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Kitchen Appliances: Refrigerator Buying Guide

While a refrigerator's primary role is to store food, the type and configuration of refrigerator you choose can impact your whole kitchen. Browse this features guide, filled with buying tips, to find the refrigerator that's right for you.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Kitchen Workhorses

      Refrigerators work hard day and night. With such a vital job, it's no wonder they're allotted a substantial amount of prime space in the kitchen. So when you're in the market for a new model, it's critical to plan the project well. Before you decide on a particular refrigerator, consider door swing, depth, and your storage needs.

    • Tricks for Finding the Right Refrigerator

      Before you shop for your new refrigerator, watch and learn the tips for finding exactly what you want.

    • Open Up

      One main thing to consider when purchasing a new refrigerator is door swing. Whether you're replacing an old appliance or planning a new kitchen layout, the way your refrigerator opens into the room is an important factor. Ask yourself this question before buying: Are there appliances or other obstacles that will prevent the refrigerator door from swinging open enough to remove the crisper drawers?

    • Refrigerator Depth

      Another important aspect to consider is depth. Standard cabinetry is 24 inches deep, while standard refrigerators can be 4 to 11 inches deeper than that. If you're building a new house or remodeling your kitchen, you can customize your cabinetry to suit your appliance size. But if you're working with existing cabinetry, consider purchasing a counter-depth model, which is 24 to 26 inches deep. That way, the appliance will be almost flush with the cabinetry. To fully integrate your perfect fridge into your kitchen, splurge on a special finish or overlay panels to match surrounding cabinetry.

    • Food for Thought

      You also should give some thought to what you'll store in your fridge and how you'll use it. If you're storing mostly condiments, a standard refrigerator may suit your needs best, but an avid cook might appreciate the food-preservation features in advanced models. Also keep in mind the size of containers you will typically want to store. If you prepare a lot of large platters for entertaining, make sure the refrigerator compartment is wide enough. Or, if you freeze a lot of casseroles and dinners, ensure the freezer can accommodate the pan size you usually use.

    • Bottom Freezer Refrigerators

      Bottom freezer refrigerators are great for keeping frozen snacks within kids' reach. Plus, cooling on top and freezing on the bottom ensures the items you'll likely need most are kept at eye level. To make sure you get all of the benefits out of a bottom freezer fridge, take some measurements before you buy so you can be certain the bottom drawer will open all the way and won't be blocked by an island or cabinetry bank.

    • Side-by-Side Refrigerators

      Vertical doors on side-by-side refrigerator models offer equal access to your refrigeration and freezer storage. The majority of these models feature ice and water dispensers as well as in-door ice storage, which saves space for larger freezer items such as bulk-food purchases

    • French Door Refrigerators

      Narrow French doors on these fridge models are great space savers, easing traffic flow even in tight spaces when the door is open. Similar to bottom freezer styles, French door fridges keep frozen treats well within reach of little hands while the most used items will be easily accessible for the cook.

    • Specialty Coolers

      Whether it's a must-have splurge or a small-space solution, specialty refrigerators add both convenience and style. Wine coolers are perfect for keeping drinks at the perfect temperature, while handy refrigerator drawers add storage space for overflow items or snacks.

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      Special Features

      New refrigerators sport extra features that enhance the function of the appliance. Automatic sensors adjust the temperature to keep food fresher longer. Display screens provide information about what's in your refrigerator and can also be loaded with different apps, calendars, and more.

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      Plan Your Kitchen

      Get our free kitchen planning guide that will walk you through the remodeling process and help you make the best decisions for your project.

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      This collection of built-in wall and microwave ovens shows how to easily incorporate these cooking appliances into your own kitchen -- without taking up precious space.
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