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Refrigerator buying guide

Find a fridge that fits your family's needs and budget.

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A refrigerator is one of the most important appliances in your home. It’s a huge investment that could last you more than 10 years, so you’ll want to weigh your options carefully before making a purchase.

Compare some of the best refrigerators

NameAvg. price
(USD)
ConfigurationCapacity (cubic feet)Dispenser?Dimensions (inches)Purchase
Whirlpool WRF535SMHZ
$1,620French door25.2No35.625 W x 70.123 H x 35.5 DBuy now
GE GNE25JMKES
$1,500French door24.8No33 W x 69.875 H x 37.5 DBuy now
LG LTCS20120S$800Top mount20No29.75 W x 66.125 H x 33.125 DBuy now
Whirlpool WRX735SDHZ$2,250French door/four door25Yes35.63 W x 68.63 H x 34.75 DBuy now
GE GSS25GSHSS $1,100Side by side25.3Yes35.75 W x 69.5 H x 35.25 DBuy now
$1,300Bottom mount33No32.75 W x 69.875 H x 34.875 DBuy now
Samsung RT18M6215SR$750Top mount17.6No28.75 W x 66.75 H x 31.875 DBuy now
Samsung RF22N9781SG$3,600Four door22Yes35.75 W x 71.875 H x 28.875 DBuy now
Data obtained May 2019. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Fridge types

Refrigerators come in a variety of setups, so consider your food-storage and size needs along with your budget when finding the best fit.

TypeBest forProsCons
Top-mount: Freezer on topSmaller spaces
  • Cheapest to buy and run
  • Large variety, most common type
  • More compact
  • Need to bend down to access the fridge
Bottom-mount: Freezer on bottomSmall- to medium-sized households
  • Fridge compartment is at eye level
  • Freezer typically includes handy slide-out baskets
  • Easy to fit in most spaces
  • Generally costs more than top-mount fridges
  • May take longer to chill, particularly the freezer
Side-by-side: Fridge next to freezerMedium-sized households
  • Larger storage space
  • Includes features such as ice/water dispensers
  • Suits narrow kitchens that can’t fit swinging doors
  • Can access fridge and freezer easily
  • Best access for wheelchairs
  • Can’t place in a small corner
  • Ice makers/water chillers take up more freezer space
  • Narrower space might not fit pizza boxes or bulky foods
  • Temperature inconsistency between the top and bottom of fridge
French door: Bottom-mount with two-door fridgeFamilies, large kitchens, big budgets
  • Advantages of bottom-mount plus extra space and features
  • Large storage space
  • Wide shelving can fit bulky items, large platters and cakes
  • Smaller fridge doors
  • Minimizes cold air loss
  • Costs more
  • Ice makers/water chillers take up more freezer space
  • Won’t fit in a small corner
Pigeon pair: Separate matching fridge and freezerSmall kitchens
  • More flexibility
  • Can keep freezer and fridge in separate areas
  • Good storage space
  • Takes up more space overall
Four-door: Two fridge doors and two freezer doorsBig families, entertainers with high budgets and large spaces
  • Flexible, convenient storage space with better organization
  • Wide shelving
  • Some include customizable freezer space
  • Minimizes cold air loss
  • Includes water/ice dispensers and adjustable shelving
  • Costs more
  • Needs a large space
Built-inConstructed as part of the kitchen unit
  • Seamless integration with the rest of the kitchen
  • Typically has less depth, but is wider
  • Stylish, custom-made panels
  • Only for those who are redesigning kitchen or decorating from scratch
  • May cost more
Wine fridgeWine collectors, entertainers
  • Tailored temperature, humidity and vibration control that’s optimal for wine storage
  • UV protected
  • Single and multiple temperature zone options available
  • Not a replacement for main fridge
  • Multi-zone types can take up a lot of space
Mini fridgeOffices, dorms, kitchenettes or overflowing fridge
  • Cheaper
  • Compact and portable
  • Tiny storage space
  • Not a replacement for your everyday fridge

How to compare fridges

A refrigerator can cost you anywhere from under $500 to over $5,000, depending on the brand, model, volume and features. When choosing a fridge, here are some key features to consider:

  • Size. Smaller fridges are typically less energy-efficient and will cost you more in the long run. If uncertain, opt for a larger fridge. Or, if you have a small kitchen, choose a fridge with adjustable shelving to optimize your storage space.
  • Space clearance. Allow for a minimum space of two inches on all sides, plus the top and rear of your fridge so there’s room for heat from the motor to escape. Also, make sure that your fridge can fit through your front door and any hallways.
  • Door hinge. Check whether the door hinge position is on the left or the right of the fridge and whether it’s reversible. If your fridge is next to a wall, the hinge should probably be on the opposite side or reversible.
  • Finish type. There are five main finish types to choose from: stainless steel, white, black, retro and glass.
  • Noise level. Fridges typically run at around 42 decibels, which is the level of quiet conversation and normally shouldn’t be a problem. For those who live in studios or sleep close to the kitchen, you may want to consider a quiet fridge to minimize any noise disruption.
  • Water and ice dispenser. Dispensers may require a tap connection that adds to plumbing installation costs or may need replacement water filters.
  • Adjustable shelving. Pick a model with shelves that are easy to remove for quick cleaning and replacement. Some fridges include raised lips to prevent spilled liquids from leaking throughout the entire fridge.

Additional features to consider

Many fridges are now equipped with Smart features. For hi-tech lovers who can pay more, these additional features can be handy and help you to be more environmentally friendly.

  • Wi-Fi and app connectivity, touchscreens and built-in speakers. Check the insides of your fridge remotely and receive expiry alerts on your phone, prompts to reorder groceries and even recipe suggestions.
  • Communication. Receive instant notifications when you need to replace the water filter or there’s a power outage, and get help when a component isn’t functioning properly.
  • Energy consumption tracker. For the environmentally conscious, a smart fridge can help you monitor your energy usage and adjust temperature controls when you’re out.

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Bottom line

Refrigerators are big purchases, so doing a little research can go a long way towards making sure you get all the features you want at a price you can afford.

How did we choose these products?

To choose our list of the best refrigerators, we conducted online research to compare various brands, configurations, sizes, prices and overall features. We also considered third-party product reviews.

Frequently asked questions

How long is a refrigerator supposed to last?

Most refrigerators last anywhere from 10 to 20 years, depending on the brand, model and how well it is maintained.

When is the best time to buy a refrigerator?

Refrigerators are often marked down considerably for Memorial Day, Labor Day and Black Friday, making these great times to shop for a new appliance. You might also be able to score a deal at the end of the month, when stores are looking to meet sales quotas.

How do I dispose of my old fridge?

When you purchase a new fridge, some retailers may offer to remove your old fridge for you. Alternatively, if it’s still in working condition, you may be able to sell it secondhand. If it’s not functioning anymore, you could take it to scrap yard and get a few extra bucks.

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