Guidelines for buying a refrigerator: – When it comes to refrigerators, the options today go far beyond simply getting a glass of ice water without opening the door. With custom paneling, you can get a recess that matches your kitchen cabinets exactly. What factors to consider when buying a refrigerator? Must know these tips. It helps you a lot.
You can even pull out a refrigerated drawer and find it filled with cold sodas. Our guide helps you choose the right type for your family, demystifies reclaimed vs. usable storage space, and helps you find the quietest models so you and your groceries can relax.
If you want the best refrigerator at the best price, you need to quickly familiarize yourself with the market, find out what you need, and learn how to find a deal
Refrigerators come in different shapes and sizes to fit most budgets and most kitchens.
Modern appliances come with a long list of available features, and while some may be invaluable to you, others will be nearly useless.
Before you start shopping, assess your basic wants and needs in these four areas:
What Factors To Consider When Buying a Refrigerator?
Are you single, a couple or a family of five? Do you eat a lot or frequently attend large groups of guests? These are the types of factors that go into installing the refrigerator you need.
Think about your history with your current device and make a list of pros and cons. If you’ve had trouble with a freezer that’s too full or is having trouble finding what you’re looking for, you’ll want your new refrigerator to solve these problems.
Comforts and desires
Maybe you’ve been looking for an ice and cold water dispenser or a stainless steel finish. You will probably keep this device for at least 10 years, so get the features you will enjoy.
Make a list of the additional options you want and rank them in order of importance. Review your ranking and remember that there will be an additional cost associated with each.
The good news is that since you will have this device for a long time, it may justify some waste in the name of simple pleasures and worthwhile convenience.
Instead of deciding on a fixed amount, create a comfortable price range. The most important number here is the highest, as you never want to beat your ceiling.
Be sure to consider durability, performance, and energy efficiency when determining your long-term cost outlook.
The capacity of a refrigerator is measured in liters. The range from lowest to highest capacity has grown exponentially these days. But in order for you to decide your requirement, one key factor must be considered: the size of your family.
This determines the amount of food you will keep in your refrigerator. For a couple with a child, a 150 to 250-liter refrigerator should sufficient.
For a larger family of four to five people, you can choose one of 250 to 500 liters. But if it is a family of four, made up of two adults and two children, a 250 to the 350-liter fridge is sufficient.
Large families of six to seven people, of course, will need a large refrigerator with a capacity of between 550 and 850 liters. At the other end of the spectrum, you can find the refrigerators with capacities from 40 to 100 liters.
The refrigerator with low space is the best if you live alone. Sometimes you may need more capacity despite not having many family members, so it is always advisable to consider your requirements in detail before deciding on capacity.
The amount of space available in your home is also a great consideration when choosing your refrigerator.
You can decide to put your new refrigerator in a new place in your kitchen, or you can use the same space. Either way, you’ll need to take steps to figure out if you have room for a bigger fridge or if you should take advantage of a compact model.
Measure height, depth, and width, and note the free space available to open the doors. Also, record clearance indoor and hallway to help plan delivery.
You can always read the measurements of the refrigerator of your choice and see if it fits in your available space.
While doing this, be sure to consider that the refrigerator doors will also need some space to be able to open freely, and you will need at least an inch of space at the top and rear to allow heat to escape easily.
Sometimes carrying the refrigerator indoors can also be a hassle due to a lack of space in a star cabin or elevator. This is an important aspect to consider before buying the model of your choice.
Defrost: Direct Cooling vs. Frost Free
All refrigerators require cold air circulation within their compartments. When it comes to direct cooling options, this circulation is managed by natural convection, without any outside help.
A major disadvantage of this method is uneven distribution, which leads to ice formation in the refrigerator.
Therefore, you must manually defrost the refrigerator regularly. Some advantages of this technology are the fact that these refrigerators are inexpensive and consume less electricity.
The frost-free name itself tells us that there is no frost or ice to deal with. These coolers circulate cold air evenly with the help of electric fans.
This method does not allow ice to form inside the compartments and therefore does not freeze foods. But they are more expensive than direct cooling refrigerators and consume more electricity due to the use of fans.
Brand recognition plays a role in research and purchasing, especially with large appliances like refrigerators. By becoming familiar with the major refrigerator manufacturers, you will gain valuable information.
LG, for example, is a brand that stands out in the lower freezer market, while the less recognizable Amana is a budget line produced by Whirlpool.
Here is the list of the best Refrigerator brands:
- Electrolux (Frigidaire)
- Whirlpool (Amana, Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, Maytag)
Smart compartments and organization aids make it easy to keep food fresh and well exposed. You must look for:
- Adjustable Glass Shelves – Shelves that slide in and out inside the refrigerator cavity and shelves that open vertically from the hinges on the outer edges of the shelf create a custom space.
- Gallon Size Door Bins – These bins efficiently store milk, juice, and 2-liter soda bottles, making them easier to grab while taking up zero shelf space.
- Humidity Control Drawers – These display fruits and vegetables clearly while keeping them fresh with custom humidity settings.
- Pantry Drawers – The refrigerator-wide pantry drawers create a separate temperature zone for party trays and snacks.
Depending on their sizes and the way they are built, refrigerators can be classified into five main types:
Types Of Refrigerator
As the name implies, these refrigerators have only one door and have a capacity of 150 to 250 liters. These are the cheapest options available, and aside from the refrigerator space, they even offer modest freezer space.
Single-door refrigerators are mostly direct cold in nature, but even this is changing today with many companies introducing a digital automatic defrost option on their models.
These have two doors, one on top of the other. While the upper compartment is reserved for the freezer, the lower one is intended for regular use. This way, you get more freezer space to use.
A double door refrigerator generally has a capacity of 250 to 500 liters. Such coolers are also designed to use less energy and are always frost-free. Double door models are energy efficient and also ship with tempered glass shelves.
Triple door refrigerators are taller and slimmer than other models and are great for homes with less floor space. They come in capacities from 250 to 350 liters.
The top door is for the freezer, the middle door is for regular use, and the bottom door is a vegetable drawer. Triple door models come with anti-freeze technology and tempered glass shelves.
The refrigerators side by side doors are the most expensive models that exist and, therefore, are equipped with the latest technologies. With capacities ranging from 550 to 850 liters, these refrigerators offer large storage space with several different sections.
Some even come with ice and water dispensers on the front. Of course, they are frost-free in nature and come with toughened glass shelves.
Mini refrigerators are small in size and only offer basic cooling to keep your food fresh. They can have up to 100 liters of capacity. They may have a very small freezer built into them, but this is not always the case. They are always direct and cold in nature.
The most important factor in deciding on a new refrigerator is determining what size fits in your kitchen. Refrigerators are generally listed for their internal capacity in cubic feet, but it is more important to focus on the external dimensions, and width is usually the limiting factor. Here’s how to measure for various scenarios.
Replace your current refrigerator? You will need to buy a new one of very similar width.
- Measure the width, depth (from wall to front face), and height of your current machine. This will focus your search more than any other step you can take.
- Note that the manufacturer’s refrigerator measurements are up to an inch thinner, to allow room for installation.
- Buying a newly finished home or remodeled kitchen? You will need to measure the space where you intend to place the refrigerator.
- Measure depth not only at waist height, but also at the top where your cabinets might be, and at the bottom where you may have a plinth – floor and wall trims can limit the space available in the fridge. (Note, though, it’s usually possible to remove a bit of trim, and it’s worth doing if that means you can fit your favorite refrigerator.)
- Take various measurements of width and height, in case the space for your refrigerator is asymmetric (for example, houses can be unevenly settled).
- Leave at least an extra inch on the sides, top, and back for proper ventilation and air circulation. Coolers work by transferring heat from the inside to the outside air through coils at the back of the machine, so they need that space to breathe.
How to choose the right door style (guidelines for buying refrigerator)
After the dimensions, it’s time to find out which door style is best for you. French doors are currently the most popular, but if you have space limitations or are on a budget, you may want to choose a different style.
1. French door
French door models have a bottom-mounted freezer that opens like a drawer, and two half-width doors in the refrigerator section. This is the best style for most people, based on every datum in the industry and every vendor we talk to. They generally vary from 30 to 36 inches in width.
You should consider a French door refrigerator if:
- Eat mainly fresh produce, deli, and dairy products. That describes most people: The average person opens the refrigerator five to seven times more often than the freezer so that a French door refrigerator is often the most practical. With the refrigerator section completely at waist level for the eyes, reference items like fruits and vegetables, slices, milk, and juice are kept at hand.
- Don’t worry about a less organized freezer. French door freezers tend to have very few shelves; they usually consist of one or two large tub-shaped drawers. Some people find that they lose items in these bathtubs. If you eat a large quantity of boxed frozen goods, a side-by-side refrigerator or top freezer may be better.
- Often store-wide plates or containers. Pizza boxes, large cookie sheets, and full-size turkeys are more likely to fit in a French door refrigerator or freezer than a narrower one side by side.
- They are limited by the space in your kitchen. A French door freezer stretches out, rather than opens, so it is not limited by a wall on each side of the unit. Double refrigerator doors extend only halfway up to a single full-width door when opened, meaning this style can work best in narrower spaces.
2. Side by side
The refrigerators side by side is divided vertically, with the freezer on the left and the refrigerator on the right. Side-by-side models generally range from 33 to 36 inches wide.
Consider a side-by-side refrigerator if you:
- Eat more frozen than fresh food. Side-by-side refrigerators have more vertical storage space for frozen food. It is also easier to see and organize your frozen food because the frozen section has more shelves at eye level.
- You want premium features at a great price. Side by side tends to cost several hundred dollars less than French door refrigerators that have the same quality interiors and amenities. “A sum of $ 2,000 side by side is an incredible fridge. A $ 2,000 French door is not so nice, according to the customer.
- They are limited by the space in your kitchen. Like the French door models, side by side they are suitable for narrow galley kitchens because the door’s turning radius is not as large as that of a door in a traditional top freezer unit.
3. Top freezer
Top freezer models have a top-mounted freezer and a full-width door in the refrigerator. It’s the classic refrigerator, a no-frills utility freezer. Despite the increasing popularity of French door models, top freezers are still the most popular type of refrigerator by units sold. These models generally vary from 24 to 33 inches wide.
Consider a top freezer refrigerator if you:
- You have a budget of less than $ 1,000. A no-frills, 30-inch-wide refrigerator with enough room for four can range from a $ 475 basic freezer unit to a nearly $ 1,000 stainless steel version with a few upgrades like glass shelves.
- Worry more about reliability. These coolers generally don’t come with extra features like water dispensers or ice machines, which means they have fewer parts that can break or wear out.
- They are concerned about energy efficiency. Many of the newer models are very energy efficient compared to other styles of refrigerator doors. (However, all refrigerators manufactured today are much more energy-efficient than those manufactured even 10 years ago, due to the strictest efficiency standards.)
- Have plenty of space in your kitchen. Full-width doors need a lot of space to open, so take a measurement before buying.
Counter-depth refrigerators are shallower than standard refrigerators, typically measuring 25 inches from the back of the refrigerator to the door seal.
Doors still protrude from the counter a couple of inches (after all, they need to be opened), but visually, counter depth refrigerators integrate seamlessly with the countertop, giving kitchens a more open feel and keeping walking spaces with free of obstacles.
Standard refrigerators, by contrast, protrude 6 to 10 inches beyond the counter, and in small kitchens, they can be visually and physically annoying. Counter-depth refrigerators are available in French doors and side-by-side styles.
They generally cost several hundred dollars more than comparable standard depth coolers.
You should consider a deep depth refrigerator if you:
- They are tight in the kitchen space. If you have a galley kitchen, or other kitchen design that may hinder the space in front of your refrigerator, these models are a good choice.
- Be very careful about how your refrigerator looks in your space. Because these refrigerators line up with countertops instead of protruding from them, they look sleeker and can give kitchens a more airy feel than standard-depth refrigerators.
- You don’t need all the storage in a fridge thoroughly. If you have a small home or shop frequently instead of making big weekly purchases, you may not need all the storage space provided by a standard deep refrigerator, and counter depth is a great option in such a case.
5. Other fridge styles
Less often, you will find some other styles. Bottom freezer design is out of fashion today, aside from super-narrow units built for small, upscale condos.
As with top freezer models, swing doors may have trouble opening fully near a kitchen island or in other tight spaces.
Built-in fridges are a staple in the high-end market, where they are popular because their panels and size are customizable and can be integrated into any kitchen design.
Column fridges are built-in coolers that have completely separate refrigerator and freezer units. Built-in fridges are similar to built-in ones but can be hidden even more without visible hinges and custom overlay panels.
Other characteristics to consider before buying a refrigerator
Here are other features that we think are worth considering before committing to a specific model.
Stainless steel is the most popular. It’s durable and fits most decorations, and fingerprint-resistant finishes are now available on select models.
Please note that some stainless steels cannot hold magnets, so if your refrigerator is your bulletin board, please bring a magnet to the store for you to check.
Black stainless steel is normally stainless steel with a dark polymer coating and is possibly easier to keep clean than traditional stainless steel. Regular glossy black and white is not always available on high-end models. Bright solid colors tend to be reserved for retro-style refrigerators these days.
Matching with your other appliances
Colors and surface textures can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, even for something seemingly universal like stainless steel. So if you want your appliances to match perfectly, you may need to stick with the same brand.
The handles are one of the only parts of the refrigerator that you will see when closed, making it a great aesthetic option for some people.
There are two basic types: a European style, curvilinear, smooth and with a more “ergonomic” appearance; and professional handles, which are straight, often textured, and more “industrial” in appearance.
You often pay a premium for this style of incomparable refrigerators. Designed with handles on the side of the door, handleless fridges are less common, and they are slightly less functional since a handle is easier to grip from any direction.
Drawers and functional shelves
Drawers with rollers open and close more smoothly than plastic-on-plastic sliders. A folding or hidden shelf is useful because it allows you to place a tall bottle or cake pan without adjusting the height of the shelves.
Gallon door storage can free up tons of shelf space by letting you keep your juice or milk on the door.
Many French door fridges come with a full-width drawer under the crisper drawers; It is designed for platters and pans, but it is also a great place to store snacks in a place that children can access. These characteristics are common but not universal in refrigerators above the budget category.
Ice makers and ice and water dispensers
These are extremely convenient and it’s hard to find a cheap refrigerator without at least the first one. The downside is that they are the parts that most often break or malfunction.
Multi-zone climate control
Many refrigerators now have this, but we wouldn’t pay more for it. No manufacturer was willing to give us even a rough estimate of how better these refrigerators are at maintaining food freshness.
We specifically reject certain refrigerator models because we read repeated complaints in user reviews about very loud noise. It is something that drives people crazy.
User reviews and consumer reports (subscription required) are your best sources for determining noise level on a specific model. It is recommended that only models with very good or better noise scores in CR and that users do not regularly criticize.
Compressors are responsible for maintaining temperatures inside the refrigerator. It should be noted that a smaller fridge generally come with general compressors, while medium and large fridge are shipped with inverter compressors.
These compressors start at very high speeds and then continue to run at a constant speed. In this way, even if there is no loss of cooling, they will continue to operate at the same speed and will shut down only when optimal cooling is reached.
That is why you hear a “tick” sound in your refrigerator from time to time.
Inverter compressors are adaptive in nature in that they can operate at different speeds depending on the amount of cooling required. They start at low speeds and accelerate only when there is a loss of cooling. This allows them to be more energy-efficient.
About a smart fridge
The most basic “smart” refrigerators are Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth compatible, and the most eye-catching have mounted touchscreen tablets, cameras inside, and apps that let you do things like create shopping lists and monitor internal temperatures.
The circuit boards in these fridges are known to break frequently, and they also have safety concerns.
Smart refrigerators, like any other smart technology, are hackable, and appliance companies don’t update their security patches frequently. Everything connected to Wi-Fi is “guaranteed” to have security problems.
In 2015, for example, Samsung’s smart fridges were hacked, exposing users’ Gmail login credentials. In addition to the security risk, having a tablet mounted in your refrigerator “reduces the life of your refrigerator to the useful life of a tablet.
About energy efficiency
All new refrigerators use much less energy than previous models, and your electric bill is sure to drop after the upgrade.
This calculator estimates that if you are replacing a 10 year old refrigerator, you will save approximately $ 30 per year in energy; If it is a 25 year old fridge, you will save around $ 200 per year. Use the yellow label in the Energy Guide as a reference for the energy efficiency of a refrigerator.
When is the best time to buy a fridge?
According to some sources, the best time is in the spring, specifically in May, because that is when manufacturers launch new models and reduce the prices of old ones.
But if you don’t have time to wait for those discounts, retailers often have year-round sales. Look up holiday appliance sales (Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veterans Day, and Black Friday) and note the general price ranges for different refrigerator styles to make sure that you are not paying too much.
How long should a new refrigerator last?
Most of the refrigerators available today vary little in terms of reliability or performance. According to most of the experts, the typical shelf life of a stand-alone refrigerator is about 10 to 15 years.
According to the refrigerator vendors, there are no consistent reliability trends for refrigerators by brand, but by model.
According to the refrigerator vendors, there are no consistent reliability trends for refrigerators by brand, but by model. The best way to protect yourself against a bad refrigerator is to read user reviews for the specific model you’re considering on various retailer sites.
Be on the lookout for patterns. Are all critics complaining that the refrigerator makes a strange noise at night? That the ice maker stopped working in three months? Stay away from a fridge that has few reviews, it is risky to be the guinea pig in an expensive purchase.
5 tips to increase the life of your refrigerator
- Protects the plastic. Avoid the use of abrasives that cause scratches when cleaning drawers, shelves, and handles. Simply wipe with a soft cloth, mild detergent, and a little baking soda.
- Give your food a little space. A full refrigerator works more efficiently but not when it is crowded. Make sure there is enough room for air to circulate in the refrigerator and freezer compartments.
- Keep your cool. Cleaning the refrigerator door seals regularly with soap and water removes dirt and grime that prevent proper sealing. To test your stamps, slide a piece of paper into the closed refrigerator door. If it falls off, it is time to replace the seals.
- Banish mold and mildew. Clean the inside of your refrigerator with pure white vinegar to prevent bacteria growth. After applying the vinegar, clean the surfaces, and dry them well.
- Clean your coils. To find the capacitor coils, see the owner’s manual.
Why you should buy an extended warranty
The best thing you can do to protect your refrigerator, in addition to buying the right one, is to buy an extended warranty from a trusted retailer.
Most brands include just one year of full coverage, even on refrigerators that cost $ 2,000 or more. Almost all refrigerator repair problems occur in the first four years of ownership. If your refrigerator lasts more than four years, it is likely to last 10-15 years more.
You can purchase an extended warranty from the retailer if it is less than 20 percent of the cost of the refrigerator.
Most of them cost between $ 100 and $ 300, which will be paid more than just if something happened. But not all extended warranties are created equal.
6 ideas to improve refrigerator efficiency
- Protect your refrigerator from heat sources. By keeping your refrigerator away from heat vents, stove, dishwasher, and direct sunlight from a window, you are reducing compressor usage to account for extreme outside temperatures.
- Take care of your leftovers. Let items cool to room temperature and wrap or cover well before storing in the refrigerator. This reduces the heat inside the appliance, which means that the compressor runs less.
- Use water and ice on the door. Sounds simple, right? Opening the refrigerator or freezer door less frequently automatically improves the efficiency of your refrigerator.
- Heat things up. Does it sound counterintuitive? By adjusting the temperature of your refrigerator between 36 degrees Fahrenheit and 38 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer between 0 degrees Fahrenheit and 5 degrees Fahrenheit, you will improve efficiency. This is usually the midpoint setting on the temperature dial.
- Organize, organize, organize. Put those organizer ideas to good use and create a neat refrigerator. When items are easily accessible, it reduces open door time, resulting in energy savings.
- Clear clutter. Keep the top of your refrigerator free of cereal boxes, bread, serving plates, and other “things.” These things trap heat inside the appliance, causing your compressor to work overtime.
Features and functions you shouldn’t pay more for
- Automatic water, drink, and ice dispensers. Although features like these increase comfort, they increase annual maintenance costs. Annually, expect to pay around $ 20 or more for electricity and up to $ 100 for replacement of water filters. Dispensers also increase the purchase price of a new refrigerator by up to $ 250 while reducing storage space.
- Quick-cool compartments as a quick-cool kit. When activated, the function cools down lukewarm beverages. It takes about eight minutes to get two cans of soda or a single bottle of chilled wine. Because using a refrigerator’s automatic ice dispenser can increase energy costs by up to 20%, we suspect that a feature like this can also increase electricity use, especially if used daily or weekly.
- Wi-Fi enabled. Although a touchscreen with apps or a TV sounds good, the technology will not improve performance. They are usually found in models that cost more than $ 3,000.
Follow these guidelines to reduce the amount of energy your refrigerator uses:
- Set the right temperature.
- Keep your refrigerator at 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put your refrigerator in a cool place.
- Place your refrigerator away from a heat source such as an oven, a dishwasher, or direct sunlight from a window.
- Allow air circulation behind the fridge.
- Leave a few inches between the wall and the refrigerator, and keep the condenser coils clean if you have an older model. Read the user manual to learn how to safely clean the coils. Check the door seals.
- Make sure the refrigerator gaskets around the door are tight. If not, replace them.
- Keep the door closed.
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