With the help of guidelines developed with the Independent Living Centre (NSW), we've evaluated many fridges for potential difficulties for people with a disability. Few modern fridges are particularly good in this regard, but here are some things to look out for.
For people with poor vision
- Good internal lighting and clearly marked controls are essential.
- Look for a strong contrast between labels, such as black or navy blue on a white background. And also between features (such as crispers) and their surroundings.
For people in wheelchairs
- Small and shallow fridges make access to items better.
- A bottom-mounted freezer tends to make using both compartments easier — a higher freezer may be almost impossible to reach as well as clean. Drawers or baskets that slide out easily in a bottom-mount freezer also improve accessibility. But access to all of the fresh-food, and in some cases the chiller, may be impossible with a large fridge.
- Check where the temperature controls are positioned in the fresh-food compartment: they're often towards the top and back, so you may need help to adjust them.
- Handles running vertically down the side of the door are easier to use.