Ever since it was discovered that cold storage is the answer to food preservation, humans have been on a never-ending quest to find the best appliance to keep their food fresh longer. Today, 99.9% of American households have a refrigerator and a whopping quarter of all households have two. If you’ve not invested in this must-have kitchen appliance just yet or have had the same fridge for the better part of a decade, there’s no better time to invest in a new one than now.

The moment you’ll take a stroll through a home improvement store, you’ll encounter rows and rows of similar-looking boxes and seemingly endless options – from configurations and sizes to standard features and additional features, and more. Here are some helpful tips on how to pick the right refrigerator:

1. Choose a Convenient Configuration

While refrigerators may look like mundane machines that operate on simple physical laws, even the most basic fridge out there is made distinctive with elaborate details that make it unique. The following are the four configurations or styles to consider:

Top Freezer

This style is configured with the smaller compartment (freezer) on the top, and the larger food compartment on the bottom. This style is ideal for you if you eat more frozen foods on a regular basis as you won’t have to keep bending won to take food out.

Bottom Freezer

This style is configured with the larger food compartment on the top and the smaller compartment (freezer) on the bottom. This configuration is ideal for you if you frequently eat more fresh food.


With this style, the freezer and food compartment stand side by side, taking up the full height of the refrigerator. This style allows for convenient access to both compartments, with the doors opening from the center instead of from the side.

French Door

This is a configuration that enables you to enjoy both of the side-by-side and bottom-freezer worlds. This means that you will have the double-door fridge and the full-width with plenty of storage space. Some manufacturers have introduced models that are equipped with up to 5 doors.

Each of these four different styles has its own pros and cons. Therefore, the first step when making a buying decision is to figure out which configuration is most convenient for you.

2. Choose an Appropriate Size

A large refrigerator sure seems good as it provides plenty of storage space. However, an extra large fridge may not make much sense if it won’t fit in your kitchen. As such, you should measure the space where you intend to place your fridge (width, depth, and height) and choose a model that will fit.

In addition to the three measurements, you should also consider nearby features such as a side wall or center island that might obstruct the door. You should also keep in mind that the larger the refrigerator, the greater the energy consumption. If you’re hoping to keep your energy bills to the minimum, you should consider a smaller model.

On the other hand, if you have a large family or have large amounts of food to preserve, a larger fridge may make more sense. A general rule of thumb is to choose four to six cubic feet of refrigerator space per adult in your household. Most full-size refrigerators range from 10 to 32 cubic feet. If your household has more than four adults, consider a fridge that is at least 20 cubic feet.

3. Check the Energy Rating

The refrigerator is one of the largest energy users in a household. Thanks to recent improvements in compressors and insulation, today’s refrigerators consume much less energy compared to older models.

Nevertheless, not all models are created with energy-efficiency in mind. That means that some models are more energy-efficient than others. For instance, top-mount freezer refrigerators are more energy-efficient than other types of refrigerators.

Besides considering the size and style of the fridge to determine how energy-efficient it is, you should also check whether the refrigerator you intend to buy is an ENERGY STAR certified model. With such a model, you will not only save hundreds of dollars, but you will also minimize your carbon footprint.

4. Consider the Features That You Need the Most

Kitchen - Refrigerator
An open refrigerator filled with food.

Refrigerators come with a wide variety of features that bring a whole new level of functionality. With a plethora of trademarked names and gallant claims, finding the features that you actually need can be overwhelming. So, which features should you consider? First, consider the things that you like to cook, and then look for features that are designed to take good care of those items.

For instance, if you would like to store a variety of fresh ingredients, you should choose a model that offers sectional climate controls in each of its compartments. If you are against throwing away leftover food, you should consider a fridge with advanced defrosting features. If you’re a wine lover, you should choose a fridge with a built-in wine rack.

Other features that you should consider include temperature-adjustable drawers, adjustable shelves, in-door ice maker, and a water dispenser with built-in filter, etc.  When shopping around, you will also come across refrigerators with smart features like built-in Wi-Fi, fridge cameras, kitchen command centers, voice control, and touch screens. The more features a fridge comes with, the higher the price tag.

5. Choose the Right Finish

Refrigerators are available in a few classic shades, including white, black, and stainless steel. Lighter colors are considered more ideal for smaller kitchen spaces, while darker finishes are more appropriate for spacious kitchen spaces.

Nevertheless, the finish or color of the refrigerator you choose will be based on your personal preference. When making your choice, ensure that the finish of the fridge will match or complement the other appliances in your kitchen.


A refrigerator is one of the priciest kitchen appliances you can buy. To ensure that this pricey investment will be a valuable addition to your household, you should make these considerations before you make a purchase. We hope that you’ll find the right fridge out there to serve your household’s food needs and budget. If you are still uncertain of which unit is best for you, we recommend you speak to an expert.

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