Need a new fridge freezer? Don't lose your cool over what model to buy with our ultimate guide to the latest in food preservation
It’s the place where you keep the ‘had a bad day’ ice cream, barbecue beer and after-dinner cheese, so the fridge-freezer you buy is worth the upmost consideration. The latest designs can make a statement, entertain, or be adaptable, but they all aim to take the very best care of your food.
Let’s be frank, we’d all love an American-style fridge freezer. And in our case, preferably one stocked with white wine, cream slices and pork pies. But if space is an issue, a tall 60cm-wide model is a sound compromise, offering not-quite-so-much storage, but equally clever features and plenty of style cred.
We’ve spend many hours and used all of our expertise to track down the very best fridge freezers for your home. And we’ve made sure there’s one to suit every type of cook and style of decor. Enjoy!
Need something bigger? Best American fridge freezers for chilling in style
Best for designer style
Whirlpool BSNF8993PB fridge freezer
In case you hadn’t heard, black is the hottest colour for appliances right now. So if you’re looking for a fashion-forward fridge, this is it. Open its doors and you’re greeted with all the very latest in food-preserving tech. The entire fridge compartment is humidity controlled, there’s an Activ0° drawer for keeping deli items at their best, and an antibacterial filter to keep nasties from contaminating food.
For those that love their tech, this model is also wifi-connected, so you can activate the fast-cool and fast-freeze functions at the supermarket, ready for when you return home with your shopping. Its impressive energy rating makes it cheap to run, too.
Net capacity 202 litres fridge/94 litres freezer Dimensions H1888 x W600 x D650mm Features Cool zone, fast-freeze and fast-cool functions, humidity-controlled fridge, bottle rack, no frost, antibacterial filter, wifi connected, A+++ energy rating
Best for families
CDA FF660SC 60cm fridge freezer
This sturdily build model is made to survive family life. The freezer drawers are tough, not flimsy, and the stainless steel exterior gives it a premium look.
If you’re looking for ice and water on tap but want a hassle-free installation, this is a good shout. The three-litre tank is a good size – not so big that it’s impossible to carry when full, and not so small that you’ll be constantly refilling it.
Usable capacity 229 litres fridge/93 litres freezer Dimensions H1850 x W595 x D683mm Features Ice maker, water dispenser, holiday mode, twin cooling, no frost, fast freezing, A+ energy rating
Buy Now: CDA FF660SC 60cm fridge freezer, £530, Homebase
Best for entertaining
Gorenje NRC6192TX 60cm fridge freezer with ConvertActive
This is a great fridge for special occasions, like Christmas. How so? Because the freezer can be converted into either a zero-degree zone for meat and fish or a full-on fridge in under two hours.
So if you’re struggling to find space for the turkey on Christmas, all you need to do is ditch the frozen peas and half-eaten tub of ice cream (how long has that been in there?), and load it with your bird and trimmings – or wine. Crisis averted. Then a few days later, when the leftovers are ready for freezing, just switch it back.
It’s also a great option if you like to be organised. The freezer’s XXL drawer is big enough for a huge joint of meat or several pizzas, the Multibox is designed to store butter and cheese, and there’s a metal rack to keep bottles neat and safe while freeing up shelf space.
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Usable capacity 222 litres fridge/85 litres freezer Dimensions H1850 x W600 x D640mm Features Freezer converts to fridge, holiday mode, twin cooling, no frost, fast freezing, fast cooling, wire bottle rack, cool zone, humidity-controlled drawer, A++ energy rating
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Best for gadget geeks
Samsung RB38M7998S4 Family Hub Smart fridge freezer
Yes, it’s a lot to spend on a fridge. But you’ll never need to fork out on fridge magnets ever again! That’s because there’s a touchscreen on the front that acts as a TV, noticeboard and family calendar. You can even display photos or stream recipes or music on it.
You’ll never waste money on food you don’t need again, either. When you’re at the shops, the fridge’s cameras can send pictures of what’s inside, saving you from doubling up on food and drink you don’t need.
Usable capacity 266 litres fridge/130 litres freezer Dimensions H1927 x W595 x D650mm Features Wifi connected, cool zone, twin cooling, frost free, fast freezing, fast cooling, wine rack, A++ energy rating
Best for tight spaces… and budgets!
Zanussi ZRT23103WA fridge freezer
At 55cm wide, this fridge freezer will fit into a smaller space than most, so it’s good for flats and rooms with low ceilings. The small freezer means it’s best suited to those that like to eat fresh most nights, but there’s enough space for a bag of ice, some frozen peas and a few tubs of ice cream.
It’s not loaded with bells and whistle, but at this price, it’s a good basic option for technophobes. It’s also worth saying that – touch wood – Zanussi appliances have a good track record for reliability.
Usable capacity 184 litres fridge/44 litres freezer Dimensions H1404 x W545 x D604mm Features Automatic defrost (fridge only), A+energy rating
Best long-term investment
Miele KFN28132ws fridge freezer
Miele tests its home appliances to the equivalent of 20 years of use, which is why so many are happy to invest in the brand. The design of this fridge makes it an instant classic, too. There are no handles to date it and white never goes out of style where appliances are concerned.
We love the flexible storage, particularly in the freezer, where the drawers and shelves can be rearranged and removed to store bulky items. And all of those shelves and drawers can be cleaned in the dishwasher, so it’s easy to keep this model looking its best.
Usable capacity 209 litres fridge/95 litres freezer Dimensions H1861 x W600 x D625mm Features Holiday mode (freezer can be turned off), no frost, fast freezing, fast cooling, A++ energy rating
A buyer’s guide to fridge freezers
Our appliance experts have pulled together this must-read list of things to consider for before you start shopping.
Decide on the fridge and freezer capacity you need
The capacity of your fridge and freezer will be given in litres – we’ve given the usable capacity above. Generally, the bigger the fridge-freezer, the bigger the capacity, but there are exceptions. Companies like Panasonic use the same insulation you’d find in NASA spaceships to make sure the doors and walls of their appliances are as thin as possible without compromising their performance, so you can fit that much more inside.
The ratio of fridge to freezer will also vary. The most common split tends to 60 per cent fridge to 40 per cent freezer or 50/50. You might find the odd 70/30 fridge-freezer, but they tend to be more popular in mainland Europe.
To decide which split is best, think about your daily routine. If you like to cook from scratch every night with fresh ingredients, look for a big fridge. Prefer to bake in batches? Then prioritise freezer space. Confused? Look for a fridge with a ‘multizone’ compartment that can be converted from fridge to freezer, depending on whether you’re chilling beers for a barbecue or stocking up on three-for-twos.
Look for features that keep your food fresh
Did you know that the average family throws away around £60 of food a month? Yikes! So if we were you, we’d buy a fridge freezer with lots of food preservation technologies to keep your food fresher for longer.
- Humidity-controlled drawers Vegetables, fruit and salad like humidity, so an appliance with a humidity-controlled drawer will stop them from icing up or going soggy. So long, mushy cucumbers! Occasionally the whole fridge compartment might be humidity controlled.
- Cool zone A fridge drawer that’s at a lower temperature of 0°C or 2°C to store meat, fish and dairy more effectively. Some have a choice of temperature settings (0°C, 2°C or 4°C for meat, dairy and veg accordingly)
- Fast freezing Increases the speed at which your food is frozen, locking in more flavour and nutrients of any fresh food.
- Fast cooling It’s not technically there to preserve food, but it will quickly chill freshly prepared desserts, or wine, lager and other drinks for a party.
- Twin Cooling Separate air circulation in each compartment, so the cold air from the freezer doesn’t dry out the contents of the fridge.
- Blue-light technology LEDs that mimics the sun’s rays, encouraging the process of photosynthesis in your greens to make them last longer.
- Good lighting Look for columns of lights at the back of the fridge (as opposed to the sides) as they will make every item easier to see, so food won’t be lost at the back and forgotten.
- Air filtration This removes odours capable of contaminating other foods – smelly cheeses spring to mind!
Keep bills down
People often think the biggest energy guzzler in their kitchen is the washing machine or oven, but it’s actually the fridge-freezer. Well, it is working all day and night to keep food cold. It’s therefore important to go for at least an A+ energy rating to keep running costs to a minimum.
Often the top-rated models will have an inverter compressor. Where some fridge-freezers have just one power level, inverter models have several. So if you only open their door for a second or two, they’ll use the lowest power level to cool it. In other words, the appliance never uses more energy than it needs to.
A holiday mode can help, too, either by shutting the fridge down completely when you go away, or bringing it up to around 14°C to keep butter and eggs fresh.
Stay organised with clever storage
Filling a fridge after a big shop can be a lot like playing Jenga. However, handy storage solutions can make the game – sorry – task a whole lot easier. These are some of the most useful to look for.
- Curved bottle racks for safely storing wine and other bottles on their side
- Shelves that fold up to make space below for tall items
- Removable fridge trays and ice dispensers that allow you to take your chilled condiments or ice cubes straight to the table.
- Shallow freezer trays that can hold items that might otherwise get lost
- Telescopic freezer drawers that run on rails so you can pull them out and see right to the back without them falling out onto the floor.
Get ice and water on tap
An ice and water dispenser is a convenient feature, as it can serve ice for a drink or a glass of chilled water at the push of a button. Before you buy, check if it’s a plumbed or non-plumbeed model. If you go down the plumbed route, you’ll likely have to pay more to have it installed. But on the up-side, you’ll never need to replenish the water tank.
Another top tip – if you have little ones or particularly clever pets, pick one with a child lock. That will make it more difficult for them to accidentally flood the kitchen.
Spy on your food with a connected fridge freezer
With a wi-fi connected fridge-freezer, you’ll be able to put it into holiday mode when you’re at the airport. Or activate the fast-freeze mode as you leave the supermarket. Some also have cameras inside that capture the contents of the fridge every time you close it. When you’re shopping, open the app on your phone to see the latest photos and decide what you need to top up on.
Going retro? Prepare to compromise
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Vintage-style fridges have been with us since the 1990s, when Smeg introduced its now iconic FAB models. But their popularity shows no sign of waning. And with their sexy curves and plentiful colour choices, vintage-inspired designs are guaranteed to make a stylish impact. We still love the Smeg original, but are drawn to the adventurous shades of Gorenje’s retro line.
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A downside of retro models is that they won’t have the capacity or food-preserving technologies of more modern-looking designs . In some cases, you’ll also still have to defrost the freezer yourself. However, most are at least A+ rated for energy, and have useful storage features such as built-in wine racks.