Buying a refrigerator is a significant investment. With all the options available, shopping for a new one can be overwhelming. We’ve compiled a list of the most important factors to consider when selecting a refrigerator that you’ll be happy with for years to come.
Modern fridges come in a variety of layouts. The most common styles are side-by-side, freezer-on-top, or freezer-on-bottom models. Each one has benefits and drawbacks to consider. Side-by-side models have smaller doors that take up less floor space when opened, but they also don’t fit wide items, such as frozen pizza boxes. Traditional refrigerators with freezers on top are often priced lower than other options but are not as attractive. Bottom-freezer options are convenient because the refrigerated compartment is easily accessible and at eye level.
New refrigerator features add value and convenience. They also tend to come at a higher price tag. You’ll want to consider which features are important to you. Adjustable shelves allow you to customize your space. In-door water and ice dispensers are popular with many people. (Hint: If you have small children, you will benefit from a lock on this feature.) Some models offer special temperature-controlled drawers to keep certain foods fresher.
Newer refrigerators use less energy, which translates into savings for you and less environmental impact. Look for refrigerators that are ENERGY STAR certified. These models comply with stricter efficiency guidelines, which can save you up to $300 on your energy bills over the lifetime of your appliance while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
All the features in the world mean nothing if the refrigerator doesn’t fit in your space. Most fridges sit between two counters, so make sure you measure the width. You’ll also want to look at the depth of the appliance and its door swing. If your spot lacks depth or you have an island, you may want to go with a counter-depth model. Keep in mind that your new refrigerator also will have to fit through all doorways on the way to its new home.
Options for finishes seem to grow every year. Stainless steel is still popular, especially since the advent of new smudge-resistant versions. But newer options, including black stainless and bronze, are growing in appeal. In addition to these newer finishes, lower-priced classic white and black finishes are attractive in some kitchens. For a high-end look, some built-in models can be customized to blend with your cabinets.