Fridges are hefty appliances and take up a lot of room in your kitchen, so make sure you choose one you love because chances are you’re going to be looking at it for a long time. Fridges are sold by the litre; for a family of four, you’d be looking at a minimum of 400 litres.
First up, the aesthetics: this generally boils down to stainless steel or white – which is making a comeback FYI – but if you’re feeling bold, you can find plenty of colour options. Of course, none of this matters if you’re going fully integrated, so the next question to ask yourself is what configuration you need and that’s largely down to personal preference. The choice is wide but the basics include top mount – with the freezer at the top; bottom mount; side by side; and French door. You might also consider a bar fridge or wine cooler, which are handy if you like to keep snacks and drinks within arm’s reach.
Additional features such as automatic ice makers and through-the-door water dispensers are useful, but be mindful of the fact that they’ll increase energy usage (and won’t work if they’re integrated).
Remember the chest freezer? Also known as a deep freeze, they’re less popular now that modern fridges come with adequate freezer room. Chests take up a lot of space, need manual defrosting and stuff tends to gets lost at the bottom. But they can be handy if you’re the type who worries about running out of supplies.
How’s the humidity?
“Humidity-control systems can help create the perfect environment for the food that you’re storing,” says Yvonne Desacola from Fisher & Paykel. “Look for humidity bins with a minimal gap between the bin and the shelf above. If there is a large gap, fruit and vegetables will go limp and dry very quickly. Some fruits and vegetables are better stored separately, therefore fridges with separate bins or drawers are ideal.”