Your Guide to Finding the Right Refrigerator
Jul 19, 2021
“Cool” and “fresh” are not just words all the kids today are using. (OK, maybe not at all.) They’re also the two words that come to mind when you think of a refrigerator. After all, keeping the yummy food you put inside of it cold and fresh is pretty much its job; we could go so far as to say it’s the Holy Grail of all kitchen appliances.
Aside from keeping your groceries cold, fridges can have many other beneficial functions that make kitchen time efficient and productive. The differences in design that make these things possible means that not every fridge is created equal. So when the time comes to shop for a new fridge, it’s important to do thorough research and comparisons to find the one that will work best for you. After all, it’s a big purchase – and lots of improvements have been made since you probably last bought one (the average refrigerator should last about 12 years1).
Our guide below will help you look for the right refrigerator features for you and be armed with the right questions to ask. Then, when you do finally find your perfect fridge, we recommend our lease-to-own, no credit option* that makes getting it simple and affordable.
Cool? Cool! Let’s begin.
Measure, Measure, Measure
This may sound like too obvious of a step to even mention, but it’s overlooked more than you might think: Before you browse online or start your shopping, make your measuring tape your best friend and take down all of the necessary dimensions to have on hand. And when we say “necessary,” we mean more than the fridge itself.
First measure the width, depth and height of your current fridge to make sure the new model you have your eye on will fit into its spot in the kitchen. Then, measure the space where you intend to place your fridge so it will fit right and have enough clearance for the door to open wide. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with the hassle of returning your new refrigerator and starting your search all over again.
Yes, door style trends are a thing, and they’re constantly evolving; who’s to say someday soon there won’t be another door style that crops up? For now, though, the top door styles2 you have to choose from include:
This fridge configuration has two half-width doors on the refrigerator section and a freezer at the bottom that opens like a drawer. Because of its ample roominess and shelving configuration in the main fridge compartment, this style can be particularly appealing if you typically purchase lots of fresh produce or have a big family. The downside: The shelving and structure in the freezer section is less organized. If that’s not an issue, then this could be the fridge for you.
As the name suggests, this model is split right down the middle: As you face it, the freezer is on the left and the fridge is on the right. If you typically store quite a few things in the freezer, this style may be your best bet. It allows for more vertical storage space inside and on the doors, which is also great for keeping things organized and tidy.
Similar to the French door style, don’t be surprised if there is less freezer space for shelving and organizing. But don’t count it out, either. Because the fridge portion of this model sits higher and therefore allows for easier access to its contents, this style tends to be popular among people who like to prioritize their foods (produce, deli, dairy, etc.).
This is your classic, old-school fridge style (fridge on the bottom, freezer on the top). It’s actually a rather timeless style since it will always be a great option, and one you’ll normally find in smaller kitchens or apartments. On one hand, this model typically has fewer “extras” (like a water/ice dispenser on the door); on the other hand, that means less maintenance and opportunity for replacement needs.
If you put a premium on energy-efficient appliances, seriously consider this style as it uses the least amount of energy (especially the newest models) at the most affordable price. However, some of the styles may fit into this category as well; just check to see that it is ENERGY STAR-certified.
Other Features to Consider
Now that you know the style basics, here are more aesthetic, functional and downright fancy features that may go into your decision-making. As with all things, the more sophisticated the feature, the higher the price tag will probably be.
You’ll find white, black, stainless, even black stainless. Some premium models are even fingerprint-resistant!
Matching your other appliances
You want your kitchen to have a uniform look, so this will basically determine the finish you choose.
Whether it’s the long, curvaceous handles, a straight handle or none at all, this usually comes down to your personal aesthetic preference.
Functional drawers and shelves
Make sure they meet your space, versatility and organizational needs. Some can even flip up to store taller items.
Ice makers and ice and water dispensers
These can be found either inside the fridge or on the outside of the door for easy access to ice and clean, filtered water. Make sure you have a waterline to connect to if these are on your wish list.
Multi-zone climate control
Fridge and freezer temps should be independent of each other. Humidity-controlled bins for fruits and vegetables keep each fresher longer.
A fridge should be a quiet workhorse, so a constant loud humming might be a dealbreaker (and a sign something may be wrong).
The latest innovations
Some of today’s high-end models go all out with smart tech capabilities, touch screens, windows in the door, a food showcase door-inside-the-door and more.
Easy Shopping Options: Acima Won’t Leave You in the Cold
Now you might be envisioning what your new fridge could look like or getting excited about replacing your existing fridge with one more suited to your preferences. But again — it’s a big investment that may have you wondering: How can I truly know when it’s time to replace my fridge, where can I buy an affordable fridge, and should I really spend the money now?
Acima can help you on all fronts with this article and with our flexible lease-to-own options* that help you shop now, pay later and start enjoying your new fridge as soon as today — all without credit*. Follow these considerations and ask questions as you are fridge shopping at one of our many retail partners around the country.
Remember, the kitchen is where meals and memories are made, but it wouldn’t be possible without the right refrigerator to keep your family’s food … you guessed it … cold and fresh.
1. “Shopping for Appliances” – energy.gov
2. “Best Refrigerator Reviews” – Consumerreports.com