How to Measure your Kitchen for a New Refrigerator

Shopping for a refrigerator can seem like a daunting task. Do you want, for example, a top-freezer, a bottom-freezer, a side-by-side, or a built-in? There are more choices than ever these days and with prices reaching up to a few thousand dollars for a single appliance, you certainly don't want to find that the model you choose doesn't fit into your space. Careful consideration of your kitchen, your family's needs, and the measurements of your new fridge will help ensure that you don't waste time or money having an appliance delivered that doesn't fit.

Refrigerators need ventilation space to run efficiently. Because ventilation space varies from model to model, be sure to read the manufacturer's suggestions; however, to maximize energy efficiency, it's also a good idea to double the manufacturer's recommended ventilation space.

Here's how to measure:

  • Measure the height Be sure to measure from the very bottom of your space to the very top and add .5 - 1 inch just to be on the safe side. There should be enough room for the refrigerator to fit easily under any cabinetry that is mounted above and one the sides of the refrigerator, if needed.
  • Measure the width This is probably the most important part of the measurement. Make sure you leave enough room for the refrigerator to slide in and out of the space easily - at least 1 - 1.5 inches on each side. Also make sure you have enough space - at least 2 inches - to open and close the doors. Make sure there will be enough walking room around the fridge when the doors are open.
  • Measure the depth Some refrigerators are meant to be cabinet-depth and create a built-in, seamless look, while others are not. Measure the space from the wall (where the back of the refrigerator will be) to the edge of the nearest cabinet, if applicable, to determine which kind you will buy. Note that cabinet-depth refrigerators tend to be more expensive.
  • Measure your home's outside entries and your kitchen entry Measure your outside entries to ensure there is a way your new refrigerator can get inside. First, take the measurements with the doors in place, and then, if you don't find a fit, measure again with the doors off. One way or another, you are likely to have an enterance to the house that will work. Measure the entries to your kitchen for the same reason.

Take your measurements twice to ensure their accuracy and write them down - don't rely on your memory only! Lastly, when thinking about the size of your new refrigerator, consider your capacity needs. As a general guide: a family of two needs eight to ten cubic feet; add an extra cubic foot for each additional person using the fridge.