There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to buying a refrigerator, and if you have not been in the market for one before, you might not know what you should be looking for to find the one that fits your lifestyle and the space you have available.
Let’s take a closer look at the options available to you, as well as five tips to help ensure that you pick the right fridge for your situation.
Refrigerator Size Options
There are several different refrigerator sizes available for people with all different space considerations. These appliances generally fall into the following categories:
- Compact Cube:
These “office-style” refrigerators are small and provide only a little bit of space to store food and drinks. They range in size from about 1.5 to 3 cubic feet, and generally have room for a few cans of soda or water, today’s lunch, and maybe some condiments.
- Compact Midsize:
The next size up is a compact mini fridge, sometimes known as a dorm-style mini fridge. These appliances are designed to be very small and inexpensive, but have enough space to store enough groceries for a few days. These refrigerators generally have a very small amount of freezer space, but with between 3 and 5.5 cubic feet of total storage space they are often small enough to fit under a standard height countertop.
- Combo Microwave/Fridge:
For people who are looking for convenience and ease in small spaces, the combination microwave and fridge can be a great option. Combo fridges come in a variety of sizes, with fridges that range from 2 to 9 cubic feet of space, and microwaves that include everything from the basics or more advanced options.
- Apartment Size:
If you have a little bit more space, the next step up is the apartment-sized fridge, which offers slim style but is similar in height to more standard refrigerators. They generally range from about 7 to 15 cubic feet (about half the size of traditional refrigerators), but offer similar features to their full-size counterparts, such as drawers, dual-cooling air systems, temperature control, adjustable shelving, and more freezer space than compact models.
- Full Size & Commercial:
Of course, if you have the space for it, you can also choose from a wide range of full size and/ or commercial refrigerators. If you have a slightly smaller space but want the functionality of a full size fridge, many brands today offer extra narrow models of popular designs (24 to 28 inches instead of the standard 32 to 36 inches). There are a myriad of features, styles, and configurations to choose from, so it’s important to shop around before you decide on which full-size fridge is right for you.
Criteria for Choosing a Refrigerator
Now that you are familiar with the different sizes available, the next step is to figure out which one will work best for you. There are a few different things you should take into consideration when choosing your fridge.
1. Measure Your Available Space
The biggest mistake people make in shopping for a new fridge is not knowing how much space they have available. Before you go online or head to the store, take some time to measure out the exact space you have. It’s important to be precise when measuring, because getting a fridge that is even a half inch too big means it won’t fit. Measure the size of the opening, including the depth, width, and height, and figure out how much space you have for the door to swing open (nothing is more frustrating than buying a fridge that fits in your space only to find you can’t open the door).
2. Identify Your Food Storage Needs
Think about how many people you have in your home, and how much food you keep on hand at any given time. As a general rule, you should plan about 4 to 6 cubic feet of space for each adult in the apartment, although you may want to expand that if you cook a lot of fresh foods at home, or reduce it if you eat out often.
3. Consider Your Freezer Space Needs
If you rarely or never keep frozen foods in your home, you might be better off choosing a model that has a small freezer or no freezer to maximize fridge space, then get a compact chest freezer somewhere else in the kitchen. Take a look at several different models, including freezers that are on the bottom, top, and side-by-side before you buy.
4. What Features are Important
Refrigerators today come with a wide variety of features, including energy savings, temperature control, adjustable drawers, shelves and compartments, ice makers, and more. You may not be able to get every feature (and you may not need them all), so they key is figuring out which ones will be most important to you.
5. Check the Warranty
Finally, when you are shopping for fridges, don’t forget to ask about what kind of warranty it includes. You can also choose from many well-known brands, and read reviews online as well to be sure you find one that is high quality and reliable.
Maximizing your small space is the key to living well, and finding a compact refrigerator that fits your lifestyle can give you some extra space without sacrificing the comforts and amenities you want.
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