These days a refrigerator plays a vital role in our kitchen.
One can easily claim it is an irreplaceable item. Not only it maintains freshness of the groceries, but also allows freezing a large amount of food for the later use. My buying guide explains that fridges, freezers, and fridge freezers vary in sizes and additional features. While you browse my article, think of the layout of your kitchen, how much storage do you need for daily groceries and how much extra food do you typically freeze? My through guidance let you think outside the box and find the most suitable refrigerator for your needs. It does not matter whether you are considering switching to a latest model or only you are filling up a brand new kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances, I am here with a fridge-by-fridge guide. My principal is to highlight the best features of each model and show the disadvantages of some, showing their real abilities.
A quick guide to measuring
Before you set foot in the store, you need to measure height, depth and width of the place where the refrigerator will ideally fit. The size of the fridge is the most significant factor when deciding on the model. Not only the dimensions of the new buy but also you need to take into consideration the door opening place, ventilation area, and mounting hinges.
Hot tip: Think of the entire way your new fridge will have to travel from your doorway to your kitchen. If you are tight on space, measure each doorway and your front door entrance. Sometimes there is a need to dismantle the entrance door’s hinges to place the refrigerator in perfect position.
Since you started off with measuring the accurate size of your fridge, now there is a real question up front “What are the needs of your family for storing food?” You need to take into account the number of your family members. Are you thinking of new offsprings? Do you often throw parties for a lot of acquaintances? With those questions answered, look at the cubic feet (cu.ft.) of fridges for your food storage needs:
- a typical family with two children need at least 24 cu.ft.,
- a couple who rarely cooks at home will be satisfied with 10-12 cu.ft.,
- each adult person needs 6-8 cu.ft.of refrigerator space;
Hot tip: If you like often shopping for fresh items, then pay extra attention for spacious storage on shelves. On another hand if you live on frozen goods, like pizzas, and merely set off on a shopping spree, then look for bigger freezer capacity.
Top Freezer and Bottom Freezer
It is a traditionally looking fridge, a common choice for an average family two adults plus two children. As the name connotes in Top Freezer, the freezer compartment is positioned above the fresh food storage and in Bottom Freezer the design is similar, but the freezing unit sits underneath the refrigerator.
- Capacity: up to 20 cu.ft.,
- Dimensions: height 64-68 inches, width 28-30 inches, depth 29-31 inches, door opens 90 degrees 60 inches,
- Cost range: from $400 to $800
- Downside: if you are looking for an ultra-tech design and entertain often, find more suitable fridge for you, with bigger capacity;
This model is the most sought after model on the market. A side-by-side fridge features a pair of tall and sleek doors which give access to 2 equal spaces, the freezer on one side and the fridge on the other. This model especially suits narrow kitchens with islands as slender door requires less space.
- Capacity: 22-26 cu.ft.,
- Dimensions: height 68-72 inches,width 32-36 inches, depth 29-31 inches,door opens 90 degrees 45 inches,
- Cost range: $700 to $2,500
- Downside: tall and relatively slim freezer compartment do not allow enough place for family-size pizzas;
French door refrigerator
Highly traditional model, a combination of a side-by-side refrigerator with a bottom freezer. That means that you have a full capacity of storage on the drawers, waist-high with a large freezing unit below the waist. Top-of-the-line models feature separate humidity and temperature adjustability while most of the French door fridges have water and ice in-door dispensers.
- Capacity: up to 30 cu.ft.,
- Dimensions: height 70 inches, width 34-38 inches, depth 29-31 inches, door opens 90 degrees 46-50 inches,
- Cost range: $1,500 -$3,000
- Downside: the model itself is above the price range, with extra features makes it even more expensive;
It is an ideal model for big families with growing capacity potential.
This one consists of a French-door unit on the top, a spacious middle shelf for items of everyday use and a bottom freezer. Four-door fridges typically have many compartments for keeping groceries fresh. Many models available on the market are equipped with temperature controller and water/ice dispenser.
- Capacity: 28-30 cu.ft.,
- Cost range: $1,500 – $2,500 ,
- Downside: 30 cubical feet of cooling space takes up also loads of kitchen room;
Having a home bar, an entertainment room or a game room makes you realize the need of a small fridge. It is a miniaturized version of a traditional fridge with a small built-in freezer unit.
This fridge is a customized model is widely known as a cabinet or counter-depth fridge.Built-in refrigerator often comes in French door, side-by-side or four-door style. Freezer unit is situated at the bottom which gives lots of storage space for frozen and fresh goods.
Capacity: from 25 to 28 cu.ft.,
Cost range: from $1,200 to $3,500
Downside: these models are a little bit in top price range;
Wine refrigerator and beverage cooler
Nowadays technique allows for a temperature adjust in different compartments. Therefore, such models are perfect wine storages. You can get a compact unit for a home bar or a kitchen island but if you are a wine connoisseur than opt for an elaborate, full-scale wine fridge to keep a selection of different wine varieties. Humidity control is also featured in those modern models.
Which colour suits your kitchen?
Before you decide on sprucing up your newly renovated kitchen with new appliances, double check if you have an overall vision of what your new kitchen shall look. I am positive that you have planned your space and storage needs, so the time has come for choosing the colour of your fridge. Make sure it fits the existing layout and decor of the cabinets. There is a huge variety of available shades:
- stainless steel,
- black stainless steel,
- wood colour;
Hot tip: If you insist on the eye-catching spot in your kitchen, browse the net for refrigerators mimicking 50s and 60s style. Those models are sold in bright, vivid colours like orange, yellow or green. They are pricey, though, and the cost ranges from $2,000 to $4,000.
Must-have functions and additional features
- Flexible storage options and multi-storage compartments allow for rearranging shelves to suit your daily changing needs. Splitting and adjusting drawers is an essential feature these days, allowing better access to storing functions,
- Quick access door bins slide and adjust, creating an easily accessible solution for snacks or soda cans. We should take into account that leaving milk or butter in external notch can cause its fast deteriorating; milk goes sour quickly.
- Humidity control is a star high quality not only for wine aficionados. If you like sneaking on crunchy green leaves of your salad, humidity control is right for you. It keeps veggies stay fresh longer and keep wine in perfect condition;
- Door alarm goes off each time the refrigerator’s door is not closed properly. It is a fantastic feature preventing extra energy costs and what is highly likely with open doors, food waste.
- Wi-Fi display gives you a touchscreen with applications or even a TV. You can read recipes, make notes and plenty more.
- Smudge-resistant surface prevents from exterior smears and dirt. Children like ‘hands on experience’ so special external coating to shield from leaving fingertips is a necessity.
- LED lights save dollars and maximize your fridge efficiency. Place energy saving lights in the corners and over shelves to compromise durability and performance.
Ice and Water Dispensers
This is the feature that most customers value most when setting their minds on a new model of fridge.Ice dispensers can be divided into three categories:
- The in-door freezer is often found in French door designs and side-by-side models. The ice maker compartment is built into the fridge’s door with a spot for a glass. There is a button to press on the external panel too.
- in-freezer is an actual part of the freezer unit. So the downfall is that every time you need ice, you must open entire freezer compartment. For frozen pizzas fans, it is an unconvenient option as in-freezer takes up valuable space in the freezer drawer. I must add it is cost-efficient and energy saver, though.
- The dual ice maker is a combo of in freezer with an in-door ice dispenser. When given all three options, I would choose dual ice maker and start bartending course to prepare delicious cocktails on rocks.
Water dispensers are divided into four categories:
- hot water
- sparkling water
Being a teetotaller makes you grab a cuppa now and then. Hot water dispenser allows you to make a quick cup of tea instead of boiling a kettle for five long minutes. Having teenagers in the house makes you realize the rising need for soda. The idea of homemade soda beverages, prepared right before kids’ eyes sounds truly appealing. With such stunning option as sparkling water dispenser is, everything is possible. You can reach for carbonated water, always sparkling and fresh. Most people purchase in-door water units for avoiding the hassle of the door opening each time they are thirsty.
Should you be hesitant about choosing the right fridge for your kitchen interior, all your doubts will disappear in two shakes after going through our guide. Are you ready?