Fridges that are top mounts have the freezer compartment above the fridge compartment. This is the most common layout for fridges.
Bottom Mount / Upside Down
Bottom mount fridges have the freezer compartment below the fridge. The freezer compartment can sometimes be a pull out draw, and can be larger compared to the top mount version. With the fridge on top, there is no need to bend down to access the non frozen food. Some models may have issues with accidentally freezing vegetables, as the vegetable draws are directly on top of the freezer.
Featuring three doors rather than two, the fridge compartment (located on top) has two doors opening from the middle and swinging out, and one pull out draw for the freezer. French door fridges can sometimes be very wide, so size might be a concern if you have limited space. They are great for holding large platters etc, with extra wide shelves.
Both fridge and freezer compartments are separate units, which can be made to stand alone, or placed next to each other. It is a great choice for large families thanks to the size. Some people do struggle with finding room to fit them, as they can be quite wide when placed side by side.
Side by Side
With fridge and freezer compartments standing side by side rather than on top of each other, side by side units are generally wider than standard fridges. You should consider the space available to ensure you get one that fits well.
Specially designed to hold wine, these fridges have tough double glazed glass doors which ensure better thermal insulation and energy efficiency. Some models available will have dual zones, with two separate compartments with independent temperature controls. This is great for people with both red and white collections, as it means you can have two different temperatures in the one fridge.
What size should I look at?
Before you start looking at models available, you will need to measure the space you have available. Remember to not only measure the space where your new fridge will go, but the access points in your house. For example, if you are going to bring the fridge in via the front door, you will need to measure the doorway to make sure it will fit through.
You should allow for at least 50mm of space around the back and sides for ventilation.
The capacity of the fridge can be difficult to determine, as every family is different, with different eating habits. 250-300 Litre fridges would suit a two-person household, whereas a family of four would be comfortable with anything above 500L.
Don't forget about the shelves!
You should always look into the shelves and compartments inside the fridge. The layout and material can differ greatly from model to model, so it is an important thing to consider. Some things to look out for include:
• Adjustable shelving will ensure accommodation for all types of food, regardless of the shape and size.
• Smooth, removable shelves made from safety glass or moulded plastic are a lot easier to clean compared to wire racks.
• Salad crispers are ideal for keeping vegetables as fresh as possible. By keeping them at the perfect temperature, they will stay fresher for longer.
• Spill-proof shelving will catch spills and prevent leaks.
• Deep-door storage will hold bottles of all sizes.
• Dairy compartments will stop any cross-contamination with other food.
The Style Factor
There are that many different layouts, styles and finishes available when it comes to fridges, it will be easy enough to find one that will suit your house and needs. The most common colours (or finishes) available are white or stainless steel, however there can be some black models available too.
How noisy is it?
Check the noise level of the model before purchasing, less is obviously best. Imagine having a noisy fridge in a small house! If you think your fridge is noisier than it should be, you should check with your user manual, and then with the manufacturer.
Is energy efficiency important?
Generally speaking, the more energy efficient a model is, the pricier it will be. Energy efficient models may cost you more to start off with, but in the long run it will cost you less to have as your electricity bills will be less.
By law, all fridges must be sold with energy efficiency stickers, with stars showing how efficient the model is. The more stars a fridge has, the smaller the amount of kilowatt per hour it will use.