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Home > Ideas & Tips > Refrigerator Buying Guide

Refrigerator Buying Guide

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Refrigerator Buying Guide

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So You Need a New Refrigerator!

Selecting a refrigerator can be tedious but our Refrigerator Buying Guide will provide you with all of the information you need to purchase a refrigerator that will perform as great as it looks.

If you are just looking for a brief refresher on refrigerators, skip ahead to one of the following sections:

What you need to know before you buy a fridge Find the right fridge for you Addtional features that make your fridge perfect

Everything You Need To Know Before Deciding on a Refrigerator


Before selecting a refrigerator for style and appearance, you first need to consider fit. Being able to fit a refrigerator through your front door and into the space in your kitchen is just as important as that door mounted ice and water dispenser. So consider the following before buying.


First things first, make sure your refrigerator can fit through the door! Then, make sure that it can fit in the space allocated in the kitchen.

Be sure to consider:

  • Refrigerator
  • Width
  • Height
  • Depth
  • Distance from opposing countertop/island
  • Refrigerator Nook
  • Width (measure from the countertop to the opposing wall)
  • Height
  • Depth
  • Distance from opposing countertop/island
  • Door Way(s)
  • Width

Best Practice

Make sure the body of the refrigerator is roughly the same depth as the counter top to ensure the refrigerator door won't hit it when opened

The distance between the refrigerator and the opposing counter/island should be at least twice the width of the refrigerator door.



Consider your old refrigerator and its capacity, specifically the internal cubic feet held by the refrigerator and freezer. When deciding just how large of a refrigerator you need, consider you lifestyle and how much food you typically buy and store in your refrigerator, your family size and how many people you feed. It is generally felt that a family of four requires a refrigerator ranging from 19 to 22 cubic feet. The necessary size can increase depending on the family's shopping and eating habits.



When considering the organization and layout of your refrigerator, consider the type of products you normally store in your fridge. Typically food and beverages are stored in bins, shelves and drawers depending on the type of food or beverage stored. Organization and customization are important when selecting a fridge.

Keep the following points in mind:

  • A refrigerator should have multiple shelves, drawers, bins and baskets
  • Being able to easily customize shelf size is a must
  • Look for specific drawer types that match you needs like produce and deli meat drawers with customizable temperature and moisture control
  • Depending on the size of your refrigerator and the amount of food stored, sliding shelves can greatly improve your experience
  • Glass shelves can block spills from dripping onto other foods.


No one likes to have a staring match with their hydro bill, and being that your refrigerator can account for 10% - 20% of your hydro bill, ensuring efficiency is key. One of the key identifiers of efficiency is the Energy Star logo. All of the refrigerators at Lowe's come with energy usage markers, and even note how much it will cost to power the unit over a year.

Styles & Finishes

Once you've established the dimensions and cubic feet needed, it's time to choose which style and finish is right for you. There are four main styles of refrigerator to consider:

Top Mounted Freezer Refrigerator (Traditional)

Top Mounted Freezer Refrigerator (Traditional)

The top mounted freezer, refrigerator is the most common type of refrigerator. It features the refrigerator on the bottom of the unit while the freezer is at eye level. This is the most frequently purchased model as it offers a lot of open freezer and refrigerator space, and typically, are the least expensive. However, the refrigerator placement is inconvenient requiring constant bending over or squatting to access commonly used food and beverages.

Shop All Top Mounted Refrigerators
Bottom Mounted Freezer Refrigerator

Bottom Mounted Freezer Refrigerator

The bottom mounted freezer model features the freezer at the bottom of the unit with the actual refrigerator more easily accessible at the top. This model boasts many of the same qualities as the top mounted freezer model however, the design of a bottom mounted freezer is more efficient as the freezer is easier to keep cold in this location, as well, access to the more often used refrigerator portion is easier. One down side to each of these models is that the bigger the refrigerator, the larger to door. Something to consider in smaller to medium kitchens, where an opposing counter or island are close, is the swing of the door and the amount of space available in your kitchen.

Shop All Bottom Mounted Refrigerators
Side-by-Side Refrigerators

Side-by-Side Refrigerator

Side-by-Side refrigerators are a step up from the bottom and top mounted freezer models in that both the freezer and refrigerator are placed beside each other. This redistribution is perfect for smaller kitchens as it has a smaller door swing profile and also centralizes both the refrigerator and freezer for easy access. One problem, however, is that because the freezer and refrigerator are separated vertically instead of horizontally, it is often the case that users find them too narrow and deep and as a result more difficult to find particular items deeper back in the refrigerator or the freezer.

Shop All Side-by-Side Refrigerators
French Door or Counter-depth Refrigerator

French Door or Counter-Depth Refrigerator

The French door refrigerator is becoming increasingly popular because it boasts the benefits of an easily accessible top mounted refrigerator and often integrates a pullout, chest freezer underneath. The French door design minimizes the space needed to open the folding doors while allowing for a larger refrigerator size. However, the French door refrigerator is at the higher price range than other models.

Shop All French Door Refrigerators
White Finish


Stainless Steel Finish


Black Finish



The French door refrigerator is becoming increasingly popular The most common finishes available are plain white, black and stainless steel.

←Use your mouse to see examples.

Additional Features

Modern refrigerators come with a variety of added features such as customizable shelves, door alarms, ice makers and more. Here are some of the most popular features to consider:

Child Locks

Child Locks

Child locks can either be built in or purchased separately. They're good for keeping little hands from reaching tasty treats

Temperature Alarms

Temperature Alarms

If the refrigerator or freezer door is left open, a temperature alarm will sound. This feature is also referred to as a door alarm

Ice Maker & Water Dispenser

Ice Maker & Water Dispenser

With ice and water dispensers, the ice maker is located in the door and a water inlet from your house is attached at the rear of the unit. Ice is made and collected in the door dispensary unit and water is filtered and refrigerated in the body of the refrigerator.

Customizable Shelving

Customizable Shelving

When looking for a refrigerator, make note of the different shelving options in the body of the refrigerator as well as the door(s) of the unit. Being able to reorganize shelving to accommodate oddly shaped items is a bonus. Some models even incorporate a crank system allowing the user to manually move shelves up and down, without removing and reorganizing its contents.

Air Purifying System

Air Purifying System

Air can get stale and foul inside a refrigerator, and with cool air constantly recirculating, food odours can end up everywhere. Having an air purifying system ensures that the air inside your refrigerator is fresh while also ensuring your refrigerator doesn't need to constantly cool new air.

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