How to Choose a Refrigerator

Modern kitchen


Need a new fridge? Consider exterior and interior size, style and finishes, and energy usage. Know what refrigerator type best fits your household needs and habits.

So, you’re thinking about purchasing a new refrigerator and you don’t know where to start. With all the choices on the market today, choosing a new refrigerator can be daunting. After all, a refrigerator is a major appliance purchase and you want to make sure that the model you choose is the right one for your household’s long-term needs. Here are some things to consider when refrigerator shopping:

Exterior size

What size refrigerator can your kitchen space accommodate? If you are replacing a refrigerator, you can start by measuring the existing one. Make sure to measure the exterior height, width, and depth, including any space needed for cords, plugs, etc. Also allow adequate room around the refrigerator for air flow and ventilation so it can function efficiently. Then, as you look at refrigerator options, consider the exterior measurements and whether units will fit into your existing kitchen space without having to retrofit cabinets and countertops. It’s also important to measure any doorways that the refrigerator must fit through to be delivered. And, measure the exterior door sizes to make sure you have adequate room for door clearance.
Interior size

Is there enough cubic feet for your refrigerated and frozen food storage needs? The best way to anticipate your needs is to open your current refrigerator door and look in. What types of food and beverages does your household normally have on hand? If you buy a lot of vegetables each week, you’ll need to make sure you have ample drawer/crisper space. If you have a lot of dairy and eggs, you’ll need space for those items. Do you buy liter drink bottles? Then you’ll need to make sure that there is room for tall items or adjustable shelves. If you like to buy items in bulk and freeze them, measure the packages to see what size the freezer shelves and drawers should be.
​Related:Six Ways for Organizing Your Freezer

There are many different styles and types of refrigerators on the market today, including:

  • Top freezer
  • Bottom freezer
  • Side-by-side
  • French door
  • Built-in
  • Compact

Ask yourself which type makes more sense for your household’s needs.For example, if you buy frozen items in large packages, you may need a unit with a top or bottom freezer that has wider shelves than a side-by-side model.Or, if someone in your household has back problems, you may not want an appliance with freezer that requires bending over when lifting.If you have a small kitchen, you may prefer a compact refrigerator to free up additional space for other items.

Energy usage

Read the Energy Guide carefully on each model to find out what you can expect in energy consumption and costs. Look for ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators, which are about 9 percent more energy efficient than models that meet the federal minimum standard for energy efficiency. A top-freezer refrigerator that has earned the ENERGY STAR label uses less energy than a 60-watt light bulb.

It wasn’t too long ago that the main refrigerator feature options were ice makers and water dispensers. Today’s refrigerators offer a gamut of additional options, including temperature controlled drawers, energy-saving controls, and even smartphone connectivity to enable you to check contents for grocery lists. Decide what’s important to you, and whether your budget can afford more bells and whistles.

While stainless steel continues to be popular for kitchen appliances, new trends are picking up steam, including metallic finishes, like gold, copper, and pewter. Custom panel kits let you match refrigerator and freezer fronts to kitchen cabinetry for a sleek, upscale look. White and almond refrigerator exteriors are always classic and light complements to kitchen décor schemes.

No matter what size, style, or color refrigerator you choose, consider protecting your new appliance and your budget from unexpected, covered breakdowns with sensible home warranty protection. When you choose a home warranty plan with appliance coverage, your refrigerator and many other everyday appliances that can be expensive to repair or replace are included. It’s just one more important factor to consider when choosing a refrigerator for your home.

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