Buying a new refrigerator isn't something you do every day. You may only buy a refrigerator once or twice in your life, so you'll learn more about buying cars than refrigerators. That's because apartments and houses usually come with a refrigerator. As long as it fits the space and works, you probably won't replace it.
But the refrigerator in my new house doesn't work, so it's time for a new one. Unfortunately the home inspection didn't uncover the problem, although we discovered the refrigerator didn't kept things cold. Getting heat was our first priority. Now it's time for a new refrigerator, and if you're wondering how we could delay this decision – it's because we have two refrigerators. (Read: Two Kitchens and Two New Refrigerators)
Buying a Refrigerator – Where to Start
This is the sixth refrigerator we're buying, so I've got more experience than the average homeowner … but still learning. We built one house, remodeled several kitchens and had to replace a Whirlpool refrigerator because the ice maker kept creating a frozen waterfall (my husband called it Niagra Falls in miniature). Fortunately the builder warranty on the refrigerator covered about 90% of the cost of the replacement, plus we got $700 for the food we lost.
We'll always remember the San Jose kitchen remodel where we learned a lot. When we slid the new refrigerator into place, we knew we were in trouble because the refrigerator blocked the doorway into the dining room. That's when we learned that the size of your refrigerator matters a lot!
The other lesson I'm learning about buying a refrigerator is I'm not a shopper. If I could wave a magic wand and have a new refrigerator appear in my house, one that fits the space, with water and ice in the door, I'd be very happy. In fact I made the same mistake most consumers buy, I went shopping before I'd done my research and that's not a good idea.
But wait, what's the right way to buy a refrigerator? Here are the steps I recommend (and used personally to buy my refrigerator) using to make a smart, savvy purchase. You can also download my free checklist on buying a refrigerator, to save yourself some time.
- Do some online research to learn what's important when buying a refrigerator.
- Visit several websites to learn what refrigerator style appeals to you. First you want to recognize what the styles are called, which you can do on a manufacturer or retail site. Then you want to see that style in a kitchen setting on sites like Pinterest or Houzz.
- Now you're ready to visit an appliance store. Why? How the refrigerator interior is arranged is a lot more important than it's exterior look. Because I like to snack all day, on yogurt, fruits and vegetables, a French door refrigerator works best for me.
- Last, it's time to research your top choices (2 or 3 recommended) to get the best price and make sure the manufacturer and model have a good track record with respect to repairs.
Non-Negotiable Requirements When Buying a Refrigerator
There are 2 sets of criteria you'll need to consider when buying a refrigerator – things you need (non-negotiable) and things you want (features you like). The dimensions of the refrigerator are non-negotiable unless you're willing to reconfigure your kitchen. Having an external water and ice dispenser is a nice feature (my favorite) but not essential, e.g. I might pay a few hundred dollars extra but not a thousand dollars for this feature.
- Storage capacity to support your family size, how frequently you shop, your preferences for fresh versus packaged food and don't forget, you'll want a refrigerator that looks right when selling your home.
- Refrigerator dimensions to avoid having to adjust existing cabinets and/or walls. This includes both the space where your refrigerator sits, as well as enough room for the doors to swing open. Height is important too although raising/removing the cabinet above the refrigerator is easier to do.
- Energy efficiency, with EnergyStar recommended for lower electricity use and cost. As these standards change, you might find it easier to simply compare the Kwhs used when buying a refrigerator.
- Repair history so you can avoid repairs, which wastes a lot of time. Our waterfall refrigerator took five scheduled repairs before we got approval to replace it. While the extended warranty covered about 90% of the cost of the new refrigerator, it still took time to pick out a new refrigerator and schedule (twice) delivery and installation.
Buying a Refrigerator Includes Some Fun Decisions
Once you've dealt with the basics, it's time to explore the style and features you want in your new refrigerator. They all come in stainless, which represents about 70% of purchases today. Many models can be ordered in other colors although you'll probably pay the same price as stainless.
Features are one of those things where you really want to go to an appliance store and open lots of doors. We can describe them and manufacturers can share great photos. But other than videos like the one showcasing GE's new partnership, with a Keurig® coffee maker in the refrigerator door, it's hard to know what you'll like.
While it's impossible to list all the new refrigerator features you can find today, here are the ones we'll get with our new LG French door refrigerator.
- French door style so we can easily organize and find all the fruits and vegetables we eat daily.
- Ice and water dispenser in the door, which I use almost hourly.
- Dual ice makers, one in the door and a second one in the freezer with more storage capacity.
- Larger 28.8 cu ft because it's $500 cheaper than the counter depth version with 24 cu ft.
- 2014 Energy Star® compliant (not sure what this means yet) and what I really like are the new LED lights.
- Door shelves are wider, glass shelves and some of the drawers have interesting dividers but none were very important to me personally.
And here are some key factors that went into our decision to buy this particular refrigerator:
- Style as we loved our French door style refrigerator in New Hampshire.
- Purchased from a local, family owned appliance store, Spencer's in Mesa, Arizona.
- Service is provided by sister company, owned by the same family.
When Spencer's said they didn't sell Samsung because they don't have the repair parts or service infrastructure to provide good customer service, I dug a little more. Finding 2 of 3 other companies made the same decision, we picked a different brand.
Trust me, we didn't pay anything close to list price. In fact one of the great new web resources I discovered while researching which refrigerator to buy, was Shop.PriceSpider.com which provided me with this graph for the actual refrigerator I'm buying.
So if you're getting ready to buy a new refrigerator (love mine), then you'll want to download our checklist that makes it easy to compare your top choices.
Hi Tina, I am grateful that you shared these helpful tips. It would be useful information when selecting a refrigerator.
It’s a good idea to buy a refrigerator with smart features. Small refrigerators are very convenient and easy to maintain. They also keep food fresher for longer and protect perishable foods. There is a wide variety of small refrigerators available in the market. A lot of choices can be made according to the style and size of the refrigerator, so it is important to consider these factors before buying a new refrigerator.
Rohit, You’re in India & I’m sure the cost & availability of electricity is very different than the US … so I really can’t comment here as I honestly don’t know why a smaller refrigerator would keep things fresh longer?
The information you provided about the refrigerator is appropriate information as of today
These tips are really helpful when it comes to buying the right refrigerator for your home. Thanks for sharing these useful tips.
A refrigerator with a bottom freezer makes the entire chore of using a refrigerator much more ergonomic. I suggest that unless the freezer is used by you more often than the refrigerator, get one that’s on the bottom.
I agree with a freezer at the bottom of your refrigerator and now even more, I love the drawer in the middle which can be used for either frig or freezer … as that’s where I keep all my snacks.
This is great!!! I never knew that the French door style can help in organizing things in a more efficient ways. Thank you for sharing.
Agreed with the Samsung part. The brand has poor repair history and doesn’t provide friendly customer service. But anyway, Samsung has some top notch refrigerators with really cool features. BTW thanks for the awesome guide on buying a refrigerator. Everyone should consider these tips before getting a new fridge.
Well Lazy Dad, I’m about to dump my Samsung refrigerator – on 3rd ice maker which is failing & so many other problems it’s not funny. I trusted my appliance store (mistake?) and 3-year warranty to cover things but after 18 months, I’m done and will replace before I ever spend one cent on repairs.
Last dishwasher repair left me with leaks under the kitchen sink … I really don’t think Samsung has thought things through yet so I’ll be sending them my repair bill from a plumber, LOL.
Was looking for the same. Thanks for sharing these valuable tips.
choosing a fridge in 2021 is a very tough task as there are many different top fridges available in the Indian market.
thanks for sharing
Thanks for all the work you did here. I had been doing similar research and I appreciate your efforts.
Now I know how to buy a new refrigerator.
But can you suggest me some brands. It will help me to sort out the best one.
Focus on what you want from your refrigerator & that will help you find the brand that delivers those features.
very informative content. I too write about home and kitchen appliances. Thanks for sharing (:
Thanks! For this informative article. I would surely forward it to my group.
Thanks! for giving such good information. We hope to continue to find such good blogs.
Hi Tina, Thanks for sharing these valuable tips. It would help while choosing a refrigerator.
I am planning to buy a new refrigerator and i found this article to be quite useful.. thank you for sharing
Nice Article Tina Mam! Very informative post, thanks for sharing valuable content.
Great article very well written value based information.
Sunil Kumar Gupta
Nicely written article.
Keep writing more awesome posts.
Inverter technolgy has indeed revolutionized the cooling industry.
This is the biggest invention in a decade
Let’s see what the future has to unfold for us.
Yes, it will be interesting to see if India’s refrigerator inverter technology migrates to the US …
Your tips are very helping to select a best refrigerator. Kindly share ore articles like that.
Thanks for sharing this valuable information. I especially like the section Non-Negotiable Requirements When Buying a Refrigerator. It helps select a refrigerator. I am considering an inverter technology refrigerator.
I have read your full post, it has all the necessary information required to purchase a new refrigerator. But I have a question, is a 192 litre capacity refrigerator will be enough for a family of 5?
Every family has different cooking & eating habits. Some families fill their refrigerator with lots of fresh fruits & vegetables but in the US, many families rely more on frozen vegetables. As I have no idea what families eat in India, I can only suggest that you take some sample boxes to a store and see how much you can store in a refrigerator.
Now I know how to buy a new refrigerator. Thanks for sharing this.
thank you for the post…..
good information about the refrigerators thanks you very much.
Very informative article. The non negotiable section is really helpful. It gets confusing so prioritizing is important. Thanks for explaining in detail
Now I know how to buy a new refrigerator.
But can you suggest me some brands. It will help me to sort out the best one.
My preferred brand is GE for appliances based on years of home ownership. What I can tell you is make sure there is a strong network of appliance service companies where you live as I have run into appliance stores not selling a specific brand because they couldn’t commit to service due to lack of parts inventory or technicians.
Nice post about refrigerator Making sure the refrigerator fits in the space is also excellent advice. I would imagine that buying a refrigerator that will last you a long time is also something to take into consideration.
Thanks for this valuable information , i will keep these suggestion in mind when i buy refrigerator next time.
I am buying a new refrigerator for the first time and I found these tips very useful. What would be the ideal storage capacity for a family of four? We usually shop for fruits and vegetables once a week.
Pramod, I too eat mostly fresh fruits & vegetables so I suggest buying the largest capacity (don’t confuse with floor size) you can afford.
Thanks for sharing this amazing information on refrigerators. Very helpful and informative post. Thanks for sharing.
My old refrigerator not working so I planning to buy a new one. After read our article I got Idea how to choose right refrigerator thanks for it
My old refrigerator finally died, and I need ideas how to choose right refrigerator thanks for it
Thanks a lot Tina for such informative article. I was confused with multi door fridge, and then decided to buy to go for it.
Thanks a lot, Tina for creating this amazing guide on how to select the perfect refrigerator for my home. This will surely help me and my wife in bringing our home a perfect refrigerator.
Finally the kind of article that I was looking for. Inverter refrigerators consume less power and is definitely better in less energy consumption but unfortunately the cooling process is a bit slow ! Overall it is a good option to have if you can afford one.
Thanks for sharing this Article
Massive store India.
Hi Tina, In India, power failures are very frequent so, I think refrigerators with builtin stabilizers are best. They’re available in Amazon.in.
Thanks for sharing the fact that refrigerators sold in India have stabilizers to handle wide fluctuations in voltage. It brought back memories of my earlier career in technologies when computers too, needed protection from power fluctuations. I had a customer in the San Francisco Bay area who’s computer center was on reclaimed land & the power surges happened almost weekly … not fun.
Brilliant post. I love the way you have explained. Now I am confident to buy a washing machine. Thanks again!
Hi Tina, Great tips. It is better to opt for a refrigerator that comes with Inverter Technology as they consume less power and run at a constant speed. On a simple note, the higher the EnergyStar rating, the lower the power consumption. There will be 20 – 40% energy savings. Also, buyers should look at EnergyStar ratings before buying a fridge.
Vijay, Do they really do EnergyStar ratings for refrigerators manufactured in India?
Agreed, a refrigerator is a costly appliance and serves its purpose for at-least 10-12 years. So before buying we should study all its aspects. These are nice tips, thanks for sharing such useful information.
First off, I would say this is an excellent piece of information and is very helpful for people to make sure they buy the right product.
I have shared this on social media as it is worth
Either way, keep up the great work!
Indeed, finding a refrigerator with the right storage capacity is a big task.
Mack, I never worried about enough storage until the current Coronavirus pandemic. This has made freezer space much more important than ever before.
You know that in INDIA, a woman can’t buy anything without bargaining.
Suraj, I’m aware that in many countries you need to bargain for almost anything you buy. As I’ve not visited India yet, I haven’t seen this first-hand but I’m not surprised. What I do know is people who grew up learning to bargain, are much better than I am … so I always let my Vietnamese friend bargain for me if we’re together.
PS I don’t think it’s only women who have to bargain, it’s probably everyone in India needs to negotiate the price of a refrigerator they want to buy.
Incredible ! very helpful information.
Keep posting such useful tips for other products also.
Sounds good. I am interested to buy refrigerator for our home.
Thank you for your suggestion.
In my opinion, I go for the refrigerator with Inverter technology. That will save much more energy and will be slightly more expensive.
Varun, Where you live an inverter refrigerator is the right solution. In the US, they aren’t easy to find & there are no people or parts to make repairs so it simply doesn’t make sense.
I have bookmarked your website because this site contains valuable information in it. I am really happy with articles quality and presentation. Thanks a lot for keeping great stuff. I am very much thankful for this site.
In India, power failures are very frequent so, I think refrigerators with inbuilt stabilizer are best.
Yes I can agree but power outages in the US are rare, maybe once every 5 to 10 years.
Hi Tina, Wonderful article. Nowadays inverter refrigerators are better than normal ones as they consume less power and more efficient in cooling.
Yes, I know that inverter refrigerators are more energy efficient but not available in the US, except for RV vans. Here’s some discussion about inverter refrigerators in the US … and for those who want to see an inverter frig, a video about an inverter refrigerator in Australia.
Thanks for sharing this article. In my opinion, I go with that refrigerator which comes with in-built stabilizer.
Admission in Bangalore
Thank you for sharing
I have a small family, So please guide me how can I buy a suitable refrigerator.
Sorry but the refrigerators sold in the US are significantly different than those sold in India …
Really good post on this topic. Informative and it helps me to decide to buy the right refrigerator for my family. Keep your good work up.
You have written a great article about the refrigerator. This tips is really beneficial for us. Thanks for sharing this with us.
in my opinion, I go for the refrigerator with Inverter technology. That will save much more energy and will be slightly more expensive. But if you compare it in the long run then it will hardly make a difference.
I think that technology is great in countries where it’s commonly used & needed due to energy costs … but that’s not the case in the US (at least not yet).
A very well written content. I write about home and kitchen appliances too. The way you have used stats is amazing.
Finding a Refrigerator with the right storage capacity is very difficult. please suggest me right capacity for a small family.
Sorry but I don’t know what refrigerators are available for sale overseas …
Hi Tina , What about inverter technology?
I have heard that it can save 20% electricity costs.
Not sure that any invert refrigerators are being sold in the US yet (might be some for mobile homes and/or tiny houses operating on solar energy) so don’t know much about these. Read this article describing conventional vs inverter refrigerators, so you might find the information you want there … and yes, appears that inverter refrigerators use less energy & aren’t as noisy.
I liked that you mentioned you need to be clear about what style of refrigerator you like before you start shopping for one. My husband and I are thinking about buying a new refrigerator, and we are looking for advice. I will let him know about the benefits of having a clear idea of what we want before start our shopping.
I want to buy a refrigerator in Diwali, suggest me model.
Richa, I can’t suggest a refrigerator other than Energy Star rated … as it depends on your family size, what kinds of food you want to keep refrigerated and of course budget. Here’s a checklist to help you pick the one that’s best for you & your family.
Much obliged to you for this blog in this blog … and all the data provided.
Jenny, I have removed your link to another refrigerator guide as my website is not an advertising platform. Comments are meant to ask questions and expand on the information provided to benefit all readers.
Useful tips for buying refrigerator but can you please post anything like how to store food that would not make smelly.
Gosh, I know that new refrigerators try to tell you where to put things but I honestly don’t pay attention as I’m not a foodie & that’s who can make the recommendations you’re looking for. I’ve just been in my new house 2+ weeks and haven’t figured out how to organize my refrigerator … but I can tell you that all leftovers need to be very visible & grouped so they’re eaten first, or tossed on trash days.
Hi Tina, Great tips. It is better to opt for a refrigerator that comes with Inverter Technology as they consume less power and run at a constant speed. There will be 20 – 40% energy savings. Also, buyers should look at EnergyStar ratings before buying a fridge. On a simple note, the higher the Energy Star rating, the lower the power consumption. Thank you for your Great Tips!
Yes and when I started shopping for new appliances (new house) last Thanksgiving … I was shocked that Consumer Reports was promoting a refrigerator that did not have an Energy Star rating. My gut says they were paid to promote a product to clean out inventory which is really, really sad!
Good tips & loved the details. Home improvement in an important topic to discuss nowadays, so seeing how you laid things out very helpful.
Its a great pleasure reading your post. It’s full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that “The content of your post is awesome” Great work.
Thanks for such a nice compliment …
Thanks for sharing this amazing information on refrigerators. Very helpful and informative post. Thanks for sharing.
Totally Incredible Post on Refrigerator. A very well written content. Please Keep Posting Like This on Other products also.
Tina! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your articles.
Thanks for your time!
I’m looking to buy a new refrigerator, so the tips you provided were all really helpful.we are 6 members in family please suggest me right capacity of refrigerator.
This is really and amazing refrigerator buying guide. I like the two important points described above :
2. Energy efficiency
These two points are really very important to check while buying a new refrigerator.
Thanks for sharing ..
I agree with your 2 decision points. When shopping for a new refrigerator recently, I was amazed (appalled really) that Consumer Reports was promoting a refrigerator that did not have an Energy Star rating.
Thanks for sharing such an important post. and here are a few tips for buying a refrigerator
1. Find the right configuration:
2. Opt for Energy Star:
3. Get rid of your old fridge:
4. Be careful of counter-depth:
5. Use your new fridge wisely:
Thanks for mentioning … get rid of your old fridge. I should have included this in my article. When friends put their old frig in the garage, I try to explain how inefficient it is.
Thanks, This was really helpful because I want to buy a refrigerator.
Yes agreed ,it’s impossible to list all the new refrigerator features you can find today,
Nitesh, Now that I’m buying another refrigerator for the house I’m building … I focused on energy efficiency & 2 ice makers as that what I loved most about the last one.
Buying a Refrigerator is very difficult, this article helps me a lot .i read all the tips given in this article.
Thank you for sharing Tips for Buying a Refrigerator, it is very helpful for me. because I need a new refrigerator.
K K Parida
Your tips are quite good for someone picking a refrigerator for their home. Apart from the standard guidelines for choosing the right refrigerator, the food habits (cooking, baking, eating) also matter, don’t you think? One must not ignore this because I personally buy lots of stuff and can’t find space in the refrigerator to store them. My suggestion would be to consider the food habits while buying a refrigerator. Please correct me if I am wrong.
You’re absolutely right that your refrigerator starts with the quantity & types of food you’ll store there. I personally love the short bottom drawer where I keep all my snacks like yogurt, apple sauce & more. After my last purchase, I also love the dual ice makers as I like my drinks really, really cold.
Buying a refrigerator is difficult job … thanks for nice post.
Thanks, Finding a refrigerator with the right storage capacity is very difficult, but u make it easy.
It got me when you said that the person needs to know the dimension that the fridge needs to have before buying so that they can be sure that they won’t need to adjust the cabinets and such. If that is the case, then I am pretty sure there is plenty of room in the kitchen for a large fridge. Everything has been prepared in advance apparently because my brother wants a fridge with French doors. Surely that kind of fridge is large.
Tatiana, You need to check on both the width (more obvious) and the height. With my handyman business, we have several jobs where we had to remove the cabinet over the fridge and cut it down to fit a taller refrigerator. This was never easy because the homeowners only realized they had a problem 1 to 2 days before the new refrigerator got delivered.
This is some really good information about a refrigerator. It does seem like a good idea to have a French style door on one. That does seem like it would help you organize it easier. It might be smart to make sure that they can get fixed easily.
This is just great! Love your blog on the tips on buying a refrigerator. Thanks for posting this one. Keep blogging.
Love that you find the information just as useful in Australia, as it is in the US. Wondering how different our appliances are?
Hi Tina, Great tips. It is better to opt for a refrigerator that comes with Inverter Technology as they consume less power and run at a constant speed. There will be 20 – 40% energy savings. Also, buyers should look at EnergyStar ratings before buying a fridge. On a simple note, the higher the EnergyStar rating, the lower the power consumption.
Thanks & I definitely want to research the “inverter technology” you mentioned.
Great article. A lot of information shared and if someone is interested in buying refrigerator then this article will definitely help them. Thanks for sharing the information with us.
My old refrigerator finally died, and I need to buy a new one. Thank you for all the tips about buying a new refrigerator. I liked your tip about doing research online about the different kinds of styles of refrigerators. That would help narrow down my search in a store.
Good luck with your purchase as a refrigerator is a big expense so you don’t want to make a mistake … and my favorite feature is 2 ice makers
The storage capacity of the refrigerator should always be one of the first things you look into. As the article points out, you need to take the size of your family into consideration. After all, you’d want to choose a fridge that can hold enough food to feed your whole family.
The right article at the right time. Planning to buy a refrigerator next month. Thanks for sharing the information with us. It was worth reading.
This was really helpful because I want to buy a refrigerator. Thank you for your tips!
I just wanted to thank you for going over things to think about when buying a refrigerator. I’m glad you mentioned that you should check out the interior of a refrigerator and see if it will fit your needs. I’d like to learn more about different functionality designs, and some circumstances they would be more ideal for.
I’m looking to buy a new refrigerator, so the tips you provided were all really helpful. I liked your suggestion to do some research as the first step. Being able to identify what I’m looking for would help me narrow down my search to refrigerators that fit my wants.
Sorting your requirements for an appliance into those that are non-negotiable and those that you simply like sounds like a great way to get started. My husband and I need to get a refrigerator for our new house, and we and to save as much money as we can on the purchase. Your tips are really helpful for choosing a fridge that will fit in your house and meet your needs. Rather than getting a brand new one from a store like you did, I’m going to see if I can find one used to save money.
Kairi, Another way to save money if you’re flexible, is to get a new refrigerator (or any appliance) that had some damage to it during shipping so it can’t be sold for full price. Most buyers will reject this option but you might be happy with the damage & an appropriate discount … and sometimes you don’t even see the damage on the outside.
Finding a refrigerator with the right storage capacity to support your family size, how frequently you shop and your food preferences is excellent advice. Making sure the refrigerator fits in the space is also excellent advice. I would imagine that buying a refrigerator that will last you a long time is also something to take into consideration.
Yes Tiffany, my preference was to buy my refrigerator from an appliance store that has a repair company too. If you buy from Best Buy, you’re probably on your own finding someone to handle repairs although I’ve never researched this.