Frost-Free Refrigerators: A Smart Choice!

The refrigerator (or fridge) is a necessary household appliance today. It also keeps our food safe for consumption by keeping bacterial growth at bay for a longer period. Of course, it also keeps our favourite beverages cool and ready to be consumed anytime. It preserves the nutrients in our food. These are all things we can agree on. However, when it comes to buying a refrigerator, we all have to think on which brand/model/capacity is more suitable. Apart from personal tastes, the choice will largely depend on the storage capacity we need, our eating habits, space in the house and most importantly our budget. The very large number of models in the market may make the whole process more complicated than expected. Just the brand name may not be sufficient to base a buying decision on. Here, we bring to you some consolidated basic research on frost-free refrigerators, focusing on aspects such as gross volume, storage volume, electricity consumption and star rating – factors on the basis of which you can make a choice among the many brands/models.

The first decision is necessarily choosing between a direct-cool refrigerator and a frost-free one. The former is typically much less expensive than the latter. A direct cool model produces the necessary chill through natural convection. Frost-free refrigerators, as the name implies, do not require any kind of manual defrosting. Also, the life expectancy of the current models of frost-free refrigerator is greater than that of the current direct-cool models in the market.

There are inverter-type refrigerators that allow for varied speed and runs in longer cycles at low speed. These utilise electricity energy more efficiently. If upfront cost for buying is not a concern for you, then do look at refrigerators with inverter technology. The extra money you pay upfront will be recovered in the form of electricity savings.

A convertible refrigerator gives you the extra space when the refrigerator runs out of storage space. Its freezer transforms into a fridge and back into a freezer as per your need.

When planning to buy a refrigerator, don’t rely on advertisements, thinking the most advertised brand is the best. You might miss some opportunities by not checking other brands. List out your needs and features important to you; considering your budget, choose the one best suited to you.

Family Size Capacity
Bachelors or couple Less than 200 litres
Small family 200 to 300 litres
Family of four 250 to 350 litres
Larger family 300 litres or more

Pointers to Know Before Buying a Refrigerator

  • What size and which type of brand and model do you want?
  • What does the star rating actually mean?
  • Does the refrigerator keep your food at a fixed temperature?
  • Why does the refrigerator have so many different compartments?
  • What do I need to know about the new features available?

 

  • Size/Capacity:It depends on the need, costing and space. A family of four can easily do with a 250–300 litres refrigerator.

Colour and Finish

Stainless-steel fridges bring that sleek, professional look to your kitchen but can be prone to showing fingerprints and other marks.  White fridges are easier to keep clean than their stainless-steel counterparts. Fridges in bright colours are increasingly popular. A black fridge is a modern alternative to a plain white appliance but without the fingerprint-showing tendencies of stainless steel, but they can be a little imposing and may make your kitchen itself seem darker.

  • Top- or bottom-mounted freezer:If price, range, efficiency and value are your biggest concerns, then a top-mounted fridge is for you. The disadvantage is you have to bend down to access the food compartment, which is the most used. Bottom-mounted fridges are all about convenience—and save you from back pain. Plenty of space and extra features make side-by-side fridges great for large families.
  • Star rating (energy consumption):Your fridge contributes to your energy bill, so choosing an efficient one will save you money. While larger fridges will use more energy overall than smaller ones, the energy star ratings help you compare relative energy efficiency. Choose the fridge with more stars when choosing between two similar-sized models because it will cost you less to run. In India, it is now mandatory to fix star rating label on refrigerators. Star rating denotes how energy-efficient your appliance is.
  • Compressor: It is the basic mechanism (heart), besides the freezer and condenser, by which the refrigerator works. A normal compressor runs at a constant speed throughout. On the other hand, an inverter compressor can run at varying speeds. It starts at a low speed and boosts up when there is a loss in cooling. This is in contrast with normal compressors that take off at a high speed, consuming more electricity and producing a lot of noise.
  • Cooling capabilities:It refers to the amount of time a refrigerator takes to decrease temperature to lower (minus) side. Faster cooling/freezing is desirable.
  • Noise:Whether refrigerator noise is an issue or not depends on your kitchen layout and its proximity to living and sleeping areas. Refrigerators can make a variety of strange noises due to compressor start up, automatic defrosting, electrical fans, and even from materials expanding and contracting as they change temperature. This is normal, but may be more noticeable in models that are quieter during normal running. Refrigerators typically operate at around 35 decibels during normal running.
  • Guarantee/warrantee:It is important to enquire about the guarantee/warrantee. Most refrigerators come with a one-year warrantee. The compressor warrantee may vary from 5 years to 10 years. The details are given in the warrantee card.

Keeping Food Cold and Safe?

Keeping food cold and safe for long periods is the whole point of a fridge, but not all are equal in this regard. Above 40 degrees F of food compartment is considered an unsafe zone, which means that food is susceptible to spoiling or growing harmful bacteria – therefore set the thermostat accordingly.

 

  • How to set up your fridge’s temperature control settings:
    • Check if your fridge is set to the recommended settings from the manual.
    • Use a thermometer to measure internal temperature (summer and winter).
    • Adjust your settings until you have 3 degrees C (fridge) and -18 C (freezer).
    • Maintain good airflow inside the fridge to avoid hot and cold spots.
    • As a rule, keep an at least 5 cm clearance from wall/sides.

Comparison at a Glance: Frost-Free Refrigerators, 235300 litres Capacity, Double Door

For our survey, we shortlisted regular-selling brands of frost-free refrigerators of 235–300 litres capacity, double door. We conducted the survey during April, 2022.

Sl No. Brand Model Total Storage Volume

(Litres)

Freezer + Fresh Food

Volume

(Litres)

Electricity Consumption (unit / year) Convertible  Type BEE Star Rating Price, Rs. Warrantee, Years
1 Haier HEF-25TDS 258 68+190 182 kwh Yes 3 24690 1+10
2 Samsung RT28A3453S8/HL 253 69+184   No 3 24450 1+10
3 LG GL-I292RPZX 260 75+185 198 No 3    
4 Whirlpool IF INV CNV 278 3S 265 75+184 190 Yes 3 27240 1+10
5 Samsung RT30T3443S9/HL 275 69+206 199   3 27490 1+10
6 Whirlpool INTELLIFRESH INV CNV 305 3S 292 74+210 194 Yes 3 32490 1+10
7 Samsung RT30T3743S9/HL 275 255 199 Yes 3 28890 1+10
8 Samsung RT28A3032GS/HL 253 53+181 243 No 2 23990 1+10
9 Whirlpool

 

FP 313D Protton Roy 300 73+223 500 No nil 32490 1+10
10 LG GL-I292RPZL 260 75+177 194 No 3 25290 1+10
11 Haier HEF-25TDS 258 68+190 182 yes 3 24690 1+10
12 Godrej RF EON 236B 25 HI SC DR 236 64+170 243 No 2 19985 1+10
13 LG I292RPZX 260 75+185 194 No 3 25290 1+10
14 Haier DAZZLE STEEL, HEB-25TDS 256 231 180 Yes 3 26190 1+10
15 Samsung RT28T3743S8/HL 253 69+184 193 yes 3 26290 1+10
16 LG GL-D241ASCY 235 35+200 143   4 21990  
17 Godrej RF EON 244C 35 RCIF ST RH 244 62+182 197 yes 3 22290 1+10
18 Whirlpool NEOFRESH GD PRM 305 2S 292 75+210 259 No 2 28990 1+10
19 Godrej RF EON 255B 25 HI RY DR 255 64+190 243 No 2 21990 1+10
20 Whirlpool 260 IMPRO PLUS ROY 4S INV ALPHA STEEL 245 47+198 140 No 4 22990 1+10
21 Toshiba GR-A28INU (UK)

 

252 78+178 247 No 2 25590 1+10
22 Bosch CTC27S03EI 263 62+201   yes 3 27990 1+10

Note: Price may vary from retailer to retailer. Before buying please check latest price on amazon.in or flipkart.com.

These Are Important Too

  • Door: Make sure you can open the fridge doors easily and comfortably.
  • Temperature controls: Look for two separate temperature controls. A single control sets both the freezer and the fresh food compartment, so you can’t adjust one without affecting the other. Some electronic fridges have better independent controls.
  • Shelves: Shelves ought to be easy to remove and replace for cleaning or adjustment. Does the range of shelf positions suit your needs?
  • Rollers and adjustable feet: Rollers are useful for easy moving (such as when cleaning behind the fridge).Four rollers are better than two, provided they have brakes or adjustable feet to secure the fridge and stop it from escaping.
  • Dairy compartment: A slightly warmer area of the fridge, it is convenient for keeping butter and hard cheeses slightly soft.
  • Chiller (meat compartment): This compartment stores meat, fish and poultry (fresh or cooked) at a safe temperature, keeping it fresher for longer. Chiller temperature should be close to zero and ideally it should have a separate temperature control.
  • Child-proofing: Keep kids safe and choose a child-friendly fridge.
  • Door alarms: This feature is very useful because if the door does not shut all the way, then the door will either beep or chime. This helps prevent food and energy waste.

Tips for Using a Refrigerator

  • Avoid opening the fridge frequently – you will save power.
  • Clean off the condenser coils at least once a year.
  • Protect your fridge from high heat sources.
  • Reduce your frost accumulation if it’s a direct-cool refrigerator.
  • Let your food cool before putting it in.
  • Cover everything (food) stored.
  • Check the door seal for air leakage.
  • Clean the drain hole and drip pan.
  • Adjust level for easier closing of door.
  • Wipe all surface areas with a combination of dishwashing soap and warm water. Use a microfiber cloth or a good-quality sponge.
  • For stubborn stains, mix a small amount of baking soda with a little water to produce a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stain and leave for an hour before wiping with a damp sponge or cloth. Disinfectants should never be used inside refrigerators.
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