A side-by-side refrigerator is a coveted appliance in a kitchen. Everyone loves to have one as it is a symbol of elegance, sophistication and luxury. But is it the right choice for your needs? We discuss some of the important aspects that you should know before buying a side-by-side refrigerator so that you make an informed decision. After all, no one wants to have buyers’ remorse after spending more than half a lakh on their new fridge.
It Is Huge
A side-by-side refrigerator is almost as big as an Almirah. It is humongous. To get a sense of its size, most nuclear families buy refrigerators that have around 250-300 litre capacity. A side-by-side refrigerator is 2-3 times its size. While it may be a necessity for a large joint family, it isn’t quite so for a nuclear family or even families with up to 6-7 members.
It May Not Be Space Efficient
When we checked the user reviews of side-by-side refrigerators, we were able to see that many people bought them without realizing the fact that the entire section behind the left door is a freezer!
Roughly 40% of a side-by-side refrigerator is devoted to the freezer. That could be as large as an entire double door refrigerator that a nuclear family uses.
Most Indian households don’t have the habit of making a huge batch of food and freezing them for the rest of the week. Rather, they use a freezer for preserving fish, meat, ice cream and other frozen food. So, before committing to a side-by-side refrigerator, it is wise to think about whether you really need such an enormous freezer.
By contrast, most double door refrigerators have a fridge to freezer ratio of 70:30. And that might be more ideal if you don’t use the freezer extensively.
It Is Not Convertible
I have seen many reviews where the consumers say they wish the freezer were convertible. But manufacturers are yet to come up with such a feature. So, for the time being, you have to work within this constraint and buy a side-by-side refrigerator only if you need such a massive freezer.
It Is Energy Efficient
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency doesn’t give star ratings for side-by-side refrigerators. So, you have to take the manufacturer’s word that they consume around 1 unit of electricity per day.
Talking with many consumers, we were able to understand that a side-by-side refrigerator did not bring about an increase in their energy bills.
This could be because most consumers change their refrigerators once in a decade or so. Their old refrigerator would definitely be an energy guzzler. And when replaced with a new one with superior compressor and technology, it wouldn’t adversely impact the energy bills. If at all anything, your bill may only go down.
Cheap Doesn’t Mean Inexpensive
The last thing you may want to do is penny-pinch on an appliance that you plan to use for the next 10-15 years. The hassle of getting a poorly made appliance repaired is exasperating. You may buy it cheap. But considering the time, effort and energy spent on repairs, it may end up being more expensive than what you would have spent on a premium refrigerator.
So, buy a side-by-side refrigerator only from a reputed brand. Trust the user reviews and above all, look at the warranty. Also, ensure that the refrigerator uses an inverter compressor and not a reciprocatory one. If the manufacturer doesn’t provide a 10 year warranty on the compressor, then scoot!
An Ice Dispenser May End Up A Hassle
A side-by-side refrigerator with an ice dispenser is not a necessity unless you use 40-50 ice cubes a day. You initially pay a huge amount for this feature. And if the ice dispenser is sparingly used, the water pipes may get frozen and you end up spending on repairs too.
So, rather than insisting on such superficial features, focus on what really matters- like the built quality, compressor and humidity controlling features.
If you still hell-bent on buying a side-by-side refrigerator, do check out our best list to choose the one right for your needs.