How do you pick the refrigerator best for your space and needs? MaryJo Camp, a Denver, North Carolina-based kitchen designer, says to "take food containers into the appliance store to see how they'll fit." If you access frozen food storage frequently, consider a side-by- side that keeps items at eye level. However, Kurt Jovais, director of home appliance marketing for Samsung Electronics North America, says the company's sales reflect a growing trend toward French-door fridges: "They work for the entire family and easily accommodate large party platters." With insulation improvements and other adjustments, manufacturers are beating Energy Star requirements by as much as 30 percent, which cuts as much as $100 annually from your energy bill. Stainless steel is still the finish of choice.
Cringe at fingerprints? Seek out easy-to-clean coated metals that mimic stainless steel and reduce smudges. New technology puts a focus on convenience. Some refrigerators sport motorized shelves and automatic sensors that adjust temperature and moisture levels to keep food fresh longer. Some include LCD screens with calendar and memo software, as well.
While a turkey's stay in your fridge may be short, it's always best to think how the refrigerator will perform during the holidays. "We build our kitchens for the dates when they take center stage, like Thanksgiving," Camp says. "And when it comes to refrigerator storage, flexibility is a good thing."
A Perfect Fit
Refrigerator dimensions vary, so measure the height, width, and depth of the available space. Measure your home's entry as well to make sure the fridge will fit through the door. Make sure there's space for the fridge door to swing open completely without dinging surrounding cabinets. Seek out models with hidden hinges for a sleek, uncluttered look. Counter-depth fridges capture a built-in look at a fraction of the price and look better than units that bump out into the room. Also, remember a refrigerator's cubic feet measures the total space inside, not the usable capacity. Some can differ as much as 35 percent -- bulky ice makers are often to blame.