Choose the Best Type of Refrigerator for Your Home

Edited by estrella sacragon, Graciela Franchesca Rosario, karishma, Batkingnz and 2 others

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Your refrigerator is one of the most vital appliances in your kitchen. As the demand for fresh food increases, it's important that you choose the right refrigerator for your needs. There are several things you'll need to consider before making a purchase, since manufacturers are offering a vast array of features and functions designed to keep your food fresh for longer, as well as an increase in the amount of compartmentalized spaces. Style, size, storage capacity and energy efficiency are some of the most important considerations, so if you're in the market for a first purchase or replacement, do yourself a favor and check out our guide below on choosing the best refrigerator for your home.

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Refrigerator Types

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.

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  1. 1
    Top freezer.
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    This is the most common traditional-style combo with the freezer compartment on top. 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.
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  2. 2
    Bottom freezer.
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    A bottom freezer refrigerator is similar to the top freezer style, but the freezer compartment is at the bottom. This makes it easier to reach foods in the refrigerator, but it will be a little more difficult to access your frozen foods. Some models come equipped with freezer drawers that make it easier to find what you're looking for.
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  3. 3
    French door.
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    French door refrigerators are similar to the bottom freezer style, but they're better suited to space-conscious consumers that don't have room for the swing of a single door. The vertically-split refrigerator doors allow you to easily access either side of the refrigerator, and they also include a wider array of special features than basic top or bottom freezer types. They also have a bigger price tag than other refrigerator types.
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  4. 4
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    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.
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  5. 5
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    Compact refrigerators work best for small spaces like dorm rooms, offices, bedrooms and home bars. They have less capacity than regular refrigerators, but some can be stored above or below counters, depending on their size. Some include a freezer compartment, as well.
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Refrigerator Features and Options

Once you have a specific type of refrigerator in mind, you can narrow down your choices by different features, functions and options. Manufacturers are adding more and more new features, and even offer a "smart" refrigerators that include WiFi and touchscreen capabilities. You'll have to decide which features are worth considering and which ones you can pass up according to your budget. Check out the list below to learn more about some common features.

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  1. 1
    Energy efficiency.
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    Energy efficiency is always a vital factor when it comes to choosing any type of home appliance. Therefore, you've got to know how this refrigerator can have an impact on your energy footprint. Most models come with an energy rating sticker that is standardized to your country so talk to the sales reps first to find out what the numbers mean and which models have the lowest operating cost.
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  2. 2
    Size of the refrigerator.
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    Another point to consider is the size of the refrigerator that you're going to purchase. Most people will be looking for a refrigerator/freezer unit. If saving space is a major concern, an in-door freezer is an option. Otherwise look for a unit that has separate fridge/freezer doors as these will have the most efficiency, as well as higher capacity freezer space.
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  3. 3
    Number of shelves and shelf adjusters.
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    Make sure that the unit has a modular shelf system. This is one where you can adjust the position of the shelves, usually with built in rails. Another thing to consider is if the shelves are spill-proof. These type of shelves have special ridges which prevent spills from contaminating foods stored on the shelves below.
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  4. 4
    Bins and drawer storage.
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    Bins and drawers are a necessity if you're storing vegetables, meats, cheeses or other dairy products like eggs and butter. Make sure that the drawer and bin storage is enough for your usual grocery stock. If it's available in your budget, get a unit that has 'crisper' drawers. These compartments are specially designed to keep foods like lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes and other vegetables from going soft while stored in the fridge.
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  5. 5
    Door storage.
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    Consider the door storage when choosing your unit. Does it have enough space and height to store things like milk and soft drink bottles? Can the shelves be adjusted to accommodate larger bottles? These are the type of questions you need to ask yourself before settling on your purchase.
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  6. 6
    Temperature control.
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    Make sure the temperature control is in an easy to access position. Also check that the freezer has a self regulating temperature and defrost cycle. Most separate door freezers will do this but many in door freezer units will need manual defrosting when ice builds up.
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  7. 7
    Interior lighting.
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    Unfortunately, interior lighting can rarely be tested in-store. Try to check reviews online for the models you're looking at or ask a sales person if the demo unit can be run to check the interior lighting. Make sure that the refrigerator is lit up evenly and that light reaches all areas.
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  8. 8
    Ice maker or water dispenser.
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    Some models come with an automatic ice maker, water dispenser, or both. Some even dispense hot water or seltzer water for different types of beverages.
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  9. 9
    Sectional climate control.
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    Many refrigerators offer climate control for bins and separate sections of the refrigerator, so you can keep certain foods cooler that others and keep them lasting longer.
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  10. 10
    Antibacterial coating.
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    A coating on the interior of the refrigerator can help prevent the growth of bacteria, but you'll still have to store your food properly and clean the fridge on a regular basis to prevent the spread of bacteria.
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  11. 11
    Air filtration.
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    Many refrigerator models come equipped with an air filter system that keeps food odors to a minimum, and it works much better than baking soda. You'll just have to decide if it's worth the extra money.
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Make Sure the Refrigerator Fits

  1. 1
    Check the Dimensions. Pull out your measuring tape and measure the dimension of the area where you will place your refrigerator. Before you shop, figure out the width, height and depth of your preferred fridge, making sure that it will fit in the space. Do not forget to provide a few more inches behind and above the unit for proper air circulation. There should also be enough room for the door of the fridge to swing open.
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  • 2
    Check the Swing. Whether you go for a refrigerator with its freezer below or above the main refrigerator chamber, identify which direction you wish the door to open to provide you easier access. Make sure that the fridge's door opens in the right direction, or find out if it's reversible. If the doors are reversible, identify which way you wish the door to open before the fridge is delivered to you. This would be much easier than having the technician take the doors off and put them back on in your kitchen.
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  • Questions and Answers

    How much fresh food storage space should be provided in a refrigerator for each family member?

    • Foods don't usually last forever that is why they put preservatives to it. Although adding these may not keep foods up to years. Drinks that last long and as they age they become sweeter, these are the wines. But regarding refrigerated foods, the purpose why they are placed in that cool place is because of the cool temperature that the refrigerator provides that makes the food last long. and inhibits the activity of bacteria. Example of these foods are the vegetables, meats, etc.
    • When you buy foods to be refrigerated it is necessary that you only buy what you can consume within its expiration dates. For vegetables you must buy the enough quantity. Because vegetables usually becomes easily wilted compared to the foods that have preservatives. Goods that has label of its expiration date are the foods that last longer. The expiration date provides when the food is safe to eat. The expiration date is not exact but an estimate. It is labeled with earlier expiration date, but to be safe you consume it on its best before date. This is to guarantee that the company can assure safety of the consummation of the foods.
    • When you store meats, you place them in the freezer to stop the activity of bacteria. But even the freezer will make the meat last longer be sure to store the meat in a clean container. They must be properly sealed to prevent contamination from other foods. Once you take out the raw meat out of the freezer usually do not attempt to bring it back after being defrosted. If you want to bring it back to the freezer you cook it, or you only put in the freezer once and consume it up to 2 days. So it is practical that before you put the meat all together in the freezer you cut it beforehand. So when you need it you only get the portion that you need. Reheating a food will make it more prone to food poisoning. Heat it at a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius. You must heat it correctly or else it will activate the bacteria.
    • Beefs can last for 2 to 4 days. And must be placed above the poultry foods.
    • Apples can last up to 2 months. Keep the apples away from each other that they don't touch each other, this will provide longer shelf life.
    • Asparagus can last for 10 days. In refrigerating asparagus position it upright while its stem is in 1 to 2 inches of water.
    • Butter can last in the freezer for 6 months. And to freeze a cheese, you may retain its original wrap and seal in a plastic bag or remove it from it then replace the wrap with wax paper and place in a freezer bag.
    • Carrots and Brussels Sprouts last for one month.
    • Beets. The beets' roots last for 1 month and its leaves last for 7 days.
    • Watermelon, onions, lettuce, grapefruit, celery, and cauliflower can last for two weeks.
    • Cut foods only last for days.
    • Fruits like banana can also be stored in the refrigerator. This makes the banana not become over ripe.
    • When freezing a mushroom and nuts, you must place them away from strongly flavored foods in the refrigerator because they will absorb the scent.
    • Keep away ready-to-eat foods from raw foods, because ready-to-eat foods don't need to be cooked. And cooking kills the bacterial content of the foods.
    • So buy what you can eat within the food's storage time. This is to prevent contamination of spoilage. A spoiled tomato can spreading even to non-contaminated tomatoes when they are in contact with them. Adjusting the quantity of foods you place in the refrigerator will provide space and allows you to get your foods immediately out of the refrigerator when you need it. This will also prevent contamination of different categories of foods, whether poultry, ready-to-eat foods, etc.
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    I cook a lot, so need to have ample space for fresh produce?

    Would you recommend a side by side fridge or a Top-Freezer?

    Top freezer will always save you a lot of space since you are maximizing the space available. However, this may be an issue if you are a bit on the shorter side as you may have a hard time reaching through the items.

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    A side by side freezer is more convenient because you can spread out the items accordingly in which they are easier to see. This should preferred especially if you have space to spare.

    If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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