Fridge freezers come in all widths, depths and sizes, so measure the space you have before searching for your dream product. The most important measurement is usually width, standard widths are usually 50, 55 and 60cm, then height is not normally so important unless you have a cabinet above the space where you will be putting the fridge freezer. Depth is normally standard – 50 and 55cm products will normally fit complete within a 6ocm depth, but 60cm wide products can sometimes protrude a little bit. It’s always good to leave some ventilation around the appliance to ensure it works to its optimum capacity.
This means there will be a fan in the freezer which will automatically defrost the ice, so you don’t have to waste time chipping away at the ice that has accumulated. If ice starts
to accumulate it will also take up valuable space and the compressor (the engine of the fridge) will have to work harder to cool through the ice.
If you don’t mind having to defrost the freezer then you could go for a static or manual defrost product (non frost free), you will normally have to defrost the freezer twice a year. They will probably be cheaper to buy and the freezer will have a little bit more capacity as there will be no fan in there, but if you allow the ice to build up then you will start restricting the capacity.
Some manufacturers are now starting to bring ‘Low frost’ products to the market. This still means you have to defrost the freezer, but maybe just once a year as opposed to twice a year.
How much food and drink can I fit into my fridge freezer, a lot hopefully, we always seem to need more space.
When you look on retailer or manufacturer websites, you will be faced with Net and Gross capacities. Gross volume would indicate the total internal capacity, whereas net capacity will include the actual usable capacity once all the furniture such as shelves, door racks and drawers have been taken into consideration. So, it is normally best to take account of the net capacity, as this will be your usable storage space.
You will also need to decide if fridge or freezer space is more important to you, there are lots of products to choose from and some will have big fridges and others will sacrifice some fridge space to have a bigger freezer.
If you do want a bigger freezer space, then always check the net capacities as sometimes you can be fooled into thinking the freezer space is bigger on one model compared to another if it has more freezer drawers. A product with 3 large freezer drawers can easily have more capacity than one with 4 smaller freezer drawers. Don’t just base you decision on the number of drawers.
The biggest single thing you want from your fridge freezer is to keep your food as fresh as possible. There are many claims from manufacturer’s that they have technology to keep your food fresher for longer, I’ve outlined a few below:
- Humidity controlled salad crisper – Fruit and vegetables do need humidity to keep them fresh, this is normally done with a special cover in the salad crisper, which locks in the right amount of moisture.
- Meat and Fish drawer – separate drawer in the fridge which keeps at a lower temperature than the rest of the fridge.
- Air vents in the fridge – Sometimes in the fridge you will see ice droplets forming on the back wall, these then defrost and the water evaporates. These days, a lot of models have air vents in the fridge so these droplets do not form, the air vents also cool the fridge a lot quicker and keep a more stable temperature.
- Ioniser/Oxygen technology which release friendly molecules into your fridge, that go around and remove odour and bacteria forming unfriendly molecules. A bit scientific and a trip back to chemistry class is really needed to understand this.
Suitable for Garage or Outhouse
Want to place your fridge freezer in your garage or an unheated room? Then shop very carefully as this will invalidate most warranties.
Most fridge freezers are controlled by a thermostat in the fridge (the thermometer which controls your fridge and freezer temperature). If it thinks the fridge is cold enough (which could happen in a cold environment such as a garage) it will turn off everything including the freezer compartment and your food will start to defrost.
There is one manufacturer that does guarantee that its frost free fridge freezers (not static) will continue to work in an unheated room and that is Beko, with what they claim to be ‘Freezer Guard‘ technology. Just one note of caution, if you are keeping food with a high water content in the fridge, eg lettuce, tomatoes, then these could start to freeze if the temperatures gets really low.
Water dispensers are becoming increasingly popular and offer a nice solution for getting chilled water straight from your fridge, without having to store bottles in the fridge or waiting for the cold water to actually get cold from the tap.
All will be non-plumbed so you don’t have to worry about plumbing anything in. Instead, the water is normally stored inside the fridge door in a separate tank. This tank can take up some space in the fridge door though.
A+ is the minimum standard and all fridge freezers have to be at least A+ energy rating. The best energy rating is A+++, but how much do you actually save, buying an A++ or A+++ model rather than the standard A+?
Normally an A++ or A+++ will be more expensive to buy, so it is worth looking at the energy consumption figures of each model and working out the costs per year. For example, if you are paying £100 more for an A++ model, how much energy will you save per year?
You will sometimes get extra features in a higher energy rated model, so it’s worth looking closely at the specification.