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How to Choose the Perfect Refrigerator for Your Kitchen

December 08, 2023

Are you in need of a new refrigerator for your kitchen? Choosing the perfect one can be a daunting task, considering the variety of options available. But worry not, because we have you covered!

stainless steel fridge

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know to make an informed decision. From understanding the different types of refrigerators to considering size, budget, energy efficiency, and more, we have all the tips and tricks to help you choose the perfect model for your kitchen. So, let us dive in and ensure that your kitchen stays cool and organized with the best option for you.

Size Matters: Finding the Right Dimensions

The first thing to consider when choosing a refrigerator is its size. You will need to measure the space in your kitchen where you plan to place the fridge to ensure it fits properly. Keep in mind that you will also need some extra space for the door to open and for ventilation.

Refrigerators come in a variety of sizes, from compact mini-fridges to large French door models. The most common sizes are 18-20 cubic feet for a standard fridge and 30-33 inches wide. However, if you have a smaller kitchen, you may want to consider a counter-depth fridge, which is shallower and designed to fit seamlessly with your cabinets..

It is also essential to consider the interior space of the fridge. Look for adjustable shelves and door bins to maximize storage and make it easier to organize your food. If you have a large family or like to stock up on groceries, you may want to opt for a larger fridge with more storage space.

Budget: Determine Your Price Range

The second most important thing to consider is your price range. Discuss with your partner, if applicable, and determine your budget before you begin shopping.

When browsing online, start by choosing to view models that are within your price range. This will help you determine what you can realistically afford and may narrow your options down, making the selection easier.

Type: Which Refrigerator Type Is Right for You?

Refrigerators come in a variety of styles, from traditional top-freezer models to modern French door designs. When choosing a style, consider the layout of your kitchen and your personal preferences. Here are the main refrigerator types to consider and the benefits of each.


Top-freezer refrigerators are the most common and typically the most affordable option. They have a freezer on top and a fridge on the bottom, making it easy to access your most frequently used items. However, they may not be the most convenient for taller individuals, as the fridge shelves are usually lower.


Bottom-freezer refrigerators are like top-freezer models but with the freezer on the bottom. This design is more convenient for taller individuals, as the fridge shelves are at a more accessible height. However, the freezer may be more challenging to access for those with mobility issues.


Side-by-side refrigerators have the freezer on one side and the fridge on the other, with both compartments being the same height. This design is ideal for narrow kitchens, as the doors do not require as much space to open. However, the narrow compartments may make it challenging to store larger items.

French Door

French door refrigerators have two doors on top for the fridge and a freezer drawer on the bottom. This design is becoming increasingly popular due to its modern look and convenient layout. However, they tend to be more expensive than other styles.

Energy Efficiency: Saving Money and the Environment

When choosing a refrigerator, it is essential to consider its energy efficiency. Refrigerators are one of the most energy-consuming appliances in a household, so opting for an energy-efficient model can save you money on your electricity bill and reduce your carbon footprint.

Look for models with an Energy Star rating. This indicates that they meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These models use 10-15% less energy than standard models, making them a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective option.

Get more details on the benefits of energy-efficient refrigerators here.

Brand Matters: Which Brands Are Best?

Refrigerators are a big investment. Putting your hard-earned money into a model you know will perform well for years to come is vital.

Well-known brands often have a reputation for producing high-quality and reliable products. By choosing a reputable brand, you are more likely to get a model that is durable and performs well. Secondly, established brands usually have a wider range of models and styles to choose from, allowing you to find a refrigerator that suits your specific needs and preferences.

Some of the best refrigerator brands include LG, Frigidaire, GE, Café, and Maytag. Get more details on our top recommendations in our blog post featuring the top refrigerator brands.

Style & Design: Get the Right Aesthetic

  • Aesthetic. Consider the overall aesthetic of your kitchen. The refrigerator should complement the existing design and color scheme. If you are looking for a seamless design, a built-in refrigerator or custom panel-ready refrigerator might be the right choice for you.
  • Durability and ease of maintenance of the finish. Stainless steel is a popular choice as it is durable and easy to clean.
  • Fingerprint resistance of the finish. This is a great option, especially if you have kids or pets.
  • Functionality of the style. French door models are known for their spaciousness and ease of access, while side-by-side refrigerators offer more freezer space.

Additional Features to Consider

Some refrigerators come with additional features that can make your life easier. Here are a few to consider.

Water and Ice Dispenser

A water and ice dispenser on the door of your fridge can be a convenient feature, especially if you have a large family or entertain often. However, keep in mind that this feature requires a water line, which may not be available in all kitchens.

Smart Technology

Smart refrigerators are becoming increasingly popular, with features like touch screens, voice control, and the ability to connect to your smartphone. These features can be convenient for keeping track of your grocery list, setting reminders, and adjusting the temperature remotely.


Some refrigerators have a door-in-door feature, which allows you to access frequently used items without opening the entire fridge. This can help reduce energy consumption and keep your food fresher for longer.

Multiple Cooling Zones

Select refrigerator models offer drawers or areas where you can adjust the temperature setting independently from the rest of the refrigerator. This is ideal if you need more space for specific food items.

Research: Read Reviews & Shop In-Person

Once you have narrowed your selection down to a few models, we highly recommend reading reviews online and shopping in person.

Reading reviews online can give you valuable insights into the performance, features, and durability of different models. It allows you to learn from the experiences of other customers and make an informed decision.

Shopping in person allows you to physically see and interact with the refrigerators. This allows you to assess the size, design, and functionality firsthand. By combining online research with an in-person visit to the store, you can gather all the necessary information to choose the perfect refrigerator for your kitchen. Use our location finder to find a Howard's Appliance store near you today.

Commonly Asked Questions

What are the best refrigerators for large families?

When choosing a refrigerator for a large family, it is important to consider the size and storage capacity. A side-by-side refrigerator or a French door refrigerator with a spacious interior would be a suitable choice. Read our blog post on the top-rated appliances for large families for specific model recommendations and suggestions on what to look for.

What are some signs my refrigerator is dying?

Some signs that your refrigerator may be dying include inconsistent temperature, excessive condensation, unusual noises, and a decrease in cooling performance. If you notice any of these signs, it is recommended to have your refrigerator inspected or repaired by a professional to prevent further damage and ensure its proper functioning.

What temperature should a refrigerator be?

The ideal temperature for a refrigerator is between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit (1.7 to 3.3 degrees Celsius). This temperature range ensures that perishable foods are kept in a safe and optimal condition. It is important to regularly check and adjust the temperature settings to maintain the freshness and quality of your food. Get more specific tips and guidelines and refrigeration temperatures here.

What is a counter-depth refrigerator?

A counter-depth refrigerator is a type of refrigerator that is designed to be flush with the surrounding cabinetry and countertops. Unlike a standard refrigerator, which protrudes beyond the counter, a counter-depth refrigerator offers a sleek and streamlined appearance. This type is popular in kitchens where space is limited, and a seamless look is desired.

How long do refrigerators last?

Refrigerators typically last for about 10 to 15 years, depending on the brand, model, and how well they are maintained. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the coils and replacing worn-out parts, can help extend the lifespan of a refrigerator. However, it is important to note that the efficiency and performance of a refrigerator may decrease over time, so it is recommended to consider replacing it after 10-15 years.

Shop Refrigeration at Howard's Appliance

Are you ready to purchase a new refrigerator? The experts at Howard's Appliance have over 75 years of experience matching our customers with the right refrigerators to meet their household needs. Shop our selection of French Door, Side-by-Side, Top Mount, Bottom Freezer, and specialty refrigerators online today or stop into one of our appliance store locations in Southern California.

We have 13 appliance store locations in Southern California. Use our location finder to browse our list of stores in CovinaMurrieta, Tustin, Agoura Hills, and the surrounding area.

lg fridge

LG 26 cu. ft. Smart InstaView® Counter-Depth MAX™ French Door Refrigerator

ge fridge

GE ENERGY STAR® 27.7 Cu. Ft. Fingerprint Resistant French-Door Refrigerator

frigidaire fridge

Frigidaire Gallery 21.5 Cu. Ft. Counter-Depth 4-Door French Door Refrigerator


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