How to buy a big fridge-freezer

Whether you’re part of a large family, into batch cooking, or frequently host gatherings, ample fridge space is non-negotiable. KBB journo Sally Smith has consulted experts to guide you in choosing the right appliance.

First, why should you choose an American-style fridge-freezer? Well, they are much bigger than a standard model, with far greater capacity, averaging a whopping 600 litres.

You’ll be able to chill a lot more food, making meal planning easier, more cost-effective, and life a lot less stressful if you’re hosting a big gathering. The best large American fridge-freezers are around 90cm wide, so ideal for storing large trays and platters.

Big solution in a modern dark wooden kitchen with open shelving and a large range cooker
The Sub-Zero ICBBI-48SID/S/TH 1219mm side-by-side fridge-freezer has advanced microprocessor controls and magnetic door seals for advanced food preservation. It has a noise level of 33dB, priced £21,468.

“These fridge-freezers continue to be popular, as their unique side-by-side, double-doors design allows homeowners to see clearly what’s in their fridge,” says Jo Jackson, head of product at Fisher & Paykel. An integrated ice and water dispenser are pretty much standard, too.

“We advise our customers to think carefully about the capacity that suits their needs, because a fridge or freezer runs much more efficiently when it is fuller,” says David Palmer, senior product specialist at LG Electronics.

A run of appliances including a double door fridge freezer and two ovens
Susanna Hawkins‘ kitchen features Fisher & Paykel’s freestanding RF540AZUB5 90cm French door fridge-freezer, which has a total of 569-litres capacity. Priced £3,505.

Clever features

A typical feature you’ll find is “Total No Frost”, which ensures consistent cooling from the top to the bottom of the fridge, preserving fresh food for longer. You won’t find any condensation build-up in the freezer either, so you’ll always be able to see everything clearly.

WiFi connectivity is a useful feature in these larger models. It allows you to monitor the appliance remotely, and notifies you if the door has been left open. The latest smart devices can modify the fridge-freezer’s behaviour based on your usage habits. It can switch to a low power mode when needed, which saves on overall running costs. 

Big open fridge-freezer showing all different foods in an open-plan kitchen area
Gaggenau’s RC492305 Vario refrigerator 400 series is a super-sized food storage solution. It has an integrated ice maker, no-frost technology and fast freezing at -30°C.

How much will a big fridge-freezer cost?

American-style fridge-freezers are definitely an investment and cost between £2,500 and £3,500. However, it doesn’t mean these larger appliances are more expensive to run than a standard model. It’s worth checking the energy labelling on different models to compare the running costs, noise levels and how it will affect your bills.

If you are looking for a fridge-freezer made from high-grade materials with the latest designer finishes, you can expect to pay around £20,000.

Modern grey and wooden kitchen with a fridge featuring an open glass window to see inside
LG‘s GMG960EVJE Freestanding 60/40 plumbed-in American fridge-freezer has a glass window to view what’s inside the fridge. Priced £2,999.

Before you buy…

American-style fridge-freezers make a statement in any kitchen. It’s important to decide early on in your design where you are going to position this extra-large appliance. Usually, well over a metre high, some models are also deeper than a standard fridge-freezer, so you will need to consider your available space before reaching a decision. You’ll also need enough room at the back of the appliance for ventilation and try to keep it away from the underfloor heating system.

Blue fridge in the middle of a dining area in an open plan space
Smeg‘s FQ960 90cm Victoria offers 385 litres of fresh food storage and 196 litres of freezer space. Priced £3,839.

It can be tricky to get these larger models delivered into your property, especially as the packaging is quite bulky. So, it might be worth planning to get your new appliance delivered early on in an extension project before the kitchen is installed.

“Side-by-side freestanding American-style fridge-freezers do benefit from extra internal storage space. But remember that they require a lot more floor space than traditional models,”  says Matt James, the product manager at Smeg UK.

Open fridge freezer showing contents including food and drink. Appliance is in a modern black kitchen
Liebherr’s XRFsd 5265 Prime BioFresh NoFrost side-by-side combination fridge-freezer, priced £2,699.

Installation tips

  • Check with the retailer that they provide an authorised and fully trained partner to install your fridge-freezer and can advise you on the optimum position within your layout. There may be an extra cost for this service.
  • American-style fridge-freezers generally have an integrated chilled water and ice dispenser, so you need to think about whether you would like a plumbed or non-plumbed unit.
  • If the fridge-freezer is going into a new extension and needs to be connected to the cold-water pipe, you will have more flexibility as to where you can position so discuss options early on in the build.  
Stainless steel fridge in a blue kitchen with a shaker style door and herringbone floor
Haier’s HSR5918DIMP Class D American-style fridge-freezer has no-frost technology, operates at 40 dB, and has humidity control and LED lighting. Priced £1,299.

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