How to Choose the Right Refrigerator
Your refrigerator is arguably the most important appliance in your kitchen, which makes buying a new one a potentially stressful process. Let us help you find the right refrigerator for your wants and needs by calling our appliance repair and maintenance gurus today!
Table of Contents:
10 Tips on How to Choose the Right Refrigerator
If the kitchen is small (up to 8 sq. M.), choose a narrow refrigerator.
For a regular, medium-sized kitchen, a standard refrigerator (60×60) cm is suitable. For a large kitchen and a large family, you can choose a Side by Side refrigerator (we’ll talk about it later) or French Door (a refrigerator with swing doors and a freezer below). For more information, you can check here
The height of the refrigerator should be chosen depending on the height of its most active users so that they can easily reach the top shelves.
First of all, the volume of the refrigerator depends on its size, but still, the capacity of the chambers may vary from model to model. For a family of 3-4 people, the optimal volume of the refrigerator is 200-250 liters, and 200 liters for the freezer. For one person or a couple, a smaller volume will work, 120-150 liters. Large families are better off looking at a fridge of 300 liters or more.
3. Number of chambers and compartments
Chambers are thermally insulated compartments for products. Most often, there are two chambers: a freezer and a refrigerator. They can be located under each other, or nearby. The last option is a Side-by-Side refrigerator: the chambers in it are the same height but are of different widths (the refrigerator compartment is larger than the freezer), its two doors open like in a wardrobe. The Side-by-Side two-door refrigerator is a great choice for a large family or those who need to store plenty of food in the freezer.
In addition to the two main chambers, modern refrigerators can have additional chambers and compartments with a certain temperature regime.
- Freshness zone (zero chambers). Meat, fish, dairy and other perishable products, as well as cooked dishes, can be stored longer in there due to lower temperatures. That is, the products do not freeze, but all chemical and biological processes happen many times slower than in an ordinary chamber.
- Storage area for fruits and vegetables. The warmest compartment (8 °C), which is found in almost every modern model. Fruits, vegetables, and greens never freeze, remain tasty and healthy longer.
- Chamber for wine. You can store not only wine in there but also any other drinks. The temperature in such a chamber can be regulated.
It is impossible to say unequivocally which brand is better and which is worse. Especially because some are looking for budget models, and some for elite ones. The main criterion for ratings is the percentage of customer satisfaction. The ideal refrigerator is affordable, is good at freezing and cooling, does not consume too much electricity and lives for more than 10 years. You can search online for top brands of refrigerator manufacturers and choose the one that will suit your needs best.
5. Electricity Consumption
It is estimated that 20% of the average household’s energy consumption is spent on a refrigerator. Energy consumption indicators are individual for each device and should be indicated in the characteristics. Most often, a standard refrigerator consumes 200 to 300 kWh per year (i.e., an average of 17 to 25 kWh per month).
Refrigerators are marked with letters from A +++ (most economical) to G (least). This is an estimate of the amount of energy loss during operation. Moreover, sometimes a class A +++ technique requires more kWh than class A. Why? This means that the first one itself spends more (for example, due to the increased volume).
6. Noise level
The noise level, as well as the energy class, is indicated on a special sticker on the refrigerator door.
- 25 dB is the same noise level as in an apartment building: clocks, steps on the stairs, cars outside the window;
- 35 dB is not heard in the next room if the door is closed;
- 45 dB interferes with the conversation if you stand next to the fridge.
Of course, the refrigerator is noisy only while the compressor is running. But there is an exception: the No Frost system requires fans, which can buzz longer and more often.
7. Cooling systems: Drip and No frost
There are two cooling systems: drip and know frost. Why are they needed and what is the difference? Since warm moist air enters the fridge with each opening of the refrigerator door, it cools down in the chamber, turns into drops of water, and then into ice. For the prevention of ice, the drip system and the No Frost system are also needed.
The drip system means the presence of an evaporator at the rear wall, which collects all excess moisture. During compressor operation, it cools down and water freezes on it. Then the compressor turns off, the evaporator heats up, the water melts flows down through special channels into the sump, and evaporates. The system does not work in the freezer: you need a plus temperature for that to work. However, it is usually opened less frequently, so the problem of snow growth is not so urgent. But if there’s already too much snow, you will have to defrost it manually.
The No Frost system includes fans. The evaporator is in a separate cavity. When the compressor is turned on, the fans drive air through this cavity, it cools, and water remains on the evaporator. Cold air is evenly distributed throughout the chamber. As a result, the temperature is the same on all shelves, there is no moisture, and the back wall does not freeze. Some manufacturers install filters for cleaning and disinfecting air, which reduces the risk of bacteria and mold. The advantages of the drip system are obvious.
However, there are cons in the No Frost refrigerators, too:
- More noise due to fans;
- Higher power consumption;
- A separate cavity takes up space, i.e. less capacity with the same dimensions;
- It is still recommended to be defrosted once a year;
- The price is higher.
It used to be that refrigerators with two compressors were much more convenient because you could defrost a freezer separately. But modern devices rarely defrost at all, and even with semi-automatic control, you can separately turn off the cameras. But in large, expensive refrigerators, two compressors are needed in order to quickly cool loads of food in both chambers. So, buying a two-compressor refrigerator does not make much sense, but you can take a closer look at the novelty – a device with an inverter compressor. They constantly work to maintain temperature. Depending on the situation (you opened the door, put a lot of warm products), it can cool down more actively, and then slow down.
9. Additional functions and features
- Protection from children – in some refrigerators it consists only in the inaccessibility of buttons, and in some – in blocking the control panel and doors. For families with small children, this feature is an absolute must-have.
- Antibacterial coating. Spraying a very thin layer of silver-containing reagent inhibits the growth of certain bacteria that can accelerate food spoilage and cause unpleasant odors.
- Ice generator (but most often it increases the price of the refrigerator exactly by the cost of a separate generator, and you will still have to wait several hours for your ice)
- Super Defrost.
- Transparent boxes (convenient to see your veggies without having to open the box)
- Various types of additional shelves, etc.
Refrigerators come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, etc., so choose the one that suits your preferences and your kitchen design.