How to Choose a Refrigerator

Refrigerators can be quite expensive, ranging in price from $500 to several thousand dollars. Before you buy your next fridge, give some though to the following considerations:

How large is your current refrigerator?

Since most new refrigerators must fit into the space vacated by your old refrigerator, be sure that you know the dimensions of your old refrigerator. You will generally want to get the largest refrigerator that fits the space you have available. You can measure the height, width and and depth of refrigerators with a tape measure. You can also lookup your current and prospective refrigerators in our database to see their measurements. This article contains further tips on how to measure for a new refrigerator.

Which type of refrigerator do you want?

There are 5 common models:

  • Freezer-on-top models: these are the most common (and often most affordable) models. About 50% of refrigerators sold in the United States are freezer-on-top models.
  • Freezer-on-bottom models: often preferred because commonly accessed food is at eye-level.
  • Side-by-side models: useful if you don't have enough space for a wide-swinging door. However, some users have complained that the narrow size of the refrigerator itself doesn't alway accomodate pizza boxes and large pots.
  • Cabinet-depth models: narrower in depth than standard models, but they approximate the appearance of the more expensive built-in models.
  • Built-in models: typically the most expensive models, these refrigerators come in fine finishes and can be customized to match your cabinets.
You may also be interested in specialty refrigerators, such as keg refrigerators or vintage refrigerators.


You want to consider the refrigerator's finish -- a stainless steel finish will give your refrigerator a "professional kitchen" look, which many people like. However, more basic colors are more common, with white the most common.

Special features

Manufacturers have added a number of special features to their refrigerators. Do you need any of these features?

  • Icemakers (internal or through-the-door)
  • Filtered-water dispenser
  • Gallon-jug storage on the door
  • Stainless steel finish


Don't forget to check the warranty -- a good warranty can protect your investment down the road.