A fridge and freezer (or fridge-freezer combination) is a kitchen essential and there are more styles and sizes to choose from than ever before. It's important to get the appliances that best suit how you and your family live.
There's a lot to consider when choosing your fridge, freezer or combined fridge-freezer. Start with the space available in your kitchen, pantry or storeroom. That'll give you the width (remember, for example, that American style fridge-freezers need a lot more room) and the maximum height you can accommodate comfortably.
A large fridge means fewer trips to the supermarket, but more waste if you fill it then don't eat fresh. A small freezer is great for ice and a few occasional bits and pieces, but where do you store all those tasty leftovers or that big batch of your famous chilli?
Next, think about capacity. If you're going for under-counter units, your fridge and freezer will be roughly the same height, but may well differ in terms of how much food each can hold. Whereas if you're going for a combined fridge-freezer, you need to decide how big each compartment needs to be to meet your needs.
One last detail to get right: which way should the doors to open? Most fridges, freezers and combi fridge-freezers can be made to open either on the right or left-hand sides. But some styles can't, and have to be ordered with the doors fixed on one side or the other. You don't want to get this wrong.
Here's an idea of how the various styles of fridge, freezer and combi fridge-freezer compare:
The main benefits of a fridge, freezer or combi fridge-freezer comes from its features. Here are some typical examples of handy features found on most machines:
Put simply, how much food it can hold. Capacity is measured in cubic litres - work on the basis that a bigger number means more storage space.
Cold air gets circulated around the freezer (or freezer compartment, if part of a fridge) to stop ice building up. So food stays fresher longer, and you don't waste a morning defrosting.
Some eco-friendly appliances use a cooling agent with the catchy title R600A. It's basically better for the atmosphere and the environment.
All appliances are rated from A-F (with some going all the way up to A+++). Think of A as the best rating, meaning it saves you money while using less energy.
Combi fridge-freezers are typically split three ways: 50/50, 60/40 and 70/30. Usually, the second ratio is the freezer space. If you eat fresh more than frozen, go for a smaller freezer compartment.
How cold a freezer gets (and often, how long something can be stored in it) is rated using stars: