Investing in a good refrigerator is not just about buying an icebox that will keep you water cool and veggies fresh. It’s more about picking a gadget that matches your kitchen décor, your storage needs and food habits. It’s no longer about single or double door, it’s about new technology, classy designs and smart features.
Here’s a checklist to help you pick the right one for your needs.
Ideally you should first measure the space available in your home where you plan to keep the refrigerator. Consider if it will fit through the door. Check if the fridge doors have enough space to swing open. Also, make sure there is a one-inch clearance space on all sides for suitable airflow.
The size of your family influences the size of the refrigerator. A 19 to 22 cubic feet refrigerator is good enough for a small family of four. However, if you’re a bigger family or usually buy your groceries in bulk you might need more storage and will have to look for a refrigerator of 30 to 33 cubic feet.
Also Read: Buying Guide: The Best Fridge for You
If you’ve recently renovated your kitchen, you’ll want to look beyond the regular single and double door refrigerators. French door, side-by-side doors and built-in refrigerators come in fancy variants that will up your kitchen swag.
As the name suggests, the freezer is at the bottom in this model. This layout gives you better access so that you don’t have to hunch over every time you get ice. Warning: This also means the kids will have better access to all the ice cream.
Top freezer and side-by-side door models
However, if you have a problem bending your back, the traditional top freezer is good for you. The side-by-side door model which has the frozen food section on one side and the fresh food section on the other is also something you should consider.
If you eat a lot frozen dinners and meat
Meat, fish, cold cuts and frozen dinners require larger freezer space. For that you should consider a model with a big bottom freezer or a side-by-side door model where half the refrigerator is a freezer.
If you store a lot of fresh produce
It’s recommended that you don’t store all your produce cluttered together. Models with multiple drawers are ideal for storing different produce in different compartments. This will keep them fresher for longer. Some also come with a temperature control setting where you can assign different temperatures for drawers depending on what you’re storing in them.
If you store a lot of milk and beverage
The space allotted for milk and juice boxes and beverage bottles often runs short. Sometimes the space in your fridge doesn’t match the size of these boxes and bottles. In such a case adjustable and flexible shelves are super handy. This gives you the liberty to move them freely to fit things in better.
Like any other large appliance these days, it is vital to check the energy efficiency of your refrigerator. This is important because your refrigerator stays switched on at all times. The EPA Energy Star rating is what indicates its efficiency. More the stars, better is the energy conserved.
There’s no arguing that a water and ice dispenser gives you better access to both. But is it worth the added cost? There’s also that exorbitant repair cost in case it gets damaged.
Not all fresh produce requires the same amount of humidity. For instance, leafy greens require a lot more than apples and thus storing them in a refrigerator with humidity controlled compartments would be a good decision.
This feature eliminates bacteria from venturing in your refrigerator.
These can keep veggies and fruits fresher for longer.
You can manually control and set a certain drawer to be cooler than the rest so you can store meat and cold cuts better.
There are usually two kinds of refrigerator shelves, wired ones or smooth glass/plastic ones. It is relatively much easier to clean the flat glass or plastic shelves. Manoeuvring through the wired ones can be exhausting.
Certain refrigerators have a protective coating on the exterior surface that resists finger print smudges and smears, thus keeping it cleaner-looking. Also, white coloured refrigerators don’t leave prominent finger prints in comparison to a stainless steel-finish one.
Cover Illustration by Aditi Sharma; Image courtesy: shutterstock.com