Every kitchen has one thing in common: a refrigerator. Whether a refrigerator is basic or has all the bells and whistles, most people can’t do without a way to keep food fresh and frozen, well, fresh and frozen. Consider size, features and efficiency first when choosing the most important major appliance for your kitchen, then choose the finish you want. If your refrigerator is on the fritz and you’re trying to buy a new one, check the chart at the end of this section to learn more about average refrigerator sizes and capacities.
A top freezer style is the most traditional refrigerator configuration with the freezer on top and the refrigerator on the bottom. It’s also the most economical refrigerator in the group. Plus, these units come in a wide range of capacities, so you can find the size you need whether you’re a household of one or a household of six or more.
The bottom freezer simply flips the traditional refrigerator configuration upside down. You’ll get all the benefits of a top freezer, but you’ll get at least one more potential benefit: easy access to the refrigerator. Since most people access the refrigerator more than a freezer, it’s more convenient to place the refrigerator portion on top. Most bottom freezers are drawers, but some units also have traditional doors.
French door refrigerators have two refrigerator doors opening to a compartment on top and a freezer drawer below. This configuration means it’s physically and visually easier to find the items you use the most. Plus, if you like to entertain, a French door refrigerator gives you wider shelves to help you store party trays and pots and pans.
With a side-by-side refrigerator, your refrigerator and freezer will run the length of the unit with the refrigerator on the right and the freezer on the left. This means that the shelves on each side are narrower than a traditional refrigerator and freezer. However, the narrower doors mean you’ll have easier access to your refrigerator in a small kitchen or galley.
Counter-depth refrigerators are becoming increasingly popular on the kitchen scene. These units are not as deep as other refrigerators, so once installed, they are flush with most existing cabinets. Benefits include a seamless look similar to built-in refrigerators at a fraction of the cost. The average width of a counter-depth unit is wider than other refrigerators to account for the loss of depth in the design. They also come in all types of door configurations.
If you’re looking for a totally seamless look, built-in refrigerators are for you. These units are unfinished on all sides, so you can install them in your cabinets. It will really look like another cabinet in your kitchen. However, this polished look means sacrificing some space in the refrigerator, as most built-in units tend to be narrower and shallower than any other type of refrigerator.