The capacity of a fridge is the most important factor to consider when shopping for new models. You can have all the bells and whistles, but if the fridge can't hold all of the food you'll need for your family, then nothing else matters. Your storage needs will vary depending on your family's eating and shopping habits. Fridge capacity is measured in four categories: overall space, fresh food storage, freezer storage, and creative storage.
The total storage space within the fridge. Represented in cubic feet, this is the most important number to consider because it represents the entire amount of storage available.
Fresh Food Storage
Another way to describe the refrigerated, non-freezer section of a fridge. The area where you'll keep all of your produce, meats, beverages and other perishables.
Did you know?
The perfect temperature for storing meat is 32 degrees Fahrenheit
This is the amount of storage space available in the freezer portion of the fridge. If you store a lot of frozen vegetables, pizzas, dinners and other goods, make sure you have enough freezer storage for it all, or consider an all-freezer as a complementary appliance.
Creative storage are the specialty storage spots within a fridge. These may be pizza slots in the freezer, a special gallon-depth storage bin, or a soda can dispenser. While not critical, these creative options make storing and retrieving your favorite items quick and easy.
How do I know how large of a fridge I need?
A good guideline is to aim for 4 to 6 cubic feet of storage for each adult in the household.
Once you determine what your capacity needs are, and your preferred style, it's time to prioritize the features available. Remember, the features in this list may not be available on all models.
Customizable Shelves & Bins
Shelves that slide in and out or fold in half make it much easier to store oversized items, like 2-liter bottles. There are also moveable bins to adjust to your needs and shelves with spill-proof lips to prevent spills from spreading throughout the fridge.
These special compartments allow you to quickly thaw, freeze, or chill items.
Never wait for ice again, internal ice makers use filtered water to make perfectly iced cubes throughout the day. Depending on your needs, you may look desire a machine with a larger ice maker or even two ice makers to keep the drinks cold during parties.
Filtered Ice/Water Dispensers
The most popular feature on any fridge, they dispense filtered water and (whole or crushed) ice cubes created in the fridge's ice maker. Some will allow extra space to fill taller bottles or, have "quick fill" options where the size of the pour is set and the dispenser takes care of the rest.
Learn how to locate and replace a refrigerators water filter with Abt's Refrigerator Water Filter Replacement Guide
Refreshment Center Door
This is an in-door feature that gives thirsty family members access to their favorite drinks through a separate door. This cuts down on the amount of time the fridge is open.
Usually located near the ice/water dispenser, a temperature display has (touch) controls to adjust interior temperatures, type of ice dispensed, child locks, and more.
This allows for the freezer to circulate air separate from the fridge, so your ice doesn't taste like last night's leftovers.
Choose an ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator, and you will use a minimum of 20% less energy than other models and save you money on utility bills.
You may also be eligible for local rebates from your city when buying ENERGY STAR qualified models. This rating is earned when products meet energy-efficiency requirements established by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Energy Saving Tips for Your Refrigerator
- Don't keep your fridge too cold. The recommended temperature for your fridge is 37° - 40°.
- Keep freezer between 0 degrees and 5 degrees. If you keep items for long periods of time, keep it at 0°.
- Seal properly all liquids and wrap food stored in the fridge. If they are open, they will release moisture and the compressor will work more aggressively.
- Think before you open. Know what you want to grab in your fridge before opening, try not to open and stare as you are letting out that all-important cold air!