Refrigerator Buy Guide - Choose the best refrigerator
Thinking about replacing your existing fridge, but do not know where to start from ? here is a detailed buying guide with the various important factors to consider before you buy the best refrigerator for your home.
For years, refrigerators have been considered as the boxy, boring behemoths of the kitchens, and buying one used to be really simple with very limited options available in the market. As a result, today you can find an ever increasing range of colour and style options, cleverly designed units designed to disappear into your decor and a wide variety of new smart features, including the ones that are aimed to give your kitchen a complete makeover by acting as a refrigerator and an entertainment hub.
Brief about some of the refrigerator types :
a. Single Door:
- Capacity: 121 to 130 L
- Ideal for: 1 to 2 members
- Features: compact, direct cool, separate freezer, no direct access to freezer
b. Double Door:
- Capacity: 231 to 500 L
- Ideal: 3 to 5 members
- Features: frost free, direct freezer access, most shelves made of toughened glass
c. Triple Door:
- Capacity: 240 to 350 L
- Ideal: 3 to 4 members
- Features: frost free, freezer on top, spacious, separate, vegetable drawers
d. Side by Side Refrigerator:
- Capacity: 500 L
- Ideal for: large family
- Features: mega capacity, multiple fridge and freeze section, toughened glass body, veggies space, smoe have water /ice dispensers, wi-fi and more
Finding the right fridge is all about understanding your own needs and asking the right questions, so let's get started with :
What is your budget ?
The price tag is, of course, one of the most important deciding factors while buying a new fridge. To begin with, calculate an estimate of how much you want to spend. A basic single door refrigerator can cost in the range of 10,000 and Rs.20,000, while side by side options are around Rs.65,000. This is a long term investment, so the budget should take that into consideration.
The capacity of a refrigerator is measured in litres and with the advancement in the tech industry, the capacity range of the appliance has grown from the lowest capacity to the highest at an exponential rate. But for you to be able to decide your requirement, one key factor needs to be considered - the size of you family. This determines the amout of food you will be keeping inside your fridge.
Defrosting: direct cooling vs frost free
All refrigerators have cool air circulation inside theri compartments and when it comes to direct cool options, this circulation is carried out through natural convection, without the help of any external support. A major disadvantage of this this method is uneven distribution, which leads to the forming of ice in the refrigerator.
Thus, you will have to manually defrost the fridge at regular intervals. A few advantages of this technology are that such refrigerators are economical and consume less electricity.
On the other hand, there are frost free refrigerators. As the name suggests, with frost free refrigerators there is no frost or ice to deal with. These refrigerators circulate the cool air evenly with the help of electric fans.
This method does not allow ice to form inside the compartments and hence does not subject your food to freeze burn. But they are more expensive than direct cool refrigerators and consume more electricity due to their usage of fans.
Required Door Style:
The next step in choosing the best refrigerator is to decide the door style or the fridge type. while some prefer a french door refrigerator for the sleeker profile and wider drawers and shelves, others like to go for a side by side model for its bigger freezer section.
There are primarily size types of refrigerators: single door, double door, triple door, mini, side by side , french door.
Compressors help in maintaining the temperatures inside the fridge. One should note that smaller fridge usually come with general compressors, while medium and large sized refrigerators ship wih inverter compressors.
These compressors start off at a very high speeds and then continue running at a constant speed. This way, even if there is no cooling loss, they will keep running at the same pace and switch off when they reach the optimum cooling level.
Inverter compressors are adaptable in nature and have a much varying speed depending on the amount of cooling that is required. They start at a low speeds and speed up only when there's a loss in cooling. This allows them to be more energy efficient.
Features to look out for :
Refrigerator have come a long way since the debut of the egg holder and the butter bin. These days, you'll find a wide variety of features designed to bring a whole new level of functionaliy to your fridge. With the endless parade of trademarked names and bold claims, find the features you actually want can quickly become overwhelming.
While buying a new fridge or a used model, always look for the energy star label, which tells you how much electricity the refrigerator consumes per unit. More the star rating, the lesser will be its electricity consumption. Obviously, a 5 star refrigerator costs more than a 2 star. But this will help cut down overall cost in the long run.
Since most refrigerators come with a limited warrant period, it is advisable to go for a brand that offers an extra warranty on the fridge. There are chances that an extended warranty might not be free of cost though. Brands like samsung and LG do provide extended warranty on refrigerators, so it is worth the additional cost on an already expensive product.