Refrigerators are long-term appliance investments so you'll want to carefully consider the main aspects of buying this refrigerator to ensure that it meets your family's needs and you'll be able to enjoy the refrigerator for the next few years. Whether you're buying a refrigerator for the very first time or replacing an older refrigerator model, these tips will help you be better prepared to start shopping for a refrigerator. Also see more tips on buying refrigerator:
Are There Installation Limitations for the Refrigerator?The first refrigerator consideration - measure the area where you will position the refrigerator. Is there sufficient room for full door swing/opening? Measuring is especially important when replacing a refrigerator to ensure the new one fits between counters or under overhead cabinets like the previous one. Take the maximum measurements when you shop for a refrigerator and allow space for hinges and leveling. Review your home's entry to the kitchen to be sure you'll be able to get your purchase in. You'll need an electrical outlet and also plumbing if you are buying a refrigerator with ice and water dispenser?
What Type Of Refrigerator Can Be Installed?While reviewing where you to install your new refrigerator, you can decide what type you prefer or would fit into your kitchen layout and budget. Types of refrigerators require different installations. A counter-depth model is usually wider than a same-capacity freestanding unit and can give your kitchen a custom look for less outlay than a built-in model. Available types:
- Freestanding full size
- Counter Depth (will be flush with cabinets)
- Compact or Under Counter
- Professional Built-in Refrigerator & Freezer Pair
What Style or Model Do You Prefer?Refrigerator style is a matter of preference and convenience, but you should consider installation limitations when choosing a style since clearances may vary. An All refrigerator model does not have a freezer but has the best capacity. This may suit your home if you have a freezer close at hand. A Top Mount model has an upper freezer, with or without a separate door. A Bottom Freezer model has either a drawer/bin or shelf style freezer on the bottom. A Side by Side has a freezer on one side and refrigerator on the other. A French Door model has two refrigerated top sections with a freezer on the bottom.
What Capacity Does Your Family Need?Once you've established installation, type and style, you can decide on capacity. If this will be your main refrigerator, size this appliance to meet your family's needs. Buying an overly large refrigerator which may remain partially empty will only use more kitchen space and increase purchase and energy costs. If you're buying a spare or beverage refrigerator, a compact model under 11 cu. ft. may be sufficient. A 14 cu. ft size can be adequate for a family of 4, but a 18 - 22 cu. ft or higher would be better for a large family. If you have a vegetable garden, a larger refrigerator would be very convenient.
Refrigerator Finishes & Existing Kitchen DecorYou should give some thought to whether you are looking for white, colored, stainless or other exterior finishes. What finish will fit better into your existing kitchen decor? Do you prefer the same brand as your range? You may want to compliment your existing appliances by choosing a similar finish. If you have small children, finishes that are easy to keep clean or limit fingerprints may be more suitable. A pebbly white finish is easy to keep clean and can help to 'hide' scratches rather than a smooth glossy white exterior.
Choosing Refrigerator FeaturesThe best feature is Frost-Free operation and do not assume that every refrigerator today is frost-free but confirm before purchasing. Here are other available features:
- Humidity and Temperature Controls
- Energy Star qualified for best energy savings
- Ice maker and dispenser
- In-door Water & Ice Dispenser
- Reversible door
- Adjustable shelving to accommodate high items or slide-outs to assist in retrieving food
- At least 2 but preferably 3 drawers/crispers
- Glass shelving to contain spills
- Removable door bins
- Deli or meat keeper
- Enclosed back coils
- Quick cool compartment
- Freezer shelving
- Freezer interior light
- Gallon Jug Bin
- Butter Keeper
When Considering Refrigerator FeaturesA base model refrigerator generally has 1-2 drawers, wire shelving, non-adjustable shelves/bins and may only have a partial shelf in the freezer. Although a base model will provide sufficient refrigeration needs, features are really nice to have but greatly influence the price. If you would seldom use a Through-the-Door Water & Ice Dispenser, why pay more for this feature? On the other hand, it could encourage your family to drink water more often, but this feature will influence the price and require plumbing hook-up. Replacing with a taller model may require custom re-building or removing overhead cabinets.
Enhanced Features & Other ConsiderationsSome models have customizable digital displays, flat panel TV mounted on the door front, or built-in filtration for the water dispenser. Bottom freezer models have various designs such as slide-out drawer/bin or interior shelving. Built-in models may have optional panels to blend with your decor. You may want to consider purchasing an extended warranty for a higher priced appliance investment, and you'll need to make disposal decisions for the old model. Landfills generally have rules in place regarding preparing refrigerators and freezers for disposals as well as tipping fees for large appliances.
For more about buying a refrigerator or caring for one, read Refrigerator 101