A Guide to Refrigerators:

What To Know When Considering a Refrigerator

A refrigerator is relied upon to keep food and beverages fresh, organized and accessible. In some cases, they may also be considered the centrepiece of a kitchen.

You may find shopping for a fridge daunting; there are a lot of options on the market, each with their own set of features, and you should give thought to size and capacity to find the right fit for your kitchen and household.

A fridge is typically a major purchase. This guide will explore exciting features and innovative configurations to help get you closer to making a decision.

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Things to Consider when Purchasing a Refrigerator

  • What is your budget?
  • How big is your household?
  • What is your kitchen configuration?
  • What is your kitchen's design aesthetic?

Do you Know the Size of the Space for your Fridge?

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There isn't one standard refrigerator size. When shopping for a new fridge, you need to understand the space you have to work with. After deciding where it will go, consider the following:

  • Height restrictions
  • Width restrictions
  • Depth restrictions
  • Swing space
  • Path of delivery

Standard Fridge Size

Full-Size refrigerators can range from 6 to 34 cu. ft. A family refrigerator is commonly between 18-26 cu. Ft.

How to Measure Fridge Size

You want to ensure your new fridge is the right fit for your kitchen. To do so, carefully measure the space designated for your fridge. Keep in mind that models come in different widths and heights.

Always check and follow your product use and installation instructions, as it is your primary source of information.

Six Steps to Measure for Fit

1) Select the type of fridge you want.

These are the average size for each type. Make sure you check the specific dimensions of the fridge you intend to buy.

2) Measure depth.

Depth is a consideration for style & design of your kitchen’s setup. If you have more space and capacity is your primary concern, full/standard depth refrigerators may be a good option, but may extend beyond your counters by approximately 6”-8” (Or more, depending on manufacturer).

If you have a tighter kitchen configuration and you will likely need to maximize your aisle space, counter-depth generally offers a more sleek solution. Free standing counter-depth may extend beyond your counters by approximately 4”-5” (or more, depending on manufacturer”. Built-in counter-depth is commonly virtually flush depending on model design.

If your kitchen features an island, measure the area in front of the fridge to ensure that doors and drawers can open without interference.

3) Measure width.

Measure from wall to counter, cabinet to cabinet or whatever may be on either side of your refrigerator space. If your fridge will be located next to a wall, leave space between the wall and the hinge side of the door so it can freely swing open, typically about 2.5” (please refer to the Use & Care guide to ensure you have the minimum clearance requirements) . Additionally, measure the area in front of the fridge to confirm that the doors and drawers will be able to completely open.

4) Measure height

If there are cabinets above your cutout, measure from the floor to the bottom of the cabinets.

5) Consider ventilation

You may need to add some space on each side and up top to allow enough room for proper ventilation, this will be referred to in the manufacturer’s Use & Care guide.

6) Map a path prior to delivery

From the entrance to your kitchen, measure the width of every hallway and doorway to make sure your new fridge can safely reach its destination. Consider the temporary removal of any doors or trim to create extra room.

Some helpful reminders:

  • Always follow your appliance use and care and installation instructions, as they are your primary source of information.
  • The best advice is to always measure twice.

Free-Standing vs. Built-in Refrigerators

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Freestanding fridges

offer both counter-depth options to meet your style and storage needs. They are typically easier to install and are generally more affordable than a built-in model. Typically, no custom cabinetry is required for free-standing refrigerators. Most common configurations are: Top Mount, Bottom Mount, Side-by-Side and French Door.

KitchenAid Built-In Combination Wall Oven Stacked Suite

Built-in fridges

are commonly more integrated with kitchen cabinetry. Many consider these types of fridges to be a visual statement for a kitchen. Some models can allow a flush install and/or panel ready options to give a fully integrated look with your cabinetry. When shopping for built-in models keep in mind custom designed cabinetry is likely required. Generally, built-in models can often be significantly higher priced than free standing models.

Generally, built-in refrigerators come in widths between 32" - 48" and wider. They are usually taller and wider than freestanding models, allowing owners to maximize capacity given the shallow depth. Built-in fridges come in a variety of styles like French Door, Bottom Freezers and Side-by-Side. Some are available with ice-making and water dispensing options.

Common Styles

Refrigerators offer a variety of style options to help meet the needs of your household.

Top-Freezer vs. Bottom-Freezer

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Top-Freezer fridges

are designed with the freezer on top and a single door fridge on the bottom. This option allows for convenient access to the freezer by storing frozen foods closer to eye level. Depending on your kitchen layout and/or preference, some models have a reversible swing door option. This means the door can open to the left or to the right. KitchenAid does not offer Top-Freezer Models

KitchenAid Built-In Combination Wall Oven Stacked Suite

Bottom-Freezer fridges

have a single door fridge on top and a freezer at the bottom, allowing for convenient access to the fridge and the ability to store items like fruits and vegetables closer to eye level. The top compartment usually offers a single door, which can be helpful for storing items of different sizes like beverages or condiments. Additionally, bottom freezers may come with baskets, bins or pullout trays to store and organize frozen items.

KitchenAid Built-In Double Oven In Modern Kitchen

French Door

configuration features two side-by-side fridge doors that swing open and. freezer drawer at the bottom. The freezer offers easy access via a pull-out drawer located at the bottom. These models typically have ample shelving and door bins that offer flexible storing options to organize your fresh and frozen foods. You can choose from common 3, 4 or 5 door options. Some people may find that the split doors can be better suited for certain smaller kitchens or those with an island.

KitchenAid Built-In Combination Wall Oven Stacked Suite

Side-by-Side

is where the freezer and refrigerator are situated next to each other vertically. Generally, this offers convenient eye-level access to both compartments. This option can provide efficiency and organization in the form of flexible shelving and door storage. Side-by-Side refrigerators often offer a high level of visibility with shelves, bins or baskets. They are typically offered in a variety of width, depth and capacity options to fit your kitchen's layout.

Finishes & Fingerprint-Resistant Options

Many people want to choose a style that suits their preferences and the look of their kitchen.

Finishes range from black and white to stainless steel in different hues. For finishes that can be wiped clean with relative ease, consider one that is fingerprint resistant.

Counter-Depth Models

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Counter-depth refrigerators are shallower than standard depth refrigerators, and are typically available in French Door, Side by Side and Two Door Bottom Mount refrigerator formats. The depth may range from being flush to your countertops to approximately 4-5" deeper than your countertop.

Consider, if your refrigerator is placed in front of an island, a counter-depth model may allow more space for the door swing making it less likely that they will bump into the island.

Undercounter Refrigerators and Beverage and Wine Centres

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Undercounter refrigerators

can effectively store food and beverages. These models often have features like reversible doors, temperature-controlled zones and spill-proof shelves.

Beverage and wine centres

are undercounter refrigerators specifically designed to reach recommended temperatures for wine and craft beer. These are often used in households as a secondary fridge for soda, water and other beverages.

Freezerless

Whereas a typical fridge divides the cooling abilities between compartments, Freezerless or All-refrigerator models use the entire volume solely for refrigeration. This is an ideal option for households with a separate full-size freezer or for those who tend to store large amounts of fresh food.

KitchenAid does not offer freezerless refrigerators

Ice/Water Dispensers

Certain types of fridges have the ability to dispense filtered water and ice. This requires an available water line that hooks up to your fridge.

External Dispensing vs. Internal Dispensing options:

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External Water and/or Ice Dispenser

offers convenience as the dispenser is located on the outside of the refrigerator so you don't have to open the door to access it.

Internal Water and Ice Dispensers

ocated inside the refrigerator. The ice dispenser works via the icemaker in the freezer that dispenses ice into a bin where it is kept for easy access.

Internal water dispensers are located on the inside of the fridge, this is an option for those who prefer a cleaner look on the exterior, while still enjoying filtered water.

LED Lighting

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Several models today have LED lighting in the interior of the refrigerator. LED lights typically use less energy than traditional incandescent refrigeration lighting, which will significantly extend the time before replacement is required.

LED lighting also offers brighter lighting which helps items in your refrigerator stand out more & makes the viewer experience easier. Lastly, LED lights emit less heat than an Incandescent bulb, helping to maintain a more consistent temperature in your refrigerator.

Water Filters

Some models are equipped with a water filter. Most models recommend changing the filter every six months and some have an indicator that will let you know when it needs to be changed.

Water Source

If you choose a model that has a water and/or ice dispenser, you will need access to a water supply to properly install the fridge.

Noise

Refrigerators are not assigned a sound rating.

Here are some common sounds that a refrigerator might make:

Buzzing - could be the water valve opening to fill the icemaker. Pulsating - may be the fans/compressor adjusting. Hissing/Rattling -may be heard when there is the flow of refrigerant, movement of water lines, or from items placed on top of the refrigerator. Sizzling/Gurgling - may occur when water drips on the heater during the defrost cycle.

Connectivity

Some smart refrigerators are Wi-Fi enabled. Via a display so you can access certain apps and calendars, record notes, search recipes and more.

KitchenAid does not have have refrigerators with Connectivity.

Specialized Storage and Capacity

Capacity, measured in cubic feet (cu. ft.), often plays a role in purchasing a fridge.

Many people give thought to the following:

  • The size of the household and the typical amount of groceries purchased every month.
  • What fridge or freezer items may they want quick access to?
  • Would a model with extra storage be useful?
  • Is space needed for extra tall items or to keep large platters cold. If so, might a French door or side-by-side model be a good option as both offer some form of specialized storage?

Food Freshness

Here are some features designed to help keep refrigerated food fresh:

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Humidity control drawers

These drawers are available in a variety of sizes and quantities. Typically, they are designed to allow you to adjust the humidity level of each compartment. If used properly, they may keep your produce fresh for a longer period of time.

Temperature controls

These controls allow you to adjust the coldness level of specific areas of your fridge to provide storage for meat, fish, vegetables and beverages. Normally, these controls are available for crispers.

Organization

An organized fridge can help make your daily life that much easier. Here are some features to look for that may provide more flexibility options:

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Adjustable shelving and/or bins: This provides flexibility when storing items of varying heights like jars of sauces, juice containers, party platters or milk cartons.

Large Door Bins: Offers a deeper door bin to allow for larger items like milk jugs, juice cartons and condiment jars.

Extra spaces like pantry drawers, deli shelves, and temperature-control drawers help store common refrigerated food items. These features offer additional options to separate and organize your refrigerator and store items at the desired temperature.

Tiered shelving inside the freezer may improve the storing and retrieval of frozen food items.

Shop Popular Models

Refrigerator Ratings

Start your search by reviewing our top rated refrigerators:

Where to Buy a Refrigerator?

Most major appliance retailers typically carry a variety of refrigerators. Check out our store finder to find a location near you: