Buying a new refrigerator can be a daunting experience. Reading through all the refrigerator reviews, refrigerator ratings and consumer recommendations can be mind boggling. After all, there are so many different models to choose from in addition to all the different brands, styles, even colors. So where do you start?
Well, the easiest place to begin is by asking yourself the following questions:
1) How Much Space Do You Need?: The space inside a refrigerator is expressed in Cubic Feet. Considering most people don’t understand what a cubic foot represents, think of it this way. You need about Ten Cubic Feet of interior storage capacity per 2 people.
This 10 cubic feet is for freezer space as well as refrigerator space. So, figure about 7 cubic feet of refrigerator space and 3 cubic feet of freezer space per 2 people.
Granted, even though that’s the rule of thumb, you have to consider your specific space needs such as:
- How big is your family? – If you have a family of four, figure you’ll need at least a 20.0 cubic foot fridge.
- Are you a Vegetarian? – If you are a vegetarian, you won’t need as much freezer space or internal meat drawers. You’ll want as much refrigerator space as you can handle to be sure you have the space for your fresh fruits and vegetables.
- How will your family grow, or shrink? – Are your kids in college and about to flee the nest? Do you have a baby on the way or elderly parents moving in? All of these factors are things to consider when making a refrigerator purchase. Consider that most refrigerators last about 10 years, so factor in how your family will be growing or shrinking over that time period so that you don’t have to keep buying new refrigerators.
2) What Kind of Refrigerator Will Fit into Your Kitchen?: It sounds silly, but there have been a number of people that have purchased a new refrigerator only to get it home and find out that the new fridge doesn’t fit into their existing kitchen. So, take measurements before you go refrigerator shopping.
Factor in not only where the fridge will be sitting, but also how far out the door will swing. After all, you don’t want to get your new fridge home and then find out you can’t open it!
Keep in mind that counter depth refrigerators are very popular, but they often lack the storage capacity that most people need. So, consider this when you’re shopping. Counter depth by the way means that the front face of the refrigerator will sit flush with the existing counter top, rather than sticking out. It looks much nicer, but it’s not always the right choice for everybody.
3) Color Choices: There’s good and bad news with refrigerator colors — the good news is there aren’t too many to choose from — and you guessed it, that’s also the bad news.
Refrigerators typically come in white, black, stainless steel, bisque (or beige) and a stainless steel alternative called, satina. Satina is usually cheaper than stainless and easier to maintain, but it doesn’t always (depending on the brand) look as nice.
The days of avocado green and lemon yellow are gone for the moment.
So, what do you do if you need a different color? Well, many refrigerators have attachable panels that affix to the face of the refrigerator that allows you to make it any color your desire. Most people like to blend their refrigerator into their existing cabinetry by getting panels that match the wood work. GE Monogram, Kenmore Elite and Kitchenaid offer this option and all have performed well in a number of online refrigerator reviews.
4) Type of Refrigerator: The type of refrigerators available are:
- Side by Side – Where the freezer and refrigerator are next to each other
- Top Freezer – Where the freezer is mounted on the top of the refrigerator
- Bottom Freezer — There the freezer is mounted on the bottom of the refrigerator
- French Door Refrigerator — Which is also referred to as a bottom freezer because it has two split (side by side) doors on the front with a pull out drawer freezer on the bottom.
- Built In Refrigerator — Can be any of the above styles, but the refrigerator is built into the existing cabinetry and hidden away with the stylized color panels mentioned above.
- Compact Refrigerator — Also called a “dorm refrigerator”, the compact refrigerator is perfect for game rooms, spare rooms, garages or family areas.
5) Best Refrigerator Brands: We’re always reviewing different models of refrigerators by a wide variety of manufacturers. In all of the refrigerator reviews that we’ve done, only a handful of manufacturers rise to the tops as leaders — so these are the brands to consider and brands to avoid:
General Electric: GE, GE profile and GE Monogram are all excellent choices and rate very well with consumers. The GE Aurora brand (sold exclusively at The Home Depot) was above average, but did NOT rate as well as the GE or GE Profile brands.
Amana: Amana has consistently been rated by Consumer Reports as one of the best performing refrigerator brands. Our testing proves the same as well. Amana is one to consider.
Kenmore: Sears has had its ups and downs with its many inside brands, but Kenmore consistently has led the pack with high quality, durable and affordable refrigerators. The Kenmore Elite was especially outstanding.
Whirlpool: Whirlpool has been making high quality products for decades. They are now the parent brand of Amana, Maytag and JennAir. Whirlpool is top notch.
LG: Although they lack a bit in customer service, the LG French Door best french door refrigerator are some of the most affordable and attractive units on the market. Additionally, LG manufactures models for other renown brands such as Kenmore and GE among others.
Samsung: Samsung has some of the most innovative features on the market. For the price, it’s hard to beat Samsung in both quality and list of features. Definitely one to consider.
We hope this helps you as you journey out into the world of refrigerator shopping.