With the developing technology in the modern era, a kitchen can’t exist without a refrigerator. In ancient times, the refrigerator was a symbol of luxury for the rich, but now it has become a necessity for the rich as well as the poor people. The refrigerators help to store fruits, vegetables, and many other things with intact fresh air. It ensures more space for delicious desserts and ice creams.
Refrigerators help us in maintaining the nutrients level in our food intact, which gives a healthier living. We have a lot of brands and types of refrigerators available in the market. But you choose the refrigerator according to your requirements, including a capacity of storage, coverage of space, budget, and many more things. Refrigerators are essentially taking over every home, and now we can see them in almost every kitchen. Here is a buying guide for a refrigerator:
What is the Refrigerator?
A refrigerator is the most crucial electrical gadget in our daily lives. It contains several compartments that store essential items like medicines, food, beverages, etc. for a long time.
This appliance is insulated thermally. Hence, it maintains a specific temperature on the inside that is ideal for slowing down the deterioration of the quality of nutrients, thus keeping the freshness and nutrition of food items intact for long. The freezers are present in the refrigerators in which you can store meats and fish under shallow temperatures without the fear of getting them spoiled.
How does a Refrigerator Work?
The five essential components are involved in the refrigeration cycle. They are fluid refrigerant, a compressor, the condenser coils, the evaporator coils, and an expansion device. The compressor controls the flow of coolant. The condenser coils are situated outside of the fridge while the evaporator coils are inside the refrigerator. Below mentioned is the process in which they interact with each other to keep the food cold and fresh:
- The compressor raises the pressure of refrigerant vapor, and then the compressor pushes the steam in the coil on the surface of the refrigerator.
- When the new gas within the coils meets the kitchen’s cooler air temperature, it becomes a liquid.
- Now in liquid form at high, the refrigerant cools down as it flows into the coils inside the freezer and the fridge.
- The refrigerant absorbs the warmth inside the refrigerator, cooling down the air.
- Last, the refrigerant evaporates into a gas, then flows back to the compressor, where the cycle starts everywhere.
Types of Refrigerator (Pick a Style)
Single Door Refrigerators
Single Door Refrigerators contain only one door upfront, and this door locks the cold temperature inside the entire refrigerator. These refrigerators are very cost-effective, and they are the entry-level refrigerators. There are three components in the refrigerator: a freezer, a fridge, and a vegetable bin. These are the frost-free refrigerators, and they take up very little space. Hence they are ideal for small offices, clinics, and grocery stores. The capacity of Single Door Refrigerators is around 50- 300 liters. We use single door refrigerators commonly as they are cheaper than the other ones.
Advantages to a Single Door Refrigerators
- It contains only one door that too upfront and lets you use the entire fridge from that alone.
- It is of quite a low price and can be easily affordable by everyone.
- The Single Door Refrigerator occupies very little space and can fit almost every place
Double Door Refrigerators
Double door refrigerators are more prominent, and as the name goes consist of two doors up front and have a storage capacity of almost 200-600 liters. One entry covers compartments of the fridge that maintain temperatures between 0 and 10 degrees centigrade. At the same time, the other one seals the freezer chamber, keeping the environment’s temperature low. 2 separate doors reduce the chances of the flow of heat even when we open the fridge is frequently.
Advantages of double door refrigerator
- Separate doors for the freezer sections and other sections. You have to use different entries to operate different compartments
- The fridge and freezer are separate. Generally, the upper segment is freezer, and the other one is normal.
- The freezer chamber is larger
- Varieties of shelves are there for various requirements.
- We can place bigger bottles in the side compartments.
These traditional refrigerators are suitable for more storage in relatively less space. They tend to offer more space for the different sizes (widths are between 28 and 34 inches). The refrigerator manufacturers claim up to 23-cubic-foot capacities. Still, tests found average usable capacity is 17% less . Allow for a full swing of the doors, and get used to crouching down to reach lower shelves and drawers.
With more space for storing form, a top freezer unit comes the trade-off of less available room to maneuver within the kitchen. You have a desire for kitchen space can shape whether to possess a top freezer refrigerator. In comparatively small kitchens, the side-by-side typically fits better because the doors are not as comprehensive as on top freezer models.
Consequently, the side selections need less clearance for opening doors than the models with the top freezer. If you have a bar, island, dining table, o bar centralized in your kitchen, you can feel difficulty fully opening a top freezer model.
This type of refrigerators consists of 2 doors side by side, just like a cupboard. Such refrigerators’ storage capacity is significant, up to 810 lit, and may have the ice and water dispenser inside. So these refrigerators are required for the homes that have more space and are suitable for those who need more capacity and storage.
The refrigerator of this type with water dispensers lets you fill-up the glasses without opening the door. The cupboard design gives lots of space for storage, and the two doors help the person save energy consumption, which automatically leads to a reduction in bills.
Advantages of Side-By-Side Refrigerator
- Two doors side by side like a cupboard and that contains a variety of cabinets.
- Provides greater capacity freezer and fridge
- It offers lots of space for keeping vegetables on shelves and hence can store lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Water and ice dispenser are there
- Efficient at saving energy and more prominent to electricity savings.
Widths ranged from 24 to 36 inches, and claimed capacities capacity is up to 30 cubic feet, but average usable space is less than that of comparable top-freezers. (Top-freezers cost less, too.) Instead of the freezer, which many people useless, being at the top level, you can scan the shelves. You have to get used to the bending rifle because of the frozen goods.
These types of fridge have two shallow doors on top and a freezer below it. Sometimes there are one or more drawers in between. The widths range from 28 to 36 inches, and the claimed capacities vary up to 34 cubic feet, although the average usable space is much lower at 17 cubic feet. The space-saving small-swing doors have added the value of opening only half the refrigerator when stashing smaller items.
These refrigerators are pricey and made to fit the flush with cabinets and counters and these sleek beauties in the bottom-freezer, side compartment, and French-door ones. They are usually more comprehensive (30 to 48 inches), with the capacities up to 27 cubic feet. Find the optional front panels that match your kitchen cabinet styles. Or get the look for less luxurious designs with freestanding of counter-depth versions. Another option: a column fridge, as narrow as 18 inches, to make the most of a kitchen nook.
These are perfect for your office and kitchenette. One has to keep in mind that some models have only one-quarter of the regular fridge’s capacity, but the cost is more to operate. Temperature performance can be difficult in some models (allowing it to rise above 40° F, the point at which your food starts to sprout harmful bacteria), so save these minis for sodas and other beverages or the temporary storage of snacks (rather than milk, mayo, or other perishables). Consumer Reports does not currently test compact and mini-fridges.
Defrosting: Direct fresh v/s Frost free
At a point in time, we had the manual defrosting refrigerators at home.
People from old times still remember the problem they had to face from the leader (generally the woman in the house) in case they forgot to push the defrost button before going to sleep at night.
Thankfully, this is not the case today because of the introduction of the frost-free refrigerators in modern times. Let look at the difference between the two technologies.
Direct Cool technology
As the name suggests, here the refrigeration takes place by the circulation of cold air that takes place naturally without any external aid. Hence, there is no way you can control the temperature distribution. It is bound to be uneven.
Under such circumstances, a person can experience the collection of Frost in and around the freezer box. Then the person has to press a button manually to defrost this ice. After that, they have to observe the direct cool technology in the single door refrigerators.
Frost Free technology
The person who invented the Frost free technology must have been badgered to the core by the boss. Jokes apart, this frost-free technology is one of a fantastic invention that has made the life of people very easy.
The frost-free technology works on the principle of even distribution of cold air inside the fridge by the fans. As ice does not form, there is no need for defrosting.
There is a cold pack feature in most of the refrigerators nowadays. During power outrages, this feature rescues the freezer as it keeps the food frozen at a temperature of 0 degrees and for 12 hours.
Adjustable Shelves and Bottle Racks
To make the work of the person much easy many of the refrigerators have adjustable shelves that mean a person can remove the shelves according to their need and can also easily clean them. Now all the lockers have bottle racks where a person can keep the water bottles or any kind of container that a person wants to.
Antifungal Removable Gasket
This feature does not allow the fungus or any other bacteria to gather on the gasket. They are hence keeping the gasket safe and easy to clean.
When a person mixes up many types of foods and vegetables together, then sometimes it can lead to odor smell in the refrigerator. The feature of deodorizer removes the odor particles from the fridge and makes it smell normal.
Convertible Refrigerator / Freezers
Nowadays, every manufacturer of the refrigerator is trying to add this feature. This function allows the person to adjust the temperature of their refrigerators according to their need. For example, if a person has to make more fruits or vegetables, they can easily convert the freezer section to the normal one.
Toughened Glass Shelves
Most refrigerators have toughened glass shelves that are durable and capable of sustaining up to 150kg. These shelves also ensure that any spill in the fridge contains it within the area.
Water ice Dispensers
Filtered water dispensers can serve hot or cold water. Ice dispensers can top up the person’s drinking with ice from the door. These dispensers continuously need a water supply.
Built-in Voltage Stabilizer
By considering the voltage fluctuation in India, a person needs to keep their refrigerator protected. Along with an external stabilizer with low or high voltage cut-off, refrigerators with built-in stabilizers, and new features like inverter technology will go a long way in extending the life of the person’s refrigerator.
A compressor is a part of the fridge that changes the refrigerant from gas to the liquid. It operates according to the refrigerator temperature: runs at full speed when it needs to cool down and stops completely when the heat is low enough. However, an inverter compressor starts slowly, increases its speed, and as the desired temperature reaches, it decreases it again just sufficient to maintain the temperature. The temperature retains the stability of the food and things stored inside.
Most of the general compressors in regular refrigerators are single speed refrigerators. They are based either “on” or “off” based on the temperature in the refrigerator and the thermocouple setting. Most of the general compressors’ designs help to handle peak load conditions that mean high temperatures in summers and run at peak load even in winters when the cooling requirement of the refrigerator is less. Every time we open the door of the refrigerator, heat enters the freezer, and the compressor takes care of this load and keeps it well. So most of the regular compressors are made to take care of peak load and the “door shut open” load, which during most of the year is much more than the actual requirement.
A compressor of a refrigerator with inverter technology works very much like a car accelerator. When the refrigerator’s speed is required, then the acceleration of the compressor is more significant, and when it is less, the acceleration is less. This process makes sure that during summer months, when the cooling load is higher, the compressor works at peak capacity by taking more electricity.
But during the time of winter months when the cooling load is not much, the compressor works less, thereby consuming less power and thus the reduction in electricity bill. Even in the time of summer, the night temperature is less than the day temperature. Therefore the compressor does its work and leads to electricity savings happen at night too when the compressor of the refrigerator can run at a lesser speed.
The inverter kind of compressor never switches off even when the refrigerator temperature stabilizes but runs slowly, maintaining the temperature inside the fridge. The benefits of inverter refrigerators are:
Although the prices of the inverter technology refrigerators are more, they can save the right amount of the person’s electricity bill, thereby helping the person recover to recover the money in their electricity bills.
A Refrigerant can either be a fluid or a gas or a liquid that fits in the Air Conditioning systems and Refrigerators. Without that, Air Conditioners, Refrigerators, or any other type of freezing technology will not be possible, so it says that refrigerant is an important part. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the room and then leaves the hot air out in the environment. When the refrigerant absorbs heat, It undergoes from the state of liquid to gas. When the compressor compresses, the refrigerant transitions back to liquid.
Types of Refrigerants
Now let’s have a look at the most common refrigerants that are there in the Refrigerators.
R-22 is the most common refrigerant that manufacturers use in the refrigerators. By the end time of the 1990s, the Hydrochlorofluorocarbons took CFC’s place. R-22 is the refrigerant used in more than 50% of refrigerators in India (As of now). It says that R-22 is just slightly better than CFCs, but it is also harmful to the environment as it also depletes the ozone layer.
HCFCs, including R22, phased within 4-5 years. When a person is buying an AC or Refrigerator, they should look at the exterior component. If R-22 is on it, a person should not opt for it. R22 is a refrigerant that is now outdated and is also the one that is harmful to the environment.
HFCs that include R-410A, R-32, and R-134 is somehow better than HCFCs and do not deplete the ozone layer. But, they also lead to global warming. One should note that R-32 is better than R-410A regarding Global warming. Even when the HFCs like R-32, R-410A are also not environment-friendly, but it says that they are a lot better than R-22. Our Indian Government is, moreover, planning to phase out the Hydrofluorocarbons in the upcoming years.
It is one of the most environment-friendly refrigerants available for Air Conditioners, and refrigerators in India are R-290 (Propane) and R-600A (Iso-Butane). If we consider the point of Global warming, then the potential of R-290 is three, and R-600A is 3, and both refrigerants have zero impact on the ozone layer. Both R-290 and R-600A refrigerants are also energy efficient and are the greenest refrigerants in today’s time. The Hydrocarbons and Hydrofluorocarbons are highly flammable.
Most top Refrigerators we use in India are already using R-600A, and there are no accidents until now. Now, most of the people are asking for inverter refrigerators that have little impact on the environment. R-290 and R-600A are new-age environment-friendly, and we use energy-efficient refrigerants.
We measure refrigerators’ capacity in liters. They range from the low ability to the highest and have grown these days exponentially. But to be able to decide your preference, one key factor needs to be considered – the size of your family. It determines the amount of food that a person will be keeping inside their fridge.
For a family of 3 people, a 150 to 250-litre refrigerator is sufficient. For a more prominent family of four to five people, you should go for a 250 to 500-litre one. But if your family comprises two adults and two children, a 250 to the 350-liter fridge is more than enough.
If there are large families of six to seven people, then, of course, it will need a big refrigerator with a capacity between 550 to 850 liters. On the other end of the spectrum, a person can have refrigerators with capacities of 40 to 100 liters. These are the best fit if the person lives alone. Sometimes, you require a higher capacity despite not having more family members, so we advise you to consider the requirements in detail before the position.
The space amount available in your home is also a significant consideration before choosing the fridge. You can read the refrigerator’s specifications of your choice and know if it fits in your space. While doing this, just don’t forget to consider that the fridge doors will need some space to open, and you’ll need at least an inch of space at the top and back to allow heat to escape easily.
Sometimes, if a person is bringing the fridge inside their house, then it can also be a problem due to the shortage of space in a staircase or the elevator. It is one significant aspect to consider before buying the model of your choice.
The factor of power consumption depends on various factors such as the model of refrigerator and star rating of the fridge. As of new technology, the power consumption of the refrigerator is very less, and one of the reasons behind less power consumption is the inverter technology compressor.
What do you usually look at when you buy a Refrigerator?
Some people look at upfront costs. At the same time, some look for savings in the long run.
It is because of savings in the consumption of electricity. Such people opt for energy-efficient refrigerators.
Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) introduced the essential labeling and standards program in May in 2006. According to the conditions, every electrical and electronic goods manufacturer must stick a label on the appliance to indicate the amount of electricity it consumes under various conditions.t This is mandatory for manufacturers of alliances like televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners, geysers, etc.
A lot of research has done into the designing of the labels. If you look closer, it contains many items. However, the highlight of the labels is the number of stars on the label.
More stars on the label indicate the higher energy efficiency of that appliance.
Hence, it consumes less amount of current. The maximum number of stars of an appliance is 5. Therefore, we can say that a 5-star machine is far better than a similar device, with fewer stars on the label. At the same time, these appliances might cost more than others. Thus, a 1-star fridge is cheaper, and the 5-star one is expensive.
You can opt to buy the product with a higher star rating if you are confused about the star rating aspect. It will recover the upfront costs over a period through savings in your electricity bill.
Tips to Select the Best Refrigerator
After all, a person has to put their hard-earned money into buying this essential machine. A little bit of caution and intelligence is helpful in the initial stages that can save a person a lot of money. It is not about money always but also about purchasing the perfect refrigerator as per the requirements. It is what everyone is looking for in the refrigerator.
We have just seen the features of the top Refrigerators available in the market. Each of these refrigerators is a masterpiece. They can ensure prompt cooling and save power as well at the same time. People should consider all the factors while they are going to buy a refrigerator as their hard-earned money is at stake.