Fridge Freezer Features Explained
You might think a fridge freezer is a fridge freezer, but there’s actually a lot of variety on the market, with a huge range of different features available. Some add a little more convenience, while others completely change the way the appliance functions.
Find out what’s important to you before you buy, with our handy guide.
Auto Defrost / Frost Free
Frost build-up is a problem with some fridge freezers as the ice takes up space and makes the appliance less efficient.
However, there are a number of features that can help with this.
Auto defrost works in the fridge compartment and is a very common function, available on nearly all fridges. Condensation can form at the back of your fridge and then freeze, ruining your food and disrupting the working of the appliance. Auto defrost works by melting this frost and draining the liquid.
Frost free is a freezer specific function that circulates air to prevent the build-up of ice in your freezer, meaning you won’t have to manually defrost. It works independently from your fridge and maximises the potential freezing space, but you may have to pay a little extra to buy a fridge with this technology.
Total frost free or no frost appliances have both features.
Auto defrost works in the fridge compartment, while frost free is a freezer specific function.
Most fridge sections of a fridge freezer have some kind of lighting to help you find what you’re looking for. This lighting needs to be bright, reach its full intensity quickly and remain cool.
Older models are often fitted with conventional lightbulbs. They give out sufficient light, but have a tendency to get hot – not helpful when trying to keep your fridge freezer cold. This type of bulb is no longer used since newer, more efficient technology has emerged.
Mid-range fridge freezers are often fitted with halogen lighting, which has a lifespan of 2,000 hours, compared to 1,000 for a conventional bulb. They’re 36% brighter and 20% more energy efficient too, and as they’re normally used for display lighting, are ideal for illuminating your food.
The very latest lighting is LED, which helps save you money on your electricity bills by using 75% less energy. These bulbs achieve their full brightness quicker than others and have a huge lifespan of 50,000 hours. This style also remains cool to the touch and helps keep your fridge cold.
Controls and Thermostats
Fridge freezer controls also vary depending on the make, model and price of your appliance.
Standard and older models generally have a basic control panel and single manual thermostat. This thermostat is used to control the power levels in both sections of your fridge freezer, not the exact temperature. There is the risk, therefore, of the temperature not being perfect in one of the sections. Basic operating buttons and lights will probably be installed on the control panel, including an on/off switch and power-on light.
Mid-range models sometimes have electronic control panels, with some including a thermostat control. Lights to show what features are turned on may be present, alongside high temperature or door-left-open lights or alarms. You might also find buttons to turn on quick-chill or fast-freeze options.
Top-of-the-range models often have twin thermostats, allowing you to precisely control the temperature in both compartments. Digital LED control displays let you alter other functions easily as well.
For the hygiene conscious, anti-bacterial finishes in your fridge freezer are a welcome addition, some using the natural power of silver ions.
Special door seals kill germs and stop them entering the fridge, while shelf linings stop bacteria growing or odours forming if food should get spilled.
If your new fridge freezer hits a cupboard or other kitchen unit when you open the door, don’t panic – some appliances can have their doors reversed so that they open the other way.