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How to Buy a Refrigerator
2016-04-09

Today’s refrigerators are the most energy efficient ever, and they’re loaded with cool technologies that can extend the shelf life of fresh foods. We’ll tell what you need to know so you can pick the best refrigerator for your home and budget.
First Things First: Refrigerator Types and Costs
The best refrigerator for your home is right-sized to your household’s needs. Here’s a breakdown of the standard refrigerator types, capacities, and price ranges.
Top freezer: This classic style offers homeowners the most bang for their buck. The freezer compartment is at the top of the unit, with the refrigerator below.
These unfrilly fridges pack lots of useable storage space for their size, especially compared with refrigerators with features, such as beverage dispensers and ice-makers, that eat up inside space. Average capacity is 20 cubic feet.
They’re some of the slimmest; typical widths range from 30 to 33 inches.
They’re the most efficient, and use 10% to 25% less energy than bottom-freezer and side-by-side door models.
They’re the least expensive. Prices start at about $500.
Bottom freezer: They’re convenient because they keep the refrigerator compartment at eye-level and contents within easy reach.
A double-door model has a single refrigerator door on top, and a large freezer door on the bottom. Their average capacity is 22 cubic feet, and widths range from 30 to 33 inches.
A French-door model has two side-by-side doors on top, and a single door freezer on the bottom. They’re generally wider than double-door fridges. Average capacity is 24 cubic feet, and widths range from 33 to 36 inches.
Prices start at about $700.
Tip: A fridge with 19 to 22 cubic feet of storage space is a good choice for a family of four.
Side-by-side refrigerator: These are ideal for households that don’t mind sacrificing some fridge space for a lot more freezer space.
They’re split in two vertically; one side of the appliance is a freezer and the opposite side is the refrigerator.
Typical widths range from 32 to 36 inches.
Although average capacity is about 24 cubic feet, they may be short on utility when equipped with a beverage dispenser and ice maker that eat up interior space. The center divider between freezer and refrigerator also takes away storage space from the middle of the unit.
Prices start at about $900.
Four-door refrigerators: These are ideal for large families.
They’re loaded with compartments that can keep groceries fresher longer. Average capacity is 28 cubic feet.
They’re equipped with a French-door-style fridge on top, a middle door that conceals a drawer for the items you reach for most, and a bottom freezer.
They’re equipped with temperatures controls and beverage dispensers.
Prices start at about $2,000.
Tip: Homeowners can expect about 80% of a four-door fridge’s total cubic square footage to be functional storage space.
Cabinet-depth and counter-depth refrigerators: These have a shallow profile (depth front to back) so they won’t stick out beyond standard cabinets and counters.
They come in two styles: bottom freezer with French doors and side-by-side.
Both styles offer about 28 cubic feet of storage.
Many models include features like compartment temperature controls, and water and ice dispensers.
To create a built-in seamless look for the fraction of the price, theses fridges can be customized with an overlay cabinetry panel.
Prices start at about $2,000.

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