The Reliable Refrigerator
Refrigerators play a central role in every kitchen, allowing you to keep food and beverages fresh and ready for use throughout the week.
Finding a model that is right for you is simply a matter of evaluating what you need in terms of space, function and style.SHOP REFRIGERATORS
With a wide variety of options to choose from, including top-mount, bottom-mount, side-by-side, compact and built-in refrigerators, you'll have no trouble finding one that combines the right capacity, features and look you want. Replacing an old refrigerator with an energy-efficient model may also help you reduce your energy consumption and lower monthly utility bills.
The freezer is located above the refrigerator section.
The freezer and refrigerator are placed directly next to each other.
The freezer is located underneath the refrigerator section.
The freezer is on the bottom and the fresh food section can be accessed via twin doors. Some models come equipped with an ice and water dispenser.
Freestanding counter-depth refrigerators have finished sides and do not need to be secured or fastened.
Built-in counter-depth refrigerators have unfinished sides and an evaporator mounted at the top. Due to the top-heavy nature of this design, built-in refrigerators need to be secured to the surrounding cabinetry and wall. They are constructed to blend in with the rest of the kitchen cabinetry rather than being installed as a separate unit.
Small units that can fit into tight spaces or underneath counters.
Refrigerators are available in a wide range of capacities, from compact units with around 3 cu. ft. of space to large, family-sized units that feature upwards of 30 cu. ft. In a two-person household, you will need at least 10 cu. ft. of space, excluding freezer storage. In larger households, a good rule of thumb is to add 1.5 cu. ft. of refrigeration space for each additional person. If you dine out frequently, you may be able to purchase a smaller unit. Overall, 21 cu. ft. of refrigeration/freezer space should suffice for an average-sized family.
The primary means of storing food in your refrigerator are bins, shelves, drawers and baskets. If you like to keep large amounts of milk or juice on hand, look for door bins capable of holding gallon-sized containers.
Many refrigerators have wire shelves, which allow spills to fall through and splatter items below. For easy cleanup and spill control, look for units with spill-proof glass shelves. Adjustable shelving allows you to move them up and down to create space for large dishes while wine racks, snack trays and lift-out baskets in the freezer provide other organizational options.
If you tend to purchase a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, look for produce drawers with humidity controls. Different fruits and vegetables require different amounts of humidity to remain crisp, and these drawers offer the ability to set levels depending on what you're storing.
Compared to older units, refrigerators manufactured over the past few years provide a tremendous improvement in energy efficiency. Units with the ENERGY STAR rating offer even more efficiency, being required by definition to use at least 20% less energy than current federal standards require (compact units must be 20% more efficient). In addition to purchasing an ENERGY STAR-qualified unit, there are other ways to improve efficiency. Avoid placing your refrigerator next to a heat source, such as a stove or dishwasher, and be sure to defrost it as soon as necessary if you purchase a manual-defrost model. Do not leave the door open for long periods of time, and make sure to leave space around the unit to allow air to reach the condenser coils, preventing heat buildup.
Accidentally leaving the door of the refrigerator open not only wastes energy, it can also spoil food. Units with door or temperature alarms alert you when the door has been left open for more than a few minutes.
Units with a child lock will help prevent little chefs from accidentally leaving the door open or helping themselves to treats without permission.
Refrigerators with this feature reduce operational noise and help keep your kitchen atmosphere quiet.
Fighting with plastic ice cube trays can be a hassle, and there are never enough cubes when you have company. Built-in automatic icemakers ensure that there's always plenty of ice available, and water dispensers provide cold water at the touch of a button. Look for icemakers and dispensers with built-in filtration systems to provide clean, pure water.
If you find yourself needing to get food items or beverages to a cool temperature quickly, look for a refrigerator that features a special compartment that's colder than the rest of the unit. This space cools things down fast without freezing them.
Style and Finish
While storage capacity, efficiency and features are probably the most important aspects to consider, dont overlook style. Your refrigerator will likely last for a number of years, so its important to select a model that will fit in with your changing tastes and continue to look great over time. Stainless-steel finishes provide one way to keep your refrigerator looking great for years, though they may cost a little bit extra initially. Built-in units let you customize your kitchen's appearance while contoured doors and handles offer a sleek, sophisticated element.