How to Choose a New Refrigerator: 5 Questions to Ask

By Terry Mehilos | Nov. 11, 2016 8:40 am PST

How To Choose A New Refrigerator

A new refrigerator is a major purchase, and with more models, styles, colors and features than ever before, it can be hard to choose which is best for you.

Are you wondering how to choose a new refrigerator? Ask yourself these questions before you start shopping to guide you toward the perfect fridge for your family.

1. How much space do you have?

Short of doing a complete kitchen remodel, available space is the first consideration, as it will dictate the type and size of the refrigerator you can buy. If you want to simply replace your refrigerator and keep your kitchen as it is, carefully measure your current fridge and then look at the space around it. Is there room above it to put in a taller model? Is there room on either side to put in a wider model? Can your kitchen be reconfigured slightly to put the fridge in a different, bigger spot?

Another thing to measure is the width of your doors. Getting a nice big fridge won’t do you any good if you can’t get it inside the house! Then think about the pathway your fridge will take to the kitchen. Any twists and turns? Tight corners? Or is it a straight shot? Start your shopping armed with all of these measurements to save yourself the headache of watching your dream fridge go back onto the delivery truck after it didn’t fit.

2. What’s your budget?

For most families, price is a huge factor in any major purchase. You’ll find options from basic top freezer, single-door fridges on the lower end of the price scale to four-door, armoire models in stainless steel with smart technology on the higher end. Consider your space constraints, look at the models that fit into your space and decide on your price range.

3. Does color matter?

In general, stainless steel tends to be more expensive than white or black when it comes to appliances. If your other appliances are a base color like white or black and you want a matching set, that’s one way to save money on your purchase, allowing you to investigate more bells and whistles.

4. Which features are most important?

Now that you have your space and price constraints handled, it’s time to start thinking about which features are most important to you. Today’s fridges have more innovations than ever before. We’re talking modifiable humidity levels in crisper drawers, fast-cooling compartments, reversible doors (more help with space constraints), child safety locks, water and ice dispensers, and even smart fridges with communication, entertainment and energy-efficiency controls.

A good way to narrow which features are important is to first think about your family and your lifestyle.

  • French door fridges are best for people who entertain a lot and need ample fresh food storage, and for those who have trouble bending down. Most of the food you’ll use every day is at your fingertips in a French door fridge.

  • Side by sides work well if you can’t reach a top freezer easily or if you love an in-door water and ice dispenser — they’re more commonly found on this type of refrigerator.

  • Top freezer fridges are great for those who are watching their budgets; they tend to be more inexpensive than their French door counterparts. Like a French door fridge, they work well for people who love to entertain and want lots of space for fresh food. Plus, the freezer’s wide enough to accommodate a cookie sheet of frozen treats.

5. How important is energy efficiency?

Most new models are more energy-efficient than those of years past, so they’ll help save you money on your energy bills. They’re not all created equal, though. If you want to investigate the most energy-efficient fridges, look for the Energy Star rating, a government-issued energy standard. For those without an Energy Star rating, the yellow EnergyGuide label affixed to most appliances will let you know how that fridge you’re eyeing stacks up.

Answer these five questions, and finding that perfect fridge for your family should be much easier. Time to start shopping!

Quick Answers: How to Choose a New Refrigerator

The main factors to consider when choosing a new refrigerator are:

  • Size

  • Cost

  • Color

  • Features

  • Energy efficiency

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