Refrigerator Buying Guide: How To Choose And Buy A Fridge In Singapore
Ask anyone what is the most important electrical appliance at home and chances are, they’ll say that it’s the air-con.
While we don’t doubt that claim given Singapore’s neverending summer, there’s actually one really critical device we all have in our homes that we usually take for granted: the humble refrigerator. Or as we Singaporeans call it, the fridge. Without a fridge, our eggs would go bad, our milk would spoil, and we wouldn’t be able to get a spoonful of ice cream whenever we crave it.
Whether you’re adulting for the first time or just want a guide on how to buy your next fridge, we’ve got easy-to-understand information and advice to help you choose and buy a new fridge. Here’s an overview of what to expect:
- Fridge Size: Will It Fit In My Kitchen?
- How Much Fridge Capacity Do I Need?
- Fridge Types Explained
- Other Things To Consider
- Best Time To Buy A Fridge
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Fridge Size: Will It Fit In My Kitchen?
The most important factor when it comes to buying a new fridge is determining what size will fit in your kitchen. If you pay a visit to physical stores like Best Denki or Courts, or even online merchants like Qoo10 or Lazada, you’ll notice that they always list refrigerators by their internal capacity. So go one step further and check the product information for external dimensions like the width, height, and depth.
You’d hate to walk into your brand new kitchen and see your fridge sticking out from your counter like so:
|What Is A Counter Depth Refrigerator?|
A counter depth refrigerator is just an atas way of naming a refrigerator that does not protrude from your counter. It looks better because it's a more seamless design and gives the appearance that you had the fridge custom made to fit your kitchen. They also fit better in smaller kitchens which would have shorter counters. The problem with counter depth refrigerators is that they can be slightly shallower as compared to conventional refrigerators.
A Smarter Way to get around this is to give the external dimensions of the fridge (which you wish to buy) to your interior designer and get them to design your counters so that they give the illusion that you have a counter depth refrigerator. Without having to spend more on an actual counter depth fridge.
Pro tip: You’ll also want to leave at least an inch around the back, sides, and top of the fridge to allow for proper ventilation and air circulation. Because you wouldn’t want to be caught in this situation when it overheats and breaks down:
Or the fact that your fridge is so big that you can’t even open the door without hitting the island or counter on the other side of the kitchen like so:
How Much Fridge Capacity Do I Need?
It really depends. REALLY. And yes, we know that that’s pretty useless advice.
If you do a quick search online for recommended fridge capacity, it’s worse because you’ll get:
- Guidelines listing 300 to 400 litres for a couple, 500 to 600 litres for a family of four, and 700 litres and above for a family of five.
- Or to make it even more confusing, it’ll be in cubic feet. Where they recommend that each adult will need a minimum of 4 to 6 cu. ft. A couple who doesn’t cook often will need 12 to 16 cu. ft. While one who does will need a minimum of 18 cu. ft.
- Refrigerator capacity calculators that will tell you that 150 to 250 litres is good for a family of two to three, while 250 to 330 litres is optimal for a family of four to five members.
So. Many. Numbers.
In our experience, the best way is to take a look at what’s currently in your home right now. If you are living with both of your parents and a sibling (that means you belong in a family of four), and you have a fridge that’s say… Between 400 to 500 litres, and your mom cooks for the family every day. That probably means that based on your current living habits and what size of refrigerator your family uses, you have a pretty good gauge for what refrigerator capacity you will need for your new home.
Unless your culinary skills have been repressed for so long under (gasp) the “tyranny” of your mother who wouldn’t “allow” you to cook your own meals and “forced” you to eat her lovingly prepared meals.
Then sure, go ahead and splurge on that 800-litre French door refrigerator that can store a 15lb (6.8kg) turkey in order to fulfil your Masterchef dreams.
With that being said, a bigger capacity fridge naturally means a bigger electricity bill. So be careful about splurging on extra refrigerator space that you aren’t actually going to need in the future.
(Writer’s note: My wife and I cook occasionally on the weekends and we have a 312-litre top freezer refrigerator that has served us really well over the past half a year. We largely use it to store fruits, drinks for entertaining guests, and her 512,678,998 Korean facemasks.)
Fridge Types Explained
So you’ve figured out the dimensions and capacity of the fridge that you want. Here comes the fun part. Identifying which fridge type suits you best.
If you think of a refrigerator, this is probably the one that comes to mind.
(In case you’re wondering, that’s the Samsung RT32K503ASL/SS.)
It’s the classic, no-frills icebox that you’ll find in most homes in Singapore. And for a good reason too.
The utilitarian design means that it’s ideal for those on a budget and usually doesn’t come with fancy features like water or ice dispensers. The latter is an advantage because this increases the overall reliability of top freezer fridges – fewer parts mean fewer things will break down.
Because they have been around for so long, manufacturers have gotten really good at building them. So top freezer fridges are usually very energy efficient as compared to other fridge door styles. The only problem that we can think of with regard to the top freezer configuration is that you have a wide swinging door that needs plenty of clearance to open. So do your measurements religiously and you won’t have a problem.
Similar to the top freezer except the freezer’s at the bottom (duh). The Panasonic NR-BX468XS is a great example of such a fridge.
Like the top freezer style, the bottom freezer is not the most fashionable but its budget-friendly and reliable (your grandma probably had one). Bottom freezer units come with drawer style doors sometimes so that makes getting frozen food like ice cream out that much easier (read: not an advantage if you have kids with a sweet tooth). And while drawer style bottom freezers do make it easier to see and access your frozen food. You still have to bend over to get food out of the bottom freezer.
Side By Side
Side by side fridges are split down the middle. With the freezer on one side, and the refrigerator on the other. Like LG’s GS-X6011NS:
As a result, you have more vertical storage space for frozen food (read: not ideal for frozen pizza enthusiasts). This makes organising and finding frozen produce a lot easier as well. Side by side units are usually feature-rich and come with options like water or ice dispensers. And while they’re a tad more expensive than the above two, they look almost as good as a French door fridge without the same price tag.
Overall, they’re best suited for narrow galley style kitchens because the doors’ swing radius is much smaller than that of a top freezer unit.
French door or multi-door (as they are more commonly known in Asia) models usually come with a bottom freezer (some options open like a drawer), and half-width doors for the refrigerator section. This is every refrigerator salesperson’s go-to unit as its the most visually impressive and feature rich option available on the market. Just take a look at the gorgeous GF-X9052GR from LG’s Signature series:
Because the entire fridge section is waist-to-eye level, everything from fruits and vegetables, to drinks like soda and milk are all easily accessible.
The wide fridge space allows you to store large cheese platters, large pizzas, whole cakes, baking trays, the largest turkey you can find at the supermarket… You get the idea. The problem with this is that you’ll probably have a less-organised fridge and you might forget items if you stack things from back to front.
Some French doors also come with features like water and ice dispensers as well. And if you want to be really fancy, some are smart enough that they can be controlled via your smartphone. Naturally, this option is often the priciest of the bunch.
Pros And Cons At A Glance
Here’s a table comparing the pros and cons of all 4 fridge types.
|Types Of Fridges||Pros||Cons|
Side By Side
French Door or Multi-Door
Other Things To Consider
Because a refrigerator is such a big and expensive purchase, we talked to ShopBackers – who are current homeowners – and tapped on their experiences to compile a helpful list of things you should also consider before deciding which fridge to buy.
We talked earlier about getting the external measurements of your potential fridge to ensure that it fits in your kitchen. But you really should measure entry points too. For example your lift door, the corridor leading to your apartment, your front door, hallways, kitchen door, and so on. Talk to your interior designer (if you’re building your home) to ensure that your fridge can be delivered. Or try to anticipate the path the delivery person will take to avoid any unforeseen complications.
Imagine splurging on a gorgeous custom unit only to realise that it doesn’t fit through your kitchen door.
Colour And Finish
You probably would’ve noticed that the refrigerators pictured above all sport a stainless steel finish. It’s no surprise that it’s the most popular because it is durable and fits well with almost any decor. Other common colours include black and white. If you want bright colours or even pastel shades, then those tend to be reserved for custom or retro-style fridges like the Smeg.
In terms of finish, black stainless steel (which is essentially regular stainless steel with a dark polymer coating) has been voted to be the easiest to keep clean. Depending on the look you’re going for, your fridge should also match the colour and texture (if possible) of other appliances in your kitchen. You’ll notice that even stainless steel tends to vary between manufacturers. So if you want to match everything perfectly, you might have to stick to buying appliances from the same brand.
Alternatively, keep the rest of your kitchen neutral, and make your colourful fridge the focal point of the room.
Functional Drawers, Shelves, And Other Thingamajigs
We often get caught up with the physical aspects of the fridge (or the price) that we sometimes forget about the smaller (but equally important) stuff. It’s always worth physically trying out and thinking about certain things like:
- How easy is it to open the fridge door? Do I like handles better or can I live with a handle-less fridge which opens via a notch on the side?
- Are there enough dedicated compartments for meats, fruits, cheese, kimchi, and whatever stuff that you usually store in the fridge?
- Do the drawers and shelves open and close smoothly? Are they strong enough to hold up your 10kg bucket of fried chicken which you always keep on standby? (Writer’s note: No judgement here.)
- Any potential sharp edges where I could cut myself, bleed out, and die on my kitchen floor when all I wanted was a glass of milk?
- VERY IMPORTANT: Can my dog fit inside if it would like to cool off in this darn heat?
Whatever you have taken for granted with your existing fridge, or would like to have in your new fridge, create a checklist and check them off accordingly.
Water And Ice Dispensers
While extremely convenient, it is almost impossible to find a budget-friendly fridge that offers these features. For ShopBackers who do own a fridge with a water and ice dispenser, they all agree that its the first thing that usually breaks down… So be prepared to cough up the extra dough to fix this when it happens.
(Writer’s note: Pizza pockets instead of ice? Well, I wouldn’t fix that…)
Also, you’ll want to consider if you already have a water line close to where you wish to install your fridge. Imagine being told by your contractor that you have to hack your beautiful mosaic kitchen floor tiles just to put in a water line AFTER your kitchen is already re-modelled.
This one’s a little tricky because most showrooms don’t connect their refrigerators on display to a power source. So you can’t exactly go around listening to how the fridge compressors will actually sound like. You can, however, visit your friends’ homes to check for yourself or ask them if their fridge sounds like a mariachi band in the middle of the night.
You should also pay attention to user reviews where people complain regularly about noise issues with a specific brand or model of refrigerator. The last thing you need is to be kept up at night thinking that your fridge is about to blast off into outer space.
Best Time To Buy A Fridge
According to some sources, the best time is during the end of the year, starting from September. These are the months when manufacturers start to release new models and “older” models start to go on sale.
Yep. That’s the perfect time to pick up those “older” models because they’ll be going for way below their original retail price. And really, they’re not that old either considering that you just saw them in the store a couple of weeks back.
Even better, the holiday season always brings great deals and well, what do you know… We’re just a few weeks away from Black Friday and Cyber Monday! And that means that you’ll be able to score a pretty good deal if you start doing your research NOW in order to take advantage of any sales on electrical appliances.
In fact, if you’ve been following our blog and Telegram channel, you’d know that ShopFest is still going on. And we’re still bringing you awesome deals and discounts off everything from fridges to the latest fashion trends, and even up to 30% cashback just by shopping with us!
So don’t just shop, #ShopFest!
Featured image credit: mohamed_hassan | Pixabay
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