung RZ32M7120BC (£690) and the Hoover HMCH202EL (£403).

Hoover HMCH202EL
Hoover-HMCH202EL chest freezer

Somewhat surprisingly, all four continued working as normal at -15°C temperatures - even those not guaranteed for use in such conditions.

But it's not quite as straightforward as now going out and buying any freezer to store out of the house, because of the possibility of invalidating your freezer's warranty.

Freezer warranties

Not all freezer manufacturers guarantee that their products will work as normal in rooms with sub-zero temperatures, so if you want peace of mind that a freezer in a garage is covered against a fault, you'll have to choose carefully.

If you place a non-guaranteed model in an outbuilding - where the temperature is likely to drop below 10°C - and it develops a fault, the warranty will have been invalidated and you won't be covered.

Beko, Fridgemaster and Hotpoint guarantee many of their freezers for use at -15°C.

Some Hoover freezers are guaranteed to work at -10°C, while Haier has models it says will work in temperatures as low as -12°C.

It's best to check for whichever model you're considering, as not all freezers from these brands are guaranteed for use in temperatures lower than 0°C.

How cold does the UK get?

Winter in the UK

The overwhelming majority of UK households aren't going to experience temperatures as low as the -15°C we tested at.

The coldest temperature recorded in the UK last winter was in mid-February in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, and measured -10.2°C. But the coldest average temperature for winter 2019-20 in the UK was a much warmer 2°C (recorded in the first week of December 2019).

If you store a freezer in a garage throughout winter, you probably won't have to worry about the freezer's ability to continue working. What you'll have to concern yourself with is invalidating the warranty.

Unless stated, any faults that occur as a result of your freezer being stored in temperatures below 10°C will not be protected by the warranty.

If you own a freezer covered for lower temperatures, you'll be fine. Outside of that, it's a personal judgment call. The freezer is likely to be OK, but if not, you're on your own.

Additional freezers to consider

If you're after an additional freezer but don't want to spend too much on one, we've tested plenty of cheap options for you to consider.

The Bush BCF99L chest freezer is available for less than £150.

If you want a freezer also guaranteed to work in an outbuilding but with a larger capacity, you might consider the Beko CF1100APW.

This chest freezer has 303 litres of usable volume, which is enough for around 16 supermarket carrier bags' worth of shopping. Read our Beko CF1100APW review to find out if it's any good.