Fridge must haves:
- Automatic defrosting (so no ice forms in the back).
- Big enough to house all the Christmas food (from the Ducks, right through to the rice pudding desert for twenty or so persons in my case).
- Usable shelves in the door for things like ketchup, mustard and dressing bottles and jars. The reason being that you want them to be easy to grab for, without having to reach into the back of the fridge.
- Some kind of fan or other function that makes the cold air circulate in the fridge, keeping the temperature even throughout.
Fridge don't bother:
- Built in freezer (usually way too small, unless you are a single/two person household).
- Built in water dispenser (just fill a jug with water, place in the fridge, and you have cold water).
We have a Bosch fridge that we are very happy with.
For the freezer, I prefer the versions that do look like fridges but with drawers. Right now we have a box deep freezer that is just ****. Everything ends up in mixed piles, which means that we generally grab the newest peas or whatever first because they are on top. Which means that eventually we end up throwing out quite a lot of food during the annual deep freezer clean and defrost. So, if you have the option, go for an upright freezer (perhaps matching your fridge of choice).
For a dishwasher, I would look at energy ratings and then choose the greenest one. Don't be tempted to buy one with a lot of fancy settings. It is really only a way of justifying a higher price. In my family we really only use two programs out of the five or so our machine has. The quick program for cups and plates, and the pot program for really dirty forms and pots. Sometimes we use the half-load option, for example before dinner so we have an empty machine after dinner. Our machine is a Zanussi. Even if it is not the quietest machine, it is the best performing one we have ever had.
As for the rest...do some brand research. Don't be afraid of buying unfamiliar, cheap brands (like for us Zanussi) since often the reason they are cheap is not that they are bad quality but because they are not yet established. Don't be tempted to buy machines with a lot of extra features since chances are you will never really use them, and so pay extra for nothing. Let the energy rating (and reviews) be your guideline. And well...good luck.
p.s. If you do drink a lot of tea an instant hot water machine like the Tefal one is something I really recommend. Easy to use. Easy to clean. No more turning on the electric kettle, forgetting it, and having to turn it on again. Or waiting for water to heat on the stove.