How to buy a fridge

Can you imagine life without a fridge? This appliance is an everyday feature for many, so buying the correct one is vital.

As with many modern-day electrical appliances, the choice can be overwhelming and confusing, but there are a few things to look out for before investing in this cornerstone of the kitchen.

Size matters

The first thing to figure out is what size you want, or need. If you are remodelling your kitchen you will be able to custom-build the cavity, but if you are replacing a fridge your options are more limited.

Measure the height, width and depth before you go shopping to save yourself some heartache.

It’s a good idea to leave some space on all sides to improve airflow, which in turn improves your fridge’s efficiency.

As a rough guide, leave 5cm space on all sides and 10cm on the top if possible.

And take into account the door swing arc. Will you have enough room to open the door properly?

Mount up

You will also need to choose the configuration you would like.

Freezer on top? Or the bottom? Side-by-side fridges or French doors?

There are pros and cons to each style.

Top mount fridge/freezers are generally cheaper, cheaper to run and have a wide range to choose from.

However, you will be bending over more as you use the fridge more than the freezer.

Bottom-mounted fridges are more expensive, you have less range to choose from and can be slower to chill.

On the pro side, they are more logically designed and they usually have handy, slide-out baskets.

Side-by-side fridges usually have extra features such as ice machines, the doors take up less space when open and offer more freezer space. On the con side, ice makers are notoriously fickle, the internal space is often quite narrow and they take up a lot of space.

French door mountings have two fridge doors on top and a freezer below. They have all the benefits of a bottom-mount fridge plus larger storage capacity but they are often more expensive and take up a lot of room.

The big finish

Another big consideration is the finish.

Once upon a time, you could have any colour so long as it was white. But things have come a long way in kitchen design.

Stainless steel is very popular with modern kitchen designs and lends the air of a professional set-up.

However, unless you like constantly wiping and buffing the surface look for fingerprint-resistant or matte finishes.

Classic white is easier to keep clean and there are still plenty of options available.

Black is also becoming popular and comes in many different styles such as matte, glass and stainless steel.

There are a few coloured fridges out there but the range is limited. And you want to make sure you are comfortable with a colour choice. Funky orange may look great in your home now, but in 10 years it could become an eyesore.

But that’s okay, with some simple DIY skills you can buy fridge wrap and colour your fridge – anything from a lush jungle scene to a tiger’s head with printed vinyl.

Let your imagination run free.

Another popular choice is the glass-fronted fridge. This adds a commercial touch to your kitchen, but think long and hard if you really want the interior of your fridge on show to the world.

Techy bits

It’s always a good idea to buy a ‘green’ fridge, the best you can afford. Money spent will probably be returned in cheaper running costs.

If you are buying a fridge with water and ice dispensers, check if they need a separate water supply. It could be another cost to consider.

It’s a good idea to buy a fridge with temperature displays, preferably with separate functions for the fridge and freezer. This makes it easy to set the temperature and check if your fridge is operating poorly.

It’s also a good idea to buy some rollers for underneath the fridge. This means you can move the unit easily for cleaning the cavity or repairs.

Have you updated your fridge lately? Were you happy with the choice available? Why not share your tips in the comments section below?

Also read: How to get the best out of your washing machine

Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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