There’s a lot to think about when it comes to choosing an appropriate refrigerator for your home. You’ll have to consider how much space you have, how much storage capacity you need, and how the refrigerator is designed. After all, you don’t just want a fridge that looks great and meshes well with your kitchen’s overall aesthetic. Ideally, a good fridge should help make your kitchen workflow more efficient, allowing you to save time and energy on meal prep.
The sheer number of new refrigerator styles available today is yet another factor that can make the process of buying a new fridge even more challenging. In addition to traditional two-door refrigerators, there are also side-by-side refrigerators and French door refrigerators to consider, among a host of other types. The trick is to consider each option with your particular kitchen layout and food storage needs in mind.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of modern fridge options out there, this handy guide will walk you through a few of the most common models currently available and offer a few helpful tips for making your choice.
Types of Refrigerators
Sometimes also called top freezer refrigerators, these dependable models have been many homeowners’ go-to choice for decades. Top-mount refrigerators place the freezer above the main refrigerator and feature two doors that open from the side, providing easy access to frozen items and a lot of in-door storage for both compartments. These units do, however, require a lot of open space in front of them to accommodate their wide door clearances, so you’ll want to take that into account if you’re considering a top-mount fridge.
Top-mount refrigerators will usually be your most affordable option, as most of them are made without more advanced features like attached ice and water dispensers. If you’re looking for a streamlined, no-frills option that won’t take a big bite out of your bank account, these are likely your best bet.
Bottom-mount or bottom freezer refrigerators place the main refrigerator compartment on top. The freezer compartment underneath, meanwhile, can be accessed either via a smaller door or a pull-out drawer depending on the specific model. This configuration maintains the look of a classic two-door refrigerator but also lets you get to your fresh items more easily, which many people find more convenient for everyday use.
Side-by-side refrigerators have two doors that open from the center and two vertical compartments—a narrower freezer compartment on one side and the main refrigerator on the other side. These types of fridges allow you to shelve both fresh and frozen foods from top to bottom, so you can store the most important items at eye level and those you use less frequently lower down.
Side-by-side fridges typically require less door swing space than top-mount or bottom-mount fridges, making them ideal for kitchens with a limited amount of room. Many models also come with built-in ice and water machines, adjustable shelves and bins for customizable storage, and other more advanced features than traditional refrigerators.
French Door Refrigerator
French door refrigerators are probably the sleekest, most modern-looking of all full-size refrigerator models. This type of fridge usually features a pantry-style layout with two upper doors for the main compartment and a large freezer drawer underneath, though models that also use French doors for the freezer do exist. The French doors don’t tend to require much swing space, and there’s also a lot of room within the compartments for fitting in large, wide, or otherwise bulky items.
A French door refrigerator will generally offer more storage capacity and more advanced additional features than other types of refrigerators. This makes it ideal for individuals looking for higher-end appliances or large, multi-person households.
Tips for Choosing the Right Refrigerator
If you’re preparing to buy a new fridge, the first thing you should do is measure the space where you intend to install it. Don’t forget to take the allowable height into account, especially if you have overhead cupboards. Though most people tend to think first in terms of food storage capacity and budget, the amount of physical space in your kitchen that’s available for your fridge will usually be the deciding factor in determining which model you finally take home.
Secondly, think about how you’d like your refrigerator to be installed. Would you like a freestanding refrigerator you simply need to plug into the wall, or do you prefer a built-in refrigerator that’s installed inside a cabinet for a more unified look? You might also consider a counter-depth fridge that will sit flush with your kitchen cabinets for an equally seamless but still flexible option in the event that you need to move houses or remodel your kitchen in the future.
Once you’ve measured your available space and chosen an installation method, you can begin to determine your available options based on your household’s particular needs. Shelving, budget, the types of food you intend to store, and the size of your household will all influence your eventual choice of model. Once you’ve settled on a particular style, you can then narrow your search even further by considering only models with features that will be useful to you.
A refrigerator is undoubtedly a serious purchase, as it’s an appliance that you and your family will probably use every day for years, but that’s no reason to lose your cool as you prepare to buy one. As long as you do your research, consider your needs, and review the wealth of available options carefully, you’ll surely be able to find the perfect fridge sooner rather than later.
- About the Author
Alex Grigoryan is a Professional Home Improvement and Lifestyle Writer. He has been in the industry for over 6 years and has been writing for Chique Home Living since 2019. His work has been featured in prestigious blogs such as Spruce Home, Better Homes & Garden, and more.