Buying a Refrigerator: Beginner’s Guide

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 99.9% of households in the U.S. have refrigerators, making the refrigerator one of the most popular and important appliances in the modern household. There are many types of refrigerators, with all kinds of different features.

Refrigerators have a wide price range. Lower-end models can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, while higher-end models can reach several thousands of dollars.  In order to figure out which refrigerator is right for your household, there are several factors you will need to take into account.

Determining the Size of Your Home’s Refrigerator Space

Before you leave your house to go refrigerator shopping, grab a measuring tape and measure the length, width, and height of the space in which you will be placing your refrigerator. You will need these measurements for determining whether or not a refrigerator will fit into your particular space. Once you have these measurements, you are ready to go shopping for your new refrigerator!

Types of Refrigerators

There are many types of refrigerators. The most popular are:


Side-by-side refrigerators generally have two similarly sized doors that span the entire height of the refrigerator. The doors are more narrow than those of other designs, which allows them to open in smaller spaces. However, the compartments are generally smaller than other types.

top-freezerTop Freezer

Top freezer refrigerators have a top and a bottom door, with the top usually being the smaller freezer door. This design is good for having a spacious refrigerator, however the doors are wide and require more space than those of other designs in order to fully open.

bottom-freezerBottom Freezer

Bottom freezer refrigerators have a top door that spans the full width of the refrigerator and a freezer compartment at the bottom. The freezer compartment is accessed by pulling the compartment out like a drawer. This design allows for both the fresh food sections and freezer compartment to be spacious.

french-doorFrench Door

French door refrigerators are a combination of the side-by-side and bottom-freezer designs. The refrigerator consists of two side-by-side doors that open opposite of each other at the top and a freezer compartment at the bottom.

*Keep in mind that each of these designs have a varied amount of internal storage space. Usually, side-by-side refrigerators have the least amount of storage space and french door refrigerators have the most.

Choosing Your New Refrigerator

After you have reviewed the different types of refrigerator designs, you can determine which kind best suits your household. Basically, if you consistently have a large amount of food on hand, you will want to go with a design that has more storage space. If your home’s refrigerator space has obstacles that restrict wide refrigerator doors from opening, you will want to go with a design that has smaller doors, such as the side-by-side. Whichever refrigerator you choose, be sure that it complies with the measurements of your home’s refrigerator space.

Ritter has you covered! Our knowledgeable associates are here to help answer your questions and help you find what you need.