The difference between an American and French style is that, while the American design situates the fridge and freezer next to one another, the French style sees them stacked, one above the other, and uses drawers and double doors to maximise capacity. The interior layout, depth and additional functionality mean you still get many of the benefits of a US fridge.
Haier’s HB18FGSAAA French door fridge freezer (pictured at the top of the article, and above) is only 830mm wide but has an internal capacity of 508 litres, which means that it'll hold approximately 28 bags of food shopping.
One of its key features is separate zones with the correct humidity to store fruit and vegetables, or meat, fish and dairy to keep them at their best for longer. It also uses smart interior sensors to alter the temperature depending on what food is stored and how cold it is and distribute the correct amount of cold air.
You can get the Haier French door fridge freezer from Currys PC World for £1,269.99. John Lewis also has it but it’s currently out of stock. It’s also available from AO.com, although at the higher price of £1,499.
For too long, attractive, design-led major appliances have been the exception rather than the rule. It would be nice to think that’s changing and that manufacturers understand that if we’re going to spend several hundred to several thousand quid on something that we look at every day, it should be worth looking at. Why do we expect that from our phones and not our fridges?
That’s one thing about this new breed of fridge freezers: they do look good. Haier’s French door fridge freezer has a glass finish with an LED display on the door.
Siemens’ first French-door fridge freezer is similarly attractive, with a black glass finish. The iQ700 KF86FPB2A is also a connected device, so you can monitor and control your fridge from your phone. If you’re on the way home with a lot of shopping, you can lower the temperature of the fridge and/ or freezer to be ready for the food.
It has a 426 litre capacity (about 23 bags’ worth of shopping) and a flexible interior with adjustable door bins. It has an RRP of £2,999 but sadly, it’s not currently available to buy online from the UK, although you can try to find a stockist using the locator on the Siemens site.
Samsung also has a number of French style and multi-door fridge freezers. Some have a fantastic feature – the smart convertible zone – which allows you to swap the functionality of compartments from fridge to freezer (and back), depending on what kind of food you want to store.
The Three-Door with Twin Cooling Plus fridge freezer has a 520 litre capacity, and features including a water and ice dispenser and flexible shelving options. The CoolSelect Pantry is a fridge-wide drawer with an adjustable temperature to keep prepared dishes, meat and fruit perfectly stored until you’re ready for them. (This product doesn’t feature the convertible zone, however.)
During lockdown, sales of appliances have risen sharply – and that’s even factoring in delivery delays and the inability of most companies to offer installation services because of social distancing measures.
It seems that time spent at home has people wanting to invest in comfort and convenience. And the trend is predicted to continue after lockdown, when people are able to make bigger purchases and more extensive changes to their homes.
The launch of a new generation of products is timely.
If you're considering buying at the moment, don't forget that appliances may still be dropped at your doorstep, rather than brought into your home and installed. Make sure you check what the retailer can offer before purchasing.