Have you ever wondered how important a refrigerator is for a running household? It is probably one of the most important home appliances. If a kitchen is known as the heart of every household, then a refrigerator is what keeps the kitchen running. A refrigerator stores all the fruits, vegetables and cooking ingredients to maintain its freshness. It also depends on how you organize a refrigerator. However, buying a fridge is not an everyday or regular thing, then why do we need a refrigerator buying guide?
We buy a fridge only 2-3 times in our entire lifetime. This is because refrigerators have a pretty long-lasting lifespan. However, it is these 2-3 times that we invest in a refrigerator that makes all the difference. If you do not pick out the perfect refrigerator according to your needs, you are stuck with the one that you randomly bought on impulse. That’s where a refrigerator buying guide could make all the difference. It could help you pick out the perfect refrigerator that fits the right capacity, energy rating and is from the brand of your choice.
Take a look at our Refrigerator Buying Guide 2018 Infographic. (click on the image to view it in full size)
Type of refrigerators
The first thing to do when you are considering to buy a fridge is to pick out the type of refrigerator that suits your needs. Let’s take a look at the different types and which one you should opt for.
The first and the most basic type of refrigerator is ‘Single Door’. These refrigerators only have a single door on the front. On the inside, the refrigerator will include a freezer, few compartments and a vegetable basket. They are the most basic and economical types of refrigerators and take up a minimum amount of space. It is easy to find a lot of single door refrigerators under Rs. 10,000.
These types of refrigerators are bigger than single doors and come with two doors on the front. One door is dedicated to the fridge compartments and the other door is dedicated for the freezer. Having two separate doors makes sure that heat does not frequently enter the refrigerator. When it comes to design, these refrigerators come with a large freezer space, multiple door baskets and adjustable shelf racks. Some double door refrigerators also come with a dedicated vegetable and fruit crisper and a chill tray for storing dairy products.
A triple door refrigerator does not necessarily mean that it is bigger than a double door refrigerator. Triple door refrigerators come with multiple compartments which makes them more comfortable to use. Even in this type, the freezer is located on the top and the vegetable drawer on the bottom. Apart from organizing your refrigerator in the best way, these types of refrigerators are also amazingly designed.
Side by Side
When it comes to this type of refrigerator, then the best and probably easiest way to describe them is that they come with 2 doors side by side similar to a cupboard. One door is solely dedicated for the fridge while the other door is for the freezer section. The best part about these refrigerators is that they have a huge storage space and perfect for large families. Moreover, most refrigerators under this type come with the water and ice dispenser inside. This will let you fill water or collect ice without opening the refrigerator at all.
When it comes to French Door refrigerators, they are not so different from the side by side refrigerators. What makes them stand apart is that French door refrigerators have two doors on the top which are dedicated for the fridge section and the freezer comes on the bottom section. Having the freezer on the bottom is pretty convenient, as bending every now and again to take fruits or vegetables will become a task. Similarly, the freezer section on the bottom has a lot of space which can be used for storing frozen foods and ice.
Another important question that you should ponder upon while buying a refrigerator is- what capacity of refrigerator do you require? The two foremost questions that you should consider are:
- Do you have the required amount of space to store a refrigerator of your choice?
- And, how many people will the refrigerator be used for?
First coming to the size and space, refrigerator doors need to open more than 90 degrees when the vegetable crisper has to be pulled out. So, keep in mind that you have enough space to open the fridge door without any hindrance. Once you know the amount of space you have for a refrigerator, deciding the type of fridge becomes an easy job. But at the same time, you also have to consider your family size and the number of people the fridge will be used for.
As per the capacity, if there are one or two family members, then a 200-380 L (single or double door) fridge is sufficient. Similarly, if there are 3-4 family members, then a 350-530 L (double door or triple door) fridge is apt. And lastly, if you are a family with more than 5 members, then you should consider a 440+ L (double door, triple door, French door or side by side) fridge.
Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) is an Indian government organisation that provides energy ratings for the standard single as well as double door refrigerators. The energy efficiency rating ranges from one to five stars. In this format, a five-star rating is considered the most power efficient, while the one-star will be the least efficient.
The energy ratings for any device are not constant as it keeps changing every two years. This is because the newer technology develops in every two years and the power consumption of the newer and advanced refrigerators keeps on decreasing.
So, even if you bought a five-star rating refrigerator in 2014, it would only be around 3-4 star rating in 2018. While so, the energy rating numbers are very important, as you get a clear indication of the cost of operating your refrigerator in the long run. If the rating is poor, you will end up paying higher electricity bills in long run.
With so many refrigerator brands in India, deciding on a single brand might become confusing. There are major brands like Samsung, LG, Haier, Whirlpool, Videocon and much more. Every brand has their own set of amazing products to offer. In this case, it is best to look for the features you want and the brand that offers those features at a price range which is convenient for you. Finding the right refrigerator brand is all about understanding what you are looking for in the price range that fits your budget.
Refrigerator Features (Defrosting Type)
All refrigerators either fall under the Direct Cool type or Frost Free type. Another defrosting type of refrigerator is Thermoelectric Cooling. However, this type is only seen in Deep Freezer’s which are seen in commercial places. Let’s take a look at what makes Direct Cool and Frost Free refrigerators stand apart.
These are the most basic type of refrigerators. In this type of refrigerators, fans are not used for cooling the compartments in the fridge. Instead, the cooling takes place without any external help. In this type of refrigerators, there is no control over the circulation of air. The circulation is done in an uneven manner. This is the main reason that we see a lot of ice and frost in and around the freezer. Nevertheless, some of the latest auto defrost technology helps defrost the ice by manually pressing a button. However, these refrigerators are highly energy efficient and are quite affordable too.
None of us are guests to seeing ice form in our freezers. This happens due to the uneven circulation of cooling air in the freezer. As soon as cool air meets hot or humid air, frost is formed. Frost-Free refrigerators as the name implies prevents the formation of frost or ice. This is due to a small convection (electrical fan) that evenly distributes cold air avoiding frost to form.
Advantages of frost-free refrigerators:
- The main advantage of frost-free refrigerators is that you don’t have to manually clean the fridge to thaw and drain out the ice every few months. The frost-free fridge avoids the formation of ice saving you time and effort.
- It maintains the maximum freshness of food, preventing it from getting spoilt due to ice crystals forming on stored food.
- Storage can be utilized to the maximum as there is no frost to create an interference with space.
- Neglecting regular frost formation in the fridge could cause a problem with the fridge’s lifespan. As frost-free refrigerators prevent frost from forming, they have a longer lifespan.
So, we come to the end of our refrigerator buying guide 2018. Now that you are aware and have understood all the important factors to consider while buying a refrigerator, picking the perfect model for your house will be an easy and smooth task. If you are ready to make a choice, you can also take a look at our list of top refrigerators in 2018.