Chest freezers open from the top, offer more storage space and have heavier insulation that holds the cold better than a combination refrigerator-freezer. They do require more ground space since they sit lengthwise, as well as adequate room on top of the appliance to accommodate the door.
While chest freezers all have one basic design, refrigerator-freezers come in various configurations. Usually on the small side, a refrigerator with freezer has one door that opens both compartments. A top-mount refrigerator has two doors, with the top one for the freezer section. A bottom-mount refrigerator has the freezer on the bottom. Both are more energy-efficient than the single door variety.
Side-by-side refrigerators have the freezer on one side and the fridge on the other, each with its own door. The French-door refrigerator has two doors and one pull-out door for the bottom freezer. These are larger units that offer easier access to both frozen and fresh foods.
Compared to all of these, the chest freezer is a stand-alone unit. If offers a more economical way to store more frozen food, but users also need to purchase a regular refrigerator for simple cold storage. If space is an issue, one solution is to put the chest freezer in a basement or garage and buy a combination unit for the kitchen.