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How to Buy a Kitchen Refrigerator

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I grew up in Needham, Massachusetts in a family of 5. Our refrigerator was an Amana 23 cubic foot top mount. It had the kitchen panels installed on it.

At that time Amana was the best refrigerator you could buy, and top mounts were the most popular refrigerators. The refrigerator protruded 10 inches into the kitchen, but at that time every product did protrude.

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Flash forward 35 years, refrigerators have completely changed in almost every aspect from prices to configuration. We will look at the reasons for the changes and what you should look for in your new refrigerator.

How to Buy a Refrigerator

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Energy Standards

Look at this mammoth of a refrigerator, it is 800 pounds with a 30-cubic foot interior. This refrigerator uses less energy than a 75-watt bulb. Energy laws have been particularly stringent for manufacturers especially for refrigerators.

Sub-Zero Pro 48


My family’s 23 cubic foot refrigerator couldn’t exist today. In fact, the trend towards more energy efficient French door bottom mounts and integrated refrigerators is a direct result of energy law compliance.

That said, lets’ look at what you should know before buying a refrigerator.


Refrigerators follow the size of cabinet widths. The average size of a refrigerator is 24, 30, 33, 36, 42 and 48 inches with 30 and 36 inches being the most popular.

However, heights and depths have changed as refrigerators have become taller. If you are replacing a refrigerator, measure the space, not the existing refrigerator.

You also want to measure the points of entry on delivery because your hallways and doorways may not accommodate a new refrigerator. We perform free site checks of your space in the Metro and Boston area.

Here is a delivery checklist to help you with other aspects of delivery.

Counter Depth vs. Regular Depth

Counter depth looks better. You will not see the textured sides of the refrigerator, but you lose usable cubic footage in depth.


There are three types of counter depth: regular or a less deep refrigerator, professional with a compressor or an integrated counter depth refrigerator, which is even shallower and made to fit seamlessly with your cabinets.

Now that you understand the different depths of refrigerators there are, you are ready to look brands and types.


The most popular refrigerator is a French door with the refrigerator on the top and freezer on the bottom. There are many types. There are two drawer, French doors, as well as 4 doors and, now, 5 drawers.


You would have to assess how much freezer versus refrigerator space is needed before choosing a type.

Top mounts are inexpensive and have good usable size. The suddenly less popular side-by-sides have more freezer capacity and are less expensive than French door refrigerators.


Fifteen years ago, Whirlpool owned the French door market, but now, Samsung and LG have very compelling technical products, from internet-ready products to different 4-door refrigerators with sleek style.

When Should you buy it

The best time to buy is always around national holidays like President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Black Friday.


Well, you will save tons of money replacing your current refrigerator. The flip side is reliability has dropped for refrigeration. Be prepared to call service within 5 years.

For more information, read our post on French door refrigerator’s reliability.

Final Thoughts

If you have not replaced your refrigerator in 10 years or so, it is almost a whole new assortment. However, the most important key factor is knowing the size you need for your home.

After that, choose the product most suited to your preferences. Do you use more freezer or refrigerator space? Do you want counter depth or do you need more cubic footage?

You, at the very least, have plenty of options. 

Additional Resources

Download the Yale Refrigerator Buying Guide with features, specs and inside buying tips on all refrigerators. Well over 200,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our Refrigerator Buying Guide


A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Steve Sheinkopf

My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.

A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.

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