Advice and Inspiration

The Ultimate Fridge Freezer Buying Guide

Author: Matt Donnelly Published: May 20, 2024

Are you looking to purchase your very first fridge freezer? Or is it time to replace your old one with a newer model? 

Either way, don’t worry if you’re feeling spoiled for choice with all your options because we’re here to make the decision a whole lot easier for you.

In this article, we wax lyrical about the benefits of having a fridge freezer in your home before taking you through our go-to fridge freezer buying guide step-by-step. 

We cover everything from configuration to colour and installation to energy efficiency, so sit back, chill, grab yourself a refreshing cold drink, and enjoy the read.

Why buy a fridge freezer?

If you’re thinking about purchasing a fridge freezer for the very first time, you might be wondering what the benefits of this kind of hybrid appliance actually are.

Sure, you could buy a separate fridge and a separate freezer and still be able to keep stuff cold and frozen but being able to do it all in one unit does have its advantages.

The main benefits of fridge freezers are:

  • More space.
  • Better use of energy.
  • Saving money in the long run.

Space optimisation

Combining your fridge and freezer into one appliance is a great way to save space, especially if you get a small fridge freezer that can nestle right under a countertop.

If you live in a flat, have a small kitchen, or even just want to save as much space as possible, a fridge freezer means you only have to house one unit instead of two.

Energy efficiency

Modern fridge freezers have features like enhanced insulation, LED lighting, and smart cooling systems, which are all designed to save energy. So, upgrading your old fridge and freezer to a new fridge freezer will keep your utility bills and your carbon footprint down.

Long-term money-saving 

As an appliance, fridge freezers are generally more expensive to buy than a separate fridge or freezer unit. However, the increased energy efficiency (i.e. lower utility bills) and added performance features make a fridge freezer a brilliant investment. 

Integrated fridge freezer
Integrated Fridge Freezers

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What type of fridge freezer installation do you need?

The first question you need to answer when it comes to buying a new freezer is what type of installation you want. There are two types of fridge freezer installation for you to choose from, depending on how your kitchen is fitted: integrated or freestanding.

If your new fridge freezer purchase is part of a full kitchen or utility refurbishment project, you’ve got more freedom with this choice. However, if your new appliance is going into an existing space, this will dictate whether you need an integrated fridge freezer or a freestanding one.

Let’s take a look at both of these fridge freezer installation types in closer detail to explain how they differ… 

Integrated fridge freezer

An integrated fridge freezer is one that is built into the units and cupboards around it. Typically, this will be in a kitchen, but utility rooms are also a popular place to install integrated appliances like a fridge freezer, washing machine, tumble dryer, etc. 

The appliance will be slotted into a purpose-built space within the units, with the aim of it sitting flush against cupboards and kick boards. Depending on the model you choose, you may be able to attach a panel to the front of it (using mounting brackets) so that it completely blends in with the rest of the units. Other models simply have a standard fridge freezer ‘face’.

Most fridge freezers are made to slot neatly into standard kitchen unit dimensions, but the process can be a little more complicated if your kitchen is a custom design—something you’ll need to consider. 

Key details:

  • Integrated fridge freezers tend to be more aesthetically pleasing as they blend into the surrounding units and cabinetry. This makes for a seamless, cohesive design scheme that camouflages the look of the appliance itself.

  • You can focus more on the features the appliance offers rather than being distracted by the outward aesthetics of it because the unit will be hidden anyway. This means the visual aspect doesn’t need to stand in the way of other priorities like price point or functionality.

  • What you are restricted by with an integrated fridge freezer is size. You need to make sure you’re choosing a product that has dimensions that will fit in the integrated space. This leaves very little room for errors with measurement, especially if the spec of your units isn’t industry standard.

Freestanding fridge freezer

As the name suggests, a freestanding fridge freezer is one that stands on its own without being integrated or fixed into any surrounding cabinetry or units. They are standalone appliances that don’t require any support or concealing. 

Key details:

  • Thanks to its freestanding nature, this type of fridge freezer can be plugged in anywhere you want it, which makes it super versatile and flexible.

  • A standalone appliance also means you don’t need to worry about integrated unit measurements—all you need to do is make sure the dimensions of the appliance suit the space you want it to live in.

  • Freestanding fridge freezers don’t have to be built into anything, which makes access, maintenance, and replacement much easier. It also reduces the risk of damage or disruption to the surrounding units and appliances.

  • When you choose a freestanding fridge freezer, you aren’t restricted to size in the same way you are with an integrated appliance. So, if you want something with a large capacity, you don’t need to worry about where or how to conceal it.

Think about practicality as well as appearance

If you’re buying a fridge freezer for a brand-new kitchen, and you’re not quite sure whether you’re going to want integrated or freestanding yet, you’ve got time to weigh up the benefits of each. 

What is extremely important is that you consider practical factors as well as how the appliance is going to look.

While aesthetics and finish are undoubtedly important when you’ve got total freedom of choice between an integrated or freestanding fridge freezer, this shouldn’t necessarily be your top priority. 

Think about what you need out of your new appliance (capacity, features, etc.) as well as the visual aspect. This will ensure the fridge freezer adds real value to your life as well as looks great in your kitchen.

Freestanding fridge freezer

Freestanding Fridge Freezers

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Next come capacity and configuration

Once you know how you want your fridge freezer to be installed, it’s time to think about two other key deciding factors:

  • Capacity - how much do you want to be able to store in your fridge freezer?
  • Configuration - how many doors and what kind of split between fridge and freezer you want?

Let’s put each of these under the spotlight…

Fridge freezer capacity 

To narrow your search and find the perfect fridge freezer faster, make sure you’re clear on what kind of capacity you’re going to need.

Do you live alone and only require something small? Are you a family or shared household with a need for plenty of fridge freezer storage space? Are you planning on installing the appliance in an office with lots of footfall? 

The answer to these kinds of questions will help you figure out if you want a fridge freezer with a high, low, or mid-range capacity. 

When shopping around, look for ‘fridge net capacity’ and ‘freezer net capacity’ in the product information details—this should provide you with a specific capacity, usually in litres. 

Different styles of fridge freezer typically have varying capacities. Consider these examples:

  • American style fridge freezers - those large ‘double door’ style fridge freezers that you see in the U.S. (and increasingly the U.K.), typically have very large capacities of between 300 and 600 litres.

  • Freestanding fridge freezers - your traditional freestanding fridge freezer can have a capacity between 200 and 300 litres.

  • Integrated fridge freezers - it’s very difficult to assign an ‘average capacity’ to integrated fridge freezers, as they’re available in so many different variants. However, they do tend to be smaller than other types of fridge freezer. Expect 100 to 200 litres to be the average capacity of an integrated fridge freezer.

Fridge freezer configuration

Okay, so, at this point, if you’re following our buying guide, you should have considered:

  • The type of fridge freezer you want; integrated or freestanding? 
  • What kind of capacity you need your fridge freezer to have.

Next, it’s time to think about configuration. This means how the unit is arranged in terms of how many doors, how the doors are configured, and the fridge/freezer split. 

The most popular types of fridge freezer configuration can be split into three main categories:

  • Classic fridge freezers.
  • American fridge freezers.
  • French-style fridge freezers (also known as multi door fridge freezers).

Let’s explore the pros, cons, and key details of each of these.

American Fridge Freezers

American Fridge Freezers

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Classic fridge freezers

A classic fridge freezer style is the most traditional one and typically has two compartments stacked on top of each other vertically. Normally, this will be an equal 50/50 split with the fridge on top and the freezer on the bottom, both with individual doors. 

Another type of classic fridge freezer is what is referred to as a top-mounted fridge freezer, which has a different fridge/freezer split. The fridge compartment is typically larger (60%-70%) with a smaller freezer compartment on top (40%-30%).

Pros and cons

Classic styles of fridge freezers tend to have more standard features such as removable shelves and adjustable thermostats. This makes them more appealing to those with a modest budget.

Classic fridge freezers are more efficient in terms of space because they are so streamlined. This also makes them easier to install in integrated environments. 

On the other hand, this also means that classic fridge freezers typically have less capacity than other configurations like American or French-style models. 

American-style fridge freezers

American fridge freezers are sometimes called side-by-side fridge freezers because, unlike classic fridge freezers where the compartments are configured on top of each other, this style has compartments next to each other.

American-style fridge freezers usually have two long compartments behind two doors, with a 50/50 fridge/freezer split. However, sometimes, they can also have a set of freezer drawers on the bottom half of the unit.

Pros and cons

Due to the large capacity of American-style fridge freezers, they’re a great choice for customers who are looking for bigger storage solutions. That’s why this style of appliance is so popular in family homes (as well as for its trendy aesthetic).

This style of fridge freezer also tends to provide more sophisticated features such as glass viewing panels, ice makers, and smartphone integration.

As a result of this, American-style fridge freezers are also more expensive than more simplistic, classic styles and require more installation space as a result of their size and configuration. 

French-style fridge freezers

French-style fridge freezers are pretty similar to American fridge freezers because they also mainly feature compartments that sit side-by-side. 

However, they also normally have compartments stacked vertically, which means this type of unit is commonly split into four compartments with various fridge/freezer splits. 

Pros and cons

Having different compartments and more sophisticated features make this type of fridge freezer one of the most versatile on the market.

Having different doors (and possibly drawers) also makes for more energy-efficient use as you only need to open and close the section you need. 

The downside, or at least something to factor in, is that this type of appliance is large and therefore needs a fair bit of space to sit in. You’ll also need to factor in plenty of ventilation space around it, which will take up a few more inches around the top and sides.

They’re also some of the more expensive types of fridge freezers.

French-Style Fridge Freezers

French-Style Fridge Freezers

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What features would you like your fridge freezer to have?

Whether you’re looking for a large fridge freezer with multiple doors and drawers or something smaller and more compact, they should all have the basics covered. This includes standard, essential features like adjustable glass shelves, internal fruit and vegetable drawers, and door storage. 

However, if you're feeling fancy, or you want to invest in something more state-of-the-art, here are some other fantastic features to look out for:

  • Anti-frost technology so you never have to manually defrost your fridge freezer again.

  • Integrated icemaker and water dispenser.

  • Intuitive temperature regulation to maintain constant temperatures that will help the fridge freezer run more efficiently and keep food and drink fresher for longer.

  • Antibacterial UV light to kill off a majority of the bacteria inside the fridge freezer in between cleans.

  • Glass window panels so you can peek inside without having to open the door.

  • Smart technology so you can operate your fridge freezer from your smart device, wherever you are, whether you’re at home, at the office, or on an exotic island somewhere.

Other things to consider when buying a new fridge freezer

Okay, so, we’ve covered installation type, capacity, configuration, and some cool features you might want to look out for when selecting your new fridge freezer. Now, let’s take a look at some other key things to consider whilst you shop around.

Brand or manufacturer

There are a whole host of different fridge freezer brands on the market for you to choose from, some new and some long-standing household names. At Comet, we stock Hotpoint fridge freezers, LG, Russell Hobbs, Indesit and more. 

You might already have a brand that you love and rely on, which makes your decision in this area pretty easy.

If you’re trying to decide which brand to go with, we recommend choosing a reputable brand like the ones listed above. That way, you can trust the quality and safety of the electrical appliance you’re bringing into your home.

A great place to start is by reading customer reviews. This will give you insight into real experiences and opinions to help guide your own choice.

How you want it to look

Although practical things like installation, capacity, and configuration should be the main drivers for your fridge freezer purchase decision, how it looks is important too. This is especially true if you’re choosing a freestanding fridge freezer that won’t be concealed. 

A fridge freezer is going to be a pretty prominent part of your kitchen or utility room so you need to not mind looking at it multiple times every single day. It will become a significant part of your interior design scheme, so aesthetics are certainly something you should give some thought to.

In terms of appearance, the two main things to consider, outside of configuration style, are material (finish), and colour. 

Material and finish

The material(s) a fridge freezer is made from will influence how it looks on the exterior, which is where aesthetics come into play.

The outer part of a fridge freezer is normally made from stainless steel, plastic, or enamel-coated steel, each of which has its own performance benefits but also its own finish. 

Material can influence the overall ‘vibe’ of the appliance, depending on the context of the interior design around it. A stainless steel model, for example, can enhance a sleek, contemporary look, while a cream enamel-coated model would complement a country farmhouse theme.

Colour 

A black fridge freezer, for example, will create a completely different look and feel to a silver stainless steel one. A brightly coloured fridge freezer will make a standout design statement, while classic colours will allow for a more subtle finish. 

How you want the fridge freezer to look in your space is all down to personal preference and how you’d prefer to inject your individual style into your interior design.

Energy efficiency

Where electrical appliances are concerned, energy efficiency is often a key consideration for customers looking to buy something that will help keep their bills and environmental impact down.

Energy-optimising features you will find across our collection of fridge freezers include:

  • LED lighting.
  • Inverter Linear Compressor (reduced vibration and noise).
  • Active Inverter Compressor (more constant temperatures).

When shopping around, you’ll notice that fridge freezers have energy labels. These labels are based on how much energy a fridge freezer uses during typical use. Based on this, the fridge freezer is then assigned a rating, running from A to G. A is the most efficient, G the least.

Cost

How much a fridge freezer will cost depends on a whole host of different things like the brand, the model, the features, the capacity, and whether it’s a new appliance. 

To give you some idea of what you can expect to pay, the price of a new fridge freezer from Comet ranges from £74.99 for a combi mini cooler to around £2,399 for a large American-style fridge freezer with a full spec of features (correct at the time of writing, May 2024, and subject to change). 

Our advice would be to shop around with your budget in mind and use the price filter function on collection pages to get a clear idea of the kinds of appliances that fall within your desired price bracket.

Fridge freezer FAQs

Below are answers to five common fridge freezer-related FAQs that you might find useful, too. 

What temperature should I set my fridge freezer to?

It’s always best to consult the model manual of your appliance for specific information on how it should operate. However, the general guideline for the temperatures to set your fridge freezer at are:

  • Fridge compartment: 1.7°C - 3.3°C.
  • Freezer compartment: -18°C - -21°C.

Normally, a fridge freezer will have separate thermostat controls for the fridge parts and the freezer parts of the appliance. 

How often do I need to defrost my fridge freezer?

How often you should defrost your fridge freezer depends on the appliance itself and how you use it. 

Some models have frost-free technology, which means you shouldn’t need to defrost the appliance manually yourself very often at all (if ever). 

If you do have an anti-frost fridge freezer and you notice a significant amount of frost accumulating, there might be a fault with the appliance that needs checking out. 

If you don’t have a fridge freezer with anti-frost technology, consult the model manual to find out how often you need to defrost it yourself.

Why is my fridge freezer making noises?

A gentle, quiet hum is perfectly normal. This is just the sound of the condenser doing its job. However, if you hear a loud cracking sound, this is a sign that frost is building up in your freezer and it’s time for a manual defrost or to check your anti-frost function is still working.

If you hear a loud vibrating sound coming from the exterior of the appliance, this is a sign that it hasn’t been installed level and needs some adjustment. 

How can I make my fridge freezer more energy-efficient?

When purchasing a new fridge freezer, check out the energy rating of the appliance. The better this rating, the more energy-efficient the appliance will be without you needing to do anything. 

All of the fridge freezers we stock here at Comet are E or F-rated, which means they qualify as highly energy-efficient electrical goods.

To support the energy efficiency of your fridge freezer: 

  • Don’t overfill it.

  • Provide at least 1-2 inches of ventilation around the top and sides of the appliance to allow heat to effectively dissipate so the fridge freezer doesn’t have to work extra hard to keep temperatures down.

  • Check door seals are airtight and replace/repair any that come loose.

  • Only open the doors you need, don’t open them all at once. This is particularly relevant to multi-door models like an American fridge freezer or a French-style one.

  • Keep the condenser coils clean. Unplug your appliance and carefully remove any dust or debris from the coils with an appliance brush. Even with the appliance unplugged, food should stay frozen for up to 48 hours and refrigerated for up to four hours, as long as the doors remain closed.

How long should a fridge freezer last?

If you purchase a good quality fridge freezer from a reputable company and look after it well, it should last for around 10 years. The more measures you put in place to keep it in good condition and full working order, the longer the lifespan of the appliance.

When shopping around, keep an eye out for the guarantees and/or warranties that come with each model to give you a sound idea of how long you can expect it to last.

Find the perfect fridge freezer for you at Comet

We hope you’ve found our guide to buying a fridge freezer helpful. If you’re ready and raring to purchase your new appliance, head straight over to our range of fridge freezers now and start shopping. 

We stock a whole host of different types of fridge freezers from leading brands here at Comet, including Hotpoint fridge freezers, Russell Hobbs, LG and more. 

So, whether you’re looking for a small fridge freezer or a big American-style unit with a sophisticated spec of features, we’re sure to have something that ticks all your boxes.

Plus, you can benefit from a range of flexible finance options to take all the pressure out of paying for your new kitchen kit. Use Klarna Pay in 3 or PayPal Credit to spread the cost over three, interest-free payments.

And, if you want to receive your order sooner rather than later, our express delivery options will get your new goods to you at super speed.

Shop fridge freezers at Comet now.

For more buying guides, information and advice, explore the Comet blog

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