A refrigerator is an important part of any kitchen, and whether you're moving into a new home or simply buying a new one, there are plenty of options to fit your space. Finding the right one to fit your needs is the goal, so whether you're looking for newer models boasting features that keep food fresh longer and run efficiently to help save on your energy bill, looking for a refrigerator solution for a dorm room or game room, or just plan on sticking to the basics, this guide will help you focus on a few key things that can help you find the right refrigerator for your home.

 

REFRIGERATOR SIZE

 

One of the most important factors in looking for a new refrigerator, is to make sure it fits your space properly. Having an appliance that is oversized or too small can be costly, unsightly and even unusable. Here are some helpful tips to help you find the right size refrigerator for your space.

MEASURE WIDTH, DEPTH AND HEIGHT OF OPENING

Most configurations come in a range of sizes and capacities. Make sure to measure the space where you plan to place the fridge before you buy, remember to account for baseboards or countertops that stick out farther than the wall. Check that it can fit through doorways, allow room for the refrigerator's doors to swing open, and allow for a 1-inch clearance around sides and back for adequate airflow.

MEASURE FOR DOOR OPENING AND HINGE SPACE

For clear access to the refrigerator's shelves, crisper drawers and other areas, the doors should be able to open 90 degrees or more. It is recommended to leave at least two inches of space between the hinges and wall so there is ample clearance for hinges and the fridge door handle.

CHECK YOUR DOORWAYS

Measure each doorway your new refrigerator will be passing through, including your front door. Some models have handles and doors that can be removed while transporting and reinstalled once inside. Make sure to check the manufacturer guidelines before performing any disassembly.

WHICH CAPACITY IS BEST FOR YOUR HOUSEHOLD

There are numerous factors to consider when choosing which refrigerator capacity works best for you, including whether you like fresh food or frozen food, have children in your household or entertain frequently. Excluding freezer space, plan for a fridge with 18 to 20 cu. ft. of space for a two-person household. Add around 4 cu. ft. for each additional person. Normally, 26 to 29 cu. ft. of refrigerator space is typical for an average-sized family.

 

TYPES OF REFRIGERATORS

 

Refrigerators come in a variety of styles and designs, from basic to feature-rich models. Deciding which one is best for you is the first step towards making a final buying decision.

TOP FREEZER REFRIGERATORS

Top freezers are a very common refrigerator configuration with the freezer compartment positioned above the refrigerator unit. The freezer portion typically claims about a third of the total size. Both sections have a singledoor closure with the hinges on the same side, allowing you access to the freezer portion or refrigerator portion separately. Since top freezer refrigerators are one of the most common models available, you'll typically find a wide variety of sizes and finishes.
The freezer at eye level provides quick and easy access to frozen food. If you're someone who frequently eats frozen veggies or freezes meals for later, these models make organizing simple.

SHOP TOP FREEZER REFRIGERATORS

BOTTOM FREEZER REFRIGERATORS

The bottom-freezer design looks similar to the Top-freezer, but places the freezer compartment below the refrigerator unit. The freezer portion typically claims about a third of the total size. Both sections have single-door closures with the hinges on the same side, allowing you access to the freezer portion or refrigerator portion separately. With the freezer on the bottom, it's similar to having a small chest freezer. If you store frozen food for long periods of time or like buying in bulk, these freezers provide ample room.
Places the refrigerator section at eye level, so you can reach and organize your favorite foods and beverages without having to lean or bend down.

SHOP BOTTOM FREEZER REFRIGERATORS

SIDE-BY-SIDE REFRIGERATORS

Side-by-side models place the fridge and freezer sections right next to each other. The refrigerator and freezer compartments are more equal in size, with each taking up the full height of the refrigerator. They also offer more freezer capacity than most other configurations. Many side-by-side refrigerators come with in-door ice and water dispensers for quick access to water and ice.
Side-by-side build make these models ideal for kitchens with minimal space and door clearance, less space is required for door swing. Plus, everything is in front of you at once, so you can easily grab fresh and frozen ingredients in a snap.

SHOP SIDE-BY-SIDE FREEZER REFRIGERATORS

FRENCH DOOR REFRIGERATOR

Stylish and elegant, the French door configuration is a great combination of sideby-side and bottom-freezer configurations. They feature two doors that open up to a wide refrigerator section above a bottom freezer, helping maximize your storage space. They offer a highly versatile array of drawer and shelf configurations. If you're someone who frequently throws parties, French door constructions have plenty of space to store party platters, trays and other large items. Many French door refrigerators come with in-door ice and water dispensers for quick access to water and ice.
These models have ample door storage that is perfect for storing sauces, salad dressings and drinks for quick access.

SHOP FRENCH DOOR REFRIGERATORS

COMPACT REFRIGERATORS

Small and compact. Compact refrigerators provide food storage space in small areas, and some models even have a small freezer shelf for frozen goods. These small versions of traditional refrigerators are ideal for dorm rooms, bedrooms, game rooms, home entertainment bars and home offices.
Some models feature glass doors, so you can quickly see when something needs to berestocked.

SHOP COMPACT REFRIGERATORS

 

REFRIGERATOR FEATURES

 

There are a variety of features to consider when buying a new refrigerator. Deciding which ones are important to you will help you make an informed decision.

MAIN FEATURES

DUAL COOLING

Provides a separate cooling system for the fridge and freezer. This keeps the temperatures of each section steady with minimal fluctuation.

TEMPERATURE CONTROL

Built-in sensors that measure and adjust internal temperature, creating efficient cooling so food and beverages stay fresher longer.

DOOR OR TEMPERATURE ALARMS

Alert you when the refrigerator door has not completely sealed shut.

CHILD SAFETY LOCKS

Prevent small children from opening the refrigerator.

ICE AND WATER DISPENSERS/FILTRATION

Dispensers provide clean, filtered water and ice with just the press of a button. Look for icemakers and water dispensers with built-in filtration systems.

AIR FILTRATION SYSTEM

A built-in carbon filter keeps air in the refrigerator fresh. Improved air flow can stifle bad odors and evenly distributes cool air. The latest humidity technology maintains the right moisture level for frozen and fresh items.

SPILL-PROOF GLASS

Special glass that helps keep liquids from dripping down the rest of the refrigerator, making messes easy to clean.

 

STORAGE OPTIONS

SLIDING SHELVES

Shelves that slide out and bring the food to you, making it easier to reach items at the back of the refrigerator.

PULL-OUT FREEZERS

Tiered options can make frozen food organization simple. You won't have to worry about tossing frozen veggies around to find your carton of ice cream.

PANTRY DRAWERS

A drawer that allows easy access to favorite snacks and drinks without having to open the main refrigerator compartment.

CRISPER DRAWERS

Drawers that store fruits and vegetables. Many feature humidity-control to keep fruits and vegetables as fresh as possible.

ADJUSTABLE DOOR SHELVING

Moveable door shelves that allow you to make room for items you use the most.

DOOR STORAGE

Exterior compartment helps you keep go-to drinks and condiment items chilled and easily accessible. Outer door storage also frees up more space on the interior door for larger items.

SMART FEATURES

Smart refrigerator models utilize WiFi and other smart technologies allowing you to monitor and manage your appliance from virtually anywhere using a smartphone and various aps.

WIFI ENABLED TOUCHSCREENS

A home base screen that allows you to manage grocery lists, send and read notes and reminders from anywhere.

BUILT-IN CAMERAS

Allow you to see what's inside your refrigerator from anywhere using your smart phone. So when shopping, you can see what you have and what you need.

ENTERTAIN

Browse the web, view photos, stream music or watch TV.

 

EXTERIOR FEATURES

MULTIPLE FINISHES

Choose from a variety of stainless steel, white and dark finishes that fit your kitchen's style and decor.

FINGERPRINT-RESISTANT COATINGS

Resists finger prints and cleans easily. Many stainless steel models use fingerprint-resistant coatings to keep your appliance looking new.

COUNTER-DEPTH REFRIGERATOR

These model sit flush with your existing cabinetry, offering a custommade look without the custom-made price.

REVERSIBLE DOORS

Offer more options when moving or arranging your kitchen.

 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

ENERGY STAR®

ENERGY STAR® rated refrigerators use at least 20 percent less energy than federal standards require. They reduce utility bills and are environmentally friendly.

LED LIGHTING

Lighting specially designed to use less energy than a standard refrigerator bulb.

ENERGYGUIDE LABELS

These labels can help you see the energy efficiency of refrigerators without an ENERGY STAR certification.

ENERGY REBATES

In certain states, you could qualify for a rebate by owning an energy efficient appliance.