Refrigerators. You need ’em, want ’em, gotta have ’em. But deciding on which fridge style is best for you can sometimes be a little more complicated than necessary. Rest assured that we’ve put together a quick guide that will streamline your refrigerator shopping experience, so you can spend less time comparing specs and more time enjoying a nice, cool drink or maybe even indulging in some ice cream.
What type of refrigerator is best for me?
If you’re in the market for a new fridge, consider what you’ll need your new appliance for, the size of the space it will be placed in and any personal preferences you may have before you complete your big purchase. Here’s a quick rundown of a few different styles you may encounter along the way:
• Bottom mount: This style features a freezer on the bottom and a refrigerator on the top. This design can make it easier to access items in your fridge, and the freezer tends to be deeper as well.
• Top mount: This is the most common style, which features a larger refrigerator space below the freezer. It tends to be space and energy efficient.
• Side by side: As you may have guessed, this design features fridge and freezer space in two full-height, side-by-side compartments. This is a great option if you’re making do with a smaller space, as the doors tend to take up less room. A French-door refrigerator takes this style a step further by providing a drawer freezer below.
• Compact: This small, scaled-down size is perfect for a dorm room or basement bar. It typically comes with limited or no freezer space.
• Counter depth: A counter-depth refrigerator is intended to sit flush with the kitchen counter or cabinets. It’s typically about 25 inches in depth, whereas traditional freestanding fridges are 30 to 35 inches deep. If you choose this option, be sure to confirm the depth of your counter or cabinets beforehand.
• Under the counter: This unique style turns your refrigerator space into pantry-like drawers or cabinets, making storage of frozen foods and cool beverages less imposing. The design helps cut down on unused space and makes it easier to keep expired items from hiding in the back.
• Integrated: A truly integrated fridge completely blends with the cabinetry when installed. This means you won’t see any compressor vents or have any doors jutting out — the entire front of the appliance will be flush with your cabinets. When closed, it will look identical to the rest of your cabinets, offering a seamless, modern design.
What size fridge is best for me?
It depends on your family size, but in general you’ll want 4 to 6 cubic feet of space per adult. A little extra room doesn’t hurt, either. This means that a family of four would want to look at refrigerators larger than 20 cubic feet, but bear in mind that a more sizable fridge means a more sizable power bill.
What kinds of accessories and features should I look for in a fridge?
There are tons of add-ons to choose from for refrigerators, so if you think you might want it, it probably exists. Here are a few nifty features to keep an eye out for as you shop:
• Customizable space. Look for motorized or elevator shelves, movable door bins and pullout shelves that will allow you to accommodate different items. Keep in mind the items you typically keep in your fridge and look for items like a gallon-size door bin for milk that will help you keep them organized.
• Spillproof shelving. The worst is when something spills in your refrigerator, then proceeds to drip down onto other shelves and into drawers. Eliminate the headache of having to clean up after these massive messes by looking for shelves with sealed edges.
• Energy efficiency. It’s easy to find appliances that are Energy Star models, and refrigerators are no exception. These pocketbook-friendly choices may use 15 to 20 percent less energy than those that aren’t Energy Star approved. Take things a step further and look for LED lighting — it provides a more natural and energy-efficient light than the typical incandescent bulbs.
• Water and ice dispensers. If you love a glass of cold, filtered water, opt for a refrigerator that has a built-in dispenser in the door. Many also come paired with an ice dispenser to ensure that beverages stay nice and chilly.
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