Refrigerators: Buying guide
The refrigerator has become so common that its presence in a modern-day kitchen is almost always taken (and quite rightly so) for granted. The refrigerator is the most visible and obvious of the many kitchen electric appliances available today. However, if you are looking to buy a refrigerator today, the task is not as simple as it seems given for the fact there are multiple options to choose from in terms of design, style, type, model, and brand. This guide will help you make a well-informed decision, so read on!
Types of refrigerators
The following are the types of refrigerators available in the market, when classified with regard to their form factor: refrigerators with top-mount freezers, refrigerators with bottom-mount freezers, compact refrigerators, and side-by-side refrigerators.
Refrigerators with top-mount freezers, as the nomenclature implies, have their freezers mounted on the top of the refrigerator compartment. Though refrigerators with top-mount freezers are less expensive, these consume more electricity as the coldest section of the fridge is located on the top, which hinders heat flow. These refrigerators boast of wider shelves in both the fridge and the freezer sections, and usually come with two doors—one for the freezer and the other for the fridge.
Quite straight-forwardly, refrigerators with bottom-mount freezers have their freezers mounted on the bottom. At present, these are the most popular types of freezers in the market, and probably rightly so. In these refrigerators, as the coldest section of the fridge is located on the bottom, the heat flow is optimal and temperatures are consistently maintained with minimal power consumption. As such, refrigerators with bottom-mount freezers are more efficient.
Compact refrigerators are ideal for singles or for people for whom storage space is secondary, and for those who are heavily space constrained. Usually, these refrigerators often lack the advanced technologies and the bells and whistles that full-sized commonly refrigerators boast of.
Next, we look at side-by-side refrigerators that are well-suited for people with space constraints and for those that prefer/need refrigerators with narrower doors. In a side-by-side refrigerator, the mini fridge is on the right side and one or more freezer compartments are located on the left. An advantage of side-by-side refrigerators is that they provide easy access to both the freezer and the fridge compartments. Side-by-side refrigerators however have narrower shelves, and are not if you want large storage space.
The above are the various types of refrigerators when classified on the basis of their form factors. We now discuss some of the definite criteria that you should asses before deciding to purchase a refrigerator.
- 1. Internal layout: The internal layout of a refrigerator is a very important criterion. It is very necessary to check whether or not the internal layout of the refrigerator matches your needs, for example, is the freezer compartment flexible enough for one-in-a-while large item storage, is there ample space between the shelves, are there enough beverage racks, etc.
- 2. Dimensions/size: Given the refrigerator is probably the largest kitchen appliance, the dimensions and size of the refrigerator, are among the more important criteria. Needless to say, an important factor is the space available in your house; do ensure that you measure the available space correctly lest you might just end with an appliance that is too big to fit in its spot. Also, it would be better if you have a rough idea of the space you require in the refrigerator, and also if you would be certain as to whether or not you require a large freezer section. This will help you zero in on the refrigerators that are of the right size and dimensions.
- 3. Energy saving efficiency: Obviously, the more the features in a refrigerator and the larger its size the higher the energy it would require. Thus, it is recommended that while buying a refrigerator, you ensure that it is energy efficient for maximum possible power savings. Furthermore, given that environmental consciousness is a major social issue and that helping the environment be clean is a rather important responsibility, it is necessary that the refrigerator you buy is well-designed (in terms of energy usage) and is power efficient. Many models come with an Energy Guide sticker that displays the annual energy consumption, represented in kilowatt hours (kWh). You can also assess the energy efficiency of refrigerators by checking the rating shown on the energy label (with A being the best, G the worst energy-saver).
- 4. Style: Given that a refrigerator is a pretty big part of the kitchen, it is vital that it looks good, and modern-day refrigerators do look the part. In fact, some of the refrigerators are so good looking that you might be tempted to re-do our kitchen décor just so that it matches the refrigerator. The huge selection in terms of style and color allows you to go for matching refrigerators that matches well with other kitchen appliances like stove, shelves, and so on.
- 5. Brands: There are plenty of options available in the market for refrigerators when it comes to models and brands. Some prominent options include Haier, LG, Danby, Electrolux, GE, Avanti, and Whirlpool.
- 6. CFC Free: CFC gases are the gases that deplete the ozone layer, thereby contributing to the green-house effect. Though, these days, most refrigerators are CFC free, it is vital that you ensure that the refrigerator you are buying does meet all the criteria (in this regard).
- 7. Warranty and Service: It is preferable to buy a new one rather than going for a used refrigerator. Plus, it is advisable to go in for a model that gives at least 2-5 years of warranty and one year of service.
- 8. Advanced features: Almost all refrigerators today come with such utilities as replaceable shelves, egg holders, and interior lights, some high-end refrigerators also come with advanced features such as shaped bottle shelves (to store large 2-litre bottles), drink dispenser, water filter, ice maker, ice crusher, etc. In addition, some refrigerators boast of networked interfaces, interactive voice commands, LCD screens (to display such information as temperature, optimal load, optimal layout, energy consumption, etc.), anti-bacterial systems, etc.
- Having undergone many changes and cycles of evolution, and the modern-day refrigerator is apt for the modern-day smart kitchen.
- Modern-day refrigerators boast of better ergonomics, are more environmentally friendly, are more power-efficient, and are also better looking.
- Some refrigerators are true multimedia-interface devices, and information (and also feedback) on the temperature and humidity inside the fridge, optimal load, optimal layout, etc.
- On the basis of their form factor, refrigerators are classified into the following: refrigerators with top-mount freezers, refrigerators with bottom-mount freezers, compact refrigerators, and side-by-side refrigerators.
- The following are the definitive purchasing criteria that you ought to keep in mind before buying a refrigerator: internal layout, dimensions/size, energy efficiency, style, CFC usage, warranty, and advanced features.
- Prominent brands for refrigerators include Haier, LG, Danby, Electrolux, GE, Avanti, and Whirlpool.
Making the decision
Last, it is obvious from the above that buying a refrigerator is not that easy, and there are no fixed rules that will clearly lay down for you what you exactly need to consider. In the end, all of the above criteria do matter, and you may have to compromise on one or the other. Most likely, you’ll find that your short-list comprises of 7-8 models that offer varying compromises on one aspect or the other. In that case, simply prioritize and choose the one that offers the best package.
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