A great fridge makes a great kitchen. It's where masterpieces are stored for later consumption, where treats can be raided in the afternoon and where beer is readily available in the evening. In this guide we run through the basics of choosing a refrigerator for your kitchen.
Basic Design Tips
When you're considering buying a fridge, there are a few things you should check out straight away. First of all, does the door open in the right direction for the space it's meant to fit in? This is an easy mistake to make. Also, you should check the internal shelving - does it look easy to clean? Can it be removed without a problem? Rollers on the bottom of a fridge are very useful - we've all had the unedifying experience of lugging a fridge around a house before.
These days just about everyone's worried about their impact on the environment. Fridges chew up a lot of electricity - they run all the time and they're generally power hungry. In most countries, your fridge will be rated according to its energy efficiency, so pay attention to the sticker on the outside. If you're buying a second-hand fridge, make absolutely sure the seals are in tip-top condition.
Cyclic Defrost or Frost Free?
Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. Frost-free fridges use a fan that blows cold, dry air throughout both the fridge and freezer, resulting in constant temperatures and no ice build-up. But they do make a fair amount of noise when they're defrosting themselves.
Cyclic-defrost fridges don't make a lot of noise and tend to be a bit more energy efficient. But that advantage goes out the window if ice is allowed to build up. The freezers in cyclic-defrost fridges occasionally require defrosting.
Where Should Your Freezer Go?
There are three types of fridge configurations on the market - freezer on top, freezer on the bottom and side-by-side models. Naturally, each has advantages and disadvantages. If you freeze a lot of food, having a roll-out freezer on the bottom is useful for ease of access. It also puts the most-accessed part of the refrigerator - the fresh food section - in an easy-to-access position. But it can make your crisper too cold. Side-by-side models also allow for ease of access, though they can have some tricky corners. Then there's your classic option - freezer mounted on the top. This is a fine configuration, although it can make vegetables in the crisper difficult to get at.