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.

GE Refrigerator with Keurig Levels Up Your Mornings

Single-serve coffee brewers have been steaming up the coffee industry quite some time. So many coffee lovers now enjoy the convenient pick-me-up afforded by the Buick of a coffeemaker parked in a space formerly reserved for kitchen prep.

According to a 2018 National Coffee Association coffee drinking trends survey, 41 percent of respondents who drank coffee said they used a single-cup brewer.

But how convenient can a Keurig be when you still have the same amount of steps?

  1. Add coffee
  2. Add water
  3. Brew

Until now…

GE Refrigerators with Built-in Keurig Brewing System

Brewing System 1

Single cups of coffee got a lot more convenient. IT’S PLUMBED, PEOPLE! Inserting a K-Cup becomes the only step of your morning coffee routine, as the refrigerator’s coffee dispenser supplies fresh, filtered water for every cup with no need to refill. One-step coffee. Game-changer.

Better yet, using your refrigerator as your coffeemaker means you can reclaim your coveted counter space.

Perhaps for this?

Perhaps for this.

Or this.

 

dogtreatmaker

The partnership evolved from the GE Café French-door refrigerator with a hot water dispenser (also cool for tea drinkers or baby bottle preparers) after current owners saw coffee brewing as the refrigerator’s natural progression and suggested it to GE.

If you want to talk about really fancy, your mobile device connects to the fridge so you can preset your brew time so the water in the reservoir heats up in anticipation of your groggy self impatiently pushing the button the next morning.

Genius.

Side note: Miele began selling a built-in coffee system years ago that had the ability to work with coffee pods.

Do you like single-serve coffeemakers, or are you a full pot kind of person? Let us know in the comments!

No. 1 Cause of Appliance Returns

So you’ve fallen in love with a new appliance, and it looks great and has the features to do all the stuff you want it do.

And you plunk down a sizable chunk of change (appliances are no small expenditure!), and schedule the delivery.

So imagine your sadness when the only thing our highly complimented, professional crew delivers is the bad news that your beautiful new appliance won’t

  • fit through your doors
  • into your allotted space
  • work with your existing connections

This isn’t a rare occurrence that only happens to those with irregular house situations; It happens ALL the time because all houses are irregular.

Heck, my new refrigerator nearly didn’t fit because the width changed between the upper cabinet and lower cabinet, and I had only measured the latter! (Luckily, our guys are pros and made it work for me.)

Also, consider the space needed to use the appliance. For instance, is there enough room for the door to open? Not only was my space almost too narrow for the top of my fridge, but in switching from a top-mount refrigerator to a freezer-on-the-bottom model, I failed to consider that the freezer drawer would need to clear the window frame along its left side only a couple inches ahead. Again, our guys are pros and made my selection work despite all its challenges.

If you’re purchasing laundry, consider which side your washer and dryer are on and make sure that the doors will open appropriately.

Ideally, the machine on the left should have hinges on the left side of its doors and the machine on the right should have its hinges on the right side of the door.

Bottom line: Assuming you need “standard”-sized appliances is dangerous because standard doesn’t exist. And every house is different.

If you’re considering replacing any of your appliances soon, this checklist will help you prevent the expensive and time-consuming mistake of purchasing the wrong product for your space.

Our salespeople will qualify you, but as in the case of my refrigerator, even I didn’t measure diligently enough!

Measure the opening

Measure the area where your appliance will be placed rather than the size of your existing appliance. And take it from me and measure along several spots of your opening.

Size up the pathway

Those living in older homes especially, take note! Ensure that your appliance it will fit through each hallway and doorway of the entire path to its final destination.

Of course, you can remove railings and doors if necessary, but you’ll want to do this in advance and remeasure to ensure that this too allows enough space. When in doubt, discuss the situation with your sales rep.

Check your connections

You need the appropriate electric outlet within 3-½ feet of the space you’ve selected for your new product. Make sure the outlet is grounded (accepts a three-prong plug), since most appliances require one. For electric dryers and electric ranges, be sure to check for a 240V electric connection.

Measure twice, cut once

Take another look at the pathway en route to the final destination of your appliance and ensure that your product will fit through the designated space.

It could save you more than 25% of the purchase price, your valuable time and (if you’re like me) your ego.
>>See our complete list of tips for buying appliances and having them delivered

5 Food Preservation Tips

With the opening of farmers markets and the start of many people’s CSA shares, the perennial topic of food storage becomes fresh again. Check out these 5 tips to keep your food fresh longer.

1. Use your crisper

Those clear drawers in your fridge aren’t just for convenience. Many models allow you adjust the humidity of your crisper drawers to suit their contents. Consult your use & care manual for specifics on your model, but in general, set humidity to high for green, leafy vegetables and low for fruits and vegetables with skins.

2. Pick your spot

Brands might create the perfect space for gallon-jug storage on your refrigerator door, but consider how quickly you will use highly perishable foods before storing them here. Why? Consider the temperature fluctuations of this region of the refrigerator.

If you go through a gallon of milk every couple days, then maybe it doesn’t matter. But those of use who just use a sprinkle in our coffee should definitely select a cooler spot, like the back of the fridge, which is less affected when the door opens.

Accordingly, produce like broccoli, asparagus and apples benefit from colder temperatures located near the rear. Corn and berries benefit from the warmest spot in the refrigerator, so choose those for the front.

3. Use a paper towel to keep your greens green

Greens (especially leftovers) quickly become yellows and browns.

Arrange washed greens between paper towels to absorb excess moisture and seal them in punctured plastic bags.

4. Don’t pass gas

Ethylene gas, that is. Foods like apples, peaches and pears produce ethylene, a gas that kick-starts ripening, which can cause premature aging in some fruits and damage in others. Avoid storing ethylene-producing foods near others sensitive to it, or keep them in a plastic bag to contain the gas.

5. Know what NOT to refrigerate

Sometimes the refrigerator can do more harm than good – as in the case of avocados, bananas, tomatoes, pineapples, mangoes, potatoes and squash – which should be stored at room temperature. Cold temperatures can dehydrate and damage these foods.

What are your best food preservation tips? Share them in the comments!

Energy Star refrigerators save $50/year over 1990s fridges

This is an outdated picture of my kitchen, but you get the idea.

I’m replacing my 15-year-old refrigerator this month with a more roomy, smarter-designed and better-looking new fridge.

Best of all, it’s an Energy Star refrigerator, which means that it uses at least 20 percent less energy than a non-Energy Star fridge. Plus, although Energy Star refrigerators generally cost more upfront, you should consider overall cost of the appliance — which includes how much energy it uses compared to other models.

Energy Star estimates that over the lifetime of your refrigerator, you will cut your energy bills by $165 versus if you used an non-Energy Star model.

So think of how much you save when you unplug the refrigerator you’re using right now? Actually, see the handy chart below.

So my fridge from the ’90s costs about $97 per year compared to an Energy Star refrigerator, which uses an average of $48, according to this chart. (And actually, my new fridge is 10 percent better than the Energy Star standards; its energy use is estimated to cost about $43 per year.)

Obviously, I have to buy the new fridge, but I’ve budgeted for that. Now, what will I do with the $50? Better question: what will do with the $600 in usage cost savings I’ll realize over the average life (12 years) of my refrigerator?