Self-Defrosting vs Manual Defrosting Freezer: (2024)

By Payal

A self-defrosting freezer, as the name suggests, cycles on/off automatically in a given period. It melts the ice inside the freezers on its own, which otherwise would have accumulated the space. The manual defrosting freezer does not have this feature, here you will have to melt and remove the ice on your own.

Before buying a portable mini fridge, know the type of freezer it has. Purchasing according to your convenience would make your life easier. The major difference between the two freezer lies in the way they handle the excess ice and eliminate it. Talking about the self-defrosting freezer, it comes with a periodic on/off heating cycle.

This phenomenon happens throughout the day. These freezers have a small hose located at the back of the freezer. After the defrosting process, the water from the ice passes through that hose and lands at the tray placed below the fridge. A manual defrosting freezer is entirely dependent on you to remove the excess ice from its cavity.

Key Differences

There are several differences between both the types of freezers. In this article, we will discuss all the points in detail.

How it works



Also known as frost-free freezer, they come with a self-cleaning technology designed for user’s convenience. The whole defrosting cycle carried out here does not require any manual intervention. There are small coils present inside the freezer which heats up at regular intervals leading to the defrosting actions. The easy automatic deforestation will help to save your time and labor.

Manual defrosting

This type of freezers do not contain any such automatic heating elements that can prevent the frost from building up. As an owner, you will have to manually remove the frost or it can restrict the airflow inside the fridge. If too much ice covers the coil, then it will impact the way in which your food is kept cold inside the fridge.

Winner: When it comes to your convenience, a self-defrosting freezer wins the race. They are hassle-free and can save a lot of your time and labor.




Both upright and chest fridges can have frost-free freezers. These fridges are designed for your convenience. They help in easy organization, and retrieval of your frozen food.

Manual defrosting

Most of the chest freezers come with the manual defrosting feature. They take up more horizontal floor space and are not as convenient as the upright fridges.

Winner: Both types of freezer come in different models. Winner for the appearance category actually depends on your preferences. For example, if you like chest freezers, most of them have manual defrosting while only a few come with the self-defrosting feature.




One of the main reasons behind the popularity of a self-defrosting freezer is that it is really easy to maintain. You will just have to keep an eye on the condition of the hose and alignment of the tray beneath to ensure hassle-free services.

Manual defrosting

You would need to manually remove the frost from the freezers when it’s around half-inch thick. It is a tedious and time consuming process. You will first have to remove everything from the freezer. Next, you will have to remove the large chunks of ice. This will be followed by draining out the excess water from the freezer.

Winner: Self-defrosting freezer is the winner when it comes to ease of maintenance.




Due to all the coil heating and other actions going on inside the self-defrosting freezer, it tends to make different types of noises. Those are absolutely normal, and they mean that your device is working right.

Manual defrosting

These freezers are usually less noisy. However, some newer versions of these freezers come with heavy compressors, which might make some noise.

Winner: If you want to opt for a quieter appliance, you would like manual defrosting freezer more.

Use of energy



This freezer type operates automatically, by switching the coil on/off and hence it uses more energy. Temperature fluctuations are common for self-defrosting freezers. They have to work hard to restore it to its initial temperature.

Manual defrosting

These freezers are not only cheaper, but they are energy-saving too. It is because less cold air is lost due to the structure of the chest freezer and they are capable of maintaining a constant temperature.

Winner: Manual defrosting is more energy-saving compared to the self-defrosting variant.




The automatic features of the self-defrosting freezer does increase its cost.

Manual defrosting

This one costs less for obvious reasons. They contain fewer components but are the same in size as that of fridges with a self-defrosting freezer.

Winner: The manual defrosting freezer costs less and hence is a winner in this category.

Things that are similar

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There are certain elements in both the freezer, that we cannot really compared or decide on a winner, like:

  • Installation- There is no difference in the way both the freezers are installed. Ensure to plug the fridge to the right outlet for best performances.
  • Lifespan- The lifespan of the fridge generally depends on the brand and mode, irrespective of the freezer it has.

Final words

Depending on whether you have more time or money, you can choose between either of the freezers.

For people looking for convenience, easier maintenance and hassle-free options, a self-defrosting freezer is the right choice. If you wish to go low on cost, save energy and dislike the noise of the fridge, then manual defrosting freezer is your thing. It all depends on your preferences.