The Insider: Fridge-freezers
Looking for cheap chills? Try these cool cabinets
Saturday 28 February 2009
Choosing a fridge-freezer can seem quite a daunting task. With hundreds of models to choose from, and prices ranging from £150 to £1,800, where do you start?
The good news is that you don't have to spend a fortune. When the consumer group Which? recently tested more than 100 fridge-freezers, three models costing under £500 all received overall ratings of more than 80 per cent – while one of its "Best Buys", the Indesit BAN1NF, costs just £250. It scored 79 per cent in Which?'s tests.
But the very cheapest models are usually worth avoiding. The Fridgemaster MTRF140, will set you back just £150 – but it performed poorly in Which?'s tests, scoring just 43 per cent.
"You don't have to spend a fortune to get a great fridge-freezer, but they're not cheap to run," says Martyn Hocking, editor of Which? magazine. "Cooling appliances are the biggest domestic guzzlers of energy after central heating, as they're always on. Running costs can vary from £25 to as much as £100 a year."
Energy efficiency is an important factor. It's not enough simply to pick a model that boasts an A or A+ energy efficiency rating, as running costs can vary considerably between A-rated appliances. Of the 16 fridge-freezers under £500 tested by Which?, 15 were A-rated and the other had an A+ rating. However, the annual running costs ranged between £25 and £40.
The other main factor is how good the appliance is at cooling and freezing. Surprisingly, there's quite a difference in the speed at which various models can cool something from room temperature to 5C. Hotpoint's FF187E came out as the best at this in the sub-£500 range.
Next, you may want to consider what additional functions are important to you. "Fridge-freezers can come with a whole range of additional features, from can-holders to ice dispensers, and super-freeze settings to alarms that let you know when the door's been left open," Hocking says. "Think about how much space you have, your shopping habits, and your budget, and pick a model that has the features you'll really use."
Finally, consider whether you really need a full-size fridge freezer. If you live alone, or don't keep much frozen food, you can probably get away with buying a smaller fridge with a freezer compartment. You can pick one of these up for £100 or so. The Beko RAP614W, for example, is a Which? Best Buy and costs about £120.
Where to buy
Which?'s top-rated fridge-freezer for less than £500, the John Lewis JLFFW1807, is only available at John Lewis. You'll also find a number of other good-quality models in its stores or on its website. Other high-street options are Comet, Argos and Currys – but the best deals are usually found online. If you know the model you want, comparison sites such as froogle.co.uk, kelkoo.co.uk and whichcompare.co.uk allow you to search for the lowest prices – but check delivery costs before you get too excited about a low headline price.
Five questions to ask...
What is the machine's energy efficiency rating? Ratings range from A+ through to D. Broadly speaking, the higher the rating the lower the running costs will be.
Does it need defrosting? Some fridge-freezers come with a "frost free" function, which means that they don't need to be defrosted.
How big is it? Sizes vary considerably, so make sure that you've got the space for your new appliance before you order.
How quickly does it cool? Some fridge-freezers will cool down food and liquids much quicker than others.
What extra functions does it have? Some models come with ice dispensers, water coolers and door alarms (to warn you when you've left the door open).
The Insider is written in conjunction with the consumer group Which?. For more information, visit www.which.co.uk/fridgefreezers or get a guide to Best Buy home appliances in 'Which? Money', on sale at Sainsbury's for £2.99. To get three issues of 'Which?' magazine for £3, call 01992 822 800 and quote INADVICE
10 tips for taking out a personal loan
Bare necessities of life cost a pensioner £10,000
Employees will be able to request flexible hours in drive to make workplaces family friendly
Credit unions to offer instant online approvals as ministers clamp down on payday loans industry
How to start your own internet business
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 3 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 4 Britney Spears sings 'Alien' without Auto-Tune in embarrassing leaked audio clip
- 5 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
iJobs Money & Business
£12 - £15 per hour: Cameron Kennedy Recruitment: Excellent opportunity to join...
£400 per hour: Orgtel: Technical Business Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £400pd...
£38000 - £42000 per annum + competitive: Real Staffing: Required skills:Previo...
£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
Day In a Page
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square
A charming four-bedroom house overlooking Burleigh Square Park, close to Thorpe Bay