Being one of the most important purchases we can make in our homes, thorough research should be done beforehand to get the most ideal refrigerator in terms of value and cost. Here, we’ve compiled an exhaustive beginners guide to buying a fridge to help you make that decision. Furthermore, we’ve linked our review articles on best refrigerators you can buy in Kenya today by type.
1. Types of Fridges in Kenya
There are two main types of Fridges in Kenya:
The single door fridge as the name suggests is a refrigerator with one door and usually has an average height of around 80cm.
The bottom and freezer are accessed using the one door hence the temperature, especially for the freezer, may fall from time to time.
The energy consumption is usually quite low compared to other types mainly because of its cooling method which is direct cooling compared to frost free for the double door.
Also, the capacity of the fridge which is usually around 50L to 250L is sufficient for a household of 1 -3 people, above that, would require a double door refrigerator.
Besides using at home this type is common in offices for chilling drinks, snacks, lunches for employees and also popularly used as a mini-bar.
The double door fridge is the most common household fridge; the freezer and refrigerator (bottom part) have a door each for access.
It’s usually large in size compared to the single door hence occupies more space.
In terms of energy consumption, it consumes more energy due to its frost free technology.
It’s sufficient for an average household of 3 – 5 members.
c. Side by Side Refrigerators
The side by side refrigerator is usually a high end, expensive type of refrigerator.
Has two doors on the left and right which makes it super spacious.
They are modern but consume a lot of energy mainly because of the location of the freezer which is at the bottom compared to the location of the compressor.
Its biggest advantage over other high end refrigerators is its small swing space which makes it ideal for small kitchen spaces.
d. French Door Fridges
The French door fridge brings a modern look into your kitchen. Not only does the lower-freezer setup mean large blocks of storage space, but the ability to open only one refrigerator door at a time minimizes the escape of cool air. Many models include a drawer-style freezer, but some include French doors on the freezer area as well. The French doors require a small swing space, and just like standard Bottom Freezer models, there’s lots of versatility in accommodating wide or large items.
e. Bottom Freezer Refrigerator
The bottom freezer fridge is extremely popular with good reason. These models provide a large block of storage space for both the refrigerator and freezer sections, allowing easy accommodation of contents in a variety of sizes and widths. Many people also prefer the convenience of having the refrigerator section directly at eye level, making it easier to quickly find what they need.
In Kenya, if you are looking for a fridge that is high quality and durable you have to highly consider the brand you’re buying. There are many brands in the market most am sorry to say will give you sleepless nights.
The top 5 brands in Kenya today are:
5. VON by Hotpoint
As you may be thinking, don’t all refrigerators do the same thing. Well yes and no, fridges, depending on the price which can be from as low as Ksh. 15, 000, are equipped with a whole variety of features. Cheaper fridges in Kenya come with minimal storage capacity and no unique features to increase ease of use. On the other hand, more expensive refrigerators are jam-packed with all sorts of features that will blow your mind and more importantly make your life so much easier and comfortable, after all, isn’t that what we all work so hard for.
This is the where you pull out your tape measure and measure the size of the location you would like to place the fridge, to avoid buying a product that doesn’t fit: ensure there is enough space for the fridge itself, for the fridge doors when opened and that the fridge can fit through the doors, also ensure to leave little room on the sides of the fridge for proper ventilation.
Most people overlook the capacity of the fridge they need to meet their daily needs. It’s easier to assume that a particular fridge capacity would be sufficient for your needs and more often than not that happens to be false.
The easiest way to determine your ideal capacity would be to look at your current fridge and if the current capacity which is measured in litres serves you well, that should give you an idea if you need to increase the capacity and by how much or stick to the same capacity.
A warranty is extremely crucial in Kenya as part of your purchase. This is a guarantee by the manufacturer that the appliance is of good quality and can at least run for a year (which is the standard warranty period in Kenya) without any issues. In the case that your appliance is faulty before the year elapses the manufacturer is obliged to fix it for you or depending on the terms of the warranty, replace with a brand new one.
In our reviews, we only list refrigerators with at least a one year warranty for your safety.
7. Energy Consumption
Old models of fridges consume a lot of electricity compared to modern models.
The UNDP put in place laws that govern six power-consuming appliances the laws stipulate that these appliances must have ERC efficiency labels as shown in the picture.
The labels have an energy rating of 1 – 5, 1 being the least efficient while a 5-star rating indicates most energy efficient.
Hence, always look out for the labels when purchasing a fridge in Kenya to determine their energy efficiency. Being energy conscious is not only about saving money but also the environment we all thrive in.
Features are directly proportional to the price of the fridge. The main features to look out for during your next purchase are:
i. Adjustable Shelves and their type – Your food storage needs vary from time to time. Sometimes you may have bulky goods that require a lot of space, being able to adjust the shelves accordingly is paramount. The type of shelf also matters considerably when it comes to durability, cleaning and maintaining hygiene in your refrigerator, for example, Rack shelves make it harder to clean especially during spills.
When all is said and done we all want an attractive fridge that is visually appealing and increases the aesthetics of the room. A fridge may come with all the bells and whistles in terms of features but if it isn’t appealing to the eye you won’t be satisfied.
Additionally, finishes such as stainless steel tend to be easy to clean keeping your refrigerator spotless all day every day.
One of the things to consider when purchasing a fridge is, does the fridge make a lot of noise?
Modern refrigerators go from moderate noise to silent. The silent ones tend to be more expensive like the French door fridges while the mini-fridges tend to be noisier although far cheaper.
11. Air Filter
Air filters do exactly that filter air. This ensures a constant stream of fresh, clean air circulating within your fridge hence neutralizing any bad odours inside.
As you can see the air filter is essential in keeping your food fresh and free of bacteria which can cause infections and poisoning.
Hence, depending on the instructions of the user manual that came with your fridge, the air filter should be replaced.
Normally, it should be replaced after every six months depending on the frequent use of the fridge in terms of opening and closing of the fridge door.
How to make your Fridge Last Longer
A refrigerator is one of the top prized appliances in our homes. Besides its’ high investment cost, it does a crucial job 24/7, making sure it does its job well and efficiently should be a top priority. You can easily do this by:
1. Fridge Guard – Kenyas’ electricity supply, although improving, is known to be largely inconsistent. This can cause a great risk for your appliance, hence it is recommended to always use a fridge guard to protect the fridge from surges.
2. Keep it upright – Never lay down your refrigerator for any reason. This is due to the viscous oil in the compressor getting into the cooling lines and clogging them hence hampering its cooling function. If it’s mandatory you transport it laid down then wait for at least 24 hrs before switching it on.
3. Air filters – As stated above, confirm with the fridge manual if it has air filters and makes a note of changing them as per the instructions.
4. Keep it Clean – Follow our quick guide to help you through keeping your fridge clean and fresh. This is not only vital for the safety of your food but for the longevity of your appliance.
5. Keep Away from Heat – You have a duty to help your refrigerator work less. The more the motor runs the faster it will wear out. Keeping your refrigerator close to your oven or stove causes your fridge to work harder in an attempt to continuously keep the fridge cool due to the hot air.
6. Keep the top clear – Warm air flows from the top side. When you place objects such as baskets, storage containers e.t.c at the top of the fridge it leads to the warm air being trapped inside which in turn may lead to overheating.
7. Inspect the seals – Broken, cracked or damaged seals around the refrigerator door may cause air to leave the fridge which forces it to run longer. This causes it to work harder and increases energy consumption.
8. Keep it filled – An empty refrigerator is as bad as a jam packed refrigerator. You want to keep your refrigerator full no more no less. When it’s extremely full the fridge will struggle to maintain air flow the same with when empty. Instances where you have to leave the fridge empty for example when travelling, it’s advisable to store jugs or bottles of water in the refrigerator to maintain performance.
9. Don’t put warm food inside – The job of your refrigerator is to cool. When it detects warm air it kicks it up a notch to combat the hot/warm air and maintain coolness this means working harder than usual to do that. Wait for the food to cool before placing it inside the fridge. If you are concerned about food-borne bacteria, place the food in the fridge while it is warm along with a frozen jug of water. The jug will keep the inside cool at the same time as the food is cooling without causing the fridge to work harder.
10. Set the proper temperature – To keep your fridge running efficiently, set the freezer to a temperature of zero degrees and the fridge below 5 degrees Centigrade (40 degrees Fahrenheit).
Best Places to buy a Fridge in Kenya
- Online Stores
The adage “When the deal is too good think twice” applies as much in Kenya as it does anywhere else especially when it comes to online shopping.
When it comes to shopping online in Kenya, one has to be careful and extra vigilant to avoid getting scammed. It is advisable to use trusted online vendors such as Jumia.co.ke being the top. They deliver countrywide, once you’ve ordered the item from the comfort of your home. Additionally, it’s pay on delivery which allows you to inspect the merchandise before paying for it.
Supermarkets such as Quickmart, Naivas, Tuskys and Carrefour are a second alternative to purchasing your appliances in Kenya. They are verified vendors by the manufacturers and provide warranty and after-sales support such as delivery.
3. Authorized Shops
These are independent vendors that are authorized by the manufacturer e.g Ramtons to sell their products. Hence, the products are genuine including warranty cards for the products, they also provide after-sale services.
As earlier mentioned a fridge is top 3 of the most important appliance purchases you can make both in terms of functionality and cost incurred. Factors mentioned in this guide should help you make a decision. Furthermore, you can look at our reviews depending on the type of fridge you’re looking for to make a more informed and guaranteed decision. Good luck!