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Buying a Refrigerator

Modern technology meets classic appliance

Refrigerators are often the central focus of a kitchen. When you're ready to remodel your kitchen or breathe a little new life into the room, putting in a new refrigerator is one of the easiest upgrades that you can make. A new fridge can create a streamlined design in your kitchen and help maximize food storage. Of course, understanding how to buy a refrigerator does require some research.

Why buy a new refrigerator?

  • The energy efficiency of newer refrigerators is likely to save you money when you invest in an updated model. Because of modern appliance standards, a new refrigerator can cut the electricity usage of your current refrigerator in half.
  • Advanced technology and unique features can offer specialized use for different types of people. From ice machines to humidity-controlled compartments, you can find qualities that work best for your kitchen needs.
  • Aesthetically, newer fridges are more streamlined in appearance and offer a modern and updated look compared to older models. You'll also find the sound of the cooling system on a new refrigerator is quieter and less disruptive.

Features of new refrigerators

Specialty food storage

  • Some refrigerators offer a modifiable humidity level in crisper drawers
  • Fast cooling gives you the option to cool food rapidly in a colder compartment of your fridge
  • Removable or adjustable shelves make it simple to store various food items
  • 4-door refrigerators offer an additional fridge or freezer drawer for easy access and humidity control

Technological features

  • Smart refrigerators offer a variety of additional features for entertainment, communication and energy efficiency
  • Dual cooling refrigerators have two separate cooling systems for the fridge and freezer sections
  • Ice makers can ensure that you always have ice ready to use in your freezer
  • External water and ice dispenser give you access to water and ice from the door of your fridge
  • Door alarms beep when you leave your refrigerator door ajar
  • Child safety locks can prevent small children from opening the refrigerator
  • Quiet operation allows for a near-silent appliance

Aesthetic features

  • Reversible doors on some models can offer more options when it comes to arranging your kitchen
  • Stainless steel models are modern and sleek in appearance
  • Cabinet-depth refrigerators appear to be built into your kitchen cabinetry offering a custom-made look without the custom-made price

Energy efficiency

  • ENERGY STAR® rating is a government standard of energy efficiency
  • A yellow EnergyGuide label can help you see the energy efficiency of refrigerators without an ENERGY STAR® certification
  • LED lighting uses less energy than standard lighting
  • Smaller size refrigerators use less energy
  • Top freezer refrigerators are the most energy efficient styles
  • External ice and water dispensers use a significant amount of energy
dual cooling refrigerators

Types of Refrigerators

french door refrigerator

French door refrigerators

These refrigerators offer two doors that open up to a wide refrigerator above a drawer freezer. 

  • Price range: $1200-$4000+
  • Height range: 66-72 inches
  • Width range: 29-38 inches
  • Depth range: 26-33 inches
  • Capacity range: 16-32 cubic feet

French door refrigerators are best for…

Frequent party planners: If you host a lot of events, dinners and other gatherings, you'll want to be able to easily accommodate large party trays, platters and other serving dishes that may require a larger area of shelf space.

Condiment lovers or avid soda drinkers: If you like to store a lot of condiments or canned beverages in the compartments of your refrigerator doors, you'll get double the door space from a French door refrigerator.

People who have trouble bending down: One of the biggest benefits of French door refrigerators is the easy access to foods that you use regularly. You can place them at eye level, so they are easy to reach. 

side by side refrigerator

Side-by-side Refrigerators

These models come with a refrigerator and freezer that open up next to each other, instead of one on top of the other.

  • Price range: $800-$3000
  • Height range: 60-72 inches
  • Width range: 31-37 inches
  • Depth range: 26-33 inches
  • Capacity range: 19-30 cubic feet

Side-by-side refrigerators are best for…

Shorter people: If you have difficulty reaching the top freezer, a side-by-side fridge can put both fridge and freezer at eye level, offering an easy way to reach foods from both sides.

People who want a through-the-door water and ice dispenser: Convenient and easy to use, water and ice dispensers are more commonly found on side-by-side refrigerators.

Frequent organizers: If you love to have food neatly arranged in your fridge, the plethora of shelves, drawers, compartments and door storage offer a variety of possibilities for organization.

Top freezer refrigerator

Top freezer refrigerators

Offering a wider refrigerator and freezer, this model has a freezer on top of the refrigerator.

  • Price range: $400-$1000
  • Height range: 65-68 inches
  • Width range: 29-36 inches
  • Depth range: 31-33 inches
  • Capacity range: 19-26 cubic feet

Top freezer refrigerators are best for…

Budget conscious buyers: These tend to be the most common refrigerators with many low cost options available. Because of the cooling source, you're also likely to save money on both your purchase and your electric bill.

Energy conservationists: With one cooling source that pushes cold air from the top to the bottom, your refrigerator will use less energy to keep it cool.

Party entertainers: Like French door refrigerators, these models offer wider refrigerator shelves and spaces and a freezer that can also fit platters of frozen treats.

Bottom freezer refrigerator

Bottom freezer refrigerators

Putting the refrigerator at eye level, these models have a refrigerator above the freezer.

  • Price range: $700-$1500
  • Height range: 65-72 inches
  • Width range: 29-37 inches
  • Depth range: 27-33 inches
  • Capacity range: 16-24 cubic feet

Bottom freezer refrigerators are best for…

Busy people on the go: If convenience is a higher priority for you, a bottom freezer may be your best bet. With the freezer on the bottom, your most used food items will be at eye level and easy to reach.

People who don't consume a lot of frozen food: You can store the frozen goods that you rarely use tucked away in the bottom freezer, where they'll keep for a long while.

People who freeze foods for long periods of time: Heat rises, and cool air rests at the lowest point of the fridge. You'll keep the most regular freezer temperature with one of these bottom freezer models, which helps to prevent freezer burn.

freezerless refrigerator

Freezerless refrigerators

These smaller refrigerator models come without the added benefit of a freezer, but offer more storage space for refrigerated food.

  • Price range: $600-$2000
  • Height range: 65-75 inches
  • Width range: 20-33 inches
  • Depth range: 26-31 inches
  • Capacity range: 5-19 cubic feet

Freezerless refrigerators are best for…

Frequent party hosts: If you need extra food storage space or a beverage fridge, freezerless refrigerators are the best secondary fridges.

Basement wet bars: Use refrigerators without freezers in basement wet bars and man caves for the ultimate experience.

Large families: If you have kids, especially teens, you probably have a variety of beverages that need to stay cool to hydrate your brood. You'll also want to have enough space for all of your food storage. 

compact refrigerator

Compact refrigerators

The smallest of the refrigerator models, compacts are mini fridges that hold just a small portion of the food that a typical fridge would. These models often have only a small freezer shelf or no freezer at all.

  • Price range: $50-$500+
  • Height range: 18-34 inches
  • Width range: 14-19 inches
  • Depth range: 18-22 inches
  • Capacity range: 2-6 cubic feet

Compact refrigerators are best for…

College students: Students in dorm rooms only have a small amount of space, but it's nice to have a place to store leftover food, drinks and other essentials.

People who share kitchen space: If you've got roommates, you may want to keep a compact refrigerator in your room to store your own food and beverages.

Offices: Stock your personal office with your favorite beverages and snacks with a compact fridge that fits perfectly in even the smallest offices.

Bottom Line

There are several types of refrigerators that serve different purposes as well as a variety of available features in each model. It's helpful to create a list of your wants and needs in order to find the best refrigerator while staying in your budget. Choose your new refrigerator based on your top requirements, from energy efficiency to the available space in your kitchen. You'll find the perfect fridge for your home and enjoy the modern benefits that come with any new appliance.

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