If you’re planning on buying a new fridge freezer – because of a kitchen refit or simply to replace your old model – you might think you need to buy big to end up with lots of space inside for your shopping. But that’s not necessarily the case.
From the type of water dispenser you choose to the space-saving technology manufacturers are making use of, there are simple ways to make the most of the space in your kitchen and get more room for food in your fridge freezer.
See our pick of the best fridge freezers
1. Get a plumbed-in water dispenser
A water dispenser is a nice-to-have feature typically found on larger fridge freezers or American-style models. Some need to be plumbed in to the mains, while others have removable water jugs you fill from the tap.
Although a manually refillable water dispenser won’t require installation like a plumbed-in one will, it will take up more space inside the main cavity of your fridge freezer that could otherwise be used for storing food.
So if you want a fridge freezer with a water dispenser and you’re able to get it plumbed in (factoring in installation costs and ongoing filter replacement), check which type it has or risk losing precious space for your groceries.
2. Go for a fridge freezer with thinner insulation in the walls
One innovation we’ve seen in the cold appliances market in recent years is the use of thinner insulation in the walls of fridge freezers.
Samsung calls its approach SpaceMax Technology, and it has meant the company can reduce the size of an appliance’s walls and door to create large-capacity models, without increasing the external dimensions.
Take the Samsung RS68N8240S9 as an example. With dimensions of 178x92x75cm it provides 473 litres of usable space, or enough room for 25 supermarket carrier bags worth of shopping. Compare that with the Siemens KA90IVI20G, which has exactly the same external dimensions but only 379 litres of usable volume (around 20 bags of shopping).
Another difference between the two? The water dispenser in the Samsung is plumbed in, while the one in the Siemens is manually refillable.
We’ve tested some excellent Samsung fridge freezers, but they haven’t all been great. Read our Samsung fridge freezer reviews to find out the ones worth buying.
3. Buy a taller fridge freezer
Another trend we’re seeing is a rise in the number of fridge-freezers measuring 200cm and taller. Last year we tested more than ever before.
Using that dead space between the top of the appliance and the ceiling is an easy way to make more room for shopping. Opting for one of these models means you can replace your old fridge freezer with one of the same width and depth, but with a lot more usable space inside.
At 204cm high, the Bosch KGN39IJ3AG and the LG GBB72PZEFN are two of the tallest fridge freezers we’ve tested. But that’s where the similarities stop, as one breezed through our tough tests while the other one stuttered. Use our expert reviews to make sure you’re buying right.
4. No need for a gap on the sides or behind
Whenever you buy a new fridge freezer, manufacturers will typically recommend you leave a 25mm gap around it to allow for ventilation. This means if you have an available gap of around 60cm to fit in an appliance, you’re limited to buying a 55cm-wide fridge-freezer.
But manufacturers are innovating with new designs and materials to make better use of space. Bosch’s PerfectFit technology is a great example of this.
PerfectFit models require just a 4mm gap on each side, which allows them to slide in practically flush against walls or other appliances. This means they can slot in a space that previously might only have fitted slimmer models. That’s great news, as you’ll have more room inside for groceries.
The Bosch KIF86PF30 is the most recent PerfectFit model we’ve tested. Check out our full Bosch KIF86PF30 review to see if it’s a perfect fit for your kitchen.
5. Find out how much usable space is actually inside a fridge freezer
If you’re comparing our reviews with online listings, you might notice a big difference between a manufacturer’s claimed volume and our measured usable volume. Why is this?
Well, manufacturers typically measure volume with all the shelves, drawers and door racks taken out. Great for making you think you’re buying a cavernous appliance; not so great when you realise you can’t actually fit all your big shop inside.
When we measure storage capacity we leave everything in place and tell you the amount of space you can actually use for storing groceries. We’ve found an average 25% discrepancy between claimed usable volume and our measured usable volume. The biggest difference we’ve seen is a whopping 35%. In some cases it amounts to around nine carrier bags worth of shopping you won’t be finding room for, but assumed you would.
Keep these five points in mind when you’re shopping around for your next fridge freezer and you’ll be sure to find a model that will provide the most room for your food.