What to look for when buying a fridge

With such a vast selection of models, sizes and features, choosing a fridge has never been so tricky. When you are deciding on what model of fridge to buy, you should consider a few essential elements, which might help you purchase a money-saving, highly efficient machine.

The numerous varieties include the traditional fridge with built-in freezer, bar fridges and side-by-side fridges, all of which all have very different features and uses.

Fridge capacity

The most important thing to consider when deciding on a fridge is the capacity and space. You must calculate the amount of food you store in the fridge on a weekly basis, and work out what size is best for your particular situation. If you have a family of 5 or 6, it probably isn’t worth purchasing a small fridge with a small freezer compartment.

You should also consider what you do with your food – for example, if you freeze your food and tend to use the fridge irregularly, you should purchase a fridge with a large freezer section.


Today, most refrigerators are far more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than 5 or 10 years ago. When purchasing a fridge, look at the energy star rating of that particular appliance – this will allow you to know the exact efficiency of your fridge. If you are buying a second-hand fridge, try to avoid any model that was produced before 1998, as these models use 30% more electricity than the newer models.

Protection and maintenance

The maintenance of a fridge is an important factor to include when purchasing a fridge. This means everything from the warranty to the cleaning features. Always enquire about the warranty and ensure that it is at least a full, one-year warranty that covers parts and call-out charges.

You also want to look at the interior and exterior of the fridge, making sure the water filter is easy to access for cleaning. Some models also have built-in shelves making them harder to clean – try to purchase a model that has pull-out shelves, as this will enable you to clean them properly and ensure all bacteria is removed.

In the past,  freezers tended to cause problems by over-freezing and producing too much frost in the compartments. This can eventually damage the fridge, splitting the compartment sides. However, most freezers today have a frost-free feature that keeps the ice and frost in your compartments at bay.

Shelf space  

Many fridges are equipped with wire shelving, which doesn’t give you as much surface space as a clear, flat shelf. Clear shelves allow you to put food right to the back of the fridge. Fridges with clear shelving can also be adjustable, which allows you to fit specific sized products, giving you extra flexibility and space.


Fridges today are available in all shapes, sizes, colours and materials, so fitting a fridge into your already decorated kitchen shouldn’t be a problem. You can buy multi-coloured fridges or industrial stainless steel models – all catering to your specific preferences. However, the stainless steel models are likely to cost more than the plain-white equivalents.


Having dealt with the essential  factors of size and capacity, there are other features you should consider.

Salad refresher – many models offer salad compartments that keep salad fresh by applying a specific temperature to the compartment.

Dairy section – This is a compartment especially for dairy products. It diminishes the risk of bacteria crossing to other foods.

Ice dispenser – Many models come with an ice-cube dispenser located on the fridge door.

Anti-bacterial feature – Some models provide a special system that releases bacteria-fighting enzymes to stop food from spoiling.

Comments on this article

kez 10 September, 2009

What causes a fridge to go on and off after working for a while?

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