off-grid freezer options

5 Off-Grid Freezer Options (& How to Pick Them)

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Household appliances make everyday life much simpler. So, if you find yourself off-grid, having energy-efficient appliances can help you store food, wash clothes, and maintain basic hygiene much easier. In the case of freezers, traditional freezers are notoriously power-hungry, making them one of the hardest appliances to maintain in an off-grid home. 

If you live off-grid or are planning for a SHTF scenario, you know the challenges with storing food when you don’t have access to a traditional freezer.

Luckily, modern technology brought the development of low-energy, low-maintenance freezers. Off-grid freezers come in many shapes and sizes, and you should pick one based on your unique living situation.

This article lists some of the best off-grid freezer options you’ll find today, as well as discusses the important considerations when choosing a freezer for your home. 

Let’s get right into it! 

chest freezer

What is an Off-Grid Freezer?

An off-grid freezer is similar to a traditional freezer; however, off-grid freezers consume less power. This is because they require either less electricity or use alternative energy sources, such as solar or propane gas. It is able to store food efficiently because of some unique features, which are:

  • Thick insulation

  • Alternative power system

  • Efficient cooling methods

Power consumption varies by model, system, and manufacturer, but some of the more energy-efficient systems are solar-powered systems, propane gas, as well as electricity-dependent systems with low power usage.

5 Popular Off-Grid Freezer Options for Your Home

Off-grid freezers can vary by energy efficiency, power sources, and size. We were able to categorize some of the more popular options. Here are the best freezer options for off-grid living: 

Solar Powered Freezer

1) Solar Powered Freezer

As the name suggests, solar-powered freezers run on solar thermal energy. These freezers use a combination of solar panels and lead batteries to store solar energy in the absence of sunlight, keeping the freezer’s contents cool 24/7. 

Most solar-powered freezers can preserve cold temperatures in environments that are 110°F (43°C), so you won’t have to worry about the food defrosting in hot temperatures.

A freezer powered by a solar system is most effective in places with lots of sunlight. If you live in a place with many overcast or cloudy days a year, a solar-powered freeze may not be an effective option for your off-grid property.

2) AC Chest Freezer

Alternative Current (AC) Chest freezers are ultra-low temperature freezers with microprocessor-based temperature controllers. They run off a grid power of 120V. 

Off-grid chest freezers are powered by the sun and come with solar panels, a charge controller, batteries, and an inverter. These freezers are fitted with extra-thick lift-top door insulation, making them far more energy-efficient than conventional front-opening fridges. 

Propane Freezer

3) Propane Freezer

As the name suggests, propane freezers use propane to power the freezer and keep the contents cool. 

Through a generator, propane flame heats the ammonia and water to its boiling point. The resulting gaseous material rises into a condensing chamber, where it then cools and returns back to liquid. The liquid flows into an evaporator and mixes with hydrogen gas, thus pulling the heat from inside the refrigerator. 

The best thing about propane freezers is that they don’t rely on mechanical or moving parts, making them a reliable, low-maintenance option for those living off the grid. 

Smeta Propane Refrigerators are perfect for financially conscious off-grid families, as it runs on a little under 8.5 gallons a month or 0.28 gallons a day. Propane costs between $2.60 to $2.70 per gallon in the US, so you can expect to pay around $22.70 each month to fuel the unit (as of 2023). 

If the propane runs dry, don’t worry: it also runs on 115-volt AC power. 

4) Electric Freezer

Electric freezers are portable freezers with electric motors powered by batteries, AC, or DC sources. Like traditional freezers, they use evaporation and condensation to pump heat out of the fridge and circulate cold air inside.

This type of freezer can function efficiently in most environments as long as it is connected to a power source.

They use a lot of energy, so they’re not the ideal choice for those with limited power sources. 

DC Freezer

5) DC Freezer

A Direct Current (DC) freezer is a freezer that has the current flow in one direction to power the appliance. This is how most household appliances are powered.

DC freezers are the obvious choice when looking for an energy-efficient freezer. Though they cost more than their AC equivalent upfront, they save you more money in the long run because they spend less energy per day. 

What to Consider When Picking a Freezer

With hundreds of off-grid freezers to choose from, picking the best one can be a bit of a challenge. Here are some factors to consider when picking a freezer: 


How big do you want the freezer to be? Where do you plan to keep the freezer, and how much space do you have available? 

Off-grid freezers come in numerous sizes to fit your personal needs. They can be as small as an icebox or as big as a door. Look for a freezer that best matches your lifestyle and family size. Just keep in mind that the bigger the freezer, the more energy it’ll consume. 

Energy Efficiency

Freezers use energy pretty much 24/7, so it’s important that you purchase an energy-efficient freezer to keep your energy costs at a minimum. 

Search for an Energy Star-certified model as they offer high-performance features such as improved insulation, high-efficiency compressions, and defrost mechanisms that deliver excellent energy savings.  

Model Design: Upright Freezer vs. Chest Freezer vs. Fridge Freezer

Standalone freezers come in three different models: upright, chest, and as a fridge freezer. 

Upright freezers take up less floor space but offer less insulation, making them less valuable for off-grid homes. 

Chest freezers are more energy efficient than upright freezers due to their flip-top doors and exceptional insulation. 

Fridge freezers are divided into two sections, a fridge and a freezer. This allows you to store food items at freezing temperatures as well as in the fridge.

freezer chest

Blackout Performance

Blackout performance refers to how long the freezer keeps its items cool during a power outage. 

Search for a freezer with a blackout performance of at least 48 hours to keep your food safe for a couple of days until the power comes back on. 

Chest freezers have a blackout performance of up to 72 hours, making them suitable in areas that experience lots of power shortages. 

Additional Features

Here are some other valuable features to look for in an off-grid freezer:  

  • Low noise level: Always check the decibel levels of the freezer before buying it. Opt for a freezer with a dB of 32 to 40.  

  • Dial thermostat: Helps you monitor and adjust the temperature of the freezer. 

  • Freezer locks: Prevents children from accessing the fridge and leaving it open. 

  • Temperature warning: Alerts you when the freezer falls below a certain temperature. 

  • Door racks/drink racks: Maximizes freezer space. 

  • Basic control panel: Comes with a set of operating buttons and lights, such as a power-on light and an on/off switch. 


Depending on the size, energy efficiency, and current flow (AC or DC), a freezer can cost as low as $50 to as high as $3,000. 

Some freezers have a high upfront cost but offer better value in the long run due to their energy efficiency. Therefore, it’s imperative that you search for a model that balances cost and functionality. The higher the star rating, the more money you’ll save on your energy bills. 

homestead freezer


There you have it; our comprehensive guide on off-grid freezers! For those living off-grid, energy is a major concern. As such, it’s always better to opt for energy-efficient freezers with high star ratings to minimize your energy consumption. 

So regardless, if you find yourself in an SHTF scenario or you simply want to be disconnected from the grid, having an off-grid freezer will ensure you can preserve your food while limiting your power usage.

If possible, invest in a propane gas freezer. Though it requires regular upkeep, they’re better for your off-grid home.  

If you are interested in off-grid living, you may find some of our related articles helpful.

Related Article: How To Become Self-Sufficient: A Checklist For Beginner Homesteaders

Related Article: 9 Off-Grid Heating Systems For Your Property

Related Article: Homestead Guide: Pros And Cons Of Living Off-The-Grid

Related Article: Off-Grid Shower Systems: Options You Should Know About

Related Article: 5 Best Off-Grid Shower Solutions

Related Article: Off-Grid Toilet Options You Should Know Before Making A Decision

Related Article: 11 Traditional Food Preservation Methods For Homesteaders

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