Refrigerator buying guide
We'll help you choose the perfect fridge to meet your household's needs.
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Key facts about refrigerator:
- A refrigerator is one of the most important appliances for your household.
- It's a huge investment that could last you more than 10 years, so it's important that you weigh up your options carefully before making your purchase.
- When picking a fridge, you need to consider your household size, kitchen layout and lifestyle.
Compare some of the best refrigerators
There are many fridge types to choose from. It's important to adjust the fridge size and features to suit your cooking and eating habits.
|Top-mount: Freezer on top||Small homes|
|Bottom-mount: Freezer on bottom||Small- to medium-sized households|
|Side-by-side: Fridge next to freezer||Medium-sized households|
|French door: Bottom-mount with two-door fridge||Families, large kitchens, big budgets|
|Pigeon pair: Separate matching fridge + freezer||Small kitchens|
|Four-door: Two fridge doors and two freezer doors||Big families, entertainers with high budgets and large spaces|
|Built-in||Constructed as part of the kitchen unit|
|Wine fridge||Wine collectors, entertainers|
|Bar fridge||Offices, dorms, kitchenettes or overflowing fridge|
How to compare fridges
A refrigerator could cost you anywhere from $498 to over $4,999, depending on the brand, model, volume and features.
Here are some other key features to consider:
- Size. Smaller fridges are typically less energy-efficient and will cost you more in the long term. If uncertain, opt for a larger fridge. Each additional family member adds 28.5L to the fridge volume and freezer space. If you have a small kitchen, opt for a fridge with adjustable shelving to optimise your storage space.
Here's a simple rule of thumb you can follow to work out what fridge size you need:
|Number of people||Volume (litres)||Price range|
- Space clearance. Allow for a minimum space of 5cm on all sides plus the top and rear of your fridge so that there's room for heat from the motor to escape. If you don't have this, your fridge will have to work harder to keep cool, costing you more. Check the fridge manufacturer's recommended height and width clearances. Also, make sure that your fridge can fit through your front door and hallways.
- Door hinge. Check whether the door hinge position is on the left or the right of the fridge and whether it's reversible. If your fridge is next to a wall, the hinge should be on the opposite side or reversible.
- Finish type. There are five main finish types to choose from: stainless steel, white, black, retro and glass.
- Energy star rating. The number of stars labelled on your fridge tells you how energy-efficient your appliance is. Five stars means the most savings, while one star saves the least. Although larger appliances will use more energy overall, the star rating considers the appliance's relative energy efficiency. Between two fridges of the same volume, opt for the one with more stars as this will cost you less to run.
- Energy consumption. You can calculate your fridge's annual energy cost with the following equation: energy consumption figure (kWh) x electricity price/kWh.
Here are some additional features to think about:
When you purchase a new fridge, various retailers can remove your old fridge for you. Alternatively, if it's still in working condition, you may be able to sell it second-hand. If it's not functioning anymore, some metal scrap dealers will let you trade it in for parts.