Having a reliable refrigerator gives you peace of mind. But they’re not all created equal. Some are more reliable than others. And some have unique features. In this article, we explain how to choose the best type of refrigerator for your home.
Type of Refrigerators
There are several different types of refrigerators to choose from, all with separate advantages and disadvantages. Before looking at specific models, you should determine which type of design would best suit your needs and preferences so you have a good idea to start. The list below explains the five most common refrigerator types and the benefits of each one.
- Top Freezer
Refrigerators with freezer on top are the most popular and least expensive type of refrigerator especially in the US. While it may lack some special features that side-by-side refrigerators offer, it contains a good amount of storage space and typically costs less than other types. It cost between $400 to $1800 dollars. Most importantly, it is ideal for small kitchen space.
- Bottom Freezer
The bottom freezer is best for families who use the fridge compartment more often than the freezer. Widths range from 24 to 36 inches, and claimed capacities approach 30 cubic feet, though average usable space is less than that of comparable top-freezers. You'll find yourself bending a lot lesser as the fridge section is at eye level, making the retrieval of items more convenient and ergonomic. One of the disadvantages of this type of refrigerator is that it requires more clearance space.
- French Door
These have two narrow doors on top and a freezer below. Sometimes there is one drawer (or more) in between. Widths range from 28 to 36 inches. Claimed capacities go up to 34 cubic feet, though the average usable space is much less, at 17 cubic feet. The space-saving small-swing doors have the added value of opening only half the fridge when stashing smaller items. They also have a bigger price tag than other refrigerator types.
- Side by Side
The standard side-by-side refrigerator contains a freezer compartment on the left and refrigerator compartment on the right, with a vertical split down the middle. This narrow design works well for kitchens with little space because the clearance required for door swing is minimal, and it makes both frozen and fresh food easy to access.
The narrow freezer space limits storage capacity compared to traditional top freezer types, but they typically include more special features. Side-by-side fridges tend to be less expensive than their French door counterparts, but they also tend to have a bit less capacity for packing in food items.
- Built-In Refrigerator
Built-in refrigerators have become more and more popular in high-end kitchens. Made popular by Sub Zero, they provide a seamless, custom look in any kitchen layout. Built-in fridges are essentially installed within the cabinetry and can range in widths to as large as 48”.
That said, built-in refrigerators are often restricted to cabinet depth—around 24”. That’s because a built-in refrigerator extending past the flush plane of the cabinets gives a look that’s not really built-in at all. Built-in refrigerators tend to be much more expensive than freestanding units.
Whatever fridge type you choose, make sure to measure your available space to find a product that will fit in the area you have available. It’s also essential to make sure your new fridge matches the overall aesthetics of your kitchen—handles, finish, and general style should be compatible visually with the rest of your appliances.