Refrigerator Buying Guide


Refrigerator Starting
Americans are buying more fresh food than ever, and that’s altering the method fridges are developed. We’re seeing more designs with flexible drawers and compartments that allow you to produce more fresh-food storage area as required. Other features that declare to extend the life of your food consist of air filtering systems, sealed crisper drawers, and door-in-door compartments that restrict how frequently you have to reach into the fridge’s major compartment. These developments are worth considering, but it’s still the day-out performance that matters most. That’s exactly what our tests are developed to catch, determining things like temperature level control, sound, and energy performance. Our purchasing guide will assist you zero on the best refrigerator for your requirements and desires.

Four-door models flood the market
Our Ratings now include a separate classification for four-door models, which more manufacturers are giving market. The majority of them feature a middle drawer, frequently with separate temperatures controls. Samsung introduced the very first really four-door designs, which have a compartment that can transform from a freezer to a refrigerator, along with outstanding total performance. We anticipate the four-door classification will only grow.

Refrigerators expand, along with the features
Area ranks right up there with style on a lot of shoppers’ refrigerator wish lists. We’re seeing more models that assert more than 30 cubic feet of ability, and some boast upwards of 33 cubic feet. High-end features, such as temperature controlled drawers, adjustable shelves, divided shelves, and internal water dispensers, are progressively available on even the most budget friendly fridges. Some come packed with features, consisting of through-the-door ice and water dispensers, LED indoor lights, and dual evaporators developed to keep ideal humidity in their fresh food sections.

We’re also seeing more fridges developed for smaller sized spaces. Column refrigerators, which vary from about 18 to 30 inches broad and don’t consist of a freezer, in shape spots too narrow for a lot of refrigerator-freezers. You can likewise match one with a column freezer, available in comparable widths, for puttinged flexibility. Producers are also pressing a bottom-freezer design into a svelte 30-inch width.

Examine the specs
Ensure the fridge fits your household kitchen. Remember to factor in the door swing in relation to adjacent walls, cabinets, and other appliances. And leave a minimum of a 1-inch clearance around the device and the surrounding cabinetry to ensure adequate air circulation.

Consider your food-shopping practices
Do you do a big weekly store or want to stockpile on bulk purchases? Then you may need a larger capability than the 19 to 22 declared cubic feet that the majority of makers recommend for a common family of 4.

Use EnergyGuide labels sensibly
Don’t try to find the Energy Star alone, since efficiency standards vary by fridge type. A non-Energy Star-qualified top-freezer might in fact be more effective than a side-by-side with the label. For an apples-to-apples comparison, make use of the annual operating expense and the kilowatt-hours per year the refrigerator utilizes, which are noted on the yellow EnergyGuide label. The label has been updated to reflect a new federal energy requirement that took influence January 1, 2014. In general, designs produced after that date will certainly be more efficient than earlier ones. You can also examine our Scores, which are consistent in between types, for performance and energy expenses.

Do not be afraid to haggle
Those who did saved money about $100 on a large device, according to our latest reader study of retailers. Examining market prices will certainly help you negotiate, though standard courtesy frequently goes even more with salesmen than hardball tactics. And skip extended guarantees.

Think about shopping online
While many major devices are still bought at walk-in shops, online sales continue to climb up. But you may still want to go to a display room to check fit, finish, and functions, and provide the retailer an opportunity to match an online price.Types
Most people buy refrigerators by type, according to the industry. However if it’s been awhile considering that you have actually gone shopping, you’ll discover a number of new options that may be a better fit for your household kitchen. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of each kind. Whichever type you select, make sure the model you choose fits your space, specifically if you’re slotting the brand-new one into the exact same spot. That implies determining the height, depth, and width before buying. Also make certain the brand-new device fits through halls and doors on its method to your kitchen area. Right here are the kinds of refrigerators to consider.




Top-freezer fridges

These are the conventional type, dating back to the earliest fridges. Widths typically run from about 30 to 33 inches. Producers assert approximately 22-cubic-foot abilities, but functional capability is typically 20 percent lower by our measurements.

They typically offer the most storage for their size. Relatively large fridge racks make it simple to reach the back. They also cost the least as a group, yet they provide stainless trim on numerous models for a more elegant appearance.

You need to bend to reach bottom shelves and drawers and the wide-swinging door needs enough clearance.


Bottom-freezer fridges

Sales of bottom-freezers are growing fastest as a group and include both French-door designs, with two slim fridge doors, and four-door designs, normally with an additional drawer between the two-door fridge and freezer drawer. Widths range from 30 to 36 inches for a lot of. Claimed capabilities can approach 30 cubic feet or so though usable space does not fairly match that of similar top-freezers.

Bottom-freezers provide the benefit of an eye-level fridge. French-door models provide the space-saving slim door swing of a side-by-side and the choice of opening only half the refrigerator for smaller items. Four-door variations take a French-door setup and putting a fridge or freezer drawer in between the fridge and freezer compartments. More now have the in-door ice and water dispensers that debuted on side-by-side models.

You have to flex to reach the freezer– however you’ll typically use the refrigerator a lot more frequently. Bottom-freezer fridges cost more than top-freezers generally, while French-door and four-door models can cost much more and are more difficult to discover in narrower widths.


Side-by-side refrigerators

A vertical, full-length split puts the freezer on one side and refrigerator on the other. Side-by-sides generally come with through-the-door ice and water dispensers, temperature-controlled bins, and quick ice-making cycles. Width usually measures 32 to 36 inches. Claimed abilities can reach roughly 30 cubic feet, however generally just about 65 to 70 percent is functional.

The slim doors are a plus in a tight kitchen.

The majority of doors don’t open large enough for a pizza box or other broad products, and tall, slim compartments make products towards the back challenging to find– concerns that have actually ensured that increase sales of French-door bottom-freezer models. Side-by-sides are not as energy- or space-efficient overall.


Integrated refrigerators

These costly models are created to fit virtually flush with cabinets and counters. Built-ins generally can be found in bottom-freezer and side-by-side designs and consist of French-door and four-door setups. You can even buy a separate fridge and freezer and build them into a 72-inch-wide opening. Asserted capabilities can reach 25 cubic feet or so, but only about 70 percent of that is useful.

These offer the sleekest look. And most can accept optional front panels that match cabinets and other aspects of your kitchen.

Integrated fridges are the least area reliable and the most costly overall. And nearly all are large (36 inches or more) however reasonably shallow– 25 or 26 inches front to back– adding to their reasonably little area and energy effectiveness in general.


Cabinet-depth fridges

You get the look of a built-in for less money with these rather shallow freestanding refrigerators. A lot of come as side-by-sides, but top- and bottom-freezers and French-door models are readily available. Asserted capabilities reach over 20 feet, however far less than that is functional.

These stand out just a bit further than built-in designs and provide their upscale try to find far less. Numerous accept panels, which cost additional, for a custom-made look.

Cabinet-depth designs have less useful area than the deeper freestanding models and still cost more general.


Compact fridges
Small fridges are a great selection for spaces with limited area such as a dorm room, workplace or kitchenette. Keep in mind that some of the designs we checked hold just one-fourth as much as a routine refrigerator however can cost just as much to operate. And, with some models, temperature level performance can be iffy at finest. Usually speaking, we encourage purchasing the greatest compact refrigerator that fits your area.

The best use for a mini-fridge is to keep sodas and other drinks cold, or to provide temporary storage of treats and other non-perishables.

Don’t anticipate the very same temperature performance of a regular refrigerator. If you plan to save milk, mayo, or other perishables, utilize a fridge thermometer to ensure temperatures do not go beyond 40 degrees F, the point at which dangerous germs begin to thrive.


Refrigerator drawers

These are a more current selection for kitchens where even the greatest refrigerator merely isn’t enough.

They can mount under a kitchen countertop or within a kitchen island for saving drinks and other specialized items. They do not cost much to run, but that’s because of their restricted capability.

Refrigerator drawers have the tendency to be large on price and small on area. Although they cost little to run, refrigerator drawers provide unimpressive energy efficiency total for their size.


The most important functions increase versatility. Some frills include unneeded complexity and lower dependability. Here are the refrigerator showcases to think about.

Adjustable door bins and shelves
You can move these to develop room to fit tall products.

Deep door bins
These make the most of offered storage area on the door. But while the majority of these bins are sized to accommodate milk, butter, and eggs, all three of those items belong inside the fridge, where cooler temperatures will certainly keep them fresher longer.

Elevator shelves
These crank up and down without you needing to eliminate the contents.

Freshness functions
These consist of air purifiers that assure to eliminate bacteria and mold spores, climate-keeping systems that assert to keep foods fresh longer, crisper drawers that assist vacuum-seal produce, and other systems. However freshness claims are tough to measure. Models with double evaporators have the tendency to maintain greater humidity levels in the fresh-food section and can assist keep freezer odors from moving to the fridge. But our testing has shown that models likeliest to keep your food best maintain a consistent 37 degrees F in the main fridge comparment, 32 degrees F in the meat compartment, and a freezing 0 degrees F in the freezer.

Full-extension drawers
As their name implies, these drawers supply you with greater access to kept products.

Multimedia combos

More producers are hawking $3,000-plus refrigerators that incorporate modern devices such as TVs, digital-picture or music devices, and family-organizing centers. You can save money hundreds if not thousands and improve performance by buying such equipment separately.

Pullout racks or bins
These improve access to items saved. An alternative to pullout shelves or bins in the freezer is a bottom-freezer with a moving drawer.

Split shelves
These enable you to change shelves to various heights separately.

Shelf snuggers
These moving brackets on door shelves safe and secure bottles and jars. A couple of designs have a wine rack that stores a bottle horizontally.

Stainless-steel trim
Stainless finishes remain to top most buyers’ wish lists on fridges as they do on stoves and other home appliances. However genuine stainless typically enhances the rate while often showing fingerprints. More brand names now provide print-resistant stainless along with faux-stainless finishes.

Temperature-controlled drawers

You can set them numerous degrees cooler than the rest of the refrigerator. You might want to keep meat, fish, and cold cuts at lower temperature levels. Some drawers can chill or thaw their contents quickly.

Through-the-door water and ice dispenser

This is the feature most asked for by purchasers. It’s included in many side-by-sides and available on a growing variety of other setups. However it’s a minor benefit with a major drawback: Our surveys validate that, as a group, fridges with water and ice dispensers still require considerably more repair works than those without dispensers. Water and ice dispensers likewise improve cost and energy use while robbing space.

Water filter
A water filter is developed to lower lead, chlorine, and other impurities. You can likewise include a filter to the fridge’s water-supply line.


Brand names
Sometimes you may choose to purchase a refrigerator based upon a brand name, not by a certain model. The info below will help you compare fridges by brand.

Amana is positioned as Whirlpool’s value brand name and goes head to head against other value brand names offered at big-box, independent, and regional stores. All its refrigerators have an unique antimicrobial lining on the door bins and in the deli bins.

This is a brand-new brand name to the united state market and is being positioned as a mass-market luxury brand name.

The GE lines include GE, GE Profile, GE Café, and GE Monogram. GE will certainly be offering an interactive LCD screen on a few of its models, and on one Profile design there will certainly be a refreshment center and fold-away shelves.

This brand, part of Whirlpool, is placed for the cooking enthusiast. It is thought about a high-end brand, and its home appliances offer a somewhat softer appearance than other pro-style designs.

Kenmore provides a variety of lines, consisting of Kenmore Elite and Kenmore Elite Trio. Kenmore will certainly be providing more products with LED lights and integrated dispensers on its high-end models.

This brand, part of Whirlpool, is placed as a high-end brand name with numerous bonus geared towards the kitchen lovers and sold heavily though independent dealerships.

LG, a leader in the bottom-freezer, will be presenting a four-door French-door and more LED lights throughout its refrigerators along with taller incorporated dispensers and a new 33-inch design with ice and water dispenser.

One of the Whirlpool brand names, Maytag is a major gamer in the bottom-freezer section of the market. The company was among the first to introduce a French-door design with an external ice-and-water dispenser and a cabinet-depth design with an external dispenser.

Samsung’s new bottom-freezer French-door refrigerators will have new easy-open door systems, foldaway racks, LED lighting, and dual evaporators. It’s expected to be debuting the largest French-door design in the united state market with its 29-cubic-foot refrigerator.

Among the significant integrated brand names, Sub-Zero remains in the procedure of presenting a brand-new line of refrigerators with brand-new innovation in various side-by-side and bottom-freezer setups.

This brand name is placed as a company that provides appeal with capability, form, luxury, and efficiency. These high-end refrigerators are offered typically through independent dealerships.

The other significant integrated brand went into the freestanding market in 2013 with the introduction of French-door and side-by-side styles. Viking’s position is professional efficiency for the home.

Brand names under the Whirlpool umbrella consist of Maytag, Amana, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, and Whirlpool, all which provide French-door models in addition to other types. Whirlpool refrigerators are known for measured-fill dispense systems on their water dispensers.