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Before you choose a fridge freezer, measure the space you have set aside for it in the kitchen, including allowance for when the door is fully open - it's a lot easier than knocking walls down later. Today's fridge-freezer combinations are available in a range of heights and widths, so finding out what size you need in advance will narrow your search down considerably.

Always go for an appliance with a good energy efficiency grading. All fridge freezers are now rated from 'A+' to 'G' for Energy Efficiency with 'A+ grade' appliances being the most efficient. Remember that this is one of the few appliances in the house that runs twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, so the savings from a more efficient model can really add up in time.

Look at the split between the fridge and freezer areas. If you're the kind of shopper that stocks up on frozen food but only keeps a pint of milk and a couple of tomatoes in the fridge, then go for a model with a bigger freezer area. If you prefer fresh produce, then a smaller freezer and bigger fridge will work best for you. An overall storage capacity of around 9 to 10 cubic feet is about right for most families.

A 'Frost Free' fridge freezer will save you ever having to turn the power off to defrost the whole thing, while an 'Auto-defrost' feature automatically regulates the temperature to prevent frost build up. And go for a fridge with glass shelves, rather than wire ones, as they are much easier to keep clean.

Once the basics are taken care of, it's all about extra features to make life easier, like anti-bacterial protection, where the units have Microban built into the lining of their fridges, which acts by kills bugs, bacteria and fungus, keeping everything sparkling and protecting food against infection. Safety glass shelves are also desirable, as they are not only scratch- (and reasonably drop-) resistant, but also have an anti-spillage rim which allows the shelf to hold up to a pint of liquid in case of accidents. If you're a big white wine or beer drinker, have a look at models that feature removable bottle racks or deep door storage, saving space in the rest of the fridge. Separate compartments within the storage area can keep food tastes and odours from cross-contaminating each other, very useful if you like a bit of strong cheese to go with all that wine. If you've got kids that like to get into everything, then a model with self-closing doors is a must, as this will prevent damage to both your food and potentially your appliance.

If you're really going to splash out on a new fridge freezer, then at the high of the price range you'll find a model to suit your every need, from a range of colour-matched finishes to cold water and ice dispensers located on the outside doors and LCD-touch control panels. At this level, it's also worth looking at American style double-door units, where the fridge and freezer are situated vertically next to each other, instead of one on top of the other. But remember to make sure you have enough space, and check prices carefully, as you can often find very similar models at widely differing prices, depending on the clientele of the retailer.

Author R. Germain
date added Wed 05 08 2009

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