Refrigerators are every kitchen’s must-have appliance companion. While most kitchen tasks centre around access to the fridge, choosing the right one for your home shouldn’t be a chore. Here we’ll explore the different types and features of refrigerators to help you find one perfect for your kitchen and lifestyle.
The top-freezer refrigerator is the most traditional fridge design. These models feature a full-width freezer at the top of the unit.
Why it works for you: Top-freezers are great for narrow spaces and if you frequently access frozen foods. Right at your height, a top freezer keeps little ones out of the ice cream and your frozen foods within arm’s reach. The full width of the refrigerator section gives you space to store bulk groceries or party platters with ease.
The opposite of the top-freezer fridge, a bottom-freezer refrigerator includes a full-width freezer drawer below the refrigeration section.
Why it works for you: If fresh foods are your go-to, then this model provides you access to all your groceries without having to bend down. You’ll be less likely to forget those vegetable and fruit favourites at the bottom of your crisper drawers when your food is at eye level. In addition, like the top-freezer models, these are often more narrow and fit well in tighter spaces.
The French door fridge is arguably the most popular refrigerator model. Essentially a double-door bottom-freezer, this model’s innovative design gives you flexible storage options and easy access to your food.
Why it works for you: The double doors provide more accessibility options and access to storage compartments. In addition, these models can easily incorporate ice and water dispensers, which saves everyone time and money when grabbing a quick drink. Some models even feature a fourth drawer between the refrigerator and freezer sections, or a door within a door for drinks and snacks.
French door refrigerators are usually wider than a traditional top- or bottom-freezer model, giving you more organized space for large amounts of groceries, platters of food and sandwiches, or even sheet cakes. These are ideal for larger families and those who love to entertain.
The side-by-side model features separate, full length freezer and refrigerator sections right beside each other. Generally these models come with a wide variety of storage systems, such as adjustable shelves, as well as a water and ice dispenser.
Why it works for you: This refrigerator provides easy access to everything in both the freezer and fridge. Keep certain foods on lower shelves for the kids after school, and the savory treats up high for after they go to bed. In addition, the storage systems are often quite adaptable to all your food storage needs. And the door compartments can be quite spacious compared to other refrigeration styles.
Bells and Whistles
While a certain refrigerator design may suit your lifestyle to a tee, there are plenty of upgrades, features and other neat technologies you should consider while shopping.
Many of the top refrigerators in the market include dual compressors or dual evaporators, which means your refrigerator is cooling the refrigeration and freezer compartments separately. This decreases the chance of smell contamination between the freezer and fridge, and can keep your freezer foods from developing freezer burn. The technology is so advanced it often eliminates your need for a traditional box of baking soda at the back of your fridge to absorb odours.
Most refrigerators today offer adjustable shelving and door storage. This means you can organize your food to your heart’s content, allowing easy
access to those items you use often and keeping some things out of your way. Have a big drink pitcher or need to store a prepped turkey before cooking? Easily rearrange shelving to accommodate these larger items.
Upgrade Your Crisper Drawers
Beyond the standard humidity-controlled environments, a lot of manufacturers offer temperature-controlled drawers and crispers. Some refrigerators are even able to absorb the ethylene gas emitted by fruits and vegetables as they age, extending the life of these healthy essentials.
No matter what style of refrigerator you choose, make sure you understand the space in your kitchen. How the doors open, depth measurements and even the height of the doors can be a factor to consider. You’ll always want a bit of space around the unit so the compressor can breathe and allow the refrigerator to cool optimally.
Many models in the market offer a counter-depth option, where the refrigerator is flush with the cabinets and counters in your kitchen. Create a stylish and functional built-in kitchen look without losing any of the bells and whistles you’re expecting, including storage space.
There’s a lot of great advice out there for maintaining your refrigerator. Some of the most common tips include:
- Regularly clean the condenser coils. Vacuum the condenser coils underneath the fridge every three to six months – more often if you have pets. Be sure to unplug the unit first (if possible) and snap off the grate covering the coils.
- Maintain the door seals. Wipe down the rubber gasket around the door each month. Rub the side next to the hinges with petroleum jelly to maintain a proper seal and keep the cool air inside.
- Don’t leave the freezer space empty. Fill up your freezer to prevent the unit from overworking. When there are few items being stored, the compressor will actually work harder to maintain optimal temperatures. If it’s empty, stock it with plastic containers of water.
- Regularly clean the inside. For a fresh-smelling fridge, unplug the unit and then wash it out thoroughly with a bleach solution.
- Maintain an even internal temperature. As with your home, keeping the fridge and freezer at a set temperature allows the entire refrigerator to cool food properly and prevents it from overworking or overheating. Many appliance technicians and home experts recommend 37 F to 40 F (2 C to 4 C) for the fridge, and 0 F (-17 C) for the freezer.
Something for Everyone
For many customers, brand loyalty is top of mind when shopping for a new refrigerator and every brand adds their own special touches to distinguish their refrigerators from the competition. Fortunately all major appliance brands also keep a close eye on the competition. So while some high-end features are brand specific and only available at higher price points, many features are universal to all refrigerator models at any price level.
So no matter what refrigerator you buy, rest assured you’ll get a top-quality, versatile fridge designed to last you through countless snack times, party food planning and big family meals.