In the Indian market, you will find 4 major types of refrigerators. These are single door, double door, triple door and side by side door fridges.
Each of them come in different capacity ranges that are suitable for different family sizes. For example,
Single doors have a smaller capacity and are suitable for nuclear families with 2-3 members. They are also the most affordable ones on the list.
Double doors are bigger than single doors and are suitable for mid-size families with 3 to 4 members. They are very popular as they offer more space and are reasonably priced.
Triple and side by side doors are much bigger than others and hence offer a lot of space. They also come with many advanced features such as wifi connection, water/ice dispensers etc and are suitable for large families.
This is just the capacity of the different fridges. While buying a new unit, you need to consider many other factors like cooling type, the power consumption, type of compressor and more. These factors will decide the efficiency of your fridge.
We have discussed all of these factors in this article so that you can make a smart buying decision.
Types of Refrigerators
Refrigerators are generally categorised based on the type of doors they have. They usually come with 4 types of doors; single, double, triple and side by side. Let us understand them individually;
1. Single Door
Single door refrigerators have been in the market for a long time now. As the name suggests they have a single door.
These fridges are usually smaller in size and their capacity can range between 165 to 280 litres. This type of refrigerator is best suitable for small families with 2 to 3 members.
Moreover, these traditional types of refrigerators generally do not come with advanced features like auto-defrost, hot/cold water dispenser etc. Depending on the capacity, you can find them at the price of Rs.10,000 to Rs.20,000.
2. Double Door
Double door refrigerators as the name suggest have two doors; one is the main door for fruits, vegetables etc and the other one is on the top which is the freezer compartment.
The primary difference between a double door and a single door is that the size of the double door is much bigger and the freezer compartment in a double door fridge is twice or thrice the size of a single door freezer.
The average size of a double door can range from 235 to 415 litres.
Most double door refrigerators come with frost-free technology. This means that they can automatically defrost themselves and you don’t need to do anything.
Since they have a spacious design they are suitable for families with 4 to 5 members. You can easily find them in the price range of Rs.20,000 to Rs.30,000.
3. Triple Door
Triple door refrigerators have 3 compartments. Here, in addition to the main door and a freezer section, there is also a fresh produce section at the bottom. This section is designed to keep the fruits and vegetables fresh for a long time.
This type of refrigerator gives adequate space to all the sections. They have a big freezer and main area along with a large produce section. The 3 separate compartments also ensure that the food odour does not mix with one another. This keeps the food fresh for longer.
Any family with 4 – 5 members can easily use them. You will find features like toughened glass shelves, adjustable shelves, frost-free technology and more in triple door refrigerators.
Usually, you can find triple door refrigerators between the price range of Rs.25,000 to Rs.30,000 and capacity of 200 to 350 litres.
4. Side By Side Door
Side by side refrigerators are the most advanced kind of refrigerator on the list. Here the freezer and the main compartment are of equal size. This means that you can store a lot of things in the freezer compartment.
The side by side door also makes it easier for you to access both the freezer and the main compartment without having to bend over or reach up.
They also come in huge capacities, somewhere between 500 to 900 litres and are suitable for bigger families with more than 6 members.
They are generally expensive and can range between Rs.60,000 up to Rs.3,00,000. This is because they come with many advanced features like power saving mode, water/ice dispenser, wi-fi connectivity, child lock, inverter compressor, digital sensor and more.
Things to consider before buying a refrigerator:
A refrigerator is one of those appliances that will be used for several years at least. This is why you need to ensure that it has some important functions that will make your refrigerator work smoothly for a long time. We have listed some of these below;
Most refrigerators offer a temperature control setting where you can adjust the temperature inside the refrigerator depending on the outside temperature. This makes it very convenient to control the temperature based on the food you need to store.
For example, if you want to store a lot of meat or other easily perishable items then you can decrease the temperature and make it cooler to preserve the food for longer.
Some models also offer a temperature control feature through which you can change the temperature of certain areas inside the fridge. This is a very beneficial feature to have as you might need to preserve certain foods that are very easily perishable like milk, meat etc while not disturbing the temperature of other areas in the fridge.
Most refrigerators will operate 24X7. This means that any noise the fridge creates will also continue 24X7. This is why you need to ensure that your fridge creates as little noise as possible. Even small noise that does not feel significant at the beginning will start bothering you in the long run.
3. Power Usage
Next is the most important feature that you need to consider i.e the power consumption. The power usage of any refrigerator will depend on its capacity. This is because a refrigerator that is of a bigger capacity will require more power to cool itself.
However, many refrigerators, especially the ones with larger capacity come with energy-efficient mode and star ratings which conserves a lot of power.
While purchasing the refrigerator, look for a 5 or 4 stars rating and an energy-efficient option or power-saving mode. This will save a considerable amount of electricity.
4. Life span
Refrigerators are heavy electronic devices. The chances of malfunction or damage are also high. This is the reason you need to also consider the warranty period that is being offered by the brand.
The longer the warranty period, the better it will be for you. You should look for a minimum of 1-year full-body warranty and 1.5 years on the compressor.
You should also consider if there is a service centre near your place. If a brand doesn’t have a service centre in your city then it will be very difficult for you to get regular maintenance and servicing done.
5. Food preservation
To keep the fruits and vegetables fresh for a long time, some refrigerators offer a freshness feature. This kind of feature requires two evaporators and an air purifier; the evaporators prevent excessive dryness inside the fridge and the air purifier disinfects the air and removes any bacteria and mould.
The combination of the two keeps the food fresh for a long time. Try to buy a fridge with a freshness feature as this will allow you to preserve the food especially the fruits and vegetables for a longer time.
Defrosting is the process of removing the ice that gathers inside the freezer compartment. Most old school refrigerators with single doors require you to press a button inside the fridge to defrost the freezer. This defrosting process is a hassle because you will need to keep an eye on the container below the fridge that collects the water. You will need to throw the water to avoid it from overflowing.
These days, most fridges except single door ones come with frost-free technology which does not allow the frost to get accumulated and hence does not require defrosting.
7. Cooling type
There are generally two types of cooling that you need to choose from.
One is frost-free cooling. In this type of cooling, electric fans circulate the cold air inside the fridge. This kind of cooling keeps your food fresh for longer. They also do not accumulate frost so you don’t need to defrost them.
They will use a lot of electricity and are generally expensive as well.
The second is direct cooling. Here the air is circulated naturally without the fans. This is the reason it accumulates ice or frost inside the freezer. You need to defrost them regularly. They are effective for smaller families where you do not need to store a lot of food. This technology is cheaper than the frost-free ones.
Choosing the Right Power Consumption
Since a fridge works long hours, they tend to use a lot of power. This will add up to your electricity bill. Therefore you need to choose a refrigerator that uses the right amount of power. As we stated above, you need to look for star ratings and power-saving mode. The more stars your fridge has the better it will at saving power.
There is also another way for you to save electricity consumption by your fridge. This is through inverter technology. In a regular fridge, the compressor constantly runs at the same temperature to cool the inside of the refrigerator.
In an inverter technology, the compressor will work according to the cooling needed inside the fridge. This means that if the temperature inside the fridge is already very low, then the compressor will work at a very low speed or stop working until the temperature rises inside the fridge. The compressor here works as per the temperature inside the refrigerator.
This way the load on the compressor is less and you can save up to 30% on power consumption through an inverter type refrigerator. This will also keep your compressor in the best conditions for a long time.
Features to look for:
1. Adjustable Shelves:
Adjustable shelves are one of the most useful features to have in your fridge. Through this, you can change the distance between two shelves inside the fridge to store food according to your needs.
You can also remove the shelves and create a bigger space to keep bigger cookware etc. This makes storing food very easy without having to adjust or transfer the food into smaller bowls etc.
2. Toughened Glass Shelves:
Refrigerators with toughened glass shelves have become famous these days. This is because, unlike traditional plastic-covered iron wired shelves, glass shelves give a classy look to the interiors.
They are also very strong and can handle heavy weight easily. You can easily notice spills and stains with toughened glass shelves due to their transparent nature. Toughened glass is also safe for food-grade use so you can store things without worrying about their toxicity.
Crisper is the drawer in your refrigerator where you keep your fruits and vegetables. This area is sealed tightly to avoid water and moisture from entering it. You should look for a bigger crisper compartment to accommodate all the fruits and vegetables that you need. The ideal size of a crisper is 45 cm in width.
You should also look for two crisper compartments instead of one. This way you can separate the fruits and vegetables and prevent the odour from mixing with each other.
1. Conversion Feature:
This feature is available in high-end refrigerators. It is a very innovative feature where the freezer compartment can be converted to a fridge.
This is very useful when you have a lot of food to store and the freezer compartment is empty. You can conveniently increase the storage capacity of the fridge with this feature.
2. Through the Door Water/Ice Dispersion:
You can find this in the side by side refrigerators. You can get cold water and ice through the dispenser on the door of the refrigerator. This feature is generally preferred for their aesthetics.
3. Smart Digital Display with Wi-Fi Control:
Smart refrigerators are a new type of refrigerators that can be connected to the internet and perform advanced functions like playing music, videos of recipes etc.
You can connect your fridge to a mobile app and find out when you are running out of groceries or when your food is going bad without opening the refrigerator. However, this feature comes with a hefty price tag.
4. Stabilizer Free Operation:
If you live in an area where there are frequent fluctuations in power then a stabilizer might be necessary for you. But these days stabilizer free and in-built stabilizer technologies are being introduced in the market. These do not need additional stabilizers. They can handle fluctuation in power.
Samsung’s stabiliser free refrigerator can even handle voltage as low as 135 V.
5. Reversible Door:
This is another advanced feature that is available in high-end refrigerators. In this feature, you can change the direction of the refrigerator door. This is great for people who change houses regularly and need their fridge to fit into various kitchen layouts.
You should note that you can reverse the door of most refrigerators with some mechanical effort. If you are unable to do so, then expert mechanics can also help you change the side of the door.
Since refrigerators are a necessity in most homes and will be used for a long time, you need to make a smart decision while buying them.
The main thing you need to see is the capacity and the size of the refrigerator. The capacity should be suitable for your family size and the size should be fit for your kitchen.
Then you need to go through all the features we have listed above and decide on which ones will be most useful for your home.