Is your refrigerator no longer that strong and silent type? Or are you finding it harder to fit all your groceries in your old and reliable fridge due to a surge in family members? Maybe your fridge is about to take its last rattling breathbefore the grim reaper shows up to take its dearly departed soul. Whatever the case, buying a new fridge can be very difficult as refrigerators are one of the most expensive and space consuming appliances you will purchase for your home.
With all those late night trips to the kitchen just to open the door of your refrigerator to stare at the goodies hidden inside, you know that this appliance will be the most used and loved item in your house so you want it to last. Refrigerators are the centre of attention in your kitchen and it makes sense that you want it to look good while it does its job. Modern fridges are designer and you can find all sorts of styles and colours that are pleasing to the eye but before you jump right in and buy that candy apple red fridge you need to know what it has to offer besides it beauty.
There is a wide variety of styles available such as Top mount, Bottom mount, Side by side, French door, Pigeon pair, Wine coolers and bar fridges. Then there are all the special features that you may want to have like a water & ice dispenser, crisper drawer, dairy compartment, adjustable temperature controls, frost free, antibacterial coatings, door in door access, holiday mode, alarms, child lock, LED display and adjustable shelving. Before making a decision you will need to think about what your needs are and what extras you would like the fridge to have. This buyer’s guide will walk you through all the particular styles and functions so that you can grab that measuring tape out of the shed, measure your space and head out to your nearest store to look at the fridge displays.
TOP MOUNT REFRIGERATORS
Top mount fridges are usually what we visualise when someone says the word "fridge". They are the most common with large numbers being manufactured so there is quite a wide range available. The freezer compartment is located on the top while the refrigerator compartment is on the bottom. This fridge style is cheaper to purchase than other styles and cheaper to run. The only downsides are that the freezer doesn't offer much space in most models and you will need to bend to access the fridge component which is used more than the freezer.
BOTTOM MOUNT REFRIGERATORS
Bottom mount fridges have the freezer compartment located on the bottom of the unit and the refrigerator compartment at the top. This refrigerator style is slightly more expensive than top mount fridges and is slightly bigger too but won’t take up too much of your floor space. While these fridges are a little more expensive to run they are much more convenient as you won’t have to bend to access the refrigerator which is the compartment you will use the most. The freezer has a much more accommodating space than the top mount and most models now feature handy slight out drawers making it easier to dig through your frozen goods. The range of this style is not as vast as the top mount models but this style is becoming increasingly popular.
SIDE BY SIDE REFRIGERATORS
Side by side fridges are great for houses with high traffic in the kitchen. With the refrigerator component on one side and the freezer component on the other the doors are much slimmer making it easier for others to continue walking by while you have a dig around. This style of fridge has more features than top or bottom mount fridge such as a water and ice dispenser. Keep in mind that some features can take up more of your internal storage space and these fridges do have a narrower interior. The fridge side is usually wider than the freezer meaning that you may struggle to fit bulky items in the freezer side and you may have to bid farewell to that frozen pizza. Side by side fridges are more costly and not as energy efficient but both sections are easier to access especially for people who might be restricted to wheelchair mobility as they won’t have the same restrictions as top and bottom mount refrigerators.
FRENCH DOOR REFRIGERATORS
French door fridges are all the rage as they have the benefits of a bottom mount fridge and some of the benefits of a side by side. The refrigerator component is on top with outward opening doors that don't need to be opened at the same time meaning you won't let all the cool air escape while the freezer is down the bottom. The freezer can be made up of 1 or 2 doors. These fridges are very spacious and are wide enough to store large bulky items. With that in mind they do take up quite a fair bit of space in your home. Models of French door fridges have a wide variety of features depending on your needs and are have excellent organisational storage spaces. As you can expect the more features and space the more expensive the appliance.
PIGEON PAIR REFRIGERATORS
A pigeon pair is a stand-alone refrigerator and a matching stand-alone freezer. These look great together but do take up a lot of room in the kitchen. That being said if you only want the fridge in the kitchen, the stand alone freezer can be moved to another location in your house. Pigeon pairs are great for large families and people who love to entertain and need that extra room.
Bar fridges are commonly used in the home bar to stock sodas and ice but due to their size many people often use them wherever they think a mini fridge would come in use such as a home office or studio apartment. Bar fridges have an ice box that can be used for storing some frozen goods and ice cubes. Their capacity can range from 50 -150 litres but can cost as much to operate as a full sized fridge.
WINE REFRIGERATORS & WINE COOLERS
Variations in a normal refrigerator can alter the subtle flavours of wine. Normal refrigerators are not suitable to store wine as you can’t control the humidity or increase the temperature to suit the wine without risking other items that need to be stored at cooler temperatures. You can find wine fridges in different capacities depending on the size of your wine stash. Keep in mind that wine fridges will need to be placed in an area away from direct sunlight and quickly changing temperatures. Wine refrigerators can be used for either cellaring wine or cooling to serve depending on the temperature settings. Some models have different sections for serving and cellaring. Wine coolers however can only be used to cool wines before serving as they work like normal refrigerators. Wine coolers are not recommended for cellaring as they don't have the same features as wine refrigerators.
Refrigerator capacity is measured in litres as a guide a family of 2-3 could utilise the space of a 200 - 400 litre fridge whereas a family of 4 or more should be looking at fridges above 400 litres. Make sure that you have measured the space you will be putting the fridge in and allow for some extra room so that the doors can open properly. When in doubt the best option is to go for the larger fridge as you don't want to end up short on space and can always fit any extra shopping during holiday seasons.
Your refrigerator will be running day and night, 365 days a year. Make sure you check out the energy rating sticker to find out how much energy the unit will consume per year. The more stars, the more energy efficient your appliance is. Keep in mind that if you want to compare the energy rating with other fridges you have your eye on make sure you are comparing them with products that are of the same size and style.
FEATURES WORTH MENTIONING
Here are some features that you can find on modern fridges that can make life more convenient and luxurious.
Water & Ice dispenser - provides filtered water and ice without needing to open the fridge or freezer compartments. While this feature is very handy it can take up some of your storage space.
LED display - A screen on the fridge indicating the current temperature and other settings that you have adjusted.
Door in door access - A separate smaller door that can be opened to access frequently sought after drinks and condiments without actually opening the entire fridge door. Not only does this look funky but it will save you on your energy consumption too.
Adjustable shelving - no more being limited to your storage needs. Shelving is adjustable so that you can stack your 2 litre soda and water bottles upright on the shelves when they won’t fit in the door compartments.
Alarms and child-lock - if you haven't closed your fridge door properly your fridge will tell you by sounding its alarm. For families with sticky fingered children there's something for you too! Some compartments and dispensers are lockable so that accidents and spills can be avoided.
Antibacterial coating - Some models have built in antibacterial agents that prevent the growth of mould and other nasties multiplying within the fridge.
Eco/Holiday mode - taking that long overdue trip overseas or down the coast? No need to throw everything out and shut off the fridge. Some refrigerators come with a holiday mode which is a power saving feature.
Temperature controls - gives you the option to set different temperatures for the compartments in your fridge. Super handy for your butters and cheeses so that you don't have to leave them out and wait for them to soften up.
OTHER ASPECTS TO CONSIDER
Door - Consider the door handle height on the fridge and if the door opens to the right or to the left for top and bottom mount fridges.
Keeping it clean - if you love stainless steel but can’t stand the finger prints then look for the fingerprint resistant finish. Also shelves that are removable make cleaning much easier.
Roller feet - roller feet make the appliance easy to move. If it has 4 rollers make sure you check how the brakes work before purchasing.
STILL NEED HELP?
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