choosing the right size for your new refrigerator
While buying a new refrigerator or upgrading from an older one, there are a few things you must keep in mind even before you start browsing your catalogues.
Deciding the correct size of refrigerator is probably the most important decision you’d need to make since all refrigerators more or less serve the same purpose indeed. This decision of yours would be influenced by three major factors.
1. Family size
Can’t stress this enough but refrigerators are long term investments made for at least 10 years kept in mind. If you have a large family or see it gets larger in the years to come, or say the use the appliance getting more in the future where you cook for more than one meal at a time etc., go for a larger appliance.
You may also want to check out the volume distribution of the refrigerator for different storage compartments like vegetable crisper drawers and freezers; they too influence the size of refrigerator you need.
If your have a tendency to store many food items that need deep freezer storage, or you deep freeze few seasonal items for long periods (like mango pulp for example), you can include this while deciding overall refrigerator capacity. In some cases, buyers may even consider a separate deep freezer itself if they have the space and budgets for the same in their cooking areas.
General guide given to new refrigerator buyers;
|Number of Users||General Capacity Guide|
|1 adult||40-100 Liters|
|Bachelors, Couples + child||150-250 Liters|
|Nuclear Family||250-350 Liters|
|4 adults, 2 adults + 4 kids||250-500 Liters|
|Large family, 4 adults + 2 kids||250-500 Liters|
2. Space considerations
If you are replacing an already existing refrigerator in the same installation spot, go for an upgrade only vertically. In case you want a higher capacity fridge than your older one, make sure the width of the new fridge isn’t more, just taller in height.
For a newly modeled kitchen or new space for a refrigerator, measure the volume of the available space. Refrigerators advertise internal volume is cubic feet and liters, but the internal capacity is a lot smaller than the actual space volume it occupies.
Leave good margins of 2 inches on all sides and top of the refrigerator. The heat from the fridge needs to be dispensed out so no matter what, don’t miss this step out. It is also important to measure the doorways of your apartment if the refrigerator can be easily brought into the home and installed without making adjustments in the doorframes and surroundings.
If you are placing your refrigerator in a corner spot, make sure you don’t opt for a model that opens doors in two opposite directions. A top/bottom freezer options or single door variant would be the most ideal for you.
If you are tight on space on either sides of the refrigerator, that is when you go for French doors and side by side refrigerators, since you’ll only have a half width of the refrigerator width to swing open.
Even if you think you’ll be able to accommodate a slightly slimmer single sided door refrigerator, keep in mind that you will be required to open the refrigerator doors more than 90 degrees to be able to swing freely and pull out vegetable boxes and shelves for easy access and cleaning purposes.
Direct cool vs frost free
There are two cooling technologies used in refrigerator models available in market. Both of them have their own advantageous and disadvantages over the other. In this comparative refrigerator buying guide blog we will try to decode them in the simplest manner.
It is the simplest mechanism available for cooling inside refrigerators. The cool conditioned air is dispensed out from the vents without any fans. The air is circulated inside using naturally convection. This causes unequal cooling and freezes the water content in the food items, or builds up frost on the walls of the refrigerator from the moisture levels inside at particular uncirculated spaces inside the refrigerator.
This simpler mechanism definitely costs cheaper too but poses a lot of inconvenience for the users. Not only the refrigerator becomes difficult to clean, the food quality is also compromised. You would have to manually defrost and thaw the foods to get rid of the frost build up and this would affect the food texture heavily.
As the name suggests, this mechanism was introduced to combat this frost build-up problem of the direct cool technology. Frost free refrigerators use cooling fans to circulate the air inside the closed volume, providing even and efficient cooling. You avoid messy frost build up inside the refrigerator volume, save yourself from the manual defrosting processes and enjoy the freshness of evenly refrigerator food.
|Cost||Cheaper technology and in electricity use||Are more expensive than direct cool refrigerators and use slightly more electricity to run the fans. However due to use of inverter compressors in newer models these days, this is addressed to some extent too.|
|Efficiency||Inefficient and uneven cooling||Efficient and even cooling|
|Frosting||Build up of frost inside and crystallisation of exposed food.||No frost is build up and moisture remains content.|
|Maintenance||Refrigerator compartments need to be manually defrosted and cleaned. Food needs to be thawed to get rid of crystals formed.||Easy to clean and food is kept fresh and frost free.|
|Availability of models||Presently, only available in cheaper and outdated models; single door refrigerators which has lower capacities.||Available in all capacity volumes, latest as well as older refrigerator volumes.|
choosing the right door style for refrigerators
Refrigerators are a standard appliance present is every urban home across the globe. These are long term working appliances which typically last 10-15 years without many technological revolutions forcing you to keep up with the newer models. For these reasons, you must buy one which will sustain your growing needs in the years to come.
It is wise to know that a good layout of drawers and shelves might be more important for some, those who cook less often or for more meal at a time, they’d need larger refrigerators, whereas for those who have a lot of frozen food need lesser racks and more freezer drawers. It comes down to knowing what you’ll need the refrigerator for.
This refrigerators buying guide would help you compare refrigerators online, to weigh the benefits the different door type of refrigerators offer, helping you make an informed choice with your next purchase.
1. Single door
These are the most economical options there are for refrigerators. They don’t have a separate door for freezer, but a freezer box installed in the upper volume of the fridge. You are most likely to find these designs in smaller capacity sizes, not more than 250 liter volumes.
They are most suitable for couples, bachelors, and tenants. These are lower models of refrigerators out there so you will find both direct cool and frost-free variants, most likely direct cool.
Also check out our article “Direct-cool vs. Frost-free” for more information.
2. Double door
As the name suggests they have two doors instead of one, hence a separate volume for freezer. There are 2 possible orientations for the same available in the market.
a. Top freezer
The double door refrigerators have the freezer compartment at the top and refrigerator at the bottom. These are, hands down, the most popular designs out there.
Even with the advent of new technology and orientation designs hitting the market this past decade, these still make up for the most units sold every year across all manufacturing companies globally, thanks to its attractive price range, variable size range, options to customize with attractive features, and most importantly familiarity of design
b. Bottom freezer
On an average, general users open their freezers 1:10 times than their use of refrigerator compartments. Keeping this in mind, these double door refrigerators have the freezer compartment at the bottom, most commonly as a drum drawer, and refrigerator at the top.
Although the design is very thoughtful, these units are outsold by top freezer refrigerators by huge numbers. It could be the standardization of top freezer design that is to blame, but surely the fact that bottom freezers do cost a little more than its competitor adds to its disadvantage.
c. Side by side
Of the double door variants, this one is not very high on sales of unit scale. According to the design, the refrigerator compartment is split into two sections right from the centre. The left side is for the freezer and right one is for refrigerator.
For buyers who consume a lot of frozen food packets definitely would find this an ideal orientation. Also for those who have space constraint around the refrigerator have a benefit in using this kind of double door fridge since when you open either door, a doors of only half the width of the refrigerator needs to swing open.
There are definitely some advantages to this design, but it only targets a small section of buyers.
3. French doors
These door styles are gaining a lot of popularity n the recent times. It is definitely outsold by the top-freezers as of now, but it is definitely one of the two most popular designs for large capacity refrigerators.
These have a twin door for refrigerator use in the top and a bottom drawer for freezer in the bottom. You will find lesser shelf slabs inside it but a more versatile layout of side holders on the doors. Additional features like water and ice dispensers are more common in these than standard top-freezers, since French doors are at the top end of the price range and technology when it comes to refrigerators. This is also why you’ll find them in high capacity volumes usually.
how to clean a refrigerator
Fridge cleaning hacks in 7 simple steps
Keeping refrigerator clean and fresh can be a more challenging task than cleaning the rest of your entire kitchen. Many opt for refrigerator cleaning services, but practically you should clean your refrigerator at home more often than waiting for a service.
Considering it is where the food is left exposed for the longest, you don’t want to leave your refrigerator unsanitary, stained and definitely with any odor. But it is not necessarily such a complicated task.
In this refrigerator buying guide will explain the easiest and 7 most recommended ways to keep fridge clean and fresh.
1. Empty the fridge
As obvious it may sound, remove even the smallest sealed packet from a corner hidden shelf before you start. You don’t want any residue from refrigerator cleaning agents being left on the surfaces of the items left inside.
2. Remove all removable parts
Take out the shelf slabs and drawers and soak them in warm water and dish washing liquid solution. Not only it gives you a lot of empty space inside the fridge to clean clearly, a pre-soaking step will help remove any stains from frozen leftovers. That also leaves the groves in which the shelves and drawer are attached open for cleaning.
3. Use mild cleaning agents
Refrain from using any kitchen cleaners inside the refrigerator. They are meant for the kitchen counters, walls and floor; definitely not for where your food is left locked inside for hours at a stretch.
You can use a solution made up of your ordinary dish washing liquid and warm water. You can opt for mild exclusive fridge cleaning agents made up of natural elements like citrus oil.
4. Treat the stains
Treat the spill stains on the shelves and dirt collected in the groves. They are where most of the disease causing germs breeds. While soaking the removable shelves and vegetable drawers, make sure to apply a paste made up of baking soda and vinegar and let it rest. The stains would come off with ease.
For the walls inside the fridge, clean refrigerator with vinegar and baking soda again, but dilute this paste with water and use it with a spray bottle. This homemade fridge cleaner spray makes targeting all groves and corners easy.
5. Clean the residue
After the cleaning processes are done, let the suspended mist and detergent residue settle down for some 15 minutes. Then take a microfiber clothe or a good quality sponge, soak it in warm to hot water, rinse it and wipe all the surfaces inside the fridge. This will prevent any remaining food and detergent from contaminating your food.
6. Clear the stock
After you’re done with the cleaning part, do check for the freshness of foods and expiration dates on packages as you start placing them back in the fridge. Besides consuming precious space inside the refrigerator with items no longer worth consuming/storing, retaining such expired items can have adverse effects of smell, as well as risk of mistaken consumption. Cleaning cycle of the refrigerator can be one of the best times to do this periodically.
7. Check for prescribed methods
While the above steps are usually valid for most models of refrigerators, it is a good idea to go through the maintenance guidelines given by the manufacturer for that specific model to make sure that the best practices are followed while cleaning and maintaining the appliance. This also ensures that in case the use of certain cleaning products is prohibited by the manufacturers, the user is aware of that.
9 additional features to look for guide to buying refrigerators
Save on electricity bills in 7 simple steps
Apart from the refrigerator door types, size and capacity, there are some very important features you must consider in your new refrigerators. This extension of the refrigerator buying guide will help you with what else to look for when buying a new refrigerator model.
Here are our picks for the top 9 features to look for in a refrigerator.
1. The finish and color
Refrigerators have been a staple appliance in all urban homes for decades now. With the popularity of modular kitchens, owning one fancy model has become a necessity of fashion more than utility, considering all refrigerators might work more or less the same.
Hence matching your new refrigerator to other appliances can be a great move aesthetically, most popular being the stainless-steel designs. It’s durable, easy to clean, and fits into most décor. Glossy black and bright solid colors might be your other choices.
A great addition to the exterior surface finish of the model’s body, a protective coating is added which resists smudges and smears. For a home with kids or pets, or simply for the added ease of single-swipe cleaning, this is a must-have feature.
3. Functional drawers and shelves
Depending upon your use of food containers, frozen food packets and bottles, select the most appropriate layout of drawers and shelves. Make sure the shelves and drawers can be removed smoothly for cleaning purposes.
Toughed glass shelves are more durable and easier to clean than plastic ones. Adjustable shelving which you can add or remove shelf slabs to increase and decrease space volume is advisable.
4. Water/ice dispensers
Mostly found on side by side models, these water and ice dispensers are becoming more and more common on the flagship models by all top brands. You can simply dispense cold water or ice into your glass or container by pressing it against an inbuilt lever without the need to open the refrigerator.
5. Deodorizer with 360° air circulation
Most frost-free refrigerator models come with great mechanisms to ensure the proper air circulation and even cooling of the food items inside the fridge is maintained. But most of the times, this leads to odor from open exposed food packet/container getting absorbed into the other.
Deodorizers remove odor from your fridge and prevents contamination of exposed items with the use of powerful filters. This ensures a fresh-lock on your food items which will remain fresh and odor-free from foods kept nearby.
6. Extended warranty
Most refrigerators come with a decent 7-10 year warranty on the compressor, but the hidden terms and conditions might show that your existing warranty may not cover broken parts and other damages after probably just a couple of years.
Considering refrigerators are long term investments purchased with a usage intent for at least 8 to 10 years, it might be a smart move to shell just a few more bucks into buying an extended warranty. Most movable parts which are likely to break down will do so in the first 3-4 years. If your refrigerator survives that, it’ll most likely survive the long run with normal use. So, better to be ensured for those initial years at least.
7. Energy efficiency
Unlike other devices and appliances in your homes, refrigerators run all days of the years, all hours of the day. This definitely translates to consuming big units of electricity for years at a stretch.
To save huge bucks from your electricity bills in the long run, make an investment in buying a refrigerator model which is higher on energy efficiency ratings. You can also go for refrigerators working on inverter technology. They sense the outdoor temperatures and adjust the internal cooling accordingly to save the load on the compressor; hence saving money.
8. Cool pack
If you live in an area which experiences frequent power cuts, going up to long hours, having a cool pack feature maybe a life saver. This feature is capable of keeping the freezer cool without any power supply for up to 12 hours, varying between manufacturing brands.
9. Voltage stabilizer
Again very useful with such frequent voltage fluctuations, a refrigerator with an in-built voltage stabilizer is the best choice. These appliances are meant to work 24x7 all 365 days of a year, for 10-15 years most commonly. You’d surely like to take a few steps to ensure that the compressor is protected from high voltage fluctuations.
Looking for more? Check out our article “Newest Innovations, Trends and Technologies in Refrigerators” for more information.
conventional refrigerator vs inverter refrigerator
Why should your next purchase be an inverter refrigerator?
The refrigerators which we commonly see at homes use basic technologies which, without a doubt have given us good and reliable results. But with rising energy costs people are getting more and more conscious about working efficiency and power consumption of these appliances.
The growing popularity of the inverter refrigerators has made us stop and wonder, why they are so popular in the first place. “How do inverter refrigerators work?” Well, let’s find out.
These economical refrigerator models work on a simple on and off mechanism. When the power is on and the doors of the refrigerators are closed, the compressors start at the highest, and honesty, at the only programmable speed of the cooling compressor. When an optimum low temperature is achieved, the compressors shut down automatically and start again when the temperatures begin to rise.
The advantage of conventional refrigerators is that they always cool as top speeds, giving high and fast results, and of course they are cheaper too. But when they start at such high load, not only they consume a lot of power, too much at times, but also produce a lot of noise during turning on.
These come at the higher end on technological innovations. As the name might suggest, they have an inverter built in their compressors. They don’t start at top speeds at the very go. Rather, they start at low speeds, gradually optimising their performances with the temperature requirements.
One may consider them to perform slowly for this very reason, but the fact remains that they can work at adjustable speeds, maintaining their efficient performance which saves both energy and money. And also, the gradual increase of compressor load will not produce as much noise.
|Features/Performance||Conventional refrigerators||Inverter refrigerators|
|Cost||Economical models.||Cost more, but due to the growing standardisation of this technology, not much difference in the cost.|
|Power usage||Consume more power due to high un-regularised usage of compressor.||Can save up to 20-30% on your electricity bills due to optimisation of compressor speeds.|
|Cooling speed||Very fast cooling, always at high speeds.||Starts with slow cooling speed which stabilises at higher cooling speed as required.|
|Efficiency||Poor efficiency.||Very high efficiency.|
|Noise Levels||High noise level.||Negligible noise level.|
|Compressor||On-and-off compressor.||Always on compressor.|
|Adjustable speeds||Single non-adjustable speed.||Adjustable speed.|