I know this has been discussed a little, I did a search through older threads looking for some direction on my freezer purchase but have not come up with much information. I have decided that I am going to purchase a chest freezer, I may also purchase an upright in a couple of months, I had one but it died and I really need a chest freezer for the beef and chicken coming soon. Anyway, I am torn on the manual defrost/auto defrost option. I can get both close to home, they are the same size and similar price ranges. I know that they say the self defrosting models can cause food to dry out or get freezer burned but at what length of time are we talking? I don't plan on keeping meat around for a year, I plan to restock with meat every 6 months or less. With my size family and the size of the freezer I am purchasing 6 months is about all it will do me anyway. The manual defrost model supposedly keeps food better and uses less energy but then you have to deal with defrosting it. The auto defrost is convenient but I don't want to compromise the food quality after putting the hardwork and money into getting it in the freezer. So, I am wondering if anyone here has had experience with either or both and if you can offer some insight as to whether the food starts drying out or gets freezer burned before a year, if the auto defrost is worth the extra money to run, is the manual defrost as big as a pain as I remember my old freezer being etc. Thanks.