Fridge freezers are an important kitchen appliance that you’ll use every day in your home. So, if you’re hoping to buy or upgrade your current unit, you’ll require a checklist to ensure you make the right decision.
The type of fridge freezer you select will always depend on a variety of different factors. This includes the space you have available to fit your appliance in, your set budget and your personal preferences. Our handy fridge freezer buying guide will take you through the key factors to consider, to ensure you buy the best fridge freezer for your home.
Before you start
When you plan to buy a fridge freezer, it’s easy to become distracted with tempting new features and displays. With so many new appliances on offer, it can make your decision that much harder. However, you must consider the practicalities first, to ensure you invest in the right appliance for your home. Begin by considering how much space you have, your assigned budget for your purchase and the energy-efficient options available to you.
Here are the factors to ensure you buy the best fridge freezer for your kitchen:
Fridge freezers are one of the largest household appliances that feature in your home. The height of a single fridge freezer can range between 130cm and 200cm, with the width being around 55cm to 80cm. Although, the best fridge freezer isn’t always the biggest.
Firstly, you must accurately measure the space where your current fridge freezer is located, or the new area you intend to fill with your appliance. So, you’ll need to base the type of fridge freezer you’re looking at around these measurements, to avoid buying one that is too big or too small. And you should aim for two to five centimetres of extra space around your fridge, too. Capacity is key, so ensure you allow for approximately four to six cubic feet of fridge freezer space per person in your household.
On average, quality fridge freezers can start at around £400 to costs as high as £2,000 for an appliance with an unmatchable design and leading technology. And the running costs of a standard fridge freezer is around 12p a day. Unsurprisingly, larger fridge freezers will raise the price of your energy bill and cost you more money in the long run. So, it’s worth considering these factors before overstretching your budget for the biggest or latest appliance.
Energy efficiency is crucial to think about when searching for a fridge freezer, as this appliance is constantly running. And the best fridge freezer is one that’s energy-efficient, as this will cost you a lot less in terms of long-term energy bills; it also helps reduce your carbon footprint. As of March 2021, a brand-new energy label system was enforced, which removed the more confusing A+, A++ and A+++ ratings and replaced them with a scale from A to G. This was put in place to revive sustainability amongst manufacturers.
Types of fridge freezers
Over the years, different types of fridge freezers have emerged. Designs have evolved, with sleek new models taking centre-stage to suit a wide range of kitchens and preferences. Unlike the traditional top and bottom fridge freezers, there’s now a huge pool of options to deliberate over, including French door and American appliances, to name just a few. To whittle down the options and help you decide on the best fridge freezer, we’ve explained what each style entails.
A top freezer is a more traditional fridge freezer, and one that provides more usable storage compared to other styles. As its name denotes, it sits at the highest point of your appliance. Being able to view your frozen products from eye level is an extremely handy advantage, as you can see what items you have in, without having to bend down to find out.
These units are also more energy-efficient than the likes of bottom freezers, as a top freezer is further away from the compressor which produces heat to cool down the appliance. Its location makes it much easier to keep the heat out and doesn’t work as hard to achieve this.
Top freezers work perfectly well and offer great value, but design-wise, they are fairly simplistic. You may prefer this, while others will likely search for something a little bolder in style. These units usually provide wide open space, too, which is both a benefit and a drawback in terms of organisation.
Bottom fridge freezers are designed to prioritise the fresh food you store in your appliance, rather than the frozen food – which you’ll likely not require as often. Fridge food is consumed more regularly on a day-to-day basis, so investing in a bottom appliance is highly beneficial.
The fridge compartment of a bottom freezer is located at eye level, with the freezer section being situated closer to floor level. Units of this kind provide efficient pull-out freezer draws and built-in organisers, which ensures your items are neatly stored. These additions also increase accessibility to your frozen food, as you’ll need to crouch down to open this appliance. Bottom freezers are proven to be a more expensive purchase, when compared with a top freezer. So, weighing up your use of each compartment is crucial.
American fridge freezers differ from other taller fridge freezer styles, offering a side-by-side upright fridge and freezer compartment. Rather than using a single door, these types of fridge freezers feature a set of double doors. It can be easily opened from the middle, which is why this style of appliance is often described as a “double door fridge freezer”. American fridge freezers are also ideal if you require access to frozen food just as often as fresh produce.
Wider than standard fridge freezers and excellent for storage, this style is very beneficial for larger families. While its size is an advantage to some, it can be a disadvantage to others if you require a more compact fridge freezer, or don’t have the space to fit it into your home. For this reason, extra measurements are always required before purchasing an appliance of this kind. Take energy efficiency into consideration, too, as when you buy fridge freezers like this one, it uses more electricity when compared with others.
French door fridge freezers are upright units featuring two side-by-side doors which open either individually or together at once. The fridge compartment sits at the top of this unit, with the freezer located directly beneath, which can be accessed with a single or double door. The key highlight of this style of appliance is that it completely maximises storage while showcasing every item stored in both the fridge and freezer when opened in full.
Households with increased occupancy hugely benefit from the size and space that French door fridge freezers provide. And its pleasing design suits an array of kitchen styles. These types of fridge freezers are energy efficient, with their carefully considered design ensuring that the entire fridge doesn’t need to cool down at once, as one side of the fridge compartment can be opened alone.
Built-in (or integrated) fridge freezers can include any of the styles mentioned above. They are usually the standard size; the only difference is they are hidden from plain sight, using custom front panels to match the adjacent cupboards in your kitchen. This option lets you keep this appliance tucked away while melding into your seamless kitchen design.
Built-in fridge freezers may be pricier than freestanding models, but if your main priority is to upkeep your kitchen’s minimal design, this shouldn’t be an issue. Because cupboard doors will need to be purchased and installed, there are fewer options to choose from but there are still designs that will suit your tastes and budget. However, for those of you uninterested in hiding your fridge freezer, other styles will be much more beneficial.
Compact fridge freezers are an ideal choice for smaller kitchens, as well as office spaces. These types of fridge freezers are big enough to store your fresh food in, with a smaller freezer compartment located at the top of the unit. Ideal for kitchens with less wiggle room, compact fridge freezers can sit below shelving, in the corner of a room or even on your worktop. The size is handy for storing small amounts of food, but not as beneficial if you’re looking to store a huge amount in one unit.
One thing to bear in mind is the cost of these units. Running a compact fridge freezer can be as expensive as running a standard fridge freezer. So, don’t simply assume its smaller size equals cheaper running costs.
Should I have a separate fridge and freezer?
If you require a larger freezer space, opting for separate fridge and freezer units will be more beneficial. As, most fridge freezers offer smaller freezer space and prioritise fridge space instead. Larger families will see many benefits from owning separate units since there will be additional room and organised trays for both fresh and frozen food products. Before purchasing a separate fridge and freezer, you’ll need to consider how many people will be using these units, and the size and layout of your kitchen space.
Whereas, buying a fridge freezer is an excellent choice if you enjoy accessing everything in one place, and have a larger kitchen with extra room to store it in. Fridge freezers require a considerable amount of space fitting-wise. So, it’s imperative that you weigh up the space you have available and consider whether this product will suit your personal preferences.
Features of fridge freezers
Modern fridge freezers are constantly being updated with new and exciting features to utilise. But what does this entail and how can they benefit you? Here are five of the most desirable features to consider when buying a fridge freezer.
High-quality fridge freezers can offer brilliant climate control options. This feature allows you to control the temperature in the different areas of your appliance, including fridge compartments and in-door shelves – which will differ from the temperature of the main shelves. Some units of this kind offer advanced defrosting features, to prevent ice from building up in the compartments of your fridge, and offer more space and fresher produce. A fast freeze setting can also be used to lower the temperature of foods in your freezer.
Auto defrost and frost-free
Many fridge freezers now offer auto defrost functions to stop ice from building up in your fridge over time. This prevents vegetables and other goods from thawing at the back of the fridge, and ensures freshness of foods for longer. A hole towards the bottom of your fridge is added to save any condensation, which prevents ice from growing around your food.
Whereas a frost-free fridge freezer concentrates on the freezer portion of your appliance. You won’t have to defrost the freezer, but do bear in mind that frost-free appliances use a lot more energy over time and condensation may still build up in your fridge.
When buying a fridge freezer, one key feature that is extremely popular, and has become apparent from modern appliances, is the addition of in-door storage. This is an energy-saving storage solution located on the inside of the fridge door, where you can store the likes of condiments, fresh juices and bottled water.
Other innovative storage features include fold-up shelves and fitted wine racks, as well as tall and deep storage containers which are perfect for storing milk, eggs, bread and butter in. All of which help you maintain the organisation of your appliance.
Fridge freezers with a water dispenser and a through-the-door ice feature are highly beneficial if you love an ice-cold drink. This handy feature ensures you always have access to chilled beverages, by simply pressing a button on the appliance. How this is provided entirely depends on the model of fridge freezer, with some offering tanks which you’ll need to continually refill, and others being directly connected to your water supply.
Holiday mode is a great feature when you’re buying a new fridge freezer. It maintains the temperature of your fridge to 15 degrees when you empty it before leaving the house for a set period. Using this option allows you to save energy during your absence from your home, and prevents mould and unpleasant odours from entering your fridge. Using this function doesn’t affect the freezer’s temperature, either, which is especially handy.
Should I invest in a smart fridge?
A smart fridge is an innovative appliance that uses a Wi-Fi connection to control your fridge freezer from your smartphone. An app is typically recommended by the fridge brand, which you can download to keep up with your appliance. These units are certainly worth investing in for busy households; useful notifications let you check the sell-by date of the products sitting in your fridge. And recommended recipes are sent to your registered devices, based on what food you have in.
Other helpful features these units offer is voice control and energy monitoring. You can ask your fridge basic commands for it to open, while saving on electricity costs by monitoring issues like temperature control. These appliances are certainly worth investing in if you have a modern kitchen to match, and see benefits in accessing real-time information on your fridge when you’re away. The price of a smart fridge is usually higher than a standard unit, starting at around £600 for a cheaper model. But the long-term saving benefits – like reducing energy bills - can outweigh the initial unit cost.
Here at Wren Kitchens, our team of kitchen appliance experts hold decades of experience. Each one helps customers just like you choose the ideal solutions for their homes, and help every step of the way. To buy the best fridge freezer and benefit from this service, simply book an appointment at your local showroom with us, today. Then, start your journey to find the perfect appliance, or go one step further and create your dream kitchen.