Buying Guide for Refrigerator
My mum’s trusty 15 year old refrigerator finally drew its last breath last week. Therefore, she has to find a good replacement. However, technology advancement in the last decade has made choosing the most suitable refrigerator (among the hundreds of models available in the market) a seriously daunting task for her. Hence, here is a simple buying guide which I have shared with her to help ease the process of finding the most suitable refrigerator. I am sure you will find this very handy too.
1) Storage Size
Simply put, the bigger the refrigerator the more food stuffs you are able to store. Therefore, the keyword you should look out for in any brochure is “litre capacity”. A 700 – 800 litre fridge is recommended for extended families under one roof. A 300 – 400 litre fridge should be suffice for a small family of 4. However, apart from the family size, the lifestyle of your family matters too. If your family prefers to eat out, a smaller refrigerator will make sense.
The storage size of your refrigerator should be taken into consideration while you are planning and designing your kitchen. This is because generally, the bigger the storage the bigger the refrigerator. This may impact your kitchen layout and cabinet design.
For home owners who are looking for a new refrigerator to replace the existing one, you have to remember to measure the size of the refrigerator base and the height of your existing fridge. The new refrigerator has to be able fit into the kitchen. So take care in taking the measurements and also, don’t forget to measure the size of your doorways too for a smooth delivery and installation.
The common features for almost all models include door compartments, shelves and drawers. If you are on a tight budget or have needs which are very straightforward, these features are sufficient. However, if you have more demanding lifestyle and are looking for features that will offer some convenience, there is wide range of useful features you can choose from. These include:
‘ Water dispensers;
‘ Ice makers and dispensers;
‘ In-door Water & Ice Dispenser;
‘ Adjustable shelving;
‘ Spill-proof shelving;
‘ Removable door bins;
‘ Humidity, Temperature and Moisture controls;
‘ Deli or meat keeper;
‘ Auto-defrosting functions and the list goes on!
However, take note that the more features the refrigerator has to offer, the more expensive it is. Do not fall into the trap thinking that “the more features a refrigerator has, the better is the refrigerator”. This is because you might end up with a white elephant.
One of the biggest choices you will have to make when buying a new refrigerator is to choose which configuration to get:
Top Freezer, Bottom Freezer, French Door, or Side-by-Side. Choose the style which appeals to you the most.
‘ Top mount freezers
They are the most common and therefore usually the cheapest. The freezer compartment is on top and is the most common model for compact refrigerators.
The fridge and freezer are located side by side. Typically, the design is such that the fridge takes up two-thirds whilst the freezer the rest. However, I observed that the shelves are quite narrow and therefore, making storage of some items quite difficult.
‘ Bottom mount freezers
The fridge compartment is located at the top and the pullout freezer below. However, the drawer like design will has some drawbacks too, since you have to ‘stack’ and your frozen food items get buried beneath when new items get piled on top.
‘ French Doors
They are a hybrid of side by side and bottom mount freezers models, and the doors are opened from the center.
4) Energy Efficient
You do not want your a refrigerator to be an energy hog and bump up your electrical bills. Thus it is very important to find an energy efficient model.
It is actually very easy to shop for energy efficient home appliances in Singapore. Just look out for the Energy Label that is featured on major appliances such as home refrigerators, washing machines and dryers. Here is an example of how the Energy Label looks like. You may refer to the following site for a full description of the label.
To find seek out energy efficient models; keep a watch out for 2 ticks and above. The explanation for the ticks is as follows:
Green Ticks Energy Efficiency Rating
3 Very Good
Personally, I will only shortlist the refrigerator models which have 3 or more ticks. This is because a refrigerator is a long term investment. Although a more energy efficient model is usually more expensive, models that are energy efficient can cut down overall costs in the long run.
I will cite a very simplified example to illustrate the monetary savings. Let’s say a refrigerator model with ‘very good’ as efficiency rating (3 ticks) saves me 10 bucks per month when compared to the model which is rated ‘good’ (2 ticks). The general lifespan of a refrigerator is approximately 10 to 13 years.
In 1 year, I will be looking at saving 120 bucks. In 10 years, I will be looking at 1,200 dollars. The difference will be more apparent when you compare the refrigerator model with ‘excellent’ as efficiency rating (4 ticks) with the model which is rated ‘good’ (2 ticks).
4) Color and Finish
You should choose a color and finish to complement your kitchen design. The refrigerator designs comes in so many colors and finishing which range from stainless steel to even mirror if you desire something a little more unconventional!
Hope you find the buying guide useful. 🙂