Modern day kitchens aren’t one size fits all, and neither are modern refrigerators. Whether you love the traditional side-by-side or you’re considering upgrading to a French door model, here’s buying guide for refrigerators that will help you decide which model is for you.
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What to consider before you bring home your refrigerator?
It’s always nice to have space in your home, and it goes without saying that the large 43” refrigerator models would give you space to spare. But that beautiful refrigerator isn’t going to do you a lot of good if you don’t have the space to plug it into your kitchen, and it will be less useful if you can’t get it in the door.
Measure twice, install your refrigerator once
Some kitchens have a box designed to hold your refrigerator, while others simply have a space allocated along the kitchen cabinets. Before you decide what size of refrigerator you’d like to have, you’ll have to see how big of a refrigerator your kitchen will hold. That means measuring the space designated for your fridge including height, width, and depth.
Measure your doorways too
If you’ve ever watched a TV show with a delivery person stuck in the doorway with a refrigerator, you might have thought it was pretty funny. In real life, if your fridge was stuck in the doorway, you’d be doing everything but laughing. That’s why, before you order your refrigerator, you should measure your doorways and find the path you’re fridge will take once it’s delivered.
Can your refrigerator doors swing out?
Once you’ve measured, be sure to note any obstructions you might encounter when opening the door to your refrigerator. Some kitchens are narrow, and even if the fridge you choose will fit in the space, you might not be able to fully open the doors.
Give your fridge room to breathe
This is an important step some homeowners forget about when it comes to refrigerators. You need to leave at least one inch of space above and behind your fridge so it can be properly ventilated. If you don’t allow for ventilation space, your fridge might work overtime and it can damage the motor, compressor, or use extra energy to keep cool.
What will you store inside your refrigerator?
The other consideration before choosing is how much cubic space you’d like for food storage. Depending on the model of fridge you choose, you can have an average of 10 to 30 cubic feet (cu. ft.) of space inside, and how large you’d like depends on how often you store fresh food and cook and how many people are in your family.
Just as an example, a person with one or two people in their family who rarely cooks might want small storage, so they’d opt for a top or bottom freezer model with up to 25 cu. ft. A family of six may be more interested in a French door refrigerator or side-by-side refrigerator with up to 30 cu. ft. of storage.
Types of refrigerators you can buy
There are a few standard types of refrigerators: all-fridge refrigerators, top freezer refrigerators, bottom freezer refrigerators, French door refrigerators, and side-by-side refrigerators. Within those types you can also find built-in and counter depth options as well as extras like water and ice, door-in-door, and smart refrigerators.
If you’ve had a fridge/freezer combo and you’ve felt like your freezer was a waste of space because you never store anything in it, you might want to consider fridge-only refrigerator.
Why you’d want an all-fridge refrigerator
An all-fridge refrigerator is just that: it’s fridge-only storage space. An average interior size of these models is approximately 18 cu.ft, and they will give you ample storage space for fresh food. You may want an all-fridge refrigerator if you’re not interested in freezing anything or if you’d like a secondary fridge in a garage or shed, but would want to consider another model if you freeze food occasionally.
Top Freezer Refrigerators
You’ve probably seen a top freezer refrigerator in someone’s home before. Considered to be a traditional fridge, the top freezer refrigerator ranges in size from 24 to 33 inches and have anywhere from 10 to 22 cu. ft. of space inside.
Why you’d want a top freezer fridge
If you like the traditional look of a top freezer refrigerator, you don’t want to bend down to access your freezer, and you like the storage space provided with the top freezer models, this could be the fridge for you. The drawback to these models is that they only average 18 cu. ft of space, so if you’d like more storage you may want to consider another type of refrigerator.
A bottom freezer refrigerator has a large fridge portion with one door that swings out and a bottom freezer within a drawer. Bottom freezer models range in size from 24 to 36 inches and have anywhere from 10 to 25 cu. ft. of space inside.
Why you’d want a bottom freezer refrigerator
In comparison to a top freezer model, a bottom freezer fridge has the fridge portion at eye level. That makes it easier to scan and requires no bending down like you’d have to with a top freezer refrigerator. The bottom freezer fridge is also a family favourite. Kids can access the bottom freezer much easier than the top freezer models, and with plenty of internal storage space in the fridge portion, you’ll have a lot of room to store casseroles and lunches.
French door refrigerators
A French door fridge has two doors that swing open and a freezer drawer below. They range in size from 30 inches up to 36 inches and they range from 20 to 30 cu. ft. of space. Here’s a funny fact about French door refrigerators: if you were buying one in France, the name changes to “American refrigerator.”
Why you’d want a French door refrigerator
A French door refrigerator has the capacity for a large family, and the two doors give you convenient access to your food. You can open one side, the other, or both when accessing your food, and the bottom freezer drawer generally has two levels to give you extra storage space. French door refrigerators tend to be on the large side, so if you don’t have a lot of space in your kitchen, you may want to choose a smaller model.
A side-by-side refrigerator has both a fridge and a freezer, but the fridge takes up one side and the freezer takes up the other. Side-by-side fridges range in size from 32 to 36 inches and offer from 20 to 30 cu. ft. of storage space.
Why you’d want a side-by-side refrigerator
If space is an issue in your kitchen, you’ll love the narrow design of a side-by-side fridge. These models have narrow doors and a lot of compartments on both sides, and you’d choose a side-by-side fridge if you’d like to have as much freezer space as fridge space.
Other types of refrigerators
Just like anything in life, when it comes to refrigerators, you have a lot of choice. When you’ve picked from side-by-side, French door, or top and bottom freezer refrigerators, there’s also different choices from within models.
A built-in refrigerator comes in a variety of styles from bottom freezer to side-by-side, but instead of jutting out slightly from your kitchen cabinets, these refrigerators are designed to fit almost flush with your counters and look built right in to your kitchen. You can choose to put on a front panel to match your kitchen cabinets for a seamless look.
Counter depth Refrigerators
A counter depth refrigerator will not stand out from your cabinets. It sits flush and the sides are covered. You can find counter depth refrigerators in all types of styles including French door and side-by-side.
Door-in-door and Glass door Refrigerators
New to the refrigerator market, door-in-door refrigerators and glass door refrigerators have an extra door in the fridge compartment. That extra door gives you easy access to drinks, snacks, and more, and also frees up extra space when organizing your fridge.
The Samsung Food Showcase line is a good example of this type of refrigerator.
Mini-refrigerators and Wine Coolers
A mini-refrigerator is generally used for a bar, dorm room, or somewhere small you’d like to have cool storage. With an average size of 3 cu. ft., these fridges come in models with or without a freezer and hold everything from cold beverages to some larger items.
Wine coolers also come in this size range, and you can place them under your counter or in a bar area to keep your wine at the perfect temperature.
Features to consider when purchasing a refrigerator
Now that you’ve narrowed down what type of fridge you’re interested in, its time to check out what types of features you can find on refrigerators.
Water and ice in door
Having a connection to filtered water and ice is a big plus when it comes to your kitchen, and you can have that option right on your refrigerator. Some models will give you access to different types of ice too.
They haven’t been around long but they’re really picking up steam in the refrigerator market: smart refrigerators have touchscreens built into the door and cameras inside to give you a full view of your contents. A smart refrigerator works with an app to keep track of what’s in your fridge, control the settings, and you can even use it to order groceries online.
The internal cameras will send you a picture of the interior of your fridge if you’re out shopping, so you’ll never buy extra or wonder if you have something on hand.
Energy Star Refrigerators
An Energy Star appliance saves you on your energy bill and helps the environment by not using an overwhelming amount of resources to keep your food cool. Energy Star has criteria a refrigerator must meet in order to be considered energy efficient, and there are many makes and models you can choose if you’re interested in saving money on your energy bill while still enjoying a brand new refrigerator.
Take the next step
Now that you know all there is to know about buying a refrigerator, take the next step and find your new refrigerator at Best Buy.