The days of the boring old refrigerator are gone. Today, manufacturers are constantly thinking outside the icebox to bring new technologies, designs and features into your home. Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen, or your old refrigerator just needs to be replaced, choosing a new one may seem overwhelming. This guide will help you focus on a few key things that can help you find the right refrigerator or freezer.
Finding the right size.
The most important consideration when starting your search for a new refrigerator is size. A common misconception is that if you simply measure the space you have and find a refrigerator of those dimensions, it will fit. Measuring height, depth and width are just the beginning. Make sure you also take into account door opening space, the clearance you may need to accommodate the door hinge, ventilation space, cleaning space and how you’ll get the refrigerator in the house and kitchen. Measure the entire path your refrigerator will take to get into the kitchen. If you have a kitchen island, pay close attention to the space around it. Here’s a quick guide to measuring:
Measure depth, width and height
Be sure to take several measurements from different locations in case your cabinets or floors are uneven. First, measure the space from the floor to the bottom of the cabinet. Then measure width from side to side. And take a measurement closer to the front of the cabinet and one closer to the back wall. Take a measurement at the top of the space, as well as the bottom. Finally, measure the depth of the opening, from the back wall to the front edge of your counters. Look for taller baseboards or chair rails that stick out farther than the wall.
Measure the door opening
How far will the door need to open into your kitchen? Many refrigerators require their doors to be completely open in order to pull out drawers or access all the shelves. Make sure the doors won’t hit cupboards, counters, other appliances or breakfast islands. Take particular care if you have a narrow kitchen.
Allow room for the hinge
Is there is enough space on the hinge side of the refrigerator for the door to open without hitting your walls? A good rule of thumb is that you’ll need at least two inches of extra space for the hinge to work properly and to protect your wall from the door handle.
Measure for ventilation
Be sure you have about one inch of extra space above and behind the refrigerator. If a refrigerator isn’t properly ventilated, it might use extra energy and it can damage the motor or compressor.
Measure house doorways
Think about how your new refrigerator will be brought into the kitchen. Measure each doorway along the way, including your front door. You might need to remove the refrigerator door handle, or even the door itself to fit.
Measuring the physical size of the refrigerator space is a good start. Now, look at the size of your family. Will your family be growing soon? Do you host parties where food will be served? Consider the following to help you choose a refrigerator with enough cubic feet (cu. ft.) for your family’s needs:
- Each adult will need a minimum of 4–6 cu. ft. of refrigerator space, with some extra space for holidays and other gatherings.
- A couple who doesn’t cook at home very often will need about 12–16 cu. ft.
- Two people who do more cooking at home should look for a minimum of 18 cu. ft.
- A typical family of four will need at least 20 cu. ft., and likely more.
Shopping and cooking habits
One thing to keep in mind when choosing a refrigerator is how often you shop for groceries. Do you like to save money by bulk shopping? Do you have kids who rely on frozen foods to save time? If so, more freezer space should be on your list of requirements. Or do you shop for more fresh foods and go to the store frequently? Make sure you have plenty of capacity for fresh food. If you purchase larger frozen items like frozen pizzas or large entrées, pay special attention to the dimension of the freezer compartment, especially in a side-by-side model.
Once you understand the size of the refrigerator you’ll need, look at the design that will suit you best.
French door refrigerators
The French door configuration is a great combination of side-by-side and bottom-freezer configurations. The French doors are located at the top, and offer a spacious refrigerator compartment. Store everything from large platters to pizzas with ease. French door refrigerators come in 3-, 4-, and 5-door models.
Benefits: Stylish and elegant. Highly versatile array of configurations. Many models feature a bottom-mounted freezer, while some 4-door options feature a second, counter-height drawer, or a bottom section that’s temperature- and humidity-adjustable for use as either a refrigerator or a freezer. Ice and water dispensers are offered on many French door refrigerators.
In this style, the refrigerator and freezer compartments are more equal in size, with each taking up the full height of the refrigerator. Adjustable shelves are a must for optimal flexibility. If you have a narrow or galley-style kitchen, a side-by-side might be for you since less space is required for door swing.
Benefits: Equal access to both the refrigerator compartment and the freezer. More freezer capacity than some other configurations.
Available primarily in side-by-side and French door styles, counter-depth refrigerators offer a shallower profile than standard-depth refrigerators, so they don’t stick out beyond standard-depth counters. This allows them to blend seamlessly with kitchen cabinets for a built-in look.
Benefits: Blends perfectly into your kitchen decor.
Top-freezer and bottom-freezer refrigerators
Top-freezers and bottom-freezers are very common refrigerator configurations. Top-freezers have the freezer compartment positioned above the refrigerator unit. The bottom-freezer design looks similar, but places the freezer below the refrigerator. In both configurations the freezer portion typically claims about a third of the total size.
Benefits: A great value. Also comes in a wide variety of sizes and can be a good choice as a second refrigerator/freezer for the garage or basement. The bottom-freezer offers easy access to fresh foods.
As the name implies, freezerless refrigerators use the entire volume of the cooling compartment for refrigeration, not freezing. They’re ideal if you have an additional full-size freezer for frozen goods.
Benefits: Larger refrigerator capacity than a refrigerator/freezer combination. Perfect for anyone who stores a lot of fresh food.
These miniaturized versions of traditional refrigerators are ideal for dorm rooms, bedrooms, game rooms, home entertainment bars and home offices. In most compact refrigerators, a small freezer is located inside the refrigeration compartment.
Benefits: Small and compact. They’re built for a dorm room or adding under a bar.
Wine refrigerators and coolers
Designed specifically for beverages, these coolers range from compact units to elaborate, full-size models with room for hundreds of bottles. Also look for models with multizone temperature regulation.
Benefits: Specifically designed for chilling wine so you don’t have to use your refrigerator space. A must-have for wine enthusiasts.
Innovations and trends.
Some of the little things can make a big difference when choosing a refrigerator that will last for years to come.
Quick access: Samsung Showcase, GE and LG Door-in-Door technologies provide quick access to frequently used door bins, which puts your favorite foods at your fingertips, making it easier to organize and save energy.
Connected: Smart refrigerators with a Wi-Fi display let you access apps, leave notes, view calendars, find recipes and more.
Convertible fefrigerator/freezers: Adjustable cooling zones let you change from refrigerator to freezer and back, depending on your needs.
Food freshness: Dual evaporation technology controls humidity in both your refrigerator and freezer to keep food fresher, longer.
Fingerprint-resistant: A protective coating on the exterior surface resists smudges and smears. If you have kids, a fingerprint-resistant option might be just what you’re looking for to reduce cleaning time.
Energy efficiency: With an ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator, you can maximize your energy and dollar savings without sacrificing the features you want.
Finishes: Now, look at your kitchen and find the refrigerator that will look best with your decor. Whether your appliances are stainless, black, white, wood, or another color, we have a huge selection in all styles.
Ice, water and filtration.
Before purchasing your new refrigerator, also consider ice, water and filtration features.
There are three types of ice features to choose from.
In-freezer: This type of ice maker is entirely contained within the freezer compartment and is the most cost-effective option. They usually have more capacity than in-door units; however, you’ll have to open the freezer every time you want ice, and they take up usable space in your freezer compartment (this is also true for the dual ice maker, below).
External ice dispenser: With this option, the unit is built into the door of the refrigerator (most common in side-by-side and French door designs). All you have to do is press a lever or touch a button and the ice falls into your glass — no opening doors.
Dual ice maker: Maybe you use a lot of ice but you’re also looking for the convenience of an in-door unit. A dual ice maker offers both; an in-freezer unit that offers great capacity and an in-door option for added convenience.
There are three types of water features to choose from.
Thru-the-door dispenser: The most common type of water feature offers quick and easy access to fresh water without opening the door.
Internal water dispenser: The benefit of this feature is that it’s cost-effective, but, just like the in-freezer ice option, you’ll have to open the door to get your water. Plus, it takes up valuable refrigerator space in the compartment.
Hot water: This feature lets you dispense hot water for a quick cup of tea or other hot beverage.
There are two types of filtration features to choose from:
Water filtration: If you choose a refrigerator with a water or ice dispenser, proper water filtration is important. To maintain clean, fresh water and ice, find the water filter that’s compatible with your refrigerator and be sure to change it out every six months.
Air filtration: An air filter helps eliminate odors from the refrigerator to keep it smelling clean and fresh. Find the air filter that’s compatible with your refrigerator and be sure to change it out every six months.
Delivery and professional installation.
We’re here for you every step of the way. Our appliance experts can deliver, install, protect and repair your major appliances, plus haul away and recycle your old ones.
Shop online or in store.
Find a wide variety of refrigerators and freezers at BestBuy.com. Your local Best Buy store also has a selection of kitchen appliances, and Pacific Kitchen & Home premium products are now inside select Best Buy stores, so you can shop from an impressive selection of quality brands. Plus, our friendly Blue Shirts and dedicated Pacific Sales staff are there to answer questions and help with choosing the best refrigerator and freezer for your needs.
Free in-home consultation.
Get free refrigerator recommendations from an In-Home Advisor in the comfort of your home. There’s no obligation to buy, and you’ll have one point of contact every step of the way. An In-Home Advisor can help you zero in on styles, features and finishes that complement your taste and help you measure your space, so you’ll be sure to buy the right-sized appliances.