Fridge Buying Guide

Before You Buy: Fridge Shopping Essentials

There are many styles, brands and features to choose from when selecting a new refrigerator.  We list the essentials for getting right measurements as well as helpful information on styles that will help you select the best fridge for your home and family’s needs. 

MEASUREMENTS

Taking accurate measurements is critical. Fridges today are not the same measurements as they were 5 or even 10 years ago.  A ¼ of an inch can make a significant difference in the brands and models that will fit in your existing space. 

The first and most crucial step before you begin your shopping expedition is to determine the size of the space your new fridge will reside in. Take out your measuring tape and record the height, width and depth of the space your current fridge resides in – not the size of your current fridge. Bring these measurements with you when you visit the showroom.  

        Step one: Measure from the floor to the bottom of the kitchen cabinetry.  This is the total height of the opening space

        Step two: Measure the opening width which is the entire space or opening your current fridge sits in. 

        Step three: Measure from the back wall to the front of the kitchen cabinetry face. Jot down if there is a wall on either side of your fridge that extends beyond your existing fridge door.

SWING

Do you like the way your fridge currently opens and works in the space?   When you’re facing the fridge, what side are the fridge hinges located on?   Jot this down on the same page as your measurements.

TYPES

Top Mount Fridge

Top Mount: This fridge has been the mainstay of kitchens for decades, with the freezer at eye level and the fresh food compartment on the bottom.  This model is the most cost-effective but demand for this style has slowed – causing manufacturers to limit the options and colours available in this type. 

Bottom Mount Fridge Bottom Mount: As the name suggests, this is similar to the top mount model – only in reverse. Here the fridge sits above the freezer compartment, meaning the most commonly used items tend to be at eye level.  A bottom mount fridge places the more commonly used fridge section at eye level and chest level. This allows you to easily find and reach frequently-used food and drink items. Vegetable crispers are usually in plain sight, which means you'll be less likely to forget the food you store in the drawers until it's way too late.
French Door Fridge French Door: A combination of the side-by-side and the bottom-mount fridge, this model is compartment heaven for any budding chefs out there. Two doors swing outwards from the fresh food compartment, while the freezer is located underneath. These fridges can store goods of all sizes, with wide shelves that can fit pizza boxes, lamb shanks and whatever else you want to keep cool

STYLES

Standard Depth:  Chances are, the refrigerator you grew up with was a standard refrigerator. It probably had a freezer on top (Top Mount).  Standard depth fridges nowadays are most commonly available with a freezer on the bottom (Bottom Mount), with a maximum available width of 33 inches. They run about 35 or 36 inches in total depth, with the door and handles attached. This creates a unit that sticks out visually and physically, rather than blending in with the surroundings.

Counter depth (also referred to as cabinet depth) refrigerators are a slimmer option that provides a more streamlined look. Just the door of the fridge protrudes into the kitchen.  One point of clarification: though they’re called counter depth, most models in this category are around 28 inches deep, so they do protrude a bit past the edge of the countertop. These have become the favorable fridge style; however, they cost a bit more than a standard depth model.   

Built-in refrigerators are popular among homeowners who love a seamless, high-end kitchen design. Built-in fridges are generally taller than standard or counter depth models, although they are limited to cabinet depth (24 inches) so they can be installed seamlessly flush with kitchen cabinetry. They come in many different sizes and can be as wide as 48 inches. Built-in refrigerators offer the best food preservation technology and are typically built to last the longest.  As a result, this type is the most expensive style in the marketplace.