SIZE AND CAPACITY
When buying a fridge freezer, the first thing to decide is how big you want it to be. Physical size is related to the space you have in your kitchen or garage. Capacity can vary depending on the size of your family, and how much fresh vs. frozen food you generally consume.
This section of our buyers guide explains everything from gross and net capacities, to door splits and external dimensions.
DOOR SPLITS: 70/30, 60/40 AND 50/50
Fridge freezers are split into two separate compartments, and you can choose what split proportions you need depending on your food usage.
These are given as the percentage of space that’s given over to the fridge vs. the freezer. For example, a 70/30 model means the fridge door takes up 70% of the appliance, while the freezer has 30%.
If your family eats mostly fresh food, a 70/30 model will give you plenty of fridge storage. If you buy in bulk or cook meals in batches for later, then a 60/40 model or even a 50/50 style will give you extra freezer space. With some styles, you can also choose to have four freezer drawers instead of the typical three. Although 80/20 and 65/35 models do exist, they aren’t as commonly available.
You can choose what split proportions you need depending on your food usage.
Bear in mind that the split only refers to the door size, not the internal capacity of each compartment. Capacities in litres are a more accurate guide, but split ratios are a quick, easy way to know how much space you can expect for different types of food.
FRIDGE FREEZER CAPACITIES
How much internal space each compartment has is usually stated in the specification, so you can directly compare one model with another.
These capacities are given in litres, but make sure you’re comparing like-for-like, as you’ll often see capacities given in net and gross formats.
Gross volume is the total space inside the compartment. On the other hand, net capacity is the usable space you have after taking away what’s occupied by the shelves and condenser.
The amount of food you can actually store also depends on the number of shelves or drawers in each section.
Standard fridge freezers usually have a total capacity of between 200 and 300 litres, but larger American-style models can store up to 500-600 litres. As a general rule, models with larger external dimensions have larger internal capacities, but it isn’t always the case.
Whatever capacity you decide, it’s crucial to order a fridge freezer with the correct dimensions for your kitchen.
Remember that you’ll need extra space around the sides and back to allow for air to circulate. As a rule, allow 5 cm round the back, and 2 cm at the sides to make sure your unit doesn’t overheat.
If you have particularly narrow stairs, hallways or door frames, you may struggle to fit in a large fridge freezer. It’s worth measuring these against the model you’re thinking of buying.
Make sure you’re comparing like-for-like, as you’ll often see capacities given in net and gross formats.