When picking a refrigerator today, there are all kinds of features and designs to pick from. Ranging from 2-doors to 6-doors, high efficiency, or TV monitors built-in, here are a few tips for finding the best refrigerator:
Pick A StyleThere’s a configuration to suit every household. French-door models are exploding in popularity. Many consumers swear by the convenience of bottom freezers, but top freezers and side-by-sides can make more efficient use of space in a smaller kitchen.
Most configurations come in a range of sizes and capacities. Always measure where you plan to put the fridge before you buy. Check that it can fit through doorways. Allow room for the refrigerator’s doors to swing open, and for a one inch clearance around sides and back for adequate airflow.
Decode the EnergyGuide Label
Energy efficiency has become a big selling point with consumers. All new fridges are a lot more efficient than they were a decade ago, but here’s a look behind the label—to help you go as green as possible.
The EPA Energy Star rating is a good place to start when shopping; it means that a product is in the top 25 percent in the market, but efficiency varies by model (i.e. an unlabeled top-freezer might be more efficient than an ES-approved French door model). Additionally, we test for energy consumption, which can add up to a $50-60 difference a year, more than $500 over the life of the unit.
For an apples-to-apples comparison of which models are most efficient, look at the EnergyGuide labels of your favorite fridges, and compare the annual operating costs and the kilowatt-hours used per year
As for capacity, most manufacturers recommend 19 to 22 cubic feet for a family of four. But if you do a big weekly shopping trip or buy in bulk, you may need more—up to about 30 to 33 cubic feet. Note: Our tests found that the amount of usable storage capacity was often less than the amount claimed.
SRC: See more tips and photos here: www.consumerreports.org/cro/refrigerators/buying-guide.htm