How To Buy a Refrigerator

Plus the 5 things you NEED to know to make sure you get the right one!

Our guide on How to Buy a Refrigerator below will take you through just some of the steps you'll want to consider when buying a new refrigerator.

There are so many options to choose from these days. Just answering all the questions can make your head spin.

  • Which refrigerator brand should I buy? 
  • What refrigerator style do I need?  
  • What refrigerator type do I want?
  • What refrigerator size do I need?  
  • Do I need a smart refrigerator?   
  • Heck what even is a smart refrigerator?
  • And most importantly, how much is the right amount to spend on a refrigerator?

We'll go through all the particulars below to help you find the best refrigerator model at the very best price with the features you want and need.

How To Buy a Refrigerator
#1 - Consider Your Budget

How to Shop for a Refrigerator - Piggy Bank

When you look up how to buy a refrigerator, the first thing you'll need to consider is just how much you can afford.

Refrigerators come in a wide variety of price ranges and quality and features can vary widely within those ranges.

But once you have a monetary figure in mind, it'll make it easier for you to determine which features are most important.

If you're like the most of us you likely don't have unlimited funds (and even if you did spending a large amount on a refrigerator seems a bit crazy). The first place to start is to decide on a number and work backward from that.

If the range you're looking at is between $2000-$5000, then you're in luck because the vast majority of refrigerators in all different styles and finishes fall into this group. 

Most family sized refrigerators like French Door Refrigerators, Bottom Freezer Refrigerators and Side by Side Refrigerators are in this range.

The brands that you will find the majority of your selection in are LG, Samsung, GE and Whirlpool dominate.

Should your budget be lower, no worries. You'll find a number of high quality Top Freezer Refrigerators in the $1000 or less range. 

Should you be looking for a high-end Built-in Refrigerator you will find it will cost above $5000, you're looking at the more premiere brands such as Viking, Liebher, and Subzero.

In this higher range you'll not only be able to find a higher quality unit, but also more customizable options and feature sets.

How to Buy a Refrigerator
#2 - Make Sure You Size it Right!

How to Shop for a Refrigerator - Tape Measure

Refrigerators come in a wide variety of sizes and capacities.  You'll want to be sure you take you available space into consideration before you make your purchase.

Trust us when we say there's no worse feeling than getting your new fridge home only to find out it's a half inch shy of fitting where you need it to go.  

That said, grab a measuring take and mark your height, width AND depth.  Seems like a no brainer, but you'd hardly be surprised if we told you most people don't bother with this step and end up back at the appliance store.  

To help minimize this, we recommend purchasing a refrigerator thermometer. 

You'll also want to pay close attention to the amount of space you'll need to accommodate both a swinging door AND pull out drawers.

Again, something few people take into consideration.  

French Door Refrigerators have two side by side doors that will open straight out (as will Side by Side Refrigerators) but you'll also want to take into account just how far out the bottom freezer drawer will come out.

Lastly, if you're in the market for a Top Freezer Refrigerator, know that you have the ability to change which side the door swings out on.

How to Buy a Refrigerator
#3 - Choosing the RIGHT Style for YOUR NEEDS

How to Buy a Refrigerator - French Door Refrigerator

When you're figuring out how to buy a refrigerator, you'll want to start by thinking about the Refrigerator Style that best fits your needs.  There are a few to choose from:

1) French Door Refrigerators:  These refrigerators have two side by side doors along with a pull out freezer drawer.  

These refrigerators have tremendous capacity and are often the best choice for families. 

Some of the drawbacks are the freezer drawer can be a bit cumbersome making it difficult to find what you need. Also while having an ice maker in the freezer is great because it can make a larger amount of ice at a time, it also limits storage capacity.

How To Buy a Refrigerator - Side by Side Refrigerator

2) Side by Side Refrigerators: 

These refrigerators have a refrigerator on one side and a freezer on the other. 

Again, these have the second best capacity and are good choices for a family. 

Some of the issues are narrow refrigerator and freezer space and limited door capacity. 

Also, the water and ice dispenser can really steal a good amount of freezer capacity.

*This model might not be for you: If you're someone who often buys frozen pizza often...this is not the refrigerator style for you. We've heard from so many people about how they can't fit a frozen pizza in their freezers and wished they would've known before they bought a side by side refrigerator.

How to Buy a Refrigerator - Bottom Freezer Refrigerator

3)  Top Freezer and Bottom Freezer Refrigerators.

Top Freezer Refrigerators are often the most economical refrigerators on the market.  

Many might refer to them as "starter refrigerators."  Their capacity and feature set is somewhat limited, but their price is very reasonable.  

French Door Refrigerators can be considered Bottom Freezer Refrigerators, but in this case we're looking at single door refrigerators with a separate freezer unit below. 

This type of model is more typical in Europe and Asia than here in the states.  

How to Buy a Refrigerator - Counter Depth Refrigerator

4)  Counter Depth Refrigerators

Counter Depth Refrigerators means exactly what you think.  The refrigerator is as deep as the counter.    

These are a perfect choice for those who might be looking for a more finished look. 

These units are flush with the countertop and give your kitchen a very modern and sleek look.  Counter Depth refrigerators are available in all the styles mentioned above.

*Even though these fridges are beautiful and often streamline your kitchen to look truly upscale, please be aware that the decreased depth also makes the storage capacity much smaller. So if you need to store more food you can either not choose the counter depth as an option or you can consider putting a 2nd fridge somewhere else in your home or garage

How to Buy a Refrigerator
#4 - Choosing Refrigerator Features You Need/Want

How to Buy a Refrigerator - Samsung Ice Maker

Before we go through a list of potential features, start to think about those features that are absolute essentials.

One of the biggest considerations when shopping for a refrigerator is the more features the fridge has, the more it will cost.  Also, there's more potential for things to break down.

Some believe in keeping it simple considering the more bells and whistles, the more possible problems. Though that's a very pessimistic way of looking at things and not really a way to enjoy life.  

We think instead you should look for a refrigerator that actually makes your life easier and in all honesty some of today's refrigerator features really are fantastic.  Many features come standard depending on which Refrigerator Style you've chosen. 

Take into consideration what you'll actually use and what you really need. Here's a few questions to consider:

  1. Do you entertain a great deal? -- You might want a large capacity refrigerator with dual ice machines.

  2. Do you have a large family? - Again, you'll want a large capacity refrigerator with multiple shelving options to store a wide variety of foods and beverages.

  3. Are you (or members of your family) looky-loos?  (Forever opening the fridge and taking forever to make a decision?) - You might consider one of the Door-in-Door options from Samsung or LG.

  4. Are you home a lot (or not)? - A Smart Refrigerator might be your best choice to help manage the inventory of your refrigerator along with being able to program temperature settings remotely.

  5. Are you more concerned with outside appearance than capacity?  You might consider a more custom made built in refrigerator.  One that can be adjusted to best suit your particular design choices.

  6. Are you someone who eats more produce than meat?  You might want to consider buying a refrigerator with a ´╗┐Linear Compressor´╗┐.  Where a normal compressor is on all the time and blasts cold air at 100% or 0% while a linear compressor adjusts the temp level and air flow as conditions require.

    This type of unit will help keep your vegetables and fruits fresher longer.

How to Buy a Refrigerator
#5 - How Much Can I Expect to Pay?

When shopping for a refrigerator, you'll want to have a rough idea of the range of prices so that you can quickly shift into the styles that meet your budget.  Here's a quick handy reference below.  

This is not definitive by any level, but this will give you a rough range that most model will fall under.

How to Buy a Smart Refrigerator



How to Buy a French Door Refrigerator

French Door


How to Buy a Side-by-Side Refrigerator

Side by Side


How to Buy a Bottom Freezer Refrigerator



How to Buy a Top Freezer Refrigerator



How To Buy a Refrigerator´╗┐

When you're considering how to shop for a refrigerator, you'll want to keep the following in mind as you do:

  1. Know Your Budget --  When you are shopping for a refrigerator, you'll first want to know your budget.  Refrigerator prices have quite the range so know what you can afford before you fall in love with something you can't.

  2. Measure Twice, Buy Once -- Again, know the space you have allotted for your refrigerator before you even pull out your credit card.

  3. Choose Your Style - Depending on your capacity needs and the style of your kitchen, you'll want to know the style of your refrigerator before you start shopping.

That's pretty much it!  Keep these tips in mind when you shop and you'll soon realize you know how to shop for a refrigerator better than anyone!

How to Buy a Refrigerator
COVID-19 Update

With the effects of the Covid-19 shut downs, we thought it was important to update this article a bit.

When shopping for a fridge it's important to remember that as of this writing there are still chip shortages, steel shortages and even freon shortages.  The model you want may not be available for quite some time.

So either have patience and understanding as much as possible or be ready with a 2nd, 3rd and 4th option during this challenging time.

You might consider purchasing a spare refrigerator or even a chest freezer if you can't find the refrigerator you want in the short term.

Recent Articles

  1. LG, Bottom Freezer, LDC22720ST

    May 02, 24 01:00 AM

    Bought an LG Bottom freezer refrigerator from a well known explanation point department store. And purchased the 10 year warranty for major components.

    Read More

  2. Is it safe to set a full size refrigerator on carpet?

    Jan 18, 24 05:18 PM

    I have a full size refrigerator with top freezer. Is it safe to run it setting on a carpeted floor, if not what can I put under it? The unit is brand

    Read More

  3. What's a good 18 cu.ft. outdoor refrigerator - freezer?

    Jan 18, 24 05:09 PM

    Can you give me some info on the brands that are available?

    Read More