Replacing a refrigerator can be tougher than buying a new home. With the average lifespan of this major appliance being about 14 to 17 years, many people move more often than they go fridge shopping.

With dozens of different parameters to consider, simply walking into an appliance store is out of the question. It’s important to do a little research before making the final choice. Otherwise, you may be talked into buying something you don’t really need.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the most important components of a high-quality fridge.

Evaluating the Right Size

Fridges come in a variety of sizes. They can even be custom-made for your needs.

1. Replacing an Old Fridge

If you are planning to replace an existing refrigerator, you are somewhat limited by your kitchen’s layout.

Measure the old refrigerator to get an idea of what to look for. If you’ve already removed the old fridge, measure the opening between cabinets and subtract an inch from each parameter.

2. Equipping a New Kitchen

If you are remodeling the kitchen completely, think about your preferences. Do you have a family of four or five? Then, you can settle for an average of 25 cubic feet fridge. Couples can easily live with a 16 cubic feet appliance while bigger families should look for large capacity fridges (32 cubic feet and more).

Smart tip: An average adult needs about 6 cubic feet of fridge space.

Measure your kitchen carefully to figure out how much space you have for a fridge. A standard refrigerator is 68” tall and about 34” wide. Don’t forget about the door swinging radius. If you are thinking about an extra-large fridge, measure your doorways to see if it can pass through.

Choosing the Perfect Type

Unless you have space restrictions, don’t rush to buy a fridge, which looks exactly like the old one. Evaluate your needs and think back to what you didn’t like about the old model.

1. Top Freezer

This fridge has a freezer on top and the main food-storage compartment on the bottom. The freezer either can have a separate door or may be located inside the main compartment. These fridges are usually more affordable than other types.

2. Bottom Freezer

These fridges have the freezer on the bottom. Usually, freezers in such fridges have a higher capacity than in top-freezer models. The bottom freezer can either have a door or come in the form of a drawer.

3. Side-By-Side

The freezer and the main food-storage compartments are set side by side, each having a separate access door. This is an excellent choice for small spaces where the door swinging radius is an issue.

These fridges provide easy access to food while looking stylish. However, they usually cost more than other types do.

4. French Door

Such fridges are a combination of the bottom freezer and side-by-side types. The freezer is on the bottom while the main food-storage compartment has two doors. These fridges are aesthetically appealing and suitable for small kitchens. However, they can be costly.

Selecting the Best Finish

Fridges usually come in black, white, and stainless steel finishes. Make a choice depending on your kitchen’s d├ęcor. Since refrigerators are handled frequently, you may want to consider fingerprint-resistant finishes.

  • A stainless steel finish has an excellent aesthetic appeal. However, it does a bad job hiding fingerprints and holding your magnets.
  • A white fridge has a classy and homey appearance. However, it shows dirt and debris
  • A black fridge contributes to modern decor. However, it could darken your kitchen, making it appear smaller.

Contemplating Features

Modern fridges come with a wide variety of different features. Depending on your needs and your budget, you can buy a fridge with one or more of the following options.

1. Customizable Shelves

Kitchen - Refrigerator - Fridge
An open refrigerator with custom shelving.

If you want the fridge to accommodate your differently sized pots and containers, choose the model with adjustable shelves and bins. You can move them around according to your needs.

Consider a fridge with glass shelves rather than wire racks. Glass shelves are easier to clean while retaining the shape of refrigerated items. They also have a high-end appearance.

3. Smart Functions

A smart fridge can be operated via an app on your smartphone. Depending on the model, it can offer such functions as setting the temperature remotely, seeing what’s inside, sending an alert when the door is open, notifying you when the ice is about to run out, and the like.

Some fridges come with displays, which can help you find recipes, listen to music, view photos, and much more.  

3. Ice Maker

A built-in ice dispenser uses filtered water to make perfectly-shaped ice cubes for your drink-cooling purposes. It can be an irreplaceable feature during the parties. The downside of such icemakers is that they need extra care to prevent mold formation.

4. Temperature Display

A small display on your fridge door can show temperatures inside the appliance. It may feature a touch-pad to help you adjust the temperature.

5. Locks and Alarms

If you have young children, a fridge lock can keep them from opening the door. An alarm system can notify you when the fridge door has been left open for too long. Such locks and alarms reduce the energy consumption of your fridge since it works harder when the door is open.

6. LED Lighting

LED lighting in the fridge isn’t just energy efficient. It allows you to have an excellent view of shelves, bins, and corners. Excellent illumination is the key to knowing what you have in the fridge.

7. Temperature Zoning

While a fridge is set to maintain a certain temperature, some parts are warmer than others. Some refrigerators are divided into temperature zones. You can adjust temperatures in each zone according to the food you keep there.

Final Thoughts

Consider all of the above parameters to choose the perfect fridge for your needs. Don’t rush to throw your old refrigerator out. If a manufacturer is part of the RAD (Responsible Appliance Disposal) program, you may get a discount on a new model when you hand over the old one. Check out the Energy Star website for other recycling options.

For more information about selecting a new refrigerator as part of your kitchen remodeling project, please contact us today.

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