One of the most commonly used appliances in the kitchen is the refrigerator. It has revolutionised food storage, and ensuring you select the best make and model for your family’s needs will guarantee you can take complete advantage of this must-have addition.
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Factors to Consider
Before splurging on a new refrigerator, it is crucial to take a moment to consider the main factors that will largely influence your decision.
Size & Capacity
While selecting a refrigerator on aesthetics alone may be tempting, it is vital to ensure you choose an option that suits your size and capacity needs. But bigger is not always better, and the suitable capacity will be one that is enough for the number of people in the household.
The average capacity of a fridge is roughly 25 cubic feet, but this number can be increased and decreased based on type, make or model. However, it is essential to remember that very large capacity fridges are much taller and wider than a standard make, so you will need to ensure that it has space to fit in your setup.
Outside of the standard features that all fridges are equipped with, many are made with add-ons that significantly improve the functionality and user convenience of the appliance. A popular feature includes a built-in ice maker and water dispenser station, which can be used without opening the door.
With more modern makes and models, you can purchase a refrigerator with a built-in screen and wifi capabilities, allowing you to access the internet to search for recipes and play music. Other models can have grocery tracking apps, which assist you in creating a shopping list as products are finished. However, extra features are rarely included free of charge and can be costly additions to your final total.
While functionality needs to be your primary concern when picking a new refrigerator, considering the overall style, colour, and finishes is important to guarantee it suits the decor of your existing kitchen.
Stainless steel is a very popular choice for most appliances, including toasters, ovens, microwaves and refrigerators. Its neutral appearance allows it to match most design choices with relative ease. Alternatively, choosing bolder colours like a red finish or classic black will allow you to breathe new life into your kitchen.
Buying a new refrigerator is an investment. Ensuring you can comfortably include the cost of this big ticket item into your budget is another factor to consider when settling on your final choice.
It is vital to be aware that additional costs like delivery fees and installation fees, should you require a professional to install new electrical wires or plumbing lines, need to be considered when creating a realistic budget you can afford.
Types of Refrigerators
There are five main types of refrigerators from which to choose, all of which can have pros and cons that make them suitable for different families and their unique needs.
Bottom freezers are easy to spot as the unit is located below the main fridge compartment. Some units allow you to access this section via a door that opens to one side, but most models typically have access via large drawers that can be pulled out as needed.
Many refrigerators with bottom freezers are paired with French doors, often making these designs interchangeable.
French door refrigerators will traditionally come with a bottom freezer accessed via pull-out doors. This classic design looks stylish in a modern kitchen and can often be purchased with built-in wifi, smart home capabilities and a touch screen located on one of the doors.
The large surface area of the French doors makes it the ideal choice for someone wanting the additional features of an automatic ice maker and water dispenser.
Side-by-side refrigerators have two long vertical doors extending from top to bottom, essentially dividing the appliance in two. One door will access the freezer, while the other opens up to the fridge compartment.
Like the French door style, the large surface area makes it ideal for built-in ice makers and smart home capabilities. Additionally, it is necessary to verify that your kitchen can accommodate the double swinging doors before purchase.
Top freezer refrigerators are a very traditional option and can often be found in older homes. The standard design comes with two separate doors, allowing you to access the fridge and freezer independently.
This affordable choice is a common addition to many apartments, condos and houses but will rarely come with any special or standout features, which significantly contributes to a lower cost.
Mini fridges are much smaller than the standard design, making them ideal for condos, dorm rooms, and home bars. While they are much more affordable and will take up less space, their smaller size will largely limit the amount of food and drink you can have at once.
Additionally, most models do not come equipped with any freezer capabilities. If this is a non-negotiable for your purchase, it is best to avoid this design altogether.