Buying guides & tips
17 May 2022
Refrigeration buying guide
Home Appliances Team
G’day, Paul from JB with a handy guide to choosing the right fridge. I’m going to explain the different styles you can buy, why each one is good, what features you should look out for, plus some sneaky inside tips to ensure the fridge you buy will be the fridge you love for many years to come.
What's in this guide ...
- Size and space considerations and what to check before you buy
- All the different Fridge styles and types
- Side-by-sides fridges explained
- French door fridges explained
Before you set your heart on something, you need to make sure it fits. Step one is to always measure the space where you intend to place your new fridge. Height, width, depth. But remember, you can’t just jam-pack a fridge into any space, you will always need a small clearance around the fridge to ensure it works properly and to allow the doors to open.
Check your space
If you don’t maintain the correct clearance, your fridge will have to work much harder and this will really impact your energy use, blowing out your power bill, even resulting in a fridge that doesn’t properly cool your food – and what’s the point of that?
Lastly on size, measure all the spaces you will pass through as we bring your fridge inside a home. Doorways, corridors, staircases. Look at the box dimensions, they’re always listed. In certain cases, fridge doors can be removed but this will increase time and cost and isn’t always an option. If stairs are a thing, we need to know so we can work that into the delivery process. Sometimes, four people are needed to manoeuvre a big fridge up a tight staircase.
Fridge styles and types
The originals: Top and bottom mounts
Now you know what you’re working with, let’s look at styles. We have top mount, with a freezer up top and the fridge down below. You’ll have seen this style everywhere, they’re a simple no-fuss solution. But if you find that bending over every time you want a snack isn’t your thing, then we have our next style, Bottom Mount. With the fridge compartment up top and the freezer down below. This puts your most used compartment at your eyeline and is a perfect choice for small spaces. Some bottom and top mount fridges have reversible doors so you can choose the best setup that suits your kitchens’ flow.
top picks on top mount fridges
top picks on bottom mount fridges
Stepping up into a larger fridge gives you the option of choosing either a Side-by-Side or French Door fridge. Some people are often so committed to one style over the other, getting them to switch is akin to changing footy teams. But just like footy teams, some are better in certain conditions, so let’s explore the range.
Side-by-sides have the freezer on the left and the fridge on the right. They’re great for narrower spaces where you want to maximise your storage. Big freezer, big fridge, plenty of colours and styles to choose from. Flat doors, curved doors, handles, no handles, you’re spoilt for choice.
If the side-by-side you like has plumbed ice and water, a great feature to have, but this will eat up your usable space, usually in the freezer compartment, so always take this into account. There are now models that give you ice and water without remodelling your kitchen or calling a plumber, usually in the form of twist ice trays and a refillable reservoir you fill up from the tap.
Check out the doors of your side by side as some have shelves in the doors that go all the way to the floor.
Do you want to maximise door storage, sacrificing crisper and main shelf space, or are you a fresh fruit and vegie person that wants big crispers? The choice is yours.
top picks on side-by-side fridges
Would you like French Doors with that?
Lastly, we have French Door fridges. The fastest growing segment and it’s easy to see why. I’m a French Door Fridge guy because of how wide the fridge compartment is. A French Door is the entertainer’s fridge and perfect for a big household. Large platters, big dishes, all at eye level, plus plenty of freezer space down below. There’s a huge range of sizes from medium to massive. There’s also a slew of styles to pick from.
The traditional French Door has doors up top and a draw underneath, sometimes they even have two draws, where the middle draw can convert from fridge to freezer mode at the touch of a button some models from Electrolux or Westinghouse. We then step into the quad door models. Just like a French Door with two draws, a quad door will also split your appliance into three zones.
Some models with two freezer compartments can be adjusted so one freezer compartment works like the main fridge zone, giving you the option of scaling up or down your fridge or freezer spaces depending on your needs.