A refrigerator is one of those long term investments for your happy home that you want to get right. As many of you have experienced it already there are many things to ponder before picking the right one for you. Choosing a fridge is much more complicated than just picking the one that looks good and holds all your food.
If you are planning to buy fridge and looking for some guidence, this is the right place to get some good tips.
|Summary of Refrigerator Buyers' Guide|
Based on the different designs, refrigerators can be classified into atleast five different categories:
- Single-chamber fridge
- Two-chambered (classic) fridge
- Three-chambered fridge
- Side-by-side fridge
- French door fridge
Lets briefly look into what each type of design is made for.
Single Chamber Refrigerator:
A single-chamber refrigerator consists of only one chamber and the freezer inside it. Of cause, the freezer is small in such devices or absent at all.
These are the most basic kind of refrigerators. These are suitable for individuals, couples and small families. The freezer and vegetable box is contained inside the refrigerator itself.
Double Chamber Refrigerator:
Two-chambered fridges have a refrigerator compartment and a freezer, and each has its own door. The freezer can be located above or under the main chamber – it depends on the model. Wherein the refrigerator main compartment can be divided into two (or even more) parts:
- Zone for vegetables and fruits where high humidity prevails (90%)
- Zone for meat and fish (humidity near 50%)
Three Chamber Refrigerator:
Three-chambered models consist (who would have thought) of three chambers:
- refrigerator compartment
- freshness camera
The freshness camera intended for chilled food saving, and the temperature there is about 0 degrees. In such conditions foods keep their freshness and do not loose beneficial features. The freshness zone can be divided into two cells: dry (low humidity) and wet (high humidity).
Side-by-side fridges came from America. Such a device looks like a two-door wardrobe, and a freezer and the refrigerator chamber are located one near another (not above or under). Usually a freezer is located on the left side.
Side-by-side models are intended for people with large families, cause freezer space is so great that it will be enough for freezing a lot of products. There are drawers, door shelves, ice machine there. Outside the door of the freezer compartment there is a dispenser for supplying ice cubes and cold water.
Side-by-side fridge eliminates the necessity of buying a freezer as a simple appliance, and this is the main advantage. Also they are hi-tech in the majority. It means they can not only cool food in simple way. User can adjust the needed temperature in each compartment. Functionality of such fringes excels capabilities of other refrigerators. So they are more expensive.
French Door fridges become more popular in last decade. The name of these models comes from the three-winged wardrobes for storage of ice produced by the company “Frigidaire” in 1930, which are widely used in France. Such wardrobes were intended only for ice keeping, and they worked without electricity.
In these fridges cooling chamber is usually located above the freezer (rarely under), in contradistinction to side-by-side models, where compartments are located one near another. As consumers claim, French Door fridges are more convenient and compact. But because of its construction it is possible to put large dishes on shelves.
French Door Refrigerators at the same height and depth have a useful volume of 400 liters, while the conventional refrigerators volume is about 300-350 liters. Small Side by Side models have a large volume (500 liters), which is achieved through its width.
So French Door refrigerator is an intermediate option between small conventional fridges and large side-by-side models. As refrigerators Side by Side, French Door devices are often equipped with icemaker and water dispenser, and because of the impressive size and swing doors, French Door refrigerators are often confused with Side by Side models.
1. Which Fridge Looks Beautiful to You?
Each of the five designss gets the job done, but it's up to you to decide which one you find most beautiful and works with your lifestyle. Do your research before going to the store so you don't find yourself overwhelmed when it's time to buy.
2. Where do You Want to Keep Your Fridge?
While it's extremely important to carefully choose where the fridge will live in your kitchen before you buy, you should also keep in mind other spatial restraints, like the size of your doorway or what the doors of the fridge might bump into when opened.
3. How Many Members are there in Your Home?
Do you live alone? Are you married with kids? Do you have back problems or any other physical ailments? All of these questions can influence the size and style of the fridge you decide to invest in. Bigger families may want to look at "door-in-door" models that have three compartment options in addition to a bottom-freezer for maximum storage, while single buyers could get by with a traditional top-freezer model. If you have trouble bending your back, top-freezer or double-door styles won't require as much bending
4. What Type of Food Habits You and Your Family Have?
Things like freezer space, ice maker capability, number of produce drawers and in-door compartments are all variable features in the world of refrigerators. To ensure you choose wisely, consider what types of foods you prefer to eat, how often you buy them and in what quantities. If you eat lots of frozen dinners, you'll want to maximize your freezer space, going with a big bottom-freezer or a double-door model that is half fridge, half freezer. If you're big on produce, look for models with multiple drawers. If you are a juice or milk drinker, consider double-door fridges with adjustable shelf sizes so you can always fit your beverage in the compartments. And if you constantly entertain, ensure your fridge has space to accommodate larger platters.
5. What Type of Material You Adapt Quickly?
Refrigerator shelves usually come in two basic types, wire and smooth (typically in glass or thick plastic materials). Both change how you clean. Smooth shelves are easier to wipe down in a pinch, while wire shelving takes a little more detailed maneuvering. The material on the outside of your fridge matters too. If you can't stand smudges, stay away from stainless steel. Opt for a model with a white exterior or a smudge-free finish.
Refrigerators differ from each other on a defrost system too. There are three types:
Hand system is uses in old or cheap models. If the ice was formed inside the cameras, the device has to be disconnected from the electricity. In next two-three hours ice would be thawed.
Semi-automatic is more modern system. Once in a week user must click on the button. Then the fridge will make everything itself.
Automatic defrost can be realized in two ways:
- Drop principle – frost forms on the wall of the refrigerator. While the compressor is switched off, the frost on the wall (evaporator) melts, and the water runs down to the groove.
- No-Frost system suggests fan using, which creates a circulation of cold air, thereby preventing the formation of frost. This system also proposes high energy consumption because of working of fun and heater.
Cooling system in a fridge can be classified in different ways. At least there are four systems of cooling that are used in fridges:
- Steam jet
The most simple is compression type of refrigerator. To ensure a coolant to circulate a compressor and electric engine is used. It is the most widespread type of a fridge.
Absorption type – here a heater is used for a coolant circulation. Cooling and movement of the refrigerant occurs due to heater temperature and pressure. Nowadays such type of fridges is not produced, because there are many disadvantages. First of all it is not safe. As a coolant ammonia is used here, and the production process is very complicated that implying a big price of a device.
Thermoelectric and steam jet fridges almost not used, so we will not dwell on them. Almost all modern refrigerators have a compression type of cooling.
The size of family is a good measure to find the capacity of refrigerator you will need. You can decide the capacity you need using following chart:
- For a family size of 1 or 2, a refrigerator with capacity of less than 200 Litres is enough.
- For a family size of 3, a refrigerator with capacity of 200 to 300 Litres is enough.
- For a family size of 4, a refrigerator with capacity of 250 to 350 Litres is enough.
- For a family size of 5 or more, a refrigerator with capacity of more than 300 Litres is enough.
Refrigerators come equipped with several features in different combinations which are listed below:
- Shelves – There are 3 types of shelves: wired, acrylic or tempered glass. Tempered glass shelves are usually the strongest.
- Adjustable Shelves and Bottle Racks – Many refrigerators have adjustable shelves which can be moved to make space for larger items.
- Water & Ice Dispensers – Water and ice dispensers serve cold water or without opening the fridge door. However these dispensers need a continuous supply of water.
- Quick-Freeze Compartments – A quick-freeze compartment in a fridge is useful for those who need ice frequently and at short notice.
- Separators – Separators help to separate fruits and vegetables in different box. This essentially helps to organise the refrigerator better.
- Deodorizer – The deodorizer removes odor particles from food using powerful filters and keeps the air fresh inside the refrigerator.
- Noise – Make sure to check noise level of the fridge. Good refrigerators don’t make too much noise.
- Moisture Control – Moisture control helps fruits and vegetables to remain fresh for longer periods of time.
- Built-in Voltage Stabilizer – It is important to keep the fridge protected from voltage fluctuations. Along with an external voltage stabilizer with low/high voltage cutoff, refrigerators with built-in stabilizers will go a long way in extending the life of your fridge.
- Cool Pack – During power outages, the Cool Pack feature in the freezer comes to the rescue. It contains cooling gel that ensures cool air is circulated within the refrigerator even during long periods of power cuts.
EER indicates the energy efficiency quotient of the refrigerator. This is the amount of electricity consumption by the refrigerator in a year (kWh per year). Keep in mind that cost also increases with increasing stars.
Stars varying from 1 to 5 tell how much electricity units will the refrigerator consume, with 1 being the most and 5 being the least.
In India, the energy rating system is still not completely reliable like developed countries. So, go with a refrigerator which satisfies your needs and then see the star rating. Even 2 and 3 stars are good if the refrigerator has awesome features.