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Self-Defrosting vs Manual Defrosting Freezer (Comparison)

Self-Defrosting Vs Manual Defrosting Freezer Comparison

Are you rich in time or resources? If you have a clear answer to this question, you might be able to make the right purchase decision for your next freezer.

A self-defrosting freezer will be more convenient than a manual defrosting one. But, at the same time, a self-defrosting freezer unit is much more expensive and energy-consuming than the latter.

The question is whether the self-defrosting freezer is worth the cost or hype.

A self-defrosting freezer works by turning on and off from time to time to melt the ice crystals regularly that would otherwise cause a huge build-up of ice inside the compartment.

On the other hand, we have a manual defrosting freezer. This requires you to monitor the internal compartment of the freezer yourself and turn it off when required.

This article will individually discuss the self-defrosting and manual defrosting freezer units according to their main features.

A brief comparison of both types will be provided. The pros and cons of each unit will help you identify the right one for your personal use.


A self-defrosting freezer defrosts and melts the ice on its own, keeping the freezing compartment cool and clean.

On the other hand, a manual defrosting freezer requires a proper cleaning and defrosting operation to prevent the buildup of ice.

  • A self-defrosting freezer has priority over a manual defrosting freezer due to its lower maintenance requirement, ease of cleaning, and time-saving functionality.
  • A manual defrosting freezer is better in terms of its price, energy efficiency, lower electricity bills, and lesser noise production.

When making a purchase decision, you can consider the factors that matter most.

This article will guide you about choosing the right freezer for you amongst the two choices: A self-defrosting freezer or a manual defrost freezer.

Manual Defrosting Freezer

Manual Defrosting Freezer

A manual defrosting freezer does not offer the incentive of automatic defrosting.

It has no heating element to melt off the ice and hence often causes the freezing up of coils. In addition, as the coils get covered with ice, it does not cool up the unit properly.

1. Key Feature

Key Feature

A manual defrosting freezer keeps the temperature inside the freezer constant. However, it does not melt the ice on its own and hence requires a proper cleaning every second month to prevent ice buildup along the sides.

2. Appearance


A manual defrosting freezer contains two shapes. Besides an upright model, it is also available as a deep freezer, often known as a chest freezer.

A chest-style freezer covers a lot of floor space but also offers the incentive of larger storage.

3. Maintenance


A manual defrosting freezer requires cleaning and maintenance from time to time. As it keeps on cooling, the ice layers are built one upon another and thicken up over time.

As it is suitable to defrost your freezer before the ice layer exceeds a quarter-inch thickness, you must operate it every other month.

Manual defrosting is not only a time-consuming task but also requires proper attention. For example, you might have to empty the compartment and continuously scrape off the large chunks of ice to speed up defrosting.

You will also have to empty the bottom tray regularly for an upright manual freezer to prevent flooding. On the other hand, a deep freezer contains a drainage hole at the bottom to let the water out.

4. Noise


The only noise a manual defrosting freezer can make is that of its compressor. However, since its compressor does not have to work as hard as a self-defrosting freezer, the noise is comparatively lower.

5. Efficiency


A manual defrosting freezer is cheaper, not only in price but also due to its less energy consumption. It incurs lower energy bills and helps you save money both ways.

Since a manual defrosting freezer does not need to switch cycles between cold and heat to defrost the ice, the additional energy is saved. This is because it stays in one cycle, and the initial energy to change the cycle is saved.

Another reason for the high efficiency of a manual defrosting freezer is its ability to maintain a constant cold temperature inside the unit. The ice inside the compartment keeps it cooler; hence, less energy is required to cool it all over again.

6. Pricing


As the manual defrost freezer is missing one of the important features of a self-defrosting freezer, it will automatically reduce its manufacturing cost and hence its price.

Depending on its appearance, a manual defrosting upright freezer costs lesser than a self-defrosting freezer. However, a manual deep freezer will cost even lesser than a manual upright freezer.

Price wise:

Self-defrosting freezer > manual defrosting freezer (upright) > manual defrosting freezer (deep)

Self-Defrosting Freezer

Self-Defrosting Freezer

Also known as auto-defrost or a frost-free freezer, a self-defrosting freezer is loved by its users due to its automatic ice-cleaning capability.

It saves the owner’s time and energy, which is otherwise used on scrapping off the ice from the freezer surface or letting it sit off for a long time until the ice is melted away.

1. Key Feature

Key Feature

The self-defrosting freezer is built on automatically cleaning the ice from the freezer. It consists of a cleaning design that has a regulated defrost cycle.

The freezer coils heat up regularly, allowing the ice accumulating on the surface to melt away from time to time.

2. Appearance


Most of the self-defrost freezers are upright. This position allows them to take up less space on the ground. Offering shelves for storing different food items also offers easy organizing and taking out frozen foods.

Some deep freezers are, however, also labeled as self-frost freezers.

3. Maintenance


A self-defrosting freezer’s biggest advantage over a manual defrosting freezer is its maintenance.

Since a self-defrosting freezer cleans up the additional buildup of ice by melting it off, it doe not require regular cleaning and maintenance.

Moreover, you do not need to remove and empty the drip tray since it evaporates the water over time. However, you must ensure it does not contain any hole or crack so that the defrosting function is done smoothly without any hurdle.

4. Noise


A self-defrosting freezer keeps on switching between on and off. This constant switching creates noise that can be heard outside of the unit.

The clicking and ticking of cycles and the cracking and popping sound of ice melting become common in a self-defrosting freezer.

Moreover, as the compressor has to work all day, it also starts making noises which can irritate if the freezer is close to your bedroom or working space.

Side Note:

The noise of a self-defrosting freezer often does not matter if it is present in an outlying area. This can not harm you with its constant noise.

5. Efficiency


A self-defrosting freezer keeps on shifting between on and off cycles from time to time. Since shifting on/off cycles requires energy initiation, it will cost high energy consumption.

Additionally, its temperature drops as the freezer turn off to melt the ice.

Thus, after each cycle, the freezer has to start cooling again to maintain the temperature inside the unit. This is additional work and hence requires more energy leading to high energy bills.

Side Note

As the self-defrosting freezer keeps on turning on and off periodically, it can cause more food burns than a manual defrosting freezer. Therefore, it is a major disadvantage of owning a self-defrosting freezer.

6. Pricing


As a self-defrosting freezer provides an additional benefit by offering an automatic ice cleaning option, it charges a high purchase price.

The defrosting feature is not visible inside the freezer compartment, nor is it mentioned on the appliance tag for most appliances. Therefore, before buying it, you must check whether the feature is present in the unit.



Below, we have compared the major features of the self-defrosting and manual defrosting freezers.

  1. Appearance – In terms of appearance, both self-frosting and manual frosting freezers are available in upright and chest styles. You can choose any of them depending on your liking.
  2. Maintenance – A self-defrosting freezer is easier to manage than a manual frosting freezer. If maintenance is an issue, you should prefer a self-frosting freezer over a manual frosting freezer.
  3. Noise – If you place your freezer near your bedroom or office space, you might want lesser noise. In that case, a manual frosting freezer is less noisy than a self-frosting freezer.
  4. Efficiency – In terms of efficiency and power saving, a manual defrosting freezer is better than a self-defrosting freezer. It does not contain any heating element and uses as much as 40 percent less energy than a self-defrosting freezer.
  5. Pricing – A self-defrosting model has a higher price than a manual defrosting freezer.


The major difference between a manual defrosting freezer and a self-defrosting freezer is its ability to clear the excess build-up of ice from the freezing compartment.

A self-defrosting freezer cleans up the ice on its own. However, a manual defrosting freezer requires you to perform the labor.

A self-defrosting freezer is available in upright and chest styles. It requires less maintenance and cleaning. However, it produces more noise, uses higher energy, and is pricey.

On the other hand, a manual defrosting freezer is less expensive, consumes lesser energy, and is less noisy. However, it isn’t easy to maintain and takes a lot of time to clean and defrost.

It is also available in upright and chest styles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Buy a Manual Defrosting Freezer or a Self-Defrosting Freezer?

If you are a busy person, have good money, and want to save your time and energy on the cost of money, a self-defrosting freezer is the best choice.

However, if you prefer to put in a little effort but save money, you should use a manual defrosting freezer. It is less pricey than the self-defrosting unit and incurs lower electricity bills.

What Is the Lifespan of a Freezer?

Usually, a freezer is built to last for at least 20 years. However, the actual life of a freezer is around 10 to 14 years. This lifespan is the same for both self-defrosting and manual defrosting freezer units.

How Can I Install a Self-Defrosting Freezer in My House?

The procedure of installing a self-defrosting freezer and a manual defrosting freezer is the same. However, since self-defrosting is a built-in feature of this freezer unit, you do not need to attach any additional units to see the function.

Normally, any freezer must be plugged into a switchboard having the right amount of voltage. A weaker switch will cause problems for the unit and will cause sparks due to its high load.

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