10 criteria for choosing a refrigerator that you need to know before you buy

How to choose a refrigerator

It is impossible to say which refrigerator is the best. But to choose the perfect device for your needs, habits and wallet is quite possible, if you get a little knowledge of the characteristics and capabilities of modern technology.

10 nuances of choice

1. Size

For many kitchens, the first and important limitation is the size of the equipment.

  • Kitchen in Khrushchev with a refrigerator in a niche
    Narrow and tall fridge in a small kitchen in Khrushchev
  • For a standard kitchen, a standard 60x60 cm refrigerator will do.
  • For large kitchen and a large family, you can choose a side by side refrigerator (let's talk about it a bit later) or a French Door (a refrigerator with hinged doors and a freezer at the bottom).
French door

Large french door fridge

  • For bachelors and couples, a small fridge up to a meter high is enough - you can build it under the countertop or oven as shown in the photo below.
Built-in mini fridge

Built-in mini fridge

A few more tips:

  • When replacing an old refrigerator (especially a built-in refrigerator) without rearrangement, it is necessary to clarify its dimensions in the instructions or on the manufacturer's website and select a new device of the same dimensions. In all other cases, the available space can be measured with a tape measure.
  • Usually the main factor in choosing the size of the refrigerator is its width. Depth is of particular importance if it is fundamentally important for you that the refrigerator does not perform or speak as little as possible beyond the overall line of the headset.
  • The height of the refrigerator is chosen so that its most active users can easily reach the upper shelves. If the device is too high, the upper shelf will often stand idle for nothing or bring a lot of inconvenience to the household.

2. Volume

First of all, the volume of the refrigerator depends on the size of the case, but still the capacity of the chambers may differ from model to model.

  • For a family of 3-4 people the optimal volume of the refrigerator is 200-250 liters, the freezer is up to 200 liters.
  • For one person or a couple, a smaller volume will be suitable, for example, 120-150 l.
  • Larger families are better off looking at a 300 liter refrigerator.

Other things being equal, it is better to choose the largest volume with the dimensions you need.

3. Number of chambers and compartments

Chambers are called heat insulated compartments for products. In old units, the chamber is usually one, even if a freezer is provided: there is no thermal insulation, the walls gradually become overgrown with ice.

  • In modern refrigerators, there are often two chambers: a freezer (it can maintain temperatures from -24 to -6 ° C) and refrigeration (from 0 to +8 ° C).
  • Cameras can be located one under the other, or nearby. The last option is the Side-by-Side refrigerator: the cameras in it are the same height but different widths (the refrigerator compartment is larger than the freezer compartment), its two doors open mirror-like in a wardrobe. The two-door side by side refrigerator is an excellent choice for a large family or those who need to store a lot of supplies in the freezer.
Refrigerator side by side 550 l

550 l Side-by-Refrigerator

In addition to the two main chambers, modern refrigerators may have additional chambers and compartments with a specific temperature regime:

  • Zone of freshness (zero camera). Meat, fish, dairy and other perishable foods, as well as cooked meals in this compartment are stored longer due to lower temperatures - from 0 to +1 ° C. That is, the products do not freeze, but all chemical and biological processes are several times slower than at +4 or +8 ° C of the usual x-ka chamber. Meat in the freshness zone can last for several days without freezing, the cheese does not dry and is less weathered. Apples and citrus fruits can generally lie for months. "Zones of freshness" can be dry or wet, when the camera controls not only the temperature, but also the percentage of water vapor. In the “dry zone” the relative humidity is not higher than 50%, it is intended for the storage of meat products. And in the wet to 95%, in such an environment vegetables and fruits are better preserved.

In our opinion, the zero camera is a really valuable option for each refrigerator. It will simplify your cooking, reduce the percentage of spoiled food to a minimum and allow you to go to the store less often.

Freshness zone

Judging by the reviews, the freshness zone allows you to store cooked dishes ... for at least a week

  • Storage area for fruits and vegetables. The warmest compartment (8 ° C), which is in almost every modern model. Fruits, vegetables and greens never froze through here, they remain tasty and healthy longer.
  • Camera for wine. Of course, not only wine can be stored here, but also any other drinks. The temperature in this chamber is regulated - today you can store red wine in it at 18 ° C, and tomorrow you can cool champagne to 15 ° C.

Wine cooler

See the material on the topic: What should be the temperature in the refrigerator?

4. Brand

It is impossible to say unequivocally which brand is better and which is worse. Especially if one specializes in low cost and the other specializes in elite models. The main rating criterion is the percentage of customer satisfaction.

  • The ideal refrigerator is affordable, it normally freezes and cools, does not overeat electricity and has been living for more than 10 years.

Here are the top 10 brands of refrigerator manufacturers:

  1. Liebherr
  2. Bosch
  3. Sharp
  4. Samsung
  5. LG
  6. Siemens
  7. Indesit
  8. BEKO
  9. Atlant
  10. Ariston

However, there are no “dark horses” on the market - besides the leader of the Liebherr list, excellent refrigerators are produced by most well-known manufacturers of household appliances.

  • At the same time, we should not forget that any brand has successful and unsuccessful copies. Moreover, the majority of breakdowns occur after the expiration of the warranty period (refrigerators stand for decades, and the warranty is 2-5 years). Just some brands break every tenth, and some every hundredth or thousandth of the refrigerator, which is reflected in the rating.

We add only that it is useful to pay attention not only to the manufacturer, but also to the country of assembly. For Japan and Germany, the quality of technology is a matter of national pride. In addition, a good sign is the assembly in the country where the company is headquartered.

See also the material: 4 stages of choosing a built-in refrigerator and the nuances of its installation

5. Electricity consumption

It is estimated that 20% of the average family’s electricity is spent on the refrigerator.

  • Indicators of energy consumption are individual for each device and must be indicated in the characteristics. Most often, a standard refrigerator consumes from 200 to 300 kWh per year (that is, on average, from 17 to 25 kWh per month).

But it is impossible to calculate exactly how much your device will consume in advance. The fact is that energy is consumed mainly by the compressor. But how many hours a day it will work depends on the load, the temperature in the room, the frequency of opening the door. In summer, the refrigerator has to cool more often at high temperatures. Therefore, manufacturers declare only the expected rate for the year, but in real life it may differ.

  • However, it can be said that in practice a refrigerator with a large calculated energy consumption will spend more than with a small one.

Energy efficiency classes

Refrigerators are marked with letters from A +++ (most economical) to G (least). This is an estimate of the amount of energy loss during operation. At the same time, sometimes class A +++ equipment requires more kWh than class A. Why? This means that the first in itself spends more (for example, due to the increased volume), although it spends more economically.

In any case, the calculated energy consumption must be indicated under the label on the label. Simply, if the class is not A +++, but lower, then in theory there is a more economical refrigerator of the same size. But the actual difference is usually insignificant - the specific data in kWh is more important.

6. Noise level

The noise level, as well as the energy class, is indicated on a special sticker on the door of the refrigerator.

  • According to GOST, devices with an index from 25 to 34 dB are considered quiet, medium ones are from 35 to 44, and noisy - from 45.

These tips will help you to imagine the noise level of quiet and noisy refrigerators:

  • 25 dB is the noise level in an apartment building: a clock, steps on the stairs, cars outside the window;
  • 35 dB is not audible in the next room if the door is closed;
  • 45 dB interferes with the conversation, if you stand nearby.

Of course, the refrigerator does not make noise around the clock, but only while the compressor is running. But there is an exception: the No Frost system requires the work of fans that can buzz longer and more often. But in any case, all modern models are much quieter than outdated Soviet counterparts.

  • If the noise that your new fridge makes is unbearable, check whether the transport bolts are removed from the motor springs, whether the machine is level, not touching the glass or other vibrating surfaces.

7. Cooling systems: drip and no frost

There are two cooling systems: drip and know frost. Why are they needed and what is the difference? Since each time the fridge door is opened, warm humid air gets inside, it cools down in the chamber, turns into water droplets, and then frost. For the prevention of ice and need a drip system and a system of No Frost.

  • Drip system assumes that the back wall of the evaporator, which specifically collects all the excess moisture. While the compressor is running, it cools, and the water freezes exactly on it. Then the compressor is turned off, the evaporator heats up, the water melts, flows through special channels into the pan and evaporates. The system does not work in the freezer: positive temperature is needed. However, it is opened less often, so the problem of snow growth is not so relevant. But if it has grown, you have to defrost manually.
  • The No Frost system includes fans. The evaporator is in a separate cavity. When the compressor is turned on, the fans drive air through this cavity, it cools, and the water remains on the evaporator. Cold air is evenly distributed throughout the chamber. As a result, the temperature is the same on all shelves, there is no moisture, and the back wall does not freeze through. Some manufacturers install filters for cleaning and disinfecting air, which reduces the risk of bacteria and mold. The advantages over the drip system are obvious.

However, there are refrigerators No Frost and disadvantages in comparison with the drip system:

  • More noise due to fans;
  • Higher power consumption;
  • A separate cavity takes up space, i.e. the volume is lower with the same dimensions;
  • It is recommended to defrost anyway once a year;
  • The price is higher.

It turns out that the drip system is more profitable and quieter, but No Frost works in the freezer, makes it possible not to think about frost at all and even put uncooked dishes in the chamber (although this is not desirable) and, moreover, maintains a stable temperature shelves.

See also: Which refrigerator to choose: drip or know-frost?

8. Compressor

Previously, it was thought that refrigerators with two compressors are much more convenient: you can separately defrost the freezer, and not all at once.But modern devices, firstly, are rarely thawed at all, and secondly, even with semi-automatic control, they allow the cameras to be turned off separately (especially programmed ones). Why, then, need two-compressor refrigerators? In very large expensive refrigerators, two compressors are needed in order to quickly cool the mountains of food in both chambers. But in outdated economy class devices, a pair of compressors is needed for the ability to turn on / off each camera separately.

  • So, buying a two-compressor refrigerator does not make much sense, but you can look at a new product - an appliance with an inverter compressor.

Classic linear compressors operate cyclically: turned on, cooled, turned off. Has the temperature exceeded the norm? Again turned on and so on. And although the device actually does not work all the time, the cost of electricity for intensive cooling is very high. Moreover, the temperature in the chambers is not constantly maintained, but fluctuates. Inverter compressors, on the other hand, assume constant operation to maintain the temperature. Depending on the situation (they opened the door, put a lot of warm products), it can cool more actively, and then slow down. In the production of such refrigerators more expensive, but they are quieter, and the temperature is stable. But still, the actual difference may be invisible, so when choosing a refrigerator you need to focus on other indicators.

9. Additional features and capabilities

Here are a few useful and not very advanced features that are most often found:

  • Child Protection - in some refrigerators, protection from children consists only in the inaccessibility of the buttons, and in some - in blocking the control panel and doors. For families with small children, this function is an absolute mast.
  • Antibacterial coating. Spraying a very thin layer of silver-containing reagent inhibits the growth of some bacteria that can accelerate the deterioration of products and cause unpleasant odors. Unfortunately, such coverage does not provide absolute protection, so you will still have to regularly wash the refrigerator.
  • Super freeze. Allows you to maintain the temperature in the freezer below the standard -18 ° C, because of what products will freeze faster, more retain their taste and benefits. Although, of course, household appliances cannot come close to industrial “shock freezing” - the taste of a thawed product will still be different from fresh.
  • Transparent boxes - It seems to be a trifle, but with them the search for the right products becomes much easier.
  • Retractable, foldable or foldable shelves. Retractable shelves facilitate access to the most distant corners. Folding shelves can be adjusted in width so that high dishes can be put on the tier below. Folding shelves are convenient because they allow you to put very large pans, without pulling the extra shelf out of the chamber (see photo below).

Folding shelf

  • Ice generator. The ice generator built into the door is a pleasant addition, but more often it either increases the price of the refrigerator for exactly the cost of a separate generator or is no different in efficiency from freezing in molds - the ice will also have to wait a few hours, just the feed is beautiful.

10. Design

Refrigerators are strict or rounded, with or without handles, with a convex door and absolutely straight, in a modern style or in a retro version, in matte or glossy design. In color, they are beige, red and even blue.

  • Still, the choice of design is not so great - mostly white fridges or metallic colors (matte or shiny).

Refrigerator in metallic color in the kitchen interior

Here are a few tips on choosing a fridge design:

  • If the kitchen is small, then the refrigerator should choose strict geometric shapes - such devices are always a bit more compact.
  • The black refrigerator is very stylish, but keep in mind that even the smallest stains will be very noticeable.
  • Do you like retro style? Then your choice is a Smeg fridge. By the way, this brand can find a refrigerator of almost any color.
Red Smeg Refrigerator

Red Smeg Refrigerator

  • For a family with children, you can choose a refrigerator from the company Miele - c chalk board on which to draw.

Fridge miele

However, the original form of the refrigerator is not a sentence! After purchase, the design can be modified independently, following our master classes or order the services of a master.

Refrigerator painting

Refrigerator painting

Painting the fridge

Paint the refrigerator to match the headset

Refrigerator, pasted over vinyl film

Refrigerator, pasted over vinyl film

Slate Painted Refrigerator

Slate Painted Refrigerator

If desired a stationary refrigerator can be built at all by yourself without sacrificing its effectiveness and your wallet.

Option semi-built-in refrigerator

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  1. Galya says

    Our Virlupul seems to be not so big, but quite roomy, probably, this is what is considered successful ergonomics)

  2. Catherine says

    In terms of colors, the choice is really not very big, I have long wanted to have a black refrigerator, an adequate option for the price and the rest only I found at a hint))

  3. Svetlana says

    Catherine, I had a similar situation, but I certainly wanted to silver, I really like this technique, the benefit of silver is now a lot and at a different price absolutely. Quickly picked up Indesit, in fact I was worried about the appearance, noufrost and spaciousness, and all.

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