Woman cooling her feet in open fridge door

Need a new fridge? Stay cool & find the best refrigerator for you with this buyer's guide

Published 21st December 2022
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When you need a new refrigerator you need one fast! That's a lot of pressure, and with so many different types of refrigerators on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start.

That's why we've put together this buyer's guide to help you find the perfect refrigerator for your needs. We'll cover the different types of refrigerators available.

Most refrigerators sold in the UK are technically fridge freezers, because they have a freezer compartment for frozen leftovers, ice-cream and other frozen treats. We'll only be covering standalone fridges in this guide, so if you want our tips on the combined types read our buyer's guide on fridge freezers.

Types of refrigerators

There are a couple of standalone fridge designs, and they serve very different purposes. Which one you'll want largely depends on what you want to store in them and whether they're for your kitchen or another room in your house.

Upright fridges

Upright fridges are the most basic type of refrigerator. They're very similar to a fridge freezer, the only difference is that they don't have a freezer compartment. That means you can store even more chilled, fresh food. Another advantage is that they cost less to run than fridge freezers, since freezers need more energy to stay as cold as they are.

They're also known as larder fridges because they replace the need for an old-fashioned larder. Their huge capacity is ideal for restaurants and other businesses, so you'll occasionally hear them referred to as commercial fridges.

Retro fridges

Retro fridges are a type of upright fridge. They don't have any extra features compared to normal upright fridges - this type is all about style. Their designs are based on classic refrigerators from the 1950s. They have colourful bodies with rounded edges and stainless steel or chrome handles and decorations. One of the most popular brands of retro fridges is Smeg fridges.

Undercounter fridges

Undercounter fridges are exactly what they sound like: fridges that are supposed to go under counters! You can set them underneath a kitchen counter, where they're perfect for kitchens in small apartments or for adding extra chilled food storage alongside a small upright model.

Drinks fridges

Finally we have drinks fridges. These are a type of very small fridges designed exclusively for storing drinks. They're usually set at the perfect temperature for chilling alcoholic and soft drinks alike. They normally have a transparent glass front (insulated to stop cold air from leaking out) with wire racks so the fridge is easy to organise. Set them up in the living room to host an amazing party, or buy them for your business to give your customers easy access to chilled bottled water.

Freestanding or integrated fridges

Once you've chosen which type of fridge is best for your home, you need to know whether to get a freestanding or an integrated version. A freestanding fridge is a complete unit with a plug. It can be placed anywhere, giving you the most freedom to arrange your appliances.

An integrated fridge is built into a kitchen cabinet. You get less choice of where to put them (and once they're installed they're very hard to move!) but they look much sleeker, and can be hidden behind a kitchen cabinet door that can blend in perfectly with your real cabinets to make them look even snazzier!

You can buy freestanding or integrated versions of most types of fridges, but some are a little more restrictive. Undercounter fridges are often integrated, while retro fridges are usually freestanding.

Popular fridge brands

When buying standalone fridges, you have plenty of top brands to choose from. Here are just a few:

Fridge FAQs

How cold should my fridge be?

The best temperature for a fridge is between 1°C and 4°C.

What's the best way to clean my fridge?

First, empty your fridge, then remove all the shelves, drawers and door racks. You can clean the interior of your fridge with lukewarm, soapy water and a cleaning cloth. The shelving can be washed in the sink with hot water with washing-up liquid. If the shelves are glass, let them warm up to room temperature first, or they could crack when you put them in hot water.

How do I save money running my fridge?

There are several ways you can save money on running your fridge:

  • Keep the fridge at the right temperature: Setting it too cold wastes energy.
  • Keep your fridge full: The more stuff is in your fridge the more insulated it is.
  • Make sure the seals aren't damaged: Damaged seals can leak cold air, making your fridge work harder. If your seal is damaged, make sure to buy replacement fridge spare parts.
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