The first choice you have to make when buying a new refrigerator is which style fits your needs. The most popular fridges are side-by-side refrigerators - or American freezers as they are also known. An American fridge can be up to one metre wide so if you are looking into investing then it's wise to check you have enough space for the mammoth appliance. They offer the biggest amount of internal storage space and come with added features not available in standard fridges. Naturally this type of fridge is the most expensive on the market and they are also the least energy efficient.
The conventional fridge is the freestanding model which comes in a wide range of well-priced appliances. The alternative to this is an integrated model which can be neatly accommodated behind your kitchen furniture with a tailored design to match. This custom build severely reduces the range available and makes the integrated option a little bit dearer. Another option is the compact fridge which is a handy choice for a bedroom or bar area. The growing market now provides a good range of designs and sizes and specialisations such as a drinks fridge.
The next decision to make is which finish you want. A stainless steel build suits a variety of kitchens and can come with the added benefits of anti-fingerprint, anti-bacterial and easy to clean surfaces but does cost around 10% more than the conventional white models.
American fridges are now incredibly popular amongst consumers with the huge storage options and sheek design - and not forgetting the added extras you get.
Part of the American fridge charm is the array of features they offer. American fridges come standard with a dispenser that provides chilled water, ice cubes and crushed ice. Some dispensers need to be fitted up to the mains water supply though so make sure this is a possibility before you buy. All dispensers contain water filters to reduce scale build-up and need to be changed every few months so it's worth checking the replacement costs too.
Miracle zone lets you control the temperature of separate compartments which is perfect if you want to have specific sections for keeping fruit, veg, meat, milk etc. And by preserving the food at its ideal temperatures you can increase the quality and freshness longevity of your produce.
An American fridge also lets you store your drinks, bottles and cans in a nifty department in the fridge's front door. As well as making it quicker to grab a drink this means you aren't constantly opening the fridge and improves the air circulation through the appliance - increasing its performance. And to finish it off an American fridge normally comes with a futuristic digital control panel on the front of the fridge.
Just as important as making sure you get the right size fridge is ensuring the internal build matches your requirements. If you store a lot of bottles in the fridge then it may be worth going for a model with a built-in drinks holder.
The best refrigerators normally have a variety of compartments to cater for different types of food.
Glass shelves are handy to have as they pull out and are easy to clean. It is also beneficial to have shelves with raised edges to stop leaks dripping on food below. Adjustable shelves are a good addition giving you flexibility to accommodate all sorts of food.
Every fridge has an energy efficiency rating and all standard fridges now possess at least an A grade. But paying the extra cash for an appliance with an improved energy score of A+ or A++ may be a prudent investment that sees you ultimately save money in the long run.
All European freezers have a four star rating system to grade how long frozen food can be kept fresh too. The maximum storage of a one star rated freezer is a week while the highest scoring four-star rated models have a much better storage length of 12 months.
Generally refrigerators come complete with a one year warranty covering parts and labour and then an extra five years for the sealed refrigerator system and there is always an option to take out a better warranty - which might be worth looking into if you are plumping for a top-end model.
Most fridges come with a range of features and it could come down to one specific feature that's the deciding factor in which fridge you purchase.
Antibacterial coating is an important added feature that gives you more protection against germs build-up by assisting in killing them. Bottle grips are a fairly new addition and are normally built in the door trays to hold up bottles and portable can holders can save space in your fridge. Humidity controlled departments are ideal for keeping a lot of fruit, veg, meat, fish and dairy products as you can increase or decrease the humidity to prolong the freshness of your food by keeping it in ideal settings.
Super cool is an important fridge feature if you often put large amounts of food into your fridge at one time. This can raise the temperature of your appliance and affect food quality but the feature counteracts this by cooling the fridge for a set period of time.
Wine and bottle racks are handy if you are partial to the odd glass of wine and these are normally portable so you can easily remove them to free up space when it's not in use.
Some fridges also come with special-use compartments, removable draws and shelves, egg containers and some higher end models even come with customisable digital displays.
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