From Freezing to Cooling: Can You Convert a Chest Freezer into a Refrigerator?

By Bobby Rock •  Updated: 05/29/23 •  4 min read

This blog post explains how to transform a chest freezer into a refrigerator without disassembling it. By using a temperature-regulated thermostat, the freezer can be switched to refrigeration mode simply by plugging it into the thermostat.

The process involves programming the thermostat, which takes about a minute, and hanging it outside the freezer while placing the temperature probe inside. The thermostat acts as an on/off switch, maintaining the desired temperature range.

Converting a chest freezer into a refrigerator is an energy-efficient solution, and it can be easily reversed by disconnecting the thermostat. The Inkbird temperature controller is recommended for its affordability and simplicity, making the process hassle-free.

So you have a chest freezer lying around and you aren’t using it for keeping things frozen anymore.  Or maybe you just don’t have that many things to keep frozen.

Now it’s just a big box taking up space in the basement or garage.  The thing most people don’t know is, you can turn that chest freezer into a refrigerator without taking it apart.

Can You Turn A Chest Freezer Into A Refrigerator?

Yes, you can easily switch it from freezing to a refrigerator using a temperature-regulated thermostat.  You plug the chest freezer into the thermostat and the thermostat will switch the chest on and off as the thermostat regulates your desired temperature.

convert a chest freezer into a refrigerator?

Is it easy to convert a chest freezer into a refrigerator?

It is as simple as plugging and unplugging the chord.  The more technical side will be programming the thermostat.  It takes about a minute and once it’s set you’re good to go.

The thermostat hangs outside of the chest freezer, and the temperature probe will be put inside via a 4-6 foot chord that comes with it.  The chord is thin and will not affect the seal around the lid.

There is no taking apart the chest freezer to solder wires, this can be done using a cheap thermostat that hangs outside of it.

How to turn a chest freezer into a refrigerator?

Using a temperature controller is how we convert the chest freezer to a fridge.   This does not hurt the freezer and it will still function as one.  With the temperature controller, this works as an on/off switch.  Turning the unit on, the freezer is engaged as usual, but once the inside temperature gets to what you set it to, let’s say 40 degrees, it shuts off.

Because the inside is insulated, that 40 degrees can stay at that temperature for hours until it needs to turn back on and cool again.  Usually, once it goes 3 degrees from what you set it to.

For around $30 dollars you can buy the Inkbird temperature controller online.

Does converting a chest freezer to a fridge use more electricity?

Chest freezers are efficient and in fact, use a small amount of electricity per year to run.  Converting to a refrigerator won’t use any more electricity acting as a cooler vs a freezer.

Refrigerators have bigger compressors and fans, and they have to use way more electricity.  That’s why converting a chest freezer is a practical idea.

Some things to consider for using less electricity are:

Can you turn it back to a chest freezer?

Yes, you can turn it back to a chest freezer from the refrigerator.  Just unplug the thermostat and connect it back to the wall outlet and set your freezer thermostat and you’re all set.

It’s up to you and your needs, but it’s so simple and so efficient to do.

The inkbird temperature controller really is an affordable and simple way to convert it.

About 5 years ago, you would’ve had to re-wire the chest freezer to work like the refrigerator, but thankfully someone invented this device.  No need to take it apart and potentially ruin your freezer anymore.  As easy as plugin and set it, it’s awesome!

Bobby Rock