Buying Guide

Best Refrigerators For Your Home

Capacity and Storage
Open french door refrigerator in kitchen

Excluding freezer space, plan for a fridge with 18 to 20 cubic feet of space for a two-person household. Add around 4 cubic feet for each additional person. Typically, 26 to 29 cubic feet of refrigerator space is sufficient for an average-sized family. 

Consider adding a second refrigerator or freezer in your garage or basement if you need a great deal of additional space.

Different types of refrigerators offer interior storage options tailored to your specific needs.

  • Adjustable shelves and door bins with adjustable heights can accommodate a wider range of food and beverage containers. 
  • Sliding shelves make it easier to reach items placed toward the back of the fridge.
  • Deli tray shelves allow you to store large platters. 
  • Built-in beverage holders keep canned or bottled beverages neat, orderly and easily accessible.
  • Humidity-control drawers provide custom controls for keeping fruits and vegetables fresh.
Refrigerator Styles
Modern kitchen with stainless steel refrigerator

Once you’ve determined your fridge capacity, choose from top freezer, bottom freezer, side-by-side, French door and mini refrigerators.

Refrigerator Types
Description Recommended For
top freezer refrigerators The freezer is located above the refrigerator section Most common design Provides a spacious interior
bottom freezer refrigerators The freezer is located underneath the refrigerator section Makes food in refrigerator easier to reach without bending over Items in freezer are easy to access Freezer door may pull out or swing open Refrigerator may feature a single door or two French doors
side by side refrigerators The freezer and refrigerator are placed directly next to each other Puts both frozen and refrigerated food within easy reach Side-by-side units are designed to accommodate larger plates and platters
mini refrigerators Small units that can fit into tight spaces or underneath counters Ideal for dorm rooms, bedrooms, home offices and home bars Provide less capacity than standard units Smaller units can be placed on countertops
freezerless refrigerators Refrigerator-only units Ideal as a second refrigerator Less expensive than comparable models with freezer Energy-efficient Easier to maintain than standard refrigerator-freezer
Built-in Refrigerators
Modern kitchen with stainless steel refrigerator

Built-in refrigerators are constructed to blend in with the rest of the kitchen cabinetry rather than being installed as a separate unit. 

Features to consider:  

  • Seamlessly integrates with kitchen décor
  • Often has less depth than freestanding units but may be wider to compensate
  • Generally, has unfinished tops and sides
  • Custom-made panels provide stylish options

Another option for a type of built-in refrigerator is an under-counter or drawer refrigerator. While typically serving as a supplemental refrigerator, this space-saving installation fits under the counter or in a kitchen island to hold drinks, snacks, produce or any other items you need for easy access. A second storage option also allows you to keep more fresh items on hand.   

Door-in-Door Refrigerators
Open door-in-door refrigerator in kitchen

Door-in-Door refrigerators feature a second compartment door behind an exterior panel that opens independently of the main door. The compartment can hold drinks, snacks or condiments that are removed often. Rather than open the main refrigerator door multiple times a day, the door-in-door provides access while reducing the amount of cold air that escapes from the main compartment.

Features to consider:  

  • Mostly available in French door models
  • Slightly more expensive than standard refrigerators
  • Models with dual-cooling systems maintain ideal temperatures more easily 
Counter-Depth Refrigerators
Counter depth refrigerators fit flush with cabinets and countertops.

Counter-depth refrigerators have bodies that fit flush with cabinets and countertops, but the doors often have to extend slightly to leave room for the hinges to operate without obstructions.

Features to consider:

  • Creates a sleek look
  • Less expensive than a true built-in
  • Many styles of fridges can be purchased in a counter-depth size, including side-by-side and French door
in-door screen refrigerator in modern kitchen

Many of the best-rated refrigerators are offering more sophisticated special features to meet your needs.

Wi-Fi connectivity is an increasingly common feature that allows “smart refrigerators” to access the Internet for remote controlling on your tablet or phone. Functions include climate controls, shopping lists and interacting with other smart machines.

Control pads allow owners to program or otherwise control such functions as temperature or ice and water dispensing at the touch of a button.

Door or temperature alarms alert you when the refrigerator has been left open for more than a few minutes.

Child locks help prevent little chefs from accidentally leaving the door open or getting at treats when they are not supposed to.

Quiet operation reduces the noise from your fridge and helps keep your kitchen quiet.

Built-in ice maker/water dispenser ensures that there’s always plenty of ice and cold water immediately available at the touch of a button. Look for icemakers and and dispensers with built-in systems for filtered water.

Fast-cooling compartments quickly reduce the temperature of items without freezing them.

In-door appliances like built-in televisions allow you to compare notes with cooking shows or keep up-to-date on current news while you prepare dinner. Other models have built-in coffee makers to put that morning cup of joe closer at hand.

Extended warranties: It is highly recommended you buy an extended warranty at your fridge’s point of purchase. However, you may buy the warranty up to 90 days after the original purchase date. Simply return to any store with your sales receipt to add the extended warranty.

Style and Finish
A stainless steel French door refrigerator stands in a white kitchen with an island.

Choose from the models of the best refrigerators that will fit in with your preferences and needs while continuing to look great over time.

Stainless steel refrigerators cost more than other options, but have a timeless, elegant appearance and are easy to clean. Built-in units let you customize your kitchen’s appearance, while contoured doors and handles offer a sleek, sophisticated look.

Other common refrigerator colors to choose from include black, slate, bisque and white.

Trim kits help you give freestanding units the appearance of a built-in refrigerator.

With some stainless steel refrigerators, the nickel content is too high to magnetize the front panels.

Energy Efficiency
A black stainless steel refrigerator in a modern kitchen

Energy Star-rated refrigerators reduce energy consumption by at least 20 percent less than federal standards require. These products reduce utility bills and are environmentally friendly.

Other tips to help improve energy efficiency include:

  • Empty refrigerators operate less efficiently than fully stocked units. But don’t overfill your fridge: leave enough room between items for air to circulate. 
  • Avoid placing your refrigerator next to a heat source, such as a stove or dishwasher.
  • Defrost it as soon as necessary if you purchase a manual-defrost model.
  • Avoid leaving the door open for long periods of time.
  • Leave space around the unit to allow air to reach the condenser coils, preventing heat buildup. Clean the coils on a regular basis.

When selecting the best refrigerator for your home, apply these tips for special situations. If you want a spare for the garage, shop for appliance brands that are rugged and can handle temperature fluctuations. If you have a large family, choose the most high-capacity, energy-efficient fridge available. For small spaces like dorm rooms and home offices, pick a mini-fridge to bring refreshment close to hand. The Home Depot’s range of choices helps you determine the best fridge for your needs.