Saturday, December 19, 2009

Deciding on a Refrigerator

We now have our new Refrigerator installed. It’s lovely and HUGE! You wouldn’t think two people would need so much space in a refrigerator, but we’ve filled it to the brim already. We chose a Samsung 28.5 cu.ft. stainless steel French door with bottom freezer model. The best part about it as I never have to make ice again. It pumps out 4.5 lbs of ice per day!RFG297AARS_medium_20080725


Being the diligent designer that I am, a lot of research was done prior to choosing this model. I thought I’d share some of my findings with you.

Refrigerators made after the end of April 2008 must be 5 percent more efficient to qualify for an Energy Star emblem. But despite advances, refrigerators still use more electricity than any other kitchen appliance because they're always on. The familiar yellow EnergyGuide labels and Energy Star symbols are a useful guide, but not necessarily the only thing you should consider when making your purchase. There are many types/models of refrigerators out there, each offering their own pros and cons. I’ve listed them below along with the most common and useful options available.


Top-freezer refrigerators


These are the traditional type, dating back to the earliest refrigerators. Widths typically run from about 30 to 33 inches. Manufacturers claim up to 22-cubic-foot capacities, but usable capacity is typically 20 percent lower by our measurements. Typically, these models offer the most storage for their size. Since they have fairly wide shelves, it makes it easy to reach all the way to the back. The downside is you have to bend to reach the bottom shelves and drawers.

Bottom-freezer refrigerators


Sales of bottom-freezer Refrigerators are the fastest growing. Widths run from 30 to 36 inches with claimed capacity of up to 26 cubic feet. The bottom-freezers offer eye-level storage and the French-door models provide space-saving narrow door swing of a side-to-side and the ability to open only half the refrigerator when retrieving smaller items. Although you have to bend down when using the freezer, this isn’t typically done as often as accessing the refrigerator.

Side-by-side refrigerators


A vertical, full-length split places the freezer on one side and refrigerator on the other. Side-by-sides typically come with through-the-door ice and water dispensers, temperature-controlled bins, and rapid ice-making cycles. Widths are typically 32 to 36 inches. Claimed capacities are up to 30 cubic feet, but only about 65 to 70 percent is usable. The narrow doors are a plus in a tight kitchen, however; most door don’t open wide enough for a pizza box or other wide items.

Cabinet-depth refrigerators


This type gives you the look of a built-in but for less money. Because the refrigerator is the same depth of your cabinets you achieve a very streamlined look throughout your kitchen. Most come as side-by-sides, but top- and bottom-freezers and French-door models are available. Claimed capacities reach up to 21 cubic feet, but far less than that is usable. The cabinet-depth models have less usable space than the deeper free-standing models, but they cost significantly more.

Refrigerator drawers


These are among the latest luxuries for kitchens where even the biggest refrigerator simply isn't enough. They can mount under a cabinet or in a kitchen island and are ideal for storing drinks and other specialized items. They don’t cost as much to run as their larger counterparts, but that’s because of their limited capacity. Refrigerator drawers are large on price and small on space, leaving them to the elite in kitchen design.


Once you have selected a type of refrigerator that you would like you should consider what options are important. Below are some of the most common and useful on the market:

  • Adjustable door bins and shelves
  • Elevator shelves
  • Full-extension drawers
  • Pullout shelves or bins
  • Split shelves
  • Shelf snuggers
  • Temperature controlled drawers
  • Through the door water and ice dispenser
  • Water filter

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