Choosing a refrigerator is another pain. There are many parameters that are difficult to understand, you want a not very expensive, but reliable and convenient one. Best. Despite the fact that everyone has their own criteria for “the best”. In any case, you will have to understand the subtleties, and we will tell you how to choose a refrigerator so that it meets your requirements.
Types of defrosting
Don’t know how to choose a refrigerator? You can start with the type of defrosting. Previously, all refrigerators were with manual defrosting. It was necessary to turn off the unit, wait for the ice to melt, wash, dry, and turn it on again. Now, if this process is preserved in this form, only in budget models.
More expensive models use automated defrosting algorithms. With proper operation, ice does not form at all. Theoretically, such refrigerators can not be defrosted, but in practice, to ensure a normal sanitary condition, they must be washed once every six months. So, in any case, it will have to be turned off twice a year to wash the cameras.
Refrigerators are produced with two types of defrosting — drip and automatic, which is also called No Frost. Each type has its pros and cons, and before choosing a refrigerator, let’s talk about them in more detail.
Drip defrosting system
Refrigerators with a drip system require forced defrosting once every six months. The rest of the time, they fight with excess ice on their own. In the refrigerating chamber, there is a special panel on the back wall, under it there is a groove with a through hole. This hole is located on the back wall of the refrigerator. Another chute is laid from its exit to the compressor. This entire system is necessary for draining condensate and water in the defrost mode.
It works like this. Refrigerant circulates through channels hidden in the panel, so it has a lower temperature. Due to this, condensate settles on it, which gradually turns into an ice crust. The built-in temperature sensor at a certain time (depends on the position of the regulator) gives a signal to turn off the compressor. The compressor does not work, the temperature begins to rise, the ice on the back wall begins to melt. The drops flow into the groove and fall on the cover, which is put on the compressor, where they evaporate. When ice remains on the panel, the temperature sensor sends a signal to turn on the compressor. The cycle repeats itself.
The drip defrosting system of the refrigerator is simple and reliable, it rarely fails. If something breaks, it is a thermal relay with a temperature sensor. It will not be a problem to replace it, sensors are inexpensive, available in every service center and private craftsmen. It will take 10-15 minutes to replace the sensor and the refrigerator will work again. If you do not know how to choose a reliable refrigerator, experts recommend drip models. In addition, they are not so expensive.
The No Frost system and its varieties
The No Frost system is arranged differently. An evaporator is installed in the freezer compartment, in which, due to the boiling of the refrigerant, heat is extracted from the air and products in the freezer. Between the freezer and the refrigerating chamber, there are ducts through which the fan drives cold air from the freezer into the refrigerating chamber. This is how products are cooled in all refrigerator compartments.
The operating principle of the NoFrost system is more complex, contains more components. The amount of ice on the evaporator is controlled by a special sensor. To eliminate it, several heating elements are inserted into the compressor. When receiving a signal from the sensor about the formation of a large amount of ice, the compressor is turned off, the heating elements are turned on. By heating the refrigerant, they try to defrost the frozen ice. The water that has formed flows through the tube into the tank, which is located next to the compressor. After the refrigerant heats up to a certain temperature, a special sensor turns off the heaters and turns on the compressor. The cycle begins anew.
In addition to the “pure” No Frost automatic defrosting algorithm, there are two varieties of it: Frost Free and Full No Frost. Refrigerators with the Frost Free system are a combination of automatic and drip systems. They have automatic defrosting in the freezer, and a drip system in the refrigerating compartments. In the Full No Frost variant, defrosting is automatic in both chambers, only they work independently of each other, respectively, have two compressors, two control modules, two sensors each, etc. Of course, these systems are more reliable, but also more expensive.
Which is better: drip defrosting system or No Frost
The main advantage of No Frost refrigerators is quick freezing of products in the freezer and cooling in the refrigerating chamber. This allows you to store more useful substances. But due to the active forced movement of air, products are “weathered”. If you put them without packaging, they dry very quickly. This also applies to the freezer and refrigerator compartment. Therefore, all products stored in these units must be well packed.
The second disadvantage is that the No Frost system is indeed more complex, with a large number of components. It breaks more often (compared to drip systems), repairs are more expensive. In addition, it is more expensive when buying (again, because there are more components). The third disadvantage is that with the same external dimensions, drip refrigerators have a larger internal volume because they take up less space.
No Frost refrigerators have one major advantage — they freeze/cool foods faster, preserving more nutrients. The second plus is that they do not need to be defrosted – the system itself copes with this task. But, according to sanitary regulations, any freezer must be processed once every six months. This will prevent the development of fungi, mold, which overgrows the drainage tube. So this advantage is practically “nothing”.
From all that has been said, the following conclusions can be drawn about how to choose a refrigerator according to the defrosting method:
- if the budget is limited, and you need a reliably working unit, choose a drip defrosting system;
- if finances allow, buy Frost Free and Full No Frost.
Climate class is important
This characteristic is rarely paid attention to. And in vain. It depends on how well the refrigerator will cope with its tasks in the heat. Not only that, it depends on how long it will work, since the same model of different climatic classes is provided with units of different power. This applies both to the power of the compressors and the volume of the refrigerant. One more point: if you buy a refrigerator of a lower class than you need due to weather conditions, you may be denied warranty repair due to violations of the operating rules. So, before choosing a refrigerator for your home or country house, familiarize yourself with this characteristic.
The climate class of the refrigerator shows the temperature regime at which it should be operated. There are four classes, data from them are shown in the table.
|International designation||Temperature regime||Notes|
|N||from +16°C to +32°C||In climates with not very hot summers, in heated rooms|
|SN||from +10°C to +32°C||In climates with not very hot summers, in unheated rooms (corridors, basements)|
|St||from +18°C to +38°C||In hot climates (called subtropical class) or in southern rooms without air conditioners|
|T||from +18°C to +43°C||In a very hot climate (the class is called tropical)|
|H-ST||from +16°C to +38°C||higher maximum temperature|
|NT||+16°C to +43°C||The lower temperature limit has been reduced|
|SN-ST||+10°C to +38°C||At a high “summer” temperature, it has a low “winter” border|
|SN-T||+10°C to +43°C||The widest range of temperatures|
It is easy to choose a refrigerator according to the temperature regime: you have an air conditioner and it easily maintains coolness in the kitchen, you can safely choose N normal. There is no air conditioning or it does not work, and the climate is quite hot – your choice is ST. Well, if you live in the south, you will need a T-class.
Recently, in connection with climatic changes, mixed classes began to be produced. They have an extended temperature range. This is certainly good, but remember that the wider the range, the more expensive the equipment. Although these costs are justified.
Please note that regardless of the class, a household refrigerator must work at a positive temperature. They are not designed for frost. There is only one class – subnormal (SN), which can work at a temperature of +10°C. The rest is designed for +18°C and not lower.
The climate class is displayed on the label pasted on the back of the refrigerator.
Compressor type: inverter or conventional
To understand which refrigerator to choose – with a conventional or inverter compressor – you need to imagine how they differ.
How does a refrigerator with a conventional compressor work? The set temperature is monitored by the sensor. When it decreases by 1-2 degrees, the sensor gives a signal to turn on, the relay is activated, the compressor is turned on. It works until the temperature is lower by the same 1-2 degrees. Then the cycle repeats.
In refrigerators with an ordinary compressor, the temperature varies in the range of plus or minus two to four degrees, the compressor always works at full capacity. At the same time, when it is turned on, overloads occur – starting currents are several times higher than operating currents. This overloads the system, interferes with the operation of power-sensitive equipment. In addition, these frequent starts lead to a large consumption of energy, shorten the life of the unit.
The inverter compressor has a power change system. Immediately after switching on, until the temperature is reached, it works at maximum speed. As the temperature approaches the set, its power gradually decreases. Then it works at low speeds – only maintaining the given mode. In the process of operation, the power is increased only after the refrigerator has been opened/closed, a new portion of food has been placed, due to which the temperature has increased. But they no longer work at the maximum – there is no need.
Therefore, in refrigerators with inverter compressors, the temperature is maintained stably, with minimal deviations. Starting currents occur very rarely – after turning off the power and defrosting. The compressor works constantly, but in a gentle mode, which extends its service life and reduces electricity consumption. Most models with high energy efficiency have an inverter compressor.
There is another type of inverter compressor – linear inverter. A very low level of noise and a low degree of wear and tear are added to all the advantages described above. If you want to choose the quietest refrigerator, look for linear-inverter compressors. For example, the LG GA M589ZMQZ with a linear-inverter cooler produces 40 dB of noise at maximum power. This is roughly what a human whisper sounds like. Although this is far from the only refrigerator with such a noise level, there are LIEBHERR CTP 2521, Bomann KG 211, NORD DRF 200, GORENJE RKI4182E1, BEKO RCSK339M20 W, Indesit TIA 140 and many more models. There are even quieter ones – they emit from 23 to 37 dB, but their prices are very high – about $3,000.
The lack of refrigerators with an inverter compressor (any) is their price. They are twice as expensive as models with similar parameters, but with a conventional cooler. Another disadvantage is that they are demanding on the quality of the power supply. Therefore, when buying a refrigerator with an inverter compressor, take care of the voltage stabilizer. Despite all the shortcomings, if there is an opportunity, it is better to take inverter models.
Now you know how to choose a refrigerator according to the main technical parameters. That was the hardest part. It remains to deal with simple things.
Dimensions, number and location of cameras
Probably everyone knows how to choose a refrigerator based on external parameters. If there are restrictions, then you have to look for a model that fits into the available space. If there are no size restrictions, everything is easier – you can choose whatever you like.
Before choosing a refrigerator, familiarize yourself with the most common sizes – you will know in which group of manufacturers to look for
There are no rigid standards for the size of refrigerators, but there are the most common:
- depth – 60 cm;
- width – 50-60 cm;
- height from 120 cm to 190 cm.
And in general, there are them in different categories – from mini with parameters of 50*50*50 cm, which can be built into the living room furniture, to double – Side by Side 210*100*80 cm.
The number of cameras and their purpose
In addition to external dimensions, the location and volume of cameras should be selected. The number of cameras is from one to six, but the most popular option is two-camera. They consist of a freezer compartment and a medium-temperature one.
Multi-chamber variants (from three and above) also have a compartment with zero temperature and high humidity. Products bought “for tomorrow” are stored here. It is dangerous to leave them in the usual compartment – they can spoil, there is no point in freezing them – you will have to defrost them in a few hours.
There are also models with several freezers. Different temperatures are maintained there. The term of guaranteed product storage depends on the “depth” of the minus. Another type of chamber is a wine bunker. It maintains a certain temperature and humidity. There are two-mode wine compartments – for storing white and red wine, they maintain different atmospheres.
Therefore, before choosing a refrigerator, think about which cameras and in what quantity you need, and which ones you can do without.
Parameters of freezer compartments
When choosing a refrigerator, pay attention to what temperature the freezer maintains. This depends on the duration of storage of products in it:
- -6 C (marked by one snowflake *) – storage for up to one week;
- -12 °C (**) – guaranteed storage for up to 14 days;
- -18 °C (***) – Can be stored for up to 1 month;
- below -18 °C (****) – up to 6 months.
It is still necessary to decide where the freezer should be located. In principle, since this compartment is not used so often, it is more rational for it to be at the bottom. In this case, the refrigerating chamber, which is used much more often, is located somewhere at the level of the hips and higher, so there is no need to squat or bend down.
Energy efficiency class
A refrigerator is a piece of equipment that always works. Therefore, it is advisable to choose a model that consumes a small amount of electricity.
But when choosing, note that the higher the energy efficiency class, the higher the price, and the difference is significant. Judge for yourself. Here are the prices for 2-chamber refrigerators, taken from one well-known Internet service for finding equipment:
- A +++ price from $500:
- A++ – from $285;
- A + – from $160.
It is not worth taking household appliances below class A – it is too expensive to operate. And consider that these are the simplest models in their class – with a minimum of “bells and whistles” and service functions.
Additional functions and features
What manufacturers do not invent – refrigerators even come with a built-in TV. But in addition to exotic models with their unique “bells and whistles” are very useful. If there is an opportunity to pay extra for comfort and ease of use. So, what additional features can a refrigerator have:
- Supercooling of the refrigerating chamber. The mode used when bulk loading of products for freezing. Or if their temperature is high (in the summer, in the heat). The compressor is turned on at full power to quickly reduce the temperature to +2°С. After that, it switches to regular mode of operation.
- Super freezing of the freezer. A similar regime, only the temperature is brought to -24°С.
- Antibacterial coating of the refrigerating chamber. The composition of the coating includes silver ions, which prevent the development of mold and disease-causing bacteria.
- Wine cabinet. A chamber with shelves for bottles and a special microclimate.
- Ice generator. There are two options – with a connection to the water supply or a water tank.
- Supply of chilled water. Water is poured into a special refrigerator tank. Its temperature is constantly maintained, and it is supplied to the recess on the outer part of the door through special tubes.
- Electronic control. Allows you to more accurately set the operating modes, control the processes taking place in the refrigerator. The state of the refrigerator is displayed on the digital panel.
- Temperature indicator. Helps control temperature.
- Open door indication. If the refrigerator door remains open for a long time, a light or sound signal is given.
- Overhanging doors. In the standard version of the door, it is made “under the right hand”. In models with the possibility of overhanging, they can open in the opposite direction.
So far, these are all functions that can be found in refrigerators that are produced in series.