Fridges and freezers buying guide

A fridge and freezer (or fridge-freezer combination) is a kitchen essential and there are more styles and sizes to choose from than ever before. It’s important to get the appliances that best suit how you and your family live.

There’s a lot to consider when choosing your fridge, freezer or combined fridge-freezer. Start with the space available in your kitchen, pantry or storeroom. That’ll give you the width (remember, for example, that American style fridge-freezers need a lot more room) and the maximum height you can accommodate comfortably.

How big is ‘big enough’?

A large fridge means fewer trips to the supermarket, but more waste if you fill it then don’t eat fresh. A small freezer is great for ice and a few occasional bits and pieces, but where do you store all those tasty leftovers or that big batch of your famous chilli?

Next, think about capacity. If you’re going for under-counter kitchen units, your fridge and freezer will be roughly the same height, but may well differ in terms of how much food each can hold. Whereas if you’re going for a combined fridge-freezer, you need to decide how big each compartment needs to be to meet your needs. This diagram shows you the typical space arrangements for fridge-freezers:

Don’t forget the doors

One last detail to get right: which way should the doors to open? Most fridges, freezers and combi fridge-freezers can be made to open either on the right or left-hand sides. But some styles can’t, and have to be ordered with the doors fixed on one side or the other. You don’t want to get this wrong.

Styles of fridge, freezer and combined fridge-freezer

Here’s an idea of how the various styles of fridge, freezer and combi fridge-freezer compare:

Freestanding under-counter

  • Fit easily under worktops
  • Cheaper than the integrated style
  • Available as fridges or freezers
  • Some fridges have iceboxes at the top

Integrated under-counter

  • Fit easily under worktops
  • Concealed from view by a cabinet door
  • Available as fridges or freezers
  • Some fridges have iceboxes at the top
  • Cost more than the freestanding style

Freestanding fridge-freezer

  • Most popular type on the market
  • Available in a range of compartment ratios
  • Freezers can be at the top in some models
  • Cheaper than the integrated style

Integrated fridge-freezer

  • Concealed from view by cabinet doors
  • Gives your kitchen a clean, uncluttered look
  • Available in a range of compartment ratios

American style

  • Much wider than standard UK freestanding models
  • Conveniently positions the freezer beside the fridge
  • Very generous storage capacity
  • Often has built-in ice maker and/or water dispenser

Retro style

  • Design/fashion inspired
  • Gives your kitchen a trendy, mid-century look
  • Freezers can be at the top in some models
  • Must be ordered with doors opening on the desired side