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The popularity rating of fridges is based on comprehensive statistics on the interest shown by the Internet audience
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Climate classes of refrigerators and freezers
What is behind the symbols N, SN, ST and T in the designation of the climatic classes of refrigeration equipment? ..
Fridges: specifications, types
The type of refrigerator is specified if the design of the unit differs markedly from the classic one (vertical layout, one or more doors for the entire width of the device). Nowadays, there are three main varieties of such non-standard models: Side-by-Side and French door refrigerators, as well as display refrigerators. Here is a more detailed description of each of these varieties:
— Side-by-Side. Refrigerators of this type have at least two doors stacked side by side (hence the name). If there are more than two doors, then at least one of them occupies the entire height of the unit. It is how similar models differ from French Door refrigerators (see below). Another difference is that the compartments in the Side-by-Side models have a vertical layout: the freezer is usually located on the side and is completely covered by one of the doors. Anyway, refrigerators from this category have large dimensions and high capacity. They are designed for spacious kitchens and large amounts of food.
— French Door. It is a specific variation of the Side-by-Side models described above: French Door refrigerators also have a large width and side-by-side doors. The main fundamental difference lies in the internal layout: the refrigeration compartment in such units is located horizontally, across the entire width of the unit. In addition,...in traditional French Door models, not two but four doors are provided — two pairs at different levels. There is also another, rarer version of the design — two doors on top (side by side) and drawers for the entire width of the unit from below. However, the refrigerator compartment in such models necessarily has a pair of doors. Anyway, the specifics of using French Door refrigerators are similar to Side-by-Side: these are spacious units designed for kitchens with a lot of free space. Their main advantage lies in the fact that the layout of the “2 doors per chamber” format allows you to reduce cold losses when opening: in the classic French Door, opening one door opens only half of the refrigerator or freezer, while in Side-by-Side models the corresponding chamber opens entirely. Yes, and the location of the cameras one above the other, many users find it more convenient than side-by-side. On the other hand, numerous doors complicate and increase the cost of the design.
— Display refrigerators. Refrigerators intended primarily for commercial use. The main feature of such units is transparent doors that allow you to see the contents without opening the chamber and without violating the temperature regime. As for other specifications, display refrigerators cases usually have a traditional vertical layout, small or medium volume and are not equipped with freezers. At the same time, there can be two chambers in the design, but they not always have separate temperature control — the meaning of this design is primarily to reduce cold losses with each opening and optimize the distribution of contents over the internal volume. Anyway, display refrigerators are especially suitable for the sale of chilled drinks. Although, they can also be used for food products that require storage at low (but not sub-zero) temperatures.
The total capacity of the refrigerator is the total capacity of all the main working chambers: refrigerating, freezing, zero, and wine chambers. The set of these chambers, of course, will be different in different models (see more about them above). Here we note that large volumes, on the one hand, simplify the storage of numerous products and, on the other hand, affect the dimensions and price of the unit. It is also worth considering that refrigerators of the same total capacity may differ in the capacity of individual chambers.
Number of chambers
The number of individual chambers in the design of the refrigerator.
Refrigerator and freezer compartments are separated from each other; with more advanced equipment, nuances are possible: for example, the fresh zone (see "Compartments") in some units can be part of the refrigerator compartment, in others — a separate chamber. These nuances should be clarified for each model separately. As for the specific quantity, the most popular nowadays are two- chamber units, usually consisting of a refrigeration and freezer chamber. However, other models are also on the market — both fairly simple single-chamber devices, and advanced solutions with three chambers and even more. Here is a more detailed description of the different options:
— Single chamber. Refrigerators of the simplest design, have only one full-fledged compartment — the refrigeration itself. At the same time, the volume of such models can be both small and quite significant. In addition, in single-chamber units additional “climatic” compartments such as a freshness zone/humidity zone can be provided. But if there is a freezer, the refrigerator is already moving into the category of two-chamber — even if the freezer compartment is installed inside the refrigerator and does not have its own door for access from the outside.
— Two chambers. The most popular...type of modern refrigerator. In the vast majority of two-chamber models, in addition to the main refrigeration compartment, a freezer is provided, inside which the temperature is maintained well below zero. Note that not every refrigerator with such equipment is suitable for freezing food (for more details, see “Freezer temperature”). However, the presence of a freezer allows to effectively store previously frozen food.
On the market, you can find (albeit very rarely) two-chamber models without a freezer. These are either display refrigerators (see "product type"), or classic units, where other equipment is provided — for example, a completely separate fresh zone.
— Three chambers. In units from this category, two traditional compartments (refrigeration and freezing) are supplemented by a third compartment that differs in purpose. The specific type of such a compartment should be specified separately. It can be, for example, a fresh zone, a wine chamber, etc. Anyway, the functionality of three-chamber refrigerators is wider than that of traditional two-chamber refrigerators. The downsides to this are the higher price and size: most three-chamber units have a French Door or Side-by-Side layout (see "Product type"), while the classic vertical models have an increased height.
— Four chambers. Refrigerators of this type are usually classified as multi-chamber. They consist of the main compartment, a freezer and two additional compartments. At the same time, one of the additional compartments is almost guaranteed to be a fresh zone but the purpose of the second one can be different: an additional fresh/humidity zone, a multi-zone (see "Compartments"), a wine chamber, etc. Anyway, such refrigerators, on the one hand, are multifunctional and roomy; on the other hand, they are bulky and expensive. All of them belong to the category French Door or Side-by-Side (see "Product type").
— Five chambers. Further development of the idea of multi-chamber refrigerators; is similar to four-chamber models, except that there are not two additional compartments, but three. Accordingly, the functionality of such units is more extensive, the cost is higher, and the dimensions, usually, are even larger.
Number of cooling circuits
The refrigeration circuit can be described as a heat sink system that has a separate connection to the compressor (see “Number of compressors”) and a separate, independent from other similar systems, regulation of the operating mode.
In the most common variety of modern refrigerators — two-chamber models with a freezer — both one common circuit for both chambers and 2 circuits can be provided. The second option is more expensive, but it gives an important advantage — in such refrigerators, you can completely independently control the operating modes of the refrigeration and freezer compartments. If there is only one circuit, these adjustments turn out to be interconnected: for example, when you turn on the fast freeze mode (see "Features"), the main chamber also starts to work at increased cooling power, which is not always desirable.
As for refrigerators with three or more chambers, usually, the number of circuits in them is less than the number of chambers — otherwise, the design would be unnecessarily complex, cumbersome and expensive.
Number of compressors
The compressor is a kind of "heart" of the refrigerator — a pump that circulates freon through the cooling circuits and transfers heat from the contents to the outside.
Most modern refrigerators have one compressor that serves all the chambers at once (if there are several). This design turns out to be as simple as possible, inexpensive and, at the same time, quite functional. For example, it does not interfere with regulating the conditions in different chambers separately (for this, separate cooling circuits serviced by a common compressor are provided). On the other hand, such a refrigerator can only be defrosted as a whole (there is no possibility of completely turning off individual chambers). And when the compressor fails, the entire unit becomes useless.
In turn, more advanced models with 2 compressors(or even more) are devoid of these shortcomings. These compressors (and the chambers connected to them) can be turned off individually, defrosting the refrigerator chambers separately without having to completely unload the contents. And if one pump breaks down, the second one remains operational, and at least some of the chambers also retain their functionality. On the other hand, such a design greatly increases the cost, and its advantages are not so often decisive. Therefore, there are few two-compressor refrigerators nowadays, mostly premium models. And a larger number of pumps is found only in some top models fo...r four chambers or more.
Inverter compressors are called compressors that can smoothly change the power of work.
The compressor is a pump that pumps freon through the cooling circuits of the refrigerator. A conventional (non-inverter) compressor has only one power level, and the cooling intensity changes due to periodic switching on and off: the longer the time of continuous operation and the fewer interruptions in operation, the stronger the cooling, and vice versa. Such a design is inexpensive, but it has several disadvantages — in particular, uneven cooling, relatively low temperature control accuracy, and a tendency to create power surges in the network where the refrigerator is connected. Inverter compressors run continuously, while the pump power varies depending on current needs. Thanks to this, refrigerators with compressors of this type are free from the described disadvantages and have some other advantages, such as low noise level and energy efficiency. On the other hand, such units are quite expensive.
The No Frost function prevents the formation of frost inside the refrigerator. The general principle of its operation is that excess moisture is blown out of the working chamber by a special fan, not having time to settle on the walls and form frost.
This function is most relevant for the freezer, although it is technically easy to provide in the refrigerator. Therefore, refrigerators with No Frost in all compartments are the most popular nowadays, much less often this system is installed only in the freezer, and extremely rarely — only in the refrigerator (usually in such models there is no freezer at all).
The No Frost function significantly simplifies the user's life. It eliminates the need to manually defrost the refrigerator and even eliminates the need for automatic defrosting systems (see "Features"). The reverse side of this convenience is that such systems absorb moisture not only from the air but from the food inside too. So for long-term storage, the contents must be tightly packed — otherwise, it dries quickly. In addition, the presence of No Frost inevitably increases the overall cost of the fridge. So if these moments are critical for you, the fridges without No Frost may well be the best choice.
Various special features provided in the refrigerator, such as holiday mode, control via Internet, child lock, ( LED display or TFT display), door alarm reversible door. And now in more detail:
— Holiday mode. A special mode of operation in case of a long absence of users — when there is no foodstuff in the refrigerating chamber and there is no need for the unit to work intensively. In holiday mode, the temperature inside is maintained at about 12 °C; this prevents the growth of mould and unpleasant odours, while the energy consumption is very low.
— Control via Internet. The ability of access to control the refrigerator via the Internet. The refrigerator, usually, is connected to the World Wide Web using Wi-Fi — via a router or a smart home system. The convenience of this function is obvious: it allows you to control the operation of the unit from anywhere in the world where there is an Internet connection. However, the specific implementation of such control may be different: some models of refrigerators use an application installed on a smartphone or tablet, and others allow you to work through a web page available in any browser. However, the user can thus obtain various data on the unit's operating mode (temperature an...d humidity in the chambers, the use of special functions, malfunctions and emergencies, etc.) and, if necessary, change its settings.
— Child lock. Various features to keep your refrigerator safe from small children. Often, it means blocking the control panel — so that a curious baby cannot change the settings.
— Display. Refrigerators of any level can be equipped with displays — from the simplest to the most advanced. Anyway, the screen provides additional convenience in operation: it can display various detailed information about the operation of the unit, as well as other useful data (for example, time). But the specific type of display may be different.
— LED display. Usually, they are very simple — they display one colour (maximum two or three basic colours) and a limited set of characters (numbers, individual letters and some special icons). However, such limited functionality is enough even for fairly advanced refrigerators, and LED displays are inexpensive.
— TFT display. These are already the most functional screens — like those used in smartphones, tablets, etc. They are capable to display a huge variety of information and can even be made touch-sensitive. And some units with TFT displays are not just refrigerators at all but multifunctional smart home components. However, such an appliance costs accordingly.
— Door alarm. An alarm system that warns that the refrigerator door is open for a long time (or not closed tightly enough). After some time after opening, such a system gives a signal (usually sound), notifying the user of the need to check the status of the door. It avoids a critical increase in temperature in the refrigerator chamber and damage to the contents. In some models, this system is also complemented by a light indicator that confirms the correct closing of the door — this further reduces the risk of leaving the refrigerator loosely closed.
— Reversible door. The ability to choose from which side the hinges on the refrigerator door will be located and, accordingly, in which direction it will open. It allows you to optimize the space in the kitchen, providing access to the contents of the unit from the most convenient side. Please note that this function is only available for classic design models, including display refrigerators (see “Product type”). In Side-by-Side and French Door refrigerators it makes no sense to provide this feature.
These features relate exclusively to the design and overall appearance of the refrigerator. These features include glass door panel, hidden door handles, handle illumination, customizable panels and retro design. Here is a detailed description of all these items:
— Glass door panel. Refrigerators with this feature have glass doors on the outside. This finish does not affect the functionality of the device but gives it a stylish appearance due to the specific glare on the glass surface. And in some models, a decorative pattern can also be applied to the glass. In addition, such a coating is very resistant to scratches. Its disadvantage is a rather high cost. So the glass door panel is typical mainly for “designer” refrigerators, created with an emphasis not only on functionality but also on the rich design.
— Hidden door handles. Handles made in the form of recesses on the ends of the refrigerator doors. They can be located on the top, bottom and/or side, depending on the design of a particular unit and the location of the door itself. Anyway, thanks to the hidden handles, the refrigerator at least acquires a neat, discreet appearance — with a minimum of unnecessary details on the doors. In addition, a regular handle can be touched by careless movement, but with a hidden one, it is impossi...ble. It is especially relevant in cramped conditions. On the other hand, not all users find hidden handles comfortable enough. Therefore refrigerators with doors of a more traditional design nowadays also continue to be produced.
— Handle illumination. This feature not only gives the refrigerator an interesting appearance but also makes it more visible in low-light conditions. The latter can be useful not only in the evening or at night but also at other times of the day — if the unit is installed in a place that is itself poorly lit. However, there are few models with illuminated handles on the market, and they mainly belong to the middle and premium class.
— Customizable panels. Replaceable panels that allow you to change the appearance of the refrigerator. This feature does not affect the functionality, but it makes it possible to optimally choose the design for the interior of the room and the tastes of the owner. Some units with this feature are initially supplied without decorative panels in the expectation that users themselves choose or order a pattern at their discretion. On the other hand, the real need to use customizable panels rarely arises — even for a non-standard interior, it is easier to choose a refrigerator that was originally made in a certain design. So there are very few models with this feature nowadays.
— Retro design. Refrigerators made in the style of "retro" — in other words, semi-antique. Typically, such models imitate the technique of the 50s — 60s of the twentieth century, with rounded body shapes, massive handles, etc. However, there are other design options — the old sideboard, or even completely non-standard, in the form of a car, aeroplane, etc. Anyway, completely modern technologies are usually hidden under such a case. And the original appearance can be very useful for an interior in an unusual style. On the other hand, it is worth considering that retro design is very expensive. Most of these models are designed for those for whom design is no less important than functionality.
The total capacity of the main working chamber of the refrigerator. If there are separate zero chambers, compartments for wine and other additional functions, this paragraph takes into account only the volume of the refrigerating chamber itself, without additional equipment. In the smallest modern units, this figure does not even reach 100 liters, in the largest it can exceed 400 liters.
The choice of capacity depends on the actual storage needs of the products. At the same time, both the volume of stocks and the frequency of their replenishment (every day, once a week, etc.) matter. The chamber should not be stocked completely; this adversely affects the quality of the refrigerator. On the other hand, it is worth remembering that large volumes accordingly affect the dimensions and price of the unit.
In general, for one or two people, a capacity of 200 – 250 liters, or even less, is considered quite sufficient. The optimal capacity for a family of three is about 250 – 300 liters, for four to five people — 300 – 350 liters, and larger volumes are really needed mainly for specific situations when food has to be stored in large quantities and for a long time.
Number of shelves
The number of shelves supplied with the refrigerator. In this case, only shelves placed inside the main (refrigeration) chamber are taken into account. And closed drawers, which are usually at the bottom, are not considered shelves.
In general, this amount depends on the volume: the more spacious the refrigeration compartment, the more shelves are usually provided in the kit. At the same time, there is no strict dependence here, and refrigerators of similar capacity can be equipped with a different number of shelves. As for specific options, the most modest models come with 1 – 2 shelves, 3 shelves and 4 shelves can be called an average, and more are found in some units.
In most modern refrigerators the shelves are removable. In addition, they can be installed at different levels. In this case, it is not necessary to use the entire set: for example, if it is planned to place tall objects inside, one of the shelves can be removed, creating a vast space. And vice versa: if necessary, you can, usually, buy additional shelves. So the number of shelves in the kit only allows you to evaluate the overall possibilities for organizing space in the refrigerator. How to use these features depends on the user.
The ability to fold the shelves will come in handy for placing large-sized utensils, tall or bulky foods in the refrigerator. It can be implemented in completely different ways: by folding the halves of the shelf up or down, using a sliding shelf structure, etc. Some shelves can be folded in several stages: first in half, then they lean against the back wall of the refrigeration chamber.
Separate zones that help expand your food storage options. Among these there are multizone — , fresh zone, humidity zone, wine chamber, bottle rack, mini bar, water dispenser. More details about them:
— Fresh zone. A special compartment designed for long-term storage of fresh vegetables, herbs and other similar food. Such a compartment can be made in the form of a completely separate chamber. In such cases, it is called the zero chamber and its volume is separately indicated in the specifications. However, more often the fresh zone is located inside the main compartment. Anyway, the humidity in this zone is somewhat higher than in the refrigeration compartment, and the temperature is somewhat lower: in some models, it is about zero (which allows you to store raw meat or fish), in others it is about +1 .. .3 °C (this is only suitable for fruits, vegetables and cheeses). Anyway, the moisture from the products in the fresh zone does not evaporate as quickly as in the main chamber, and the contents retain their original appearance and taste longer. This feature is especially useful if there is a No Frost system (see above) in the refrigeration chamber of the unit.
— Humidity zone. Another feature designed for long-term storage...of fresh food is similar to the fresh zone described above. The difference is that freshness is preserved solely due to the increased humidity of the air (hence the name). The temperature corresponds to the temperature in the refrigeration chamber. The humidity zone is intended mainly for storing vegetables and fruits; in some refrigerators, this compartment has a humidity control that allows you to optimally adjust it to different types of contents (detailed recommendations on this can be found in special sources)
— Multizone. A compartment that combines the functions of several compartments at once. The simplest option is the ability to work in the mode of a refrigerator or freezer. However, in modern refrigerators, there are multizones with more extensive capabilities. These features can be quite specific — like quickly cooling drinks, slow defrosting, and even cooling hot dishes. So the specific features of the multizone should be specified separately. Nevertheless, its presence significantly expands the capabilities of the refrigerator. Also, in some models, the entire freezer performs the function of such a chamber. However, most often the multizone is still designed separately from other chambers.
— Wine chamber. Specialized compartment for long-term storage of wine. Usually, a temperature of +10..12 °С is maintained in such a compartment — it is this temperature considered optimal for this task. Some models may also provide the possibility of more precise temperature settings — for different types of wine. The traditional equipment of a wine chamber includes a shock-absorbing system that dampens vibrations from the compressor and other shocks, as well as carbon filters to protect against foreign odours; and the door of such a chamber is traditionally made transparent — so that you can see the collection of wines without opening the refrigerator.
Nowadays, this function is found only in some premium refrigerators. It is because most wine connoisseurs prefer to use specialized wine coolers: such devices are less bulky and often more functional.
— Bottle rack. Shelf of a special design for the convenience of storing bottles in the refrigerator. It has the form of stands of a wavy shape. In the recesses of such "waves" it is convenient to keep bottles of small or medium size: they do not roll over the refrigerator and are at hand; you just need to open the door.
— Mini bar. A small door that allows you to access individual shelves of the refrigeration chamber without opening it completely. This function is called a "mini bar" because it is most often used to store drinks. In general, it is more convenient to get drinks from the mini bar than from the refrigeration chamber. Besides, the small size of the mini bar door helps to save energy — less extraneous heat gets inside the unit. In addition, the door is usually made transparent, so you do not need to open the refrigerator to check the contents. On the other hand, for several reasons, it makes sense to use a mini bar only in larger units — Side-by-Side and French Door formats (see "Product type"). However, this feature significantly affects the cost.
— Water dispenser. The cold water supply system built into the refrigerator. It has a tap and is usually installed on the door. The specific functionality of the water dispenser can be different: water can come from a built-in tank or from the water supply to which the unit is connected. The design often provides for filters of one type or another. Different models may differ in performance and cooling speed, etc. However, this function provides at least two advantages. Firstly, pouring water from a dispenser is much more convenient than cooling it in bottles or other containers. Secondly, you do not need to open the main compartment to get cold water — this minimizes heat loss and saves energy. On the other hand, dispensers are expensive and rather bulky. Therefore, they can only be found in premium refrigerators — most often in the Side-by-Side or French Door format (see "Product type"). Although, some classic models have this system.
Wine chamber capacity
The capacity of the wine compartment provided in the refrigerator (see "Functions").
The larger the chamber, the more bottles of wine it can hold at a time. At the same time, the capacity of such compartments is determined not only by the volume in litres but also by the number of “seats” for bottles. It should be specified separately. At the same time, chambers for the same number of bottles may differ in volume. In such cases, a higher capacity is considered preferable — it provides better air circulation and cooling efficiency. On the other hand, the large volume of the wine chamber affects the dimensions and cost of the entire unit.
Also, note that a capacious compartment for wine can be divided into temperature zones — for storage (all wines are stored at 10..12 °C) and for preparation for serving (optimum serving temperature is different for different wines). However, the presence of such a division should also be clarified separately.
Zero chamber capacity
The capacity of the zero chamber provided in the refrigerator.
Typically, manufacturers choose the volume of the zero chamber by the total capacity and price category of the refrigerator. So this parameter is important mainly in cases where you plan to store many products at the same time that require the fresh zone. In such cases, it may make sense to sacrifice part of the volume of the refrigerator or freezer and choose a unit with a larger zero chamber. If the refrigerator is planned for normal domestic use, you can ignore this parameter.
Forced cooling mode, in which the intensity of cooling the refrigeration compartment is significantly increased. It is an analogue of the fast freeze described above, used in the refrigerator compartment. Fast cool is also intended mainly for situations where a lot of foodstuff must be loaded inside at a time — it avoids a critical increase in temperature inside the refrigerator. This mode also needs to be turned on in advance and turned off after a certain time. In some models, the shutdown occurs automatically, but the presence of this feature needs to be specified separately.
Dynamic air cooling
This function means that there is a built-in fan that circulates air around the refrigerator compartment. It contributes to the evenest distribution of cold and more efficient cooling than in units without a fan, where the air moves only due to natural convection. The main disadvantages of dynamic air cooling are the increase in noise level, energy consumption and the cost of the refrigerator.
A feature that saves the owner from having to turn off and defrost the refrigerator manually. From time to time, the compressor turns off, and the frost on the walls thaws and flows into a special compartment, from where the moisture then evaporates under the influence of heat from the compressor. We emphasize that you should not confuse auto-defrost with the No Frost system (see above); they are different functions: No Frost prevents the formation of frost, and auto-defrost allows you to get rid of the accumulated frost.
A device for neutralizing foreign odours in the refrigerator compartment. The source of such odours can be not only spoiled but also quite usable products, for example, smoked fish. And some types of food, in turn, tend to absorb these odours, which negatively affects their aroma and taste. The deodorizer avoids such troubles by purifying the air inside the refrigerator.
UV lamp installed inside the refrigerator. UV lighting is one of the most effective and, at the same time, safe methods of disinfection: it successfully destroys microorganisms without forming harmful substances and without affecting the quality of products (with a few exceptions). The UV lamp usually turns on when the door is closed, so it is quite safe for people. The disadvantage of this feature is the rather high cost.
Indoor lighting based on built-in light-emitting diodes (LED) has several advantages over more traditional bulbs. Firstly, due to its high efficiency, it gives excellent brightness with low power consumption and also generates almost no heat. Secondly, small LED lamps can be evenly distributed along the walls of the chamber, providing bright illumination of the entire volume of the refrigerator. The disadvantages of such lighting can only be attributed to a certain difficulty in repair and replacement. However, modern LEDs are quite durable.
Retractable guides allow the drawer to roll smoothly on a special roller. The main advantage of telescopic rails is that you do not need to make much effort. On the other hand, such devices are more expensive and are used in premium segment devices.
The freezer, if present, may be positioned differently relative to the main compartment of the refrigerator. In classic units and French Door models (see "Product type"), the bottom location of the freezer is found predominantly (in some cases, such a freezer has a retractable design). The top location is noticeably less popular, although it is also used quite often. Side-by- side freezer models are almost all in the Side-by-Side category (see "Type"). And some modern refrigerators may not have a freezer at all. Here is a more detailed description of each option:
— Bottom. By installing the freezer at the bottom, you can raise the main (refrigerator) compartment to the optimum height: it will be in front of the user’s eyes, and you will not have to bend down to access the contents of this compartment. That is why this option is the most popular nowadays: most users often need access to the main volume of the refrigerator, and a freezer is required relatively rarely. Note that we are talking about classic freezers with doors; drawer freezers are placed in a separate category, described below.
— Bottom (retractable). Freezer with a bottom location, made in the form of a drawer. The general advantages of the bottom location are described above. And the retractable design provides added convenien...ce for the user, relieving him of the need to make unnecessary movements: to access the contents, it is enough to pull out the drawer without having to open the door first. On the other hand, such freezers are more demanding on the quality of thermal insulation, which affects the cost of the entire refrigerator. In addition, the pull-out chamber is one common container, without division into levels, while such chambers are rarely provided for more than two — this limits the possibility of separating different types of products into different compartments of the freezer.
— Top. The top position of the freezer makes it easy to access the contents without having to bend over. On the other hand, you will most likely have to bend over to access the main compartment. So this layout option is not as common as the bottom freezer installation and is mainly in two categories of refrigerators. The first is individual models of classic layout or French Door layout (see "product type"); many of them have a large overall height, which partly compensates for the features of the top location of the freezer. The second variety is compact units of small volume in which the freezer is installed inside the main compartment and does not have its outer door. In such cases, the top setting is considered optimal for several technical reasons.
— Side. The traditional option for Side-by-side units (see "Product type"), which is practically not found in other types of refrigerators. Note that the side freezer in such cases does not necessarily occupy the entire height of the refrigerator — it can be combined, for example, with a fresh zone or a wine chamber. In some models, freezers with this arrangement can even be equipped with separate doors. Although usually all compartments on one side of the unit are still covered by one common door.
— No freezer. By definition, single-chamber models do not have a freezer compartment (see "Number of chambers"); at the same time, in this category, there are both compact and rather large and roomy refrigerators. You can also find two-chamber units without a freezer on the market — in them the main compartment is usually complemented by a clearly defined fresh zone, but there is only one door, common to both compartments. Another type of unit with this feature is display refrigerators (see "Product type").
The capacity of the freezer installed in the refrigerator. Such a chamber is designed to store products at temperatures well below zero (on average -18 °C). Its capacity is related to the total capacity of the refrigerator (and the capacity of the main, refrigerating chamber). However, there is no strict dependence here — models with a similar volume of the refrigerating chamber can be equipped with freezers of different sizes.
When choosing by capacity, it is worth considering how much frozen food you plan to store at a time. Note that it is undesirable to fill the freezer completely — this negatively affects the efficiency of work. However, if this chamber is planned to be used only occasionally, and you do not plan to keep numerous products in it, you can not chase after the capacity: for such cases, 25 – 50 liters, or even smaller capacities, are enough. In the smallest modern refrigerators, the freezer capacity does not exceed 10 liters. And vice versa, very roomy freezers come across — for 176 – 200 liters and even more. Such volumes are typical mainly for side-by-side and French door units (see "Product type"). However, they are also found in models of the classic two-chamber layout.
The number of drawers into which the refrigerator freezer is divided. For top-mounted freezers (see “Freezer”), this paragraph may indicate the number of levels, taking into account the shelves the fridge is equipped (drawers are not used in such chambers).
On the one hand, the abundance of drawers makes it easy to distribute different types of foods in different compartments. On the other hand, more drawers (for the same total freezer capacity) mean less height and capacity for each drawer. So when choosing, you should consider what is more important for you — extensive possibilities for sorting content or the capacity of individual drawers. As for the specific quantity, most modern refrigerators have 3-drawer freezers — this number is generally considered the best compromise between the nuances described above. A larger number of drawers is found mainly in high-capacity units, but 1 – 2 freezer drawers can be found in all types of refrigerators — from small classic to large French Door and Side-by-Side (see "Product type").
The presence of an oversized drawer in the freezer. Such large containers allow you to store a whole turkey and other bulky products. It is worth noting that each manufacturer has a different concept of a large drawer. And in some models, the large drawer may be commensurate with the classic drawer of another model.
The slim shelf is a low (up to 5 cm) tray, which is the best suited for storing seasonings, rolled puff pastry, ice, butter, meat preparations and other small-sized products. In such a container, you can not place products one on top of the other, so finding the needed frozen food will be much easier.
Retractable guides allow the drawer to roll smoothly on a special roller. The main advantage of telescopic rails is that you do not need to make much effort. On the other hand, such devices are more expensive and are used in premium segment devices.
The operating temperature of the refrigerator freezer.
The generally accepted standard for freezers is actually -18°C. It allows you to effectively store pre-frozen foods, as well as freeze them (with certain precautions). At the same time, for most modern refrigerators, lower temperatures are claimed — at -24 °C, and in some models even lower. However, such indicators are not always standard — in many units, they are achieved only in the fast freeze mode (see "Features"). This should be clarified separately. However, the temperature of the freezer below -18 °C means good freezing features.
In turn, chambers with more modest minimum temperatures — -12 °C, or even -6 °C — are only suitable for storing pre-frozen products; they are not suitable for freezing any significant amount of contents. However, there are very few refrigerators with such indicators on the market — mostly low-cost or outdated models.
To indicate the temperature of the freezer, markings in the form of asterisks (snowflakes) are often used, each of which means a decrease in temperature by 6 °C. For example, in models at -24 °C, you can find the designation * (***) — four asterisks, one of which is highlighted. This usually means that in the standard mode the freezer operates at -18 °C (three stars), and at another 6 °C (down to -24 °C) the temperature drops during fast freezing.
The autonomy time provided by the refrigerator when the power is turned off.
Often, this parameter describes the capabilities of the freezer. In such cases, the autonomy time is indicated as the time during which, at an outside temperature of +25 °C, the temperature in the filled freezer does not rise above -9 °C (this level is considered critical for the storage of frozen foods). Accordingly, the actual autonomy time may differ from the claimed one — depending on the ambient temperature, the frequency of opening the refrigerator, etc. However, this parameter describes the quality of thermal insulation quite accurately, and it is possible to evaluate different models and compare them with each other.
Also, autonomy time can be given for models without freezers: in such cases, we are talking about the time during which the temperature in the refrigerator compartment remains at an acceptable level under approximately the same conditions.
Approximate amount of fresh food that a refrigerator can completely freeze from room temperature to freezer operating temperature in 24 hours. Power up to 10 – 15 kg/day will be quite enough for everyday use, but if you plan to freeze food in large volumes and often — you should pay attention to more performant freezers.
Forced freezing mode, in which the temperature inside the freezer falls below the standard level for a short time. This mode is useful when loading a large amount of unfrozen food into the freezer. The fact is that the heat from these products can lead to an increase in the temperature inside. The fast freeze feature allows you to compensate for this phenomenon and avoid violations of the temperature regime. However, fast freeze, usually, needs to be turned on a few hours before loading new food, and the freezer is usually not designed for permanent operation in this mode, after a while, it needs to be switched to normal mode (in some refrigerators this is done automatically) .
We also emphasize that some units provide separate boxes or zones of “fast freezing”, with a lower temperature. Such equipment is not considered for the fast freeze feature since it has slightly different specifics of work.
A separate system for producing ice — usually in the form of cubes, but in some models crushing to fine crumbs is also possible. Using an ice maker is generally more convenient than freezing water in trays or bags; in addition, ice in such cases is usually isolated from the rest of the volume, due to which it does not absorb foreign odours. The main disadvantage of this classic function is the high cost.
The type of controls for refrigerators is indicated primarily by the type of control panel. Often its location is also taken into account. According to these criteria, nowadays, the following options are distinguished: rotary knobs, internal push-buttons, external push-buttons, internal touch controls and external touch controls. Here are the features of each of these options:
— Rotary knobs. Control using rotary knobs. Such knobs are traditionally installed inside the refrigerator, so in this case, the location is not specified. In general, this is the simplest and most inexpensive option used in units of the appropriate level. Most often, there is only one rotary knob; it is directly connected to the thermostat and regulates only the temperature inside the refrigerator (and even then very approximately). However, even this is often quite enough — especially if the refrigerator is operated in more or less constant temperature conditions (for example, in a home or office kitchen). In many cases, the matter is limited to choosing a more or less suitable knob position once and then not touching the settings at all. In addition, the unambiguous advantages of this type of control are reliability and ease of repair.
— Internal push-buttons. Push-buttons are generally considered more advanced th...an rotary knobs. The specific functionality of refrigerators with such control may be different, but among them, models with additional functions and the ability to fine-tune the temperature (and sometimes even humidity) are noticeably more common. As for the interior layout, it allows you to hide the panel behind the refrigerator door, providing a neat appearance with a minimum of protruding parts. And if the door has a child lock, in this case, it also performs the function of protecting against children. However, to access the controls you have to open the refrigerator — but this moment is generally not critical: such access is not needed so often, and changing settings does not take much time.
— External push-buttons. Like the internal push-buttons (see above), such controls are typical mainly for fairly advanced models (although exceptions are possible). And the external location is convenient because you do not need to open the door to access the settings. On the other hand, the real need for such an arrangement is not so often, and push-buttons must also fit into the overall design of the unit (which is not always possible to do in the best way). As a result, the external version of push-button controls is much less common than the internal one.
— Internal touch controls. Internal touch controls are considered the next step in the development of controls, after buttons. So, they look stylish and technologically advanced, they do not need to be pressed hard (just touched), and there are no protruding parts, corners and cracks on the surface of the panel, which simplifies cleaning from dirt. Accordingly, the presence of touch controls is typical mainly for refrigerators of the middle and top levels. It costs a little more than a push-button one, but this is imperceptible against the background of the total price of the units. But specifically, the internal location is much less common than the external one. It is because there is no need to hide the touch sensors behind the door — they can be easily fit into the external design of the refrigerator.
— External touch controls. The general features of touch controls are described above. And external touch panels in refrigerators are used much more often than internal ones: such panels can be given almost any appearance, optimally fitting them into the design of the refrigerator. Besides, placing them outside allows you not to open the door again to access the settings.
Refrigerator energy class according to the old European standard valid until 2021.
The energy class shows how economical the unit is compared to other models with similar specifications. It is used for devices manufactured before March 1, 2021. Initially, in this standard, classes were designated in Latin letters from A (most economical) to G (high power consumption). However, later improved classes A+, A++, and others appeared. (the more pluses, the more effective is the device). For modern refrigerators, marking A according to the old system is actually the minimum level of energy efficiency specific for outdated and low-cost devices; most models are classified as A + and A ++, and most A+++. There is no need to wait for more pluses. Since 2021, all new equipment will be marked according to the new system, where class G will correspond to the old class A, class F to class A+ and so on.
Note that a higher energy efficiency class (with similar specifications) means a higher price but this difference can quickly pay off due to energy savings.
Energy class (new)
Refrigerator energy class according to the new European standard applicable from 2021.
In general, the energy class shows how economical the unit is compared to other models with similar characteristics. In the old system (current until 2021), the most energy efficient class was designated as A+++. However, the development of technology inevitably leads to the emergence of even more economical devices, for which even more pluses would have to be added. To simplify labelling, it was decided to switch to a new notation system. In this system, all letters were "shifted down":
— the old class A approximately corresponds to the new class G;
— old class A+ — class F ;
— old class A++ — class E ;
— old class A+++ — class D.
The new labelling standard will apply to all refrigerators manufactured after March 1, 2021.
Energy consumption per year
The average amount of energy consumed by a refrigerator in a year of operation. Of course, these figures are not absolutely accurate; the actual power consumption may vary depending on the specific operating conditions. However, this parameter makes it possible to evaluate the power consumption of the refrigerator and compare different models with each other. At the same time, it often turns out to be more convenient and visual than the energy consumption class (see above) because in this paragraph we are talking about a specific figure (from which you can also calculate the cost of electricity consumed). For clarity, let's take the following example: a small two-chamber refrigerator with energy class A can consume less energy per year than a large side-by-side unit of class A+++, although formally, in terms of energy consumption classes, the second model will be more economical than the first.
The climate class to which the refrigerator corresponds.
As the name implies, this parameter describes the environmental conditions for which the unit is designed. The warmer it is around — the more powerful the refrigerator should be and the better thermal insulation it should have. Specific classes are indicated by letters, here are the most popular options:
— SN (subnormal). Models for a temperate cool climate, have an operating range from +10 °С to + 32 °С. Such a unit can be useful in a poorly heated room where the temperature can drop below +16 °C — for example, on the veranda of a private house, in a garage, etc.
— N (normal). Refrigerators for temperate climates, with an operating temperature range of +16...+32 °С. Such a unit is suitable for most residential apartments and houses in mid-latitudes.
— ST (subtropical). Models for subtropical and humid tropical climates. Normally work at the range of external temperatures +18...+38 °C.
— T (tropical). Refrigerators for dry tropical climates. Designed for temperature range +18 °С to +43 °С.
There are many models on the market with an extended temperature range covering several classes. For example, a unit labelled N-ST will have a temperature range of +16...+38 °C. Such refrigerators are indispensable in complicated...climates, the conditions of which are not covered by one standard class — for example, during cold winters and hot summers.
The general noise class to which the refrigerator corresponds.
The traditional designation of the noise level — in decibels — is not always obvious to the average user. Sometimes it is more misleading than helpful. Noise class labelling was introduced — in Latin letters from A to D, to remedy the situation. Accordingly, class A includes the quietest units; Class B can be described as comparatively quiet, C as moderately loud, and D as rather noisy.
The average noise level generated by the refrigerator during operation.
The quietest models of refrigerators are noisy at a level of about 30 dB — this volume is comparable to the whispering or ticking of a wall clock and does not exceed the sanitary standards for residential premises at night. In other words, such a unit will not interfere with sleep, even if it is placed right in the bedroom. At the same time, the standard place for a refrigerator is still a kitchen, and with such an installation it is isolated from other living quarters. Therefore, the noise of 40 – 42 dB, corresponding to a quiet conversation, is considered quite acceptable for ordinary household refrigerators. And with good sound insulation, a volume of up to 50 dB is allowed — this is the level of conversation at an average volume.
Higher values are rare among refrigerators and are mainly found in display refrigerators(see "Product type") installed in shops where noise levels are not as much important.
Country of origin
The country in which this refrigerator model is manufactured (according to the manufacturer).
There are many stereotypes associated with the relationship between the origin and the quality of household appliances. Thus, the location of production in Europe ( Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, etc.) is considered more prestigious than in Asian countries ( China, Thailand) or CIS countries ( Belarus, Russia, Uzbekistan, etc.). And different European countries have a different reputation among buyers in this regard. However, these stereotypes should be treated with considerable distrust: the actual quality of products depends not so much on the geography of production, but on the quality of the organization of processes by a particular manufacturer. As a result, equipment of a similar level, produced by different brands in the same country, may differ markedly in actual quality.
It is worth to say that the same refrigerator model can be produced in several countries at the same time. And units of the same model, produced at different times at different plants, may be on the market at the same time. As a re...sult, it happens that one country of production is indicated in the general characteristics of the model and another in the documentation for the unit purchased. It is quite a normal situation. However, if the country of production is still important for you, you should clarify this point in advance before buying.
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