Refrigerator Buying Guide

Before buying a new refrigerator, it just makes sense to consider what features you really want. There are so many different features and brands to choose from that narrowing down options first makes shopping easier. Our guide provides a detailed list of all the most popular features available in refrigerators on the market. Because not all brands and models offer the same options, knowing what you absolutely can’t live without can get you started in the process of buying a new refrigerator. We have also included a list of major brands to help in your search for the best refrigerator.

  • Energy efficiency - Simply finding an Energy Star rating on an appliance used to mean that the product was among the best in energy efficiency. Now, looking for the Most Efficient rating on Energy Star-approved products means finding appliances that are at least ten percent more energy efficient that those with the basic rating.
  • Space Requirements - Not all spaces are created equal. Careful measurements can ensure the new purchase will fit in the space designated for a refrigerator. Some models allow for doors to be put on either left-handed or right-handed to offer more placement options. This is especially convenient for people who have more than one place the refrigerator could go or for someone who plans to move in the foreseeable future.
  • Storage Requirements - A person who makes a few large trips to the grocery each month will find that interior space is high up on their list. Some models offer more than 30 cubic feet in storage capacity, which is perfect for high volume food storage.
  • Shopping in-store vs. online - Comparing prices in various stores and online can guide you toward the best deals. Be sure to factor in delivery costs unless you plan to transport and install the appliance yourself. This will help assess where the best prices really are. Also, consider warranty offers and whether you think that paying for an extended warranty is necessary.

Types of Refrigerators

Refrigerators have lots of options. Deciding which options are most important to you before you head out to shop can help provide clarity about which features matter to you and which ones don’t. The following features are common in refrigerators on the market today:

  • Top Freezer - This traditional style features a built in freezer on the top, while the refrigerator compartment is below.
  • Bottom Freezer - Placing the freezer on the bottom is a growing trend that places refrigerated items at eye level. These do require more bending or stooping to get frozen items and can be more costly than other models.
  • Built-ins - Built-in style refrigerators blend seamlessly with kitchen cabinetry, and can be customized to match cabinets or other features of a kitchen. These are on the smaller end, and they are flush with the depth of surrounding counters. Most offered are in side-by-side or bottom freezer style. These models are consider high-end. They tend to be pricier than other bottom freezer and side-by-side models.
  • Side-by-Side - This style has a vertical freezer next to a vertical refrigerator. It tends to have narrower doors than other kinds of refrigerator designs. Not as energy efficient or as space efficient on the interior as other types, these can easily fit into smaller, narrower spaces.
  • Door-in-Door - These feature a magnetically sealed exterior panel that allows food and beverages to be gotten without opening the main door.
  • French Door - French door refrigerators typically have a bottom freezer with two refrigerator doors. These usually come with built-in water and ice dispensers and can be found with multimedia capabilities.
  • Freezerless - Freezerless models are often paired with a standalone freezer and built into an area with a width of six feet. The size of the additional freezer is commensurate with the size of the standalone refrigerator to create an appearance similar to a side-by-side. The freezer and freezerless combo, however, is typically larger than a normal side-by-side style refrigerator.

Features

  • Customizable drawers and bins help keep food organized.
  • Deep bins allow for extra space.
  • Elevator shelves lift the food to within reach.
  • Air purifiers keep the inside of a refrigerator fresh.
  • Air flow vents allow for better air circulation.
  • Dual evaporators keep moisture from building up.
  • Vacuum seal crisper drawers help keep vegetables fresh longer.
  • Climate Keeping Systems keep different foods at the right temperatures.
  • Multimedia models offer digital user interfaces.
  • Horizontal Wine Racks make chilling wine easy.
  • Stainless Steel is popular. It does, however, tend to pick up fingerprints.
  • Water and ice dispensers offer a convenient way to prepare drinks.
  • Filtration Systems keep water and ice pure.
  • Freezer lamps make seeing in the freezer easier.
  • Reversible door swings add versatility.
  • Door lock feature keeps people out of the fridge.
  • Egg racks provide a place to put easily broken eggs.
  • Separators create order in cramped spaces.
  • Open Door Alarms notify you if the door has been left open accidentally.