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What's Your Type? Fridge Styles for Every Home

Buying a new fridge? You’ve probably been overwhelmed by the sheer selection of machines. There are a variety of fridge types, sizes and features, making for a potentially complicated shopping experience. 

Side-by-side fridge in kitchen

Here’s what you need to know to choose the right refrigerator for your home.

Your Refrigeration Needs

To pick the fridge that’s right for your situation, it’s important to identify your needs. Some criteria to consider when fridge shopping includes:

  • Kitchen space. How much space do you have? Aim to purchase a fridge that can fit in your kitchen, while leaving a few inches around each side to let the fridge operate efficiently. Be sure to consider how wide the fridge doors can swing open and in what direction, too.
  • Eating habits. Do you eat more fresh foods or frozen foods? Select a fridge type that caters to your dining habits. If you consume mainly fresh foods, consider a bottom-mount fridge (freezer on the bottom). If you prepare meals from frozen items, a top-mount fridge may work better.
  • Your family. If you have kids or elderly people in your home, pick a fridge that provides easy access to food items. A side-by-side unit allows you to place food on lower or upper shelves, depending on who needs to reach it.

Types of Refrigerators

Refrigerator types prioritize size, food types, access and appearance. Select the one that best matches your needs. 

  • Top mount. The freezer is on the top, and the refrigerator is on the bottom. Top-mount fridges are the most common and typically the least expensive. These models prioritize refrigerator space, but the drawback is the limited capacity (about 18 cubic feet on the smaller end).
  • Bottom mount. The refrigerator is on the top, and the freezer is on the bottom. In these units, the freezer typically consists of a pullout shelf.
  • Side-by-side. The refrigerator and freezer compartments run from the top to the bottom of the unit. These models provide the same or similar amount of freezer and refrigeration capacity. While these units take up less space with the doors open, the compartments are relatively narrow (making it tough to fit those frozen pizzas).

Additionally, counter-depth models are popular options. These provide a built-in look, as the fridge sits flush with your cabinetry. For the sake of that perfect fit, you may have to sacrifice storage capacity.

Finally, there are several options when it comes to color and finish. Stainless steel is an appealing option, but fingerprints leave smudges, necessitating constant wiping. Consider a faux-stainless finish, which saves you from the never-ending cleanup.

Refrigerator Features

Most refrigerators come with standard features, including shelves, crisper drawers and on-door compartments. If you’re looking for more than the basics, there are additional features to consider.

  • Ice and water dispensers: While models with these features are the most popular, they also require the most repairs. Energy costs are higher, too.
  • Adjustable shelving
  • Soda-can dispenser
  • Moisture control
  • Air filtration system
  • Programmable control pad: With this feature, you can set the temperature, lock ice and water dispensers and preset the amount of water to dispense.
  • Energy-saving models: Certain refrigerator models can use up to 20 percent less energy, saving you money on utility bills. Just look for Energy Star-qualified units.

Finding the right refrigerator doesn’t have to be a challenge. Start with your needs, and you can quickly narrow down the field of options and purchase intelligently.

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