What exactly is a fridge-freezer combination?
Basically, the name of such devices already says what it is – namely a refrigerator that still has a freezer. Unlike a fridge with a simple freezer compartment, a fridge-freezer offers much more freezing space.
In principle, there are two cabinets, which are combined in one housing, each of the cabinets having its own door. The fridge is usually on top and the drawers for the frozen products are placed in the lower part of the fridge-freezer. But there are also other variants of such combinations and we will introduce them further below.
Temperatures between 0 ° C and 8 ° C usually prevail in a refrigerator – although the same temperatures do not prevail throughout the entire interior. There are different temperature zones, which we will introduce a little closer to you below. In the freezer, however, temperatures of at least -18 ° C prevail. It stores food for long-term storage.
What are the features of a fridge-freezer?
In addition to the aspects already described, there are other characteristics that are characteristic of a fridge-freezer. Thus, the double-walled housing of a fridge-freezer combination usually made of stainless steel or steel sheet. Between the two walls of the housing insulating foam is attached. For freezers, this insulating layer is thicker than for refrigerators.
Furthermore, such electrical appliances have devices that continuously measure the temperature at the evaporator. If the temperatures are too high, the engine starts and ensures that the coolant circulates. If the temperatures are too low, the engine will be turned off. Depending on the model of the fridge-freezer, there is either a single refrigeration unit or the fridge and freezer are equipped with two separate units.
Over the years, fridge-freezers – that’s how it all started?
The fact that foods last longer when refrigerated has been known to humanity since antiquity. But due to the lack of technical possibilities, people at that time still had to get creative if they wanted to cool their food.
For example, food was stored in the ground or special cold rooms were used to stack ice. Those who lived near a body of water extended the shelf life of food by cooling in the water. In ancient Rome, there were even specially trained runners who set out daily to get ice cream from the Alps for the ruling class.
The first forays into today’s refrigerators began in the mid-18th century. In 1748, the British researcher Thomas Cullen introduced a refrigerating machine developed by him, which became the inspiration for later developments. The first forerunners of modern refrigerators came on the market in 1843 – in the UK.
In mainland Europe, it was the engineer Edmond Carré who in 1850 introduced a “refrigeration machine” where food could be kept longer by refrigeration. At that time, this device still worked on the basis of water and sulfuric acid.
Also from Germany came innovations and developments that paved the way for today’s fridge-freezers. For example, it was the German businessman Carl von Linde, who dealt with refrigeration techniques and developed the so-called Linde process, which became the basis for the refrigerators of the coming decades. The chillers based on the Linde process were used exclusively in industry, but over time the principle could also be used for refrigerators used in private households.
The frontrunner for home refrigerators was the US. There, more and better models were produced in the 1930s. By the end of the 1930s, every second household in the United States already had a refrigerator. In Germany at that time, there were also first similar refrigerators, but they could not prevail among the masses, as they were simply too expensive.
Only some-time later – in the 1950s – the devices of manufacturers such as AEG, Bosch or Liebherr also conquered the hearts of consumers in this country. In the 1960s, almost every German household was equipped with a refrigerator.
The refrigerators at the time were based on chlorofluorocarbons because the harmful effects of CFCs were not known at the time. It was only in 1992 that the first refrigerator was developed in Saxony, which did not require CFCs. All other manufacturers also took this as a model and today’s refrigerators are completely free of CFCs.
What types of fridge-freezers can be used?
Most popular and most popular in this country are models with the freezer under the fridge. Both devices are about the same size. The freezer sector of the station wagon usually consists of three or four drawers. Both the fridge and the freezer have separate doors. As a rule, the refrigerator part is not the same as it would be for a single device.
Another variant of such combination appliances are the so-called side-by-side fridge-freezers. As the name implies, the fridge and freezer are arranged side by side and about the same size.
As the last variation, we would like to introduce the so-called French-Door-Refrigerators. In this construction, the two embodiments described above are combined. The refrigerator section is at the top and is opened by a door with two wings. Such designs usually have extra space and are suitable for large families with plenty of space in the kitchen.
How does a fridge-freezer work?
The operation of fridge-freezers or refrigerators of all kinds is basically easy to explain. Inside of such cooling devices circulates a refrigerant. At a so-called evaporator, the refrigerant absorbs the heat in the refrigerator and then evaporates.
This process removes more heat from inside the refrigerator and keeps the food stored in it cool. For these processes to continue uninterruptedly, there must be a cycle in the refrigerator through which the refrigerant can circulate. The way this works depends on the system used in a refrigerator combo. There are two different systems:
In such embodiments, the evaporator converts the refrigerant used into a low-pressure gas. The integrated compressor of the refrigerator now sucks up this gas and compresses it in a thermodynamic process. The compression of the gas ensures that it heats up – and through the compression, it reaches a higher temperature than that of the environment.
After the gas has passed the compressor, it goes on through a so-called condenser. This device is a component which is attached to the back of the refrigerator, has a large total area and consists either of tubes or lamellae. In this condenser, the refrigerant releases the heat to the environment. The coolant condenses, becoming liquid.
After the condenser, the refrigerant goes on – through a restrictor, such as an expansion valve or a capillary tube. There, the pressure is lowered and the coolant reaches, now as a fine stream, the evaporator – and the cycle begins again. The whole thing is powered by a motor inside the refrigerator.
Refrigerators that use this system also include a condenser and an evaporator. The difference to compression systems is that no motor is needed to maintain the circulation. Such devices work with a heat source as a drive. So they are basically independent of the power grid because as a source of energy can serve for example a gas flame or even the solar heat. Of course, these devices can also be connected to a power source.
Among the advantages of such devices is the fact that they work silently and vibrationless and contain no wearing parts. The disadvantages include the overall poorer efficiency and the associated higher energy consumption. In addition, power loss is possible at very high outdoor temperatures and the units are also sensitive to movement and tilt.
How to optimally use the temperature zones of your refrigerator
As mentioned briefly above, the temperature inside refrigerators is not the same or low at any point. And thus, depending on the type of food, there are more and less suitable areas of the refrigerator. What are they, we show you in a brief overview:
- Directly above the vegetable compartment: This zone is the coldest in the refrigerator. There prevail temperatures of about 2 ° C before. This area is especially well suited for foods that spoil very quickly, such as fish or raw meat.
- Middle section of the refrigerator: It is best to store dairy products of all kinds. In this refrigerator zone, the temperatures are around 5 ° C.
- Upper section of the refrigerator: With temperatures of around 8 ° C, this area is well suited for sausages and pre-cooked and smoked foods.
- Vegetable compartment: What belongs in this part of the refrigerator is self-explanatory and in this temperature zone it is also about 8 ° C cold.
- Door: The warmest is around 9 ° C in the door area of the refrigerator. It is best to store drinks, eggs or sauces there.
What are the advantages of fridge-freezers?
First of all, there is the space savings, which clearly speaks for the purchase of a refrigerator and freezer combination. Most kitchens have limited space for furnishings and electrical appliances – and a combination of these two devices takes up far less space than would be the case with two separate cabinets.
There are also in a refrigerator combination installation variants, which usually save even more space than a fridge-freezer combination, which is free-standing. This also applies to the power consumption and the costs incurred for the purchase. A single combi unit is usually both cheaper and more energy-efficient than two individual units.
Purchase criteria overview – How to make an effective comparison
Anyone looking for a good fridge-freezer will soon find that there are a variety of models that have all sorts of features and functions. It can be difficult to decide on the best individual device. If you want to find the best fridge-freezer for your personal requirements, then you can best make a comprehensive comparison based on the following product characteristics:
- Size and capacity:
The space available inside a refrigerator or freezer for food is given as net capacity. The value is expressed in litres and stated separately for the refrigerator and for the freezer. The benchmark is a capacity of 100 litres in the refrigerator and a capacity of about 30 litres for the freezer compartment. Most fridge-freezers are designed for a household of 2-4 people.
- Energy efficiency class:
Refrigerators or fridge-freezers are on 24/7, making them one of the most energy-efficient household appliances. However, there are still differences in the level of electricity consumption – and this aspect is expressed in energy efficiency classes. The respective class refers to the average energy consumption of a device within one year. All electrical appliances are classified in classes D to A +++. D stands for a particularly high consumption and A +++ devices are particularly economical. As consumers’ awareness of energy consumption increases, manufacturers are adapting their products to their needs, so that today there are hardly any refrigerators and freezers that have a lower energy rating than A +.
- Noise level:
The volume of a fridge-freezer is expressed in decibels. As a rule, the volume of modern devices is between 30 and 39 dB. This would correspond to a whisper. It should not be more than 45 dB, although the volume tolerance in each person is of course different.
- No-frost function:
With a no-frost fridge-freezer, regular and costly defrosting is a thing of the past. If there is no such function, moisture settles on the coldest part, the evaporator, and freezes. For devices that have the no-frost device, the evaporator is located elsewhere and the cold air is distributed inside the refrigerator. If it gets too cold inside, the fans and the engine stop and a heating element melts the resulting ice. Such a device is very useful because even a thin layer of ice is highly insulating and the device requires more energy to operate.
- Zero-degree zone in the refrigerator:
This area, also known as the freshness zone, can be found especially in the newer, high-quality devices. There are not really 0-degree temperatures prevailing there – but almost. Such a zone is convenient because it can store food that is quickly perishable, such as fish and meat, for a little longer than it does at temperatures around 2 ° C. But some vegetables can also be stored in this area.
- Warning signs:
Modern fridges and freezers often emit an audible signal when the door is open too long or not properly closed. Such a warning is useful if you do not want to be surprised by spoiled food and a broken device.
In addition to the extras described above, some of the top models of fridge-freezers have even more features and features that can be quite practical in everyday life. This includes, for example, an ice cube dispenser that produces ice cubes en masse at the push of a button. Not only on hot summer days can such a device be very useful.
Another handy special feature is the quick cooling that is possible on some models. At the same time, the refrigeration unit temporarily powers up and cools down the food to the desired temperature in the shortest possible time. There are also fridge-freezers that have an antibacterial coating or a coating that prevents fingerprints from being visible on the case.
Fridge-freezer buy cheap? – So much should be invested
How expensive a fridge-freezer combination will depend on different factors. As described in detail above, there are numerous features in which the different models may differ. Basically, the bigger a refrigerator and freezer combination is and the more extras this has, the more expensive the purchase will be. If you want to buy a fridge-freezer cheap, already finds models from about 200 euros.
On the other hand, top-end devices may also incur medium to high four-digit sums. Think carefully about what you absolutely need with your fridge-freezer and what you can do without. Also, decide on the best size for your household and make a purchase decision that will keep you happy for a long time.
Prefer to buy fridge-freezers online or in stores?
When you’re looking for a new fridge-freezer, the first question is where to buy and how to buy it. There are advantages as well as disadvantages when shopping online as well as at your nearest dealer. We would like to explain a little bit to you below.
What speaks for and against buying from the retailer?
When you buy a fridge-freezer from your local retailer, you will most likely be assured of expert and extensive advice. The employees of the specialized trade will be able to discuss with the customer all-important purchase criteria and recommend the individually fitting model. In addition, the devices can be inspected directly so that the buyer knows exactly what to expect.
The drawbacks of the specialized trade include, for example, the fact that the delivery of the selected device usually costs a lot more than the distribution at the online retailer. In addition, online retailers usually win the price comparison of fridge-freezers. In addition, you must keep to opening hours and go out even in bad weather for shopping.
What are the pros and cons of ordering online?
When buying online accounts for personal advice and it Also, there is no way to see a model with your own eyes before acquiring it. In addition, online shopping may well be waiting several weeks for delivery, while the equipment you buy from a retailer can be there within 1-2 days.
The benefits of online shopping include the generally lower prices for refrigerators. In addition, you can find on the PC or mobile phone a much larger range of products and there are no opening times to keep to. And even if the consultation does not take place in person, all the relevant information about the fridge-freezer combinations can be found on the internet – as is the case in our guide, for example.
The best manufacturers of fridge-freezers at a glance
There are numerous suppliers who carry fridge-freezers in their portfolio. Currently, there are a total of about 80 manufacturers, where you can buy such kitchen appliances. We would like to introduce some of the leading manufacturers to you in more detail below:
- Siemens: The history of Siemens dates back to 1847. Today, Siemens AG is one of the world’s largest companies in the sector of electronics and electrical engineering. The stock corporation is represented in 190 countries and in Germany alone there are more than 100 locations that Siemens maintains. As far as the fridge-freezers from Siemens are concerned, more than 200 models are currently available on the market. The devices cost, depending on the version, 300 euros up. Siemens devices are among the top products in the market in every category – and refrigerators with freezers are the same.
- Bosch: Robert Bosch GmbH was founded in 1886 and is currently one of the world’s largest manufacturers of household appliances, power tools and automotive parts. Fridge freezers are manufactured by this group through the subsidiary BSH Hausgeräte GmbH. Currently, Bosch’s portfolio includes around 250 models of fridge-freezers. The price range of the devices lies thereby between 300 euro and 2.500 euro. Despite the many differences in design, you can be assured of high quality, excellent workmanship, and longevity for all Bosch products.
- Samsung: The South Korean company Samsung was founded in 1938 and today it has turned the electronics manufacturer into the largest conglomerate in the country. Samsung Electronics, a subsidiary of the Group, is even the largest manufacturer in the world in its field. In addition to refrigerators and freezer combinations, Samsung Electronics also produces televisions and flash memory. Samsung currently has around 100 models of refrigerators and freezers in their portfolio, and there is something for every requirement and every household size.
- AEG: Like the companies described above, AEG is one of the world’s largest in its industry. In addition to fridge-freezers, the product range of the German concern also includes household appliances, electrical energy technology and building heating as well as motor vehicles of all kinds. Like Samsung, AEG currently offers around 100 variants of fridge-freezers at a price range between 200 and 2,500 euros. Depending on the model, the sizes and features of the units vary, and for every budget and every requirement, there will be a fridge-freezer.
- Liebherr: This German family business was founded in 1949. Internationally, the company operates in eleven areas, which include household electrical appliances such as diesel engines, excavators, cranes and mobile cranes, and aviation equipment of all kinds.
- Bauknecht: Bauknecht Hausgeräte GmbH was founded in 1919 and the headquarters of Whirlpool Corporation is currently located in Stuttgart. This manufacturer also offers an eclectic range of fridge-freezers – and there are around 120 models with prices ranging from 300 to 3,000 euros.
- Gorenje: This Slovenian manufacturer of household appliances should not be missing from our list because the company’s fridge-freezers are not only very popular in this country. Gorenje’s household appliances are characterized by the outstanding price-performance ratio and the high demands the company places on its own products. Around 200 refrigerated van models are included in the Gorenje portfolio, and the range of prices ranges from € 200 to € 2,000.
There is a fridge-freezer test by Stiftung Warentest
At the beginning of 2018, Stiftung Warentest dealt with refrigerators. Not only fridge-freezers were scrutinized, but also refrigerators of all kinds. Among the features that were decisive for the evaluation, among other things, the refrigerated freezer combination included cooling performance, handling and power consumption.