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How to choose the right fridge


How to choose the right fridge

The refrigerator is now a must in every home. This appliance has become commonplace, but it is still difficult to know how to choose a fridge. This appliance has a direct impact on the freshness and quality of your food, but also on your wallet with a constant consumption of electricity. It is therefore essential to be familiar with the current state of the market and what criteria you can base your choice of fridge-freezer on.

What type of refrigerator to choose?

To choose your refrigerator, it is first of all essential to distinguish between the different types of refrigerators available on the market. They can be classified into 4 main families:

The standard refrigerator

This is how we classify those with only one door. There are free-standing cupboard-type refrigerators, built-in refrigerators, under-counter refrigerators (less than 85cm high to slide under the kitchen worktop).

The refrigerator-freezer

It refers to models that may have a freezer that is not insulated from the rest of the refrigerator, a freezer in an insulated compartment or a separate door for the freezer section. The latter therefore have a real specific compartment for freezing. Moreover, they are completely independent of the refrigeration section. The cold of this freezing section is then more efficient than that of the freezers of the standard models.

The multi-door refrigerator multi-door refrigerator

It has at least three doors, one or two of which are for the conventional refrigeration section and at least 2 drawer doors for the freezing section. These refrigerators can also be equipped with a water cooler or ice cube dispenser. This type of model is particularly suitable for large families.

The American refrigerator

It consists of 2 vertical doors with a water fountain and/or an ice cube dispenser. They also sometimes have a bar compartment placed in a door for easy access to the bottles. The American refrigerator is mostly of large volume, exceeding 400 liters and is mainly suitable for large families.

What size for a fridge-freezer?

Most people are tempted to choose the largest refrigerator possible according to their available space. It is often a choice that is meant to be aesthetically pleasing or is made out of a concern to save as much food as possible. However, be aware that the bigger your refrigerator is, the more electricity it will consume. A large refrigerator-freezer often represents between 20 and 35% of a house’s total electricity bill (if it is not heated with electricity): this is not negligible!

The criterion to which you must pay attention is the number of people in your household. Generally for a single person we advise to stay well below 250 litres, for a couple 250 to 300 litres are enough, while 3 people need about 330 litres. Beyond 3 people, you can target large volumes that exceed 330 litres.

Choosing your fridge-freezer according to its use

It is important to analyze your lifestyle and cooking style. This is essential to determine how your fridge storage space is allocated.

For example, people who tend to reheat frozen food will need to choose a larger freezer space. Likewise, if you tend to cook non-frozen meals, plan for adequate storage space (drawers, for example) in the refrigerator section.

Conversely, if you are cooking fresh produce instead, make sure that spaces such as crisper bins are large enough to store your groceries.  It is important to ask yourself these questions objectively in order to choose your fridge wisely.

The energy consumption of the fridge

The refrigerator is energy-intensive, firstly because the production of cold requires a lot of energy and secondly because it is an appliance that runs continuously, night and day, throughout the year.  An energy label appears on the technical data sheet of your appliance. It indicates the level of energy consumption of the appliance. The best appliances are rated A+++ and the worst are rated D. However, since 2013, no more appliances are produced below the A+ rating. Therefore, the most energy-intensive appliances you will find are A + refrigerators.

Finally, between each energy class level there is a 20% difference in electricity consumption per equivalent refrigerator volume. In fact, a 330-litre A++ refrigerator will certainly consume more than a 200-litre A++!

The type of air ventilation of the refrigerator

This is certainly one of the most important technical points for choosing the right refrigerator. Indeed, the way in which the air is ventilated in your fridge is essential for the proper preservation of your food. It is also an important element to limit the possible proliferation of bacteria. In addition, efficient air ventilation will greatly limit the appearance of frost and consequently energy consumption (half a centimetre of frost on the entire wall of the refrigerator represents 30% more electricity).

There are three types of ventilation for refrigerators:

Static cold air

It’s the most common system. The temperature depends on the position of the air in the fridge. The warmest air is at the top and the coldest air at the bottom. Its major disadvantage is the creation of frost. Moreover, it is necessary not to store food too close together and to avoid placing the most fragile foods upwards.

Nowadays this type of cold is used in refrigerators of smaller volumes and for the cheapest models.

Cold air stirred

Here the cold air is circulated by a fan at the bottom of the refrigerator. This makes the temperature more even and the food keeps longer without being too dry.

Ventilated cold air, or “no frost”.

This is the option found on most high-end and more expensive models. The cold air circulates evenly and very dynamically through the fridge and excess moisture in the air is quickly removed. This avoids almost all risks of frost build-up and also bacterial growth. On the other hand, this drier air will force you to pack the food to be able to preserve it for a long time.