Fridge and Freezer Buying Guide
As with most large appliances the most important aspect when choosing a new fridge or freezer is the dimensions. Make sure you triple check you have the available space required. Also keep enough room around the side and back for ventilation. Another thing to keep in mind is leaving enough room to allow the doors to open.
2. Size/ Capacity
Fridges and Freezers size or capacity is labelled by litres. Therefore, the more litres the unit is the larger and more capacity it has. The size of your fridge will be determined by the amount of people living in your home. If you buy a fridge to big you will use energy unnecessarily, however if you buy a fridge or freezer to small you will quickly need to upgrade. A general rule of thumb for people vs size is;
= 300L or less
= 300L – 400L
= 400L – 500L
= 500L – 600L
5 People +
= 600L or more
There are many different layouts of fridges and freezers, so you will need to do your homework to figure out what type of best suited for you. A quick way to reduce your choice is to decide if you want a fridge and freezer combo or you prefer separate units. These are the most common layout options:
a) Top Mount Fridge (fridge and freezer)
A fridge and freezer combo unit. These products have freezers located at/within the upper section of a fridge. The freezer typically takes up around one-third of the entire space. If you are limited in size or have a small family these are great options. They are also one of the most popular choices.
b) Bottom Mount Fridge (fridge and freezer)
A bottom mount fridge is a fridge and freezer combo unit. These products have freezers located within the lower section of a fridge. They are the same as the top mount fridges only reversed. However, they can typically be more useful as the more popular items (typically stored in the fridge) are at eye level.
c) Side by Side (fridge and freezer)
These are typically fridge and freezer combo units. They typically have 2 doors, one on each side. One side is typically a fridge and the other a freezer. If you have a large family and want a single unit, these are great for you. They often come with additional features such as ice and water dispensers. The only real downfall regarding side by side fridges are they tend to use more energy and are not as energy efficient then top and bottom mount fridges.
d) French Door (fridge and freezer)
Is a fridge and freezer combo unit. These units have 3 or more doors and are typically larger and with a freezer in the lower section. If you have a large family and want a single unit these are for you. A great advantage of these is that the compartments are very wide, meaning those cooking lovers get to place large items with ease.
e) Pigeon Pair (fridge and freezer)
Pigeon Pairs are 2 separate units they are designed to match. Therefore, you will have one vertical fridge and one vertical freezer side by side in the exact same design. These are great for really large families as they can provide a huge amount of capacity.
f) Vertical Fridge (fridge only)
A fridge only unit. These are tall standing fridges only. They often have a matching freezer. If you want a dedicated fridge only, these are great for you. These are one part of the pigeon pair.
g) Vertical Freezer (freezer only)
A freezer only unit. These are tall standing freezers only. They often have a matching fridge. If you want a dedicated larger freezer, these are great for you. These are one part of the pigeon pair.
h) Bar Fridge (fridge only)
Are smaller fridge only products. These are typically used for storage of beverages only. If you need some extra space in your entertainment area, these fridges are great.
i) Chest Freezer (freezer only)
A freezer only product. They typically have top mounted door(s) and are used when additional freezer storage is required. They also tend to be more energy efficient then upright freezers.
4. Energy Efficiency
Fridges and Freezers are rated in terms of energy efficiency by stars. The more stars the more energy efficient that particular fridge or freezer is. As a general rule top and bottom mount units tend to be more energy efficient then side by side units. Also keep in mind that units that have ice dispensers will use more power. As with most products the larger the unit the more energy that unit requires to cool.
Frost free is very common these days, however not all units have it. Frost Free prevents the built up of ice and eliminates the need for manual defrosting. It does this by using a fan to circulate dry cold air throughout the freezer.
As mentioned with French door take a good look at the shelves. Do you often cook larges dishes they require more space? Keep in mind features like spill proof shelves that have small gutters to catch spills. Also look for smooth and removable shelves as they tend to make life easier when cleaning.
Some units will allow you to control the temperature which can be great for keeping food exactly the way you want it. Other units will even have a separate compartment that you can allocate to a certain temperature (even change between fridge and freezer).
Ice and Water dispensers
Many units come with an easy access ice and water dispenser. These are great but will increase the price of the unit and will cost more to run as it uses more power. These units also need to be installed by a licenced professional. Also note that the ice and water dispenser will use up storage space inside the fridge.
Fridges with anti-bacterial systems will help destroy bacteria on food in the fridge. This helps prevent mould or mildew build up to keep food fresher.
Door opening direction
A simple consideration easily overlooked. Please keep in mind when choosing a fridge or freezer the preferred way you want the door to open. For example, the door can open from right to left, or left to right. If not considered by cause grief when using.
Some considerations for installation
- Measure the space as many times as you can
- Keep in mind ventilation space around the unit
- If it has a water dispenser you need a licenced plumber to install
- Keep in mind the door opening direction