Fridge Freezers Buying Guide

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Which? guide to buying a fridge freezer

If you’re buying a new fridge freezer you’ll find there are hundreds of models and lots of brands to choose from. So how do you know which one is right for you?

This guide reveals some of the key factors to consider before you choose. But before you part with your cash, check out the definitive Which? guide to buying the best fridge freezer.

If you already know what you need and just want to see which models are better than others, head straight to which? reviews of Best Buy fridge freezers.

Which fridge freezer should I buy?

Before you start shopping you’ll probably know whether you want a freestanding, built-in or American fridge freezer. Whichever type you’re looking for, the one you choose will depend on the type and quantity of the food you buy and the amount of space you have in your kitchen.

Fridge freezers come with different amounts of fridge and freezer space. If you buy a lot of fresh food and fruit and vegetables, look for a model with a larger fridge section. If you like to keep a lot of food frozen to eat another day, choose a model with four freezer drawers, rather than three drawers.

If you have a large household an American fridge freezer might be the ideal choice as they offer a huge amount of storage space. But these are large and bulky appliances so they’re only an option if you have the room for one.

Which size of fridge freezer is right for me?

This will depend on the amount of space you have in your kitchen. Most freestanding fridge freezers are 60–65cm wide and deep, but if you’re short on space look for a slimmer 50cm-wide model.

If you’re looking for a built-in or integrated fridge freezer you’ll have to buy one that fits into your kitchen cupboard units. Most integrated models are a standard size.

American fridge freezers are much bigger than standard models – they can be more than 90cm wide and 70cm deep. Some are too big to fit through internal doors so bear this in mind when you’re ordering one of these appliances. To solve this, some retailers will remove the fridge freezer doors when they deliver it – and then reattach them when it’s installed in your kitchen. It’s worth checking in advance whether the retailer you choose will do this, and whether it costs extra.

Some fridge freezers need extra space at the sides and back for air to circulate, while others don’t – so it’s worth checking this with the manufacturer.

What’s the difference between a good and bad fridge freezer?

A great fridge freezer will keep your food safely chilled and frozen around the clock, no matter if your kitchen heats up while you’re cooking or cools down overnight. It has impressive chilling and freezing power - cooling food fast to help keep it fresher for longer – and the fridge temperature is even across all the shelves. When you set it up in your kitchen it will accurately cool to the right fridge and freezer temperatures, and it won’t cost the earth to run.

On the flipside, a poor fridge freezer can struggle to cope with fluctuating room temperatures – and you may find your food warms up if the temperature in your kitchen plummets. Plus, you’ll find food on the top shelf is likely to spoil more quickly than the food you keep at the bottom. You’ll have to use a thermometer to set it up, as following the recommended setting in the instruction manual won’t cool it to the right temperatures, and running it will add a fortune to your energy bills.

Which fridge freezer features do I need?

From height adjustable shelves and fans that even out the fridge temperature, to water dispensers, digital displays and salad crisper drawers that enable you to control humidity levels - today’s fridge freezers offer more than just cold storage. This can make it hard to know which features are worth paying more for.

Some features - such as a frost-free freezer and digital controls - help make life easier. Others, such as humidity controls, fan and chiller cabinet, can help keep your food fresher for longer. Some features are nice-to-haves but ultimately aren’t worth the extra cash.

To help you choose which extras you want and which you can live without, find out more about the features available in which? guide to fridge freezer features explained.

We think some features are worth investing in – as a minimum:

  • Glass fridge shelves (rather than wire ones) help stop food and meat juices dripping onto the food stored below.
  • Transparent freezer drawers (rather than opaque drawers) make it easy to see what you’ve got in your freezer and find the item you’re looking for.
  • A frost-free freezer will save you loads of time and hassle – as you’ll never have to defrost it.

How much do fridge freezers cost?

This will depend on the features you want and the brand you choose. Fridge freezers start at around £200 from brands, such as Lec and Candy, and can cost more than £3,000 for a top-of-the-range American model – and everything in between.

Within each brand, you’ll usually pay more for features such as a frost-free setting, digital display, water and ice dispenser and stainless-steel finish. And models with these features tend to come with more storage options, too. Fridge freezers with enhanced cooling features – such as separate digital fridge and freezer thermostats, a fridge fan and a frost-free freezer – typically cost more than basic models which simply chill and freeze food.

White is the cheapest colour available – the same model in silver or black is likely to cost around £30 -50 extra. Expect to pay more for a stainless-steel or brushed-steel finish.

How much do I need to spend to get a good fridge freezer?

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent fridge freezer: we’ve tested freestanding models which are great at chilling and freezing that cost around £350-400.

At Which? we carry out 215 tests, checks and measurements on every fridge freezer we test. To see which models we recommend, check out our Best Buy fridge freezers.