Come summer, your biggest worry is 'will the water in my fridge be cold or not?' Refrigerators have come a long way from being strictly a necessity to a member of the world of luxury items. Today, you get a whole range of added features, improved technology and style that speaks for your status.
This piece hopes to fix some of the most basic queries that may arise while buying a fridge in India. How do you choose the perfect refrigerator? Step this way as we unravel all that you need to know about one of the most basic, economical and most popular types of refrigerators- The Top Freezer.
What is a Top Freezer?Home appliances experts explained how top freezers are a hot choice among the nuclear middle and upper middle class families. An average Indian household consumes less frozen food products than its western counterpart; hence this design with a dedicated space for daily item storage is something that works for most people.
We think of a top freezer as a break away from the conventional single door refrigerator. It all started with a rising middle class, with larger disposable incomes and even larger needs and desires. There was a need for a fridge that could store much more than just water bottles, bread and butter, plus, a larger and a separate space for a freezer and cold storage.
Keeping all the above in mind it is time we took you through some of the best models from the top brands.
Home appliances experts suggest that LG, Samsung, Whirlpool and Godrej collectively stand for over 80% of the total market share.
Hitachi makes some of the most advanced refrigerators but all above 300 Ltr. Their older models within this segment have currently being discontinued which is why we haven't included them in this study.
Based on that, we have narrowed down our research to the bestselling models of top 4 brands ranging between 20,000 - 30,000 INR.
What to Keep in Mind While Choosing a Top Freezer?
Buying a fridge which stands out of place with your house space and family needs would be a waste. Experts suggest that a family of four can easily do with a 240-300 Ltr refrigerator. As your family and daily needs expand, so will your fridge size, which will be directly proportional to its price as well.
Star Rating and Energy Consumption:
Star rating denotes how energy efficient is your appliance. The higher the star rating, the more energy efficient it will be. Also look for the total units of electricity that your model will use in a year.
Electricity bills are a huge pain for most of us, so it is best that we bet our money on the appliance which is the most energy efficient one. Usually star ratings are what you need to look out for. The more the stars the more energy efficient your fridge is.
Out of all the models, LG is a certified 4 star model and is the least energy consuming of all. However one should also keep in mind that the energy consumption of your refrigerator will also be determined from how many times and how often do you open your refrigerator. Every time you open your fridge, it has to work extra to maintain the same temperature.
The Matter of the Best Compressor:
Refers to the kind of compressor your fridge runs on- normal or an invertor compressor. It is the basic mechanism on which your refrigerator works. Settling on a normal compressor may not be a sensible thing to do. A normal compressor runs at a constant speed throughout, so even if there is a cooling loss, it will run at the same speed and switch off once it reaches optimum cooling. This is probably why sometimes you hear a 'tick' sound from your refrigerator.
On the other hand, an invertor compressor can run at varying speeds, it starts at a low speed and boosts up whenever there is a loss in cooling. This is in contrast with normal compressors that take-off at a high speed consuming more electricity and producing a lot of noise. In case of wide voltage fluctuations these conventional compressors may even pack up!
A standard refrigerator compressor unit
Therefore, we can conclude that an invertor compressor makes your fridge more energy efficient. Whenever the usability drops, it slows down to maintain the temperature which helps in saving electricity. If you want long term benefits from your fridge it is advisable to go for one with the invertor compressor. This is where LG and Samsung score as they both don't run on a conventional compressor.
Samsung's Digital Inverter Compressor can run on 5 different cycles depending on the levels of humidity and usage patterns. Unlike other compressors, Samsung has done away with the conventional start and stop cycle. This feature ensures consistency in temperature, greater durability, and keeps noise to a minimum. LG's Smart Inverter Compressor promises to save energy up to 36% by adjusting cooling power in response to the amount of food you store in the refrigerator.
Cool Pad Technology:
Stands for a gel plate inside the freezer that will keep food items from melting during power cuts- up to 10 hours. Almost all refrigerators have this feature. (Power cuts are not that regular a problem in metros as compared to small towns; but who knows, it could get worse).
LG's cool cap: Durachill
Look Out for What's Inside: The Interiors
LG has one pull out tray, two shelves, a convertible box and a vegetable box; however because of extra added shelves you will feel that the vegetable box is a little smaller. There is a huge bottle space in this model, both for regular as well as for bigger bottles. There is a separate box provided for storing cosmetics. So if your consumption of drinks is fairly high, then you would favour an LG over the others.
LG GL D292
Samsung also follows the same pattern with a little shuffling when it comes to space. Here you have two shelves with an easy slide tray in the middle, a convertible box and a fairly spacious vegetable box. Samsung has played around with its door storage. There are compartments and cabinets for different purposes. You have a big space for water bottles, one multi-purpose box and three different compartments which you can use according to your preference. If you have a variety of foodstuff to store, this maybe your best bet for storage.
SAMSUNG RT 29
Whirlpool and Godrej have done away with the convertible box, hence their interior looks wide and spacious. They both have a quick chill space, three shelves and a bigger vegetable box. While Whirlpool has fairly basic door storage, We personally liked what Godrej has done with their door storage space. They have given ample space for water storage and at the same time have dedicated space for cans storage, dry fruits storage and dairy products storage.
WHIRLPOOL NEO IC255
The interiors of a refrigerator is something very basic, remember that the companies are not doing anything magical with them. The same space is being designed with minor modifications. So one brand gives you more compartments, shelves which will make you feel that the interior is a little cramped. On the other hand another brand may do away with an extra shelf, a convertible box or an extra compartment to give you a spacious vegetable box and more space for water storage.
GODREJ RT EON
In the end you have to see what dominates your daily usage.Do you require more space or are your food items so varied that you need a thorough compartmentalization of items, it's a personal choice really. So we will refrain from telling you what's best here.
Here is a quick tabular comparative analysis of top refrigerator brands and their features.
|Brand||Price (Approx)||Capacity||Compressor||Electricity Consumption||Star Rating||Cool Pad||Added features|
|LG GL D292 RPJLWG||30,000 INR||258 LTR||Smart Invertor Compressor||238* units a year||4*||Yes||Auto stabilizer, glass finish body, can work on trip voltage range between 100-290 units|
|Samsung RT 29 HAJSAWX||28,700 INR||275 LTR||Digital Invertor Compressor||305* units a year||3*||Yes||Auto stabilizer, glass finish body, voltage range 115-300 units|
|Whirlpool NEO IC255 ROY 3 SWE||22,700 INR||242 LTR||Normal compressor||306* units a year||3*||Yes||Auto-stabilizer, 6th sense technology, auto alarm for door when left open, automatic cooling adjustment according to weather.|
|Godrej RT EON 260 PSWS||25,700 INR||260 LTR||Normal compressor||307* units a year||3*||Yes||Glass finish, auto-stabilizer, multi-airflow system, voltage range 130-260 units|
There may be other refrigerator models available within the same price range and capacity that are not featured in this article. This doesn't stand as a representative of the entire segment.
Our Recommendation for the Best Refrigerator in India
If we were to go by what our dealers on the ground say, most of them suggested thatLG is the best buy in this segment. Now some of you will ask why not Whirlpool or Godrej as they are more value for money and we will explain why that might not be the case.
This model of Whirlpool is the cheapest brand. Though it has some added features, we didn't quite like the fact that it runs on normal compressor, has a 3 star rating and isn't that energy efficient.
Godrej also runs on a normal compressor. It consumes maximum number of electricity units out of all the models.
If you are one of those who doesn't mind compromising on the energy efficiency and star rating, then settling for Samsung won't be a bad idea. It is bigger in capacity, lighter on your pocket and has an added advantage of a digital invertor compressor.
Our Verdict: LG
Home appliances experts opine that out of all the brands LG and Samsung sell the most.
LG currently holds almost 30% of the total refrigerator sale share in India.
"LG Electronics is targeting a turnover of Rs 6,000 crore in the refrigeration segment by the end of this year with 20 per cent growth in volume. LG, which is also market leader in the segment, plans to acquire 40 per cent market share in the home appliances category by the end of 2014."according to PTI.
LG has the most energy efficient model of all. It has four star rating, consumes lesser energy, is sound on capacity and storage space. Its compressor is also something that sets it apart and adds to its energy efficiency. One thing that truly sets this brand apart from others is the after sales and customer service that has been reported as highly satisfactory by many so far. We would say that LG would be the best buy in this segment. While you will have to spend a little more but in the end it is totally worth it.
Our thanks to -
Vijay Sales, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi
Osaba Emporium, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi
House of Technology, Nehru Place, New Delhi
Always do your own research on products and companies before using a product you choose. NDTV, its affiliates and its management does not claim responsibility for any of the products/ or companies discussed on this site. There may be other refrigerator models available within the same price range and capacity that are not featured in this article.