Person loading bell peppers into the crisper drawer of a refrigerator

BUYING A REFRIGERATOR GUIDE 2024: HOW TO CHOOSE A REFRIGERATOR

A refrigerator helps keep your ingredients fresh, your leftovers ready to be reinvented and everything where you need it whenever creativity strikes. When it’s time to buy a new refrigerator, it’s important to find the right one. Use this refrigerator buying guide to brush up on the new technologies, features and styles to help you buy a refrigerator that checks all the boxes.

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A REFRIGERATOR?

When shopping for a new refrigerator, what you prioritize depends on the needs of your home and lifestyle. In general, these are some things to consider as you shop:

  • Refrigerator Configuration

  • Dimensions and Size

  • Capacity and Storage

  • Features

  • Color and Finish

The technologies and features used to help keep your food fresh are often shared between different refrigerator configurations and layouts. For example, you can find the Preserva® Food Care System and the Produce Preserver across multiple KitchenAid® refrigerator configurations. For this reason, it can be a good idea to start by choosing the best refrigerator configuration for you, and then narrow your search to a model with the right features.

Get all the information you need to buy the right refrigerator as you read through the following categories:

1. CHOOSE YOUR REFRIGERATOR CONFIGURATION

From space-saving bottom-mount freezer refrigerators to contemporary French door styles or classic side-by-side models, each configuration offers something a little different. Make sure you know the differences and the benefits of each type of refrigerator. Then, choose the one that's best for the way you create.

SIDE-BY-SIDE REFRIGERATORS: EASY-ACCESS TO EVERYTHING

Side-by-side refrigerators feature a full-height freezer compartment next to a full-height refrigerator compartment, allowing you to keep the important freezer and refrigerator items at eye level and within easy reach. These models often have more freezer space than other configurations, so they may be a good choice if you like to stock up on frozen ingredients. Unlike top- and bottom-freezer models, many side-by-side refrigerators have in-door or external ice and water dispensers, as well as other in-demand features such as adjustable shelves and door bins to help you keep everything organized.

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EXPLORE SIDE-BY-SIDE REFRIGERATORS FROM KITCHENAID bRAND

KitchenAid brand offers a full line up of side-by-side refrigerators with features designed to keep your food organized and fresh. This KitchenAid® 24.8 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator features the Preserva® Food Care System. Its two independent cooling systems help keep herbs and food fresh while the FreshFlow Air Filter minimizes odors, and the Produce Preserver delays over-ripening and helps extend the freshness of your produce.

FRENCH DOOR REFRIGERATORS: HIGH-END FEATURES

French door refrigerators have freezer space below and refrigerator space on top with two doors that open independently. This configuration is popular because of its pantry-like layout and specialized storage compartments that help keep contents visible so you can quickly locate items. External ice and water dispensers are common, and sometimes you’ll find a second icemaker in the freezer.

Compared to other configurations, French door refrigerators tend to have more high-end features and innovations like independent, humidity-controlled drawers, advanced cooling systems and premium shelf and drawer finishes.

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BROWSE KITCHENAID® FRENCH DOOR REFRIGERATORS

Experience an intuitive layout, premium touchpoints, and innovative features with French door refrigerators from KitchenAid brand. Select models feature the ExtendFresh™ Temperature Management System which monitors temperature levels in both the refrigerator and freezer and adapts the flow of cold air between them. Or choose from models featuring 2- or 3-tier freezer drawers with storage dividers. Select from space-saving KitchenAid® 30-inch width models or larger capacity KitchenAid® 26.8 cu. ft. 36-inch width French door styles, or opt for an industry-first KitchenAid® 5-door configuration for breakthrough organization.

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COUNTER-DEPTH REFRIGERATORS: CLEAN LINES IN THE KITCHEN

Available in side-by-side and French door configurations, counter-depth refrigerators shave off a few inches of depth so they are nearly flush with cabinetry. This style offers a built-in look and allows more room to move in your kitchen. This can result in slightly less interior capacity but is a good option if you have a smaller kitchen or just want a more open, streamlined workspace.

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EXPLORE KITCHENAID® COUNTER-DEPTH REFRIGERATORS

KitchenAid® counter-depth designs give you the high-end look of built-in refrigerators, while models featuring PrintShield Finish resist fingerprints and smudges on the stainless exterior. This KitchenAid® 22.6 cu. ft. Counter-Depth Side-by-Side Refrigerator is available in premium black stainless steel and features the Preserva® Food Care System and a FreshFlow Air Filter that minimizes odors. Or choose a French door model that provides a pantry-style layout while freeing up space to move around your kitchen.

BUILT-IN REFRIGERATORS: CUSTOM DESIGN

Many built-in refrigerators can match the finish and style of surrounding cabinets with a panel-ready design and reduced depth that aligns with cabinetry. This look offers more creative possibilities with the opportunity to customize the exterior look of the refrigerator. It also enables seamless integration into surrounding cabinets. Built-in refrigerators are often wider than standard models to make up for space lost in depth, measuring up to around 48 inches wide. They are usually available in bottom-freezer, side-by-side and French door models. Keep in mind that professional installation is usually recommended for these high-end refrigerators that may require custom cabinetry.

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BROWSE KITCHENAID® BUILT-IN REFRIGERATORS

Choose from stainless steel, black stainless steel, or panel-ready built-in refrigerators from KitchenAid brand. This KitchenAid® 20.8 cu. ft. 36" Width Built-In Refrigerator offers a premium look inside and out with a glossy, platinum colored interior that sets off the metallic accents of the shelves, crisper and baskets. Select built-in refrigerators from KitchenAid brand also feature the Fit System Limited Guarantee to ensure a great installation fit.1

1. See Fit System Limited Guarantee for complete details.

TOP-FREEZER AND BOTTOM-FREEZER REFRIGERATORS: CLASSIC DESIGN

Refrigerators with a freezer on top or bottom are a classic design and have plenty of potential to enhance your creative process. These models are the entry price point and can offer a streamlined set of features. Expect a little less space inside generally, but plenty of room for wide items compared to a side-by-side refrigerator. Some models feature interior water and ice dispensers, but if an icemaker is not already included, one can usually be installed separately, depending on the model. If you’re working with limited space, small space refrigerators are usually top- or bottom-freezer models.

Keep in mind that bottom-freezer refrigerators tend to offer a little more space and more features than top-freezer models. Since the refrigerator section often gets used more than the freezer, many people prefer to keep those items at eye level in a bottom-freezer refrigerator.

FIND A BOTTOM-FREEZER REFRIGERATOR FROM KITCHENAID BRAND

Add a bold blend of professionally-inspired styling, sleek touches, and a practical full-width pantry refrigerator layout to your kitchen. Bottom-freezer refrigerators from KitchenAid brand provide ample space up top so you can properly store everything from meats to produce while keeping frozen items in a convenient drawer below. Choose from a KitchenAid® 19 cu. ft. 30-inch width model or a larger KitchenAid® 22 cu. ft. 33-inch width model.

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2. DETERMINE THE RIGHT REFRIGERATOR DIMENSIONS

Your new refrigerator should fit your style and blend into your kitchen seamlessly, so choosing a refrigerator with the right dimensions to fit your space is crucial. Before committing to a model, make sure you have the measurements of where it will be placed

  • Take height, width and depth measurements of the cutout where the refrigerator will stand and compare them to the product's listed dimensions.

  • Make sure to leave space on all sides of the refrigerator to accommodate cords and hoses and provide adequate airflow: at least 1/2 inch on the sides and top of the refrigerator and at least 1 full inch behind. 

  • Pay attention to a refrigerator's depth measurements with the door closed and open to ensure space for a full door swing out without hitting cabinets, walls or an island. 

  • Measure the doorways and pathways that the refrigerator will travel on its way to the kitchen before installation.

Open KitchenAid® side-by-side refrigerator stocked with fresh food platters Open KitchenAid® side-by-side refrigerator stocked with fresh food platters

3. PURCHASE A REFRIGERATOR WITH ADEQUATE CAPACITY AND STORAGE

When choosing the right refrigerator for your household, you’ll want to consider not just the space in your kitchen, how often you entertain and the number of people you cook for, but your cooking and shopping preferences, as well. Think about what you’re likely to keep stocked and whether you prefer to have an array of ingredients for impromptu recipes, or if you’re more likely to plan out meals ahead of time and instead prefer to keep a combination of staples and fresh ingredients stocked. The right capacity refrigerator can also make it easier to keep your ingredients organized and fresh or perishable items within line of sight, so keep this in mind as you browse. 

If you find yourself struggling to fit fresh ingredients in your current refrigerator, consider a large capacity refrigerator that offers anywhere from 22 to 30 cubic feet. Or, you may opt for installing an undercounter or wine refrigerator for additional storage capacity. 

Here are a few more things to consider:

  • How many people are in your home and how often do you cook during the week?

  • How much space is available in your kitchen? 

  • What items do you usually keep in your freezer? Do you cook in batches or freeze food for later? If so, you’ll want enough freezer capacity for ample storage.

Person loading food into a gas KitchenAid® oven next to a stainless steel side-by-side refrigerator Person loading food into a gas KitchenAid® oven next to a stainless steel side-by-side refrigerator

4. PICK REFRIGERATOR FEATURES THAT MATCH HOW YOU MAKE

Your culinary style is unique, so it’s important to keep an eye out for the refrigerator features that complement the way you create in the kitchen. Learn more about possible refrigerator features below to find what fits your style best.

  • Dual Evaporators: These refrigerators have separate cooling systems for the freezer and refrigerator compartments that help maintain ideal temperature and humidity in these two unique environments. Check out the Preserva® Food Care System by KitchenAid, which also features the FreshFlow Air Filter to help minimize odors. 

  • Produce preservation: Some refrigerators have crisper drawers and technology that absorbs ethylene gas emitted by many fruits and vegetables, causing them to over ripen. By removing ethylene, the produce preserver helps extend the freshness of your produce. Browse KitchenAid® refrigerators with produce preservers.

  • LED lighting: LED lighting uses less energy than incandescent bulbs and adds bright light for a premium feel. Multiple lights are placed throughout the refrigerator and freezer, making it easy to find items at a glance. Browse KitchenAid® refrigerators with LED lighting.

  • Configurable shelves and drawers: With adjustable, customizable storage spaces, you can create a storage system unique to you and your creation process. Look for features like retractable or slide-away shelving, undershelf storage and prep zones, and soft-close drawers you can access from the outside of the refrigerator, like on this multi-door KitchenAid® refrigerator.
People gathering and cooking in a kitchen with a KitchenAid® 4-door refrigerator People gathering and cooking in a kitchen with a KitchenAid® 4-door refrigerator

5. BUY A REFRIGERATOR THAT’S YOUR STYLE

For a refrigerator that’s your style outside and in, consider all the possibilities for both exterior and interior finishes. White, black and stainless steel are standard color options. You might also upgrade to a fingerprint-resistant exterior finish, which is available on many refrigerators today. Look for KitchenAid® refrigerators featuring PrintShield Finish for a smudge-resistant exterior that takes the worry out of keeping a working kitchen beautiful. For a seamless look, consider a built-in refrigerator that fits flush with cabinets and usually comes in a stainless steel, black stainless steel, or a panel-ready exterior that lets you customize it to match your kitchen cabinets. Explore new and upcoming refrigerator trends including innovative refrigerator styles and features.

Open KitchenAid® French door refrigerator behind island with fresh produce Open KitchenAid® French door refrigerator behind island with fresh produce

REFRIGERATOR BUYING TIPS

Some additional best practices—aside from comparing features, fit and finishes—can help you find the right refrigerator for your kitchen. See the buying tips below for more considerations.

  • Think about what you like or don’t like about your old or current refrigerator. Are there features you wish you had? Is the layout functional and easy to use? Consider these preferences as you plan your next purchase.

  • Familiarize yourself with the warranty of each refrigerator you’re considering. For large appliances like a refrigerator, it may be worth purchasing an extended warranty. 

  • The possibilities a new refrigerator offers are exciting, but don’t forget to plan for the disposal of your old refrigerator. You may be able to recycle it through services your city offers, or a professional installer may offer to dispose of it on your behalf. KitchenAid brand offers haul away services when you purchase a new KitchenAid® refrigerator.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO BUY A REFRIGERATOR?

Whether you’re in the market for an upgrade or remodeling your kitchen for a new look and feel, waiting for special discounts or sales events to buy your new refrigerator may be worth considering. Deals are often offered on major holidays, such as Labor Day or Memorial Day. Seasonally, refrigerator prices may dip lower during the summer and are typically at their lowest just after Thanksgiving.

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SHOP ALL KITCHENAID® REFRIGERATORS

KitchenAid offers a full lineup of refrigerators in various configurations with a range of innovative features to help keep your favorite ingredients fresh. Shop French door refrigerators with spacious interiors or get a customized look with built-in models. Fit your groceries inside and help keep them accessible with adjustable spill resistant glass shelves, available on some models—or shop models with the ExtendFresh Temperature Management System, so your ingredients will be held at the optimum temperature. Or expand the possibilities in your kitchen with an undercounter refrigerator to keep ingredients close at hand or favorite beverages at just the right temperature.

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