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5 Steps to Choosing the Right Refrigerator

August 26, 2013 7:06 pm

If it’s been a while since you shopped for a new refrigerator, you may be surprised at how much they have changed – both in style and functionality.  But a few key decisions can go a long way toward helping you choose the right refrigerator for your kitchen and your lifestyle.

Clerks at a well-known big box chain store offer six guidelines to making the right purchase:

Choose the size – Consider how much storage space you need. The average fridge for a family of four varies from about 18 to 25 cubic feet. If you entertain a lot, or tend to shop in quantity, larger is better. But also consider the outer size. Know the dimensions of the space in which the fridge must fit before you go shopping.

Choose the style – Top mount models, with the freezer on top, are the most common and least expensive, and customers may choose right-opening or left-opening doors. Bottom mounts, with the freezer at the bottom, often feature pull-out freezers. Side-by-sides, in which the fridge accounts for two-thirds of the size and the freezer one-third, are handy – but the narrow shelves make fitting some items more difficult. Today’s trendy French door models are much like bottom mounts, except that doors open from the center out. In most models, you can also choose from white, colors or stainless steel finishes.

Pick your features – Most models are available with standard, or add-on features such as adjustable shelves, ice makers, water and ice dispensers, soda can storage and more. Consider the features most useful for your family, but remember, too, that the more gadgets you choose, the more that can possibly break down.

Going green - Over the course of the past 20 years manufacturers have made tremendous gains in making home appliances more environmentally friendly and less costly to operate. Although typically more expensive to purchase, Energy Star appliances consume around 40 percent less energy than their counterparts and can save you up to $150 annually.

Consider brand and price – Most major brands are reliable, but comparison shopping is a must if price is important. Once you have determined the size and features you want, shop around, keeping in mind that dedicated appliance stores may offer more choices, while big box stores focus more on the budget-minded.

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