What is the best temperature for a freezer?

Updated July 19, 2017

Storing foods at a proper temperature is vital to maintain the quality of the food and prevent potential spoilage. Freezers are meant to preserve food by freezing it to prevent bacterial growth from forming. Improper temperature in a freezer can gradually spoil the food inside and make it unsafe for consumption.

Proper Temperature

Freezers should be left at -17.8 degrees Celsius or lower to make sure the items inside will freeze. Freezers stop bacteria from forming and allow food to be stored for long periods of time.


Nearly any type of food can be frozen and stored for later use. Some foods, however, do not freeze well, such as lettuce, eggs, potatoes, rice, pasta and cheese. Foods like meat and poultry last longer since the excess moisture is lost when they are cooked.

Temperature Affecting Quality

If the temperature inside the freezer fluctuates, the food inside may not last as long as intended. The food could spoil more quickly or show signs of gradual damage, such as changes in colour, texture and taste.

Health Concerns

Freezers are set to 0-17.778 degrees Celsius since bacteria cannot grow in that low of a temperature. Freezing does not kill bacteria but can slow its growth and keep food edible for a much longer period of time.

Storage Tips

Packaging food that goes into a freezer properly is important for maintaining its quality. Wrapping materials such as freezer paper and freezer bags work well for storing foods and maintaining their freshness. Sturdy containers made of plastic can also work as long as they are freezer-safe.

Freezer Burn

Freezer burn happens when the moisture on a food's surface evaporates and dries it out. To help prevent freezer burn, the food should be tightly sealed and stored at a 0 degree Fahrenheit or lower temperature. Food stored in containers should also have as much extra air removed as possible.

Safety Check

A thermometer can be placed in the freezer to check its temperature and make sure it is at or near -17.8 degrees Celsius. The temperature should be checked weekly and when the freezer is showing signs of any problems.

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About the Author

Adam Bernal is a writer and journalist who has been working professionally for approximately five years. He worked as a writer and photographer for the Vail Sun and Benson News Sun publications in Arizona for two years. He also has several articles posted on eHow. Bernal is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a bachelor's in journalism and a minor in English.