Fridges play a starring role in kitchens, which makes buying a new one a bit of a big deal. The latest fridge-freezers keep food fresher for longer, dispense ice and filtered water whenever you want it, can order groceries and even stream music and TV shows while you cook. Need help narrowing the search? Follow our guide to buying the right fridge for your lifestyle and budget.

What To Look For When Buying A Fridge

“When choosing a fridge-freezer, the first thing you need to do is work out the right capacity for the number of people who live in your home,” says Peter Simic, National Category Manager – Refrigeration at The Good Guys. “Consider your needs. If you are a two-person household that eats out every second day, there is no need to buy a 600-litre French door fridge. That would be inefficient and use up electricity unnecessarily.” But if you have a bigger family or love to entertain, that French door fridge could be just the ticket. As a general rule, one to two people will need 200 to 400 litres, three to four people will need 520 to 600 litres, and five-plus people will need 700 litres.

Types Of Fridges

Finding the ideal fridge starts with pinpointing the perfect configuration. Do you want the freezer up top or down below? French or double door? Or maybe a bar fridge will fit the bill? Here’s the lowdown on fridge types.

Top-mount vs Bottom-mount

Top-mount fridges are the traditional choice, with the freezer up top and fridge down below. They come in a variety of sizes, are the cheapest to buy and the cheapest to run. The downside? You need to bend down to access the fridge, which might not be ideal if you are tall or have a bad back. “From a pure convenience point of view, bottom-mount fridges are great,” says Peter Simic. “After all, you open the fridge compartment more often than the freezer, which makes bottom-mount fridges more user-friendly.” Also, bottom-mount fridges are only slightly more expensive to buy and run than top-mount fridges. Like most things, it comes down to personal preference.

Side by Side Fridges

Also known as side-by-side fridges, double door fridges have a freezer on the left and fridge on the right. Space is the big plus here, with capacity ranging from 600 to 700 litres, making them ideal for big families and entertainers. Narrow doors make double door fridges a good option for snug kitchens. Many double door models also have handy ice and water dispensers, but keep in mind these can take up valuable space in the freezer. “Double doors are a popular and cost-effective option if you want a big fridge and a good amount of freezer space that’s easily accessible, but it can be difficult to fit party platters,” says Peter Simic. French door fridges with extra-wide shelves are the ultimate party fridge.

French Door Fridges

The best fridge for entertainers and hungry households, French door fridges offer plenty of storage and extra-wide shelves for cheese boards and sushi platters. “It’s all about the shelving,” says Peter Simic. “You’ve got the full width of the fridge to play with and a better view of what’s in there.” French door fridges have two side-by-side fridge doors on top, with various combinations below. These can include one or two freezer drawers or two more doors that conceal easy-to-access freezer drawers. Everything in the fridge is at eye-level, the narrow fridge doors don’t take up much space when open, and freezer drawers make it easy to keep food organised. Integrated ice and water dispensers are optional with many models.

Bar Fridges

What’s the number one thing to keep in mind when shopping for a bar fridge? “Capacity,” says Peter Simic. “After all, you need to make sure the fridge can hold all the beers, ciders and snacks you need it to.” But aesthetics is important too. “Ask yourself, ‘Is it going to be on show or in the garage?’ If it’s going in the garage, typically people spend less and buy an ordinary white fridge. If it’s a man cave, you could go for a retro bar fridge or something in matte black or stainless steel.” Peter says beverage centres are also a great option for storing drinks in an outdoor area, home office or home cinema. “You can easily store a 24-pack of soft drink cans, and the glass doors mean you can see what needs replacing.”

Wine Fridges

Form meets function in wine fridges that store your red, white and sparkling wines at the ideal 12 to 18 degrees. “Wine fridges look great with their see-through doors and a lot of renovators are incorporating them in their kitchen designs for that reason,” says Peter Simic. “They are also addictive. We see a lot of people coming in to upgrade their wine fridges, or to buy a second one.” There are two main types of wine fridges: single temperature, which is perfect for storing one type of wine, such as red or white; and multi-zone, which has separate temperature controls that mean you can store red and white in the same cabinet. For ideal cellaring conditions, wine fridges also store bottles at the correct angle, have built-in light protection and are free of vibrations.

More Tips For Choosing A Fridge

Smart Fridges

So you’re at the supermarket and can’t recall if you need milk? With a smart fridge, you can check via an app on your smartphone. Wi-Fi connectivity makes it all possible, and also lets you sync to-do lists and calendars to a touchscreen display, access recipes based on your fridge contents, stream Bluey for the kids while lunch is being made, or stream soaring ballads while you whip up the world’s best risotto.
“Fridges have evolved and if you are after the latest in tech and you want a connected home, a smart fridge is for you,” says Peter Simic. Other smart features include a door-in-door compartment that gives you easy access to drinks and condiments, and a “knock twice” feature that lets you see through the door. “Both these features help to save energy by not opening the full door or limiting how often you need to open it,” says Peter Simic.

The Best Fridge Colours and Finishes

Black is big for fridges – matte black, black glass and black stainless steel textures,” says Peter Simic. “Dark shades bring a real sophistication to a space, and it’s a look you can carry through all your kitchen appliances.” Just keep in mind that black appliances can make a space seem darker if natural light is limited. Looking for a MasterChef-worthy finish? Slick stainless steel, a mainstay of professional kitchens, is the go. If colour is your thing, vintage-style fridges in gelato shades are a fun choice. “Just be sure to choose a colour you’ll be happy to live with for 10 or so years,” says Peter. Classic white is the easiest to keep clean (it won’t show fingerprints) and white fridges are the cheapest to buy.

Energy-efficient Fridges

If you want to keep your energy bills down, choosing an energy-efficient fridge is a good place to start. Fridges account for up to eight per cent of your electricity bill, with larger fridges using more energy than smaller ones. By law, every fridge or freezer for sale in Australia must meet a minimum level of energy efficiency and display an Energy Rating Label in-store. The star rating shows you how the fridge performs and the more energy stars, the more savings. Fridges and freezers are about 70 per cent more efficient than they were 30 years ago and continue to improve. “A fridge that you bought five years ago is consuming more energy compared to models on sale now,” says Peter Simic. “To save on running costs, you might want to consider an upgrade.”

"Black is big for fridges – matte black, black glass and black stainless steel textures,” says Peter Simic, Fridge and Freezer Buyer at The Good Guys, “Dark shades bring a real sophistication to a space, and it’s a look you can carry through all your kitchen appliances.”

Must-have Fridge Features

“The ice and filtered water dispenser would be the number one feature that people look for when upgrading their fridge,” says Peter Simic. “Especially the ice. Some models make cubed and crushed ice, and even ice balls. Having the dispenser on the outside of the fridge also means you don’t have to open the fridge itself, so cold air does not escape.” Other top features to look for include:

  • LED touchscreens with Wi-Fi connectivity so you can display photos on the door, leave notes, access recipes online, stream music and watch TV shows.
  • Hands-free opening with your foot for when your hands are full.
  • A warning beep if you leave the door open too long or forget to close it.
  • A crisper that seals well to keep vegetables fresh, and can be easily removed for cleaning.
  • Adjustable or split shelves that let you make better use of the space.
  • Spill-proof shelves with a lip at the end to contain any spills.
  • Quick-chill setting in the fridge for drinks and a quick-freeze setting in the freezer for meats.
  • Child-proof locks on temperature controls, water and ice dispenser, and medicine compartment.
  • LED lights that create a more natural light in the fridge and generate less heat so the fridge stays cool.

Fridge Installation Tips and Advice

When measuring for a new fridge, you need to allow for air gaps at the sides, back and top for ventilation. “Also, make sure there is enough room to open the fridge doors,” says Peter Simic. “It sounds like an obvious thing but it’s a mistake you don’t want to make.” Fridges with plumbed ice and water dispensers must be fitted by a plumber. The Good Guys Home Services can take the stress out of installation by organising a licensed professional to do it for you, and also take away your old fridge and all the bulky packaging. “If you’ve ever had to do that yourself, you’ll know how hard it is,” says Peter.

How Much You’ll Pay for a New Fridge

Prices start from $900 for a family-sized 500-litre, top-mount fridge, and go up to $9000 for an 800-litre, French door smart fridge with internet connectivity, a knock-twice door, and internal stainless steel interior – as opposed to traditional white plastic. Buy the best fridges in Australia online or in-store from The Good Guys. You’ll get a good deal on the best fridge brands such as Westinghouse, LG, Samsung, Kelvinator, Fisher & Paykel, Haier and Hisense.

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