Fridges Buying Guide
Purchasing a Fridge
Bear in mind the following when shopping for a fridge:
- Always match the fridge to your lifestyle. If you buy a fridge that is too large, it will cost you more to run and you won’t see the benefit.
- Measure the space in which the fridge will sit carefully. Remember to leave 50mm clearance on each side for the heat produced during refrigeration to escape.
- Purchasing a model with digital controls and an LCD screen lets you monitor conditions inside your fridge.
- To avoid disappointment ensure you measure the doors and hallways of your home so you know in advance that the fridge will fit inside.
- Always check to see which side the fridge door is hinged on.
Types of Fridges
A French door fridge is for those who like their kitchen appliances to be a design feature of the room. They tend to feature bottom mounted freezers for convenience.
- French door fridges have two doors that open outwards to reveal the fridge cavity. They tend to offer excellent in-door storage.
- Most French door fridges feature an ice dispenser, a water dispenser or both. These are either plumbed in or come with a fillable water tank.
- French door fridges are considerably wider than top and bottom mount fridges. This results in more storage space but it also means you need to check your measurements thoroughly.
A side by side fridge — sometimes known as an American fridge — features a fridge and a freezer of equal height and width alongside one another. They are a favourite of large families.
- Side by side refrigerators offer large amounts of storage for fresh and frozen goods. Most food is kept at eye level so you don’t need to strain to reach anything.
- As a result of their size, side by side fridges have to work harder than smaller models. It is advisable to check operating noise levels before buying.
- Need to keep food at different temperatures? Look out for side by side fridges with independent cooling zones.
A bottom mount fridge is similar to a top mount fridge except for the fact that the freezer cavity is at the base of the unit. They are sometimes referred to as upside down fridges.
- Bottom mount fridges put refrigerated goods at eye level, which will suit anyone who cooks predominantly with fresh ingredients.
- Buying a bottom mount fridge will mean that you may have to bend down to access frozen foods, however, most freezers tend to have pull out drawers for easy access.
- Bottom mount fridges tend to be more expensive than top mount fridges and offer less design variety but they more than make up for this in convenience.
A top mount fridge features a freezer compartment above the fridge cavity. They are the most common type of refrigerator and, in the main, the most affordable.
- Top mount fridges are so popular that they come in a wide variety of styles and sizes to suit almost any kitchen décor and budget.
- Top mount fridges are ideal for anyone who prefers to have the freezer at eye level. However, this can make food at the back of the freezer hard-to-reach.
- Be aware that you may find that you have to crouch or bend down to see what is in certain parts of the fridge cavity.
If you have specific needs and don't require a freezer, then a fridge only option may be cheaper and more suitable.
- Without a freezer, a fridge only appliance allows for more space to keep your food cool and safely stored.
- Even though a fridge in this category does not include a freezer, it doesn't mean you have to sacrifice other technology. Many fridges come with advanced features like dynamic cooling.
- While a freezer is usually a necessity in most kitchens, a fridge only appliance can be perfect as a second unit or to fit a specific need.
Bar fridges are compact fridges that can be located in any room of your home. They tend to feature a glass door and internal lighting so you can easily check your stock levels.
- A bar fridge is ideal for a man cave or a media room as they are easy-to-install and can be placed in practically any convenient location.
- Bar fridges offer less functionality than larger fridges but this shouldn’t be a deal breaker if all you want to cool is beer and soft drinks.
- It is advisable to shop for a model with adjustable shelving as this will allow you to adapt the fridge to meet your needs.
A wine fridge keeps your wine collection in cellar conditions. They are a necessity for all wine connoisseurs and anyone with a desire to become one.
- Wine fridges control temperature, humidity, the stability of the unit and the amount of UV light. If a fridge can’t meet these criteria, it is not a wine cooler.
- Always shop for a fridge to suit your collection. If you have a diverse collection, consider a multi-zone fridge that can store wine at different temperatures simultaneously.
- If possible, purchase a model with adjustable shelving as this will allow you to modify the cavity to suit your need. Pull out drawers make it much easier to access your wines.
Size, Capacity & Storage
The size of the fridge you opt for should be dictated by how many people are in your household and your shopping habits.
- There are no hard and fast rules as to how much fridge space a household needs. However, you might like to take 100-150L of space per person as a guide.
- Adjustable shelves let you adapt your fridge cavity to suit your food shopping. They also help you store large items like a cut of meat.
- Most fridges are sold according to their total capacity, ie fridge and freezer combined. If you shop in bulk, be sure to check freezer capacity.
Purchasing an efficient fridge can reduce your energy bills and the environmental impact of your household.
- Efficiency is measured using an index that rates the fridge’s energy use against the size of the appliance.
- This is subsequently translated into a star rating. Stickers display ten stars in total, the final four of which are reserved for super-efficient appliances.
- An efficient fridge may require a more substantial initial outlay but it could save you money over an extended period. It will also help you do your bit for the environment.
Fridges come with a wide range of features, some of which can make your life easier and extend the lifespan of your appliance. Look out for the following:
- Refrigerators with built-in deodorisers and anti-bacterial qualities can prevent the build-up of odours and mould in your fridge for a more pleasant user experience.
- Frost-free fridges prevent ice build-up and eliminate the need for manual defrosting by using a fan to circulate dry, cold air throughout the freezer.
- Consider a fridge with an inverter compressor. These have less moving parts, meaning they are more reliable, last longer and run quieter.