Route 66: The Pros and Cons of the American-Style Fridge Freezer
Image by Mike Mozart
There's no denying that American-style fridge freezers have that all-important wow factor. They're big, they look impressive and, most importantly, they hold lots of food. On top of that, they can also make a real style statement in your kitchen.
Although aesthetically imposing and sensibly practical, you'll still need to consider whether an American-style fridge freezer is right for you and your kitchen.
To make the decision a little easier, we've compiled a list of the pros and cons – as well as a few other handy bite-sized nuggets – of these kitchen-based domestic behemoths.
American-Style Fridge Freezers
American-style fridge freezers are larger than their Brit-based counterparts, letting you store, keep cool and freeze considerably more food until you're ready to eat it.
Typically, the freezer compartment is next to the fridge, but the style has evolved to the point where you can find the latest models with a two-door fridge with freezer drawers underneath, and there are even some models with four doors comprising of two for each compartment.
- Aesthetically, they look fantastic
- They offer more storage space, so you can store a lot more fresh and frozen food than traditional freestanding fridge freezers
- American-style fridge freezers come with a raft of features as standard, including digital displays, frost-free freezer, chiller cabinets and high-temperature alarms
- They have a veritable treasure trove of shelves and racks, making it ideal to fit foods of all shapes and sizes inside
- Lots of models come with water dispensers and ice makers
- American-style fridge freezers are a bit more expensive than conventional fridge freezers
- They also eat up electric more hungrily than traditional models
- Because they're bigger, they obviously take up a lot more space, so it may be too big for your kitchen
- Most models, which have water and ice dispenser facilities, will need to be plumbed directly into the mains
- They have fewer freezer drawers than you'll find in a conventional freezer
The Anatomy of an American-Style Fridge Freezer
Consider Space and Costs
While water and ice dispensers are handy little extra features, they will eat into the overall freezer storage space. And if you opt for a model that uses mains water, you'll need to install close to the pipes and factor in the extra plumbing costs.
A Handy Arrangement
The freezer section is generally slimmer than the fridge and most of them are supplied with a selection of storage shelves – though you'll have to apply your own ingenuity and skill to arrange them to maximise the space. They also have particularly handy side-pockets, which provide additional storage space.
The majority of American-style fridge freezers comprise of more than one ‘salad crisper’ drawer, particularly useful for keeping salad leaves tender and away from those bulkier vegetables.
The Way You Want It
The adjustable fridge shelves offer extra storage space and allow you to organise the fridge space exactly as you want it. For example, you can make sufficient space for a large joint of meat one day, then reconfigure the shelves the next day to accommodate smaller items.
Rack 'n Roll
We've all had the nuisance of trying to store a bottle of wine in the fridge only for it to roll around on the shelves – but the bottle racks let you store wine safely and securely.
Easy To Adjust
Door racks are the perfect place for storing jars, bottles and cartons, and at least one of them can be adjusted in height so you can fit larger bottles of milk or fizzy drink. The door racks also have covered compartments, so you can keep dairy products cold and fresh.
Size and Dimensions
American-style fridge freezers are bigger beasts than their Brit counterparts and can be pretty bulky – so make sure you buy one that you can actually fit in your kitchen. You'll need to check the dimensions carefully as, for some models, you'll need to take into account extra space at the back, sides and top.
American fridge freezers are also a lot wider than our traditional, conventional model, with some of them clocking in at more than 90cm across – so again, make sure you've got the space for it.
American fridge freezers are also deeper than normal models, at usually 70cm or more, so this has to be factored in when you're considering buying one.
It's also important to point out that American fridge freezer models can be very tricky to manoeuver through doors, so measure your doorways to ensure you can get the appliance into your kitchen in the first place. It's possible to remove and reattach the doors, but get this done professionally, if you're having it delivered.
American models are around 175-180cm tall.
American-Style Fridge Freezers with Water Dispensers
Most of us are partial to gadgets, gizmos and extra bonus features, and the chilled water and instant ice might be tempting at first to the appliance enthusiast. However, bear in mind these features mean it will need to be plumbed into the mains water supply, as well as restricting where you can position it in the kitchen.
Consider too the fact that you'll need to change the water filter roughly every six months, and replacement filters can take a sizeable chomp out your wallet, ranging from £20 to over £90 each. Do some damage limitation and make sure it's well within your budget, so you avoid any unpleasant financial surprises later down the line.
Many American fridge freezers have removable water jugs, which you can top up from the tap, meaning you won't have to connect it to the water pipes or consider plumbing costs. It also means you can put it anywhere you want in the kitchen. Just take into account you'll only be able to get two or three litres of water before you'll need to refill the jug.
A larger American-style fridge freezer inevitably means a heftier price tag.
You can pick up a basic Beko model for as little as £500, while a top-of-the-range model will set you back £3,000 and more. Generally, the majority of American-style fridge freezers are on the market in the £800 - £1,500 bracket.
Models which are more expensive than that will most likely come with a host of extra features such as a premium finish. Plus, versions which have separate fridge and freezer thermostats will also hike up the price tag.
Fridge Freezer Brands
There are several top brands which manufacture a range of American-style fridge freezers, including Samsung, Bosch, Beko and Hotpoint.
If you ever find yourself gripped by a domestic appliance dilemma and your fridge freezer's on the blink, Ransom Spares has a great range of fridge and freezer spares and parts.
By Lee Gilbert
Category: Articles, News & Tips