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Can You Transport a Freezer On Its Side?

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By Elizabeth Masterman

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When you move house, there is so much to think about! If you are trying to work out how to best fit everything you own into that moving van, you might wonder if your upright freezer has to stay, well, upright in transit.

Can You Transport a Freezer On Its Side?

It’s best to keep your upright freezer in a vertical position when transporting it, but if this is not possible, lie it on the side where the compressor is and ensure it stands in its new location for at least as long as it was lying down before you plug it in.

Tips for Transporting a Freezer Safely

A freezer is heavy and awkward to move, so you will need at least two people to move it and using a dolly will make the job considerably more manageable. But, there are still a few tips to follow along the way:

Empty and Defrost

Make sure your freezer is empty ahead of moving day. It’s best if you can plan and make sure you’ve eaten up the contents ahead of moving day.

Otherwise, ask a friend or relative if you can pop a few items in their freezer for a few days. You should also remove any loose shelves or drawers and wrap them carefully for transport. 

Make sure the freezer has been unplugged and allowed to defrost for at least 2 hours. If it is heavily frosted, it may take longer, so try to allow for this.

Towels in Freezer for Defrosting


It’s a good idea to take this opportunity to clean the freezer, inside and out. Use a cloth and either an antibacterial spray or dissolve one tablespoon of baking soda in a litre of water and use this solution.

Don’t forget to clean the inside of the door and the seal around the door, as well as the top of the unit. You should also dust or hoover the coils on the back of the appliance.

Make sure you dry the inside of the unit thoroughly, and if it’s going to be closed for a while, it’s a good idea to buy a charcoal-activated odour absorber to keep it fresh.


You don’t want the door to fall open during transit, so use tape, a bungee cord or a rope around the unit to hold the door closed. If you choose tape, pick a low-tack version to minimise the risk of damage to the unit.

You could also use tape to secure the wire and plug in place to reduce the risk of tripping over it.

Loading It

Tip the freezer slightly to allow you to slide the dolly under one side, then carefully rebalance the weight to get the freezer onto the dolly. You may need to tip it on its side to get it through doorways. If this is the case, try to tip it as little as possible and for as short a time as possible.

When you get to the moving van, work together carefully to lift the freezer into the vehicle. It may be a good idea if one of you is in the vehicle and one is outside the vehicle. Make sure you have a clear plan and lift together.

Once the freezer is in the van, you should decide how to position it.

It is best to keep it upright, but if this isn’t possible, you may be able to transport it on its side. This isn’t advisable with some makes and models, so it’s best to check the manual.

Whether you decide to transport your freezer vertically or horizontally, it is a good idea to wrap it in sheets to protect the surface and secure it with ropes so it cannot move.

Unloading It

When you get to your new home, lift the freezer carefully from the van, again being mindful of sharing the weight between you. Place the freezer back on the dolly and use this to get the freezer to the new location.

If the freezer has been upright throughout the moving process, it only needs to remain unplugged for as long as it was in the moving van.

If you had to lay your freezer on its side, it must stand upright for at least as long as it was on its side before switching on. Then you can replace the doors and shelves. Wait until it reaches -18oC before using it to store food. 

What Happens If You Transport a Freezer on its Side?

You should avoid transporting a freezer on its side if you can, and if you must, lie it on the side with the compressor.

This is because the compressor contains lubricating oils to help keep everything running smoothly, and this is held in place by gravity when the freezer is upright.

If the freezer is not upright, then the oils from the condenser can flow into the system. If the freezer is switched on while oil is in the wrong part of the system, it could cause permanent damage. 

However, if you leave the freezer stood upright in its new location for at least as long as it was on its side, the oil should return to the condenser and then will be safe to switch on without causing any damage.

Also, be aware there are some types of freezers you should never transport on their side. If in doubt, consult the instruction manual.

Does the Same Guidance Apply to Fridges and Fridge Freezers?

Yes, it does.

Fridges and freezers work in a very similar way, so the advice is the same – ideally, they should be transported upright, some may be transported on their side, and they should never be transported on their back.

Do you still have questions about when you can transport a freezer on its side? Then check these FAQs out:

Can a Freezer Be Transports On Its Back?

A freezer should never be transported on its back. The essential components of a freezer are at the back of the unit and often exposed. Even if these parts are not visible, laying the appliance on its back means all the weight of the unit is resting on these vital parts, risking damage.

Can You Transport a Chest Freezer On Its Side?

No, you should transport a chest freezer with the lid facing up. You want to keep it positioned in the same way that you find it in your house.

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