Refrigerator buying made easy!
In a country like India where the climate is hot, hotter, and hottest in most of the areas, a refrigerator is an essential appliance. Our guide will help you make the right choice by bringing forward several important factors for your consideration. While shopping for any appliance you should always keep a budget, utility & functionality in mind. In case of refrigerators, please also take into account size and dimensions of the appliance, space available in your home, capacity, electricity consumption, warranty, after sales service and design style. We will start off by giving you a brief summary of the common refrigerator styles available in the market today-
Single Door: The Refrigerators have a single door with freezer at the top.
Two and Three door: These refrigerators have a separate freezer door in addition to the door(s) for the refrigeration unit.
Side by side model: The freezer is on one side and the refrigerator is on the other side. The side by side double door reduces the clearance space required when opening the doors. The advantage of the model is you can store food at a convenient level depending on your requirement but narrower freezer & refrigerator compartments make it difficult to store large platters for boxes.
French door models: These have 2 door fridge sections at the top and a pull out drawer freezer at the bottom so that the most commonly used refrigerated food items can be conveniently stored at eye level. Wider shelves in fridge and freezer sections, an in-door ice & water dispenser, better efficiency as the warmer section is on the top of the freezer and few other high end features add to the advantage of the model.
Side by Side and French door models are comparatively more expensive that the Single, two and three door models. They often also consume more electricity.
Top mounted/ Bottom mounted Freezers: Top mounted freezer refrigerators are more common traditional types of refrigerators and comparatively less expensive. The freezer compartment is situated at the top of the refrigerator. Assuming you cook every day and don’t rely as much on frozen food, the main disadvantage of the top mounted refrigerators is that you have to bend to reach the lower shelves containing items needed more frequently. Bottom mounted Freezer Refrigerators are quite popular nowadays but are comparatively more expensive. The freezer is mounted at the bottom of the fridge compartment and hence reduces the bending needed to access regularly needed items.
Cooling Mechanisms: Refrigerators can be categorized into the following types based on their cooling mechanism.
- Direct Cool: These refrigerators generally have a capacity of less than 300 Litres. The method of cooling causes the formation of frost or ice in the refrigerator which in turn hinders the ability of the appliance to cool appropriately. In certain cases, you will therefore be required to periodically defrost the refrigerator by switching it off or keeping the door open. This manual activity can be quite cumbersome.
- Frost Free Model: The defrost cycle in these models automatically removes frost at periodical intervals. The drained water generally collects in a tray placed on top of the compressor & is evaporated due to the heat generated by the compressor.
The size of your family often determines the capacity of refrigerator that you will need.
|Family Size||Refrigerator Capacity|
|2 Adults||150 – 200 Litres|
|4 Adults||250 – 300 Litres|
|6 Adults||300 – 350 Litres|
Please keep the space available in your home and the height and width of doorways in mind for smooth and easy installation of large refrigerators.
Electricity/ Power Consumption: The power used by refrigerators accounts for 10-15% of your monthly electricity bill. The power consumption of the refrigerator increases with the increase in capacity and the number of features such as ice and water dispensers available in the appliance. Older frost free models, consume on an average significantly more electricity than direct cool models. Newer cyclic cooling and defrosting models that are more energy efficient are being introduced in the market. The best rule of thumb while trying to determine energy efficiency is to look for the government’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) star ratings. A higher star rated appliance is more energy efficient while providing the same cooling when compared to a lower star rated refrigerator. We normally recommend going for a 5 star rated appliance if power consumption and efficiency is critical to your purchase decision.
Some additional salient features that could be useful for you are below –
1) Provision for a large sized vegetable tray, availability of crisper for separate storage space for meat and produce at optimum temperatures and humidity levels.
2) User friendly features like adjustable shelves, in door water & ice dispenser and reversible doors.
3) External or built in stabilizer or invertor technology would extend the life of the fridge by protecting against voltage fluctuations.
4) Anti bacterial protection: Anti bacterial enzymes on the shelves & walls of the fridge destroy about 75% of bacteria on the food.
5) Thermostat controls should be easily accessible allowing you to adjust the temperatures digitally through a digital screen & push buttons.
6) Maintenance: Refrigerators usually have one year warranty on the body and 5 to 6 yrs on compressor. Ensure the brand you choose has a service center in your city.
We hope this guide has made the daunting task of choosing the perfect refrigerator for your kitchen a simpler and logical exercise. A Refrigerator is an expensive but vital appliance and a little pre-purchase preparation can ensure that you buy the best refrigerator at the right price with a lower total cost of ownership. As always feel free to research the latest and best refrigerators in the Indian market place at Conzumr.com