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Updated refrigerator buy guide

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Panel-ready integrated appliances, such as this classic side-by-side refrigerator, are a clever way to improve optics in the kitchen. White perimeter cabinets pop against the green-tinted quartzite island countertop. A bleached walnut range hood matches the kitchen island. Beyond, a large, double window brings in natural light and the outside greenery.

What you should look for when buying a refrigerator

A look at the latest innovations and designs in refrigeration, plus tips for finding the perfect style for your family. Learn more about the latest innovations in refrigeration, from seamless integration and endless options for customization to opulent finishes and smart-tech-enabled upgrades.

How long should a good refrigerator last?
Appliances are the definitive workhorses in any kitchen. This is especially true of the refrigerator, which you count on at all hours of the day to keep food chilled and fresh. While it’s true that the main reason for your refrigerator is preserving food, you’ll be amazed by the latest features, styles, and storage solutions available.

Whether you are buying a refrigerator for the first time or replacing an existing one, keep in mind that with proper care and maintenance, it is a long-term investment. Although there is no particular life expectancy for a new refrigerator, most consumers replace their freestanding refrigerator every 8 years for freestanding, or built-in refrigerator every 16 years.

What size refrigerator should I buy?
When shopping for a new refrigerator, capacity is an important consideration. The key is to get the right size to store enough food for you and your family. Refrigerator space is measured by cubic feet. An average family of four should buy a refrigerator with at least 22 cubic feet of storage.

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Here are some extra tips:

  • Measure up: Take several measurements to ensure that you get the right size for your home.
  • Breathing room: Consider space for the door to swing open 90 degrees, plus space for hinges, cleaning, and leveling. A French door or side-by-side refrigerator are good choices for narrow clearance.
  • Location, location: The best placement is in an area that is not overly exposed to heat from other appliances.
  • High energy: Make sure you have the proper electrical connection. A standard 115-volt, 60 Hz. AC only, 15 or 20 amp fuse, grounded electrical supply is required. It is recommended that a separate circuit serving only your refrigerator be provided.
  • Hydration station: Most modern refrigerators supply ice and/ or water so there must be a connection to a water supply on the rear of the unit to use this feature.

Think about your family’s needs now and in the future so you select a refrigerator that will fit your lifestyle for many years to come. Use the following information to help you make the best decision.

Are stainless refrigerators still popular?

Which style of refrigerator is best?

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(Which style of refrigerator is best?)

There are many different styles of refrigerators on the market, so your selection will come down to your personal preference. Think about your food buying habits. If you shop infrequently and stock up on frozen foods, you’ll need more freezer space. If you buy a lot of fresh foods, you’ll want easy access and storage space in the refrigerator. Think about your family. Do you have children or family members in a wheelchair that need access at a lower level? Answers to these questions will help determine the best style for you.

Top Refrigerator Trends 2019

Counter Depth Refrigerators

  • A counter depth refrigerator gives you a built-in look at a more affordable price. Counter depth are freestanding refrigerators with a shallower depth (casement less than 24’’) and therefore less capacity (on average 22 cu.ft.) that allows the refrigerator to sit more flush with the surrounding cabinetry.
  • Counter depth refrigerators can be configured as French-door, side-by-side, or top freezer refrigerators.

All-refrigerator and All-freezer Columns

  • Seperate all-refrigerator and all-freezer units allow more room for fresh and frozen food.
  • Columns are typically more expensive and are often paired together.
  • All-refrigerator and all freezer columns are usually built into the kitchen, but freestanding columns can be found in a garage or pantry for extra storage.

Under Counter Refrigerators

  • Since shallow depth refrigerators are very popular today, many consumers are opting for additional under-counter refrigerator capacity.
  • Under counter refrigerators, freezers, beverage centers, wine coolers, and ice makers are a great way to get extra capacity and elevate the look of your kitchen.
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The most energy-efficient refrigerators

If you’re shopping for a new appliance, it’s important to make sure you look at the Energy Guide label. That’s the yellow tag you’ll find attached to most appliances that lets you know how much energy an appliance uses. The more energy efficient an appliance is, the less it costs to run, and the lower your utility bills might be. By using less energy, you can help reduce air pollution and conserve natural resources.

Help yourself (and help save energy and water) by cashing in that clunker and upgrading to a new Energy Star ® appliance.

Earning the Energy Star ® means products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. By choosing Energy Star ® is is easy for you to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that help save on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features and comfort.

What features to look for when buying a new refrigerator?

New refrigerators have plenty of special features and innovations that can make life easier. When you’re looking at different models, think about what features are right for you. From convenience to storage options, to conserving energy, the features you select will depend on what you are looking for in a refrigerator.

Today’s refrigerators are equipped with a myriad of helpful features, from temperature controls to Wi-Fi-enabled enhancements. Here, we break down some essential characteristics.

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  • Adjustable shelves: Offer increased storage capacity as well ass better visibility of stored items at all levels.
  • Climate-controlled drawers: Enable you to specify the temperature and control the humidity, while full-extension drawers offer convenient access.
  • Electronic temperature controls: maintain humidity and temperature levels.
  • Sliding shelves: Allow easy access to items typically out of reach or to make room for tall items.
  • Designer / LED lighting: Provides bright, energy-efficient light in both the fridge and freezer.
  • Full-width pantry drawers: Keep large trays of food cold for entertaining. Transparent drawers make it easy to see what you have stored.
  • Door alarm: Sounds when the door has been open for three minutes.
  • Adjustable door storage bins: Save shelf space and are more versatile than ever.
  • Oversize freezer baskets and sliding drawers: Make organization and storage easy.
  • Hidden ice maker: Saves freezer space and makes ice without the hassle of refilling ice trays.

Once a convenience feature for a quick glass of water or ice, today’s technology has so much more to offer. Take a look at how far through-the-door dispensers have evolved and you’ll see many new easy-to-reach choices to enjoy.

  • A fully filtered external ice and water dispenser provides water with a clean, fresh taste.
  • A hot water dispenser lets you make your favorite hot drinks exactly how you like them. It provides precise temperatures and measurements.
  • The precise fill setting allows you to fill a water bottle or add water to a recipe, dispensing an exact amount with just a touch.

What can smart fridges do?

It’s not only about shelves and capacity. Major breakthroughs in tech innovation include features such as self-diagnostics, streaming media, maintaining schedules and smart-home integration.

A refrigerator is considered smart if it incorporates technology to enhance your life in a meaningful way. From your phone or home automation device, you can adjust the temperature and monitor refrigerator performance. Some models give you more functions such as the ability to sync with your calendar or view the inside of your refrigerator from your phone. Benefits vary from brand to brand but read for a few key advantages.

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  • Reduce clutter: Family photos, event invitations, chore schedules, and kids' projects can be projected on the refrigerator. This will reduce clutter and keep your kitchen looking pristine.
  • Never miss a play: Say you're watching your favorite sports team on TV in the living room. When you're called to the kitchen to clean the dishes, with Samsung Electronics, you can take the game with you from your TV to your Smartphone, and then to your Family Hub refrigerator. You'll never miss a play and your partner will be happy you helped.
  • Conserve energy: We've all done it, stood in front of the refrigerator with the door wide open debating what we want to make. Now you can take a look inside your refrigerator without opening the door. With the LG instaview refrigerator, you can knock on the front and see the inside.
  • Monitor the health of your refrigerator: Remote diagnostics is one of the most powerful innovations in the appliance industry. It benefits the manufacturers and homeowners alike.

How to shop for the best high-end refrigerator:

When comparing high-end refrigerator brands, look for these important qualities:

  • A stainless steel interior is beautiful and functional. Modeled after refrigeration found in restaurants, a stainless interior is more sanitary and keeps the entire refrigerator cold, even the door.
  • Look for the option of seamless integration to your cabinetry. Many high-end refrigerators can either be covered in stainless steel or covered to match your cabinets. They are designed to be installed completely flush with your cabinetry; some columns even open without handles.
  • Check for multiple temperature zones to store food optimally. For example, fruit should not be stored at the same temperature as meat.
  • Some high-end refrigerators offer remote diagnostics, meaning they can monitor their own performance. Certain models can send a push notification if the door has been left open.
  • Other high-end upgrades include gliding crisper drawers, sturdy door bins, adjustable shelves, and LED lighting.
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Introducing columns: the best high-end refrigerators

Columns are modular all-refrigerator, all-freezer and wine storage appliances that can be mixed and matched to fit preferences and kitchen design. Columns give you the opportunity to select how much space to allocate for fresh food, frozen food or even wine storage. Columns can either be installed together or apart.

  • Everyone buys food differently. Perhaps you belong to a farm-share program and require additional space for produce. Think about your food needs. If you’re a fresh foodie with limited space, install your refrigerator where it’s most convenient and set up your freezer in a separate area.
  • Elevate the look of your kitchen by incorporating a wine column. If you’re proud of your wine collection, why keep it in the basement?
  • If you have a young family and need more freezer storage, consider a column, which gives you the freedom to decide how much capacity you want.
  • A great option for small spaces and downsizing

What are the best appliances for entertaining?

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Make hosting easy with these upgrades.

Wine dispenser: Do you enjoy your wine but don't feel the need to drink it all in one sitting? The Dacor wine dispenser uses Argon gas to preserve the initial quality and taste for up to 60 days.

Wine columns: If you're a wine enthusiast you'll want to show off your collection. Consider a wine column with up to three zones. Wine columns can also be combined with refrigerator and freezer columns for an upscale look.

Clear icemaker: Clear ice is flavorless and will keep your drinks colder for longer without watering them down. Whether your favorite drinks call for crushed or cubed, there are several options to choose from. Icemakers can produce up to 70 pounds of ice per day, which far exceeds the production of your refrigerator.

Built-in kegerator: If you're a beer connoisseur, enjoy your favorite brew on tap with a kegerator. It's a welcome addition to your outdoor patio, bar, or media room.

What is the best refrigerator for a small kitchen?

There's no longer a one-size-fits-all approach to refrigerators. Today, it's easy to find the perfect fit for any space.

Every kitchen is different. In many spaces, it’s challenging to commit to a big side-by-side refrigerator, so consider these options.

In the past, if you wanted a high-end product you had to buy a large built-in refrigerator. If fitting a large refrigerator into your home is a challenge, consider columns. Since the appliances ship separately, you might be able to get the high-end product you want, without the challenges associated with delivery.

Whether you’re remodeling a new urban condo or designing a man cave, compact refrigeration has major benefits. Consider these ideas:

TIP 01

Get more capacity with a luxury look. Your old refrigerator was full-depth, but you love the sleek appearance of a counter-depth refrigerator. Consider a beverage center to hold the extra capacity. Plus, then guests won't have to dig behind the leftovers to access a beverage.

TIP 02

Keep it all under counter. Want to preserve your view? No problem, there are hundreds of under-counter refrigerators, wine coolers, ice makers and drawers to choose from.

TIP 03

Vertical capacity. If floor space is a premium, consider a tall refrigerator column. In as little as 24 inches, you can have a refrigerator, freezer and ice maker in one place.