Fridges buying guide

 
Your fridge is one of the most important appliances in your kitchen, from keeping food fresh and safe to eat, to chilling your favourite drinks. There are also lots of new features to be aware of, providing optimum temperature control and maximising space, so here are some general points to consider - and for £9, we can collect and dispose of your old fridge.
 

What type of fridge should you choose?

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, saving you time and effort.

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.  A 4-star rating means that the compartment reaches a minimum temperature below -18ºC, allowing you to freeze small amounts of fresh food. Always check maximum storage times on food packaging to ensure safety.


What size do you need?

The first thing to consider is whether you want integrated or freestanding. 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. Whereas a freestanding model gives you more options in terms of colour and design. Check out our Gorenje range for every colour you can think of.

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. Or you could opt for a wine cabinet, which allows you to store wine at optimum temperatures.

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. Find out more about delivery and disposal.

standard fridges
 
tall fridges
 
Samsung RW33EBSS1 Wine Cooler

Fridge features & temperature

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 manually defrost again. 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.

Holiday Mode

Some models include a holiday mode, which ensures the fridge operates in the most efficient way while you're away, saving energy and hopefully reducing your bill.

Shelves and fixtures

Modern fridges now come with glass shelves, which 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 large bottles and jars.



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 first introduced, all fridges received an energy efficiency grading ranging from A - G, with A being the most efficient.

Since then manufacturers have worked harder than ever to make their refrigerated appliances more efficient, so 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 in this way

  • Number of kW used x average national cost of electricity + VAT = cost
  • 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.

Your home energy consumption may vary from the figure quoted, owing to factors such as:

  • how well stocked the appliance is (it works better when it's full)
  • its location (the ambient temperature affects how hard the motor has to work to keep a consistent temperature)
  • how well ventilated it is (again the better the ventilation, the less hard the motor has to work)
  • how airtight it is - keep door seals clean

All refrigerated appliances we stocked 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 usually be delivered by one of our green vans. You will also be able to arrange for collection and recycling of your old appliance (at a cost of £15) 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's deemed to have no value and we won't be unable to return it to you. 

Find out more about collection and disposal

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, or if you opt for a model delivered by one of our approved suppliers, then your new appliance will be delivered by a third-party courier. As they're unable to collect, you'll need to take your old appliance to a local recycling centre, or arrange for it be collected by your local council where offered.

Installing your fridge

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 and wasting energy. 

This doesn't apply to built-in appliances, which are made differently to accommodate this; that's why they tend to be more expensive.

Please measure the space available before ordering, and check that your appliance will fit through doors and other access points when we deliver.

 

When installing your new fridge (or freezer), keep it upright at all times and allow at least 6 hours for the gases inside to settle before switching on. It's best left overnight to reach the correct temperature before being loaded with food.

Manufacturers don't recommend you keep a fridge (or freezer) in the garage or any other outbuilding, as it may have to use much more energy. Most models require a minimum ambient temperature of 10°C (50°F) to operate efficiently, so it's safer to locate in a utility room indoors.

If the outside temperature is any lower, the fridge will struggle to keep your food chilled. If it does break down, the appliance may not be covered by the guarantee. 

Fridge freezers

A fridge freezer is the ideal solution if you're short of floor space but have height to spare, and need more freezing capacity than the ice box offered by some conventional fridges.

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 have controls 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 are becoming increasingly fashionable, because of both their huge capacities and dynamic styling. They're 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 in that case the appliance must usually be plumbed in within one metre of a water supply. Do bear in mind that the size of the evaporator in these large appliances often creates a slightly higher level of background hum.

When installing your new fridge freeser, keep it upright at all times and allow at least 6 hours for the gases inside to settle before switching on. It's best left overnight to reach the correct temperature before being loaded with food.

Manufacturers don't recommend you keep a fridge or freezer in the garage or any other outbuilding, as it may have to use much more energy. Most models require a minimum ambient temperature of 10°C (50°F) to operate efficiently, so it's safer to locate in a utility room indoors.

If the outside temperature is any lower, the fridge will struggle to keep your food chilled or frozen. If it does break down, the appliance may not be covered by the guarantee. 

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