Freestanding fridge-freezers are meant to be placed anywhere in the kitchen that will suit them. Because they are not attached or fitted to anything, they can be easily rearranged and moved if a mood to redesign strikes you! However unlike built-in fridge-freezers they cannot be concealed behind cupboards or fixtures, meaning they can be a bit of an eyesore - that aren't exactly the most mad-styling of appliances.
Innovations in insulation technology have allowed manufacturers to use thinner walls and doors in their fridge freezers, giving them much bigger internal capacity. The biggest fridge freezers have a total internal capacity of over 600 litres. That's enough to fit three supermarket trolleys full of food! Typical fridge freezers have around 200 to 300 litres of internal storage.
Many fridge freezers have compartments with humidity control. These work by letting you adjust the humidity of the compartment to keep the food inside in the best possible condition. This means creating dry conditions for meat and fish and humid conditions for fruit and vegetables.
Some of the large American style fridge freezers have a third compartment, separate to the fridge and the freezer, which can be set to a 'chill' mode of -1°C. This temperature is perfect for preserving the natural moisture in fresh fish and meat.
The latest Hotpoint fridge freezers come with Active Oxygen technology. This unique system releases oxygen molecules into the fridge which purifies the air circulating inside and inhibits bacterial growth by up to 90%. The system can preserve the first day freshness of your food for up to 9 days without affecting the smell, taste or colour of your food.
Ice Makers and Water Dispensers
Many of the premium fridge freezers come with built in ice makers and chilled water dispensers. These are great for quick cold drinks and some of the latest models include ice crushers which are great for making cocktails. Some models also include sparkling water on tap, with a built in Sodastream machine.
Look out for models with built in water filters, which gives you cleaner tasting water and clearer ice. If the fridge freezer doesn't have a water filter you can always add a water filter to the water pipe which supplies the appliance. Also look for tall ice dispenser openings in the door which makes it easier to fill large glasses.
Often the ice make is located inside one of the freezer compartments. This allows a large amount of ice to be stored, however it reduces the available freezer space for food. Some models contain the entire ice maker within the door which leaves greater room for food in the freezer.
Most models can be connected directly to the water supply, although normally you need a water outlet within 1.5m of the appliance (always make sure you use a connection hose designed for drinking water). Some fridge freezers have a water tank that you fill manually which supplies the ice maker.
Other Features To Consider
Frost Free: Many modern fridge freezers are frost free which means that they do not require defrosting. They achieve this by controlling the moisture content of the air in the freezer. This has the added benefit of reducing freezer burn to food that is stored in the freezer.
LED Lighting: LED internal lighting creates a bright, well lit interior making it easier to find your food as well as saving energy.
Multi Function Compartments: Some of the top end fridge freezers have a third compartment which can be set to either be a fridge or a freezer at the push of a button. They can also be set to an intermediate 'Chill' mode, which maintains a temperature of -1°C, ideal for keeping fresh meat and fish in great condition.
Shelving: Cheaper fridge freezers come with wire shelves. Glass shelves found on mid range models upwards have the advantage of catching spills so that they do not drop onto food below. Some shelves fold away to allow storage of tall items and other types slide forwards to make it easy to access items at the back. Look for models with metal shelf brackets for durability.
Rapid Cooling: Fridge freezers with Rapid Cooling can quickly chill or freeze your food, which is ideal when you bring home a large quantity of new food.