How to Choose a Fridge Freezer?
Nowadays, life without a refrigerator is practically unreal; it is one of the most used household appliances. According to Amdea, 98% of households own a fridge or freezer.
Are you looking for a refrigerator for your new apartment, or are you wondering whether the old appliance is still worth it? Today’s refrigerators are classified into different energy classes and door and freezer types. How do you know all this? And most importantly, how do I find out what is right for me?
To answer these questions, we have prepared a clear article to advise you on choosing such a refrigerator. In it, you will learn what different types are on the market and who they will suit best. We will discuss the energy label and other parameters and functions. You will learn everything you need to know when choosing a refrigerator with us.
How to choose a refrigerator in brief:
- Get to know the types of refrigerators – you can choose between combined refrigerators with a freezer, spacious American refrigerators, monoclimatic refrigerators without a freezer or small refrigerators for the cottage or office.
- Choose the required volume according to the size of the family – the types of refrigerators differ in volume and, above all, in their use in households of different sizes. Calculate 50 to 70 litres per person in the fridge and approx—twenty-five litres in the freezer.
- Compare consumption – electricity consumption has a significant impact on operating costs. You can find the value on the energy label.
- Think about the desired functions – these affect the comfort of use but also the actual storage of food. You will learn more about individual functions in a separate chapter of the following article.
- Choose the look – the refrigerator is a big part of the kitchen, so consider the design side. You will usually come across a white or stainless steel version. With built-in refrigerators, you don’t have to deal with the design.
- Set a price ceiling – you can buy a high-quality refrigerator with decent equipment for around £300.
Types of fridges and fridge freezers
Refrigerators can be divided into American, single-door, fridge freezer, monoclimatic and under-counter. The single-door can then be without a freezer, with a small compartment or with a freezer. Each type is suitable for certain conditions, mostly depending on the space and method of use. Having a few centimetres in reserve is always better; the free space around the refrigerator allows for better airflow, and the appliance heats up less.
American fridge freezer
Refrigerators of this type provide the most space but, at the same time, have the greatest demands. They will offer you a volume of over 400 l, so they are more suitable for larger kitchens and will mainly suit larger households. The advantage of American refrigerators is the large volume mentioned; some users also appreciate accessories such as a beverage dispenser or an ice maker.
This is related to the disadvantage of this refrigerator, which is higher consumption. The ice maker cannot be completely insulated, and cold air escapes from the fridge through it. Another reason for higher consumption is, of course, the dimensions of the appliance itself. These are often associated with more difficult installations.
Classic fridge freezer
Combined refrigerators are similar in size to single-door refrigerators and are still the most widely used type. The freezer door is separate, so it saves energy. Their volume will satisfy most households and at the same time they do not take up too much space. You can choose between placing the freezer at the top or bottom. In most cases, the bottom location is more popular, because the cooling part located at the top is used more by the user, and you do not have to bend down to reach it.
These are large refrigerators without a freezer; they are mainly used in commercial spaces and are relatively impractical for the home. You can only use them at home if you have a separate freezer. Their advantage is a large volume; they can hold, for example, several tins or a keg of beer.
Single door fridge
As already said, single-door refrigerators can be with or without a freezer. When the fridge has a larger freezer but only one door, there is again a leakage of cold, and thus a higher consumption.
Small refrigerators with a miniature freezer are mainly suitable for an office or a small apartment. The freezer needs to be better insulated, and the fridge only has one door, so again, cold can escape. They are mostly 50-80 cm high, suitable for users with minimal requirements, and can also be used in a cottage or a student apartment. The advantage is a favourable price and minimal energy costs. The disadvantage can be, among other things, higher noise.
Consider your family size
When choosing a refrigerator for the home, its total volume is crucial. A family of four or more will use an American refrigerator well; one of the smaller refrigerators will suffice for a one-person household. When choosing a variant, you must also consider how often and in what volume you cook. Parents of small children, on the other hand, must remember that as they get older, your child’s demands on the importance of food in the fridge will increase, so it is good to consider this when choosing the volume.
There is also a tip for passionate bakers, even a larger tray fits into the American fridge freezer without any problems; monoclimatic fridges are also handy for cooling trays with cakes.
1 – 2 People
50 – 70 l
Classic fridge freezer
150 – 200 l
Classic fridge freezer
American fridge freezer
Up to 400 l
Freestanding or integrated fridge freezer
Built-in appliances have been a trend in recent years. If you have the other appliances in the kitchen built-in and you want to stick to the same design, the choice is quite clear. If, for example, you are equipping a new kitchen, you can still decide between built-in and free-standing appliances.
In the case of the refrigerator, the installation is a little more complicated because the niche must ensure free airflow so that the fridge stays cool. For this reason, built-in refrigerators are smaller and especially narrower, which could be better when storing food for the whole family.
Suppose you plan to move or remodel the kitchen. In that case, we recommend a free-standing option, making the process much less complicated and changing to a larger model when the family grows or changes in lifestyle. Built-in refrigerators have one more disadvantage: weaker equipment than free-standing ones. If you desire a modern appliance full of new technologies, you will look for it in vain among built-in refrigerators.
Appearance also plays a role in free-standing refrigerators. If you’re trying to keep all kitchen appliances uniform, you’ll also be dealing with this question. There are countless different refrigerators in the classic white design on the market; models with a stainless steel appearance are also quite common. Refrigerators with glass surfaces also appear more often, which are very elegant. A special category is retro, vintage or colourful refrigerators, which can be a distinctive design element of your kitchen.
Energy label for fridge freezers
The energy label, which every refrigerator is equipped with by law, contains information about the consumption, volume and noise of the selected model, i.e., the basic parameters you should follow when choosing a refrigerator.
The coloured bars in the upper left quarter and the letter on the black field in the upper right indicate the energy class. The energy classes are marked with notes from the best A to the worst G. Currently, most available models fall into categories E and F, while class D is less represented. Refrigerators achieve the best energy classes only exceptionally. Higher ranks are prepared for future models, which should be more and more economical.
The energy classes changed in 2021; until then, refrigerators were labelled with class A and several + signs. However, this system needed to be clearer and reflect the decreasing consumption of modern devices. In addition, there was no space for marking the new most energy-efficient appliances, so most refrigerators were concentrated in the A+++ or A++ class.
Annual energy consumption
As with all larger appliances, the energy consumption of a refrigerator should be noticed. Refrigerators usually run continuously for several years, so paying sufficient attention to this parameter is important. Consumption is calculated according to precisely defined conditions and may vary slightly in practice. It is affected, for example, by the ambient temperature or the filling of the refrigerator. Using additional functions, such as an ice dispenser, can also have an effect.
The unit of electricity consumption is kWh. To better understand the expenses, multiply the number of kilowatt hours by 33 pence, which is the approximate price for 1 kWh (in 2021). For a more accurate calculation, multiply the consumption by the price of 1 kWh from your supplier.
Usable volume of the refrigerator and freezer
We also find information about the volume on the label, which is one of the most important parameters. The volume of the refrigerator is indicated separately for the fridge and separately for the freezer, given in litres. Counting 50-70 l in the fridge and 20 l in the freezer per person is usually recommended. In addition to the volume, it is good to monitor the width of the shelves and the overall distribution of space in the refrigerator. Wider shelves are more practical, in which you can store, for example, a plate with snacks or a tray with a cake.
Since the refrigerator operates almost continuously, it should be quiet. The less noticeable noise it makes, the better; in a smaller apartment, a noisy refrigerator could be very annoying. Quieter models should be 40 dB or less (From source: How to choose a refrigerator). Of course, it is ideal to test the noise level of the given model for real or at least use the reviews and experience of the owners.
Imagining noise regarding a specific value in decibels can be quite difficult. For easier orientation, you can follow the noise class, which divides appliances into classes A to D. Most models fall into class C.
The storage time indicates how long the food will remain frozen during a power failure. It indicates how well the freezer is insulated. The higher this value, the better; some of the refrigerators in our review have an accumulation time of up to a respectable 35 hours, which is sure to be appreciated by anyone who is often away from home.
Freezing performance and freezing performance
Although it may seem like they are the same, they are not. Freezing performance indicates how many kilograms of food the freezer can freeze in one day. It ranges between 2 – 24 kg.
On the other hand, the freezing performance indicates how strongly the refrigerator’s freezer can freeze and what kind of storage it is suitable for. It is usually marked with one to four stars and appears under the name freezing class. In common refrigerators today, you will usually find the highest freezing class, making them suitable for long-term storage. Only some small counter refrigerators have a weaker freezer, which is more suitable for short-term storage of frozen products.
Fridge freezers’ functions
In addition to the basic parameters, when choosing a refrigerator, it is also important to consider the range of functions and other gadgets refrigerator manufacturers have prepared for their future owners. Functions and equipment will not only improve the functionality of the refrigerator, such as in the case of the fan. Still, they will also make maintenance easier for you and guarantee a greater level of cleanliness. Antibacterial protection or the No Frost function can handle this, for example.
Thanks to the No Frost system, frost does not form in the refrigerator, which would require lengthy removal. This will save time and effort for the owners of the refrigerator. Even automatic defrosting is less effective than this function.
With the growing assortment today you can meet different types of anti-icing systems, which have their designations:
- Total No Frost – this is how the most advanced frost-free system is marked. The label applies to the entire appliance, so manually defrosting the refrigerator or freezer is unnecessary.
- No Frost – this function prevents the formation of Frost in the freezer (combined refrigerator), meaning you do not have to defrost it manually.
- Low Frost – a refrigerator with this function requires manual defrosting, but you will not have to do it as often as with a fridge without an anti-frost system.
The fan is usually located in the back of the refrigerator, enabling an even cool airflow. This keeps food fresh for longer.
The inverter compressor has several advantages over the conventional one. It self-regulates its speed, thereby reducing wear and thus extending service life. The advantage is also the lower weight, which you will certainly appreciate when moving the refrigerator. Manufacturers often provide an extended warranty of up to 10 years.
It allows the door opening to be redesigned to the other side for greater convenience for the owner. This adjustment is easier for some refrigerators and, for some, more difficult; for American ones, it is not feasible; they open on both sides.
It helps with controlling a wide range of appliances. Time is still rushing forward, so you can find the display on many refrigerators today.
It is a modification of the internal surfaces of the refrigerator and the door seal, which prevents the multiplication of bacteria, mould and other germs. This way, the food spoils more slowly, and the risk of its contamination is lower. Parents should mainly require antibacterial protection for small children, but it is useful for anyone.
Compartment with adjustable humidity
Another special drawer, this time with humidity control, is designed for storing fruit and vegetables. Food stays fresh and crisp for longer thanks to moisture treatment. You can find it under various marketing names – Bio Box, Bio Fresh, Crispy Box, Fresh Balance and others. Closed vents are suitable for storing vegetables and open for storing fruit.
Super cooling and super freezing
These functions make it possible to cool or freeze a large amount of food quickly. It will lower the temperature for a certain period and thus prevent the surrounding food from heating up. You can use this function when storing a large amount of food at once, for example, during weekly shopping or fruit harvesting.
Variable shelf settings
It can sometimes be difficult to put a larger container, a taller bottle or, for example, a cake in the fridge. Adjustable shelves and compartments in the doors can help, which can be placed as desired and create as much space as is needed.
Signal when the door is open
Some refrigerators are equipped with optical and acoustic door open signalling. A door that is not closed can cause cold air to escape and thus cause food spoilage.
Ionizer and deodorizer
These two systems help to absorb odours and thus maintain fresh air in the refrigerator compartment. They prevent the transmission of odours from aromatic foods such as fish or ripening cheeses.
Some refrigerators can be connected to a Wi-Fi network like many other household appliances. Thanks to this, the device can be controlled using a mobile application. For example, you can adjust the temperature or remotely turn on the supercooling function. Refrigerators with Wi-Fi are also referred to as smart or SMART refrigerators.
Water and ice dispenser
In some combined refrigerators, and especially in American refrigerators, you can find a chilled water dispenser, usually located on the refrigerator door on the front side. Some dispensers can also create ice cubes or ice chips. To activate this function, it is necessary to have the refrigerator connected to the water supply.
How to store food in the refrigerator
There is no need to talk long about the fact that there are different conditions in the individual parts of the refrigerator. In elementary school, we learned that warm air rises, which is why the upper shelves of the fridge are more generous than the bottom. The humidity is also different. In this chapter, we will discuss the rules worth following when storing food and organising it in the refrigerator. This will prevent contamination and rapid spoilage. We will also talk a few words about refrigerator maintenance.
What doesn’t belong in the fridge?
Before we start organising the fridge, we should draw attention to some foods that do not belong in the refrigerator. This can be for various reasons, either cold air or high humidity does not suit the raw material, or its storage in the fridge is unnecessary and would only take up valuable space.
- Fruit – Bananas, citrus, pineapple, avocado and mango. None of these types of fruit should enter the refrigerator. They do not like low temperatures, which cause a loss of taste and quality.
- Vegetables – Onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes are best stored in a dry, dark and cool place, ideally in a cellar or pantry. It is better to store tomatoes, peppers and watermelon on a line or elsewhere at room temperature, where they can ripen well.
- Coffee – Although many homemakers store coffee in the refrigerator to preserve its taste and aroma, they achieve the opposite effect. Not only does the coffee get wet and thus deteriorate, but it also absorbs the odours of other foods from the fridge.
- Canned foods and cans – All canned foods, including preserves, do not need to be refrigerated before opening. Thus, You can save space and store the cans in the pantry or another place. This also applies to condiments such as mustard and ketchup. However, if you open the cans, transfer the unused contents into a resealable container and store them in the refrigerator.
- Baked goods – While storing baked goods in the freezer is ideal because they are as good as fresh when you take them out, the same cannot be said for keeping them in the fridge. In the refrigerator, it quickly gets wet, hardens and loses its taste.
Where to put the food?
At the same time, we bring several tips on storing certain types of food in the refrigerator. Each species finds its ideal place in it:
Fruits and vegetables
In the lower part of the refrigerator, there is a special compartment for vegetables and fruits in which they are stored. In some models, it is possible to regulate the humidity in this box so that it is always ideal for maintaining freshness and crispness. Do not wash fruits and vegetables before storing, do this step before serving.
Meat and fish
Raw meat and fish are the most perishable foods. That is why we must store them in fresh and harmless conditions for a long time. There is such a place in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf. It is at the lowest temperature, and at the same time, there is no risk that any leaking juice would contaminate the food on the shelf below.
It is advisable to store meat in an airtight container so that it does not come into contact with other foods. Some modern refrigerators have a zero zone; these are special drawers with lower temperatures (around 0 °C). If your refrigerator is equipped with this function, be sure to use it to store meat, fish and possibly also sausages.
It is also advisable to store salamis, hams and other sausages at lower temperatures. The right place for them is above the meat. After you bring the sausages from the store, unwrap them from the foil or paper in a resealable container and store them in the refrigerator.
Dairy products and cheeses
Dairy products require higher temperatures, so place them on higher shelves. If you need more space in the refrigerator, it is possible to store them on the same shelf as sausages but ensure that these two types of food do not touch each other. Store aromatic cheeses in resealable containers to prevent odours from transferring to different foods.
The ideal packaging for preserving this milk fat is a special butter box. This protects the butter from contamination by other foods and the transfer of odours. In this box, store the butter in the upper compartment of the door. This is the warmest place in the refrigerator. The butter will not harden too much there and will be easier to spread. Margarines also belong in the same place.
Although refrigerator manufacturers often place special egg holders in the door compartments, there are more suitable places to store such sensitive food. Eggs are susceptible to temperature changes, which are common on door shelves. They will do better on the shelf roughly in the middle of the fridge, as far as possible at the back, where the temperature is the most constant.
Before storing the egg, please remove it from the paper packaging, which can be a source of bacteria, and place it point-down in a plastic holder. If the eggs are stained with chicken droppings, wash them thoroughly, especially if they are home-raised. But remember that you have degraded the natural protective layer by cleaning, so use washed eggs as soon as possible.
Cooked foods and foods intended for immediate consumption belong on the top shelf, where they are the warmest. However, always let heat-treated foods cool to at least room temperature before storing them in the refrigerator. In this way, you will prevent the temperature in the fridge from increasing and thus not only higher electricity consumption but also heating and possible spoilage of the surrounding food. In addition, some dishes (such as soups) can turn sour due to a rapid temperature change.
Mustard, ketchup, various sauces and other seasonings can be stored in the pantry or pantry. However, the change comes after they are opened. From the moment you start the food, it needs to be kept in the fridge. The most suitable place is the middle shelves on the doors. Always scoop sauces with a clean spoon so you don’t introduce bacteria, fungi, yeast or other microorganisms that would cause rapid spoilage.
If you like chilled drinks, you’re wondering where to store large bottles. You have two options; it depends on the equipment of your refrigerator. A common place to store drink bottles is the bottom shelf in the door. The most space is above it so that drinks can fit comfortably. The second option is to use the bottle holder that some refrigerators have. It can be placed in the upper compartment of the fridge. You can store water bottles, beer, white wine or milk on it.
Some medicines should be stored in the refrigerator. Always try to keep them in their original packaging and store them in a place where the temperature corresponds to the storage instructions. Of course, they should not come into contact with food.