How to choose a refrigerator for your home

When choosing a refrigerator for the home, it is necessary to take into account its operational parameters and technical characteristics.

how to choose a refrigerator

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We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the ratings – the best Bosh refrigerators according to experts, the best built-in refrigerators for an apartment, the best Atlant refrigerators and a rating of the best refrigerators according to customer reviews.

How to choose a refrigerator for your home: what to look for

When choosing a refrigerator for your home, you should pay attention to its following parameters:

  1. Type (built-in, separate, with hinged doors);

  2. Dimensions (to fit into the kitchen);

  3. Number, volume and location of cameras;

  4. Compressor characteristics;

  5. Energy saving class;

  6. Defrosting type (No frost system, drip);

  7. The presence of an antibacterial coating;

  8. Compressor noise level;

  9. Usability features (ergonomics, dimensions, design);

  10. Possibility of hanging the door;

  11. Additional characteristics.

  12. The manufacturer of the refrigerator is also important.

Types of refrigerators

By design and operational features, refrigerators are divided into:

  1. Single chamber;

  2. Two-compartment with a freezer on top;

  3. Two-compartment with a bottom freezer (combined type);

  4. Two-door (side-by-side);

  5. Multi-chamber.

By type of placement, they are divided into:

  1. Embedded;

  2. Freestanding.

Single chamber refrigerators

Single chamber refrigerators

Single-chamber refrigerators are the simplest, most budgetary and compact option. They are equipped with a single door. The freezer can be completely absent in them, or it can be replaced with a special metal shelf.

Single-chamber refrigerators should be purchased only if you plan to build them into kitchen furniture under the work surface. The freezer will have to be purchased separately. In all other cases, single-compartment refrigerators lose to two-compartment refrigerators.

Advantages

  • Very compact size, thanks to which the refrigerator can be built under the work surface (useful for small kitchens);

  • Low price;

  • Efficient temperature exchange by placing a 'freezer' at the top of the main refrigerator space;

  • Low power consumption;

disadvantages

  • Very compact size, as a result of which it will not be possible to place many products in the refrigerator;

  • Impossibility of freezing and long-term storage of products due to the low performance of the freezer;

  • The often missing self-defrosting system;

Two-compartment refrigerators with a freezer on top

Two-compartment refrigerators with a freezer on top

The classic design of two-compartment refrigerators implies the location of the freezer in the upper part. This provides a fairly efficient heat exchange inside the device – low temperature air is lowered into the main part of the device.

It is worth considering that refrigerators of this type are practically not produced now (in 2017).

Advantages

  • Effective heat exchange inside the refrigerating chamber, due to which the device consumes less electricity;

  • Large volume of the refrigerating chamber (usually more than 70% of the total volume of the device);

  • Relatively low price;

disadvantages

  • Ineffective use of the lower part of the refrigerating chamber – most often there is a large section for something;

  • Condensation can accumulate on the top of the refrigerator compartment, especially if hot food is placed in it.

  • Small volume of the freezer (usually no more than 30% of the total volume of the refrigerator);

  • It is difficult to reach the bottom of the refrigerator compartment;

Two-compartment refrigerators with a bottom freezer (combi-refrigerators)

Two-compartment refrigerators with a freezer underneath

The most common type of refrigerators, especially in the middle price segment. Such refrigerators show maximum practicality and ergonomics and therefore are recommended for purchase.

Advantages

  • The largest total volume among devices in its class;

  • Effective freezing in the freezer – it can keep a low temperature for a long time, even if the refrigerator is disconnected from the mains;

  • Low risk of getting worn in both cells;

  • Effective use of space in the refrigerator compartment;

  • Optimal location of the freezer;

disadvantages

  • The freezer uses fixed height drawers;

  • The refrigerator compartment volume may not be large enough for the user's needs.

Two-door refrigerators (side-by-side, refrigerator-cabinets)

Two door refrigerators (side-by-side)

As the name implies, these refrigerators are equipped with swing doors. At the same time, they have the largest volume among those on the market and often offer the widest functionality (such as an ice dispenser, built-in TV, etc.).

If the budget and space in the kitchen allows you to install a refrigerator-cabinet, you should buy a device of this type. It is the most practical – in terms of both the volume of the chambers, and ergonomics, and even the ability to maintain the set temperature (and therefore energy consumption).

Advantages

  • The largest volume of both chambers;

  • Low power consumption due to efficient thermoregulation inside the chambers;

  • High power and performance;

  • Wide functionality;

disadvantages

  • Large dimensions, as a result of which such refrigerators are not suitable for use in small kitchens;

  • High price.

Multi-compartment refrigerators

Multi-compartment refrigerators

Multi-compartment refrigerators are designed to store various categories of products while maintaining their freshness and taste. In each compartment of such a device, you can set your own temperature.

Multi-compartment refrigerators are best purchased for specific purposes (that is, for use in restaurants, cafes, bars and other catering establishments). In the kitchen, the usual two-chamber will be enough.

The exception is three-compartment refrigerator-cabinets. They are suitable for use in the kitchen as they are equipped with a smaller freezer than conventional side-by-side ones, and therefore will appeal to people who are not used to clogging this compartment.

Advantages

  • Several chambers with the ability to adjust the temperature in each of them;

  • Effective storage of various categories of products while maintaining the taste of each of them (for example, cheese will not be saturated with the smell of fish, since they will be in different chambers).

disadvantages

  • Inefficient use of space;

  • High price;

  • Either small internal volume or huge external dimensions;

Built-in refrigerators

Built-in refrigerators

Refrigerators of all types can be built-in. In this case, they are not equipped with a decorative facade, but instead elements of the furniture body are used.

Advantages

  • They do not stand out from the kitchen design, since they are part of it;

  • They are usually small in size, low power consumption and low heating.

disadvantages

  • Difficult to install and repair;

  • The performance of such refrigerators can be small enough to minimize heat generation;

  • The fit of the door to the walls of the chamber may be loose;

The performance of such refrigerators can be small enough to minimize heat generation.

However, these disadvantages do not apply to all refrigerator models. Some embedded devices offer easy placement and high performance – but can be expensive.

Thus, when choosing a built-in refrigerator, it will take a lot of time to find a suitable model.

Freestanding refrigerators

Freestanding refrigerators

Almost all refrigerators offer installation of the device independently, not within the framework of a furniture ensemble.

Advantages

  • Relative ease of installation and repair;

  • The widest assortment;

  • Larger effective volume with the same dimensions as the built-in refrigerator;

  • The ability to organize effective air circulation and therefore high power;

disadvantages

  • To create a harmonious kitchen interior, you will have to spend time looking for a refrigerator with a suitable design;

  • It is necessary to maintain the cleanliness of not only the interior, but also the exterior of the refrigerator.

Nevertheless, freestanding refrigerators are recommended for purchase.

Which refrigerator to choose

It is worth choosing the type of refrigerator based on the characteristics of the kitchen and the intended use. So:

  1. If the kitchen area is very small (but we are not talking about the 'kitchen area' of a studio apartment), it is worth purchasing a single-chamber refrigerator and freezer and installing them under the work surface;

  2. If there are no special scenarios of use planned (that is, the refrigerator will be used simply for short-term storage of food), then it is worth purchasing a free-standing two-chamber;

  3. If the kitchen area is large and you plan to store a lot of frozen food, a refrigerator-cabinet would be the best solution;

  4. If the kitchen area is large and it is not planned to store a lot of frozen products, a three-compartment refrigerator-cabinet would be a good solution;

  5. If the most stringent requirements are imposed on the features of food storage, then it is worth purchasing a multi-chamber refrigerator with the ability to set a separate temperature in each compartment;

  6. If design is important, a two-compartment built-in refrigerator will do.

However, a conventional freestanding two-compartment refrigerator with a bottom freezer meets the requirements of the vast majority of users.

The main criteria for choosing a refrigerator

The main criteria for choosing a refrigerator

When choosing a refrigerator, you should pay attention to its following technical characteristics:

  1. The volume and location of the cameras;

  2. Compressor power, number of compressors;

  3. Energy class;

  4. Defrost type and mode;

  5. The presence of an antibacterial coating;

  6. Noise level;

  7. Ergonomic parameters (dimensions, design, the possibility of hanging the door);

  8. Autonomy of work.

  9. Additional features are worth considering.

Volume, location and number of cameras

Optimal for most users is a two-compartment refrigerator configuration – with one refrigerator compartment and one freezer. If you need to keep a lot of food in a cool state, it is worth taking a three-compartment refrigerator with two refrigerating compartments.

Regarding the volume, then it should be chosen based on your own needs. For classic two-compartment refrigerators, the optimal value is 180-210 liters for the main compartment and 90-120 liters for the freezer.

It is self-evident that the larger the chambers, the more energy is required for the refrigerator to cool the air in them. Therefore, if optimal current consumption is required, large-sized models should not be chosen.

The most energy efficient is the top position of the freezer, but the most practical is the bottom one.

Power and number of compressors

The overwhelming majority of modern refrigerators in the budget and middle price segment use one compressor with a power consumption of about 150-300 W, depending on the class of energy consumption and the volume of the device. The effective compressor power is usually less – about 50-100 W.

The higher the effective power of the compressor, the faster it cools or the larger the volume of chambers it supports. But it is worth remembering that the refrigerator does not constantly lower the temperature inside. Usually, he first cools the air to a certain point (spending the so-called power for this, which is the very same 150-300 W), and then simply maintains it at this level, consuming very little electricity (the same effective power of 50-100 W ).

It is much more advisable to choose a refrigerator based on its energy class.

In addition, there are refrigerators with two low-power compressors. They are much more efficient both in terms of energy consumption (they consume less current, because less current is spent on maintaining the temperature in an unused compartment – a freezer or refrigerator compartment) and in terms of cooling.

The main disadvantage of refrigerators with two compressors is their high price in most cases.

Energy class

The energy consumption (energy efficiency) class shows the efficiency of the refrigerator compressor, that is, the ratio of the consumed starting power to the effective one. According to the European classification, refrigerators belong to the following energy consumption classes:

  1. G,

  2. F,

  3. E,

  4. D,

  5. C,

  6. B,

  7. A,

  8. A +,

  9. A ++,

  10. A +++.

For domestic use, it is advisable to purchase a refrigerator of class A, A +, A ++ or A +++. All others consume too much energy, which leads to an increase not only in costs, but also in noise levels.

It is also worth remembering that the starting power of the refrigerator is much higher than the effective one. So, for devices of class A +++, its value is 5 times greater. However, this is good – in class G refrigerators, the starting power is equal to the effective one, as a result of which it actively consumes current, makes a lot of noise and is prone to freezing.

Defrost type and mode

Modern refrigerators use three automatic defrost systems – drip, No Frost and Frost Free. Moreover, the first is much less common.

The drip defrost system means that the ice first freezes on a special evaporator. Then this plate is heated, the resulting frost turns into water droplets and flows into the appropriate container. The system is not very effective – with prolonged contact of any food product or object with the evaporator, it freezes tightly.

Much more effective is the No Frost convection system, which implies the installation of special fans in the refrigerator. Rotating, they mix cold and hot air, does not allow moisture to condense on the walls. However, this leads to drying out of the food, as a result of which they lose their freshness.

The third option is the Frost Free system. It uses both a fan and a drip evaporator. The first is installed in the freezer, the second in the main compartment.

It is the Frost Free system that is recommended for use, however, refrigerators equipped with it are usually expensive compared to models where only a drip evaporator or No Frost is installed.

It is important to remember that ultra-budget models of refrigerators (priced up to 10 thousand rubles) are usually not equipped with automatic defrosting systems, as a result of which the ice removal procedure will have to be carried out independently about once a week. This, in turn, will lead to increased energy consumption.

Antibacterial coating

If the budget allows, it is worth purchasing a refrigerator with an antibacterial coating in all cells. Thanks to it, you can not only get rid of the unpleasant odor in the compartments, but also extend the shelf life of food.

Noise level

To make the use of the refrigerator comfortable, it is worth choosing models with the lowest noise level – up to 40 dB.

You can indirectly determine the noise level by the energy class of the refrigerator. For A, A +, A ++ and A +++ certified models, it is minimal. But refrigerators of classes B and below are quite noisy.

Ergonomic parameters

Ergonomic parameters include those that affect the ease of installation and use of the refrigerator – its dimensions, design, the possibility of hanging the door, the number of shelves and their location, etc. Almost all of them are selected individually, but there are several characteristics that can be called objective.

The refrigerator must be sized to fit the height of the kitchen. At the same time, it is definitely not recommended to buy models “close to the ceiling”. For the refrigerator to work effectively, it is required to create a zone of free air convection around it – that is, the distance to the nearest wall should be more than 10 cm from the back, more than 5 cm from the sides, and more than 20 cm from the top.

It is advisable to choose a design that will show the best performance. For example, touch marks remain on white refrigerators, as a result of which their appearance deteriorates. Much more practical are the models made in gray or silver cases.

The ability to hang the door is a very practical feature, especially if you plan to install the refrigerator near the aisle.

The number of shelves should also be optimal. For a refrigerator with a main chamber capacity of about 200 liters, 3-4 shelves are enough, a larger number will lead to inconvenience in use – or the extra ones will have to be stored somewhere separately. But less will reduce the practical qualities of the refrigerator.

Autonomy of work

This parameter is only relevant if electricity is often cut off in the house where the refrigerator is installed. Accordingly, the longer the device can maintain a low temperature (with the door closed), the better.

Unfortunately, manufacturers and retailers rarely give a refrigerator 'battery life'. It can be indirectly derived from the energy class of the device. Refrigerators certified according to standard B and higher show the best autonomy.

Additional functions

Additional functions

Additional functions that determine the convenience of using the refrigerator include:

  1. Freshness zone (zero chamber);

  2. Super freeze;

  3. Supercooling;

  4. Open door alert;

  5. Childproof function;

  6. Cooler;

  7. Ice maker and dispenser.

Freshness zone

Freshness zone (zero chamber) – a special compartment in the refrigerator, where the temperature is kept slightly above 0 degrees Celsius, designed to keep fruits and vegetables fresh. A useful function for those people who often store similar products for a long time (up to several days).

Super freeze

Super freeze – extreme cooling of the freezer compartment. When it is turned on, the compressor controller stops responding to the readings of the temperature regulator, and the compressor starts to work constantly. As a result, the temperature in the freezer compartment drops to the lowest possible under current operating conditions. This is necessary to quickly freeze certain foods.

Supercooling

Supercooling – a similar mode, only for the refrigerator compartment.

It is important to remember that super freezing and super cooling modes will increase energy consumption and shorten the life of your refrigerator. Therefore, in no case should they be turned on for more than 24 hours.

Open door alert

Door open alarm – a sound signal that sounds when the door does not fit tightly to the main compartment of the refrigerator. Helps reduce power consumption and device life.

Child protection

Child protection in refrigerators can be implemented in two ways – a magnetic lock on the door, which makes opening it difficult and demanding; and a key lock to prevent accidental operation. Both functions are not very practical, but if there is a very active and curious child in the house, they can be useful.

Cooler

The cooler is commonly found in premium two-door refrigerators. It is designed to cool water. It is worth remembering that the container for the liquid in the refrigerator has a small volume, and the device itself, in most cases, is not capable of operating in heating mode. Therefore, the practical use of a cooler in a refrigerator is rather controversial.

Ice maker and dispenser

The ice maker and dispenser is designed to easily and quickly add ice cubes to drinks. The functions are quite useful, but only for lovers of cold tea, juices and similar drinks.

How much does the refrigerator cost

The price of refrigerators directly depends on their volume and functionality, and indirectly on the type.

  1. For example, the cheapest models are compact single-chamber ones. The price for them starts from several thousand rubles. At the same time, single-chamber refrigerators with a capacity of about 300 liters cost 40-50 thousand rubles.

  2. The price for two-compartment refrigerators starts at 10 thousand rubles. The vast majority of middle-class models are in the range of 20-35 thousand rubles.

  3. Side-by-side refrigerators cost from 40 thousand rubles. The vast majority of models are in the price range of 80-100 thousand rubles.

The best refrigerator manufacturers – which company to choose

The best refrigerator manufacturers

Among the numerous manufacturers of refrigerators, the following companies can be distinguished:

  1. Liebherr is arguably the best refrigerator manufacturer. There is only one drawback – the high cost of models;

  2. Bosch is another manufacturer of high-end refrigerators. But the models are reliable and quality;

  3. Electrolux, Indesit – produce high-quality refrigerators in the middle price segment;

Samsung – produces high-quality refrigerators in the middle price segment and ultra-modern high-tech devices of the upper one;

'Atlant' – produces fairly high quality budget refrigerators.

In addition, Candy can be distinguished among manufacturers of budget models.

How to check a refrigerator in a store

When buying, it will not be possible in principle to check the performance of the refrigerator – it is unlikely that sales assistants will wait half an hour until the temperature in the chamber drops. Therefore, the future owner needs to conduct a thorough visual inspection of the device:

  1. Examine the exterior. There should be no cracks, scratches, dents or other defects on the case;

  2. Inspect the handle attachments. They must also be free from defects;

  3. Inspect the compressor system. Carefully assess the integrity of the pipes, their joints, points of connection of electrical contacts;

  4. Check the integrity of the seal on the door. There should be no cracks and dry places on it. The seal itself must have a soft, elastic texture, fit snugly around the entire perimeter of the chamber;

  5. Check the integrity of shelves, plastic containers, and other accessories;

  6. Examine the interior. Likewise, there should be no scratches, cracks, or other defects on the inner walls;

  7. Inspect the evaporator. It should also be free of defects;

  8. Check the noise level. This can be done by turning on several refrigerators of the same or similar characteristics. The presence of extraneous sounds in the noise indicates a compressor breakdown.

If it is possible to leave the refrigerator on for 20-30 minutes, it is definitely worth doing it.

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In the following articles, our experts will tell you how to choose the right washing machine for your home and the secrets of choosing a dishwasher.

Refrigerator selection video


Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a purchase guide.

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