How Long Does It Take for a Freezer to Get Cold? (15 Examples)

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If you lost power, left the door open by mistake, or are plugging in a new freezer for the first time, you might be wondering:

How long does it take for a freezer to get cold?

Freezers take an average of four hours to reach the FDA-recommended temperature of 0°F (-18°C). On average, upright freezers take four hours and twenty minutes to get cold, chest freezers take four hours and fifty-five minutes, and freezer-refrigerator combos take twelve hours.

These are averages, but the actual freezing time varies significantly by model and ranges from two to 24 hours.

In the following sections, I share with you the actual cooling times across different freezer brands, types, and sizes. I also explain the factors that impact how long freezers take to cool and how you can speed up the process.

Let’s get started!


Use the links below to navigate this guide:


Freezer Cooling Times by Brand and Type

Below is a chart detailing the cooling times of popular freezers, including upright freezers, chest freezers, and freezers attached to refrigerators.

BrandTypeCooling Time
FrigidaireUpright Freezer4 hours
GEUpright Freezer4 hours
KoolatronUpright Freezer2 to 3 hours
UniqueUpright Freezer4 hours
MaytagUpright Freezer6 to 8 hours
FrigidaireChest Freezer4 hours
GEChest Freezer4 hours
Magic ChefChest Freezer2 to 3 hours
HotpointChest Freezer6 to 8 hours
MaytagChest Freezer6 to 8 hours
LGFridge-Freezer Combo2 to 3 hours
WhirlpoolFridge-Freezer Combo24 hours
SamsungFridge-Freezer Combo2 hours
GEFridge-Freezer Combo24 hours
Magic ChefFridge-Freezer Combo4 hours

How to Find the Cooling Time of Your Freezer

If you’re wondering what the cooling time is for a specific freezer, here’s how you can find it.

Google the Brand and Model, model number, or serial number. Find your freezer on either the manufacturer’s website or a trusted retailer’s website like HomeDepot or Lowes.com.

Within the product listing, find the link to the “Installation Guide” or “Product Manual.”

freezer installation guide on HomeDepot.com
freezer installation guide on HomeDepot.com

With the installation guide open, press Ctrl+F on your keyboard and search for the term “hour.”

freezer installation guide on HomeDepot.com 2
freezer installation guide on HomeDepot.com

Searching the document for “hour” allows you to find the specific text within the guide where it talks about cooling time. The guide may reference the term “hour” in several different contexts, so you may have to click through a few times to find the statement regarding cooling time.

If you can’t find your specific model or the cooling time isn’t stated in the installation guide, call the manufacturer’s customer service line.

Factors That Impact Freezer Cooling Times

When installing a freezer, you might find that it’s not cooling within the manufacturer’s suggested time frame. Or maybe you’re wondering why some freezers take longer to cool than others. Here are the factors that impact freezer cooling time:

Size: The bigger the freezer, the longer it may take to cool. For example, the Maytag freezer is 15.7 cubic feet and takes 6-8 hours to cool, whereas the Koolatron is 3.1 cubic feet and only takes 2-3 hours to cool.

Stand-alone vs. fridge/freezer combo: Stand-alone freezers usually take less time to cool. In general, stand-alone freezers cool around the 4-hour mark, whereas many freezer/fridge combos take up to 24 hours.

Starting temperature: If the freezer was transported in the back of a hot truck on its way to your house, or stored in a hot storage unit, it could take longer to reach 0°F since the starting air temperature in the freezer was higher.

Temperature of the room: Installing your freezer in a warm room, such as a garage, pool house, or near sunny windows, can increase the cooling period.

Age and condition: Older freezers are less efficient than newer models, and therefore, will take longer to cool. Also, if the freezer is in poor condition, it may not cool as fast. For example, dusty and dirty coils, or a frosted-over evaporator coil can slow down the cooling process. Freezers with faulty thermostats or evaporator fan motors, or leaky seal systems can take longer to cool.

Empty vs. stocked: A freezer stocked with frozen foods helps keep the freezer cool, making your freezer run more efficiently. Keeping your freezer around 80% full can help stabilize the temperature, but don’t overstuff.  Allowing enough air circulation helps keep foods frozen. Never add food until the freezer reaches the FDA safe temperature of 0°F (-18° C).

How often you open the door: Keep the door closed while the freezer is chilling. The more often you open it, the longer it will take to cool down.

How to Make Your Freezer Cool Down Faster

Here are some steps you can take to help your freezer cool down quicker, or at least within the manufacturer’s stated timeframe.

The best thing you can do to accelerate cooling time is to keep the freezer door closed. If the suggested cooling time is 2-3 hours, wait three hours before opening the door.

Other things that can help reduce cooling time include:

Power

Cooling a freezer takes a significant amount of electricity. Ensure the voltage of the freezer matches the voltage on your outlet. Also, plug the freezer into its own power outlet, not a power strip with other appliances.

Room temperature

Wherever you install the freezer, ensure that the surrounding air is at or below room temperature (68–72 °F). Turning the air conditioning on might help, but don’t expect it to make a huge difference. If your freezer is in a room without air conditioning, like a garage or pool house, check the temperature to ensure it doesn’t exceed the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Ice cubes

Try putting ice cubes or an ice block into the freezer after it’s been cooling for a while. Try to minimize door opening as you do this. Add frozen food after the recommended time frame to help the freezer maintain its chill.

When Can You Safely Put Food in the Freezer?

The FDA recommends keeping your freezer at 0°F. So, wait until your freezer reaches that temperature before adding food, especially if the food isn’t already frozen solid.

How do you know when the freezer reaches 0°F?

Some freezers have a built-in digital control panel that displays the temperature, so if you have one, make sure it’s functioning properly.

Otherwise, purchase an appliance thermometer (like this one on Amazon) to keep tabs on the temperature. Put the thermometer in the freezer, close the door, wait 15 minutes, then check the temperature. If the temperature is 0°F, you’re good to go.

Even if your freezer has a built-in thermometer, I recommend purchasing a separate one as a backup. They’re super cheap and provide a great backup if the built-in one malfunctions.

Suppose your freezer doesn’t have a built-in temperature display, and you don’t buy a separate appliance thermometer. In that case, you won’t know if your freezer is unexpectedly warming, possibly due to a malfunction.

You can also try the ice cube test. Fill an ice cube tray with water, pop it in the freezer, and when it freezes, you know it’s cold enough to store food.

Final Thoughts

On average, stand-alone freezers take around four hours to cool down. If you buy a fridge/freezer combo, the cooling time varies quite a bit, but most models cool in approximately 12 hours. Always check the manufacturer’s guidance.

To help your freezer cool down as quickly as possible, keep the door shut. Other things that can help include: keeping the freezer in a room that isn’t too hot, putting ice into the freezer during cooling, and ensuring the freezer is plugged into the proper outlet.

Most importantly, be patient. No matter the brand or model, freezers take time to get cold.

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