If you need to acquire a refrigerator, don’t consider to study every refrigerator on the market. There are simply thousands of models. To make a good choice you just have to figure out what you require. While reviewing different features, the criteria on which most people base their decision is:
1) Refrigerator sizes and capacity
Before shopping for a refrigerator, decide where are you going to put it and what capacity do you need. The choice of size is made according to the proportions of space available. Conventional refrigerator depth is 60cm, but if you have a lot of free space, you may choose one with 80cm. The height depends on chamber composition and may vary from 50 to 210cm. Width differs from 60 to 100 cm. The refrigerator capacity should allow to arrange products not very close to each other, so that the air could circulate. Some more details…
For small flats and for those who don’t need a large refrigerator, small and compact refrigerator will be convenient. Such models have usually one chamber, with small freezing section (there may not be freezer at all). The sizes of such models are 160cm height (but there are even smaller, like 50cm), width and depth are usually standard 60 x 60cm. These refrigerators are actually the best choice for hotels and for those who live alone.
European type refrigerators can also be placed in your small kitchen. They have a narrow width (60cm) but can touch even 2, 5m high. The standard depth for European countries is 60cm. In relation to the height, the capacity may vary from 200 to 350 liters. As the freezing chamber and cold store have separate doors, they are placed one under the other. It’s common to find the freezing chamber on the bottom, but it can be vice versa. Such models are perfect for small families. The inaccessibility of top shelves to small people, especially to children, can be a disadvantage.
But if you have a large kitchen, then it’s recommended to buy a wide refrigerator with the maximum width of 1 meter. The Asian brands (Samsung, LG) offer these kind of models. Their advantage over the European models is that these ones would be much lower (under 180cm) and more convenient to everybody to access. The freezing chamber is usually on the top.
You can choose a large refrigerator among the Side-by-Side models. Their design is similar to cabinet with two side doors: freezing chamber and cold store. Their capacity ranges from 300 to 650 liters. As their sizes are very large: width up to 1m, depth up to 85 cm, height up to 180 cm, these Side-by-Side refrigerators are perfect to store lot of products.
Keep in mind the door opening when choosing the refrigerator because when the doors are open, they can limit movement in small rooms. A good feature on some models is the possibility to shift the side in which the door would open.
2) Built-in refrigerator
The build-in refrigerators offer the convenience that it fits perfectly in your kitchen interior. On top of that, you can control your build-in refrigerators without actually opening its door as the temperature detectors are on the outside. You can use the space under the refrigerator for the dishwasher and shelves. The disadvantages are the costs and it’s useful capacity that’s 2 times smaller then it’s size. A good suggestion for mounting is to let the air to freely circulate by having slits in the furniture.
3) Number of chambers
As you can choose a number from 1 to 3, it’s preferred to take in account all the possibilities as their functionalities vary a lot. The refrigerators with just one chamber are small and have only one door. They are usually not equiped with a freezer section, but some models have a small freezer, that could store up to 2kg of meat.
The two-chamber refrigerators offer a freezer and a cold store and may have one or two doors. The gains of having two doors is that the chambers are isolated and opening the door of one chamber doesn’t affect the other one. On the long term, the energy power consumed is actually lower for temperature maintenance.
The triple-chamber refrigerator try to take an advantage of this idea even more, but the reduced payload volume due to their separation actually decreased their level of popularity.
The refrigerators with top freezing chambers can save up to 10% more energy than other models.
It’s important to take in account how large your family is, so there is enough room for their needs.
4) Cold store
The cold store is the most accessed part of the refrigerator and usually has a lot of different shelves (glass or in form of lattice) and containers.
While lattices strong point is that they don’t prevent air circulating in the cold store, glass shelves have a more esthetic look and can be easily cleaned. Make sure you can make any combination of shelves height as you may have varying hight products to store in them.
Regarding the defrosting, you can choose between dropping system and No Frost system. While the dropping defrosting system collects moisture in a special tray to allow it to evaporate, it’s recommended to defreeze your refrigerator twice a year and actually cost less than the No Frost system.
5) No Frost system
As only one temperature is maintained in the whole chamber, the advantage is that you don’t have it to defrost it manually as the moisture condenses and evaporates automatically.
The disadvantage is that it takes up a lot of the capacity of the chamber and limits its payload.
6) Refrigerator compressor
Choosing between one or two-compressor refrigerator depends on many factors.
It’s clear that the small refrigerator will include only one compressor. Large refrigerators with one compressor are less expensive, but the down side is that the compressor will maintain temperature for both, the freezer and the cold store. So, setting a lower temperature in one chamber would mean that the compressor will use additional energy to cool them both.
This is the main reason why it’s advisable to select a refrigerator with two compressors. Firstly, only one compressor is not able to cool the big number of items quickly. Secondly, two compressors is always a must for a refrigerator with two separate chambers. Having separate motor cool its own chamber allows you to set different chamber temperatures. However, there are available a few models that allow that with just one compressor. When washing one chamber, an interesting advantage for the two-compressor refrigerator is that you can turn off its connected compressor while the one for the other chamber can continue operating normally.
There are different types of constructions inside the freezer, depending on its position. If the freezer is in the bottom part, then it usually has three cases that can be moved out. If the freezer is on the top, then it is usually divided by shelves.
The primary criteria for freezing chamber are the payload volume and the ability to maintain certain temperature. Products shelf life depends on the store temperature. To store just one week, the temperature of -6°C is enough and indicates that the refrigerators has one star. If the temperature is -12°C, then the products can be stored for one month (two stars). If the temperature is -18°C, then your food will stay fresh for three month (three stars). Having the possibility to set the temperature lower than -18°C, allows you to keep even half a year and those refrigerators are marked with four stars.
You can have automatic or manual defrosting system. Having a manual defrosting system you’ll have to switch off the freezing chamber, remove the hoar-frost and wash the chamber.
Choosing the refrigerator, don’t forget that the bigger is the freezing chamber, the smaller will be the cold store. Decide, which chamber is necessary for you.
8) Zero zone
The Zero zone chamber has permanently zero temperature and high humidity. It will allow the stored food to keep fresh for a long time. It’s perfect for those times when you want to cook products after a few hours and not want to freeze them completely.
9) Energy consumption class
It is important to choose the right refrigerator according to its energy consumption class. The most economical ones are marked with letter “A”. The next are “B” and “C” classes, which are not very different from the first class and are considered to be economical. The difference between classes also consists in the ability to keep certain temperature without electricity. That’s why searching for a higher class you may overpay for the refrigerator. Considerable difference in price of two close by the energy consumption class refrigerators isn’t worth of it. The main is, that the letter showing the class were no less then “C”.
Besides, if you want your refrigerator to use less energy and save some money on the long term, you should follow these simple rules. First, don’t put in the refrigerator the products, which temperature is higher then the room temperature. Don’t leave the doors open for a long time. Place the refrigerator as far away from the cooker and battery as possible.
10) Refrigerator price
The price of the refrigerator is an vital factor. You are clearly not interested an unaffordable refrigerator. The selling price will be dependent on the volume and the number of chambers, and also on their capabilities and the defrosting type. Added parts of the price will depend on the number of compressors, energy consumption class, and of course, the brand name. Additional functions increase the price. As an example, a useful function is a sound to signal when the door is being open for too much time.