Types, Features and Shopping Tips
Manufacturers of Refrigerators are currently in an economic crunch. But the good new there is that tough times for them mean bargain prices for you.
Refrigerators in general have come a long way in a very short while. The features have become more impressive, the efficiency has greatly increased, and the prices (more or less) have been moving steadily downward.
In fact, features such as spill-proof shelves, ice-makers and 'gallon jug door storage' that were once relegated to only high end models can be found in even the lower end top freezer models.
Depending on your budget, you might just find you can afford a much better model than you first thought. Take the time to shop around both online (using resources such as this site) and by going into the stores.
You'll see there is a marketable difference in quality from brand to brand and model to model. This is a major kitchen appliance and can be a scary purchase for most consumers and one you typically only make about once every ten years, so you want to be sure the model you choose is the best one for you.
Brands of Refrigerators
Your first question might be to try to figure out which is the best brand? This is tougher to answer than you think, because even though there are a HUGE number of brands out there, there are really only a handful of manufacturers.
In fact Whirlpool is probably the LARGEST of the manufacturers, making units for everyone from Amana to Kenmore to Maytag. So, what it really comes down to is choosing a price range you're comfortable with and a model that has the features and styling that you desire and best suits your needs
That said, here's a list of some of the more Popular Brands. If you notice a brand missing from this list, please CONTACT US and we'll try to include it.
Types of Refrigerators
Here are a few of the major types of refrigerators to choose from. Which type you choose will depend on the amount of storage you need AND the amount of kitchen space you have available.
- Top Freezer: These are typically the most affordable models ranging from $300-$1000. They are also wider than most Side by Side models. However, the freezers have one to two shelves and with the addition of an ice-maker, are not very spacious.
- Bottom Freezer: There are two types of Bottom Freezers: Single Door and French Door. Single Door fridges are usually the same storage space as most top freezer models, where French Door fridges offer a much wider space (typically between 30-36") and higher end design and features. Single Door bottom freezers are typically between $600-$1400 whereas French Door fridges can be as low as $1,000 on up.
- Built In: Built In Refrigerators tend to be more expensive as these models are designed to be flush with existing cabinetry and counter tops and often come with customized front panels that help it blend in seamlessly with other kitchen elements. They aren't as spacious as many other fridges out there, but there are a number of new 36" wide fridge only and freezer only models (from higher end brands like Liebherr, Viking and SubZero) that are resolving this issue. These units typically range from $3,500-$10,000.00.
- Side by Side: These were the most common family fridges for decades until the advent of the French Door fridge. However, Side by Sides still provide ample storage space and high end styling that appeals to most consumers. There are a HUGE number of quality models to choose from at prices ranging from as low as $800 to as high as $5,000.00.
- Compact Fridge: These cover everything from Apartment Sized to Mini-Fridges. If your food storage needs are minimal, these are an option to consider as these models can start as low as $50.
Refrigerator Shopping Tips
To get a complete breakdown of things you should know before shopping for your next fridge, be sure to check out our Buying Guide. But here are a few tips in the interim to help you now:
- Efficiency: Efficiency is often overlooked as an important feature to consider when shopping for a new fridge. The more efficient the model, the better not only for the environment, but for your wallet over time. So, take Energy Efficiency into consideration.
- Cleaning: Consider how easy (or difficult) the unit will be to clean. Stainless for example is beautiful -- until it's touched by human hands. If this is a concern for you, make sure to look for models that don't need constant maintenance. Internally, look for features like spill-proof shelves and vinyl coatings on the door sections.
- Time Saving Features: You want to find those features that not only help the organization of the fridge but that will save you time over the long haul. Split/Half Shelves, Pull outs and Crank Shelves will help you locate food items with ease rather than having to constantly reorganize your fridge.
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