Looking for a refrigerator? Still confused and unable to select? This post is a comprehensive buying guide for selecting the refrigerator that will best suit your needs. Just like other kitchen appliances refrigerators also come in varied styles, sizes and colors. Before buying you should know the various options available and create a checklist of your requirements. This post will help you with both.
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Types of Refrigerators
There are five main types of refrigerators available in the market:
- Compact or portable refrigerators
- Single door refrigerators
- Top-mount refrigerator with freezer
- Bottom-mount refrigerator with freezer
- Side-by-side refrigerator with freezer
Refrigerator capacity and dimensions
Except for Compact and portable refrigerators all others refrigerators have a height ranging in between 56 to 84 inches and a depth of 24 to 31 inches. Below is a list of widths and capacities based on different types of refrigerators:
- Compacts or portable refrigerators are 12 inches to 24 inches wide and have a capacity of 1.2 to 6 cubic feet.
- Single door refrigerators are 23 inches to 30 inches wide and have a capacity of 9 to 14 cubic feet.
- Top-mount refrigerators with freezers are 24 inches to 33 inches wide and have a capacity of 10 to 23 cubic feet.
- Bottom-mount refrigerators with freezers are 32 to 36 inches wide and have a capacity of 18 to 20 cubic feet.
- Side-by-side refrigerators with freezers are 30 to 48 inches wide and have a capacity of 17 to 30 cubic feet.
Guidelines for selecting refrigerator capacity:
- If there are only two persons in the household, choose the basic 12 cubic feet refrigerator.
- For every additional family member add 2 cubic feet to this base figure.
- For a regular family 18 cubic feet is the most preferred size.
- Balance this figure keeping in consideration your special requirements such as:
- Number of meals which a member regularly eats outside.
- Number of household parties regularly held in a month.
- If the household will have more members joining soon.
- If the household has a vegetable garden.
- If the household consists of foodies or members who just enjoy cooking.
Compact and Portable Refrigerators
As the name suggests compact and portable refrigerators have small capacity, usually less than 6 cubic feet. They are more often used as supplementary refrigerators in rooms, offices, vacation homes or other convenient places. Available in a variety of colors they can also be fixed under a countertop. On the downside, food in compact refrigerators is usually not stored for more than a week and the capacity is really very small. Maximum models have manual defrosting.
Single Door Refrigerators
Single door refrigerators have built-in provision for both fresh and frozen storage. Freezer is located on the top and contains ice trays. The capacity is less than 14 cubic feet and the freezer doors have a side opening. This can be particularly useful for household with space limitation. The disadvantages of single door refrigerators, is that they usually have manual defrost and the freezer compartment won’t keep high sugar items frozen for long, such as ice-creams.
Two Door Refrigerators
Two door refrigerators have a separate top compartment with a freezer. It can be used well for both fresh and frozen foods. It will keep the ice cream frozen. Different variants are available – with and without ice and water dispensers. Select on the basis of your requirements and budget.
Two Door Refrigerators with Bottom Freezers
Two Door Refrigerators with Bottom Freezers are exactly the same as regular two door refrigerators with only one difference, the freezer is placed on the bottom of the refrigerator. These type of refrigerators are particularly useful for people with disabilities.
Side by Side Refrigerators
Side by side refrigerators have vertical fresh and frozen compartments that have good access. They have pull out shelves and drawers for easier access of food items stored in the back. On the downside, Side by side refrigerators are expensive and require more space.
Things you should consider while choosing a refrigerator:
- Does it have a no-frost system or a manual defrosting system?
- Does it have an automatic ice maker or not?
- Does it have in built dispensers to deliver ice and cold water without opening the door?
- Does it have any shelves or drawers that can be pulled out to easily access the foods items stored in the back?