If you’re looking for tips and advises on how to choose a refrigerator then I might be able to offer some help. You might want to continue reading through this detailed buying guide for information on different refrigerators types, sizes and features.
Refrigerators are a serious purchase, and often one that takes out a good chunk of your money out of your bank account. Gone are the days when you could buy a refrigerator based on its size and look and call it a day.
Refrigerators these days come accessorized with all sorts of cool deals and gadgets and going headfirst into the market without a clue of where to start, can get pretty overwhelming.
Read on to find out the things to look out for before making your purchase.
Know Your Needs!
First and foremost, and this is true, no matter what purchase you have in mind: You need to know what your exact needs are. Knowing this beforehand will not only help you get the best deal for your buck but also help you narrow down your choices.
To do so, start from here:
Types of Refrigerators
There are many types of refrigerators to choose from, but here are the most common ones available in the market:
Top Freezer Refrigerator
This is the good old refrigerator which you probably grew up with. The top half, usually smaller than the bottom half, was for frozen items such as making ice cubes and storing ice cream tubs and meat and fish.
This one was truly the one which served us over the years. While these days it might seem obsolete due to the modern inventions, it’s true that the quality and price is still unmatched. They also come in different sizes so you can choose according to the need and space you have.
They’re the most efficient as they use 10 to 25% less energy than other styles. They’re the least expensive and prices start at $500.
Bottom Freezer Refrigerator
This particular refrigerator is exactly the opposite of the one mentioned above. The bottom freezer refrigerator is a popular choice among many, and one of the reasons for that is the energy efficiency.
Essentially, the bottom freezer refrigerator has an equal amount of space for both freezer and refrigerator options which is why many people opt for these. Another plus point of this style is that the refrigerator is at the eye level, which makes it easier to get things.
And the freezer part is not used as commonly as the refrigerator so that makes sense. The prices start at about $700.
Side by Side Refrigerator
The side by side refrigerators offer a slimmer look and therefore preferred by those who are scarce in space. It’s been trending for years now. So, what’s the deal with these side by side refrigerators anyway?
Well, that the refrigerator and the freezer sit side by side in a vertical fashion. It saves space because the doors only need minimal swing space.
However, the slim profile can be a hindrance in storing all the stuff. It also tends to be not quite energy efficient. But this is a still a popular choice because of its affordability. The prices start at about $900.
Most models also come with an external water dispenser and ice machine so that’s another reason for their popularity.
French Door Refrigerator
As all things French, this refrigerator too, is quite fancy. The French door refrigerator combines the side by side design with the bottom freezer’s efficiency.
This refrigerator is especially efficient because of the lower freezer setup. You get to conserve more energy as you only need to open one door at a time. The French door style needs little swing space, so it can save your space.
Some models come with a drawer style while some have French doors on the freezer area as well.
Compact or Mini Refrigerator
These are the ones ideal for limited space. You can also have them as a second refrigerator for the bedroom, basement, and garage or office area.
Some of these come as only a refrigerator meaning you can’t put your perishables while some are equipped for even frozen goods. Some of these, depending on the model and price, can also double as a regular refrigerator.
Compact refrigerators are a good choice if you are on a budget as prices start at about $120. Check my top picks of compact refrigerators here.
Want a modern, sleek kitchen look? Then the counter-depth refrigerator is just the one for you! These are refrigerators designed to align with the edge of the countertops that make them look like only the door is sticking out.
This gives the kitchen area an elegant vibe. Because they take up some space at the front of the fridge, they are a little less spacious than the regular ones. They are also a bit pricier as the prices start at about $2,000.
If you want to truly make your kitchen décor stand out, this is a good option.
Decide On Capacity
The capacity of the refrigerator will typically depend on the size of the family. If you are living alone, you can even go for a compact fridge.
But if you have a family of 2-3 people with kids or you don’t want a compact fridge, choose one with the capacity of 150-300L.
For a family of 3-4 adults, make it 230-700L. For a family of 4-5 adults, 240-400L is enough. For a family of 6+ members, go for a refrigerator that has 550-850L of capacity.
Measure it Out
Take out your measuring tape and get to measuring! All of the space should come into consideration. How far can the door (or doors) open without bumping into the walls or furniture?
How far should you place it from your power outlet? All of these should be given thought. Other measurements such as the door of the room you plan to put your refrigerator in should also be kept in mind.
Your food habits matter when it comes to getting a refrigerator. If you rely a lot on frozen dinners, getting a big bottom freezer or double doors might be a good idea as you will want to increase your freezer space.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian or simply like fruits and vegetables, look for refrigerators with multiple drawers. If you like your drinks, get one with adjustable shelves so that you can easily accommodate all your bottles.
So think about your food habits very seriously before making your purchase. It’s not everyday we buy refrigerator right?
Why should it matter when we all have to clean our refrigerators one time or another right? Well, cleaning is a must but it doesn’t necessarily have to be an exhaustive task. And this is why you should be concerned about both the interior and exterior of the refrigerator.
Most fridges either come with wire racks or glass shelves. Glass shelves are easier to wipe down in case of a spillage. Wire shelves need a more thorough cleaning and thus is more time-consuming.
As for the exterior, if you are someone who hates smudges, stay away from stainless steel bodies. Instead, purchase one with smudge-free finish or white exterior.
Essential Things to Spend Extra For
Not everything is worth paying extra for, no matter what that salesperson says. But these are the things you should consider spending extra for as they will really make a difference.
Storage Compartment with Flexible Storage Option
Basically, you should have the customizing option. This means there should be removable shelves in case you need to make space for tall bottles. Also having door gallon bins means more storage. Removable bin dividers are also great for grouping items.
Humidity Controlled Compartment
This feature is helpful in storing the leafy greens in a suitable humid atmosphere as they need more humidity than fruits and other vegetables.
Having the feature to store produce at the right humidity will keep them fresh longer, saving you money and energy in the long run. Here’s what you can store in the humidity controlled compartment.
To send you a beep when the door isn’t shut properly. This helps in preventing energy and food waste.
Optional Things to Spend Extra For
On the opposite side of the spectrum, are things you don’t need but perhaps want.
Automatic Ice and Water Dispensers
Sure, they’re neat and convenient, but they can also increase your annual maintenance cost a bit. Refrigerators with such options are pricier as well. And they can have less storage space. But having these features builtin will save you from buying a separate portable ice maker or water dispenser.
A Blast Chiller
Basically, this comes handy when you need a chilled can of coke in about 8 minutes or so. But this feature essentially increases your energy cost by 20% as it increases electricity use, especially when you use it on a daily or weekly basis. You can learn more about blast chilling technology here.
Sure, it’s a cool option to connect your fridge to your mobile or TV, but it doesn’t really add anything to the performance.
I personally like it since I’m a big fan of technology, with these smart fridges you can create shopping lists, integrate family members’ schedules, share photos, stream music and mirror your TV!
Having this feature will of course increase the price of the refrigerator. The prices of such fridges start at about $3,000.
You now know how to choose the best refrigerator for your house!
Refrigerators come in many shapes and sizes and it can be quite difficult to choose the right one. But if you have a set budget with a list of things you want, you can narrow it down and make it less daunting.
Hopefully, this handy guide will be helpful in doing that.