SIZES AND CAPACITIES
When it comes to buying a fridge, the numbers matter. How much space do you have available in your kitchen, and what capacity do you need to store your family’s food? This section will help make things a little clearer for anyone who finds themselves confused by gross and net capacities, sizes, and dimensions.
A fridge’s capacity is the amount of internal space it has for storing food – usually given in litres.
Confusingly though, a model which is larger on the outside doesn’t necessarily have more storage space inside. That’s why it’s important to look at the capacity listed in the specification.
Gross and net capacity are different, so make sure you’re comparing like for like. Gross volume is the total space in the compartment, while net capacity is the usable space, having deducted the room taken up by things like fixed components and shelving.
CHOOSING A SUITABLE CAPACITY
Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Running a fridge half empty can waste energy, so try to select a size that’s suited to your household needs. A standard undercounter model will likely have a net volume of 90 to 150 litres, while a taller design can be anywhere between 200 litres for a smaller model, up to around 400 litres for the largest.
Wine coolers tend to be measured by how many bottles they accommodate, but there will usually be a measurement in litres on the specification too.
How much you can store also depends on the shelving arrangement. You’ll never fill every shelf or drawer to the top, so the number of compartments and storage areas matters too.
Gross and net capacity are different, so make sure you’re comparing like for like.
“What size fridge should I buy” is a common question, and it’s important to check the external dimensions before you make your purchase. Fridges usually come in at around 55 to 60 cm wide, while depth can vary anywhere between 50 cm to 65 cm deep, typically.
The height will depend on the style you’ve chosen – undercounter models measure a standard 82 cm high so they can slot in underneath the kitchen worktops. Tall models – as the name implies – are taller. The biggest ones are around 185 cm high, although there are smaller models around 145 cm available too.
If you have a narrow hallway or door frame, it might be worth measuring that too. You don’t want to buy the perfect fridge but struggle to get it inside the house.
Remember that you’ll need to allow a little extra room around the back, top, and sides, so that the air can circulate.
LEFT OR RIGHT-HAND OPENING
With factors like size to consider, it can be easy to overlook the door. Choose a door which opens the right way, so it doesn’t clash with your kitchen units. The fridge’s specifications should list the door’s opening side. Some are even reversible for extra flexibility.