Fridge-freezer: Buyers’ Guide
They’re such an important part of everyday life that it’s imperative to know which fridge freezer is the best option for you and your household, whether that’s just you or you, your partner, six kids, a dog, two cats and a goldfish!
Our buyers’ guide will give you a headstart, with all the info you need to make an informed buying decision, from which features to look for to what volume or capacity will suit your needs. After you’re clued up on the best fridge freezer for you and your family head over to our shopping and comparison pages where we’ve got a huge variety of fridge freezers at the best prices and plenty of deals and offers to keep your bank balance happy.
The type of fridge freezer you go for is often dependent on the space you have available and how much storage you and your family need. Here’s a rundown of the most common types of fridge freezer in the UK:
Integrated The standard, most common style of fridge freezer on sale in the UK, an integrated model features a freezer and fridge section and can come in varying capacities and sizes. Some models have equal sized sections, whereas others may have a larger freezer section and smaller fridge section or vice versa. A combi model will have an equal sized fridge and freezer and a top mount will have a smaller section on top of a larger section. Have a think about whether you prefer buying and using fresh food or foods that can be frozen as this is a good indication of which size and style to go for.
American Large American-style fridge-freezers are a stylish option and brilliant if you have a large family/household and have plenty of space. The fridge and freezer compartments sit side by side, meaning you have a generous amount of storage in both sections and don’t need to compromise one over the other. This style tends to be tall and the doors usually open in opposite ways from the centre.
Bear in mind that this style of fridge freezer needs to be kept about a metre away from a water supply and they can often be a little on the loud side. If you’re lacking in floor space this is not the best model for you.
Built-in An integrated fridge-freezer is brilliant if you like your kitchen to look neat and sleek. When closed, a built-in fridge freezer is completely hidden and blends in with the rest of your kitchen.
If your new fridge freezer will be living in an open plan kitchen, the noise levels emitted could be a very important factor in your buying decision. Fridge freezer noise levels are measured in decibels – anything under 40 decibels is considered reasonable, but anything nearing or over 50 is noisy – leave those noisy fridges for basements or utility rooms!
Fridge freezer features
Temperature Most freezers will have a thermometer so you that you’re able to keep an eye on or change the freezer’s temperature as necessary. The best fridge freezer models will have this on the outside rather than inside.
Fast freeze Freezers keep food at -18 C and fast freeze at -26 C, which is the optimum temperature for food to retain its nutritional value. Fast freeze works to freeze fresh food faster and can also be of benefit when warmer foods are introduced into the freezer.
Auto defrost Auto defrost is great if you can’t think of anything worse than having to defrost your freezer. It works by occasionally heating your freezer and using a blower fan to keep moisture out and circulate air.
Temperature warnings Warns you when the temperature in your fridge or freezer is too high to keep food fresh or frozen. An alarm or beeping feature is also useful if you have a habit of keeping the door open while you make a quick sandwich or unpack your grocery shopping.
Shelves/fixtures Some freezers may only have shelves, storage baskets or drawers. Most have a combination of all three, making it ideal to separate food groups such as salad, dairy and sauces. For the fridge side of your fridge freezer look for lots of compartments and places specifically designed for things such as egg holders and bottle racks. Pullout drawers and separate areas for different foodstuff is always useful and helps keep your fridge organized! Storage drawers are convenient as you can pull them out and see stored food.
Reversible doors Reversible doors are a great feature if you’re likely to be moving your freezer around as they allow you to open the door from different angles.
Anti-bacterial features Bacteria Guard is a system of anti-bacterial enzymes contained within the shelves and walls of certain freezers to destroy bacteria on food. Some fridges also include an antibacterial coating to keep the inside as hygienic as possible (though this shouldn’t replace regular cleaning!)
Fridge volume is measured in litres and can be categorized in the following way:
- 100-250 litres is great for a household of 1-2 people, giving you enough capacity for around a week’s worth of shopping.
- 200-450 litres is ideal for a medium sized family or household of 3 or 4 people.
- 450+ litres will be large enough for a big family or household of more than 5.
Second only to central heating, fridge freezers are the biggest energy-consumers in the home. Fridge freezers are given an EU-rated energy efficiency and performance rating by independent retailers, from A-G, with A the most economical and G the least. Trading Standards monitor standardized tests across the industry to regulate ratings.
Most modern-day fridge freezers are A-rated, but some manufacturers have tried to go further than this, with top of the range fridge freezers that are even more efficient, graded A+, A++ and A+++.
- A+ models achieve up to 10% reduction in energy consumption compared with A models.
- A++ models are designed to reduce your energy consumption by up to 20%.
- A+++ models can save you the most money – up to 30%.
It is sometimes the case that the more expensive the fridge freezer the higher graded it will be in terms of energy efficiency, with more energy-saving features , such as warning alarms and thicker insulation. This isn’t to say that cheap fridge freezers won’t be energy efficient, though – many will have basic energy-saving features; bear in mind annual running costs and the way you pay for your local electricity supply may also affect the cost of your fridge freezer.
If energy efficiency is an important factor in your buying decision, use the filters on the left hand side of our shopping pages to narrow down your selection nd ensure you’re getting the best energy-saving model for your money.
Now you know everything there is to know about fridge freezers it’s time to take a look at our shopping pages and exercise all that new-found knowledge.
Compare features or use the filters on the left-hand side to narrow down your search by capacity, size, energy rating or colour if you’re a style-conscious buyer and click on any deals or offers that take your fancy. Once you’ve clicked you’ll be transferred over to the site of an independent retailer where you will be guided through the buying process and, as it's us, you're guaranteed the best prices so you can find your perfect fridge freezer without breaking the bank.