American fridge freezers
How to buy the best American fridge freezer
By Jess O'Leary
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Want an American fridge freezer? From useful features to choosing a water dispenser, our expert advice has your American fridge freezer needs covered.
Best Buy fridge freezers – see our leaderboard of excellent fridge freezers to pick the best one for your kitchen and budget.
Should I buy an American fridge freezer?
American fridge freezers look impressive and promise the end to an overflowing fridge and crammed-to-bursting freezer. But before you get stuck with a bulky appliance that dominates your kitchen and costs a small fortune to run, make sure an American model really is the best type for you.
American fridge freezer pros
- American fridge freezers offer more storage space for fresh and frozen food than regular fridge freezers.
- Useful features - such as a frost-free freezer, bottle racks and a fast-freeze function - often come as standard.
- They look great.
- They have lots of fridge shelves and racks for storing items of all shapes and sizes.
- Many come with water dispensers and ice makers.
American fridge freezer cons
- They’re pricey to buy and expensive to run.
- American fridge freezers take up a lot of space and may be too big for your kitchen.
- A water dispenser that offers unlimited chilled water has to be plumbed in to the mains water supply.
- Alternative water dispensers have refillable jugs, but you’ll have to keep topping them up.
- They have fewer freezer drawers than you’d find in a conventional freezer.
- We've found that many are sluggish chillers, meaning food will spoil more quickly than it should.
We’ve tested American fridge freezers from brands such as Beko, Bosch, LG and Samsung to see how good they are at chilling and whether they’re pricey to power for their size. You can see how models compare by reading our fridge freezer reviews – after you go through to our reviews, tick the ‘American’ filter in the panel on the left to just see American models.
What size American fridge freezer should I buy?
American fridge freezers are large and bulky, so it’s crucial to buy one that’s the right size for your kitchen – you don’t want it to dominate the space or block an area that you need access to.
You may also have to factor in extra space at the back, sides and/or top for air to circulate – particularly if it needs to fit inside a specialist housing in a built-in kitchen. With this in mind, it’s important to consider the following dimensions carefully:
American fridge freezers are much wider than conventional models – some can be more than 90cm across.
They’re also deeper than standard models – typically 70cm or more. So make sure you factor this in if you’re planning to put your new fridge freezer in a different place.
American models can be too deep to manoeuvre through front doors and internal doors, so measure your doorways to see whether you’ll be able to get it into your kitchen. If you’re unsure, ask the retailer whether they will remove (and reattach) the fridge freezer doors when they deliver it – and whether this will cost extra.
American models are around 175-180cm tall.
American models are deep - so measure your internal doorways to check you’ll be able to get it into your kitchen.
I want a water and ice dispenser: what do I need to know?
Chilled, filtered water and instant ice are tempting features of American fridge freezers, but most models have to be plumbed into the mains water supply. This will affect where you can put it in your kitchen and can make them expensive to install.
Also, you’ll have to change the water filters every six months or so. Replacement filters can cost anything from £20 to more than £90 each, so it’s worth checking the cost of these before you buy, to avoid costly surprises later on.
Some models have removable water jugs that you simply top up from the tap. This means you won’t have to factor in plumbing costs, and you can put the fridge freezer anywhere in your kitchen. But you’ll only get two to three litres of water before you’ll need to refill the jug.
How much do American fridge freezers cost?
American fridge freezers are larger than conventional models and so are generally more expensive.
Prices vary hugely between brands. You can pay as little as £500-£600 for basic models from the likes of Beko, Daewoo and Hisense, and more than £2,000 for a premium appliance from Fisher & Paykel, Siemens and Smeg. Most American fridge freezers fall into the £800-£1,500 price bracket.
Whichever brand you choose, you’ll pay more for features such as a stainless steel finish, digital displays and water and automatic ice dispensers.
What type of back does my American fridge freezer have?
You might not have considered this when buying a fridge freezer before but there is a growing body of evidence from the London Fire Brigade to indicate that the backing material used on a fridge freezer can increase the spread of fire.
Its tests have shown that if the insulation present in all appliances is not protected sufficiently by a flame-resistant backing, then it can ignite readily and lead to a rapid fire developing.
We are therefore taking the precautionary approach of only recommending those appliances with metal backing – either metal or aluminium laminate – or flame-retardant plastic backs. No non-flame-retardant plastic-backed products, even if they otherwise performed well in our product tests, have retained or been awarded our fridge freezer Best Buy recommendation.
If we have a review of the fridge freezer you're thinking of buying, the material of the back panel and whether or not it’s flame retardant should be listed in the technical specifications of the review. If not, or if your model hasn’t been reviewed by us, we recommend contacting the manufacturer of your appliance.
If you already own an appliance with a non-flame-retardant plastic back, it's worth knowing that the likelihood of a refrigerator fire is very low, and the material used in the backing allows an existing fire to spread – but it isn’t the cause of fire itself.
Read more on fridge freezer safety.
What features do American fridge freezer features have?
Lots of American fridge freezers come with extra cooling and storage features as standard. These can include:
- Frost-free freezer This is probably the most useful fridge freezer feature of all, as it saves you the laborious job of scraping away ice and mopping up water from your kitchen floor.
- Fast-freeze function This boosts fresh-food freezing times, so food is fresher when you defrost it.
- Extra storage features American models often have extra compartments, such as chiller drawers to help keep meat and fish extra-cold and shielded from the warm air that seeps in whenever you open the door.
- Adjustable shelves Look for these in the fridge and freezer, so you can arrange the space as you want it.
- Bottle rack This allows you to stow bottles safely and means you can free up shelf space.
Which American fridge freezer features should I pay more for?
It depends on your budget and the brand you want – as premium features, such as automatic ice dispensers and a stainless steel finish, are nice extras that inevitably bump up the price. If you want an American model with the very latest mod cons and cooling technology, consider choosing the following:
- Separate thermostats These allow you to create more accurate fridge and freezer temperatures.
- Independent cooling systems Some have separate fridge and freezing cooling circuits. This helps keep moisture in the fridge and minimise food dehydration, which is good for preserving food with a high water content - such as salad.
- Digital display From setting the thermostat to programming functions such as fast-freeze, a digital display looks good and can make fridge freezers easier to set up and use.
- Water dispenser Whether plumbed-in or refillable, a water dispenser provides instant access to chilled water.
- Ice maker Automatic ice makers are usually integrated with water dispensers and supply cubes of crushed ice. You’ll find manual ice makers in the freezer section – you fill the removable tray with water, and when the ice is ready you twist the dial to release it.
Discover the American fridge freezers that cool fast, so food lasts longer without guzzling energy in the process - check out our fridge freezer reviews. When you go through to our reviews, use the 'Type' filter on the left to just see reviews of American fridge freezers.