The first choice to make when considering which fridge freezer is best for you is whether you want a freestanding or integrated model. The most popular choice amongst consumers is freestanding models which house one component on the top and the other underneath. The alternative option is for an integrated model which will incorporate your appliance built-in behind a kitchen door or cupboard. However, these tend to be a little bit pricier than freestanding models and you don't have as wide a range to choose from.
Pricing wise fridge freezers range anything from £200 up to £1,000 and beyond. There are a few key features and specifications you should check out as well to ensure you are getting the most for you money. All fridge and freezers are attributed an efficiency rating which denotes how much energy your appliance will use. As manufacturers have upped their game on this front the original scale of A-G is now defunct and most new appliances possess at least an A rating. But it might worth paying that little bit extra for an improved efficiency rating of A+ or A++ - which could save you money in the long run by consuming less energy.
Another important part of the specification to consider is the noise level. Any appliance that is putting out less than 45dB is reasonably quiet but anything up to and over 50dB will create quite a racket. This may be OK if your appliance is tucked away but again, it is another factor worth considering.
For £200-£400 you can find a fridge freezer with enough space to cope with the demands of an average household and Hotpoint, Beko and Bosch offer a range of impressive spec fridge freezers in this price range.
For this price features such as the Frost-Free system, which means you never have to defrost your freezer, come as standard. If you fancy splashing a bit more cash on your fridge freezer though you could look at German brand Liebherr. For around £400-£600 they have a huge range of models and have a good reputation for producing appliances that can keep food fresh for longer and use high quality stainless steel. Anti-bacterial shelf protection is also an option that an appliance in this price-range should come readily fitted with.
For over £600 consider the Hotpoint Quadrio 4 door fridge freezer. Hotpoint's unique design combines side-by-side doors for the fridge and two drawers for the freezer. The range has been designed to use less energy than conventional models and is finished with sleek curved stainless steel. Appliances in this price bracket should also come added with features such as holiday setting - which runs your fridge on the least amount of energy consumption whilst you're away.
For consumers interested in the higher price-end then it is worth considering the American fridge freezers. They offer the largest capacities in the market and are popular in homes with plenty of heads to feed. These appliances are much bigger and taller than conventional fridge freezers though so you'll need plenty of free space to accommodate it. They can be quite pricey as well and although the cheapest start from £500, many models could set you back way over £1,000.
The American range house the fridge and freezer side-by-side, as opposed to above-and-below, and in return offer up to a massive 650 litres of space compared to a maximum of 450 litres with conventional models. For your extra dollar you can get super stylish, ultra-modern designs jam-packed with added novelties such as ice dispensers, cold water on tap and deep storage sections. Most American fridges come standard with a dispenser that when connected to the mains water supply can continually provide chilled water, ice cubes and crushed ice. All dispensers contain water filters to reduce scale build-up that require changing every so often so it's worth checking the replacement costs - which can range from £5 up to £80.
When sizing up for a new fridge and freezer sometimes the capacity it offers can be deceiving. It helps to find an internal space that suits the products you will be storing in the fridge freezer and how you they will be best kept.
Adjustable shelves are a handy addition and they offer flexibility for you to chop and change to accommodate different types and sizes of food and drink. Moveable solid, glass shelves are easier to clean and prevent dripping from food on higher shelves as opposed to wire options. The amount of levels is something to take into account as well as more compartments and draws may suit you better. If you store a lot of bottles then plenty of models come with an already fitted bottle rack or bottle grippers for securely housing bottles in the door. In terms of freezer storage baskets are handy for easy access and carrying around.
All European freezers have a four star rating system to grade how long frozen food can be kept fresh. The maximum storage of a one star rated freezer is one week while the highest scoring four-star rated models have a maximum storage time of 12 months. You should also be guaranteed a one-year labour warranty and a five-year parts warranty on all new purchases.
There are plenty of extra features that some fridge and freezers offer and an added specification could be the deciding factor in which model you invest in. Most fridge and freezers have an adjustable thermostat but some models have two - for both chilled and frozen compartments - allowing you to control and set your desired temperature. Some models also include a temperature warning light to alert you if the fridge temperature drops too low or high to keep your food fresh. Many models have digital control panels though, that allow you to check and amend fridge and freezer temperatures with ease. There is a big variant between models in the amount of time it takes to cool or freeze food. This can range from an hour or two up to 24 hours - which will have a direct effect on the longevity on your food.
Some higher spec models also include a humidity controlled compartment that can be lowered to reach the perfect environment to prolong the freshness of your meat, poultry and fish or increased for prolonging the life of fruit and veg.
Other handy features such as auto-defrost and reversible doors are worth looking out for too.
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