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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

Name Avg. price
Configuration Capacity (cubic feet) Dispenser? Dimensions (inches) Purchase
Whirlpool WRF535SMHZ
$1,620 French door 25.2 No 35.625 W x 70.123 H x 35.5 D Buy now
$1,500 French door 24.8 No 33 W x 69.875 H x 37.5 D Buy now
LG LTCS20120S $800 Top mount 20 No 29.75 W x 66.125 H x 33.125 D Buy now
Whirlpool WRX735SDHZ $2,250 French door/four door 25 Yes 35.63 W x 68.63 H x 34.75 D Buy now
GE GSS25GSHSS $1,100 Side by side 25.3 Yes 35.75 W x 69.5 H x 35.25 D Buy now
$1,300 Bottom mount 33 No 32.75 W x 69.875 H x 34.875 D Buy now
Samsung RT18M6215SR $750 Top mount 17.6 No 28.75 W x 66.75 H x 31.875 D Buy now
Samsung RF22N9781SG $3,600 Four door 22 Yes 35.75 W x 71.875 H x 28.875 D Buy 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.

Type Best for Pros Cons
Top-mount: Freezer on top Smaller 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 bottom Small- 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 freezer Medium-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 fridge Families, 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 freezer Small 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 doors Big 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-in Constructed 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 fridge Wine 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 fridge Offices, 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.

Here are some other 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. Without the space, your fridge will have to work harder to keep cool and cost you more.Check the fridge manufacturer’s recommended height and width clearances. 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.
    Finish type Pros Cons
    • Latest finish option
    • Smudge proof and fingerprint resistant
    • May be more expensive
    Stainless steel
    • Professional, neat look
    • High-end models have an entirely flat front, instead of a fridge door’s typically curved design
    • Fingerprints, marks and smudges tend to show up
    • Costs more
    • Easier to clean
    • Cheaper
    • Fingerprints won’t be visible on this finish
    • Classic design
    • Not as trendy
    • Modern design with charcoal and dark finishes available
    • Fingerprints won’t show
    • Can make your kitchen look darker
    Bright colors and retro
    • Bold, vintage design
    • Gaining popularity as a statement piece
    • The trend may pass quickly
    • Modern aesthetic appeal
    • Fingerprints don’t show up as much as stainless steel
    • Has discrete controls, which are only visible when in use
    • Not a magnetic surface
    • May scratch more easily
    • Typically costs more
    • Energy star rating.
      The number of stars labelled on your fridge tells you how energy-efficient it is. Five stars means the most savings. Although larger appliances use more energy overall, the star rating considers the appliance’s relative energy efficiency.
    • Energy consumption.
      You can calculate your fridge’s annual energy use with the following equation: daily energy consumption figure (kilowatt hours) x 365. Wattage isn’t typically given in kilowatt hours, so you may have to first divide your daily energy consumption by 1,000.

    Additional features

    Here are some additional features to think about:

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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

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