How to Choose a Refrigerator

Written by: Erica Spangler

Through the years, the refrigerator has improved in both style and in function, and here’s what to know when shopping for one.



  • Add a 1 inch gap on all sides to prevent overheating
  • Poor ventilation diminishes performance
  • Refrigerator insulation may expand the walls up to a 1/2 inch


  • Consider any walls that may block opening of the refrigerator doors
  • Other considerations include kitchen counters, islands, and drawers
  • Make sure to measure every doorway the fridge will travel towards installation

Food Storage

  • Consider the total amount of food you would have any one time
  • Calculate 8 cubic feet per person for “family size” fridges
  • Produce bins are on the bottom, so reaching for veggies may be a challenge

Door Configuration

Top Freezer

  • Features wide shelves for plenty of storage space
  • Typically the best priced option
Shop Top Freezer Fridges 

Bottom Freezer

  • Very popular style
  • Food at eye level is convenient
  • Freezers with baskets make access easier
Shop Bottom Freezer Fridges

French Door

  • Wider interior space than a side-by-side
  • Great for larger fridge items and food organization
  • Lacks in energy efficiency
Shop French Door Fridges


  • Narrow doors are great for small spaces
  • Energy efficient
  • May lack in accessibility
Shop Side-by-Side Fridges


Finish is an extremely important decision when choosing a fridge or any appliance. In fact, a stainless steel finish may actually add value to the home because the look is timeless.

Other Considerations


  • US Department of Energy's stamp of approval
  • Certified to save energy and money
Shop ENERGY STAR Fridges

Humidity Controlled

  • Maintains consistent humidity
  • Keeps crisper drawers fresh
Shop Humidity Controled Fridges

Water and Ice

  • Feature widely available
  • Often at little or no extra cost
Shop Fridges with Water and Ice

Optional Door Swing

  • Left or right swing options
  • Makes changing floor plans easier
Shop Optional Door Swing Fridges

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