Fridges buying guide

 

Your fridge is one of the most important appliances in your kitchen. This modern ‘ice box’ does everything from keeping your food fresh and ensuring its taste, to keeping your favourite soft drinks (or wine) chilled. Here are some general points to consider when choosing a new one, and we can even dispose of your old one too.

Watch our videos on John Lewis and Hotpoint refrigeration, and the benefits of A-rated refrigeration.

What type?

Do you need a fridge with an ice box? If you already have a freezer, it's worth considering a larder fridge as you will get extra storage space ordinarily taken up by the freezer compartment. A larder will also automatically defrost itself.

A fridge with a freezer compartment lets you store frozen food for a limited period, the length of which will depend on its star rating. (Always check maximum storage times on the packaging of the food product to ensure food safety.) A 4 star rating means that the compartment reaches a minimum temperature below -18ºC, allowing you to freeze small amounts of fresh food.

An integrated fridge has a front panel that matches the rest of your kitchen units, so when the door is closed, the fridge will be completely hidden.

What size?

Choose between a standard fridge (H85cm) - useful if you don't have much space or it needs to be fitted under a counter top - or a tall fridge (over H130cm) for maximum storage.

We also stock a range of compact fridges (up to H60cm) which are useful if you need extra storage space for drinks. In addition, we stock a range of wine cabinets that allow you to store your wine at optimum conditions - perfect for the serious wine drinker that might be short of space.

Please remember to make sure your fridge will fit into the intended space before ordering, and that you've measured all access areas so that our drivers can deliver and locate your fridge successfully.

John Lewis JLUCLFW6003 Larder Fridge
 
John Lewis JLBILIC02 Tall Integrated Larder Fridge
 
Lec DF50GC Wine and Beer Fridge
 
Samsung RW33EBSS1 Wine Cooler

Fridge features

Fridges come with a number of different features to make your life easier. These include:

Auto defrost

All larder fridges have auto defrost so you will never have to defrost it. If you choose a fridge with an ice box, it will need to be defrosted periodically.

Antibacterial coating

Some fridges have an antibacterial coating on the walls and door that helps prevent bacteria growth, improving the hygiene in your fridge.

Shelves and fixtures

Fridges come with either wire grids or glass shelves. Glass shelves will usually make an appliance more expensive, but they avoid any danger of drips from food on a higher shelf contaminating food below. They're also really easy to clean as they only require a quick wipe with a damp cloth.

Some fridges come with a wine rack or bottle holder and most fridges are equipped with an egg rack and compartments for butter, cheese etc. Shallow shelving in the fridge door allows storage of bottles and jars.

Temperature

Temperatures will vary throughout your fridge, depending on the type you have. However, some larder fridges have a dynamic cooling system by which a built-in fan circulates cold air at about 5ºC.

This ensures less variation in fridge temperature and is especially useful when you've had the fridge door open for a while to unload shopping and pack the fridge as the fan speeds up the return to the normal operating temperature.

Energy efficiency and the environment

When energy labelling was introduced, all fridges received an energy efficiency grading ranging from A - G, with A being the most efficient. However, since manufacturers have striven harder than ever to make their refrigeration appliances more efficient, the only 2 energy grades you’ll find in use are A+ and A++. Standardised tests, monitored by Trading Standards, are carried out by manufacturers, who are responsible for grading their appliances.

We also quote annual running costs; this is calculated by multiplying the number of kW used by the average national cost of electricity + VAT, but please bear in mind these costs may vary according to how much you pay for your local electricity supply.

You'll often find that the more expensive the appliance, the better the running costs because energy-saving features such as thicker insulation, automatic door closing or 'door open' audible alerts will be included.

Please remember though, that in your home energy consumption may vary from the figure quoted, owing to factors such as how well stocked the appliance is, its location and how well ventilated it is. Make sure your fridge stays airtight by keeping door seals clean.

Refrigeration appliances stocked by John Lewis are free of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons, potentially damaging to the ozone layer), and also free of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons, which may have an effect on global warming)

Please remember though, that in your home energy consumption may vary from the figure quoted, owing to factors such as how well stocked the appliance is, its location and how well ventilated it is. Make sure your fridge stays airtight by keeping door seals clean.

Refrigeration appliances stocked by John Lewis are free of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons, potentially damaging to the ozone layer), and also free of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons, which may have an effect on global warming)

Delivery, recycling and disposal

If you live within the delivery area of a John Lewis shop (you can check your postcode on the specific product page), your new appliance will be delivered by one of our vans. You will also be able to arrange for collection and recycling of your old appliance (at a cost of £9) so that we can dispose of it safely.

Disposal must be booked and paid for when you place your order, and we can only remove the old appliance if it has been disconnected. Once your old appliance has been removed, it is deemed of no value and we will be unable to return it to you.

Alternatively, you can take your old appliance to a local recycling centre to be recycled free of charge (visit
www.recycle-more.co.uk to find your nearest site - opens in a new window).

If you live outside a delivery area, then your new appliance will be delivered by one of our couriers who are unable to collect, so you'll need to take your old appliance to a local recycling centre or have it collected by your local authority, for which a charge may be made.

Installation

If you're putting your fridge underneath a worktop, you must normally allow a gap of 25mm at the top, back and sides of the appliance so that the warm air produced by the condenser can be properly ventilated. Lack of ventilation will cause the compressor to work harder, resulting in faster frost build-up. (This does not apply to built-in appliances.) Please ensure you measure up space available before ordering.

When installing your new fridge, keep it upright at all times and allow at least 6 hours for the gases inside to settle before switching on.

Be careful to site the appliance where the ambient operating temperature won't fall outside of the boundaries specified by the manufacturer. This could lead to the appliance’s compressor to fail, either temporarily or permanently. For instance, if the ambient operating temperature of a fridge freezer is 10°- 43°C, placing it in a location where the temperature could routinely drop below 10° (such as an outhouse or garage) is not advisable.


Fridge freezers

A fridge freezer is the ideal solution if you're short of floor space but have height to spare. Decide on the fridge and freezer capacities you need as the combination of these varies - all types are available but not all will have independent controls. Those that do ensure that you're not relying on the fridge thermostat to also control the compressor for both appliances. There are also some models with a 0ºC compartment in the fridge which is particularly useful for the safe storage of chilled ready meals.

Large American-style fridge freezers have huge capacities and dynamic styling. They are tall and normally configured side by side with doors opening in opposite directions from the centre. They're frost free and may have several cool zones at different temperatures.The freezer section usually has ice and chilled water dispensers, but for them to operate the appliance must of course be plumbed in within one metre of a water supply. Do bear in mind the sheer size of the evaporator in these large appliances will create a slightly higher level of background hum.

Be careful to site the appliance where the ambient operating temperature won't fall outside of the boundaries specified by the manufacturer. This could lead to the appliance’s compressor to fail, either temporarily or permanently. For instance, if the ambient operating temperature of a fridge freezer is 10°- 43°C, placing it in a location where the temperature could routinely drop below 10° (such as an outhouse or garage) is not advisable.

John Lewis Side by Side JLWFF1102 Wine Cooler Fridge Freezer,
 
John Lewis Side by Side JLWFF1102 Wine Cooler Fridge Freezer