Fridges are designed to keep your food cool for a few days and work well for keeping the milk fresh and other produce. Freezers can be used for storing meet and will keep food for many weeks. You will also see combination, fridge-freezer products where the unit has a small freezer compartment at the top of the fridge. There are also chest freezers, which have a lid on the top face of the product. Chest freezers have a higher capacity than upright freezers but may not have many drawers. Chest freezers are available in short width (600mm), similar in width to a washing machine, and full-width, approximately 1.6M wide. Look out for lockable lids on chest freezers as you can store a lot of food in a chest freezer, which is going to be worth a lot of money. The lid on a wide chest freezer could be quite heavy also so see if it has a counter-balance mechanism, which will make it easier to open.

A fridge temperature should be no more than 5 degrees whereas a freezer works around minus 18 to minus 22 degrees. Some fridges and freezers have warning lights and audible alarms if the temperature gets to hot. They also have a fast freeze mode to reduce the freezer temperature quickly.

Energy Ratings:
In the shops you will see energy efficiency ratings for washing machines. Fridges and freezers machines are rated on a scale from A to G where G is the least efficient and uses more energy than the A rated products. Most fridge freezers available today are at least A rated, which has lead to the introduction of an A+ and even A++ standard.

American style fridge freezers tend to be around 2m high with two doors and a cold water dispenser built into one of the doors. They are available in a choice of styles and colours and may include a fast freeze feature.

Integrated fridge freezers or under-counter fridge freezers are designed to fit under a work surface and are a similar size to a washing machine. The fridges and freezers tend to be separate items with approximately 3cu.ft of storage capacity. They are available in a choice of colours to fit with your other kitchen appliances.

Options
Some options you may see when looking for fridges and freezers include: LED temperature display; door open warning light; Independent fridge and freezer temperature controls; Energy saving option; fast freeze feature; Dairy and egg trays; Ice cube trays; Can dispenser; Bottle racks and humidity controls to make salad crisper.

Noise performance:
Fridges and freezers tend to be fairly quite products and have only one compressor which would be making noise. The noise is measured in dB(A) or decibels.. If you prefer your fridge or freezer to be quieter then look for one with lower figures for noise performance. Typical noise performance figures for fridges and freezers are around 42dB.

Colours
For many years fridges and freezers were available in white but more recently we have seen some manufacturers making their products available in other colours including: Black, Silver, Cream and even Pink! Some manufacturers such as SMEG also have designer products with flags and other styles if you’re looking for something a bit more funky.

Brands
There are many companies around the world manufacturing washing machines and leading brands include Samsung; Bosch; Hotpoint; Miele; Zanussi and Indesit.

Prices
Under-counter fridge prices start at just over £100 at the lower end of the scale and rise to over £1200 for designer products. An average fridge will probably be around £150 to £300 for an under-counter fridge or £300 to £600 for a full-height fridge. Cheaper washing machines tend to be made using lower quality components and the finish may also degrade over time. The fridge/freezer components including plastics, shelves and door may be more likely to be broken during use and the fridge freezer may last only a few years. More expensive fridge freezers tend to use higher quality components and finish and have been designed and tested, to be used for many years. Of course, if a fridge freezer breaks down you may be able to simply buy a new one compared to the cost of fixing a higher quality machine. Cheaper machines will tend to be more noisy, have fewer features and may take slightly more energy in use.

In conclusion, there’s a staggering range of fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers available on the market to suit your tastes and price point. Fridge freezers are well-developed products and whether you chose a higher cost quality product or lower cost route you will find many products to fit your budget.

For information on an American fridge freezer click here.