Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How to Choose the Best Freezer

 

Before you buy a new freezer figure out the ideal freezer size to meet your family's needs. Think about what you want to use your freezer for.

How to Choose the Right Freezer

There is a huge range of freezers to choose from, including different shapes and sizes to suit the needs of every household. Consider the number of people in your home, whether you’ll be freezing large quantities of fresh produce or meat (if you plan to buy fresh food in bulk and freeze for later in the week or month), how much floor space you have available, what energy efficiency and defrosting features you prefer, and whether you are willing to pay for extra bells and whistles on high-end models.

What Do You Want to Use Your Freezer For?

Depending upon what you want to do with your freezer you might want to get a larger size freezer.

Do you garden and want to freeze some produce to store for the off season without canning or drying? Do you hunt for meat? Are you thinking of ordering a side or whole pig, cow or sheep from your local butcher?

Does your family eat a lot of frozen meals, store bought or homemade? Do you like to shop in bulk and stock up?

These are great reasons to get a larger freezer. You might also consider a second freezer so that when your seasonal stock gets low you can unplug the extra freezer to save on electricity.

There are four types of freezers on the market:

1. Refrigerator-Freezer Combination or American-style Fridge Freezers

American-style fridge freezers or Refrigerator-Freezer Combination are larger than conventional fridge-over-freezer models, allowing you to keep more food chilled and frozen until you’re ready to eat it.

The freezer compartment is typically next to the fridge, although the style has evolved and you can find models that have a two-door fridge with freezer drawers underneath (sometimes called ‘French-door’ models) and even some with four doors – two for each compartment.

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American-style or side-by-side fridge freezers offer bags of storage space and can make a style statement in your kitchen. This is a single appliance with one or two doors. It has one compartment for frozen foods and another for refrigerated foods. The freezing compartments may be above, below, or to one side of the refrigerated area. If selecting this type, be certain that the freezer is a true freezer (able to maintain 0°F/-18C or less) and not just an icebox. Some refrigerators feature a small icebox that opens within the refrigerator itself. It is important to note that this is sufficient only for making ice cubes or storing ice cream and maybe a bag of frozen peas—it cannot be considered a true freezer.

Models that feature the freezer on top are usually the most inexpensive fridge/freezer combinations to purchase and are more space efficient than comparably sized side-by-side models. Widths can range from 30 to 33 inches, and there are often two levels—if not, it is well worth adding a rack stand of your own.

These freezers are conveniently at eye level and are therefore easy to access; the shallow depth allows you to see to the back. Another advantage to this style of freezer is that a high proportion of its actual size, usually around 80 percent, is usable freezer capacity.

Models that feature the freezer below are often from the designer range of fridge/ freezer brands. They open either with a pull-out drawer-style door or a conventional door and feature another drawer inside to give two levels of storage. The widths typically range from 30 to 36 inches but the proportion that is actual freezer space is lessened due to the way the pull-out drawers work, though this is still typically more space than is offered by the side-by-side type of freezer.

Side-by-side models feature freezer and fridge right next to each other, with the freezer typically half the width of the fridge. The combined width is typically 32 to 48 inches. These freezers are deep relative to their width, which can make accommodating large, wide objects, such as turkeys, difficult. It can sometimes be hard to find food hidden at the back, too. But there is often plenty of storage on the freezer door, and most models of this type come equipped with a through-the-door water dispenser. These side-by-side models typically offer the least usable freezer space in relation to their size when compared to the two other fridge/freezer models.

We take a look at what they offer and reveal the pros and cons, to help you decide whether an Refrigerator-Freezer Combination/ American-style fridge freezer is right for you.

Refrigerator-Freezer Combination/ American-style Fridge Freezer Pros and Cons

Here are the pros and cons to consider when deciding whether an American-style fridge freezer is right for your kitchen.

Pros

1) They offer more fresh and frozen food storage space than freestanding fridge freezers.
2) Useful features - such as a frost-free freezer, digital displays, chiller cabinets and high-temperature alarms - often come as standard.
3) They look great.
4) They have lots of fridge shelves and racks for storing items of all shapes and sizes.
5) Many come with water dispensers and ice makers.

Cons

1) They are pricier than conventional fridge freezers.
2) They have higher electricity costs.
3) They take up a lot of space and may be too big for your kitchen.
4) Most models offering water and ice dispensers will need to be plumbed into the mains.
5) They have fewer freezer drawers than you’d find in a conventional freezer.




2. Upright Freezers

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These appliances have the same general shape and appearance as home refrigerators. They have one or two outside doors and from three to seven shelves or pull-out bins for storing food. Freezers of this type are popular due to their convenience, the small floor space they require, and the ease with which food may be put in or removed. However, large amounts of cold air escape each time the door is opened, which can diminish their efficiency.

3. Chest Freezers

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Chest freezers are wide, deep freezers that open from the top with a hinged lid. Often, they’re kept in a garage or a room separate from the kitchen, as they require a great deal of floor space. These types of freezers can be very useful if you have a large household, live a long way from where you buy your food, or have a large garden that yields lots of produce for home freezing. They are the most efficient in terms of capacity and are also best at keeping food frozen on a long-term basis. They’re also relatively inexpensive to purchase, but their biggest drawback is the fact that it’s difficult to keep track of what you have in there because of the way that the food is piled up on top of itself. They normally come with two interior baskets, but these generally aren’t sufficient to create an organized space. Using plastic crates is a good way of separating foods within the freezer and keeping track of what’s at the bottom—make sure you purchase crates that won’t be brittle at low temperatures, and select thick, industrial-looking crates rather than thin-walled store-cupboard-style crates.

4. Integrated Freezers

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These are the absolute latest in freezer design. The freezer is integrated into the kitchen cabinets, most often just below the counter, in the form of a drawer or a series of drawers—whatever you might want. Each drawer has a depth of 24 inches and a height of 191⁄2 inches. You can have a built-in icemaker as well. With these, you can pull out the whole drawer—no secrets in the back or bottom of the freezer. They also come combined with a refrigerator drawer above the freezer drawer.


What Does Frost Free Mean?

The latest important innovation in refrigeration is frost free technology, which saves hours of chipping away at thick layers of ice when the door won’t close anymore. In a frost-free freezer, every six hours or so a timer turns on a heating device, which is wrapped among the freezer coils. The heater melts the ice off the coils. When all the ice is gone, a temperature sensor senses the temperature rising above 32°F/0°C and turns off the heater. This is why frost-free freezers have glass shelves and baskets and no signs of metal bars or electrical elements. Upright freezers and fridge/freezers are available as manual-defrost or frost-free models, whereas chest freezers are only available as manual-defrost.

As beautiful, clean, and convenient as frost-free freezers are, it is important to know that heating the coils every six hours takes energy and cycles the food in the freezer through temperature changes. For this reason, manual-defrost freezers keep food safe longer and are more energy efficient, provided they are kept ice free by regular manual defrosting.

Manual versus Self-Defrost Freezers:

Self or auto-defrost freezers are the most convenient because they require no defrosting, but they do use more energy since they cycle on/off to keep the freezer frost-free.  Because the temperature fluctuates slightly when the freezer cycles to defrost, foods are more prone to freezer burn in a self-defrost freezer than in one that requires manual defrost.

Most chest freezers are manual defrost while upright freezers come in either manual or self-defrost.  Confirm the type of defrost before buying so you'll know if it requires more cleaning.  When a freezer cycles on/off to defrost, there's more operating noise - that may also be a buying consideration.

Fridge Freezer Sizes

If you’re replacing your old fridge freezer, chances are you’ll want one of a similar type and size to fit into the same spot in your kitchen.

But before you replace your old freezer, think about the type and amount of food you buy. If you eat a lot of fresh groceries, look for a model with a large fridge. And if you keep your freezer fully stocked with ready-frozen foods or you like to bulk buy and freeze fresh produce, go for one with a roomy four-drawer freezer, rather than a three-drawer model.

If you have a large household, you’ll want lots of fridge and freezer space, so an American-style or French-door model might provide the storage space you need. But if you don’t have room in your kitchen for one of these, you could consider buying a taller fridge freezer to get extra space.

These questions might help you decide on capacity:

1) Do you buy foods in bulk to save on groceries?

2) Will you need freezer space for garden harvest, hunting or fishing bounty, or seasonal baking and cooking?

3) Do you have the space to install the freezer size you are looking at?

4) Will you be moving in the near future and need to relocate a rather large freezer?

5) Planning on downsizing your household in the near future?

6) Do you live in a rural area where it might be difficult to buy foods when unexpected company drops by?

7) Is there a long period between grocery store trips?

Energy Efficiency

Energy Star freezers use a lot less electricity than models of 30 years ago. However, when it comes to lower electrical use, a chest freezer is better than an upright. When an upright is opened, the cold air falls out of the freezer and energy is expended to return the temperature back to freezing. With a chest freezer, cold air doesn't have the chance to escape.

Of course, a full freezer also uses less electricity than a partially filled unit, which is why it's important to buy the right size unit to begin with.

Chest freezers and uprights have their plus sides and their down sides, and I've owned both kinds. While there is no arguing that an upright freezer is more convenient for large families who put up lots of frozen goods, when it came time to replace our 30 year old unit, our family downgraded to a compact chest freezer.
For families on a budget, compact chest freezers are affordably priced, use less than $2 of electricity a month, and can be conveniently located in the laundry room or kitchen without taking up much space.

Fridge Freezer Features

Fridge freezer features make them easier to use and can help food stay fresher for longer. Buying a fridge freezer involves deciding which features are worth investing in and which are unnecessary extras.

The most basic models will chill and freeze your food, while some will make ice, dispense filtered water and balance out humidity levels in your salad crisper drawer to help fruit and vegetables last longer. Generally, the more features on board, the higher the price tag will be compared with other models from the same brand.

Useful Fridge-Freezer Features to Consider

Choosing a frost-free fridge freezer means you’ll never face the messy chore of having to defrost the freezer when ice builds up. In a survey of more than 10,000 93%, experts say that a frost-free function is the most useful fridge freezer feature.

Some models come with temperature and open-door alarms that will alert you if the freezer temperature rises or you’ve inadvertently left the door ajar.

If you’re simply after a basic fridge freezer, we’d recommend choosing one with glass fridge shelves, rather than wire ones, to help prevent meat and food juices dripping onto the items stored on the shelf below. And look for transparent freezer drawers (rather than opaque ones) as this will help you see at a glance what you’ve got stored in your freezer.

What Not to Buy

If you have problems with bending for food retrieval or organizing freezer contents is a high priority, an upright freezer is probably your best choice. On the other hand, if you already have an upright freezer to keep foods conveniently organized and easy to retrieve but need more freezer storage, a chest freezer is the best choice.

Avoid making poor freezer capacity choices.  Buying too large a freezer can lead to wasted energy trying to keep empty space at freezing temperatures and buying too small may not meet your needs and require updating the freezer.  Keep in mind that the more freezer capacity you have, the more tendency for waste from foods that become old and freezer burnt.

Where to Put Your Freezer

For many people, location is a major factor in deciding what type of freezer to use. Chest freezers do require more floor space than an upright unit, and usually have to be stored in the garage, patio, or in a huge back porch or laundry room. Uprights are more practical for kitchen, smaller laundry rooms, or smaller back porch. If space is an issue, your freezer options are pretty limited to an upright style or smaller compact chest.

Whatever type of freezer you select, it should be placed in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place; never by a stove or a water heater or in the sun, as this makes it more difficult to maintain a temperature of 0°F/–18°C or lower. Do not push the freezer flush against a wall, as it needs about 2 inches of space for air circulation. And be sure the freezer sits level; if left unleveled for a long period of time, the body of the freezer can become so deformed that the door will not close properly. Also, if the freezer does not sit straight, it may cause leakage and the motor may sound louder than usual.





This guide covers everything you need to know to buy the best fridge freezer or freezer for your kitchen and your budget. It reveals the pros and cons of the various fridge freezers on the market, and what you need to consider before you part with your cash. Watch Video Guide: How To Select The Right Refrigerator And Freezer

1 comment:


  1. Thanks for share the article.
    Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete

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