Shopping for a new fridge

Refrigerators are often thought of as boxy and boring, having no style and serving no purpose other then keeping your food cold. Times have changed though and manufacturers are now thinking outside the box to try to redefine what the modern refrigerator is really capable of. Today you will find an increasing range of color and style options, cleverly designed units designed to disappear into your kitchen decor, and a wide variety of new smart features.

With the reinvention of the refrigerator finding the perfect model to fit your needs and budget is no easy task. Fortunately we have an overview that is designed to assist you in narrowing down the countless options. Finding the right refrigerator is all about understanding your needs. So let’s get started:

What type of style do I need?

Style wise you have four options to choose from and figuring out which one is best for you is the first step towards making a final decision.

Top freezer

Chances are good that this is the style that immediately pops into your head when you hear the word refrigerator. The bottom two thirds are dedicated to fresh food storage and the freezer is sitting on top. Tastes have changed since this style was first created, so if you’re looking for something modern and high end then a top freezer model probably isn’t for you. However, if style isn’t a big concern then you will find that top freezers offer some of the best bargains on the market. Plus there are still enough of them being made to offer a solid variety of choices.
Bottom freezer

If you’re looking for something more on the simpler side and want a little better access to your fresh foods, then a bottom freezer model might be right for you. Bottom freezer models aren’t much different from top freezer models except for the fact that the freezer is located on the bottom. This means that you won’t have to bend over while looking for commonly used food. However, it does mean that frozen foods will be located around your ankles. Although a majority of models now come with drawer style freezer doors which can make getting frozen food out a little easier. Bottom freezer models do tend to be just slightly bigger than top freezers, but there is also less variety of models to choose from.

Side-by-side units split your refrigerator in half, offering you frozen food on the left and fresh food on the right. Some models offer equal space for both sections and others allow an extra couple of inches for the fridge. This can make for a narrow freezer section, so if you need a wide freezer space you might want to consider something a little less limiting. Side-by-side models come in a wide variety and tend to showcase more features than horizontal ones. Many of these features are aimed at saving space, especially when it comes to the shelving inside the doors. Side-by-side units also require much less clearance to open the doors, making them ideal for narrow spaces.

French door

The very popular french door models combine the drawer of a bottom freezer with the low clearance doors of a side-by-side model. This means that you will have a full width, double door refrigerator with plenty of storage space. Some models come with two separate freezer drawers with the top one located about waist level. This will keep you from bending down not quite as far as you would with a bottom freezer. With the high demand for French door refrigerators you’re sure to find a huge variety of options, including models with top of the line smart features that you won’t find with other styles. You can also upgrade the look of your refrigerator to match your decor or even camouflage it entirely among your cabinets.

What size refrigerator do I need?

This can vary but a general rule of thumb is that you will want about 4 to 6 cubic feet of refrigerator space per person in your household along with a little bit of extra room. Full size refrigerators range from 10 to 32 cubic feet so this means that a family of four probably won’t want anything less than 20 cubic feet, and might even prefer something a little bit bigger. That being said a bigger refrigerator means a bigger energy bill so be careful not to splurge on extra space that you won’t actually need as you will be paying more both upfront and down the line. If you are looking for something on the smaller side you will probably want to stick with a top freezer model as none of the other types of refrigerators come in sizes much smaller than 20 cubic feet.

Do I need a cabinet depth refrigerator?

Cabinet depth refrigerators are simply refrigerators that are designed to align perfectly with the edges of your cabinets, leaving only the refrigerator door sticking out. This gives your refrigerator the appearance of an expensive, custom made unit that’s built directly into your cabinetry without it actually being custom built. It won’t give you any extra storage space but they are more fashionable than standalone units.

What features do I need?

Refrigerators have come a long way since the days of the egg holder and the butter bin. These days you will find a wide variety of features designed to bring a whole new level of functionality to your refrigerator.
Take care of your food

Do you always want a variety of fresh ingredients on hand? Many models offer sectional climate controls for the different compartments in your refrigerator that can help you keep your foods fresher for longer. For example LG’s Push & Seal Crisper Drawer goes so far as to vacuum the air out of your produce bins whenever you close them.

Do you live off of frozen food? Look for advanced defrosting features such as GE’s Frost Guard which is designed to help eliminate freezer burn.

Do you love a nice glass of Chardonnay? Look for a refrigerator with a built in wine rack.
Multitasking  features

Some features are designed to make your refrigerator more functional. Just look at in door water dispensers for example.  Refrigerators have been dispensing water for years but now GE boasts a PreciseFill smart dispenser on several of its models that will dispense the exact amount you need or automatically detect when your cup or water bottle is full. Other models have water dispensers designed to easily accommodate tall or bulky containers. Some will even dispense hot water. Samsung recently teamed up with SodaStream unveiling a refrigerator capable of dispensing fresh seltzer water. LG has started producing models with blast chillers capable of making  your warm drink icy cold in minutes and if you’re constantly making runs to the gas station to pick up a bag of ice for your cooler look for a unit with an ice maker capable of dispensing ice in bulk.

Other extras

– Quieting models  that make for less humming and buzzing

– Anti bacterial interior coatings to help keep your food germ free

– LED lighting

– Steel reinforced hinges to support heavy  storage in your door

– Spill proof shelving to help keep messes from dripping through your refrigerator

– Touch screens and built-in Wi-Fi
Should I get a smart refrigerator?

Simply put smart refrigerators are not cheap and whether or not the cost is worth it is really up to you. For some people smart technology gives refrigerators a whole new cool factor and the fact that we use our refrigerators every day makes these features an investment.

Smart energy efficiency

If you are looking for a greener kitchen and lower power bill you will likely enjoy smart features that are aimed at making your refrigerator more energy efficient. Many new models can track their own energy consumption and some even go a step further delivering the information straight to your smartphone and even allowing you to monitor usage or change the temperature remotely. If energy efficiency is an important factor in your buying decision but a top of the line smart refrigerator doesn’t fit within your budget don’t worry there are plenty of other features available that will help you go green without breaking the bank. At least one model comes with a sensor that detects when the door isn’t fully shut and others will allow you to access commonly used ingredients without ever opening the refrigerator at all using a door within a door compartment or a sliding panel. Features like these are small but a big difference when it comes to your energy usage.


Smart refrigerators don’t just share usage data with you. Some Whirlpool models are equipped with 6th Sense Live technology that will send you texts letting you know when the water filter needs to be replaced or alerting you to a power outage. Other models are equipped with intuitive features  that kick in whenever something isn’t working helping you to identify the problem and troubleshoot a solution. There are even models that will offer suggestions on what to make for dinner if you’re willing to take the time to tell your refrigerator what ingredients are inside of it.



Some of the most talked about smart features have been focused on entertainment. More than one manufacturer has introduced models with Wi-Fi, integrated speakers, and LCD touch screens built  into the door. Samsung has even incorporated popular apps like Google Calendar and Twitter into its high end models. Do you want to check the weather? Know what’s happening on the morning news? Looking for step by step recipes? Want to stream your favorite Pandora station while cooking? With an entertainment minded smart refrigerator all of this is possible with just a tap.


If you decide that a smart refrigerator might be something you would be interested in make sure to shop around. Different manufacturers have different visions for where smart technology is headed so you’ll want to be sure to find a brand that emphasizes the specific type of technology and features that you are looking for. So far it seems that Samsung has focused almost exclusively on entertainment, while Whirlpool’s features are geared more towards energy efficiency. LG has taken a broader approach with its high end refrigerators offering a mixture of smart technology. Other brands such Kenmore and GE are more conservative focusing less on entertainment and connectivity and more on subtle design and engineering upgrades. Though your choices might be limited to two or three models per manufacturer, the variety is definitely there. Whatever your decision is do a little homework, shop around to get the best deal, then buy with confidence.


Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about finding a new refrigerator.


C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.