Types of FRIDGES
So, you need a new fridge – what next? First off, it’s essential to understand what kind of fridge you’re after. Different styles vary a lot in terms of size, storage capacity, price, features, and appearance.
Here, we explain the most common types of fridges, from classic freestanding models to contemporary integrated designs.
SEPARATE OR COMBI?
Having a separate fridge and freezer gives you a great deal of flexibility. You’ll be able to choose from a wide range of capacities, rather than settling for the size ratio decided by the manufacturer.
Getting two different appliances also provides you with more freedom over where you place them. This is particularly so with undercounter fridges, which offer lots of storage space while sitting beneath an existing countertop.
Nonetheless, it’s worth considering a fridge freezer too. Combined fridge-ontop appliances can free up floor space, making them ideal if you don’t have the room for two separate appliances. It’s also possible to save on running costs by using a combined appliance. Fridge freezers can, however, be restrictive in terms of positioning – particularly with larger side-by-side designs. Find out more in our Fridge Freezers buyers guide.
Getting a separate fridge and freezer also provides you with more freedom over where you place them.
HOW ABOUT A SMALL FREEZER COMPARTMENT?
If you’ve decided to buy a separate fridge, it could still contain a small freezer shelf or ice box.
Freezer compartments can be particularly useful if you keep your main freezer in a utility room or garage. This way, small essentials like ice cubes will always be on hand in the kitchen.
A fridge without an ice box is known as a larder fridge. These models maximise refrigeration space and tend to use less electricity, saving money on energy bills.
FREESTANDING OR INTEGRATED?
While shopping around for your new fridge, you’re likely to see the words ‘built-in’, ‘integrated’ and ‘freestanding’. These refer to whether the appliance is visible, or neatly hidden away behind a cupboard door.
This is the most common type of refrigerator, where the entire appliance is visible. As a result, its design and outward appearance is more important, as it will be on display in the kitchen. You can place a freestanding fridge wherever you have access to a power source.
Freestanding fridges are easy to install, easy to remove if you move house, and easy to access if you ever encounter a problem where an engineer needs to look at the back. They also tend to be cheaper than integrated models.
Freestanding fridges are easy to install, easy to remove if you move house, and easy to access.
Integrated fridges give your kitchen a more streamlined feel. They are built in alongside your kitchen units, with the appliance hidden behind a cupboard door. While installation can be fiddly, the result is a fabulously sleek finish which retains your kitchen’s original appearance.
Modern cooling technology allows the fridge to work in a confined space without overheating. Because of this, built-in designs tend to more expensive than freestanding ones.
Integrated models often match standard kitchen unit dimensions – around 55-60 cm in width and 55 cm in depth. Fridge doors fix to the unit door in one of two ways:
• Door-on-door – Simply, the two doors are attached and fixed in place.
• Slider – The fridge door slots onto a rail, which fixes onto the inner cupboard door. When opened, the door slides along the track.
Modern cooling technology allows the fridge to work in a confined space without overheating.
An undercounter fridge is designed to fit underneath your kitchen worktops. They usually measure under 82 cm in height, 55-60 cm in width and 55 cm in depth.
They can be built-in or freestanding in design. Sometimes, integrated models are referred to as built under, because of their position under the work surface.
Undercounter fridges are easy to fit into most kitchens. They take up minimal wall space and slot in neatly underneath worktops. There is a wide range of models to suit all budgets – including a large number of cheaper ones.
Individuals, couples, and small families may find they don’t need a massive amount of storage space. A size-appropriate undercounter model will save electricity, as you’re not cooling empty space.
While undercounter fridges vary significantly when it comes to storage space, the volume is usually smaller than a tall design. Fitting in the weekly shop may be a struggle for large families.
Undercounter fridges can be built-in or freestanding in design.
If you have enough wall space, a tall refrigerator is a great choice. These designs commonly measure around 55-60 cm in width, and between 140 cm to 200 cm in height.
They can be built-in or freestanding, although the latter are much more common. A tall fridge will complement a tall freezer well, and some brands offer matching products.
Tall fridges generally offer high storage capacities and occupy the same space as an undercounter model, maximising space vertically. If you have space in your kitchen which isn’t obstructed by units, radiators, or windows, a tall fridge is ideal.
The main disadvantage of buying a tall fridge is the positioning restrictions. Many people find their rooms can’t accommodate such a large appliance. Even when it does fit, a freestanding tall fridge can dominate a space, particularly in smaller kitchens.
Small households may also find a large capacity fridge wasteful as it will use more energy than a smaller model.
Tall fridges generally offer high storage capacities and occupy the same space as an undercounter model.
If you consider yourself a wine connoisseur, a cooler will chill your favourite tipple to perfection. It keeps deliciously cool for whites, or at room temperature for reds, even at the height of summer.
Available in undercounter and tall designs, wine coolers often come in sizes and shapes that are different from those of regular fridges. Freestanding and integrated models can be found, often with wooden bottle racks and sleek glass doors.
Mini fridges are mainly used as a backup or for convenience in a room without a main fridge (such as a bar or bedroom).
They’re also great in a bedsit or student flat where space is severely restricted. Mini fridges and coolers are usually freestanding and portable to make them easy to get upstairs – or wherever else you may need them.
Most fridges these days have internal drawers or compartments like salad crispers. However, some modern designs have separate drawers.
This type of fridge consists of one, two, or more refrigerated drawers built into your kitchen units. They can fit in just as much as a regular undercounter fridge, although the different layout might take some time for you to get adjusted. However, they’re great for saving space and creating a modern look.
Another advantage of this style of fridge is that you’re not opening the whole fridge at once. The result is that that the temperature stays constant for longer in other parts of the fridge, although the small individual compartments may make it tricky to store larger items.
Mini fridges and coolers are usually freestanding and portable to make them easy to get upstairs.
COLOURS AND FINISHES
If you’re buying a freestanding refrigerator, its appearance is particularly significant. Clean white designs are common, thanks to their ability to blend in with a kitchen easily.
For a more contemporary look, silver or black finishes can match other details in the room. At the upper end of the market, stainless steel designs provide an industrial, professional kitchen feel. Some brands also offer bright colours and quirky designs.
For a more contemporary look, silver or black finishes can match other details in the room.