Refrigerator Buying Guide

From built-in to freestanding, and French-door to side-by-side, we’ll help you find the best refrigerator for your home and lifestyle with this refrigerator buying guide.

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<p>In this buying guide we will go over:</p>
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<ul><li>How to measure for a new refrigerator.</li><li>Types of Refrigerators</li><li>Refrigerator Price</li><li>Ice Makers & Water Dispensers</li><li>Refrigerator Trends</li></ul>
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<p>Photo: <a href=

Refrigerators go way back, but the first electric refrigerator was made in 1913. Refrigerator technology changes rapidly, and since refrigerators aren’t a common purchase, chances are there are more refrigerator options than the last time you looked. From size and style to smart features and the appliance finish, the options can overwhelm you. Keep your cool while shopping for a new refrigerator by consulting our handy refrigerator buying guide.

In this refrigerator buying guide we will go over:

  • How to measure for a new refrigerator.
  • Types of Refrigerators
  • Refrigerator Price
  • Ice Makers & Water Dispensers
  • Refrigerator Trends
Photo: @fitfoodiefinds

How To Measure a Refrigerator

First thing’s first – will it fit? Take the following measurements (in inches) and bring them with you to the appliance store.

Current refrigerator

  • Height from floor to refrigerator cabinet (with hinges)
  • Height from floor to refrigerator cabinet (without hinges)
  • Depth with doors (not including the handles)

Opening for new refrigerator

  • Height of the space from the floor to the cabinet above on left side, right side and in center
  • Width of the space from cabinet to cabinet (including trim)
  • Counter depth on each side of refrigerator
  • Depth of upper cabinets
  • Depth at bottom of cabinets (including trim)

Path into your home

  • Width and height of exterior doorway
  • Width and height of interior doorways through which the refrigerator will have to pass
  • Width of stairways

Download a visual refrigerator measuring guide. If you don’t want to take the measurements yourself, Warners’ Stellian offers an in-home premeasuring service for $129.99.

Other Refrigerator Fit Considerations

When choosing a new refrigerator, consider which direction you want the door to swing and any obstacles in the way of that door swing, such as islands or nearby cabinets. A refrigerator requires an extra inch at the sides, top and back for proper ventilation and air circulation.  

For refrigerator capacity, the general guideline is 19 to 22 cubic feet for a family of four. But it really depends on your shopping preferences. If you tend to grab groceries a few times a week, a smaller capacity could work. But if you buy in bulk, consider a larger capacity. And if you tend to stock up on frozen goods, make sure the freezer compartment can accommodate that.

Types of Refrigerators

Freestanding Refrigerators

Freestanding refrigerators are the least expensive type, and thus the most common. They protrude from the kitchen cabinetry, and are easy to move.

Cabinet-Depth Refrigerators

Cabinet-depth, or counter-depth, refrigerators feature more shallow depth allowing for the doors to align nicely with the surrounding cabinetry. This creates a sleek, seamless look.

Built-In Refrigerators

For a high-end kitchen, opt for a built-in refrigerator, which will be truly flush with your cabinets. Panels are often added to built-in refrigerator doors to integrate the appliance into the cabinetry.

Specialty Refrigeration

Often used to supplement the main refrigerator, specialty refrigerator options include under-counter refrigerators, beverage chillers and wine storage refrigerators.

Refrigerator Styles

Top Freezer Refrigerators

A classic design, the top freezer refrigerator layout positions the freezer at eye level. Wide shelves in the refrigerator allow easy access to items stored in the back of the fridge. Top-freezer refrigerators are best for:

  • Tight budgets
  • Small spaces (narrower than 30 inches and/or shorter than 70 inches
  • Frozen food lovers

Bottom Freezer Refrigerators

Most people open the refrigerator compartment 9-10 times more often than they do the freezer. By locating the freezer on the bottom, the refrigerator section is brought up to waist or chest level for maximum accessibility.

Many brands offer a choice of either a swing-door freezer or pull-out freezer drawer. The drawer design allows for easier access to the back of the freezer by minimizing the amount of bending needed. This refrigerator type works best for:

  • Fresh food lovers
  • Organizers
  • People who want to go green
Photo: @heartbeetkitchen

Side-By-Side Refrigerators

Side-by-side refrigerators feature two full-height compartments doors that open from the center – often with the freezer on the left and refrigerator on the right. This type of refrigerator is ideal for:

  • Kitchens with islands or narrow walkways
  • Families or bulk buyers
  • Stylish homeowners

French Door Refrigerators

Taking the “best of both worlds” approach, French-door refrigerators have become the industry’s fastest growing refrigerator style. The refrigerator compartment is at waist and chest level with the french doors (side-by-side) opening from the center.

Similar to the bottom freezer style, French-door refrigerators feature a freezer drawer design. Many models also offer the option of an external ice and water dispenser or an internal water-only dispenser. And if you really want to stand out from the crowd, many French-door refrigerators are now coming in four-door models. French-door refrigerators are best for:

  • Large families
  • Entertainers
  • Veggie lovers
Photo: @jk_designbuild

Refrigerator Price

When considering a new refrigerator, know that there is a workable model for any budget, whether it’s a second unit for keeping soda in the basement, or the built-in refrigerator of your dreams. Here are some refrigerator price ranges, depending on refrigerator type.

Refrigerator Finishes

Refrigerators come in numerous finish options, such as white, black, matte white, matte black, black stainless steel, stainless steel and classic bisque. To learn more about finish options and choose the right one for your refrigerator, check out our Appliance Finishes Guide.

Refrigerator Ice Makers and Water Dispensers

Many refrigerators include a factory-installed ice maker. For models that do not, one can usually be added. Ice makers and water dispensers require a quarter-inch water line to function. Depending on the design of your kitchen, you may have an existing water line. If not, the Warners’ Stellian installation and plumbing team can install one for you.

Ice makers offer myriad ice shapes to meet your preference, including crescent, cubed or diamond. In addition to internal ice makers, many refrigerators have implemented exterior ice and water dispensing. External dispensers are most commonly found on side-by-side refrigerators, but have recently been introduced on more French-door refrigerators as well.

When it comes to water dispensers, some refrigerators locate them on the interior. Refrigerators with water dispensers also include built-in water filters, which should be changed every six months. And when water can’t quite cut it, remember that GE Profile makes a refrigerator with a built-in Keurig.

Refrigerator Trends

The following refrigerator trends continue to heat up kitchens.

Glass Door Refrigerators

Glass panel refrigerator doors allow you to quickly see what’s inside the refrigerator without opening the door and wasting energy. Also, they don’t dent or scratch as easily as stainless steel or other metal finish options.

Matte Finish

Matte appliances provide a rich, warm tone while standing up to smudges and fingerprints. It’s no wonder more and more homeowners request this finish. The appliance line from Café comes in matte black or white with four customizable hardware options:

  • Brushed copper
  • Brushed bronze
  • Brushed black
  • Brushed stainless

Smart Refrigerator Features

As technology becomes more advanced, manufacturers continue to revolutionize refrigerators with smart features, such as:

  • Voice assistants built into the fridge
  • Ability to play music or watch TV from the refrigerator
  • Touch screens, on which you can jot shopping lists or write quick notes to family members
  • Built-in cameras to view refrigerator contents while on the go
  • Notifications for food expiration dates
  • Alerts for when water filter needs changed

When refrigerator shopping, ask your salesperson about smart features, as the technology is quickly evolving.

The Retro Look

Feeling like going back to the 50s? It’s becoming more popular to add a little retro flare to your aesthetic. You might add a pop of color to your kitchen or get a vintage look with specific brands. Whatever your style is, our Appliance Specialists will help you find the perfect fit.

We hope you have found this refrigerator buying guide to be useful and informative, and we appreciate the time you took to read through it. If you have questions that were not answered by this guide, please feel free to contact us.

Spotlight Series: Anna Johnson from Marketing

This month we’re meeting Anna Johnson from our Marketing Team!


What is your role at Warners’ Stellian?
I’m the Digital Marketing Specialist.

Tell us more about your role.
I run and monitor all of our social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat Ads and TikTok. I also run our social media ads which has equaled out to about 100 ads running at a time. With social media I am creating all the content that is posted.

What do you like most about your job?
I love the possibilities and resources we have here. There is also a lot of teamwork which makes making content and generating ideas for marketing campaigns really fun!

Tell us about your family.
I am the middle child with two brothers. I adopted my dog Savannah about 3 years ago and she is a spunky 4-year-old lab/shepherd mix who likes long walks after dinner and trips to the dog park. She enjoys swimming so we go up north to Cumberland, Wisconsin where my dad’s family is from, from time to time.

What was your first job?
My first job was at the Hudson Golf Club when I was 15 where my dad was the Superintendent and my boss. That made for an interesting experience (in a good way, ha!) as I was on the Grounds Crew there with my older brother.

What do you like to do on your days off?
On my days off I’m either visiting friends and family or managing a mental health non-profit, The Butterfly Path which I started 5 years ago to help fund for mental health resources and therapy sessions for families/individuals when insurance can’t cover it.

What three words would you use to describe Warners’ Stellian?
Family, Community, and Integrity.


What’s your favorite appliance, and why?
My favorite appliance is anything Smeg. I love that style and aesthetic.

Tell us something about you that would surprise us or that most people don’t know.
I used to want to be a teacher when I grew up but changed majors to marketing halfway through college. Once I got my degree, I was a substitute teacher in Hudson where I’m from before landing my first full time job.

What is the one thing you cannot live without?
Coffee! I can’t function without it.

If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Top the Tater. I could eat that all day, every day.

What is your favorite thing to do?
My favorite thing to do would probably doing anything with my family! My mom, two brothers, and sister-in-laws are really close and do a lot together whether that’s going out to dinner, Top Golf, or getting ready to welcome the first grand baby into the family! I’m very excited to add Auntie to my name.

How To Improve Indoor Air Quality This Winter

Dreaming of a warmer spring day with the windows wide open? Yeah, well keep dreaming. Winter is coming, and for Minnesotans that means a few long months until we fling open our windows again to welcome the fresh spring air. In the meantime, our houses remain sealed tight, keeping the cold out and the stale indoor air, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores and other winter allergens sealed in. Sound like something you’ve sneezed about in the past? We’re here to make it easy breezy to improve your indoor air quality at home while we wait for spring.

Change Your Air Filter

The first line of defense for good air quality in your home is a clean air filter! Check your owners’ manual for advice and directions on changing your air filter. Some should be changed every 6 months, others more frequently depending on your home environment. To ensure your HVAC system is firing on all cylinders, schedule a furnace tuneup.

READ MORE: Fall Furnace Maintenance Checklist

Add Some Humidity

Dry winter air, which is exacerbated by your furnace, can cause chapped lips, scaly skin and sore throats. The ideal in-home humidity level is approximately 45 percent. Adjust your humidity levels accordingly with a moisture or humidity gauge. To increase humidity, use a vaporizer or humidifier. Or you can add humidity to the air naturally by placing vessels of water on radiators or near vents.

Invest in Houseplants

kitchen with Thermador appliances

Image via Thermador

Clear the air of indoor pollutants using houseplants. Studies show that houseplants can filter VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from the air, helping you breathe easier. If you can keep them alive, this list of plants helps purify the air of common indoor pollutants that come from our carpeting, paints and cleaning products.

Vacuum on a Regular Basis

Invest in a quality vacuum that uses a HEPA filter. Dust/dust mites, pollen and chemicals trapped in your carpet can be sneaky culprits causing you to cough and sneeze. Check out our vacuum cleaner buying guide to see which vacuum at Warners’ Stellian is right for you!

When Americans spend on average 90% of their time indoors, especially in winter, improving indoor air quality conditions proves to be a worthwhile cause. Breathe easier and sneeze less this winter with the tips above.

What advice do you have for improving indoor air quality? Share it in the comments section below.

Featured image via Rheem

Spotlight Series: Meet Service Foreman Al Brown

At Warners’ Stellian, one of our core values is family, and each new employee becomes a member of our family. In our Spotlight Series, we plan to share a deeper look into the talent that contributes to our success each day. This week, let’s meet Service Foreman Al Brown.

How long have you worked at Warners’ Stellian?

I’ve been with the service department for 14 years. However, I worked for a service company that closely supported Warners’ for 20 years before that… which reminds me I’m getting old!

What did you want to be growing up, and how did that change/evolve?

I wanted to be a train engineer! I still love everything about trains. I grew up in Superior, Wisconsin, where the railroad and shipping rule. My father worked for a creamery in Superior and was taking a night course on refrigeration at the tech college. He talked me into taking one of the courses with him when I was still in high school. I found it really interesting and went to school for it after graduation. I obviously enjoyed it, because here I am.

What is your advice for other people considering a career as an HVAC or appliance technician?

Embrace change. That was the best advice I got from my instructors. When I started in the field, electronics were just starting to take the place of mechanical controls. A lot of coworkers didn’t want to commit to learning new systems and quit. It’s changing faster than ever now with smart appliances and connected Wi-Fi.

Can you talk more about how the industry has changed during your career?

Technology is so much better; appliances can use much less water and electricity. A refrigerator, for example, counts how many times you open the door and what the room temperature is to set fan and compressor speeds. There’s even a refrigerator that takes a picture every time you close the door and sends it to your phone, so you never have to wonder if you’re out of milk when shopping.

What’s one thing about you people would be surprised to know?

I only have nine toes! I had a hunting accident seven years ago and was shot in the foot. Without going into too much detail, I will say it was Warners’ Stellian Field Service Manager Bill Forga who accidentally discharged his rifle – still some doubt as to if he was aiming it or not!

What is your favorite season, and why?

It was always fall for the changing colors and hunting, but summer is starting to take over because my granddaughter loves the water and we spend a ton of time swimming and boating together.

Are you interested in joining the Warners’ Stellian family? Apply here!

Asian-Style Barbecue Pork Taco Recipe

Celebrate National Taco Day (also known as every night in our kitchen) with this delicious barbecue pork taco recipe from our friends at GE. This recipe makes about eight tacos, so adjust as needed.

Barbecue Pork Taco Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • 8 Asian steamed buns

For the seasoning:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

For the coleslaw:

  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

For the barbecue sauce:

  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Directions

  1. Season the pork tenderloin (on all sides) with the mixture of salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  2. Place the tenderloin on a metal tray, and fold the thin end of the tenderloin under itself to cook evenly with the rest of the tenderloin. Cook your pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
  3. While the tenderloin is cooking, prepare your coleslaw by combining shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, sliced green onion, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl, tossing well.
  4. For the barbecue sauce, combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Stir the mixture, microwave for 30 seconds, then stir again.
  5. When the pork tenderloin is done cooking, allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the tenderloin (about 16 slices), place in a shallow bowl and coat well with the barbecue sauce.
  6. To serve, heat the Asian steamed buns for 10 to 20 seconds. Split open the buns, spoon a couple slices of the barbecue sauce-coated pork tenderloin into each bun and garnish with  coleslaw to taste. Enjoy!

Taco Recipe Tips

Asian steamed buns can be found in the frozen section of an Asian market. Substitute with flour or corn tortillas if desired.