Today’s kitchens are not the ones you can call one size fits all, and neither are modern refrigerators. You may love the traditional side-by-side variant or you’re thinking about upgrading to a French door model, here’s our buying guide for refrigerators to help you decide which model is for you.
What should we consider before buying a new refrigerator?
Did you know that 21% of people who buy refrigerators choose a model that fails to fit in their home environment? Extra room in your refrigerator is fine, and it goes without saying that the large 43” refrigerator models would give you the space, but the beautiful refrigerator will not do you a lot of good if it will not fit in your kitchen. It will be so much less useful if you can’t get it in the door, for example.
Before ordering your new refrigerator, follow these simple four steps.
1. Measure twice before installing your fridge
At some kitchens, there is a box designed for your refrigerator, while others may simply have a space allocated along the kitchen cabinets.
Before you decide what size of refrigerator you need, you should see how big of a refrigerator your kitchen will hold. We mean measuring the space allocated for your fridge bearing in mind its height, width, and depth.
Record your measurements so that you have them at hand when you’re shopping for your new fridge. When shopping on Amazon.com, you can use specific search parameters: exact height, width, and depth.
2. Don’t forget to measure your doorways
In real life, it happens quite often: your fridge may get stuck in the doorway, and you’d be doing everything but laughing. Before you order your refrigerator, measure your doorways and project the path your fridge will take through your home.
3. Dow you want your fridge doors swing out?
So, you’ve measured your fridge space. Now, be sure to note any obstructions you might encounter when opening your fridge doors. If your kitchen is narrow and the fridge you choose will fit in the space, you might not be able to fully open the doors.
When shopping on Amazon.com you can see the exact measurement of that fridge’s depth with doors open.
4. Your fridge needs room to operate
An important step some homeowners forget about when choosing a fridge is that your fridge needs room to “breathe” and operate properly. You need to leave at least one inch of space above and behind your fridge for proper ventilation. If ventilation space is not sufficient, your fridge will work overtime, and may damage the motor, compressor, or use extra energy to keep cool.
What will be stored in your fridge?
Of course, measuring is important when choosing the right fridge. Another consideration before making your final selection is how much cubic space you need for food storage. Depending on the fridge model, you can expect an average of 10 to 30 cubic feet (cu. ft.) of space inside. How large the model you need depends on how often you store fresh food and cook and how big is your family.
A person with one or two people in their family who cooks rarely might want small storage, so they’d choose a top or bottom freezer model with up to 25 cu. ft. A family of six people may need in a French door refrigerator or side-by-side refrigerator with up to 30 cu. ft. of storage.
Types of fridges you can buy
There are standard types of refrigerators:
- all-fridge refrigerators,
- top freezer refrigerators,
- bottom freezer refrigerators,
- French door refrigerators, and
- side-by-side refrigerators.
Those types also cover built-in and counter-depth options as well as some extras like water and ice, door-in-door, and smart functions.
If you’ve ever had a fridge/freezer combo, and your freezer was a waste of space because you never store anything in it, you may want to consider a fridge-only refrigerator.
An all-fridge refrigerator—why you may want to buy it
An all-fridge refrigerator is as simple as that: the storage space it offers is fridge-only. An average interior size of this type of models is about 18 cu.ft—they will give you sufficient storage space for fresh food. You may want to buy an all-fridge refrigerator if you don’t need to freeze anything or if you want another fridge in a garage or shed, but would want to consider another model if you freeze food from time to time.
Top Freezer Fridges
You may have seen a top freezer fridge in someone’s home before. It is considered to be a traditional fridge—top freezer refrigerator ranges in size from 24 to 33 inches and offer between 10 and 22 cu. ft. of space inside.
Why may want to choose a top freezer fridge
If the traditional look of a top freezer refrigerator is for you, you don’t want to bend down to open your freezer, and you like the storage space provided with the top freezer models, this fridge is for you. These models have the only drawback—they only average 18 cu. ft of space. If you need more storage, consider another type of refrigerator.
Bottom Freezer Fridges
A bottom freezer refrigerator means that you’ll have a large fridge portion with one door that swings out and a bottom freezer within a drawer. The size of bottom freezer models ranges from 24 to 36 inches (from 10 to 25 cu. ft. of space inside).
Why may want to choose a bottom freezer fridge
As compared to a top freezer type, a bottom freezer model’s fridge portion is at eye level. It will be easier for you to scan and no need to bend down like you’d have to with a top freezer fridge. The bottom freezer fridge is also for families. Your kids can access the bottom freezer much easier than the top freezer models. There’s plenty of internal storage space in the fridge portion—you’ll have a lot of room to store casseroles and lunches.
French Door Fridges
A French door fridge: two doors that swing open and a freezer drawer below. Their size ranges from 30 inches up to 36 inches, and they offer from 20 to 30 cu. ft. of space. It’s a funny fact about French door fridges: if you were buying one in France, they call it “American refrigerator.”
Why you may want a French door refrigerator
A French door fridge has enough capacity for a big family, and the two doors give you convenient access to what you store in it. You can either open one side, or the other, or both to access your food. The bottom freezer drawer usually has two levels and gives you extra storage space. French door fridges tend to be quite large. If you your kitchen space is limited, you may want to choose a smaller model.
A side-by-side fridge has both a fridge and a freezer, but the fridge is on the one side while the freezer takes up the other. The size of side-by-side fridges may range from 32 to 36 inches and offer from 20 to 30 cu. ft. of space for storage.
Why you may want a side-by-side fridge
Space is an issue in your kitchen? The narrow design of a side-by-side fridge is for you. Narrow doors and a lot of compartments on both sides—you would choose a side-by-side fridge if you need much freezer space as fridge space.
Other fridge types
When it comes to refrigerators, you have a lot of choice—just like almost anything in life. You may have picked from side-by-side, French door, or top and bottom-freezer refrigerators, but there is also a range of choices within these models.
A built-in fridge comes in a variety of styles from bottom freezer to side-by-side. But instead of jutting out from your kitchen cabinets, these refrigerators are designed to fit with your counters and look and feel built right into your kitchen. You can choose a front panel and put it on to match your kitchen cabinets so that everything looks seamless.
Counter Depth Fridges
Counter depth refrigerators do not stand out from your cabinets. Counter depth refrigerators are available in all types of styles including French door and side-by-side.
Door-in-door and Glass Door Fridges
These fridges are new to the refrigerator market—they have an extra door in the fridge compartment. The extra door gives you easy access to snacks, drinks, and something else. And it also frees up extra space when you organize your fridge.
Consider the following features when purchasing a refrigerator:
Now, you’ve narrowed down your choice to the type of fridge you’re interested in. It’s about time to check out what types of features are supported by refrigerators.
Water and ice in the door
A connection to filtered water and ice is a big plus for your kitchen. This valuable option can be supported by your refrigerator. With some models, you will have access to different types of ice. Other models will offer you measured water fill: you can choose one cup, tap the screen, and the fridge delivers what you’ve ordered.
Smart fridges are becoming popular. Definitely, they will become even more popular some time soon.
Some models offer touchscreens built into the door and cameras inside so that you have a full view of your fridge contents. This type of refrigerator is combined with an app to keep track of your fridge items, control the settings. You can even order groceries online. The internal cameras will send you a picture of your fridge contents if you’re out shopping, and you’ll never buy more than you need or wonder if you have something available.
There are also fridges that support Wi-Fi and work an app. They will notify you if the door is open. If there is a maintenance issue with your fridge, you will be able to troubleshoot the problem using your phone.
Voice control is a feature of some models of Wi-Fi enabled fridge. Voice control can be a built-in LCD screen: you can add items to your grocery list, search for recipes, or stream some music.
Energy Star Fridges
An Energy Star appliance makes it possible to save on your energy bill and improves the environment by not using too much resources to keep your food cool. Energy Star has criteria a fridge must comply with in order to be energy efficient. There are many makes and models you can choose from if you want to save money on your energy bill and enjoy a brand new refrigerator.
Which Color is Best for Fridge?
If you lived in the early 1950s, your favorite fridge color might have been avocado green. In the early 2000s, your choices would have been stainless steel, white, or black. Now you can find fridges in the standard colors, but sleek black stainless steel, matte black stainless steel, grey, matte white, and even red models are available.