The truth is, all major appliance brands offer nearly identical refrigerators. The new models you’ll see today are far more energy efficient than those produced even five years ago, and repairs are only as difficult as finding the nearest technician. So, how do you choose what’s right for you? First, you’ll need to measure your space, then figure out the refrigerator style and size best for your lifestyle. Don’t worry — we’ll show you how.

How to find the right refrigerator for you

Measure your space

Fridges vary by height, width, and depth, and it’s important to know exactly what size you need to be looking for. Too large, and you risk not being able to fit your new fridge through the kitchen door, let alone fit it inside your kitchen. Too small, and it might look out of place.

Depending on the amount of space available, you might find that certain types of refrigerators won’t work for your space. If you are working with a small space, your most likely option will be a top freezer. If there is only a narrow gap between your refrigerator and your kitchen island, however, a refrigerator with two doors will make it easier to reach in and grab the carton of milk without hitting the door on the cabinetry.

Consider your ideal depth size

After height and width, the most important measurement you’ll need to note is depth. Most fridges are not counter-depth; most counters are 26 inches or shallower, while most fridges stick out at least two or three inches beyond that. If you prefer your fridge to blend in with your counters, look for counter-depth refrigerators. These typically have less space to hold food, but won’t stand out from the rest of your kitchen.

Determine your refrigerator type

After factoring in physical constraints, choose your fridge based on the features that are most important to you.

  • Top freezers are the most economical refrigerators, but don’t look particularly fancy, and usually don’t come with ice or water dispensers in the door.
  • French door refrigerators look like they belong in Martha Stewart’s kitchen, and typically have nicer glass shelving options and drawers. That said, they tend to be among the most expensive of the refrigerators.
  • Bottom freezers look fairly attractive, typically coming in stainless steel finishes, and are user friendly. By tucking away frozen foods at the bottom, they keep your everyday food at eye and hand level. This can make it more difficult to dig up your frozen peas, however, though some models come with freezer baskets to help organize the space.
  • Side-by-side refrigerators usually take up more space in your kitchen than other styles, in exchange for giving you more freezer space than with any other type of refrigerator. The freezer space tends to be slightly narrow, making it difficult to fit in large pizza boxes.

Choose the right size

When it comes to refrigerators, bigger is not always better. Your ideal fridge size depends first on your available kitchen space, and second on your household size and cooking preferences.

In general, you should estimate between four and six cubic feet of storage for every adult in your home, or around 20 cubic feet if you have a family of four. If your family makes a lot of home-cooked meals, or keeps a large stockpile of frozen or fresh food, you err on the size of larger, rather than figure out where to house a second freezer later on.

Locate your nearest repair center

One of the most important aspects of purchasing a major appliance is determining where you can repair it. We hope that our fridges will run smoothly for at least ten years without repair; however, if your fridge won’t stay cold or your circuit breaker trips frequently, having a repair shop handy can be the difference between $130 service call and replacing your fridge entirely. Most manufacturers have refrigerator service centers across the country, and each company maintains a search page to help you find the one closest to you.

You’ll want to especially keep an eye out if you’re looking at either a LG or a Samsung refrigerator. These brands started in South Korea, which means that they have been slower to set up service centers nationally in the states, and many repair technicians will refuse to work on them if they lack the expertise.

Now that you’re prepared for a new appliance, you can check out even more research into specific models in a comprehensive report put together by


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