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The size restraint for refrigerators in the U.K. tends to be somewhat smaller than for other countries such as the U.S. or Australia. Fortunately, the fridge manufacturers are well aware of this requirement and supply plenty of high quality compact products for the U.K. market. New models continue to appear with increased energy efficiency, longer life span, lower maintenance and overall improved value. When shopping for a new fridge, comparing a few key features will make the task manageable and result in the best overall choice.

Key Features to Compare when Shopping for a Fridge

Overall Size and Capacity: The first consideration is to measure the opening for a built in fridge freezer or consider allocated space for a free standing model. Fridges heights vary but the widths typically measure 55 cm, 65 cm and 75 cm max. Free standing styles suitable for a small flat, office or garage or cellar range in capacity from 4.5 to 8 cu ft. Generally models with an overall capacity of 9 to 10 cu ft. hold plenty of room for the average family. Some fridge manufacturers offer a reversible door option that may make a difference for built in requirements.

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Freezer Configurations: Some fridge freezer styles contain a larger freezer section while others use the space for increased capacity of fresh food storage. For combination models, the freezer may be located in the upper portion of the fridge or occasionally in the lower compartment. Many new models are frost free and but some of the smaller less expensive fridges may require manual defrosting.

Energy Ratings: Energy efficiency is rated from A to G with A+ + being the most efficient. Fridges with a rating of A will be the most cost effective to operate and will save money on utility bills. Natural gas cooling protects the environment more than the old style CFC gas (generally considered unsafe) and other types of gas.

Appearance and Style: Although white continues to be the most popular fridge colour, silver, black, and shades of red, blue, green or pink are now fashionable and available from some manufacturers. Brushed steel or stainless steel exteriors suit contemporary kitchens but may be more expensive. The interior features normally include adjustable glass shelving and temperature controls.

Added Features: Some fridge models are equipped with water dispensers. Electronic control panels and separate fridge/freezer thermostats as well as anti-bacterial coating may be included.

Copyright Amy and Flor Westphal 2007