your one-stop guide to buying a refrigerator..the smart way !
Post on 09-Jan-2017
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Buying a Refrigerator ??Here's what to look for, plus afridge FAQfrom our Kitchen Appliances & Technology department.Only on BUYWITHEXPERT.COM
First Things First
1. Pull out the measuring tape.Figure out the dimensions of the area that will accommodate the refrigerator. Then, when you're shopping, find out the height, width, and depth of any units you're considering buying and check to make sure they'll fit in the space. Don't forget to allow a few inches above and behind the unit for air to circulate. Also be sure there's enough room for the doors to swing open.
2. Get into the swing.If you're going for a unit with the freezer above or below the main refrigerator chamber, figure out in which direction you want the doors to open to offer you good access. Make sure the doors of the fridge you want either open in the right direction or can be reversed. If they're reversible, specify which way you want them to open before the model is delivered to your home. That's easier than having the serviceman take them off and put them back on in your kitchen.
3. What style works for you?With so many new options, we've devised this handy guide to help you pick the perfect configuration.
Refrigerators with the Freezer on the Top
Biggest pluses:Accommodate large platters, birthday cakes, or pizza boxes.
Disadvantages:You need to bend to retrieve produce from the crisper bins.
Best for:People who use lots of ice and/or frozen foods, since they're within reach.
Look for:One with adjustable glass shelves. They contain spills and give maximum flexibility for storage.
Refrigerators with the Freezer on the Bottom
Biggest pluses:Eliminate bending to remove fresh foods. Accommodate oversized items like trays of hors d'oeuvres from the club store.
Best for:Fresh fruit and vegetable lovers as no bending is required to reach the produce drawers.
Disadvantages:Finding food in the freezer can be a challenge.
Look for:Be sure to look for a freezer that pulls out like a drawer, exposing the contents at a glance. Also look for a model with baskets to help you keep frozen food organized. Consider one with double or French style doors. They give an upscale look, minimize the amount of cold air that escapes (since you can open only one door at a time), and don't require as much room for the doors to swing open.
Biggest pluses: Easy to see into both compartments. Don't require space for wide doors to open.
Best for: Families that use frozen and fresh foods equally often. A good choice for families with physically challenged members who need access to both compartments without standing on a step stool or bending, or from a wheelchair.
Disadvantages: Shelves are narrow, so storing supersized items can be impossible.
Look for: The largest fridge that can fit in your kitchen, to maximize shelf width.
Next:No-smudge silvery shine
Refrigerators with stainless steel finishes are all the rage, but they show fingerprints something fierce. So manufacturers came out with faux stainless surfaces that look similar but resist prints. (Unlike the real thing, these finishes are magnetic, so kids' artwork can be displayed.) Before you buy, keep in mind that faux and real stainless vary by brand and model, so they may not match other stainless appliances.
GH Research Institute tip: Create your own smudge-proof stainless by rubbing in mineral oil every month or so.Miracle worker:Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish lets you spiff up stainless steel finishes without a lot of effort.
Counter depthTo give a built-in look without remodeling the kitchen, many new units are shallow, so they don't stick out past the countertops. This helps give sleek custom-style, but keep in mind that it does diminish the space available for storing foods.
High-tech modelsFor a price, you can get a fridge with a television or digital picture frame in the door. In the future you'll be seeing Internet access and docking stations for items like MP-3 players and cell phones.
Greater flexibilityFridges now come with more than one freezer compartment. This helps you organize food, putting an end to the endless search for that bag of bagels you just know is in there somewhere. Some units even have convertible drawers that can be set at temperatures for either fresh or frozen foods according to your needs. Also look for refrigerator drawers that can be built in under the counter or even in another room. You can choose to put one in the prep area of your kitchen to hold fruits and vegetables or near the stove to hold meat right before it's cooked. In the den or even the bedroom, you can use one to store beverages and snacks.
Water and iceWhile water and ice dispensers in the door used to be found primarily on side-by-side fridges, now you can find them on almost every configuration. These dispensers are very convenient if your family uses water and/or ice often. However they can be messy, are susceptible to breaking, and increase the purchase price, so be sure you need this feature before you make a purchase.
Tips from the GHRI for avoiding fridge headaches (and costly visits from the repairman!)
Vacuum the condenser coils underneath the fridge every six months more often if you have pets. Be sure to unplug the unit first and snap off the grate covering the coils.Wipe down the rubbery gasket around the door each month. Rub the hinge side with petroleum jelly.Fill up your freezer to prevent it from overworking. If it's empty, stock it with plastic containers of water.For a fresh-smelling fridge, unplug the unit and then wash it out thoroughly with a bleach solution.