Choosing a New Refrigerator for Your Kitchen

A new refrigerator isn’t something we go shopping for on a regular basis. It’s important to know what your options are, as well as to consider your personal needs for features. Check out the top things you need to ask yourself when looking for a new fridge!

New refrigerator in a modern kitchen

What is your budget for a new refrigerator?

First things first – you always have to consider what budget you need to stick within for choosing a new fridge. The more bells and whistles on a fridge, the more you need to plan on spending. The most affordable option is a refrigerator with a freezer on top. Mid-range prices include side-by-side doors and bottom freezers. More expensive options include French doors and commercial models.

Not only do the types of fridge play into the cost, but you will also discover that the finish is a big part of the end price. A stainless steel finish can cost up to 30% more than the black, off-white, or white models! As expected, the larger the fridge, the higher the price. When we purchased our latest fridge, we opted to forgo the added expense of the an ice maker to purchase a black stainless steel finish to match the rest of our kitchen.

If I had known that my boys would require so much food during their teen years, I would have invested in a commercial-sized refrigerator! Once you know your needs, wants, and the budget, you can start looking at the models available.

Consider the things you DON’T love about your current fridge.

Walking into a store to choose a refrigerator can be overwhelming. Before shopping, make a list of what you don’t currently like about your fridge. This will help to narrow down the choices you have to decide between. Include your family on this discussion, too. Our previous fridge didn’t have very many options for shelving changes and made the shelf size awkward for standard products.

Are you constantly frustrated by the door shelves not having enough room for your condiments? Or do you need bigger drawers for produce? These are all things to consider when making your list!

Do you need more space?

For a family of four, Consumer Reports recommends at least a 19-22 cubic foot capacity refrigerator. If you host parties or bake/cook in large batches, you may consider opting for a larger model. Adjustable shelving is something you will want to thoroughly evaluate if space is frequently an issue.

Gallon-sized door bins efficiently help you to store milk, 2-liter bottles, and juice without taking up valuable shelf space. We go through at least a gallon of milk per week, so this was important for us when shopping! Fresh produce is an important part of our diet. The option for our drawers to have humidity controls is essential. There isn’t much worse than throwing money in the garbage!

Do you feel like you have a black hole in your fridge? Smaller products frequently end up pushed to the back and hidden behind larger items. Consider using plastic pantry organizers to hold these items. They easily slide in and out and keep the items from getting lost.

Are you wanting to update the look of your kitchen?

For years, I had a basic white fridge that was too small for our needs. But we made it work! When it came time for a new refrigerator, I wanted something that was more modern. Having kids, we decided to give the trendy smudge-proof finish a try. We have been very satisfied with the investment!

Consider the color scheme of your kitchen, as well as the finishes of wood and other appliances within your kitchen.

How often do you throw out food?

A new refrigerator can help make a big difference in how much food you are throwing out. To me, tossing food in the garbage is like setting money on fire. This is why the humidity-controlled drawers are important for our house. If your fridge isn’t organized, fresh fruits and veggies can easily become victim to the “out of sight, out of mind” concept.

Using fresh containers designed with adjustable vents which can regulate the flow of air in and out, control the humidity inside to keep your produce fresh. One of my biggest complaints about drawers is that they are often thin and easily break. These refrigerator bins are great options!

Is your fridge environmentally-friendly?

A new refrigerator with an Energy Star certification will help trim your electric bill down. Some models could help you save up to $100 a year! To help keep it running like a champ and to get the most out of your investment, it’s important to do a deep clean, inside and out, at least every few months. This includes dusting the back of the fridge, as well as underneath.

Energy Star appliances do not add to the price tag, either. So think of it as doing a favor to our world! Some states even offer tax credits after your purchase. Check with your local stores for upcoming tax-free sales.

Do you drink a lot of ice water?

If you haven’t had an ice maker or water dispenser in your refrigerator in the past, one important thing to check is how expensive the filters are to replace. I have had several friends experience sticker shock when they replaced the filters. With the constant change of models, finding the filters can also be difficult. If you haven’t previously had an ice/water line installed, this is another cost you will need to consider when purchasing a new refrigerator.

Tips for Keeping Your Fridge in Top-Working Order

  • Keep your fridge temperature between 36 and 38° F. This is typically the mid-point on your dial setting. If you want to double-check the temperature, a classic refrigerator thermometer is a great investment.
  • Protect your fridge from heat sources. If your kitchen design allows, do not place the fridge next to your stove or dishwasher.
  • Clear the clutter from the top of your fridge. The extra items trap heat inside the refrigerator and make the compressor work harder.
  • An in-door ice/water dispenser keeps you from consistently opening and closing the fridge. This adds to the efficiency!
  • Let your leftovers cool before placing them inside. Warm dishes will increase the heat inside, thus making the compressor work harder to cool everything down!

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