Refrigerator Buying Guide

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The days of the boring old refrigerator are gone. Today, manufacturers are constantly thinking outside the icebox to bring new technologies, designs, and features into your home. Some refrigerators offer a door-in-door design, allowing you to access frequently used items from the door shelves without fully opening the fridge. You can even pull out a refrigerated drawer and find it full of cold sodas, chilled wine, or kid-friendly grab-and-go snacks.

Our refrigerator buying guide will help you choose the right type of fridge for your household in terms of configuration, size, energy consumption, and features. We also take a look at the latest refrigerator trends.

Finding the Right Refrigerator Size

Most refrigerator configurations come in a range of sizes and capacities. Always measure where you plan to put the refrigerator before you shop. And don’t forget to measure the width and height of any doorways, hallways, stairways, etc., that the new one will have to travel through to get to the kitchen. Allow room for the refrigerator’s doors to swing open and for a 1-inch clearance around the sides and back for adequate airflow.

To help you find the right size refrigerator for your kitchen, our refrigerator ratings are organized by width, allowing you to easily see the highest-rated models in the size you need. You’ll find models ranging from the standard 36 inches wide down to 24 inches. We also note the height and depth of each tested model.

As for capacity, most manufacturers recommend 19 to 22 cubic feet for a family of four. But if you do a big weekly shopping trip or buy in bulk, you may need more—up to 30 to 33 cubic feet. Note: Our tests have found that the amount of usable storage is often less than the amount claimed by manufacturers.