Buying a New Fridge Freezer
My wife and I recently got hitched and for wedding gifts we asked for gift vouchers for an electrical retailer so we could buy ourselves a new fridge and washing machine and all the other useful stuff newly weds need (don't think I'm getting anywhere with my plasma screen argument yet but I might still win her over on the idea!). We've never bought this stuff before so we need to do a bit of research and shopping around before we make a final decision - this is how we are going about it and the advice we would pass on. We were lucky in that only about a third of the gifts we received were in vouchers - the other two thirds were cash so we have a whole lot more flexibility than we were expecting.
Choosing a style of fridge freezer
There are so many different brands, styles, sizes and prices of fridges that we decided we needed to narrow the field a bit. Easiest way we could think was to choose the style first. This has proved a little more complicated for us as we will be moving house soon so don't know exactly what space we will have for a fridge but these are our thoughts on the different styles of fridge:
Separate chest fridge and freezer
The biggest advantage is probably cost - they seem to be cheaper, even taking into account the fact that you have to buy two - a fridge and a freezer. They also seem to have just about all the mod cons that other styles have. The disadvantage, of course, is space - you need to find room for both units and this is the reason we rejected this style of fridge. Although in a fitted kitchen if you were going to hide the fridge and freezer behind a cupboard door I guess that wouldn't be so much of an issue - we are looking for a free standing unit though.
Free standing fridge freezer
This is what I think of when someone says "fridge" - a fridge freezer with two doors, one on top of the other. Nowadays you can get fridge freezers like this in pretty big sizes - up to about 560 litre capacity and prices tend to vary accordingly. There are also a huge amount of features you can get for both standard free standing fridge freezers and side by side fridge freezers - I'll look at those a bit later:
Side by side fridge freezer
These are the absolute behemoths of the fridge freezer world - American style fridge freezers with the fridge on one side and the freezer on the other. The smallest capacity side by side I saw in one store was 540 litres and the biggest was 610 litres. We have a daughter already and one more on the way so we will be a household of four and we think about 420 litres will probably do us, just to give you an idea of how big 610 litres is. Side by side fridge freezers are also the most expensive.
Fridge freezer specifications
I wouldn't exactly call myself technophobic but frankly when it comes to this sort of stuff I don't really care - I mean most of the time the information you're offered only actually means something if you know about what is being told to you - I just want to know what actual difference it makes, thanks very much! So I googled fridge advice and found this article which I found fairly enlightening - http://www.pricerunner.co.uk/home-appliances/fridge-freezers/buying-advice But then again how much use is all this? Ok so now I know how the energy rating labels work and what the freezer star rating means but in practical terms while looking at fridge freezers how much does this actually help you, as a consumer, to decide which fridge freezer is best for you? I found that all the fridge freezers I looked at have a 4 star freezer rating and all are either A or B energy rating. Worth understanding what that means? It's up to you I guess but in my humble opinion it's not going to make a big difference to your decision:
Fridge freezer features
Ok, I know some people will think having a fridge freezer that plays DVDs on a screen on the door is really useful but let's be realistic! We're just married, not that flushed for cash so the only features I care about are the ones that make a practical difference.
Wheels for example - I know we will be moving house soon and a set of reasonable quality wheels on our new fridge freezer will save me breaking my back so that's a feature to look out for.
Shelves - I know we are always moving shelves up and down in our fridge at the moment depending on what we need to refrigerate so reasonable flexibility in how we can move the shelves around is a must.
There is also nothing more irritating than a compartment that sticks and we find compartments really useful for veggies and things that might roll around on a shelf.
My wife insists our new fridge freezer must be frost free. Apparently this will save us having to defrost although you do need to be careful not to overfill a frost free fridge freezer because it needs good air-circulation to work properly.
I don't really care if our new fridge has supercooling or fast-freeze features as long as it has separate thermostats for the fridge and freezer so we can make sure they are both at the right setting.
We spent a lot of time in the past searching for the perfect ice-cube trays and found them - they are robust and easy to empty and as long as we have them we have no need for an ice-maker in our fridge freezer especially as it's a feature you pay for and that takes up room we can use for other things.
We also have inherited an old bar fridge to store my beer in so we don't care about bottle storage features either.
About buying a new fridge freezer
You know what - this article has really helped me make a decision about buying our new fridge freezer! I reckon it should be simple because we just don't care about all the little extra features. All we really want is a fridge freezer that has enough space for our needs that is at the right price for us. And we can always decorate our new kitchen (when we get it) to suit our fridge if we find the right fridge for us happens to be in brushed chrome while our kitchen is white! I'll update this article later and let you know what we bought and how we find it:
By Matt Maclay-Ross
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"Found this article very useful Rose N"
"Has helped me to crystallise my thoughts on fridge freezers. Would love to know what the perfect ice cube trays are !"
Marvin K Roughsedge