Consumer VOICE

Refrigerator Buying Guide

How to buy the best fridge

  • Size or Capacity: When it comes to selecting the refrigerator sizes, one should keep the need, costing and space in mind. A family of four can easily do with a 250–300 litres fridge. As a rule, keep an at least 5 cm clearance from wall/sides.
Family Size

Capacity

Bachelors or couple

Less than 200 litres

Small family

200 to 300 litres

Family of four

250 to 350 litres

Larger family

300 litres or more

  • Top or Bottom Mounted Freezer: If price, range, efficiency and value are your biggest concerns, then a top-mounted fridge is for you. The disadvantage is you have to bend down to access the food compartment, which is the most used. Bottom-mounted fridges are all about convenience—and save you from back pain. Plenty of space and extra features make side-by-side fridges great for large families.

  • Color and Finish- Stainless-steel fridges bring that sleek, professional look to your kitchen but can be prone to showing fingerprints and other marks.  White fridges are easier to keep clean than their stainless-steel counterparts. Fridges in bright colours are increasingly popular. A black fridge is a modern alternative to a plain white appliance but without the fingerprint-showing tendencies of stainless steel, but they can be a little imposing and may make your kitchen itself seem darker.

  • Star Rating (Energy Consumption): Your fridge contributes to your energy bill, so choosing an efficient one will save you money. While larger fridges will use more energy overall than smaller ones, the energy star ratings help you compare relative energy efficiency. Choose the fridge with more stars when choosing between two similar-sized models because it will cost you less to run. In India, it is now mandatory to fix star rating label on refrigerators. Star rating denotes how energy-efficient your appliance is.
  • Compressor: It is the basic mechanism (heart), besides the freezer and condenser, by which the refrigerator works. A normal compressor runs at a constant speed throughout. On the other hand, an inverter compressor can run at varying speeds. It starts at a low speed and boosts up when there is a loss in cooling. This is in contrast with normal compressors that take off at a high speed, consuming more electricity and producing a lot of noise.
  • Cooling Capabilities: It refers to the amount of time a refrigerator takes to decrease temperature to lower (minus) side. Faster cooling/freezing is desirable. Freezer cooling should be of high quality as most of the perishable items like cold cuts and raw meat and fish are stored there.
  • Noise: Whether refrigerator noise is an issue or not depends on your kitchen layout and its proximity to living and sleeping areas. Refrigerators can make a variety of strange noises due to compressor startup, automatic defrosting, electrical fans, and even from materials expanding and contracting as they change temperature. This is normal, but may be more noticeable in models that are quieter during normal running. Refrigerators typically operate at around 35 decibels during normal running.  
  • Guarantee and Warranty: It is important to inquire about the guarantee/warranty. Most refrigerators come with a one-year warranty. The compressor warranty may vary from 5 years to 10 years. The details are given in the warranty card.

Consumer VOICE compared  6 most popular brands of frost free refrigerators to help you decide on the best frost free refrigerator that suits your requirements.

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