Choosing the Right Refrigerator

Choosing the right refrigerator or fridge freezer can help you preserve food and keep products at the right temperature. Opting for an energy efficient model with the dimensions that suit your needs can also help you save electricity. This guide will examine the key points to consider when selecting a refrigerator or refrigerator freezer for your home or commercial project.

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  • How to choose the right refrigerator

    SMEG Fridge-Freezer

    SMEG Fridge-Freezer

    Refrigerators have become a standard appliance in homes and in a number of professional settings where there’s a need for cold storage, such as bars, restaurants or grocery stores. Since refrigerators run constantly, choosing an energy-efficient model with an appropriate capacity for your needs can save money. This guide will focus on refrigerators and fridge freezers for home, commercial and hospitality settings. These are the key criteria to consider:

    • Refrigerator type
    • Configuration
    • Door type and finish
    • Single or double door
    • Technical characteristics
    • Climate class ratings
    • Energy labels
    • Options and trends
  • What to know about the different types of refrigerators

    HOTPOINT Untercounter Refrigerator

    HOTPOINT Untercounter Refrigerator

    If you’re wondering how to decide which refrigerator to buy, learning about the different types of refrigerators is a good place to start. Refrigerator manufacturers produce the appliance in a variety of different ways, and the diverse types of refrigerators offer solutions for multiple scenarios. The main types of refrigerators and fridge-freezers are upright and under-counter. They can either be standalone or built-in to fit flush with kitchen cabinetry. Here are some points to consider for each category when choosing a refrigerator.

    • Upright refrigerators and fridge freezers are the most common and easy to install and they come in a wide range of sizes and configurations.
    • Under-counter refrigerators are a great option if space is limited or in places where products need to be available directly under the counter such as in bars or restaurants.
    • Built-in refrigerators are a good choice if you prefer to keep appliances hidden behind kitchen facing panels. However, they can be tricky to install and line up correctly with the rest of the kitchen cabinets. There also needs to be a gap large enough for ventilation behind the fridge.
    • Standalone refrigerators might not match with your kitchen cupboards, but they can easily be repositioned if necessary.
  • Which refrigerator configuration is best?

    LG Side-By-Side Refrigerator-Freezer

    LG Side-By-Side Refrigerator-Freezer

    The layout of shelving and drawers as well as the location of the freezer are all a part of the refrigerator configuration, and you’ll want to think about how this configuration could affect day-to-day operations. The depth and height of the door shelving can have an impact on the stability of products such as bottled drinks and cartons. Many refrigerators allow you to modify the shelving height to help cater to different user needs. If you are looking for a fridge-freezer, choose one with a freezer location that will suit you best.

    A refrigerator with an internal freezer compartment could be a good choice if space is limited, but it may be exposed to temperature changes when the door is opened. This is because the freezer isn’t completely separate from the refrigerator. For fridge-freezers with a separate freezer compartment, here are the options to consider:

    • A top freezer allows you to access the freezer while standing and is more energy efficient than a bottom freezer because it is further away from the compressor. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, top freezers use about 10 to 25 percent less energy than bottom freezers, which helps reduce your energy bill and carbon footprint.
    • A bottom freezer tends to have a larger capacity than a top freezer and often comes with drawer compartments, making it easier to store and access multiple products.
    • A side-by-side fridge freezer gives you easy access to both the refrigerator and the freezer but tends to be wider than regular upright models.
  • Which refrigerator door type and finish is best?

    EuroCave Refrigerated Wine Cabinet

    EuroCave Refrigerated Wine Cabinet

    Knowing which type of refrigerator door is the most reliable will help you select the right appliance. Refrigerators with opaque doors are the most common as they are better insulated and tend to be more energy efficient than refrigerators with glazed doors. Glazed refrigerator doors display products; this can help limit the amount of time the fridge is opened. They are often used for wine cabinets, hotel minibars, bar fridges and refrigerated display cases for food stores or canteens. Amongst the door finishes available for refrigerators you can find metal such as stainless steel, wooden and colored options. For colored options, although white refrigerators are widely available, some brands have developed ranges with attractive colors that stand out.

  • Which is better: a single or double-door fridge?

    Your choice of a single or double door will largely depend on the space you have available and the configuration you need. Single-door refrigerators tend to be smaller and cheaper to run than double-door options. The main advantage of double-door refrigerators is the convenience of wider shelving that allows you to store larger food items and higher quantities of food.

  • Which technical characteristics are important when choosing a refrigerator?

    SUB-ZERO glazed refrigerator

    SUB-ZERO glazed refrigerator

    There are certain characteristics that you’ll want to keep in mind when selecting a refrigerator. These include noise level and energy consumption, among others. Here are some more detailed technical characteristics:

    • Capacity: In order to comfortably use and stock the refrigerator without overloading it, consider its capacity. Many manufacturers refer to this capacity in liters (EU) or cubic feet (US).
    • Dimensions: The refrigerator should fit properly within its allocated space or kitchen cabinet and there should be enough space between the appliance and the walls for ventilation.
    • Noise level: Check the decibel (dB) rating of the appliance and favor more silent models.
    • Energy consumption: As this appliance is consistently operational, prioritize models that have a low yearly energy consumption (KW/annum).
    • Climate class rating: Manufacturers assign a climate class rating to each appliance which will allow you to know in what temperature range your fridge-freezer will work optimally.
  • What do I need to know about climate class ratings for refrigerators?

    Climate class ratings help you determine the temperatures and/or humidity levels that the refrigerator can run optimally in. If the climate rating of the appliance doesn’t match the climate of its location, it risks consuming more energy. It could also fail to cool the contents at the right temperature. The location of your appliance, such as whether it’ll be placed in a hot attic or an air-conditioned room, will also directly affect how well your refrigerator runs. The international standard IEC 62552-1 climate class for household refrigerating appliances ranges from Subnormal (SN) (10-32°C) to Tropical (T) (16-43°C). For commercial products, the climate class might have a number that takes into account the maximum operating temperature and the Relative Humidity (RH). For example, a fridge with ISO 23953-2 Climate Class 5 can operate effectively in a climate with a temperature of 40°C and 40% Relative Humidity.

  • What do I need to know about energy labels and how they have changed?

    Energy Labels such as the US Energy Star label and the EU Energy Label classify the performance of appliances to help consumers compare the energy efficiency of different models. Make sure that the label shown is for the most recent scale. For example, the EU Energy Label classification was rescaled to A-G in 2021 with improved criteria. Under the old label, the majority of new products were classed A to A+++, which made comparison difficult. The new scale enables buyers to better differentiate the performance of products and also encourages manufacturers to continually improve product efficiency. Most products previously labelled A+++ to A+ on the old scale are likely to be labelled from B to D on the new scale.

  • What are the current refrigerator options and trends?

    WHIRLPOOL Fridge Freezer with Ice Dispenser

    WHIRLPOOL Refrigerator with Ice Dispenser

    Refrigerators and fridge-freezers can have a number of extra options to make maintaining and using your fridge easier. These include:

    • Water and ice dispensers
    • Frost-free systems such as those that extract warm air to avoid frost build-up
    • Antibacterial coatings and/or air filters
    • LED backlighting (usually for glazed fridges)
    • Wine drawers
    • Built-in coffee makers
    • Smart fridges that keep track of the fridge stock with cameras and AI technology
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