By LYDIA ANDERSON for BBC GOOD FOOD MAGAZINE
Buying a fridge freezer requires thorough research. It’s one of the largest and most expensive purchases you’ll make for your kitchen, and there’s a dizzying number of options to choose from.
If you’re after an upgrade, you’re moving or your current fridge freezer has given up the ghost, you want to ensure you purchase a model that’s right for you and your family.
Statista surveyed over 24,000 people to find the leading fridge freezer brands in the UK. This research saw Beko rank the highest, with over a quarter of those surveyed owning a Beko model. Hotpoint, Samsung and Bosch also featured high on the list.
With fridge freezers ranging in price from just over £150 to a couple of thousand, Statista also asked consumers how much they were happy to spend on a new fridge freezer. They found that half of those surveyed would spend between £200-£399 on a fridge freezer and that just under a fifth would be happy to spend over £500.
In March 2021, just as Britain’s split from the European Union took full effect, the energy rating classification of select white goods underwent a redesign. But the change wasn’t merely aesthetic. The UK’s new system now sees the former A+++ ratings dropped in favour of an A-G rating. The new scale is stricter and it’s a rarity to find an A rated product nowadays (though there is one on our list). The view is that these aspirational A and B ratings will encourage manufacturers to make more efficient products going forward.
The world of fridge freezers can be jargon-filled and, at times, confusing. We’ve spoken to home white goods experts from Quiet Mark, AO.com and Appliances Direct as well as independent advisors from UK Whitegoods to bring you honest, trustworthy advice, and the best fridge freezer suggestions.
Read on to find the right fridge freezer for you and your family, whether you’re on a budget or happy to make a costly investment purchase.
We spoke to Sophie Beckett-Smith, large appliances expert at AO. She suggested taking the following steps before buying a new fridge freezer, “The first step is to assess your needs: ask yourself what you did and didn’t like about your old appliance and if it met your requirements sufficiently. This could entail looking at how your lifestyle needs are met. If you eat a lot of fresh food, then you will need larger fridge spaces. If you prefer to batch cook or need quick meals, bigger freezer space could be needed. If you like to entertain, a model with a water dispenser or lots of bottle storage is more ideal.”
Additionally, we suggest thinking about the following four factors before buying:
Many fridge freezer brands shout about their various features, so navigating what’s important and what’s not can be a bit of minefield. These are the features to look out for when buying a new fridge freezer:
Simon Gosling, Quiet Mark’s CMO says, “Between 10% to 20% of the quietest best-performing products are awarded Quiet Mark certification. Each product category is re-evaluated annually to reflect new models coming on to the market,” so if you see the logo, rest assured it’s quiet.
As dictated by both UK Government and the European Commission legislation, all fridge freezers sold in the UK and EU must have a label that shows their energy efficiency rating.
In March 2021, the old classification system of some large white goods from A+++ to G was replaced by the simpler A-G grading system. This new system encourages brands to make technological and sustainable improvements to reach the top spot as previously A+++ rated fridge freezers now score around the C-E mark. Usefully, if you’re familiar with the old rating system, AO shows what a fridge freezer would have scored on the old grading system as well as the new.
What’s taken into account on the new energy efficiency logo:
Best freestanding fridge freezer
Stylish and minimalist, this Samsung fridge freezer has a stainless steel body and features an LED display on the front where you can view and adjust the temperatures of both the fridge and freezer compartments.
This model comes with Samsung’s SpaceMax technology which means the fridge freezer has been designed with thinner walls, creating more room for food inside. Also included is “all round cooling” wherein the air inside the fridge compartment is constantly circulated, ensuring the temperature is even throughout. There’s no chance of icy buildups in the freezer either, as this model is frost-free.
Inside the fridge compartment are four shelves, plus a salad crisper. So, if you like to cook and eat lots of fresh produce, this is the model for you.
Best eco fridge freezer
Before March 2021 an A energy-efficiency rating was already an impressive thing to see, but with the new EU energy efficiency ratings it’s now a rarity not to be ignored. As well as keeping your energy bills down, this model features numerous innovations designed to keep your food fresher for longer.
LG’s NatureFresh technology does the same job as Samsung’s SpaceMax; it keeps the cool air moving around the fridge ensuring all items are cooled to an even temperature. This model also comes with a Fresh Balancer; adjust the humidity of the drawer to suit fruit or vegetables and make them last longer.
The innovative tech doesn’t finish at the door. On most fridge freezers the door is the warmest part, but Door Cooling keeps it just as cool as the rest of the fridge, so if you’re used to buying large jugs of milk too tall for the rest of the fridge, you can ensure that it won’t go off quickly in this LG model. The seals of the door also have a special antibacterial coating on them to keep food fresh and nasty smells at bay.
Whilst this eco fridge freezer is a costly upfront investment, it’s sure to save you money both on your energy bills and by reducing food waste, in the long run.
Best smart fridge freezer
For those into their smart home tech, this fridge freezer is about as high tech as you can get. Its generous capacity makes it ideal for large families or those who cook or entertain a lot.
The main draw of this model is the large screen on the fridge-side of the door. It’s touchscreen and not only is it a talking point, but it can also be used to display photos of loved ones, write notes and also display the weather. But we’re only scratching the surface with these features. Have the whole family connect to the SmartThings app (available on Android and iOS devices) and use it to send voice notes, play music and share recipes.
Inside the fridge are cameras so you can either check what’s inside without having to let the cool air out or, it’s best used when out shopping to see if you need any last minute essentials.
The fridge freezer also comes with a water, ice cube and crushed ice dispenser on the front.
This is indeed an expensive bit of kit, but if you love home tech and like to keep everything connected, it’s well worth the investment.
If you’ve got an open-plan living space or you simply don’t want a noisy fridge freezer, Quiet Mark are the first port of call to find the quietest models on the market. Although they’re not known for being loud, a noisy fridge freezer is a noticeable and annoying thing. We spoke to Richard Wilkinson, Quiet Mark’s Technical Manager, who explained their process,
“Quiet Mark strives to assess all the fridge freezers currently on the market and only the quietest are eligible to become Quiet Mark certified. Rather than looking at the refrigeration market as a whole, comparing small fridges to large chest freezers or multi-door fridge freezers, we subcategorise the different types of models to ensure we are comparing the decibel levels of similar models. This way a consumer can be sure that when choosing an appliance with the Q logo, it is among the quietest of its type available”.
Quiet Mark-certified fridge freezer
Liebherr have gone to a lot of effort to ensure that this fridge freezer remains silent. The fans, compressors and evaporators have all been designed to make no noise at all, whilst still working efficiently. Additionally, this model comes with a NightMode that – once activated – turns off all noise, including the ice maker. If you get up in the night for a midnight snack, you’ll find the LED lighting dimmed, so you’re not shocked by a bright light.
Like many of the other models on this list, this fridge freezer comes with Super Cool and Super Frost for both the fridge and freezer compartments, these quickly cool their respective compartments – ideal for after you’ve packed away a big shop.
There are some useful settings that are well worth using if you like to entertain. Aptly named PartyMode activates the Super Cool function so drinks are chilled to perfection, it also makes extra ice cubes.
Quiet Mark-certified budget fridge freezer
A small budget needn’t mean you have to buy a sub-par fridge freezer. This sleek and minimalist model comes equipped with generous storage space in the fridge and three drawers in the freezer compartment.
Although this fridge freezer isn’t frost-free, it is low frost, meaning you’ll spend fewer weekends defrosting the freezer portion. In the fridge compartment, you’ll find one FreshZone drawer to keep fruits and veggies crisp. This drawer has an adjustable humidity slider to help you get the most out of your produce. The seals are anti-bacterial too.
One of the most nifty features of this model are the flexi-shelves. Make space for tall items like bottles or wine or cartons of juice by sliding the front half of the shelf underneath the back half.
The product description of a fridge freezer will usually outline the running costs of the machine. The annual running cost is displayed in kilowatt hours and you can work out how much it’ll cost in pound sterling by using an online electricity cost calculator. Though bear in mind that as energy prices change, so will the annual running costs.
AO’s large appliance expert, Sophie Beckett-Smith, said, “Modern fridge freezers which are correctly cleaned and looked after can expect to last seven-10 years.”
It may be time to replace your fridge freezer if you start seeing these tell-tale signs:
Believe it or not, there’s an actual method to stocking your fridge freezer. Following these steps will not only make food easier to find but it’ll also make food last longer:
Read the original article on the BBC Good Food website here.