When you are picking a completely new refrigerator/freezer, there are many things you should think about as you start shopping and comparing various brands and models. Refrigerators are a significant investment and you want to be sure that your new purchase will continue to meet your family’s needs, not only this coming year, but in many years.
What kind, Size and Style of Refrigerator
Before even thinking about shopping you should recognize exactly what refrigerator will deliver the best results for the amount of space. Available types include:
- Freestanding full-size refrigerator/freezers
- Counter-depth refrigerator/freezers (front is flush with front of base cabinets)
- Built-in refrigerator/freezers
- Professional built-in refrigerator and freezers pairs
- Little in size or undercounter refrigerators and freezers
Unless you are remodeling your cooking area, you will want to find a model that will fit into the same spot and space occupied by your current refrigerator. Be sure to calculate the width, height and depth of the space where your refrigerator is located and the external dimensions of your refrigerator itself on freestanding units. You may find a slightly larger model that will still fit within the available space. Just don’t forget to measure carefully and precisely.
Another size factor to consider is capacity. If the unit is going to be used as a beer/soda fridge or as a alternative refrigerator, less than 11 cubic feet may be suitable. However, typical families of 4 may need at least 14 cubic feet of storage space in their primary refrigerator. Larger families may want to give some thought to refrigerators with at least 18-22 cubic feet of capacity:
Once you narrow down the types of refrigerator, you also need to consider the style you prefer and what will work best for the space. Styles include:
- side-by-side refrigerators
- top freezer refrigerators / bottom freezer refrigerators
- French door refrigerators
Side-by-side units may perform the best in narrow galley kitchen areas or when space is limited due the positioning of a center island. Nevertheless, side-by-side models may not be able to have capacity for large items like whole turkeys or huge storage containers of food in either refrigerator or freezer compartment.
Top freezer refrigerators are the most cheap style for freestanding units. Bottom freezer models are more uncommon, but are more suitable since the refrigerator compartment is on top and it is used more often than the freezer.
French doors refrigerators have become popular these days and feature two side-by-side refrigerator compartments above a bottom freezer, merging the best top features of side-by-side and bottom freezer models.
Selling Points and Features To Decide Upon
Extra features mean extra cost, but selecting the right features for your loved ones can certainly create world of difference in functionality and convenience. Here are key features to think about:
- Energy Star Rating – Greater energy efficiency will cut your once-a-year operating costs.
- Make certain shelving is sturdy, very easy to clean and can be easily reconfigured .
- Temperature and humidity settings must be easy to reach and modify.
- Icemaker within the freezer compartment (requires water line to fridge)
- Ice and water dispenser in (requires water line to refrigerator, may increase probability of repairs and possibly higher repair costs).
- Water filtration for ice makers and water dispensers (typically requires replacement filters at 6 month intervals).
- Good brightness both in refrigerator and freezer chambers.
- Separate sections with adjustable temperature and humidity controls for meats, produce and deli items.
- Exterior Finish – You need to select a finish that will coordinate with your existing kitchen appliances and go with your kitchen dacor. White and beige/bisque are the cost-effective and most basic appliance colors, followed by stainless steel and black. Bolder appliance colors have become popular in recent years. Additionally, cabinet panels may be available from your cabinet maker or cab be created by a cabinet maker that will make it easy for your refrigerator to blend seamlessly with your cabinetry. Darker finishes like stainless steel and black often show streaks and scrapes and may require more regular cleaning.
Last but not least, one last thing to take into consideration: if it is important to you that all your house appliances match as closely as possible, you may want to narrow your focus towards the same brand and series as your other kitchen appliances; i.e., Frigidaire Gallery Series, Frigidaire Professional Series, G.E. Monogram, G.E. Cafe, G.E. Profile, etc.