Until recently, the refrigerator remained a fairly conservative element of kitchen equipment. For many years, the domestic industry supplied us with standard equipment a la “white cupboard,” which differed only in capacity of the refrigerator compartment (freezer was low everywhere). Today the situation has changed dramatically; here we describe which refrigerator is better and how to choose it.
Within ten minutes Mr. Ripley with the agility of a magician all fixed two greatest challenges of a kitchen – storage of supplies and washing dirty dishes. He showed us the electrical cabinet cooler, which not only didn’t require ice, but on the contrary, prepared it in the form of neat white cubes in a special bath, similar to the photographic bath. In the “cupboard”there were compartments for meat, milk, fish, eggs and fruit. (Ilf, Petrov “One-Story America”).
In the market there are a huge number of models differing both in design and size. You want to acquire equipment with side-by-side doors and a case made of stainless steel? No problem. You want your fridge to be painted like “Khokhloma”? As many as necessary! Compact, but capacious model with a big freezer and a possibility of building it in under a kitchen table-top? Here you are!
No wonder that consumers are easily confused from such abundance. What refrigerator to choose? What design is the most convenient? Difficult questions these are, and the brochures in this respect don’t give distinct answers. Well, we will try to deal with “the park of refrigerating equipment” independently.
What Do We See? Market, Sir
The history of household refrigerators begins in 1917; then the General Electric Company began the serial release of these devices. Not so sharply, but exactly since then the question is topical: which refrigerator is better?
In the Russian market of refrigerating appliances there is a continuous rigid competitive fight. Long time the leading positions were held by the European and American companies. It is Miele, BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte (Germany, the trademarks Bosch, Gaggenau, Neff, Siemens); General Electric, Whirlpool (USA, trademarks Whirlpool, Maytag); Electrolux Group (Sweden, trademarks AEG-Electrolux, Electrolux, Zanussi); Indesit Company (Italy, trademarks Ariston, Indesit, Stinol); Candy Group (Italy, trademarks Candy, Hoover); Gorenje (Slovenia); “Atlas” (Belarus). Especially the firms specializing in release of refrigerating appliances should be noted, such as Liebherr (Germany) and Vestfrost (Denmark). In addition now in our market there are producers from Turkey and Southeast Asia: Arcelik companies (Turkey, trademarks Beko, Blomberg); LG Electronics (Korea, LG trademark); Samsung Electronics (Korea, Samsung trademark); Matsushita Electric Industrial (Japan, Panasonic trademark); Sharp Electronics (Japan, Sharp trademark).
Which Refrigerator is Better?
Gradually the domestic industry “thaws”, too: Biryusa refrigerators of Krasnoyarsk plant of, the Moscow plant of home refrigerators (a trademark “ZIL”), the Saratov electromodular production association (Saratov trademark), JSC Aysberg (Smolensk trademark) and other Russian producers are presented.
Part of the trademarks occupy their own segment of the market. For example, the equipment of Viking (USA), Kuppersbusch (Germany), Gaggenau, Miele, Liebherr is traditionally perceived as prestigious and expensive; Indesit or “Atlas” refrigerators usually are bought by the middle class. But it is possible to judge by a trademark quality of the refrigerator only with known reservations. Especially as service life of the household refrigerators presented in the Russian market.
Let’s Understand the Structure
The working capacity of the refrigerator is divided into two or more chambers (compartments), such as refrigeration with an average temperature 5-10 ° C and the freezing, where the temperature is below zero. In modern models in a separate compartmentthere is a so-called “zone of freshness” where the temperature is maintained at just above zero (usually +2 ° C). This subdivision allows us to conveniently store all the products – and those that required relatively high temperature, and those that should be subjected to a deep freeze.
By the way
Experienced housewives know that storage at too low temperature can hopelessly spoil the taste and quality of food. It is no coincidence, for example, that chilled meat is valued above frozen. They are afraid of frost, even such products as chocolate and butter, not to mention the delicate fruits, vegetables and herbs. Therefore, you should follow the rules of storage. In many models of refrigerators they use icons, the icon indicates on which shelves it is better to place these or other products.
Each compartment is usually provided with its own door. This is useful, as it allows maintaining the desired temperature and humidity more accurately. In general, the ability to observe the temperature and humidity conditions in the strictly defined parameters can be considered a measure of the quality of the refrigerator. If, for example, the temperatures on a shelf near the door and in the interior chamber differ by 1 ° C, it is very good. In order to achieve similar results they use forced ventilation in refrigerators. Some models may be equipped with a carbon filter –so that the flavor of cheese or fish is not “disturbed” the nearby fruit dessert.
To accurately maintain the desired temperature in a number of models they use a so-called ultra-rapid cooling system (not to be confused with the systems of super-fast freezing). For example, you come home from the market, and shift the purchased products in the refrigerator compartment. Refrigerator is responsive to local temperature rise and sends an intense flow of cold air to the “hot spot” . This system avoids raising the temperature of products stored on adjacent shelves, contributes to their better preservation.
There are several design types of refrigerators, depending on the location of the freezer – top, side (Side-by-Sidemodel) or below. In the latter case, the freezer usually has maximum capacity. But the type of the refrigerator should be according to the rules of ergonomics: the department (refrigerator or freezer), which you often use,should be at eye level. Thephysique of the owner is also important. For tall people it can be difficult to “bend in a knot”, and for short people, on the contrary, it is inconvenient to get food from the depths of the top shelf, which is sometimes located at a height of 170-180 cm.
The double chamber version is the most common, but there are one-compartment modern refrigerators. The number of compartments can be up to four or even five. Typically, this a Side-by-Sidemodel, resembling by design doors of wardrobes (sometimes fridges Side-by-Side with extendable lower section French Door areisolatedin a separate group). There are one-compartment also refrigerators. Most often, those are compact models designed for installation in the kitchen furniture, but there are also stand-alone devices. If you locate a refrigerator and a freezer next to each otherunder the countertop, you will receive a full roomy fridge. You can pick a ready-made solution of this kind. For example, a kitchenette ART 306 (Whirlpool), which is a hob, a sink and a refrigerator united in a common housing.
Great Refrigerator – Great Diving!
Modern refrigerators are far superior in capacity compared to the models of past years. Devices such as Side-by-Side with a useful volume of 500-700 liters are still not so widespread, but it is probably a matter of time and lack of space in the kitchen. As for the average cost of the refrigerator, it is reduced in recent years. Low-cost Side-by-Side models from manufacturers such as Beko, LG, Samsung, can be purchased for around $500 USD. Two-compartment refrigerators of 300-400 liters are even cheaper – from $300 USD up to $400 USD (for comparison, the total volume of the former leader of the domestic industry “ZIL Moscow” is 165 liters). A compact (not built-in) refrigerator with “no frills” with the cooling compartment with a capacity of 100-120 liters is quite possible to buy for around $200 USD.
Sometimes such affordability can play a cruel joke with customers. The bulky machine in a small room can greatly complicate life. Not to mention such platitudes as “too narrow doors.” Therefore, choosing large equipment, make sure that its size does not exceed the width of the doorway and you will be able to get it into the house. Meanwhile, if the size of your home allows it, it is better to prefer a relatively low, but wide refrigerator. This design is not the last word in fashion, but it is really much more convenient to use. Try to “extract” what you will need from the depths of a narrow compartment when it is jammed with stuff! And the products are stored much better, if there is a space between them for proper ventilation.
By the way
If you believe European statistics, the optimal volume of the refrigerator is directly proportional to the number of family members. If a person lives alone, he needs a device up to 150 liters in volume. For two or four people you need a refrigerator with a capacity of 200-280 liters. And for a family of five or more people need to think about the larger fridge – no less than 300-320 liters!
All the Signs of Modernity
Modern refrigerators are distinguished by the presence of a number of design improvements that provide reliable and comfortable operation of these devices. Among the many innovations in the first place, we note the following:
Antibacterial protection. For suppression of bacterial cells in the refrigerators two types of protection are used. In one case, the inner compartment is made of a material containing silver ions. This, for example, is the AntiBacteriasystem from Siemens, Silver Nano from Samsung, antibacterial coating is used in a number of models by Fagor (Spain), Ariston, Blomberg, Bosch, Gorenje and other manufacturers. The second type of protection is used by the Japanese companies Sharp and Toshiba. These refrigerators are equipped with built-in ion generator. The latter does not only kill microorganisms,but prevents the spread of odors. Sometimes to clean the air chambers of refrigerators from microorganisms and odors they use the system of filtration, for example, in a number of models by Whirlpool, Electrolux.
Rapid freezing. This feature allows to freeze food at a low temperature (in most cases it is -25 ° C, and in some models it drops even lower). Rapid freezing is useful for a better safety of many products. But it makes no senseto keep them at such a low temperaturefor a long time, and it is not profitable from the economic point of view (in this mode, the refrigerator consumes a lot of energy).
“Zone of freshness.” These compartments by their temperature conditions are intermediate between refrigerators and freezers. They keep fresh fish, greens, fresh meat and other soft foods that do not tolerate freezing and at the same time can not tolerate long-term storage in the refrigerator. By humidity “zones of freshness” can be divided into “dry” and “wet”; there are also variations in which humidity can be controlled.
System No Frost. This popular technology prevents the walls of the “freezer” from ice. Refrigerators with No Frost system do not need to periodically defrosted (the housewives know how long and troublesome this procedure can become). The main disadvantage of the technology is rapid dehydration of the products. To avoid this, the products must be stored in packages, so they do not absorb moisture. Also, please note that the No Frost system does not eliminate the need for regular cleaning of the refrigerator and freezer. For the first time the system appeared 50 years ago in the United States, but became particularly popular in countries with humid climates (Japan, Korea).
Electronic control. Unlike the electromechanical thermostat, electronic control system with high precision (to 1-2 ° C) sets the air temperature inside each compartment. In modern models the electronic control panel with LCD display is often put to the outer surface of the door. Most owners believe such a decision to be convenient, although some, feel like it is an “information overload” – adjusting the temperature has to be rare, but the screen attracts attention all the time.
Freezing According to the Rules
Experts call the process of freezing foods at temperatures above -18 ° C “slow freezing”. Its main disadvantage is that the in the food tissue (whether meat, fish or vegetables) relatively large ice crystals are formed, that disrupts its structure. As a result, the products lose their attractive appearance, and their taste deteriorates. If we freeze at lower temperatures, the large ice crystals do not have time to be formed, and the products are retained better. It is important to pre-divide them into pieces of small thickness to minimize the time of freezing. For this they use pre-cooling food in the freezing compartment. But frozen foods can be stored at a temperature of -15 … -17 ° C. The main thing is to prevent the defrost: the products, which have been subjected to repeated severe thermal swings, risk becoming completely tasteless.
More on how to choose home appliances in the following articls: