Types of Refrigerators  View Refrigerator Models >>

Types of Refrigerators

There are many factors to take into consideration when purchasing a refrigerator. We have tried to consolidate some important information that will help you find the refrigerator to best meet your needs.

Size of Refrigerator to Buy

Refrigerators of all sizes use less energy today than their counterparts in the past. However, if you buy a refrigerator that is larger than your needs, you will spend more money than necessary on your electricity bill. Some questions to consider when refrigerator shopping include:

  • Do you typically freeze food in large quantities?
  • How many people are there in your household?
  • Is it possible to rearrange the shelves in the refrigerator, on the door, and in the freezer?
  • Will there be enough space in the kitchen to open the door wide enough to remove the shelves and bins?
  • Are the drawers the right size for the food you want to place in them?
  • What color do you want? Most refrigerators come in white; However, black, stainless steel, and off-white are also available. If you have a stainless steel or black color scheme in your kitchen, you should consider a similar color refrigerator.

Styles Available

Top-Freezer: This style is often the lowest priced of all refrigerators and the easiest to operate. A separate freezer compartment is above the refrigerator, making it easy to reach frozen food. There are a variety sizes, options, and features to choose from as well.

Built In: These refrigerators are typically more expensive and are often used for kitchens with certain space and style requirements. These refrigerators breathe through the front of the unit allowing them to be built in with zero clearance on all sides.

Side-by-side: These refrigerators are higher priced, and between 30% to 35% more expensive to operate than top-freezers. Narrow doors require a smaller amountof space than other styles. In general, side by side refrigerators offer more storage capacity than top or bottom-freezer designs. Also, older individuals and anyone with a physical disability should consider side-by-side refrigerators due to the fact that the narrow doors are easier to manage.

Bottom-Freezer: These allow for the fresh food compartment to be at eye level, but the user must bend over to get to the freezer. Also, these cost more to operate than top-freezers.

Why should I buy a built-in refrigerator?

True built-in refrigerators are designed to be installed in almost any space and require no clearance. The main difference between these refrigerators and other models is that they are able to vent in the front, requiring no space on the sides, top, or back. Other types of refrigerators must have approximately 2-3inches in the back and sides, and 1-2 inches on top in order to allow room to vent.


Defrosting: Manual defrost requires the user to turn the refrigerator off and remove the ice and water by hand. Partial automatic defrost defrosts the refrigerator, but the freezer requires manual defrosting. Automatic defrosting keeps the refrigerator and the freezer frost-free automatically.

Ice and Water Dispenser: Ice and water dispensers provide limited amounts of water and ice, and should be used frequently in order to prevent breakdowns. These features will add to the cost of a refrigerator.

Energy Guide Label: These labels are placed on all new refrigerators and should provide a good overview of the energy costs of each refrigerator. The actual energy cost for each refrigerator will vary according to the amount of food being cooled, the room temperature, and the local energy cost.

Warranties: Many refrigerators come with a one-year warranty that covers parts and labor on defective materials and breakdowns. Service contracts, or extended warranties, are sold by many appliance dealers as well. When purchasing an extended warranty, check to see what parts or services the contract covers, where you can take the product to get service, and whether the contract covers the same components as the manufacturer's warranty.

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