When buying a major appliance, you want to make the most of your purchase. A refrigerator is an investment, so you want the best bang for your buck.
Replacing a broken fridge? Upgrading to a more spacious, energy-efficient model? The Home Depot offers a wide range of refrigerators to choose from.
This guide will help you identify the best refrigerator for your home. It covers styles, different types and features for your family’s needs.
Capacity and Storage
Plan for a fridge with 18 to 20 cubic feet of space for a two-person household. This measurement is excluding freezer space. Add around 4 cubic feet for each additional person. 26 to 29 cubic feet of fridge space is sufficient for an average-sized family. Make sure you measure your available space, not just your existing fridge. Determine how wide, tall and deep your new unit can be.
Remember that you’ll need to leave enough room for the doors to swing freely. Does your model of choice have an ice or water dispenser? The fittings and supply lines need will need space in back. Consider the width of your doorway the fridge will have to pass through when installed. Need additional space for a big, hungry family? Add a second fridge or freezer in your garage or basement.
Different types of refrigerators offer interior storage options:
- Adjustable shelves are a nice addition. So are door bins with adjustable heights. They 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. Your drinks will always be orderly and easily accessible.
- Humidity-control drawers provide custom controls. They can help keep fruits and vegetables fresh for longer.
- Some types of fridges include more spacious freezers than others. Consider how much frozen versus fresh food you buy when choosing a fridge.
Once you’ve determined the fridge capacity, the next factor is style. Your options are:
- Top Freezer Refrigerators: freezer is located above the fridge section.
- Bottom Freezer Refrigerators: freezer is located underneath the fridge section.
- Side-By-Side Refrigerators: freezer and fridge are placed directly next to each other.
- French Door Refrigerators: large units with double fridge doors on top and pull-out freezer space on bottom.
- Mini Refrigerators: small units that can fit into tight spaces or underneath counters.
- Freezerless Refrigerators: refrigerator-only units.
There’s no single right choice when it comes to refrigerator style. It comes down to choosing the unit that best fits your needs. Find an option that works with your budget, space size and style preferences.
Built-in refrigerators blend in with the rest of the kitchen cabinetry.
Features to consider:
- Seamlessly integrates with kitchen decor.
- Often has less depth than freestanding units, but may be wider to compensate.
- Often has unfinished tops and sides.
- Custom-made panels provide stylish options.
Another option for a built-in refrigerator is a drawer fridge. It typically serves as a supplemental refrigerator. Its space-saving installation fits under the counter. Or, in a kitchen island to hold drinks, snacks, or produce. It's a great addition for easily accessible food. A second storage option also allows you to keep more fresh items on hand.
Door-in-Door fridges feature a second compartment door behind an exterior panel. The second door opens independently of the main door. The compartment can hold drinks, snacks or condiments that are removed often. Rather than open the main door multiple times, the second door provides access. It helps reduce the amount of cold air that escapes from the main compartment. It helps conserve energy, especially when accompanied by a swiveling door bin.
Features to consider:
- Mostly available in French door models.
- Slightly more expensive than standard refrigerators.
- Models with dual-cooling systems maintain ideal temperatures easily.
Counter-depth fridges have bodies that fit flush with cabinets and countertops. The doors have to extend to leave room for hinges to operate without blockage.
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. This includes side-by-side and French door refrigerators.
Some best-rated refrigerators offer sophisticated special features:
- Wi-Fi connectivity is an increasingly common feature. It allows “smart refrigerators” to access the Internet for remote controlling on your tablet or phone. Functions include climate controls, shopping lists and other smart machine interaction.
- Control pads allow owners to program their fridge. Functions include 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. It also prevents them getting at treats when they are not supposed to.
- Quiet operation reduces noise from your fridge and keeps your kitchen quiet.
- Built-in ice maker ensures plenty of ice at the touch of a button. A water dispenser ensures there’s cold water ready instantly. Look for icemakers and dispensers with built-in systems for filtered water.
- Fast-cooling compartments reduce item temperatures 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. Some models have built-in coffee makers to put that morning cup of Joe on for you.
- 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
Find a refrigerator model that performs well and holds up over time. Look at the style and finish of each model.
- Stainless steel refrigerators cost more than other options. But, they have a timeless, elegant appearance and are easy to clean. Built-in units let you customize your kitchen’s appearance. Contoured doors and handles offer a sleek, sophisticated look.
- Different manufacturers have different looks to their stainless steel. Some have more pronounced brushed-metal grooves, others with more fingerprint resistance.
- 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.
- Bisque has a vintage look that can work well depending on your decor.
- Bold colors, and even prints, can sometimes be available. These are generally reserved for high-end models only from select brands.
Energy Star-rated fridges reduce energy consumption by at least 20% less than federal standards. These products reduce utility bills and are environmentally-friendly.
Other tips to help improve energy efficiency include:
- Empty fridges 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. A stove or dishwasher should be far enough to not radiate heat on your fridge.
- Defrost it as soon as possible 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. This helps in preventing heat buildup. Clean the coils on a regular basis.
When selecting the best refrigerator for your home, apply these tips. Want a spare fridge for the garage? Shop for rugged appliance brands that can handle temperature fluctuations. If you have a large family, choose the most high-capacity, energy-efficient fridge. For small spaces like dorm rooms and home offices, pick a mini-fridge.
Tips and Considerations
Consider the following when shopping for new appliances:
- 3-prong plugs are used for homes build before the year 2000.
- 4-prong plugs are used for homes built after the year 2000.
When you add professional installation to your new appliance purchase, a compatible cord is required. The delivery agent often carries both types of cords.
When you purchase a new appliance without a professional install, a 4-prong cord is sent by default. If your home has a 3-prong outlet, you'll need to purchase a 3-prong cord. Or, you'll need a connector adapter.
Looking for a refrigerator to complete your kitchen? The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.